For the second year in a row, I have been lucky enough to be able to watch all ten best picture nominees before the actual awards night. This year was even easier, as I had seen seven of the nominees even before nominees were announced, this year through a combination of keeping an eye on what professionals in the business thought were going to be nominated as well as the Academy just picking a fairly populist group of movies this year (two of this year’s nominees are among the twelve highest grossing movies of all time at the worldwide box office). An added bonus, I generally liked this year’s batch of nominees more than I did last year’s, especially considering I genuinely kind of hated two of last year’s batch. Beyond that, four of this year’s best picture nominees are in my top five for the year overall. It is because of this fact that I held off doing my overall list for the year until after I did this one, just because so much of that list would be the end of this one anyways.

I’m excited to get into this list and the rest of my reactions to last year’s movies, and I just appreciate you all for taking the time to read it!

10. Triangle of Sadness


The fact that this is my least favorite nominee this year says a lot about how much better I think this batch of nominees is compared to last year’s, as I still mostly liked this one, even if I don’t think it is nearly as good as the rest of these nominees. A dark, satirical comedy critiquing the richest of the rich in our culture, Triangle of Sadness is told over three distinct sections, the first introducing us to our two de facto leads, the second putting them on a doomed yacht and the third on a seemingly deserted island. Despite an extremely funny (albeit disgusting) scene about sea sickness on the yacht (which also has some clever camerawork), the only sequence that fully works for me is the third and final, which begins about 80 minutes into the movie’s 140 minute runtime. Again, it’s a mostly enjoyable viewing experience, even if it doesn’t have much to say beyond “rich people are kinda dumb jerks who don’t even do actual work, huh?”

Other nominations: Best Director (Ruben Östlund), Best Original Screenplay (Ruben Östlund)

Award it has the best chance of winning, in my likely wrong opinion: Best Original Screenplay feels like it is anyone’s game this year. Although I think it is probably going to end up being a part of an overall large sweep by a movie I’ll discuss later in this post, I think Östlund has a better chance of somehow snagging this than it does Director, so I will say screenplay, although I think this goes home empty-handed.

Nomination I would have liked to see: This movie works the best in it’s final act, when the ship has been taken over by pirates and the survivors are stranded on a desert island. This is primarily because of Dolly de Leon’s performance as Abigail, a cleaning woman who, because she is the only survivor who has ever had to truly work to survive, has the most necessary skills to keep everyone alive and, because of that, becomes the leader of the group. de Leon is incredibly funny and commands the screen in the film’s final hour, and I’m not sure the movie would be here without her, so a Supporting Actress nomination would have felt deserved.

9. All Quiet On The Western Front


This movie has a similar problem to the one that Triangle of Sadness has where the movie has a message that it wants to convey (here, “war is hell”) without having anything particularly profound to say about that topic. Over the last several months, as I have really gotten into the back catalogue of “Blank Check with Griffin and David” I have watched a number of war movies that have the same general idea of “war is hell” but are able to expand on it in interesting ways (Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory critiques military leadership for using their soldiers as pawns to help their own advancement away from the battlefield; Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb looks at the idiocy of man and the stupidity of war that comes from them; Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan says that war is hell, but it can bring out the best in honorable men; Spielberg’s War Horse says “war is bad, but what if there was a cool horse?”) Although this adaptation of a famous war novel briefly touches on the military leadership issues of Paths of Glory, it’s mostly just the unpleasantness of trenches that really stands out here. That said, the technical aspects of recreating those trenches does make this movie feel so real that it at least really works on that level. Although not a standout movie, nor a particularly rewatchable one, it’s at least made so competently that it does make some impact.

Other nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay (Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell, based on the novel by Erin Maria Remarque), Best International Feature Film (Germany, directed by Edward Berger), Best Original Score (Volker Berelmann), Best Sound (Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel, and Stefan Korte), Best Production Design (Christian M. Goldbeck, Production Design and Ernestine Hipper, Set Direction), Best Cinematography (James Friend), Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová), Best Visual Effects (Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank, and Kamil Jafar)

Award it has the best chance of winning, in my likely wrong opinion: This movie’s technical aspects are the reason it works on any level, as it effectively makes war seem genuinely horrifying. With that, I’d say it gets a lot of these tech awards, but I’ll particularly say Best Production Design, as the overall setting of the war, particularly the trenches, is what feels the most haunting. Also, it’s the only International Film also nominated for Best Picture, so it will get International Film.

