All 10 Best Picture nominees ranked

Oscars 2023 nominees: worst to best


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Johanna Kaplan

With the 95th Academy Awards (The Oscars) on the horizon, the film community is buzzing with anticipation. The Oscars will take place March 12 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Winners are selected from 24 categories, ranging from Best Costume Design to Best Sound Editing and everything in between. Out of all these categories, the Best Picture award is considered the ultimate honor. I watched all 10 Best Picture nominees for movies released in 2022 and ranked them below according to my personal opinion. 

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10. “Tar:” ★☆☆☆☆

Sitting dead last on my list is a movie that I would do anything not to sit through again. If Cate Blanchett could hold the weight of this entire story on her shoulders, then maybe I wouldn’t be here whining, but her stellar performance doesn’t outweigh everything else about this movie.

With a run time of 2 hours and 37 minutes, I figured “Tar” had a plot but I was wrong. It’s more like a seemingly endless string of pretentious conversations about classical music. If classical music is your thing, then you might manage to sit through this movie without falling asleep. If not, you’re stuck waiting in boredom with the rest of us. With the exception of a couple of thought-provoking scenes, the vast majority of this movie is dull and incoherent. It feels like a puzzle that nobody ever finished. There are so many different parts flying around, and nothing comes together. There are many elements left explained, leaving gaping plot holes. 

Critics are head over heels for this movie, and I couldn’t be more puzzled. 


9. “Everything Everywhere All at Once:” ★★☆☆☆

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Taking my second-to-last spot is the fan-favorite, “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The film follows Chinese immigrant Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) who must travel interdimensionally in order to save the fate of the world. This movie takes a seemingly normal person and sets her on a wild, fantastical journey. 

Going into the theater, I had sky-high expectations after seeing everyone on the internet rave about this movie. Being someone who likes most every movie I see, I have to admit that this was not my cup of tea. Sticking to A24’s reputation, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is unimaginably creative but chaotic and confusing. There were aspects of this movie that were incredible, like Michelle Yeoh’s performance, but the story fell flat.

By interweaving countless timelines into one narrative, the plot becomes increasingly hard to follow. On top of that, the concepts and themes throughout the story are difficult to grasp. For a movie with such grand aspirations, the message didn’t come through for me. In order to actually get behind any of this, I’d need to watch this at least once more, but I doubt that I can sit through this movie again. 

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a total trip. I’ve seen my fair share of wacky movies, but I wasn’t expecting this one to rank among the weirdest I’ve seen. Sure, you can call it creativity, but I’m thinking it’s something a little more than that. I mean, seriously — how doped-up does someone have to be to come up with this stuff? Anyways, what I’m trying to get at here is that I can’t believe how much mainstream attention this movie has received. Critics like oddball movies, but this one takes it a lot farther than most. 

The way I see it, there are only three multiple-reality mindf**k movies that pulled it off: “Inception,” “Mr. Nobody” and “Coraline.” 


8. “The Banshees of Inisherin:” ★★★☆☆

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One of the frontrunners this year, “The Banshees of Inisherin,” is a dark comedy about life in rural Ireland circa 1923. The story follows a friendship that turns sour. Colin Farrell plays our protagonist, Pádraic, who is a perfectly ordinary man living an unnoteworthy life. His best friend (Brendan Gleeson) abruptly decides to end their friendship for this exact reason. He doesn’t have time for boring people, and Pádraic is the pinnacle of bland.

The themes in the movie run deep — discussing the meaning of friendship as it relates to life as a whole. It eventually ventures into uncharted philosophical territory, like finding meaning from the mundane. 

The best parts about this movie are the setting and the cinematography. The scenery within this film is breathtaking. Set on a small island off the coast of Ireland, the rolling green hills and crisp blue sea are stunning. The excellent cinematography brings out the best of this landscape, which helps add to the narrative of life in this quiet village. 

Though the cinematography is top-notch, the story isn’t effective enough to carry the film. The first half is solid but slow, with the majority of it being exposition. For a movie with a pretty simple plot, it sure takes its sweet time with the introduction. My biggest problem sets in about halfway through when this story loses its integrity. At this point, the characters start making decisions that are completely out of line with their previously-established values. This destroys any understanding or empathy viewers may have held for these characters. The jig is up when the characters don’t feel like real people anymore.

