2023 Oscars Best Picture Nominees Ranked

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once Review

Most Best Picture nominees capture our current moment in some kind of profound, challenging or interesting way, but Everything Everywhere All at Once goes one step further to encapsulate not only the issues of our time, but the ways in which we are informed of them, consume them.

The Daniels have created cinema for Gen Z, a hyper-fast concoction of imagination that has more in common with the plethora of entertainment available on TikTok than perhaps any film yet released. It’s like a YouTube compilation of someone’s life, dreams, fears, and imagination, complete with all the homage, references and personality of work from small-time creators, only it feels grand, of some kind of divine purpose, like someone put a classic cinematic tale of familial disputes and complex anxieties into a blender with post-modernism, the result invigorating the art form.

It’s so rare that something so new and so fresh can reach audiences and earn critical acclaim, but perhaps more startlingly it is almost impossible to recall a film in the contemporary space that has done so while accelerating the progress of cinema, perhaps forever changing it in its image. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a film for the 21st century: a diverse, relatable tale of appreciating the little things we already have rather than pursuing something else, something deemed “greater than”; a film earning its stripes through an abundance of creativity and imagination rather than promotional material or star power; a little movie come good.

1. The Banshees of Inisherin

The Banshees of Inisherin Review

Martin McDonagh’s darkly comedic, wordy and morality-challenging work hit its apex with The Banshees of Inisherin, the Irish island drama imbued with contemporary concerns, not least the restrictions of stereotypical manhood and our cultural moment’s unlearning of problematic masculine behaviours. As an allegory for male depression, and the way in which it spreads through silence, there are few films as quietly devastating.

Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan offer some of the year’s best supporting performances, balancing trauma and hope side-by-side as their characters navigate issues that are small and immediate to them but represent grander topics to us. Keoghan’s delivery of “well, there goes that dream” is as soul destroying as any in English language cinema this decade, but it’s Colin Farrell at the head of the ensemble who holds much of the film’s weight. Farrell, who has starred in three of McDonagh’s four features to date, offers the performance of his career, carrying the film’s biggest laughs with slapstick facials and immaculate timing whilst also anchoring its most significant points of tension and its melancholic undercurrent.

As a writer’s film, a director’s film, and an actor’s film, The Banshees of Inisherin is top of class. The acting, partnered with McDonagh’s directorial method of rehearsing the actors for weeks ahead of filming, and the quality of the filmmaker’s layered script filled with allegory, metaphor, excellent dialogue and equally as emotive silences, ensure that this Oscars Best Picture nominee is outstanding as an artistic concoction. Ultimately, however, The Banshees of Inisherin will be remembered for photographing the macro and micro anxieties of the men changing with our times, and the history that each man has to re-evaluate and re-assess as they rebuild how they view themselves.

Recommended for you: 21st Century Best Picture Oscar Winners Ranked

Which of the 95th Academy Awards Best Picture nominees do you think is the best? Do you believe any other film should have been nominated? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow @thefilmagazine on Facebook and Twitter to never miss another insightful movie list.

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Leave a Comment