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Awards Season 2020: Ranking the Best Picture Nominees

We are now less than a week away from the 92nd Academy Awards, and I want to try and get as much Oscar-related content out there as I can to celebrate. I have managed to watch all nine of the Best Picture contenders quite early on in the process, so that means I am able to give you guys my personal ranking of all of the films nominated.

Just to make it clear, this is a list of my favourite. This is not a “what is technically the best” or “what will win” list, this is just what I like the most. 2019 has been a fantastic year, and unlike last year I actually liked every single film nominated. Just because a film is last on the list, does not mean it is a bad film and should be ignored. Every single one of these films earned its nomination and deserves to be watched. However, I have got a ranked list and here it is:

Joker (2019) - source: Warner Bros.
Joker (2019) – source: Warner Bros.

9. Little Women
The fact that this is lowest rated of the nine films shows how great 2019 has been and how much I enjoyed every single film nominated for Best Picture this year. To me, I am just somebody that is not a fan of the flashback narration style that Little Women takes, but that does not take away the incredible performances, beautiful costumes and timelessness of the story and how important it still is in this day and age.

8. Parasite
For many people, this will be in their top two of the year, let alone Best Picture contenders. I am still struggling with the final hour of the film and the tonal change it takes, but it is wonderfully crafted and in a second viewing I may end up liking it more.

7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Whilst not one of Tarantino’s finest pieces of work, in my opinion, OUATIH may be his most audience-friendly piece of work and with a potential final film on the horizon for him, Academy members may feel like this could be the final chance to award him. It is still a great film, but it still felt very indulgent and there are still storylines that I could do with tightening up or even be taken out to make a stronger film.

6. The Irishman
Despite the very long runtime, it is hard not to be impressed by the work that Martin Scorsese does with The Irishman. The problem I have with this film, which is something that potentially a lot of viewers have, is the re-watchability factor. I have no intention to sit down and fully watch this film again for a while, which is why it is ranked slightly lower than the rest of the films.

5. Ford v Ferrari
The top five for me are all easily near-perfect films and the places of three to five could change at any moment, but for right now Ford v Ferrari is a huge thrill of a film that does not feel like it’s runtime, something The Irishman sometimes struggles with. I went to see this one twice and I appreciated it even more the second time, but I know this has zero chance of winning the Oscar here.

4. Jojo Rabbit
I never expected Jojo Rabbit to make me feel as emotional as it did, perhaps being the film closest to making me cry out of the nine. From the brilliant use of humour to the beautiful yet heartbreaking story, Taika Waititi outdid himself here and I cannot wait to continue checking out whatever he makes.

3. Marriage Story
It is a shock to me that Noah Baumbach isn’t sweeping the screenwriting awards, because Marriage Story is the strongest screenplay of the entire year. The story is emotional, the characters are well-rounded and the situation just breaks my heart. It is a hard film to watch, making me less likely to watch it on repeat like my top two choices, but it is an awarding one regardless.

2. 1917
In terms of the technical achievement and the individual elements all coming together, 1917 is a masterpiece in filmmaking (and I don’t say that word lightly). The fact that this is a personal story from Sam Mendes not only makes him a worthy recipient of Best Director, but I have called 1917 to be the winner of Best Picture for months before it was even released and I may end up being correct, all in a world where I was betting against Tarantino and Scorsese.

1. Joker
I know I am going to get heavily judged for this, but you all know that I have been online defending the discourse against Joker and spreading my love for the film. It was easily my favourite film of 2019, having seen it twice to confirm that idea I had. It gets even better on a second viewing, with the cinematography, score and haunting narrative all coming together to create a story that I felt truly invested in. Yes, it may now not be cool to say that I love Joker as a film, but I’m doing it.

What do you think of my list? Are you in the Bong-Hive and feel I should give Parasite another watch? Are you with me with the love for Joker? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and let’s have a discussion.

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