Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > Entertainment

I Watched Every Film Nominated for Best Picture: Here Are My Reviews and Predictions

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 UPR chapter.

I am a self-proclaimed movie buff, and by movie buff I mean I signed up for Letterboxd because I wanted to put Little Women (2019) on my top four. That being said, I think my range for a good movie, or should be, is not up to par with those who know what they’re talking about. Although I am no film buff, I consider myself a pop culture connoisseur. Some might say that the Oscars are one of the biggest nights in pop culture which is why this year, and with every passing year, I don’t watch the movies that are critically acclaimed and nominated and I miss one of the biggest nights in pop culture. Well, I decided to change that this year by watching every film nominated for Best Picture, you know, for research. To avoid spoilers as much as possible I will be rating the movies on a scale of one through five, taking into account the cast, the plot, the buzz, and my own personal enjoyment of the film and predicting who will win based on logistical 

Top Gun: Maverick (dir. Joseph Kosinski)

I won’t sit here and pretend to love this movie, I was actually quite annoyed that this film was nominated because that meant I had to watch Top Gun (1986) and I just didn’t want to commit to something like that. I did however sit through the original just to enjoy the scope of Miles Teller in that scene fully. But unfortunately for me, it was not enough to keep my attention for very long as I watched this movie over a scope of four days total, two watching the original and two for the sequel. I kept getting distracted throughout both movies and I really couldn’t attach myself to the characters. However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t love the film’s ability to make fun of itself,  as well as the cast who despite some flaws in the writing, and Miles Teller. Maybe I’m biased but while the film is nominated, the buzz around it has not been up to par with its rivals. I rate Top Gun: Maverick two out of five.

Women Talking (dir. Sarah Polley)

Women Talking was another film I was dreading to see based on the trailer alone, seeing as though the color-grading was monotonous and it seemed like nothing other than women…talking, really happened. But what awaited me was the terrifying reality of the Mennonite women, who have come together to decide whether or not they should flee their colony and risk missing the coming of Christ, or stay and continue to brace “attacks” by the men of the colony. The film’s approach to discussing such difficult topics through the eyes of generations of women was so enthralling, although it was difficult to watch, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the screen. Every scene held such a heavy purpose in the decision the women decide to take at the end, the performances by Rooney Mara and Claire Foy carried the dialogue-based film. Although the discussions surrounding the women became a bit monotonous and repetitive towards the end of the film and the dialogue seemed too flowery with its use of keywords, the film felt truly important. The women talked, and I was listening! I rate Women Talking three out of five. 

Everything, Everywhere, All At Once (dir. Daniel Kwon, Daniel Scheinert)

This. Whenever I love a movie the way I loved Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, I never have anything of substance to say. Unlike my first two watches, I was most excited to see this one because I am a daughter of the internet, and if TikTok says something is good, I listen to the algorithm. Everything, Everywhere, All at Once is unlike any other film I have ever watched before, what I thought was going to be a heavy dramatic family dynamic film, was so much more than that. The movie is like a fever dream, one minute you are watching a perfectly normal movie about a family-run small business and the next you are crying to a scene of pure silence, rocks with googly eyes, and heartbreaking subtitles defining difficult mother/daughter relationships. The cast was spectacular with notable performances by Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, and Michelle Yeoh, who have quickly become my front-runners this award season. I am unsure how a movie featuring rocks talking, sausage fingers, and Jamie Lee Curtis being insufferable invoked such a visceral and emotional response from me, days, weeks, and months after first watching the film, but I can’t help it. It is a little early in this article to say but, Everything, Everywhere, All at Once is my pick for Best Picture and I rate it five out of five.

The Banshees of Inisherin (dir. Martin McDonagh)

Oh my god, I love Irish accents. The Banshees of Inisherin shows the complexities of platonic love, something that we explore almost immediately in the film. Throughout the film, it was difficult for me to decide whether the pang in my chest was because I wanted to laugh or I wanted to cry. The performances of both Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson bring such a melancholic nature to the screen that it almost feels like the two are having real-life conflicts and trying to work themselves out. Though I wasn’t particularly excited to watch this movie, it is the one that surprised me the most with how I felt afterward. The overall themes of “otherness” and isolation made it difficult not to cry as the credits rolled. If anything, The Banshees of Inishiern has become one of my frontrunners for Best Picture this year. I gave The Banshees of Inisherin five out of five. 

