All the 2024 Best Picture Oscar nominees, ranked


We can’t deny it’s been a bumpy road for the world of movies in recent years, from theaters shuttering for an extended stretch during the COVID-19 pandemic to the writers and actors strikes, to the continued proliferation and dominance of the streaming giants, giving moviegoers more at-home choices than ever before.

But hope lives when we take a look at the 10 films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture of 2023:

  • “American Fiction”
  • “Anatomy of a Fall”
  • “Barbie”
  • “The Holdovers”
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon”
  • “Maestro”
  • “Oppenheimer”
  • “Past Lives”
  • “Poor Things”
  • “The Zone of Interest”

That is not a list of good films. That is a list of great and nearly great works, covering genres from sly satire, to genre commentary, to showbiz biopics, to World War II stories, to historical drama, to resonant films told primarily in a language other than English.

Christopher Nolan’s profound and magnificent “Oppenheimer” remains the heavy favorite to win Best Picture, but there’s not a single title in the top 10 that would be frowned upon in the years and decades to come. If you haven’t seen some of these films, you’d be doing yourself a favor by catching up between now and March 10, when the 96th annual Academy Awards will air live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, with Jimmy Kimmel returning to host, marking his fourth time.

It’s Nomination Coverage Law that we must include the term “snubs & surprises” in any article, so let’s take a look at this year’s S&S candidates, as well as some other notable developments from the nominations, which (in typical and inexplicable Academy-mandated fashion) were rattled off at 5:30 a.m. from the academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. (Kudos to presenters Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid for getting right to it without any painful banter, and for doing a wonderful job with the pronunciations of names and titles.)

It’s a Barbie World — somewhat

Director Greta Gerwig (right) works with actors Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie on the set of “Barbie.”

Director Greta Gerwig (far right) works with actors Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie on the set of “Barbie.”

Warner Bros.

Box-office sensation and critical fave “Barbie” garnered eight nominations, including Greta Gerwig and Noah Bambach for adapted screenplay, America Ferrera for supporting actress, and Ryan Gosling for supporting actor. Many cried “Snub!” over Gerwig not getting a directing nod and Margot Robbie not making the cut for best actress — but Gerwig does become the first woman to have directed three best picture nominees in “Lady Bird,” “Little Women” and now “Barbie.”

  •  Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)
  •  Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)
  •  America Ferrera (“Barbie”)
  •  Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)
Best picture frontrunner “Oppenheimer” stars Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt, both first-time nominees.

Best picture front-runner “Oppenheimer” stars Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt, both first-time nominees.


It’s always a kick to see the first-time nominees on Oscar night. Win or lose, the first line of their biographies has a new and permanent addition.

Making more history

Lily Gladstone of “Killers of the Flower Moon” becomes the first Native American nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, and she is the odds-on choice (and my personal favorite) to win. That will surely make for one of the most memorable moments at the ceremony. (Gladstone is the fourth Indigenous person nominated for best actress after Merle Oberon (part Maori), Keisha Castle-Hughes (Maori) and Yalitza Aparicio (Mixtec and Trique).

Unfairly overlooked

Nominations or not, I still say various performances in “Air,” “The Killer,” “Ferrari,” “Dream Scenario,” “Saltburn,” “May December,” “Origin” and “The Iron Claw” were worthy of a nod.

Ah, but that’s the thing with Oscar nominations. It’s a competition, which means there will be happy surprises for some and deep disappointments for others. As always, though, it helps to keep a sense of balance about these things. To borrow a perspective from the world of sports, as the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen said on the day after a heartbreaking playoff loss: “On the bright side, we woke up this morning.”

Awards lovers were up early Tuesday to watch Jack Quaid and Zazie Beets deliver the good news to Cillian Murphy, Emma Stone, and whoever did the sound on Maestro that they'd been nominated for an Academy Award. (Question: do the Emmys give out a trophy for Best Animated Yelp? Quaid deserves one for his repeated excellent work as Bradward Boimler of the USS Cerritos on Star Trek: Lower Decks.)

