Two hundred and sixty-five films were eligible for Best Picture at this year's 96th Oscars; on Tuesday, the Academy revealed the 10 films that are in contention for its top honor. The nominated films took viewers from a schoolyard in South Korea to a courtroom in France and on to Barbie Land, as well as back in time to the 1920s, the 1970s, and places beyond time and space as we know it. This year's Best Picture nominees comprise historical dramas and satire, a sci-fi adventure and a Western crime drama; despite the genre, they are all films that deal with notions of identity, legacy, and humanity.
Oppenheimer is the year's most-nominated film, with 13 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and three acting nominations. Poor Things follows with 11 nominations, and then Killers of the Flower Moon follows with 10 nominations in total.
Last year, the genre-bending epic Everything Everywhere All at Once took home the Oscar for Best Picture. This year's winner will be announced during the 96th Oscars on Sunday, March 10.
Until then, A.frame has compiled this viewing guide to the Best Picture nominees.
Cord Jefferson's directorial debut is a scathing satire about what it means to be represented beyond blatant stereotypes. Jeffrey Wright stars as Thelonious "Monk" Ellison, a novelist who is fed up with being told his books aren't "Black" enough. To prove a point to his editor, he writes an exploitative novel full of tired tropes about the Black experience; but Monk's plan backfires when the book is a huge hit. American Fiction won the Toronto International Film Festival's People's Choice Award.
Total nominations: 5; also for Best Actor (Jeffrey Wright), Best Supporting Actor (Sterling K. Brown), Best Original Score, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Justine Triet's family drama-turned-courtroom thriller centers on a successful writer, Sandra (played by Sandra Hüller), her husband Samuel (Samuel Theis), and their visually-impaired son, Daniel (Milo Machado Graner). When Samuel falls to his death under mysterious circumstances, Sandra becomes the main suspect, and 11-year-old Daniel is the only witness. Anatomy of a Fall, which Triet scripted with Arthur Harari, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and took home the Palme d'Or.
Total nominations: 5; also for Best Actress (Sandra Hüller), Best Directing, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Screenplay.
"To live in Barbie Land is to be a perfect being in a perfect place. Unless you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you're a Ken." Co-writer and director Greta Gerwig's idiosyncratic spin on Mattel's most famous doll stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, respectively, alongside an ensemble cast that includes America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, and Will Ferrell. Not only was Barbie the highest-grossing movie of 2023, but it made history as the highest-grossing Warner Bros. movie ever and the highest-grossing movie ever directed by a female director.
Total nominations: 8; also for Best Supporting Actor (Ryan Gosling), Best Supporting Actress (America Ferrera), Best Costume Design, Best Original Song (for "I'm Just Ken" and "What Was I Made For?"), Best Production Design, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
The Holdovers reunites two-time Oscar-winning writer-director Alexander Payne and star Paul Giamatti nearly 20 years after 2004's Sideways. The '70s-set dramedy features Giamatti as the cantankerous boarding school teacher Paul Hunham. Forced to babysit a handful of students staying on campus over Christmas break, Paul finds himself forming an unlikely bond with unruly teenager Angus (newcomer Dominic Sessa) and the school's grieving cook, Mary Lamb (Da'Vine Joy Randolph).
Total nominations: 5; also for Best Actor (Paul Giamatti), Best Supporting Actress (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), Best Film Editing, and Best Original Screenplay.
Martin Scorsese's follow-up to 2019's The Irishman is an adaptation of journalist David Grann's bestselling book of the same name. Co-written by Scorsese and Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth, the Western crime drama centers on the marriage between Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone) and Ernest Burkhart (Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio), the latter of whom is implicated in a plot by white men to murder members of Osage Nation during the 1920s. The film's ensemble includes two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and newly-minted Oscar winner Brendan Fraser.
Total nominations: 10; also for Best Actress (Lily Gladstone), Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Directing, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, and Best Production Design.
Bradley Cooper's follow-up to his Oscar-winning debut, A Star is Born, is an untraditional biopic about one of America's greatest composers, Leonard Bernstein. Counting both Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese amongst its producers, Maestro tells the love story between Bernstein (Cooper, transformed via prosthetics by Oscar-winning makeup artist Kazu Hiro) and his wife, the actress Felicia Montealegre Bernstein (Carey Mulligan).
Total nominations: 7; also for Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Actress (Carey Mulligan), Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound, and Best Original Screenplay.
Adapted from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin's biography American Prometheus, Oppenheimer is Christopher Nolan's biopic about theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his work with the Manhattan Project during World War II. The film marks Nolan's sixth collaboration with Cillian Murphy, who stars as the titular "father of the atomic bomb," with an ensemble that also includes Emily Blunt as his wife, Katherine "Kitty" Oppenheimer, and Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, who served as the head of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission during Oppenheimer's 1954 security clearance hearings.
Total nominations: 13; also for Best Actor (Cillian Murphy), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Downey Jr.), Best Supporting Actress (Emily Blunt), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Designer, Best Directing, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Sound, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Filmmaker Celine Song's directorial debut is a modern romance that unfolds over multiple decades: Childhood friends Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) are split up when Nora's family emigrates from South Korea. Twenty years later, the duo — along with Nora's husband, Arthur (played by John Magaro) — are reunited over the course of one week together, during which they must confront notions of destiny, love, and the choices that make a life.
Total nominations: 2; also for Best Original Screenplay.
Yorgos Lanthimos and Oscar winner Emma Stone's latest collaboration is a spin on the story of Frankenstein's monster, based on a novel by Scottish author Alasdair Gray and adapted by screenwriter Tony McNamara. Stone stars as Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by an unorthodox scientistic (Willem Dafoe). Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella sets off on an odyssey of self-discovery. At the Venice International Film Festival, Poor Things won the Golden Lion for Best Film.
Total nominations: 11; also for Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Directing, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Adapted from the novel by Martin Amis, filmmaker Jonathan Glazer's Holocaust drama is a portrait of family life for Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife, Hedwig (Sandra Hüller), in a house and garden next to the camp. As the Hösses go about their daily routine, at willful odds with the horrors happening next door, the audience is witness to the banality of evil. At the Cannes Film Festival, The Zone of Interest won the Grand Prix and the FIPRESCI Prize.
Total nominations: 5; also for Best Directing, Best International Feature Film, Best Sound, and Best Adapted Screenplay.