Top Ten: Best Pictures Nominees Ranked

Gustavo Damian Danemann Soto, Features Editor

   With the whirlwind of a year that was 2021, it’s reasonable to assume most of us haven’t thought about the Oscars. Now that awards season is nearing its end, it’s time to rank this year’s ten Best Picture nominees.

10.) Belfast- Considered one of the most likely to take the top prize, Belfast is its director’s vision through and through. It’s filled with Filmmaker Kenneth Branagh’s usual stagey tone, “impressive” direction that just means some cool angles, and an ineffective attempt at hiding the fact that it is obviously a set.

9.) CODA- Sian Heder’s CODA does a wonderful job of representing the deaf community in front of a global audience. However, it’s the same kind of indie, feel-good, predictable movie typical of the Sundance Film Festival (where it premiered). Slightly tweaked clichés don’t make a memorable movie.

8.) Don’t Look Up- Filmmaker Adam McKay could have done more to help tackle climate change by donating Don’t Look Up’s massive budget to charity. The final product is funny and effective enough to overcome its many flaws. Garnering a cast as massive as the threat their characters are facing, this Netflix satire is sharply accurate about how poorly we’ve responded to our Earth’s deterioration.

7.) King Richard- One of the few films on this list that ended up surpassing expectations, King Richard is a biopic done right. Rather than trying to reinvent the formula, it makes the smartest possible choices within its set of goals. And the greatest thing about it: you leave the film genuinely inspired.

6.) West Side Story- Director Steven Spielberg has achieved the impossible by successfully remaking West Side Story. With a cast of exciting newcomers delivering magnetic work and with Longtime Collaborator Janusz Kaminski giving some of the most exhilarating cinematography of the year, it’s hard to believe this is his first musical.

5.) Nightmare Alley- Filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro’s noir is a delicious treat, slowly but surely branching out to grab you and keep you on the edge of your seat. In this exploration of humans being the most monstrous creatures of all, the auteur moves through carnivals and upper- class New York with equal confidence.

4.) Licorice Pizza- It would be easy to dismiss Paul Thomas Anderson’s fourth trip to the San Fernando Valley due to its problematic plot, but that would mean undermining its many achievements. Staying in sync with other works of Anderson, Pizza is less worried about following a moral compass and more focused on how badly two individuals need each other, whether they like it or not.

3.) Drive My Car- The phenomenal Drive My Car centers on a stage director’s process crafting an Uncle Vanya production while grieving his beloved wife’s passing, and Japanese Auteur Ryusuke Hamaguchi intelligently draws parallels between Car’s story and Chekhov’s play to enrich both texts. The film is comprehensively and rightfully complex, always playing its cards right, ending with a winning hand.

2.) The Power of the Dog- Jane Campion’s first film in over ten years is a return to form for the New Zealander that also allows her to break new ground within her sandbox. Dog lingers on your mind from the second the credits roll to the moment you go to bed, thanks to its near-perfect camerawork, score, and performances.

1.) Dune- Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve continues his hot streak of crafting some of today’s most thought-provoking Sci-Fi films by adapting this infamously dense book with remarkable skill. Frank Herbert’s novel heavily relies on its characters’ internal thoughts, yet all is translated with ease. All this and more make Dune the best of this year’s Best Picture contenders.