Man at His Best

Every 2018 Oscar Nominee, Ranked

Nominees ranked. Even The Boss Baby. Of course.

BY Paul Schrodt | Feb 27, 2018 | Film & TV

We’re in the final stretch of the race to catch up with Oscar nominees before the award show on March 4. But unless you happen to be unemployed at the moment, the list is daunting. What do you watch: an unnecessary but rousing Winston Churchill biopic, a fairytale about amphibian-human sex, or Netflix’s unsettling Mudbound, a weighty drama concerning family, history, and racism? In an effort to make life easier, we’ve ranked all the movies up for awards (except documentaries, short films, and foreign-language nominees). These are the best of the best Oscar cited, and the ones that are just happy to be invited.


34. The Boss Baby

A smart-ass Alec Baldwin in the body of a baby who wears suits and orders sushi is one very bad joke extended for 97 interminable minutes.


33. The Greatest Showman

Hugh Jackman embodies circus maestro P.T. Barnum with as much razzle-dazzle as he can summon in the fact-averse musical. Watch Freaks instead for a dose of real sideshow action.


32. Roman J. Israel, Esq.

A tonally imbalanced, ham-handed legal thriller, Roman J. Israel, Esq. is the latest Denzel Washington movie that doesn’t live up to his talents and is far inferior to his own 2016 directorial effort Fences.


31. Darkest Hour

The absurdly reverent Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour (even by the standards of biopics) has no reason for existing other than 1. no one did it before, and 2. so Gary Oldman can get his Oscar.


30. Beauty and the Beast

Speaking of reverent, it’s still unclear why anyone would want an essentially shot-for-shot live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast with garish CGI, but they did to the tune of more than $1 billion, so it’s here.


29. Victoria & Abdul

Judi Dench hams it up as Queen Victoria (again!) getting schooled by an Indian servant in Victoria & Abdul, which is about as subtle in its depiction of class and leadership as a royal wedding.


28. Wonder

Oscar loves a sentimental tearjerker, and Wonder, about a disfigured boy seemingly sent from heaven to make the rest of us better people, fits the description.


27. Marshall

A paint-by-numbers courtroom drama delving into one of Thurgood Marshall’s earliest cases, Marshall at least benefits from Chadwick Boseman’s forceful performance.


26. All the Money in the World

Ridley Scott’s overwrought direction in the ripped-from-the-headlines story of John Paul Getty III’s kidnapping seems more interested in the '70s costumes than the questions about wealth and moral imperative.


25. Loving Vincent

Animating Vincent van Gogh’s life in the style of his paintings is asking for trouble, but the painter’s remarkable story carries the movie.


24. Molly’s Game

Jessica Chastain ably handles Aaron Sorkin’s verbal gymnastics, but Molly’s Game lacks the urgency and visual deftness of his other movies (directed by other people)


23. Ferdinand

An undercooked adaptation of a children’s book about a pacifist bull that was already adapted by Disney in 1938 to more interesting effect.


22. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A play that’s not a play written by a Brit set in a fictional Midwestern town that feels more like Alabama featuring characters who speak in op-ed talking points about the criminal justice system, Three Billboards might be the greatest fraud of the newly socially conscious and self-congratulatory Hollywood.


21. Kong: Skull Island

The genius stroke of casting John C. Reilly and the impressive visual effects are enough to make this half-baked King Kong reboot actually worth watching.


20. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

20. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Much like Ghostbusters II, the Guardians sequel ups the budget and scare factor while offering diminishing returns in humble elements like narrative, humour, and enjoyment.


19. The Big Sick

A pat rom-com in a modern package, Kumail Nanjiani’s autobiographical movie thrives on the tension between him and his hospitalised girlfriend’s family, including a phenomenal Holly Hunter as the mum.


18. Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s technical virtuosity is undeniable at this point, but the meandering plot of Dunkirk is just the latest evidence that he needs to hand writing duties over to someone else.


17. Blade Runner 2049

A respectable extension of Ridley Scott’s universe, 2049 is, like its predecessor, overstuffed with ideas and perhaps too in love with its set design, but thanks to cinematographer Roger Deakins, it sure is nice to look at.


16. Baby Driver

Using a character’s hearing condition as an excuse to turn a car-chase picture into a music video (no, that is definitely not how tinnitus works), Baby Driver is a mostly hollow exercise in style. But it’s so fun to watch Jon Hamm play pure villain.


15. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A totally rollicking Star Wars entry with innovative visual effects that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is about as memorable as a ride on Space Mountain. Still, it was good to see Catfish Dude again.


14. Logan

Overrated for adding buckets of blood and a girl-wolverine to the superhero formula, Logan is at its best in portraying the frayed emotional bonds among its outcast mutants.


13. The Disaster Artist

James Franco’s impression of best-worst filmmaker ever Tommy Wiseau (responsible for The Room) was snubbed by Oscars. While he’s pitch-perfect, the movie also overlooks the messier parts of Wiseau’s past and personality.


12. I, Tonya

The meta screenplay may be too clever for its own good, but Margot Robbie proves her mettle in the Tonya Harding biopic, overcoming the it-girl curse of her Wolf of Wall Street role to deliver a performance that’s nervy and sympathetic.


11. The Breadwinner

Though it doesn’t have that Pixar gloss, The Breadwinner is an animated movie appropriate for kids that directly confronts difficult themes, following an Afghan girl under Taliban rule who enjoys freedom when dressing as a boy.


10. The Post

It lacks the moral depth of Spotlight or his own Munich, but Steven Spielberg’s journalism thriller about noble newspaper people doing noble things has a delightful affection for outmoded systems and, more importantly, the truth they were meant to protect.


9. The Shape of Water

An adult, elaborately staged fairytale as only director Guillermo del Toro could tell, centering on a strangely moving tryst between an amphibian-man and a mute woman fighting the perpetual forces of oppression


8. Coco

A loving tribute to Mexico’s cultural traditions as much as it is another universal Pixar story about growing up, the densely plotted Coco may not be the studio’s most emotionally powerful work, but it’s up there.


7. War for the Planet of the Apes

Proving that sequels can improve on their source material, War for the Planet of the Apes puts a Christ-like Caesar in a final battle for the future of the earth that has eerie echoes of Apocalypse Now.


6. Lady Bird

No, it’s not revolutionary, but writer-director Greta Gerwig’s indie-comedy is low-key the most hilarious movie of the year. Behold Saoirse Ronan screaming, "Yeah, well you know, your mum's tits, they're fake! Totally fake!"


5. Mudbound

A nimble, confident adaptation of an epic novel in which a white family and a black family with sons in World War II are pitted against each other by racism that’s as deep as the soil they farm. The last act is disturbing, life-affirming, and sadly relevant all at once.


4. The Florida Project

A swing-state humanist drama for our times, The Florida Project gives no easy answers in its depiction of a girl with boundless imagination living against a bleak backdrop. We shouldn’t need a reminder that none of us are better than anyone else, but somehow we do.


3. Call Me By Your Name

You don’t have to be gay or summer in a fabulous Italian villa to relate to director Luca Guadagnino’s romance, a deeply empathetic portrait of first love’s breathless sensuality and crushing disappointment. You just have to be human.


2. Get Out

The most original horror movie in years and a fascinating indictment of white liberal delusion, which are just a couple reasons it won’t get its due on Oscar night.


1. Phantom Thread

As exquisitely made as one of obsessive designer Reynolds Woodcock’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) dresses, Phantom Thread’s surface beauty hides a delicate, subversive romance in which the man seems to hold all the power—until he doesn’t.

 

From: Esquire US


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