Because the story covers simple life in a rural village, I knew I wasn’t about to watch an ultra-entertaining blockbuster. For a film like this to hold my attention, it has to be conceptually interesting. Unfortunately, “The Banshees of Inisherin” left me feeling empty and unimpressed. 


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7. “All Quiet on the Western Front:” ★★★★☆

When the First World War strikes in Germany, Paul Baumer (Felix Kammerer) is excited to be able to serve his country on the Western Front. Soon enough, the horrors of war unfold all around him, shattering the world as he knows it. Based on the 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque, the latest adaptation of “All Quiet on the Western Front” proves itself both a beautiful and devastating film. The last ultra-successful war film that came out was “1917,” which is one of my favorite movies to date. I went into this expecting a similar experience. Though these two films ended up feeling completely different, “All Quiet on the Western Front” also provided a powerful viewing experience. This movie is unpredictable — every time you expect one thing to happen, something completely different lurks around the corner. This element of suspense is key in telling the story of war. It’s raw and terrifying. 

It pains me to put this movie so low on my list because it is truly an incredible production. I only slightly prefer most of the other nominees over this one. Here’s why it isn’t higher: this movie lacks emotional depth. There are several scenes that pack a punch, but I wish that this film delved deeper into our main character’s backstory. They reveal bits and pieces of his life pre-war but never anything more. It’s easier to care about people when you feel like you know them personally. In this film, our main character feels more like a stranger. Watching a bunch of mindless killing is pretty desensitizing, but watching the deaths of people that you feel like you know, even for just a short period of time, hurts a lot more. This is something I appreciated so much about “1917,” and its absence is this movie’s fatal flaw. 


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6. “Top Gun: Maverick:” ★★★★☆

I was shocked to see critics adore this movie as much as they do. It’s typical for a blockbuster sequel to perform well in the box-office but not so much with critics. Considering that the first movie didn’t even score well with critics, it’s mind-boggling how they managed to create such a well-rounded follow-up film. 

I made a point of watching the original Top Gun before going into the theater for round two. After sitting through the first film, I came to a pretty clear conclusion: this movie is over-the-top, cheesy and self indulgent. I understand why people like it, but it felt too campy for me. 

“Top Gun: Maverick,” on the other hand, is more in touch with reality. I swear by watching movies like this on the big screen, and this one did not disappoint. It’s action-based and visually stunning, which makes for an extremely immersive watch. Sitting in the dark of a cinema as the film envelops you is a feeling I’ve come to love. It’s safe to say that this film is easily one of my favorite viewing experiences in a theater in the past year. 

My only complaint: they go too heavy on the nostalgia factor. Making constant references to the first movie only weakens the focus of this movie. At first, all the nods to the original are endearing, but it gets old pretty quickly. 


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5. “Triangle of Sadness:” ★★★★☆

“Triangle of Sadness” is the kind of movie that people are going to absolutely hate or love, and I happened to be in the latter group. It’s a satirical film that follows two models (played by Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean) who embark on a luxury cruise trip that ends in disaster.

This movie goes pretty heavy when it comes to showing its point, which is condemning capitalistic greed. The characters represent the top 1% of society. They are extremely unlikeable, greedy and clueless. These caricatures of the ultra-wealthy are fascinating, but this is nothing new or groundbreaking.

Hollywood loves to grab onto stories that give us a glimpse into the lives of those at the top. Projects like “The White Lotus,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Succession” also have successfully taken on a satirical viewpoint on the rich. “Triangle of Sadness,” though, provides a far more raw and outright disgusting perspective. At times, this movie does go over the top, but that’s what is so special about it. 

“Triangle of Sadness” is one of the underdogs out of all the nominees. This movie seemed to just slip through the cracks and land on the Best Picture Nominees list. I was shocked to see this movie make it so far, but I am  glad it did. I doubt it’s got any chance of winning, but I am happy to see it getting such high praise. 


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4. “Avatar: The Way of Water:” ★★★★☆

Despite the three-hour runtime, I spent most of “Avatar: The Way of Water” completely entranced. I didn’t watch this film in 3D, but I still felt like I was there on Pandora. The animation in this movie is insane, it’s the best and most hyper-realistic I’ve ever seen.

