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My Oscar Movie Favorites and the Ones I Couldn’t Bear To Watch

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

This year, I was able to watch more Oscar-nominated movies than I ever had in previous years. Though I didn’t have a lot of time, it was a priority of mine to watch the movies that were accessible to me through theaters or streaming platforms. 

For the most part, the movies were great. They usually are since they’re nominated for Oscars, but there are always a few that I like more than the Oscar voters did. Today I’ll go over some of the movies nominated for Oscars in 2023 and review the great, the bad, and the “ugly.”

The Great

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once

“Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” managed to win almost a third of all the Oscars this year, which is an incredible achievement. This movie absolutely deserves it, too. Following an Asian American family whose business is slowly going under, this movie is creative, funny, unexpected, and meaningful. It’s able to hit all the spots for the Oscar voters and normal audience watchers.

Top Gun: Maverick

“Top Gun: Maverick” is a sequel to “Top Gun,” which was released in 1986. The movie follows Pete (call sign Maverick) as he goes back to teach at the Top Gun School and, ultimately, Goose’s son, Bradley. I liked this movie so much more than I thought I would, which is a common phrase from many of the people who watched this movie. I had only watched the original “Top Gun” for the first time a month ago, and it was… kind of stupid. It felt like Tom Cruise doing whatever Tom Cruise wanted to do; even the “sad” moments had me wanting to roll my eyes. 

“Top Gun: Maverick” was different, however. It was fun, exciting, and emotional. I also love seeing Miles Teller in whatever movie he’s in, and this was a great role for him. I was a little worried that this movie wouldn’t get much recognition because it seems more made for the people rather than the awards, but it managed to pull out one award for Sound. Overall, this is truly a feel-good movie, which can’t be said for most of the nominated Oscar movies this year. 

The Banshees of Inisherin

Speaking of feel-good movies, this was the least feel-good movie I’d seen so far this year. “The Banshees of Inisherin” follows two Irish men on a rural island, where one decides he no longer wants to be friends with the other. What follows is the slow burn of a friendship dissipating, and wow, it’s depressing.

I’m not sure I had a single happy thought while watching this movie, but I still managed to really enjoy it. Colin Farrell gave an amazing performance, and the cinematography was green and gorgeous. I was recently in Ireland this past Thanksgiving break, and watching this movie made me nostalgic for what I experienced months beforehand.

This is a very well-done movie; it’s just not happy or fun or positive in any way. Somehow, I still highly recommend everyone watch it.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

I didn’t think that I would like “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” as much as I did. In fact, this has been my favorite animated movie I’ve seen this year. The story is crafted so well, and the animation is so much different from the current Disney norm of realism in animation. 

Not only is this just a fun story, but it’s an important one. Puss deals with his fear of death and losing those he loves, along with trying to save himself and his sense of adventure. The movie portrays mental health and creating healthy relationships, which is a feat considering most of the main characters in this movie are animals. I think everyone should watch this movie, whether you’re 10 years old or 70. 

The Bad

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse

I’ll go right ahead and say it: I hated this animated short film. In fact, it’s the worst film I’ve seen in years. 

I know this is harsh, but let me explain. The day before this year’s Oscars ceremony, I went to go see a special event at Century Boulder that showcased all the nominated live-action and animated short films. Incredible films played like “An Irish Goodbye,” “Night Ride,” and “Ice Merchants.” I was even excited to watch “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse” because I knew it had won the BAFTA award for Best Animated Film and was a front-runner. 

The film is boring, slow-paced, and cheesy. It takes direct quotes from the children’s book the short is based off of, but it doesn’t work in the recreation since they’re all cliche and overdone quotes being said by an animated mole. The animation was well done, but that’s the least someone has to be able to say about your film when it’s nominated for Best Animated Film at the Oscars. I could write all day about this Oscar snub, but instead, I’ll let someone else tell it.

The “Ugly”

Note: This “ugly” category is all movies that I put in effort not to see or not to watch this Oscar’s season. This does not mean that I don’t like the movie or that I wouldn’t want to watch it in the future.

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

I made zero attempts in trying to watch this movie. While I enjoyed the first “Avatar” movie, the last time I watched it was more than five years ago, and I didn’t want to watch the second one without being refreshed on what happened before.

The problem with this was that I had no time to watch a three-hour movie just to watch another three-and-a-half-hour movie. There was so much commitment to this nomination that it was simply not worth it; I could watch three nominated movies instead of preparing to watch just one. My cost-benefit analysis didn’t allow me to watch.

All Quiet on the Western Front

My Dad, someone who likes watching war movies, couldn’t get through half an hour of this movie: and he tried twice. He said that it was horribly depressing and horribly gory, both things that I was not in the position to watch in the months leading up to the Oscars. I had never been a fan of war movies in general, and “All Quiet on the Western Front” was known for being even worse than the norm: people being run over by tanks, getting their legs severed off, and stabbing people close up… I don’t even like blood in most of my movies if I can help it.

I really wish I had the capacity to watch a war movie and enjoy it, however. “All Quiet on the Western Front” was nominated for almost every visual and sound award at the Oscars and walked away with four wins.

The Whale

Out of all the movies nominated for Oscars this year, I heard that “The Whale” was the most depressing. The premise of the movie is about a severely overweight man who tries to reconnect with his daughter, and while I don’t know how the movie ends, I’m sure it doesn’t end happily. 

This has been a movie on my list to watch since it got nominated for the Oscars, but it wasn’t streaming anywhere or showing at any nearby theaters. Along with that, as I learned how heartbreaking it was (even without watching the ending), I didn’t have the mental capacity to sit through a horribly sad movie after “The Banshees of Inisherin.”  I’ll get to it at some point, but only when a sad movie can’t absolutely ruin my day like it can now.


This is probably the hottest take of this entire article, but I didn’t like “Elvis” at all. In fact, I couldn’t even sit through the entire thing. The reason I put it in the Ugly category rather than the Bad category was merely because I respect how the movie was made and all the work that was put into it. Just because I didn’t care about Elvis’s life story doesn’t mean that others didn’t; it was incredibly well done, and Austin Butler gave one of the best performances of the year.

Maybe it’s a me problem: maybe I was too tired and was only watching it because it was nominated, and I wasn’t genuinely interested in the story… because it’s true. But I still have to put it in the Ugly category since I couldn’t finish it. Who knows, I might try this one again later.

End Considerations

Of course, there are many great movies that I’m unable to mention in this article, along with movies that weren’t even nominated for an Oscar at all. A movie doesn’t need any accolades to be good or enjoyable, and in the end, it just depends on the type of movies you like to watch. I’ll probably be on my way to the theaters to watch “Cocaine Bear” next.

Anna Bedell

CU Boulder '25

Anna Bedell is the social media director at the Her Campus, CU Boulder chapter. She writes content mainly on entertainment and culture, along with personal essays and experiences. A junior at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Anna is majoring in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and a minor in journalism. She’s recently studied abroad at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy for the fall semester. An involved student in the business school, Anna writes for the school’s marketing department, is a representative for the Leeds Student Government, and works as a Leeds Student Ambassador. Outside of school, you’ll find Anna rock climbing, watching movies, writing, or traveling around. She’s sure to constantly update her Spotify profile and will never miss an opportunity to talk about her cat, Biscuit.