Ranking the Best Picture Nominees at the 91st Academy Awards

Tonight are the Oscars and, for the first time, I watched all of the year's nominees for Best Picture. As always, I was definitely more in love with some films this year than others. Some were stellar films. others were merely enjoyable. Here are my rankings of every nominee for Best Picture at the 91st Annual Academy Awards.

8- Bohemian Rhapsody
One of the weaker Best Picture nominees of recent memory, Bohemian Rhapsody really isn't a bad film. I just don't find it worthy of a nomination. Best Picture, for me at least, should be reserved for the very best of films. This movie just isn't a top film of the year for me, nor is it close. The only part of the film worth nominating is the admittedly stellar lead performance of Rami Malek. The rest of the film was just too messy for me to consider putting it any higher than last. For a biopic, it isn't all that informative, and that's a big flaw. We don't learn much more about Queen or Freddie Mercury than you could find out by skimming through Wikipedia, and big chunks of history are simply omitted, leaving key pieces  There's nothing revolutionary about this film, and it's mostly just forgettable fun.

7- Black Panther
I must admit, I'm not typically a big fan of superhero films (which is ironic considering that one of my favorite films of the year, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, is of the genre). This makes me less likely to enjoy a film like Black Panther in the same way as many others who adored it. However, I did find the film to be ver enjoyable to watch. I probably wouldn't have nominated it for Best Picture myself, but I can understand why it was. The performances were strong, if not breathtaking. The direction was competent. The production and costume designs were marvelous. Every element of the film was good, even if other nominees outpaced the film in all of the categories. I can't complain about its nomination, even if it shouldn't be the winner on Oscar night.

6- Roma
The cinematography of this film is breathtaking, and the direction also is fantastic. Both of these must be credited to Alfonso Cuarón, the creative mind responsible for nearly every part of Roma. The acting in the film is also very good, particularly newcomer Yalitza Aparicio. However, I just didn't find the film to be all that enjoyable to watch. It's a great piece of art that's beautiful to look at, and it's a technical marvel, but it's not something I'd want to watch again. It's just a real downer, and the storyline isn't that intriguing. Not much happens in it until the tail-end of the film, and that's why it has to be near the bottom of the ranks.

5- Vice
I really enjoyed this movie, even though the individual pieces of the film are better than the film in its entirety. The acting is the best part of the film, however, with lead actor Christian Bale delivering a career-best performance as former VP Dick Cheney. Amy Adams also shines as Second Lady Lynne Cheney, though everyone in the cast did a solid job, particularly Steve Carell in his spectacularly underrated performance as Donald Rumsfeld. The writing is sharp and interesting, and unlike many films this year based on true stories, this one actually felt like it was written pretty close to the truth. It's not as well-written as the last McKay project starring Bale and Carell. Lastly, though I don't hold it against the film, its labeling as a comedy at award shows made me think it was more comedic that it actually was, so the film wasn't what I expected it to be. What we got was still a very good film, just not one that I found funny in the slightest. All of this adds up to it being a middle-of-the-road pick for Best Picture this year.

4- A Star Is Born
This is one of the more popular of the Best Picture nominees around the general population, and it's not hard to see why. Everything about it is great, in a way that appeals to both a broad audience and movie buffs. The best part of the film is the leading performances by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga and the supporting performance of Sam Elliott, all of whom are Oscar-nominated for the film. Its use of original music is one of the best examples in recent years, with Shallow (the song everyone on the planet has heard and had stuck in their head since October) being the most notable and best song from the film. Its brilliant direction by first-time director Bradley Cooper helps make the film one of the year's very best, and its strong screenplay makes it even better. It may not be the most original film, being the fourth Star Is Born film made, but it sure is a good time. And an extremely emotional one.

3- BlacKkKlansman
This film is one of the most interesting of the year, because it's both so absurd that it's funny (despite the serious source material) and so captivating that it leaves you on the edge of your seat. The fact that it's a true story (well, mostly) is what makes it even more captivating, and the screenplay is very, very strong. I haven't seen any Spike Lee films besides this one, but it's not hard to see why this film gave him his first nomination for Best Director. Its leading actor, John David Washington, deserved more recognition for his breakout performance, though at least its supporting actor Adam Driver was given his due. While it wasn't my favorite film of the year, it was still a great one, and it deserves all of the love the Academy gave it this year.

2- Green Book
This film isn't one I would normally even consider watching. The premise doesn't really appeal to me. But the awards and nominations it received at all of the major ceremonies was enough for me to give it a shot. I'm so glad I did, because otherwise I'd be missing out on a truly special movie. Even though it didn't tell the full story of its subjects, it was still captivating and informative, informing me about two fascinating figures, played spectacularly by Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. While the film started out slowly, it soon became incredibly interesting and truly delightful, using comedic and serious moments to its benefit. The direction and screenplay weren't quite as strong as some of the other contenders for Best Picture, but they still were pretty great.

1- The Favourite
This film is my favourite of the Best Picture nominees for many reasons. Most of all, I love its perfect blend of comedy and drama. It's a rare movie that manages to be absolutely hilarious at some points and suspenseful and dramatic at others. It's absolutely stunning to look at, with some of the most beautiful sets and costumes in any move from 2018. The set doesn't look like a set, it looks real. It's why nothing about this film felt like a film. Thanks to these technical elements, as well as the incredible acting and writing, it felt like we were witnessing reality. It is the best film of these Best Picture nominees, and one that I'm sure I'll watch many times in the future.

Top Picks in Other Categories:
Best Actor: Christian Bale, Vice
Best Actress: Glenn Close, The Wife
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Vice
Best Director: Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Best Original Screenplay: The Favourite
Best Adapted Screenplay: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Best Animated Feature: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best Documentary: RBG
Best Foreign Language Film: Roma
Best Original Score: Mary Poppins Returns
Best Original Song: Shallow, A Star Is Born
Best Sound Editing: A Quiet Place
Best Sound Mixing: A Star Is Born
Best Makeup: Vice
Best Costume Design: The Favourite
Best Cinematography: Roma
Best Production Design: The Favourite
Best Film Editing: The Favourite
Best Visual Effects: Christopher Robin

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »