This was always going to be a big year for Barbie and Oppenheimer, which got 13 and 8 nominations respectively. But the full list of nominations, released this morning, also gives love to Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things, nominated in 11 categories, and Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, nominated in 10. The winners will be announced on March 10. Until then, here are some of the main contenders, and how we covered them:
Thirteen nominations, including best picture, directing for Christopher Nolan, actor in a leading role for Cillian Murphy, actor in a supporting role for Robert Downey Jr., and actress in a supporting role for Emily Blunt
Our review, “Oppenheimer Is an Uncomfortably Timely Tale of Destruction” by David Klion, said:
A film depicting mostly quotidian human interaction is somehow paced like a thriller, and the tension never stops mounting, right up to the closing shot.
Eleven nominations, including best picture, directing for Yorgos Lanthimos, actress in a leading role for Emma Stone, and actor in a supporting role for Mark Ruffalo
Our review, “Poor Things Is a Glorious Mash-Up” by Annie Berke, said:
The movie may be the most broadly appealing of his films to date, the most palatable to those viewers who might struggle with Lanthimos’s grim humor and sadistic images. It not only provides a treat for the senses but also offers something new in the director’s oeuvre: a story about how art and community can make a better world. It is a love letter to the creative process though, in many ways, with all the pastiche, Lanthimos’s least creative work.
Ten nominations, including best picture, directing for Martin Scorsese, actress in a leading role for Lily Gladstone, and actor in a supporting role for Robert De Niro
Our review, “Killers of the Flower Moon Is a Groundbreaking Achievement” by David Klion, said:
At nearly three and a half hours, Scorsese’s Flower Moon is a lot to take in, but it offers an unforgettable immersion in a time and place in American history that few Americans are familiar with.... As in The Wolf of Wall Street or The Departed, here’s a story of a group of men getting away with shocking crimes until federal agents intervene and turn them against each other like captive rats. Scorsese, in short, has made a film that is both unmistakably his and a benchmark in how popular culture understands the American West and the Indigenous experience.
Eight nominations, including best picture, actor in a supporting role for Ryan Gosling, actress in a supporting role for America Ferrera, and adapted screenplay Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach
Our review, “Can Barbie Have It All?” by Grace Segers, said:
The goals of Barbie are, perhaps, overly lofty. There’s only so much a filmmaker can accomplish in a glittery tale about a blonde doll and her ditzy sidekick, no matter how well acted and constructed. Barbie learns that it is impossible to achieve perfection in a complicated world; similarly, one movie can’t encompass the entire experience of womanhood. Maybe it should not be expected to carry that burden.
Seven nominations, including best picture, actor in a leading role for Bradley Cooper, and actress in a leading role for Carey Mulligan
Our review, “The Missing Love Story in Maestro” by Andrew Marzoni, said:
This polycule of lush strings, conventional narrative, historical reenactment (in black and white and color), and complicated heterosexual romance is a masterpiece of Oscar bait. Documentary-interview framing device? Check. A comedian cast against type as the hero’s salty younger sister? Check. Period costumes painstakingly modeled after archival photographs? Check, check, and check. 2024 could be Cooper’s year, but only if Hollywood continues its pattern of rewarding the veneer of importance over substantive cinematic achievement.
Five nominations, including best picture, actor in a leading role for Jeffrey Wright, actor in a supporting role for Sterling K. Brown, and adapted screenplay by Cord Jefferson
Our review, “American Fiction Spares No One” by Jonathan W. Gray, said:
American Fiction might have remained a relatively straightforward satire of American publishing but instead engages a more unusual genre. “Afrosurrealist life is fluid, filled with aliases and census-defying classifications,” the poet and essayist D. Scott Miller has written, and Jefferson shifts the film into this mode when Monk embraces his performance as Stagg R. Leigh. [It’s] not simply an interrogation of the publishing industry but also an examination of Monk’s complicity in its cultural fictions.
Five nominations, including best picture, actor in a leading role for Paul Giamatti, and actress in a supporting role for Da’vine Joy Randolph
Our review, “Alexander Payne’s School for Sad Sacks” by Annie Berke, said:
Set at an all-boys prep school, this throwback dramedy examines the tender bonds that develop between three lonely people—a teacher, a cook, and a student—who can’t, or won’t, go home for the holidays.… Equal parts funny and touching, The Holdovers is a study of how men of privilege and status are formed, and how codes of masculine behavior make for bad feelings and better comedy.
Three nominations: visual effects, costume design, production design
Our review, “Ridley Scott’s Napoleon: Accidentally a Comedy?” by David Klion, said:
Though Napoleon mostly avoids the cliché about Bonaparte’s physical stature, in all other respects it renders him as a small man, one who did nothing important besides win and then eventually lose some battles. It’s a portrayal so undignified that I almost expected ABBA’s “Waterloo” to play over the credits.
Nominated for original screenplay
Our review, “May December Is a Wicked Imitation Game” by Adam Nayman, said:
For all its humid hothouse atmosphere and campy trimmings—including a hilariously portentous musical score repurposed from Joseph Losey’s Harold Pinter adaptation The Go-Between—May December isn’t a spoof or pastiche, but more of a psychological pas de deux between mutually agile partners, a study of keeping up appearances under intense, even vicious scrutiny.