Triangle of Sadness (dir. Ruben Östlund)

As soon as I watched the trailer for Triangle of Sadness, I knew it was going to be one of my favorite picks, something about the time I read fanfiction about surviving a plane crash and falling in love with Louis Tomlinson when I was 12 brings me to love survival shows, and films. But Triangle of Sadness’s approach to the genre is dark, twisted, and hilarious. While the “symbolism” of the film was anything but subtle, I has the best time watching everything play out. The film is weird and experimental and makes fun of itself in the best way, the ending played out enough to leave me wanting more, and spiral for the next couple of days googling things like “Triangle of Sadness, ending explained”, which is how you know it was good. I’m glad that the Academy agrees that Best Picture doesn’t necessarily mean three-hour-long movies that take themselves too seriously. However, if Triangle of Sadness were to take Best Picture home, I would be more than surprised. I gave Triangle of Sadness four out of five.

The Fabelmans (dir. Steven Spielberg)

If there’s one thing people love it is movies about movies, and The Fablemans presents such a whimsical take on cinematography through the lens of a coming-of-age story. After learning that the movie is a take on the director’s childhood experiences and his journey with filmmaking, I knew that The Fablemans will probably take this award home. Anyone who has any sort of creative spirit can connect to this film and it is almost like a wonderland for aspiring filmmakers. There’s not much to say other than it is a fantastic film, the writing, the performances, and every nuance is carefully crafted. From the family dynamics to the film’s score, The Fablemans truly feels like it has already taken its role as Best Picture. 

All Quiet on the Western Front (dir. Edward Berger)

One thing about me is that yes I am a self-proclaimed “movie buff”, but another thing, something that I believe outweighs the fact that I am a “movie buff”, is that I avoid war movies like the plague. I know I have mentioned that I was less than excited about some of these films, but boy did I procrastinate watching this one. To me, if you have watched one war movie, you have watched them all, and I think seeing Dunkirk (2017) for that cameo just about had me set for life. However, All Quiet on the Western Front does give us the German point of view of World War I, which is something I was not prepared for. Other things I was not prepared for were the absolutely violent battle scenes, the stomach ache I had while watching it, and the tears that were rolling down my face as I watched the haunting last shot. All Quiet on the Western Front was surprising in many ways, beginning with the fact that yes it is a war movie, but it might be the war movie. There’s not much I can say without completely giving everything away, but if you are still doubtful as to which war movie will be your war movie, give All Quiet on the Western Front a chance. I rate it five out of five.

Avatar: The Way of Water (dir. James Cameron) 

This movie was three hours long, and so was the prequel to this movie which I had refused to watch in the 13 years since its release. For those of you who aren’t good at math means I have dedicated 6 hours to this franchise alone for this one article. I was resistant to liking either of these films because of the controversies that are attached to it like the argument about how it portrays “race”, or how the movie is perpetuating white savior-ism and everything along those lines. And I truly wanted to like both of these films, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have spent so long watching both of them. But, what I was left with was feeling like I had watched the same movie twice. Avatar: The Way of Water feels more so like an alternative to the original 2009 film. I felt disconnected from the characters and the plot by the time I began to watch the second film and to be quite transparent, it feels like a bit of a cop-out to have Avatar: The Way of Water as a nominee for Best Picture because it felt so similar to the first one. Overall, I felt like I was missing the hype to truly enjoy both of these films. I rate it a three out of five. 

Elvis (dir. Baz Luhrmann)

I am not usually immune to the infamous White Boy of the Month phenomenon, but with Austin Butler, I was indeed immune. This meant that when Elvis was released, I had no interest in watching it even though the girlies on TikTok were working overtime to try to get me to watch this movie. However, when I finally bit the bullet and sat down to watch it, it was too late and I could not see Austin Butler as anyone but Austin Butler with a silly little accent. Because of that, I feel like I am too biased to truly grasp this movie. Baz Luhrmann, the director has also directed a few of my favorites like The Great Gatsby (2013) and Romeo + Juliet (1996), but the process of watching Elvis was incredibly overstimulating and confusing. I was an hour into the film without knowing practically anything about Elvis’ life. Overall, everything about the film other than the costuming and the soundtrack fell flat for me. I gave Elvis two out of five. 

Tár (dir. Todd Field)

Cate Blanchet, you will always be famous. I love films about artists who go particularly insane because of their craft, i.e. movies like Black Swan and Whiplash. Tár had the formula to become one of my favorite films of all time, but the credits rolled and I felt like I had watched the wrong movie. Where I was expecting a fast pace almost horror-like film, I got just the opposite of that, something more sinister and troubling. The film is undoubtedly amazing, with performances that left my jaw on the floor, but I couldn’t tell if it was because I love Cate Blanchet in everything she does or because I liked the film itself. It’s difficult to put my feelings for this film into words because it was my last watch for this article but with a rewatch before the Oscar’s I’ll have my mind in the right place. For now, Tár is a strong contender but not my favorite, I rate it three out of five. 

Luisa Colón is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus where they are currently working towards a BA in English Literature with an emphasis on Contemporary Literature. Besides the usual long walks on the beach, she enjoys reading romance novels, updating their bookstagram, and starting (but never finishing) crochet projects.