A Review of 2023 Best Picture Nominees


Last year’s Oscars were wildly upsetting. CODA’s best picture win was strange, and the whole Will Smith thing was blown out of proportion because people are naturally bored by the absurdities of everyday life, so when something mildly interesting and inconsequential happens, they love it. The event was titled “The slap heard across the world.” How stupid! “OH NO!” pronounced the internet. “THE HOLLYWOOD GUY HIT THE OTHER HOLLYWOOD GUY!”


Anyway, I’m watching all ten best picture nominations. I’ll leave my reviews below. The dates of my first watch are included.


Elvis (Watched June 29th, 2022)


Elvis is a disaster. Director Baz Luhrmann is perhaps one of my least favorite filmmakers in the industry, and I cannot understand why or how he gets money for his films. His style is nauseating, and his scripts hardly give the stories he tells enough time to develop. All the useless junk is treated with the same importance as anything truly important in Elvis’ life. And for some reason, anytime there’s a black character on screen, rap music is played, which feels very inappropriate. Why not play the music of the black rock artists’ that pioneered the genre?


The Banshees of Inisherin (Watched November 26th, 2022)


The Banshees of Inisherin is a fine film. The plot is simple, yet the characters add a lot of complexity. The dialogue is pretty good — it’s funny where it needs to be and very compelling. However, much of this picture is spent with Colin Farrel’s character saying the same thing at nauseam. Nothing substantial really happens until the very end, which makes most of this film hard for me to watch, despite how short it is. That doesn’t mean I hated it. I thought the film was wonderful in its examination of war, and the surface-level story is pretty fun, too, but it is repetitive.


Avatar: The Way of the Water (Watched January 10th, 2023)


Avatar is three hours long. Nothing that matters or is important happens in the first two hours. Everything that happens happens in the last hour. The characters are boring and they have no substantial development. It’s a generic action film, but for some reason it’s treated as a significant work of art. I guess slick CGI is a fine replacement for artistic merit.


The Fabelmans (Watched January 25th, 2023)


The Fabelmans is very indulgent. I can’t stand obnoxious egos—the irony, of course, is that my ego is obnoxious—and Speilberg portrays himself as a prodigy in filmmaking. From a young age, he had genius and ingenuity. Even looking at the movie as a fictitious story and not as Speilberg’s autobiography, it doesn’t really hook me. Much of this film is coming-of-age drivel. The best scene is with John Ford, which probably takes about five minutes of screen time. Why not make this about coming of age in Hollywood? He clearly has interesting stories about his time in the industry. I don’t care about his mother. I liked Paul Dano, though.


Top Gun: Maverick (Watched January 27th, 2023)


Having watched both Top Gun: Maverick and the original back to back, I found that they were much the same movie, with Maverick being much less fun. Top Gun is an 80s joy-ride of the worst dialogue you’ll ever hear, but, as my mom kept saying, it’s epic. Maverick tries to be overly emotional while never really delivering the impact the script believes it has. At times, it pretends to be existential. Near the beginning, they keep telling Maverick that he’s a dying breed. Okay, fine, but don’t then swap that concept out with a poorly developed father-son story. The only original parts of this are in its last twenty minutes, which is outrageous for a two-hour movie, and even then, its conclusion was ripped from Star Wars. I don’t think this script understands what made Top Gun so awesome. It’s pandering nonsense with the redeeming quality of well-shot action. Also, there’s no Take My Breath Away.


Everything Everywhere All at Once (watched February 2nd, 2023)


When things are blown up with hype by modern audiences, I tend to believe it’s to cope with the fact that there are hardly any movies worth watching anymore, so average movies are treated as art. I saw this happen with The Batman and Top Gun: Maverick, and I expected the same for Everything Everywhere All at Once. But this is a funny, original, and existential film that never feels cheap in its delivery. The action is great, which, in most films, means the story and characters should suffer from being one-dimensional, but not in this film. I was personally invested in the characters and the story because it was so wildly unpredictable yet entirely relatable. This feels very Vonnegut with how things progress, and it’s actually funny.


All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) (watched February 4th, 2023)


All Quiet on the Western Front is another post-Saving Private Ryan, war-is-hell movie that doesn’t contribute much to the concept of war that hasn’t already been said by much better films. The 1930 adaptation was significantly better in its artistry and doesn’t rely strictly on violence to get its point across (not that there’s anything wrong with violence. My favorite war film is Apocalypse Now, after all).


Triangle of Sadness (watched March 2nd, 2023)


Triangle of Sadness is this year’s Don’t Look Up. It’s another eat-the-rich film that adds little to what has been said thousands of times before. We all know the rich suck! Instead of constantly complaining about it, do something! Offer some kind of solution. As much as I loved Parasite (2019), it had the same problem. Yes, these are well-shot and well-acted movies, there is no doubt about that. But if you want to do intelligent commentary, recognize that by producing your film and premiering it to a bunch of elitists at the Cannes film festival, you are actively contributing to and profiting off of what you think is wrong with the world! It’s blind hypocrisy! On an unrelated note, the script is bad. It’s two hours of unrelated tangents that ends with a retelling of Lord of the Flies. The middle bit that everyone loves is nothing more than to add juvenile comedy to boring political babbling — a literal regurgitation of political quotes you’ve heard many times before.


TÁR (watched March 8th, 2023)




Women Talking (watched March 11, 2023)


Promising concept, but poorly written. Hollywood is full of pseudo-intellectual writers, and these people love their writing more than anyone possibly could. That’s what makes movies like Women Talking possible. If a producer does their job right, the movie shouldn’t suffer from ego. They’re essentially editors for the filmmaker. Yes, I hate censors and sucking up to the consumer, but it’s necessary for making a movie that isn’t obnoxious or boring.


You’ll notice that the break between All Quiet on the Western Front and Triangle of Sadness was a month. Truth be told, the last three films on the list didn’t interest me.


In all, 2022 was a horrible year for film, being perfectly reflected by the academy’s best picture nominations. Top Gun: Maverick, the second highest-grossing film of last year, took everything from its predecessor, but did it worse. Avatar: The Way of the Water, the highest-grossing film of the year, is an unnecessary and trope-y sequel to a movie that no one actually likes or remembers. I suspect that it’ll find the same fate as the original. Can’t wait for the four sequels! The year’s cultural phenomenon was The Batman, a poor retelling of Se7en with embarrassing eat-the-rich commentary injected into the dialogue.


Guessing the academy is impossible. These people do not vote consistently or logically — I don’t think any of them actually watch the films. I’m thinking that The Fabelmans will take the Best Picture award. It’s a movie about Hollywood (even if it really isn’t about Hollywood), and the Hollywood elite loves those, but I have been wrong. Good chances for Tár considering most publications loved it.

Everything Everywhere All at Once would be my pick.