Nomination I would have liked to see: The only things this movie didn’t get nominated for are predominantly director and acting performances, none of which are particularly bad, but nothing really captured me here. The technical aspects of this movie are what makes it standout at all, so I think it received the nominations it was most due.

8. Elvis

Warner Bros.

This movie opens with director Baz Luhrmann going full cocaine, with a zooming camera and quick cuts and other general insanity that I have come to associate with him, the director of one of my favorite movies, Moulin Rouge! It is this sequence when I am most amped about this movie, and if it kept that frantic pace, I think it would be much higher on this list, but, instead it is listed at eighth despite being a movie I truly enjoy a lot (you’ll see it listed on my overall ranking of favorite films instead of listed on my Be Kind Rewind). A lot of this is because of the genuinely great lead performance from Austin Butler, who disappears into the role, and the appropriately gonzo villain performance from Tom Hanks (and his absurd make-up jowls) as Colonel Tom Parker. Two of my favorite performances of the year (albeit on very different ends of the “acting” spectrum) are more than enough to make this a solid entry into this year’s batch of nominees, and a fairly populist choice in a category that people critiqued last year for not including Spider-Man No Way Home, which, lol.

Other nominations: Best Actor (Austin Butler), Best Sound (David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson, and Michael Keller), Best Production Design (Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy, Production Design; Bev Dunn, Set Decoration), Best Cinematography (Mandy Walker), Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti), Best Costume Design (Catherine Martin), Best Film Editing (Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond)

Award it has the best chance of winning, in my likely wrong opinion: Best Actor feels like a tossup between the younger guy who is early in his career but completely disappears into the person of one of the most recognaizable musicians of all time, and the Brendan Fraser comeback in the unpleasant-seeming The Whale. I think Fraser’s comeback story will be what ends up winning it, but it does genuinely feel like a tossup, so maybe Butler steals it.

Nomination I would have liked to see: It was never going to happen because it is not an awards performance by any stretch of the imagination, but Tom Hanks is so locked into the cartoonishly evil Colonel Tom Parker, it would have been so funny if the most over-the-top performance he has given in decades was given an Oscar nomination when his work in things like Bridge of Spies and Captain Phillips got ignored.

7. The Banshees of Inisherin

20th Century Studios

My first Martin McDonagh film, set on an Irish island during the Irish civil war, this movie focuses in on four people’s lives during this time, with particular attention paid to the suddenly failing friendship of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson’s characters. A darkly comic film, this movie is one I probably would have been more locked into had I been able to see it in a theater instead of watching at home from HBO Max, but even still, the four performances are all so great, bringing McDonagh’s wonderful screenplay to life. Farrell, in particularly, is playing a much different part than what I am used to from him, playing a sweet, somewhat simple man who loves his donkey and just doesn’t understand why his old friend no longer wants to spend time with him. Farrell’s character takes a darker, more normal-for-him turn towards the film, but it’s the early parts of the movie that sell this turn as darkly heartbreaking as it is. Seeing this instantly made me want to delve more into McDonagh’s filmography, especially In Bruges, his previous film with Farrell and Gleeson.

Other nominations: Best Director (Martin McDonagh), Best Actor (Colin Farrell), Best Supporting Actor (Brendan Gleeson), Best Supporting Actor (Barry Keoghan), Best Supporting Actress (Kerry Condon), Best Original Screenplay (Martin McDonagh), Best Original Score (Carter Burwell), Best Film Editing (Mikkel E. G. Nielsen)

Award it has the best chance of winning, in my likely wrong opinion: Best Supporting Actress is such a tossup right now, with Condon being among the leading three who really feel like they could take it (alongside Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, an award that would have the MCU break through in a major award category around the same time the overall universe feels like it is finally starting to fall apart, and the soon to be mentioned Jamie Lee Curtis). McDonagh has also been celebrated for his scripts throughout his career, so maybe he sneaks in and takes that this year, as well.

