Ranking (almost) all the Best Picture Nominees

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Ranking (almost) all the Best Picture Nominees




Quinn Soltesz, Entertainment/Features editor

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In my effort to consume more movies, especially ones that are widely acclaimed or loved, I embarked on a journey to watch (almost) all of the 2019 Academy Award Nominees for Best Picture. As the ceremony for these awards takes place this Sunday Feb. 24, I will now rate them in the order that I see fit (this order is wholly my judgement and that makes it probably not “good” or “accurate” so take this with a grain of salt).

Disclaimer: I did not watch Green Book. I have absolutely no desire to watch Green Book. The movie may be terrible, it may be stellar, and I will never know. I am completely fine with this.

  1. Green Book

I don’t care I am a movie critic savage. Just kidding, I am the worst, but I still don’t care.

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody

I have no idea how this musical biopic of Freddie Mercury got nominated for Best Picture, but here we are. This movie is MESSY. Even if you disregard the ugly backdrop that some people behind the creation of the film make, Bohemian Rhapsody is still pretty, uh, not good. Prosthetic teeth and lip syncing do not make someone a good actor. Great music can not make a cringeworthy performance truly rad. I’m not going to say any more. We’re done.

  1. BlacKkKlansman

Skewering the KKK is always a good setup for a film. Spike Lee’s newest film about the true story of a black cop in Colorado infiltrating the KKK is well done, for the most part. It has flaws. Many flaws. John David Washington and Adam Driver became a perfect duo, and their interactions were the heart of the movie. The setup and premise were pretty well done, and show the heights of Lee’s vision as a filmmaker. The third act is what makes this so low on the list. It falls apart in spectacular fashion. A scary Klan meeting escalates to an even scarier attack that sort of came out of nowhere and hit us like a literal explosion. I wouldn’t call BlacKkKlansman bad in the slightest, but it definitely failed in the execution of what could have been a great film.

  1. Vice

I love politics, especially politics that make me laugh. Dick Cheney was never something I thought that I would laugh at. Vice has good acting, especially in the transformations of Amy Adams into Lynne Cheney and Christian Bale into Dick Cheney. The events depicted are engaging and likely would keep most viewers satisfied. The rest of Vice is a bit of a mess. The bizarre cuts between Cheney and his cronies ordering “dishes” off the menu to people being tortured in Guantanamo Bay was a bit too on the nose for my taste. Vice attempts to take a very serious man, who did very damaging things, and skewer him for jokes, while also re emphasizing his nefarious deeds. This simply does not work in the way that director Adam McKay wanted it to.

  1. Roma

Alfonso Cuaron’s story of an indigenous maid working in an upper class home in Mexico City in the 1970s is beautiful. Every shot and scene is perfect down to the smallest details. The stills could easily be framed and put up as decorations in any hipster coffee shop. Marina de Tavira and Yalitza Aparicio carry the film. The scene on the beach was the height of the filmmaking and clearly shows the skill of a master. Where this film didn’t hit the mark with me was the in the aura that surrounds it. It exudes “artsiness” and suffers for that reason. The style that made the film so beautiful caused the overall flow and plot of it suffer. Even though this is not my favorite film, I think it has the best shot to actually win Best Picture, and it should be said that I would be happy with that outcome.

  1. The Favourite

Oh The Favourite, you weren’t quite my favorite (sorry). While not being my top pick, this historical comedy drama biopic was still masterful. Elevated by the trio of performances by Queen Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone, The Favourite is a simmering film that captures the corruptions of power, manipulation, and forbidden love. The setpieces and opulence embodied by this film are by far the best out of any on this list. Coleman, in her performance as mad Queen Anne, delivers biting dialogue. “Did you just look at me? Did you? Look at me! Look at me! How dare you! Close your eyes!” is the the royal mood that she delivers. That whole exchange is what I watch when I need motivation during a workout. The Favourite, while having an amazing script, design, and acting, suffers with an incomplete ending. If the movie would have finished on a high note, the film could have easily been number one.

  1. Black Panther

This is the only one of the 8 films nominated that I saw in theaters. I am proud to say that I contributed to its record breaking box office gross. Even as a skeptical viewer of superhero movies, I was completely blown away by the story that exploded off the screen. Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya were by far the best ensemble cast of the year, perhaps ever. This movie will live on as one of the triumphs of 21st century filmmaking. The story of Wakanda has touched countless people and really captured an essence of the real world. The only reason this did not capture first place was simply because it has a few problems with pacing and still carries the faintest bits of the cheesiness of other Marvel movies. Despite that, the aforementioned cast and director Ryan Coogler made this film soar.

  1. A Star is Born

Although this is the last of the Best Picture Nominees I watched, it has become my favorite (proximity bias???). I initially resisted watching this film as I was scared it would not live up to the expectations put forth by the literal thousands of memes that were created in its image. But, boy, was I wrong. A Star is Born is the moviest of movies I have ever seen. It is truly a masterpiece of filmmaking and a beautiful portrait of love, stardom, and the intersection of those two in the terms of mental health. Bradley Cooper produced, directed, and starred in what is by far his best film. The fact that he was not nominated for Best Director is a travesty. I will be bitter forever. Lady Gaga took Ally and made her the heart of this movie, a heart that will Never Love Again, a heart that took on a form of its own. The soundtrack is the interwoven into the film in perfect cohesion. The cinematography is slick. The editing impeccable. Simply put, the film is beautiful. I will be saying “I just want to take another look at you” MANY more times to A Star is Born.

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