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The Battalion

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The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

2022 Oscar Best Picture Nominees

Best Picture lineups are generally inconsistent, but this year’s lineup was surprisingly solid with some stellar standouts. There’s only one in the category I don’t strongly like, and all are probably worth watching. That being said, some of the films nominated this year are truly special and deserve additional recognition. From worst to best, these are the ten nominees ranked. 

No. 10 — “Elvis”

Musical biopics tend to do well at the Oscars, and “Elvis” follows that same role as “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Ray.” This film differs from some of those more generic and shallow recaps of a life, in its display of Elvis’ larger than life personality. The big set pieces and stylish editing are exciting initially, but grow stale after two hours and 40 minutes. The characterization of Elvis is unfortunately hollow and lacks the nuance to propel such a long character study. 

No. 9 — “Top Gun: Maverick”

Other than “Elvis”, I really enjoy all the best picture nominees. I’m less interested in criticizing “Top Gun” than acknowledging that it’s not my type of movie. That being said, “Top Gun” is such a breath of fresh air for the action blockbuster. Earnest and well executed, it’s one of the least divisive and successful movies in years. 

No. 8 — “Triangle of Sadness” 

“Triangle of Sadness” is a traditional class satire with a deeply irreverent perspective.  The wealthy elite are thrust into outlandish and hilarious scenarios on a yacht or island. The script is witty and certainly has some compelling observations, but the film isn’t as memorable as some other entries. 

No. 7 — “Avatar: The Way of Water”

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first “Avatar”, but I was won over by James Cameron’s newest entry to his ongoing franchise. Some people have taken issue with its length, but I totally gave over to the experience. I watched “Avatar: The Way of Water” like going to an aquarium for a few hours, stunned by the technical accomplishment on display. James Cameron definitely takes his time easing you into the world of Pandora, but it’s all the more rewarding as a result. Like “Top Gun”, “Avatar” takes the blockbuster seriously. 

No. 6 — The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg has wanted to tell his story for a long time. In some ways, he’s fit it into his other movies. “E.T.”, “A.I.”, or “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” all have hints of Spielberg’s childhood and his complicated relationship with his parents. Finally putting it to screen, Spielberg tells a deeply personal and worthwhile coming of age story. Spielberg shows how he escaped his early life through filmmaking and how a child tried to control the world around him through movies. Maybe not one of Spielberg’s best, but great nonetheless. 

No. 5 — All Quiet on the Western Front

War films can be alienating to some or can glorify the brutality of war. However, if a film was ever to depict the trenches as hell, it would be “All Quiet on the Western Front.” The heart-wrenching descent from the innocent boy to soulless machine hits hard. The technical accomplishments are some of the best of the year with stunning cinematography, harrowing makeup work and terrifying sound design. Watch it on Netflix for a proper depiction of war. 

No. 4 — Women Talking

I think I’ll need to rewatch “Women Talking” to appreciate all of its nuances, but what I saw in one watch was an incredible portrait of women grappling with the system that haunts them. In a community where women have been suffering from sexual violence for years, they must decide in only the day without the men how they’ll proceed. It’s a powerful ensemble cast engaging in their complex situation with all the rage or optimism one could expect. “Women Talking” deserved more love at the Oscars especially for the performances and score, but a Best Picture nomination was certainly earned. 

No. 3 — The Banshees of Inisherin

The Banshees of Inisherin” is a remarkable screenplay. With a cast of only four central characters, each goes through such an interesting arc with their own goals and hopes. An older man grapples with his mortality and legacy while a younger man grapples with loneliness and connection. It’s a fable, speaking to the feelings of today through a small town of the past, with it providing some profound answers. It’s also really funny. Watch it on HBO Max. 

No. 2 — Everything Everywhere All At Once

There’s not much more to say about “Everything Everywhere All At Once” at this point. It’s poised to win Best Picture — deservedly so — as one of the most creative and unique contenders for the prize. “EEAAO” had the strongest emotional effect on me from movies last year, and the adventure made for one of my absolute favorite theatergoing experiences. Every young person should see this movie. 

No. 1 — TÁR
After seeing “TÁR”, there was never any doubt it’d be my favorite movie of the year. Lydia Tár is one of the most well-written and complex characters in years as a woman at the top of the classical music world being challenged by her own ego and guilt. The film certainly takes its time and has a lot on its mind, but I think it’s masterful. Cate Blanchett has strong competition in the best actress field, and I would be happy to see Michelle Yeoh win for “Everything Everywhere All At Once”, but Blanchett in “TÁR” is my favorite performance of 2022.

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