Nomination I would have liked to see: Kind of the reverse of All Quiet On The Western Front, the awards this one missed out on are mostly technical ones, and the stuff that works in this movie are the performances and the script, so, again, I think it received the nominations that it deserved.

6. Women Talking


CW: Sexual assault

This movie probably would have been my third favorite of the batch of nominees from last year, to give you an idea of how good a crop of nominees the Academy put together this year. Based on Miriam Toews’s novel that was inspired by a haunting true story, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking focuses on the series of conversations had by a group of Mennonite women deciding what course of action that they should take after discovering that the series of sexual assaults that they have been suffering for years were not the result of demons, but instead by the men of the community. Polley’s script gives every woman a moment to shine while smartly keeping the violence off-screen, while still showing the horrifying aftermath these women suffered because of it. Even still, the film, like the movie, finds peace and hope in a terrifying situation, as these women finally feel the freedom to think and act for themselves and for their loved ones, instead of following the path set for them by men out of a feeling of religious necessity. It’s a beautiful movie and it’s placement here should really go and show you how great the movies are this year.

Other nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay (Sarah Polley, based on the novel by Miriam Toews)

Award it has the best chance of winning, in my likely wrong opinion: It was only nominated for two, and there’s no reason to think this is the movie that will stop the Best Picture front runner, but I do think this has a solid shot at Adapted Screenplay. It’s probably between this and All Quiet On The Western Front, but the way Polley turns a book whose text that feels ideal for the stage into a cinematic screenplay deserves more attention than another adaptation of a famous war novel.

Nomination I would have liked to see: Pick a performance, and I could probably give you an argument for why I think that deserved to be nominated, particularly if that performance is from Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey or Sheila McCarthy. Mara’s surprising calm and faith in the face of the hell these women have been living, Foy’s bubbling rage, Buckley’s frayed patience, and the combined motherly love that Ivey and McCarthy have for their children and grandchildren all demand your attention whenever it is their turn to talk and I think the fact that basically every performance in this movie is good made it hard for any one performance to creep to the top of the batch of performances this year.

5. Tár

Focus Features

Listen, y’all, not to be a broken record, but I need you to understand. The fact that this is fifth tells you how much I vibed with this year’s nominees in general. Todd Field’s first film in over fifteen years centers on the eponymous conductor/composer Lydia Tár as the sins of her past complicate the dreams of her immediate future. This movie is shot as if it is a horror film at times, but is also one of the funniest movies of the year (“Apartment for Sale,” the song Lydia sings on the accordion, should have been nominated for Best Original Song this year) and includes one of the funniest endings I have seen in a movie in a long time. It also features what might be a career best performance from one of our best living actors in Cate Blanchett. The fact there’s a chance this movie goes home empty handed is kind of hard to fathom.

Other nominations: Best Director (Todd Field), Best Actress (Cate Blanchett), Best Original Screenplay (Todd Field), Best Cinematography (Florian Hoffmeister), Best Film Editing (Monika Willi)

Award it has the best chance of winning, in my likely wrong opinion: Although Yeoh has won a couple of late awards, I still think that Blanchett wins this. She disappears into this character in such a way that you kind of assume that this is an biopic and Blanchett actually worked alongside Lydia in order to get her mannerisms down. It’s a genuinely great performance as a despicable woman, and as someone who is a huge fan of Yeoh’s performance in EEAAO, and someone who believes that the Academy has a very good opportunity to give this award to a woman of color for the first time in decades (and the first Asian women ever), I’d also understand if Blanchett gets her third Oscar here.

Nomination I would have liked to see: I’ve already mentioned how crowded this category is this year, but the supporting performances from Nina Hoss and Noémie Merlant are kind of essential to how the audience feels about Lydia’s selfishness, so either one of those performances would have been worthy of a nomination. Also, like I said, it is a felony “Apartment For Sale” wasn’t noinated for Best Original Song.

