This year’s best picture category has some incredible films – seriously, this is such a strong year. I’ve been doing this for a long time; seeing every film nominated for best picture, reviewing them and then ranking them, and 2018 is the year in which I have had the most difficulty trying to rank the films (I’ve reordered my list over a dozen times; never feeling fully confident in my ranking of them). I could easily and happily give six of the films on this list the top spot. They all in different ways and for different reasons deserve the number 1 spot. So, it has been really challenging for me to try to figure out an order that saw nearly every film landing in the right spot on the list.
I think I’ve finally done it… I think I’m now comfortable with where each film has landed on the list. But I know that because of how good so many of these films are, that many people will ultimately disagree with my ranking. I want you to know that it pains me to have to give some of these films lower rankings – but what would be the point in listing them if I was just going to give most of them the top spot. So, let’s get past this rambling section where I try to justify my ranking, and get on with the reason you clicked on this piece in the first place. Here is my ranking of the best picture nominations.
9. The Post
Starting off the list, we have a pretty by the numbers Spielberg film. I found The Post to be completely serviceable. I found its story to be engaging (despite knowing how it played out) and I really enjoyed many of the characters on offer. This is in no way a bad film. It’s just that it’s something we’ve all seen before. It doesn’t do anything new and really the only reason it was nominated was because Spielberg directed it and the always overrated, Meryl Streep is in it. An enjoyable film, but nothing memorable or particularly remarkable.
8. Get Out
I’m sure many people will be annoyed at how low this film has ranked on my list, but I have to be honest: I found Get Out to be, at best, an okay film. It had some interesting ideas that it executed in a visually fantastic way, but it was never a film that wowed me or surprised me. I think the racial commentary in the film has seen it garner more attention than it honestly deserves. Other than how the film visually communicates with the audience, Get Out wasn’t a film that ever stuck around in my mind, nor do I think it’s necessarily best picture worthy. I’m certainly interested to see what, Jordan Peele will do next and how he will develop as a director, as this is certainly a bold first outing for someone who has never directed a film before. Whatever it is, it will be interesting to see if it pulls in the same sort of acclaim as Get Out.
7. Darkest Hour
What you have here is a damn good biopic with an outstanding lead performance from Gary Oldman. With some striking imagery and a portrayal of one the greatest living Brits, I found this to be a surprisingly rich, meaningful experience. The film puts characters at the forefront and surrounds them with audio and visual choices that elevate the film from a basic biopic into something far more memorable and engrossing. Oldman will surely – and finally – take home the Oscar for a leading role. This is a film worthy of the man and beyond entertaining. Perhaps not best picture worthy, but with my top 5 being so strong, it’s hard to know for sure.
6. Lady Bird
Now we get onto the films I had real difficulty ranking. Lady Bird is an effortlessly enjoyable film. With a host of characters who you eagerly want to spend time with and a premise that is simple but invitingly relatable; it is an experience that I enjoyed from beginning to end. I wasn’t sure beforehand if it was going to actually be best picture worthy, but now having seen it, I’m more than happy to see it receive such recognition. It’s in its familiar, yet fresh feeling presentation that this film gracefully works its way into your heart, and by the end left me feeling hopeful and fulfilled. Writer, director, Greta Gerwig has created something wonderful, and I am now very excited to see what she will go onto do next.
Dunkirk is an experience of unmatched scale and tension-inducing beauty. In all seriousness and not to come across as hyperbolic: but this might just be Christopher Nolan’s best work to date. I sat there in the IMAX theatre in awe of what Nolan had put together. Like a lot of his films, there is an overwhelming experience that encompasses you and guides you. I think more than any other film on this list, Dunkirk takes full advantage of the tools of filmmaking; visually, auditorily, practically. There is something so pure and unfiltered in its execution, and it’s a film that is without a doubt deserving of award season praise. This piece now marks the fourth time (since its release) that I’ve talked about Dunkirk and Nolan’s films and I’ll make sure to link to all of them, because I never tier of talking about this incredible director and his work.
4. The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro has created something truly beautiful and truly different with this film. With its alluring style, its touching performances and its odd story that charms you; The Shape of Water is a film that continually delights you. It’s so wonderful to see Guillermo del Toro finally get the recognition he deserves, after working tirelessly and untainted in a system that doesn’t usually allow such unique talents to last for long (not without some compromise on their part at least). This film will clean up at the Oscars and despite it not being number 1 on my list, I still look forward to seeing it win countless trophies. Everyone involved deserves it and the more attention put towards this film the better (a sentiment I spread to most of the films on this list. Especially the ones coming up).
3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Undoubtedly one of the best performances by an actor in 2017/2018; Frances McDormand dominates this film with a character who delights you, frightens you and challenges you. In fact, writer, director Martin McDonagh has constructed a film full of themes and characters that challenge you in a host of ways. I sat there in the cinema with my mouth agape at the unflinching look at the depths humans can sink too, and how weirdly satisfying it can be to watch. Any other year this would be a definite frontrunner, but as I’ve already said: 2018 boasts an incredibly strong, infallible selection of best picture nominations. But I can’t stress enough just how staggeringly honest and engrossing this film is. My time spent watching it was both glorious and emotionally crushing.
2. Phantom Thread
I will forever love the work of Paul Thomas Anderson, no matter how obtuse his films are. With an outstanding cast of actors/characters (Daniel Day-Lewis being a particular standout), Phantom Thread isn’t a film for everyone, but it is still undeniably intoxicating and had me thinking about it long after it had finished. It’s unconventional look at love and its handling of its very particular characters made it a film that continually felt like it was testing me. I don’t expect it to be a big winner on the night, but for me personally, there was something unforgettably addicting about it. I do hope it receives some recognition at the Oscars, as the more eyes that are put to this film the better. But even if it doesn’t, I still loved every second that I got to spend indulging in its unique love story.
1. Call Me by Your Name
I found every single second of Call Me by Your Name to be a luxurious, inviting, warming experience; one that I was completely engrossed by from beginning to end. I am so happy to see this film get the level of recognition it has received so far, and a best picture nomination is the cherry on top. The delicate handling of the characters, the picturesque scenery of Italy, and a love story that was forever evolving. I lavished in the wonderfulness of this film, and it offered one of the most memorable and enriching experiences that I had at the cinema in 2017. I know it won’t take home the trophy for best picture, and while it is personally my choice to win it, I’m just glad that my top 6 films on this list are all extremely deserving of winning the category. I’m happy for any of them to win it. If you haven’t already, make the effort to experience this exquisite film and all the other ones as well!
So, there you have it, that is my ranking of the best picture nominations, and what a brilliant selection of films it is. Now, I’m fully expecting you to disagree with my ranking, and that’s fine. In fact, I’m really interested to read what your ranking would be and what you thought of the films on this list. Please share with me your thoughts, opinions, feedback, etc. on the films, my list, whatever you’re passionate to talk about. I welcome a dialogue, especially with a list of films as good as these ones. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
Also, feel free to check out my ranking of the 2017 best picture category and what I thought of those films: The 2017 Oscars – Best Picture Nominations: Watched, Reviewed and Ranked.
If you liked what you read here, feel free to follow both my blog directly and my Twitter – @GavinsRamblings – that way you’ll always know when I post something new. But I’ll bring my ramblings to a close now by thanking you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you liked it enough to return. Have a wonderful day!