The 2023 Academy Award nominations for Best Picture is a competitive category this year, and it’s difficult to say which film will ultimately take home the trophy.
The 95th Academy Awards, known as film’s biggest night, will be taking place on March 12. From action to drama, this year’s nominees show a wide variety of selections to choose from.
This ranking is not to criticize any choices–it was impossible to say definitively which films were better. It is a refreshing variety of genres as well, so it was necessary to take personal enjoyment into account when ranking because all of these films are worthy of watching and winning.
In addition to the impressive lineup, there are very few snubs that come to mind. There is no obvious outlier and all of them are achievements in filmmaking in their own right.
10. “Triangle of Sadness,” Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober, Producers
This film satirizes wealth and influencers in a unique and somewhat shocking way. The acting was top-notch and the script was original and hilarious; while its over-the-top– and sometimes gross-out– humor may not be for everyone, the film earned its place among the nominees with great acting and clever jokes. You can catch it in select theaters or rent it online.
9. “Women Talking,” Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Frances McDormand, Producers
“Women Talking” is quiet and subdued with a slow start, but found its strength in the acting and the emotional moments. Some of the feminist messaging felt heavy-handed, but Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley in particular put in memorable performances that appropriately conveyed feminine rage. “Women Talking” is currently in theaters.
8. “Top Gun: Maverick,” Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison and Jerry Bruckheimer, Producers
“Top Gun” finds depth in a film that could have been shallow and dull. The effects are stunning and the cast brings a genuine rapport to the screen. It managed to live up to the original, and found a fresh way to do so. The film is available to view in theaters or on Paramount+.
7. “Elvis,” Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss, Producers
Elvis Presley’s life is brought to the big screen, in a glitzy and sometimes blinding way by Baz Luhrmann. The film is beautiful and insane all at once, with the visuals being the main focus. While ridiculous at times, it was always an enjoyable viewing experience. Austin Butler, also nominated for Best Actor, sells every scene. You can watch “Elvis” on HBO Max.
6. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel–a whopping 13 years– lived up to the pressure, and boasts a genuine heart and fantastical imagination. The effects are astonishing and the film brings a sense of excitement back to the moviegoing experience. “Avatar” is currently playing in theaters.
5. “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Malte Grunert, Producer
It is nothing new to see a war film nominated, but this adaptation adds new layers to the genre. With heartbreaking performances and sweeping visuals, as well as a poignant anti-war message, the film holds up against its counterparts. While it is difficult to watch, it is worth it. The film can be streamed on Netflix.
4. “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert and Jonathan Wang, Producers
This chaotic flurry of emotions and all-around excellent movie leads this year’s nominations with 11 in total. The beautiful and special story sets it apart from other contenders. The film came together with amazing production design, costume design, acting performances, and score. It is the perfect movie if you need to laugh or cry. It is available in theaters or on Paramount+ and Hulu (with premium subscriptions).
3. “The Fabelmans,” Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, Producers
The charming story of Steven Spielberg’s childhood perfectly captures the magical excitement that movies can provide. It was an easy watch, with its lovely performances and heartfelt moments and felt like a true achievement for Speilberg. Watch it in theaters or rent it online.
2. “Tár,” Todd Field, Alexandra Milchan and Scott Lambert, Producers
This film is not like any other; somehow, a pretentious and imposing orchestra conductor becomes the most compelling character to watch. Despite her questionable actions and unlikable behavior, you cannot help but become sucked into her world. Cate Blanchett’s acting nomination is no surprise nor is the screenplay nomination. With striking cinematography and a distinct plot, this film’s place in the top two is well deserved. “Tár” can be seen in theaters or on Peacock.
1. “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, Producers
A joyously strange and off-beat film, “Banshees” takes the number one spot on this list. Its atmosphere is unmatched with its quirky moodiness. The amazing screenplay and thought-provoking performances, from both the lead and supporting casts (and even a donkey), create an unforgettable movie. The film is available in theaters as well as on HBO Max (and Hulu and Amazon Prime with premium subscriptions).
Most likely to win: Given that “The Banshees of Inisherin” won the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy Film, and “The Fabelmans” won for Best Drama, it seems likely that it is between these two for the grand prize. “The Banshees of Inisherin” may have an edge though, given its praise among critics and the general public. It has also received a spectacular nine nominations overall. However, it would not be surprising for “Everything Everywhere All At Once” to win due to its huge popularity.
Snubs: It was surprising to see that Jordan Peele’s “Nope” received zero nominations, and though it was not perfect, it seemed worthy of a screenplay nod at the very least. “The Whale,” while aptly recognized in the acting categories, did not land a Best Picture nomination despite arguably deserving one. “The Menu,” while perhaps not the most incredible film to be released this year, could have done with a screenplay or production design nod.
“The Northman,” a mind-blowing period action-drama from Robert Eggers, was noticeably absent from the nominations as well, which was a disappointment. “Official Competition” from Spain did not receive a nomination even in the International Feature category, though its acting performances and screenplay were phenomenal (though there could have been some eligibility problems since it first premiered in 2021).
Surprises: Ana de Armas received a controversial nomination for her performance in “Blonde,” which earned her a Razzie nomination as well. Though her acting is praisable, the film itself was panned by critics and audiences alike for its exploitative attitude regarding Marilyn Monroe and a lack of plot. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” was given a special effects nomination, which seemed odd given that the CGI was overused and often subpar in quality, while Angela Bassett became the first actor to be nominated for a performance in a Marvel film. While she is undeniably talented, some may find it an odd choice given that Marvel’s films are considered to be more casual viewing.
All in all, these films are wonderful in their own ways and deserve the nominations they have received. It will be exciting to see which film does take home the trophy. Catch the 95th Academy Awards on ABC, or check out The Grand Cinema’s Film Awards Party, where they will be streaming the event live in their theaters. Find out more on their website!