The 2024 Best Picture Oscar Nominees Ranked: Barbie, Oppenheimer, and More

A comprehensive list of the 2024 Best Picture Oscar Nominees ranked, including Barbie, Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon, and more

robert downey jr in oppenheimer 2023 movie
Robert Downey Jr. in Oppenheimer (2023)

The 2024 Oscar nominations have been announced, and the movies chosen to compete for this year’s Academy Awards certainly are interesting and polarizing ones. There was a lot of discourse on certain social media platforms the day of that consisted of Barbie and Killers of the Flower Moon snubs, as well as middling Netflix fare taking over the acting categories.

I’m less interested in relitigating these opinions on here – partly because that would be about as fun as it sounds writing that sentence, and partly because I just don’t hold the Oscars accountable for their decision making as much anymore. This is to say that I’m never surprised when something goes awry in depressing, anti-climactic ways.

But this is also to say that I’ve generally been a fan of what they’ve nominated in the last few years. These two sets of Best Picture nominees (this year and last) are about as diverse and all-encompassing as we’ve had in a while. The independent, arthouse work is getting recognized alongside big-budget, full-scale filmmaking. Avatar: The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick can compete alongside Women Talking and The Banshees of Inisherin. And this year, Barbie and Oppenheimer can compete alongside Past Lives and Poor Things.

And generally speaking, I think the 2024 Best Picture nominees are overall really good. I clocked 8 out of the 10 as being movies that I genuinely like. I’m sure I’ll try to rewatch a few of them before the ceremony in a few weeks, and perhaps I’ll come around on the other two that I didn’t care for much when I saw them originally.

But I digress. Here is how I’d rank the 2024 Best Picture nominees from worst the best:

10. Maestro

Maestro best picture oscar nominee

Maestro is a film that leaves you wanting more, not in the sense of longing for what comes next, but in the frustrating realization that the film never fully delivers on its potential. It’s a well-made, technically polished biopic praying and weeping for Oscars recognition, but one that lacks the emotional resonance and thematic depth to truly capture the soul of its subject. It’s a beautiful melody played on mute, a love letter that never quite finds its voice. Maestro movie review

9. American Fiction

american fiction movie 2023

Cord Jefferson’s first movie, American Fiction, didn’t blow me away, and I was hoping for a more cohesive film to get me excited about his big themes and sensibilities. A few stylistic choices are pleasant on the eyes, and the performances from Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown are worthy of their acclaim, but the final product is a lackluster satire. American Fiction movie review

8. Barbie

Barbie Oscars 2024 movie

Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie deliver on one of the year’s most colorful and sincere trips to the movies. Barbie is a movie that transcends style and set design, offering a visual feast with enough laughs along the way. Barbie review

7. Poor Things

poor things movie 2023

Poor Things navigates through themes of liberation and equality, propelled by Bella’s (Emma Stone) desire to explore the world beyond the constraints of her time. While the film occasionally struggles with pacing and some comedic moments that may not resonate universally, its inviting nature, overflowing ideas, and visually stunning accomplishments make it one of the standout movies of 2023. Poor Things review

6. Anatomy of a Fall

anatomy of a fall Oscars 2024 Academy Awards nominee

In Justine Triet’s hands, the courtroom becomes a darkly comic battleground, where the stakes are life and death, but the weapons are wit. Anatomy of a Fall is as much a legal thriller as it is a front-row seat to the most outrageous courtroom circus you’ll see in 2023. Anatomy of a Fall movie review

5. The Zone of Interest

the zone of interest movie 2023

The Zone of Interest is one of the most beguiling, upsetting, and finely constructed movies I saw in all of 2023. I’ve admired Jonathan Glazer’s work in the past, but I didn’t know that he had this in him. It’s much more reserved and quiet than even Under the Skin – a movie that had to sink into you and get “under your skin” in its own right. This is almost structureless and purposefully unengaging. The violence and despair never shows onscreen in a way you’d expect for a movie about The Holocaust and focused on those in charge of inflicting such atrocities. The Zone of Interest movie review

4. Killers of the Flower Moon

killers of the flower moon movie 2023

As I reflect on Killers of the Flower Moon, I’m reminded of the words of Leonardo DiCaprio‘s character Ernest: “The devil’s in the details.” Martin Scorsese’s exploration of this dark chapter in history speaks to his ability to unearth the devil in those details, revealing the complex web of human motivations and betrayals. This is a film that lingers in the mind, leaving you with much to contemplate and discuss long after the credits roll. Killers of the Flower Moon review

3. The Holdovers

The Holdovers 2024 Oscars Paul Giamatti Alexander Payne

The Holdovers is a gem that sits among my favorites of 2023. The movie’s engaging narrative, stellar performances, and melancholic tone makes it a standout addition to the holiday film canon. Three central performances by Paul Giamatti, Dominic Sessa, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph pull the film together. The Holdovers movie review

2. Past Lives

past lives movie 2023 a24 film

Past Lives is a revelation, despite a growing skepticism that romance movies are dead in the current streaming era. Every bit of emotion and rekindling romance is only strengthened by a nuanced approach to script by Celine Song and perfect casting with Greta Lee, Yoo Teo, and John Magaro. A real highlight of 2023, and this decade as a whole. Past Lives movie review

1. Oppenheimer

oppenheimer movie 2023

Oppenheimer is undoubtedly the best movie of the decade so far. Christopher Nolan puts any doubt to rest that he wouldn’t be capable of capturing a story of this magnitude. Cillian Murphy gives an iconic performance that intensifies each moment rolling along this breakneck biopic of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer movie review

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