Last year, the heartfelt family drama CODA took home the Oscar for Best Picture. At this year's 95th Oscars, the 10 nominated films up for the Academy's top honor include a multiverse-hopping sci-fi spectacular, a darkly comedic Irish fable, a social satire set aboard a superyacht, multiple literary adaptations, biopics about everyone from Elvis Presley to Steven Spielberg, and two blockbuster sequels that broke records at the box office. (Here's an Oscars tidbit for you: Before this year's nominations, only seven sequels had even been nominated for Best Picture.)
This year's Best Picture winner will be announced during the 95th Oscars on Sunday, March 12. Until then, A.frame has compiled a viewing guide to all of the nominees, most of which are available to watch now though a few are still playing exclusively in theaters.
All Quiet on the Western Front earned the unique distinction of being nominated both for Best Picture and as Germany's submission for Best International Feature Film. (A feat previously achieved by films such as Taiwan's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Mexico's Roma, South Korea's Parasite, and Japan's Drive My Car.) Director Edward Berger's adaptation of arguably the greatest war novel of all time — about German soldiers on the frontlines of WWI — arrives nearly one century after Lewis Milestone's 1930 film adaptation won Best Picture and Best Director at the 2nd Oscars.
Total nominations: 9; also for Best International Feature Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects.
Arriving 13 years after James Cameron first introduced audiences to the world of Pandora and its alien inhabitants, Avatar: The Way of Water returned moviegoers to the jungle moon to explore new lands, new Na'vi, and a continued war against human colonization. The original Avatar racked up nine Oscar nominations in total and won three Oscars (Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Visual Effects) on its way to becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time. The sequel has also crossed the $2 billion mark worldwide, meaning Cameron has made three of the top four highest grossing films at the worldwide box office.
Total nominations: 4; also for Best Production Design, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects.
At the 90th Oscars, Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and won two Oscars (Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell.) For his follow-up, McDonagh reunited with his In Bruges stars, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, for another dark comedy. Set on the titular isle of Inisherin, the film follows Pádraic (Farrell) as he discovers that his best friend and faithful drinking buddy, Colm (Gleeson), no longer wants to be friends with him. Colm's reason: "I just don't like you no more."
Total nominations: 9; also for Best Actor (Farrell), Best Supporting Actor (Gleeson), Best Supporting Actor (Barry Keoghan), Best Supporting Actress (Kerry Condon), Best Directing, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Original Screenplay.
It's been more than 20 years since a Baz Luhrmann-helmed movie secured a spot in the Best Picture race; in 2002, Moulin Rouge! racked up eight nominations, including Best Picture, and went on to win Oscars for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design. (In 2014, Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby also won Oscars in those same craft categories.) This time around, audiences — if you'll forgive the gratuitous Elvis lyrics — couldn't help falling in love with the visionary director's Elvis Presley biopic, and especially with the film's star-making performance by Austin Butler as the King of Rock and Roll.
Total nominations: 8; also for Best Actor (Austin Butler), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design, and Best Sound.
Who in the multiverse saw Everything Everywhere All at Once coming? The sophomore feature from directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as Daniels), following 2016's farting-corpse dark comedy Swiss Army Man, became the unexpected sensation of the year, a genre-jumping magnum opus about a laundromat owner (first-time nominee Michelle Yeoh, in the role of a lifetime) recruited to travel through different universes to save the world, save her family, and save herself. Everything Everywhere All at Once makes history as the first Best Picture nominee to include hotdog fingers.
Total nominations: 11; also for Best Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Best Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Best Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Best Supporting Actress (Stephanie Hsu), Best Costume Design, Best Directing, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, and Best Original Screenplay.
Steven Spielberg has now earned a whopping 12 Best Picture nominations across his storied career, including back-to-back nominations for 2021's West Side Story and The Fabelmans. (His sole Best Picture win was for 1993's Schindler's List.) Spielberg's most personal movie to date, The Fabelmans tells the coming-of-age story of a 16-year-old boy, Sammy Fabelman, as he falls in love with moviemaking. The film premiered during the Toronto Film Festival and won the People's Choice Award, a prize previously collected by Best Picture winners like Nomadland, Green Book, and 12 Years a Slave.
Total nominations: 7; also for Best Actress (Michelle Williams), Best Supporting Actor (Judd Hirsch), Best Directing, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, and Best Original Screenplay.
After launching his filmmaking career with 2001's In the Bedroom (which earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture), and then, directing 2006's Little Children (which earned three Oscar nominations), it would be another 16 years before writer-director Todd Field would release his third film, Tár. Starring Cate Blanchett (herself a seven-time nominee and two-time Oscar-winning actress) as renowned composer-conductor Lydia Tár, the first woman to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic, Field's psychological drama is a cautionary tale about absolute power corrupting absolutely.
Total nominations: 6; also for Best Actress (Cate Blanchett), Best Cinematography, Best Directing, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Screenplay.
In 1987, Top Gun earned four Oscar nominations and took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for Tom Whitlock and Giorgio Moroder's "Take My Breath Away." More than three decades later, Top Gun: Maverick returned Tom Cruise's Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell to the cockpit and the franchise to the Oscar race, albeit this time with even more nominations, including one for Best Picture. Featuring revolutionary practically-shot aerial sequences, the blockbuster sequel reinforced the power of the theater-going experience, breaking box office records and becoming Cruise's first billion-dollar movie.
Total nominations: 6; also for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects.
In 2015, Ruben Östlund's Force Majeure was shortlisted for an Oscar nomination. In 2018, the filmmaker was once again chosen to represent Sweden at the Oscars with his Palme d'Or-winning follow-up, The Square, and earned a nomination for Best International Feature Film. Triangle of Sadness, his latest social satire and first English-language film, follows an influencer couple who are invited aboard an ill-fated luxury cruise for the uber-rich. Like The Square before it, Triangle of Sadness won the Palme d'Or when it debuted at Cannes. And now, for the first time, Östlund will compete for Best Picture.
Total nominations: 3; also for Best Directing and Best Original Screenplay.
Actress-turned-Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sarah Polley (an Adapted Screenplay nominee for 2006's Away From Her) has earned her second writing nod for Women Talking, adapted from Miriam Toews' best-selling 2018 novel of the same name. The film, about a group of Mennonite women grappling with the systemic sexual violence they have experienced by the men in their community, becomes Polley's first directorial effort to be nominated for Best Picture. Producers Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner previously won Best Picture with 12 Years a Slave (2013), and then, once more for Moonlight (2016), while producer Frances McDormand, a three-time Best Actress Oscar winner, won her fourth Oscar as one of the producers behind Best Picture winner Nomadland (2020).
Total nominations: 2; also for Best Adapted Screenplay.