While anyone with half a brain recognizes that it is absurd to put work as distinctive as Oppenheimer and The Holdovers into a pole-vaulting competition, the fact that this March 10 sees the 96th such presentation, I think we'll have to skip the old apples vs. oranges bit. 

Those in the know recognize that the Oscar noms come at the tail end of a whole "Awards Season," which begins in force each year with the New York Film Critics Circle gala the first week of the year, but some say it begins with the Venice Film Festival in late August. Others suggest that the campaigning for the 2025 Oscars has already begun, and we don't even know it. 

The point is that by now, a certain narrative already exists (e.g., "Lily Gladstone is a lock"), so when something unexpected happens, it is a snub or surprise. Here's what dropped monocles in the soup this morning. 

Oscar Snubs and Surprises Sterling K. Brown in American Fiction and Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig on the set of Barbie
Sterling K. Brown in American Fiction and Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig on the set of BarbieClaire Folger/Orion Pictures; Dale Robinette/Warner Bros.; Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.


Best Director: Greta Gewig for Barbie. It isn't like Barbie didn't get plenty of nominations (and Gerwig did get a nomination for co-writing the screenplay), but did this billion-dollar behemoth direct itself?

Best Actress: Margot Robbie for Barbie. Sure, she's already been compensated with a huge paycheck as not just a star but producer on the biggest movie of the year (and it isn't like God above doesn't bless this woman every time she looks in the mirror), but it's a little weird that Margot got the diss for Barbie.

Best Actress: Greta Lee for Past Lives. This beloved indie (which deservedly got nominated for Best Picture) lives and dies by the roiling emotion beneath the surface of lead performer Greta Lee.

Best Supporting Actor: Charles Melton for May December: This is an odd movie that isn't funny enough to be campy or straight enough to be accepted by most as a heavy drama, so many are left scratching their heads. But one thing is undeniable: Charles Melton is spectacular as Julianne Moore's young husband coming out of a decades-long stupor thanks to the investigating actress played by Natalie Portman.

Best International Film: Anatomy of a Fall. But don't blame the Oscars for this. Blame the nation of France that submitted The Taste of Things instead. (Luckily, Fall got plenty of nominations on its own.)

Best Documentary: Menus-Plaisirs - Les Troisgros. I refuse to believe people wouldn't vote for Frederick Wiseman's marvelous exploration of a Michelin three-star restaurant if they actually saw it. But the movie is four hours long without an intermission, so it scared people away. Scandal!


Best Supporting Actor: Sterling K. Brown for American Fiction. A great and unexpected pick. Cord Jefferson's film is so splendid because it balances social satire with a family drama, and Brown's turn as Jeffrey Wright's brother undergoing a crisis of his own is marvelous.

Best Supporting Actress: America Ferrara, Barbie. Maybe this isn't a surprise to some, but I wasn't expecting it.

Makeup and Hairstyling: Golda. Yes, Helen Mirren's makeup is terrific in this, but who actually saw this movie? Is giving a nomination to a biopic of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir actually a smidge of political commentary during troubled times in the Middle East? You decide!

Best Song: "The Fire Inside," Flamin' Hot. This is the movie based on a lie about who created Hot Cheetos. I saw this movie, but I have no memory of the song. Unlike the disgustingness of those chemical-tasting snacks, it did not linger.

Best Documentary: Bobi WineThe People's President. Good movie! And it is currently on Disney +. It's about a democratic crisis in Uganda, one of the few countries more screwed-up than the United States!

Best Picture: Past Lives. It'll never win up against Oppenheimer and The Holdovers (and American Fiction and several other great films), but this nomination will raise awareness for this terrific film and get more people to watch it. Moreover, it'll get you thinking about your regrettable decisions in life. Divorce rates are gonna go through the roof.

The 96th Oscars air on Sunday, March 10, at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET live on ABC.

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