Speaking for most people here, I forgot nearly everything about the first movie in the 13 years since it came out. I would appreciate it if there were more of a refresher about the goings-on of the first film. They offer a little bit of insight here and there, but nothing very clear. 

When it comes to big-budget films like this, having emotional depth is not something that I expect to see. Defying my expectations, this movie does an amazing job of establishing each and every character. The family dynamics are very realistic. I find myself empathizing with every single one of the members of the Sully family. It feels like us viewers get to be an honorary member of the family as we follow their story from beginning to end. What is so special about “Avatar: The Way of Water” is that it does not follow a typical plot structure due to its length. This movie doesn’t feel rushed and allows the audience to savor every moment. Though I enjoyed how this film takes advantage of its runtime, there are some points that could have been cut. Both the first and last 30 minutes are unnecessarily lengthy and lose sight of the larger picture. Despite this, the two hours sandwiched in the middle of the film are spellbinding. 


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3. “Elvis:” ★★★★☆

“Elvis” is Baz Lurhman’s whimsical adaptation of the iconic star’s life. The perfect combination of exciting and heartfelt, this film is an adrenaline rush that carries viewers on the rollercoaster journey that was Elvis’s life. This movie is thoroughly entertaining but it’s so much more than that. 

Austin Butler downright nails this role. Going back and forth between real-life clips of Elvis and Butler’s performance, it is truly baffling how Butler manages to mimic every last detail of this man’s being. He fully immersed himself in this role for three years, researching Elvis extensively. Butler manages to breathe life into a person that is rarely seen as a three-dimensional human being but more as a larger-than-life enigma. 

The age-old saying, “Money can’t buy happiness,” says it all. For someone with all the money and fame in the world, Elvis was miserable for a large portion of his career. He spent years drowning in the toxicity of the entertainment industry, trapped in the confines of a contract. Butler’s performance is hands-down my favorite of the year, so I’m hoping for him to win Best Actor. As for “Elvis” taking Best Picture, it’d be an unexpected choice, but I’m here for it. 


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2. “Women Talking:” ★★★★☆

Set in a Mennonite colony, “Women Talking” follows a group of women who must decide how to proceed following a series of rapes. After their trauma is disregarded by the men, the women must come to make a decision: they can either stay and fight back or pack up and leave. 

Half an hour in, I couldn’t help but think: how am I going to survive the next hour-and-a-half of this movie? I couldn’t grasp how “Women Talking” could extend a single discussion into a full-length feature film. Luckily, though, I was pleasantly surprised to see the story ramp up. The second half of the film does not disappoint. It’s raw and emotional, but ultimately uplifting. The relationships between these women are strong, which allows them to find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. 

I was psyched to see “Women Talking” on the list of Best Picture Nominees. I wasn’t surprised to see it, but I wasn’t exactly expecting it either. Nonetheless, this film would be an unlikely winner for Best Picture despite its powerful impact. 


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1. “The Fabelmans:” ★★★★★

New Jersey, 1954, a young boy falls in love for the first time. Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) is seven years old when he first lays eyes on a film. From this point on, “The Fabelmans” follows Sammy’s journey through childhood and young adulthood as he pursues his indisputable love for filmmaking. Viewers are guided through a coming-of-age tale, one that happens to be semi-autobiographical from director Steven Spielberg. It’s only fitting that a film about Spielberg’s younger years centers around his passion for movies and how this passion guided the course of his life. 

“The Fabelmans” is hands-down my favorite 2022 movie. It’s got something for everyone — this story is heartfelt, entertaining and effortlessly charming. It perfectly encapsulates middle-class America in the 50’s and 60’s, transporting viewers to the very time and place that it’s set. 

Another aspect of “The Fabelmans” that strikes me is the way that it splits characters into two distinct groups: the dreamers and the realists. Sammy and his mother are dreamers, while Sammy’s father is far more pragmatic. This divide creates tension in light of Sammy’s choice to pursue filmmaking as a career. His mother encourages him to follow his gut, while his father finds this aspiration to be foolish and risky. Playing off of this family friction creates the perfect storm. The heated character dynamics are painfully realistic, as I find myself empathizing with each and every person in this movie.