Let's rank the nominees for the 2023 Oscar for Best Picture (2023)

Let's rank the nominees for the 2023 Oscar for Best Picture (1)

The 95th annual Oscar nominations wereannouncedearlier today and, as in most years, the story is told in numbers, including 11 (the number of nominations awardedEverything everywhere at onceand nine (the number of nods forThe Banshees by Inisherinandnothing new in the West). But there are other numbers that suggest, whether for creative or monetary reasons, that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that awards the Oscars, is poised to halt its seemingly irreversible descent into insignificance. The first figure is 16.6 million, which is the number of viewers who watched last year's slaphappy ceremony, the second-lowest since the Nielsen ratings service began tracking the show. As the old-school Oscar lovers grow older, the Academy has finally realized that their survival depends on enticing the TikTok generation and those between the coasts to tune in to their glittering gala.

And that brings us to the second crucial number: 1 billion. For the first time in Oscar history, two Best Picture nominees have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide.Avatar: The Way of Water andTop-Gun: Maverick. It's a promising sign that voters are finally using the additional five Best Picture spots added in 2009 for their intended purpose: to nominate big-budget blockbusters so more people care about who wins an Oscar. Naturally,way of the waterandlonerhelped revive the cinematic experience that has been life-sustaining since the pandemic began, so Hollywood can't be blamed for rewarding her with a best picture nod.

But fear not, there are enough old guard voters to ensure the academy hasn't completely succumbed to the affliction. The 10 best picture nominees together make up the fairest and most inclusive group in years, ranging from intellectual drama,department store,to the one percent satiretriangle of sadnessto Steven Spielberg's memory of where he came from,The Fabelmans. So with T-minus 47 days until the March 12 ceremony on ABC, here they areThere AV Verein's ranking of all 10 Best Picture nominees for 2023. Spoiler alert: the academy might think they're the best, but we might not...

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2 / 12

10.triangle of sadness

10.triangle of sadness

Only two films have ever won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and an Oscar for Best Picture: 1955Martinand 2019Parasite. While his chances are slimtriangle of sadness, could be the third. Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund's unsubtle but often painfully funny summary of the one percent earned him three Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. The film operates in a goal-driven environment of the conceited and wealthy begging only to be torn to pieces. From the empty-headed social media influencer to the elderly couple who made their fortunes making grenades, none of these people seem to care about anything other than the luxuries that their wealth has afforded them. Östlund deftly locks them up on a yacht, where there's no escaping the boat's insane captain (Woody Harrelson) or the unrelenting storm that leads to the most ghastly amount of violent vomiting since the Griffin family started drinking ipecac bottles family Guy. Östlund loses focus when a group of passengers are stranded on a desert island, but by this time the satirical damage has been done and the Oscar nominations are justly deserved. [Mark Keizer]

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3 / 12

9.Elvis

9.Elvis

History shows that the Academy loves musical biopics. This year's darling of this particular genre is Baz LuhrmannsElvis, a high-energy, lightning-fast rendition of the king's rise to fame, told through the eyes of his eccentric manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks, who, for once, didn't earn an Oscar nomination and didn't deserve one). As shrill and fragmented as the film is, Luhrmann is reserved. Remove the split screens and visual adornments and you get a pretty simple rags to riches story told by the con man in charge of it all. Austin Butler playfully takes on the thankless task of recreating the mood and vocals of one of the most charismatic rock 'n' roll artists to ever grace the stage. Or maybe not so ungrateful, given that he garnered a Best Actor nomination for his performance. Reactions to the film seem to have come in waves - there was the hype, then the backlash to the hype, and finally a more measured reaction from those who were both waiting it out. However, the general consensus is that Butler steals the show. [Cindy White]