4. Avatar: The Way Of Water

20th Century Studios

Let me be clear on something here. Tár is certainly a better movie than this long-developed/delayed sequel to James Cameron’s 2009 film, but this movie is also pretty squarely in my q-zone, so I have to listen to my heart and put this movie in fourth (?!?!). I used to think James Cameron was an overly arrogant director, and that turned me off of him, but having now watched all of his movies from the start and getting to see Titanic in a theater again, it’s honestly kind of amazing he does not threaten to fight God on a daily basis, because that’s what I would do if I had his filmography. He is also basically the only director around who makes expensive movies that look expensive, as he is truly putting every dollar of the budget onto the screen. Factor in this new-found love for Big Jim with the fact that this movie is truly a film about how the love a family has for each other can surmount basically any challenge (alongside the last five minutes which I can’t discuss without spoiling, but know that it fully moved me to ugly tears), and of course this movie is going to be this high (it’s more impressive when you consider it among all the movies I watched this year instead of this nutso crop of Best Picture nominees).

Other nominations: Best Sound (Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers and Michael Hedges), Best Production Design (Dylan Cole and Ben Procter, Production Design; Vanessa Cole, Set Decoration), Best Visual Effects (Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon, and Daniel Barrett)

Award it has the best chance of winning, in my likely wrong opinion: If this does not win Best Visual Effects, I am going to rage scream. I have an easier time believing that Na’vi exist than I do that some Marvel actors shot a scene together even though they are in the same shot. It is insane what Cameron and his team pull off and it needs to be recognized.

Nomination I would have liked to see: The academy will never respect performance capture performances, which is insane, so this year was not going to be the exception to that rule, but Sigourney Weaver plays a teenage girl Na’vi in this movie and the movie could easily fall apart with a less skilled performance. She’s so good in this and I wish that A) the academy respected the performance that goes into these things and B) that Supporting Actress weren’t such a crowded category, both in who was nominated and who was shut out.

3. The Fabelmans

Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

A movie that certainly benefitted from me seeing it in a theater as opposed to in my home (sorry, Banshees and Tár), Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical film plays so much bigger on a big screen, despite not having nearly the massive size of Avatar: The Way Of Water or Top Gun: Maverick or the wide-ranging scope of Everything Everywhere All At Once. But getting to see Spielberg’s love letter (but also, hate letter) to cinema in a theater was just a profound experience for me. Any sequence where we watch Sam Fabelman make a movie feels like you are watching actual magic happen on screen, it’s so hypnotic. But then there are sequences where Sam briefly detaches from reality and sees his parents’ marriage collapsing play out as if he was filming it, instead of truly experiencing it in the moment. He also creates a documentary where his high school bully is the hero because the footage suggests that’s the better story over critiquing an actual Anti-Semite. Creating art is a bizarre experience, and one that creates conflict in arguably its greatest storyteller. (Also, the last five-ten minutes is among my favorite sequences in a movie last year, and the movie ends on a framing joke! It’s great!)

Other nominations: Best Director (Steven Spielberg), Best Actress (Michelle Williams), Best Supporting Actor (Judd Hirsch), Best Original Screenplay (Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner), Best Original Score (John Williams), Best Production Design (Rick Carter, Production Design; Karen O’Hara, Set Decoration),

Award it has the best chance of winning, in my likely wrong opinion: Director and Screenplay both feel like they can (and probably should?) go to Spielberg alongside Kushner for the script, but I have a sinking feeling this movie goes home empty-handed. Spielberg really opens himself up in this movie in a way that both shows how beautiful and exciting he finds filmmaking to be while also showing how it also destroys your ability to experience life in any normal way. I could see the Academy recognizing that as a sort of “you did it Steve” thing but also I’m not sure it’ll be enough to stop the juggernaut to be discussed soon.

Nomination I would have liked to see: I cannot imagine the pressure of having to portray arguably the most prominent living director in his autobiographical feature, but Gabriel LaBelle is so good bringing little Spielberg to life. I don’t think he would have won, but he is so endearing and captivating to watch in this, it would have been so wonderful to see this big of an introduction to a wide audience be recognized by the academy.

