So, the 2024 Oscar nominations have come out, and I realized I have seen every Best Picture nominee.
Truthfully, this isn't the first time. I've been a movie buff my whole life and have seen enough Best Picture nominees that I know more about these accolade-garnering movies than my parents. Still, I purposefully went out of my way to see every one of these no matter what – and I have a clear favorite.
From the momentous Barbenheimer weekend to independent films, let's talk about these Best Picture nominations – and which one I think is the absolute best.
The Zone Of Interest Depressed Me Almost Too Much
So here's the thing – I'm not a big war movie person. Sure, I've seen some of the best war movies, but I usually don't go out of my way to watch them if I don't have to – mainly because most are almost too real and depress me.
The Zone of Interest is one of those. While it doesn't directly involve bloodshed and gunfighting and so much more, it's the idea of living right next to one of the most heinous places of humanity that made every part of me shudder and sink into my chair while watching it, and what follows makes it even worse.
It's heartbreaking and crushes my soul – and because of that, I don't think I could ever watch it again.
Anatomy Of A Fall Is Thrilling From Beginning To End
I was surprised that Anatomy of a Fall received a Best Picture nomination. Not that it's not good – it is, but I didn't think it was Best Picture-good.
The movie itself is thrilling, with plenty of twists and turns that you would expect from a legal drama that aims to make you think and try to solve the overarching problem the entire time. Pair that with an outstanding performance from Sandra Hüller, and there's a lot to love about Anatomy of a Fall.
But in terms of it winning Best Picture, there are better-deserving options on here, despite how good the French film is.
American Fiction Tells A Captivating Story Regarding The Corruption Of Fame Over Morals
American Fiction is a movie that went under the radar compared to many other nominations. It tells the story of an African American writer who writes a satirical novel based on stereotypes to prove a point, but it becomes a massive success.
The movie follows an author who uses a pen name to publish the book, and begins to realize why these specific types of novels grow popular, despite it being everything he hates, and how he eventually starts to go along with it but refuses to admit who he is as a writer.
It's a great film and features a fantastic performance from Jeffrey Wright. Out of many of these, the message connects the most to modern-day literature, and I would suggest it again to many people.
Barbie Is Still Just As Moving, If Not A Little Goofy
So, I'll honestly say that I loved Barbie when it came out, from the hilarious 'sublime' moment to its beautiful themes of womanhood, femininity, and so much more. I am still agitated that neither Greta Gerwig nor Margot Robbie received a nomination.
Barbie, even with its overwhelming box office achievement and critical success, is a great film that moves me, and I have rewatched it multiple times. Compared to many of the others on this list, it is a lot goofier, but despite its comedic tone, it still delivers an impactful message – so I can't hold that against it. It's a fun movie – and deserved even more praise than it got at the awards.
Poor Things Delivers A Great Emma Stone Performance – But It's A Little Too Wild For Me
I've seen a lot of Emma Stone's best movies, and truthfully, Poor Things gave us one of her best performances, certainly since La La Land.
But other than that? This movie is too wild for me. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. And if you haven't, well… you'll notice why I say this when you doo.
I don't want to spoil anything because it genuinely blows your mind, but at the same time, you might not want to watch the film in its entirety again. It's not bad, per se; it's just… different. That's the best word.
Killers Of The Flower Moon Is A Heavy Hitter, But Lily Gladstone Is The Best Part Of It
When Martin Scorsese gave us Killers of the Flower Moon, I knew it would be nominated from the start. This is a heavy film, and to watch it, you need to be in the right headspace.
But truthfully, only about a couple of months after seeing it, the best thing I remember is Lily Gladstone's performance as Mollie Kyle. It's no wonder she's the best actress frontrunner despite speaking about gendered award categories. Gladstone gave us a robust and captivating performance that will be with audiences for years.
However, I'm not sure I see much else winning for this film besides that. Maybe the score, but the rest just doesn't do it for me.
Maestro Brings Leonard Bernstein To Life In Many Ways, But Falls Flat Towards The End
While the internet has, for some reason, decided to collectively despise Maestro (still not sure where that comes from) according to The Daily Beast, I adored this movie.
However, even as much as I loved this movie, I can admit that the ending feels incredibly rushed. We see the end of Felicia Montealegre's life, and then it feels like everything stops afterward and is so… minimal in its delivery. Maybe that was the film's point, that Bernstein's life stopped when she died, but I feel there could have been more expanded on with that.
Oppenheimer Is A Visually Stunning Masterpiece
I don't need to get into why I like Oppenheimer. It's honestly received enough praise and I don't need to give it that much more.
From the incredible Oppenheimer cast to the behind-the-scenes stories of getting close with castmates to the visual effects, Oppenheimer deserves its thirteen Academy Award nominations.
Truthfully, I do think it'll win Best Picture, but that doesn't change the fact that there are two other films I feel are relatively better.
And Past Lives Affected Me In The Most Emotional Way Out Of All Of Them
Past Lives irrevocably wrecked me in a way that I can't describe. I watched this movie on a plane and found myself sobbing in the seat next to the aisle.
Celine Song gave us a beautiful film about the complexities of friendships and relationships and how one little change in someone's life could have lasting effects and reroute the trajectory of the future entirely.
The performances are brilliant, and the story itself moves me so profoundly. I will always love – and cherish – Past Lives. It's a 2023 movie that impacted me deeply.
But one other movie sits atop this Best Picture throne.
But The Holdovers Reigns Supreme – Especially Paul Giamatti's Performance
I was genuinely shocked at how much I loved The Holdovers.
Directed by Alexander Payne, The Holdovers takes place in the '70s and follows a teacher who has to chaperone students over Christmas break, all of whom have nowhere to go. Past Lives would be my shoo-in for the winner of Best Picture, but The Holdovers took over that spot so quickly.
Here's How To Watch Oscars 2024 Best Picture Nominees Online And Stream The Year's Most Critically Loved Movies From Anywhere
Paul Giamatti's performance is unmatched, and it's going to be hard for me to see both him and Cillian Murphy as the frontrunner for Leading Actor because I was utterly breathless watching him perform -- this is coming from someone who hadn't seen all of Paul Giamatti's films before this.
He is just so good – but the rest of the movie, including the astounding performance from Da'Vine Joy Randolph, made me laugh, sob, and so much more – and I went into this film thinking it was going to be some joyful Christmas movie, but I was so wrong. It's authentic, raw, and honest and deserves every award. If you haven't had the chance to watch it, please do yourself a favor and check it out.
The 2024 Academy Awards are around the corner, and if you haven't had the chance to check out these films, I'd suggest watching them all. This is the perfect movie marathon, and you'll feel all the emotions before the ceremony occurs.