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4 / 12

8.Avatar: The Way of Water

8.Avatar: The Way of Water

For those who've enjoyed 13 years of sneers and wondered if anyone wanted a 2009 sequelavataror could even name a character from 2009avatar, director James Cameron would like to speak to you. Has not onlyAvatar: The Way of Watergrossed over $2 billion at the worldwide box office, it was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture. With Cameron's reputation for, how shall we put it, not being the best writer in town, he once again eluded a nod for Best Original Screenplay. However, the other three nominations are in technical categories, including visual effects. This works for us because, despite our best efforts to dismiss the whole matter (and believe us, we tried),Avatar: The Way of Wateris lovely to look at. We still have no idea what this whale thing is, or how Sigourney Weaver's character — whose name no one will ever remember — was revived. All we know is that Cameron brought wonders (and paying customers) back to multiplex. The fact that he wasn't nominated for Best Director seems a bit odd after allavatarsuddenly not without him. But Cameron has to be content with being the only director to have helmed three films that have grossed more than $2 billion ... and to offer audiences groundbreaking effects that make us feel like kids again and the are tailor-made for the damn biggest cinema. [Mark Keizer]

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5 / 12

7.The Fabelmans

7.The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg has told the story of his parents' divorce in brilliantly offbeat ways before, most notably in his 1977 masterpiece.Close Encounters of the Third Kind. withThe Fabelmans, he hits the nail on the head and earned three of the film's seven Oscar nominations for his troubles. One of them, of course, is Best Director, and in the author's opinion, it's the least deserved directorial nomination of his career. In this semi-autobiographical account of his youth, Spielberg takes no stylistic or narrative risks, nor does he convince us that the story of his upbringing is worth telling. The first two syllables of the word Fabelman alert us that this won't be a pity party version of a troubled childhood complicated by anti-Semitism and a cheating mother, but something filtered through the gossamer fog of time and smeared with sentimentality . That's fine, and predictably, Michelle Williams and Paul Dano are awesome as little Sammy Fabelman's parents. But you can sense that Spielberg was more interested in reliving his childhood than in making it particularly engaging or dramatic for an audience. If you wanted to nominate someoneThe Fabelmans, it should have been David Lynch for his fantastic, cigar-chomping cameo as director John Ford. [Mark Keizer]

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6 / 12

6.nothing new in the West

6.nothing new in the West

Much of the coverage of the 2023 Oscar nominations,including our own, noted Edward Berger's tremendous performancenothing new in the West. Nine nominations, including one for best picture, were a real surprise, but maybe they shouldn't have been. This latest screen adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's 1928 World War I novel is a powerful, haunting, and ruthless portrayal of war that has its rightful place alongside other brutally realistic war epics such as:There Soldier James Ryan. Berger doesn't skimp on mud, gore, or desperation as he tells the story of a group of gung-ho recruits led by Paul (Felix Kammerer, who deserves our sympathy from the start) who soon learns there's a reason for the World War I would eventually be christened The War to End All Wars. Each shot conveys its own terror, from the soldiers collecting dog tags from their fallen comrades to the hundreds of rats charging away to avoid oncoming Allied tanks. It is a true descent into hell and if the film wins Best Picture it will join the previous theatrical adaptation of the novel which won Best Picture at the 3rd Academy Awards in 1930 (then Outstanding Production designated) won. [Mark Kaiser]

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7 / 12

5.Top-Gun: Maverick

5.Top-Gun: Maverick

This year's domestic blockbuster now also has the industry's highest seal of approval. While only Tom Cruise himselfcould have predictedtheTop-Gun: Maverickhit of 2022 would be responsible more than any other for bringing nervous audiences back to the cineplex movies, it was unclear to this day whether commercial success would negate the prestige. The Academy gave the high-flying sequel, directed by Joseph Kosinski and written by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie, six nominations - a ploy to boost viewership at the ceremony? Not if you look at the film itself. Cruise's return as the rebellious Navy pilot Maverick works, even if you've never seen the 1986sTop Gun, or even if you lived in a cave and didn't know who Cruise was. His old-school movie-star energy is just as compelling as the awe-inspiring aerial stunts that make audiences feel every G. While it's not as psychologically deep or politically daring as other titles on this list, that near-meta quality is what countslonera fitting addition to a best picture series that future cinema historians will point to as the year Hollywood rebounded in the wake of the pandemic. [JackSmart]