2. Top Gun: Maverick

Paramount Pictures

To anyone not paying attention, this probably feels like a bizarre nomination, purely in response to the insane idea that because Spider-Man No Way Home was not nominated for Best Picture, the Academy is out of touch with the movie going public (they are, but that isn’t the example to point out, especially considering Dune was a nominee last year). However, this feels like a fully earned nomination. This movie genuinely feels like it might be the sole savior of the theatrical movie going experience, based entirely on the fact that Tom Cruise fought for years to make sure that this is got an exclusive theatrical run. It was supposed to come out in 2020 but kept being delayed because Cruise made it very clear that this had to run exclusively in theaters instead of being punted to streaming like many other blockbusters in 2021 (looking at you, Warner Brothers). Considering this movie made over $700 domestic in a pandemic-era world, I would say Cruise made the right call. Obviously, box office isn’t a true determinant, it just helps that this movie fully owns bones, with some of the most tense action set pieces I’ve seen in a movie full stop, made better by the fact that the look and feel real because, for the most part, they are! These actors were actually in planes! It rules! Movie rules! *goes fast like a plane*

Other nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay (Screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarre; Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks; Based on the film Top Gun written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.), Best Original Song (“Hold My Hand,” Music and Lyrics by Lady Gaga and BloodPop), Best Sound (Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, and Mark Taylor), Best Film Editing (Eddie Hamilton), Best Visual Effects (Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson, and Scott R. Fisher)

Award it has the best chance of winning, in my likely wrong opinion: I think that Best Song is going to go to “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, a song and movie that fully whip, but if anything is going to stop that from happening, it’s probably Lady Gaga. The fact that this movie works the song’s melodies into the score is an art form that is fading away, and although I would be bummed if “Naatu Naatu” lost, because that song makes me feel like I can climb walls at the same time that I am running a marathon, I do appreciate the throwback nature of Gaga’s song.

Nomination I would have liked to see: Although I do think this is Tom Cruise’s career-best performance, and that being recognized would have made me happy, it is genuinely unfathomably insane that this movie was not nominated for Best Cinematography. They put cameras on jet planes! What are we doing?!

1. Everything Everywhere All At Once


I’m probably going to gush over this movie in my overall ranking, because not only is this my favorite movie of 2022, but this is probably one of my five favorite movies, full stop. A film that is oozing in sci-fi/fantasy elements that is extremely weird, all with a conclusion that hinges on the love that people have for each other, including one character whose reaction to the chaos in the world around him isn’t one of rage or pessimism, but a desire to try to bring happiness and silliness into the world? This movie was just straight up made for me, and the fact that it is an apparent lock for Best Picture is kind of hard to fathom, but it is something that fills me with joy.

Other nominations: Best Director (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Best Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Best Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Best Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Best Supporting Actress (Stephanie Hsu), Best Original Screenplay (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Best Original Score (Son Lux), Best Original Song (“This Is A Life” Music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski, Lyrics by Ryan Lott and David Byrne), Best Costume Design (Shirley Kurata), Best Film Editing (Paul Rogers)

Award it has the best chance of winning, in my likely wrong opinion: This movie is almost certainly going to win Best Picture, Director and Original Screenplay, and has an outside shot at giving a career-recognizing award to Curtis (which, I guess I get, but Hsu’s performance is stronger in this film alone), but the award I am most excited for is Ke Huy Quan winning for Best Supporting Actor. Famous for playing Short Round and Data in Temple of Doom and The Goonies, Quan kind of disappeared from acting for a while because he was disappointed by the opportunities that he was being given as an Asian actor. Coming back as the beating heart of one of my favorite movies ever and winning an Oscar for it would just make me so happy I could melt.

Nomination I would have liked to see: This movie had the most nominations among any movie this year, which is still kind of hard to fathom from the standpoint of this just does not seem like the type of movie the Academy would typically care about, so, for the third time in this post I think I’m going to cop out and say I’m happy with everything it earned!


Well, that’s it for the Best Picture Nominees! A pretty great year, and I am pretty excited about it! I’ll be back sometime in the near future with my full wrap-up for last year, which the end of will look pretty similar to the end of this list, but, yeah, a great year for movies and I’m excited to share everything with you all. Thank you for reading and I love you!

Featured Image Credit: A24

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