It’s time for my yearly ranking of the latest Best Picture nominees.
Overall, I’d say that it’s a pretty a good lineup. There are definitely some movies I wish were here and my Best Picture picks would certainly be different. However, for me there isn’t anything too objectionable compared to other years, and 9 of these films are in my top 25 favourites of 2022.
Once again, the ranking of the nominees is all based on my personal preferences and has nothing to do with how much they “deserve” to win.
10. Triangle of Sadness
While I still like it, Triangle of Sadness is pretty easily my least favourite of the nominees. It does border on “wish they didn’t nominate it”, but as far as least favourite nominees of each year go, it’s not that bad. It’s yet another satire on the rich, to some mixed results. On one hand, the first two acts are pretty strong, it has some great moments, and it is really helped by the great performances, including Dolly de Leon, Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean and Zlatko Burić. On the other hand, some of the satire is a mixed bag (not helped by the self satisfied attitude), and the entire last third was a slog to sit through, and paled compared to what came before. Overall though, I’m okay with it being among the nominees in spite of its many issues. That being said, I don’t see it winning Best Picture or any other awards it was nominated for.
My review of Triangle of Sadness
As time goes on, I wonder if my initial love for Elvis came from watching in the cinema. It was certainly an experience, from the music to Baz Luhrmann’s overt direction. At its core though, it is a standard music biopic. It does however benefit from the style and approach that Luhrmann gave to it, making it very entertaining to watch throughout. On the whole, the performances are solid (questionable Tom Hanks aside) with Austin Butler really delivering as Elvis Presley. Elvis has potential in the technical categories and Butler is definitely one of the Best Actor frontrunners, but I don’t see it winning Best Picture.
8. Everything Everywhere All at Once
Admittedly, I loved Everything Everywhere All at Once when I first watched it. Then after a repeat viewing and further thought, for me it got worse over time. There are some great parts to it. I like the genuine and emotional moments, I enjoy the creativity and energy, and the performances are fantastic, mainly from Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu. I just think it’s a case of it not holding up as well on a rewatch, and I found the quirkiness and humour to be more grating that time. Still, I can’t be too mad at it. I appreciate that a movie this weird and different is being celebrated and even making it to the Oscars. It’s currently one of the frontrunners for Best Picture, and while it’s clearly not my pick for that award, if it does end up winning, EEAAO will be certainly different from all the past winners at the very least.
My review of Everything Everywhere All at Once
7. All Quiet on the Western Front
I remember watching All Quiet on the Western Front and assuming that it would be nominated for Best International Feature, but I wasn’t expecting it to be a major awards player. I know that some people might be annoyed that yet another war movie has been nominated for Best Picture (following movies like 1917 and Dunkirk), but it’s a really good movie. It is a great anti war film which actually delivers on being anti war, and has the right effect on you. It’s directed incredibly well, portraying the horrors of World War 1 with a sense of dread throughout, and it’s helped by the fantastic performances, especially from Felix Kammerer and Albrecht Schuch. I don’t see it winning Best Picture but I do see it potentially winning in the technical categories. I’m happy to see this among the Best Picture nominees.
My review of All Quiet on the Western Front
6. Women Talking
Women Talking had a lot of momentum going into awards season but the push for it seemed to have decreased over time. Thankfully, it still managed to get one of the Best Picture nominations, because it deserved to be recognised. The script is fantastic with riveting conversations, and handles with care, empathy and nuance the very heavy subject matters. The ensemble of performances are fantastic, especially from Rooney Mara, Ben Whishaw, Jessie Buckley and Claire Foy. Sarah Polley’s direction is all around strong, from the fittingly moody cinematography, solid editing, and another phenomenal score from Hildur Guðnadóttir which ranks among the best of the year. Women Talking is well worth checking out if you haven’t already, it is one of the best movies of the year. With two nominations, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, it’s unlikely to win the former, but I hope it wins the latter because it deserves that at least.
Tár is of the best crafted films of the year, and well deserving of its Best Picture nomination. The writing is immaculate with fantastic dialogue, Todd Field’s direction is careful and precise, and the performances are really good, with a strong supporting cast backing up an outstanding and career best performance from Cate Blanchett. I’m not sure if it’s winning Best Picture but it has a better shot than most of the other nominees. I’d certainly be more than okay with it winning.
4. The Fabelmans
The Fabelmans is Steven Spielberg’s best film in a very long time. While it’s somewhat a love letter to movies, it also highlights the sacrifices that one would have to make on the journey to that type of career, and it serves as a tribute to his family. Even that aside, it’s a very compelling and complete coming of age story. It’s only furthered by some great performances from everyone, especially from Gabriel LaBelle, Michelle Williams and Paul Dano, and Spielberg’s typically top notch direction. The Fabelmans is one of the Best Picture frontrunners and I would be more than satisfied if it won.
3. The Banshees of Inisherin
Martin McDonagh’s latest and best film is also one of the frontrunners. As expected from McDonagh, Banshees is incredibly well made and layered; it is a dark comedy and has its funny moments, but is melancholic, felt very real and resonated. This is only further helped by the excellent performances, which were rightfully recognised by the Oscars (with the main 4 actors in Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon receiving nominations). Out of the three BP front runners which have a chance at winning, Banshees would be my pick.
My review of The Banshees of Inisherin
2. Top Gun: Maverick
People had been predicting Top Gun: Maverick would be making it to the Oscars, but I didn’t think that it would actually happen. Maverick isn’t what you’d expect from a Best Picture nominee, it’s an action movie and a legacy sequel to a classic 80s movie, but then again, it is a very well made movie and one of the most popular films from the past year. Yes, the action and direction is incredibly impressive and is what most people expect going in. However, the simple yet effective and emotional story elevates it above just being another action movie with just good action. I have now watched it three times and I’m just as invested and entertained with every viewing. It is one of my favourite movies of 2022 and one of my favourite action movies of recent years. I don’t expect it to win Best Picture at all but it definitely has a shot at winning some of the technical categories.
My review of Top Gun: Maverick
1. Avatar: The Way of Water
To put it plainly, Avatar: The Way of Water is my favourite film out of the 10 nominees: a great sequel which builds upon the original and made for an even better movie. James Cameron has created yet another technical achievement, with outstanding visuals and effects which manage to top the first film (which itself has held up really well over the past 13 years). The performances from everyone are strong (with Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang being the standouts), and the story manages to be on a larger scale, while primarily being a family drama that I was invested in. All the elements just really came together for me, making my two viewings of The Way of Water in the cinema unforgettable. It has a good chance at sweeping a lot of the technical awards, though I don’t expect it to win Best Picture.
My review of Avatar: The Way of Water
How would you rank the Best Picture nominees? What do you think of them?