Friday, February 9, 2024

Does the movie deserve an Oscar? Or: Chris and Cathy review the Academy Award Nominees for Best Picture

Every year, my husband Chris and I try to watch all of the AMPAS Best Picture Nominees and review, rate, and rank them prior to the awards ceremony.  These aren't really predictions on which movie will win Best Picture, only which ones we think are best.


  • The movie titles link to the IMDb page for the movie, and the rankings at the end of the line link to our review of it. 
  • Starting in 2024, we used a rubric with weighted scores to determine rankings, rating 12 different aspects such as watchability, message, character/situation relatability, storytelling, acting/casting, pacing, themes and motifs, visual/sound design, and an appropriate ending using a 5 point scale so actual ties are unlikely. 
  • In-Progress Rankings can change. As we work through and compare the movies, we sometimes change our minds about the scores we assigned the different variables, and that can move a movie up or down the list.
  • The rankings may not match what is shown at the bottom of the individual reviews; the individual reviews represented how we felt at the time. We both made adjustments to our scoring over time and before publishing the final review, we went through all of them and solidified our scores.

2024 Final Ranking: Movie titles (Pithy Reviews; Individual rankings of 10 nominees):
  1. American Fiction (Brilliantly ironic smart comedy; Cathy: 1, Chris: 4)
  2. Past Lives (Excellent exploration of love and human connections; Cathy: 2, Chris: 3)
  3. The Zone of Interest (Masterpiece of monstrous implication; Cathy: 3, Chris: 2)
  4. Poor Things (Fantastic, filthy, feminist, Frankensteinian fairytale; Cathy: 6, Chris: 1)
  5. Barbie (Spectacular and sly doll's-eye-view of womanhood; Cathy: 4, Chris: 6)
  6. Oppenheimer (Important, long and explosive; Cathy: 5, Chris: 5)
    • The Holdovers (Very good teacher/student relationship story; Cathy: 7, Chris: 7)
    • Anatomy of a Fall (Beautiful courtroom drama; Cathy: 8, Chris: 9)
    • Killers of the Flower Moon (Important, badly-told story; Cathy: 9, Chris: 8)
    • Maestro (Gorgeous, well-acted, boring slog; Cathy: 10, Chris: 10)

    2023 Final Ranking: Movie titles (Pithy Reviews; Individual rankings of 9 nominees):

    We didn't use a rubric in 2023. Rather, Chris and I rated each movie individually, and I averaged the two to determine overall rank. If there was a tie, they are listed alphabetically. 
    1. Women Talking (Excellent and haunting; Cathy: 1, Chris 1
    2. The Banshees of Inisherin (Excellent, beautiful, and a little surreal; Cathy: 2, Chris: 3)
    3. Elvis (Excellent movie with stellar acting, music, and costumes; Cathy: 5, Chris: 2)
    4. Tie: 
    1. Top Gun: Maverick (Very enjoyable but not really Oscar material; Cathy: 6, Chris: 6)
    2. Tie
    1. Triangle of Sadness (Terrible, gross, and Cathy only watched half; Cathy: 9, Chris: 9)


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