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8 / 12

4.women talk

4.women talk

The obvious joke (and you can have it, Jimmy Kimmel) is that if you want to make a movie that men will avoid, you name itwomen talk. But in all seriousnesswomen talkwas a film that very few people - menorWomen - actually seen. Which is a shame because it deserves a wider audience. Writer-director Sarah Polley's lyrical, intimate adaptation of the novel by Miriam Toews plunges us into the sacred spaces of a closed community of Mennonite women who express themselves in ways they are clearly not used to. The Oscar-nominated screenplay focuses on a lengthy discussion about the choice the colony's women face after a group of men are arrested on sexual assault charges - should they stay and fight or leave home forever? However, its effects are much broader. Just as these women (played by Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, and Claire Foy, among others) were chosen to represent the women of their community, they speak for all women who have had to make similar decisions as a result of the actions of toxic men. The odds thatwomen talkTaking home an Oscar (even in the Adapted Screenplay category) isn't high, but the nominations alone will give it a platform to reach more potential moviegoers, and that in itself is a win. [Cindy White]

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9 / 12

3.Everything everywhere at once

3.Everything everywhere at once

Since it premiered just after last year's Oscars, it seems we pretty much said, well,everythingis there anything to say about the Oscars 2023 nominees leader. In fact, the release date of A24 is in March ofEverything everywhere at onceis one of the main reasons why its dominance is so impressive. Then of course there's the fact that it was made for $25 million and looks way more expensive, the fact that it's a profitable original story rather than superhero IP (poorDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnesswas certainly exaggerated). And the fact that this story revolves around a Chinese-American family and their ass-kicking matriarch heroine — that's a far cry from the typical Oscars or Hollywood notion of success. But Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert tapped into something essential in our cultural consciousness, channeling the maximalism of the internet age through their characteristically heartfelt but grossly irreverent style. They assembled a strong cast, a whopping four of whom are Oscar nominees (Michelle Yeoh, a film legend who never got her leading role in the US; Ke Huy Quan, a beloved child star who, thanks to a similar lack of opportunities ; Jamie Lee Curtis, a charismatic comedian at her dumbest; and Stephanie Hsu, a night star) and provided them with hilarious, heartfelt material. And they have challenged and expanded our definitions of prestige cinema. ifEverything everywhereIf he doesn't win Best Picture, his fans can beat Oscar voters to death with dildos. [JackSmart]

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10 / 12

2.The Banshees by Inisherin

2.The Banshees by Inisherin

While other nominees on the Oscar list are busy with everything, everywhere, at the same time,The Banshees by Inisherinfocuses on a unique event, so tiny you'll wonder how anyone could conjure up a full-length story from it. Yes, there is a subtle backdrop to the 1920s civil war on the Irish coast beyond the titular, fictional island. But the sever friendship that writer-director Martin McDonagh explores between rejecter Colm (Brendan Gleeson) and poor rejectee Pádraic (Colin Farrell) is concrete rather than symbolic, a microcosm that doesn't attempt to reach a macro conclusion draw. If Colm's growing sense of obsolescence or Pádraic's disillusionment resonates, good for you. It seems more like McDonagh's main goal was to create a role pair for hisIn BrugesMuses to play around with, giving you and us one of the funniest yet tragic dynamics to hit the big screen in years. Farrell's expressive eyebrows deserve an Oscar of their own, and it's fitting that he, Gleeson, Barry Keoghan, and Kerry Condon pull off the rare feat of four acting nods for one film. With a total of nine namesThe Banshees by Inisherincould be this year's epitome of cohesion between filmmaker and cast, with a great score and setting thrown in for good measure. If only Jenny, the gentle donkey, deserved a nod too. [JackSmart]

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11 / 12

1.department store

1.department store

Could be the real legacy ofdepartment storecould the audience have mistaken it for a biopic? Even the fact that Twitter has turned Lydia Tár's existence into an ongoing joke fits Todd Field's vision. It's as if the writer-director had known how close he'd hit the mark in inventing a conductor-composer who balances artistic genius, abuse of power, and its devastating consequences in Western society around the year 2022 as Lydia's elitist life unfolds unfolded, the more recognizable it isdepartment stores refusal to classify itself as something as simple as a mystery, thriller, or even a character study. It's all of those things and, especially considering it pulls an epic prank on us in its final moments, it's a comedy to make you laugh. Confusingly, the film's six nominations in the top Oscar categories, including for Field's writing and direction and a stunningly masterful turn of phrase by Cate Blanchett, do not honor its music. More than any other nominee this yeardepartment storeyou have to hear it to believe it. [JackSmart]

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