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Sunday, March 10, 2024

Oscars 2023

This is my annual post about the Academy Awards. I'm not predicting who will win, but instead ranking the nominations in my preferred order of finish. I'll only rank the films and performances I've seen and will update this list in the future once I see a film. Those changes will be noted in yellow highlights. 

You can find my post about last year's Oscars here and work backward if you want. 

Best picture

“Killers of the Flower Moon
“Past Lives”
“The Holdovers”
“American Fiction”
“The Zone of Interest”

Frankly I'd be OK if any of the top 4 win. They are all very good films. The Holdovers is the one I could imagine watching again in a few years because of the humor. Maybe Barbie too. Oppenheimer conceivably could be a film for my political science course.

Zone of Interest could also be a film for my course, but it is almost impossible to rate here. It is a singular work of art that is not meant to be entertaining. The other films that feature horrible deeds, including Killers of the Flower Moon, have moments of light humor. The Zone of Interest is unrelenting, but also masterful. See it once. 

“Anatomy of a Fall”
“Poor Things”


Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”
Jonathan Glazer, “The Zone of Interest”
Martin Scorsese, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Justine Triet, “Anatomy of a Fall”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “Poor Things”

Actor in a leading role

Paul Giamatti, “The Holdovers”
Cillian Murphy, “Oppenheimer”
Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction”
Colman Domingo, “Rustin”
Bradley Cooper, “Maestro”

Giamatti was excellent. He may not win, but the performance was award-worthy.

I've seen a lot of Murphy in 2024 because my spouse and I have watched several seasons of Peaky Blinders on Netflix. He's talented and I would not be disappointed if he won.

Wright and Domingo were also excellent though I have not heard serious buzz about their winning and I probably would vote for one of the other performances. But this is a tight category. 

Cooper was fine but the movie really didn't click with me. 

Actor in a supporting role

Robert Downey Jr., “Oppenheimer”
Robert De Niro, “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Sterling K. Brown, “American Fiction”
Ryan Gosling, “Barbie”

We were well into the movie before I recognized Downey in his role. It's a very good performance. 

DeNiro played his usual type, a type he has long perfected. Brown was excellent too. I hope this pushes him into larger roles.

Gosling has had many better roles.

Mark Ruffalo, “Poor Things”

Actress in a leading role

Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Annette Bening, “Nyad”
Carey Mulligan, “Maestro”

Last fall, my spouse and I saw Gladstone in a 2016 Kelly Reichardt film, Certain Women. It was a strong performance and I'm not surprised she delivered an Oscar-caliber performance this year. It's not as loud as Bening's role. If I had to re-rank them from scratch, I could just as easily put Mulligan over Bening. 

Sandra Hüller, “Anatomy of a Fall”
Emma Stone, “Poor Things”

Actress in a supporting role

America Ferrera, “Barbie”
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”
Emily Blunt, “Oppenheimer”
Jodie Foster, “Nyad”

I don't have strong feelings here though apparently Randolph is the overwhelming favorite. She was very good in her role. I've seen Ferrera's speech more than once on TV and wonder if it will carry her to a victory. It was impressive. 

Blunt was fine, but the role was perhaps not Oscar-worthy. Surprisingly, Foster was somewhat mannered in Nyad, delivering a character not a lot unlike some others she has performed in the past. 

Danielle Brooks, “The Color Purple”

Documentary feature film

So far we have not seen any of these. There's work to do, no none of them sound especially uplifting. Most are available on streaming services that we can access, so it is inevitable that I will see some.

“Bobi Wine: The People’s President”
“The Eternal Memory”
“Four Daughters”
“To Kill a Tiger”
“20 Days in Mariupol”

International feature film

United Kingdom, “The Zone of Interest”
Spain, “Society of the Snow”

I've discussed The Zone of Interest above. I am curious as to why it is listed as UK rather than Poland, which is credited in the film.

Society of the Snow is an interesting film (on Netflix right now) that had me recalling the press coverage of the crash and aftermath. 

Of the others, I really want to see The Zone of Interest, which is also on the top list above. 

Italy, “Io Capitano”
Japan, “Perfect Days”
Germany, “The Teachers’ Lounge”

Animated feature film

I have not watched many animated films the past few years. I saw a few minutes of the new Spider-Man at a brewpub and will probably see it before any of the others. 

“The Boy and the Heron”
“Robot Dreams”
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

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