Academy Awards Project: Ranking Every Single Academy Award Nominated Film
Well, we weren’t quite done after all. It’s time to get to the arbitrary silliness that such a big project can contain. We’ve watched every single Academy Award nominated film. We’ve ranked them all in their respective categories. Why not make this nauseating, finish on a note that went too far, and just rank every single film that was even nominated? There are over fifty films (features, and shorts) to get through, so let’s not waste much time. The only rule here is that these films are being ranked as films, not their strengths within their technical or performative categories. Also, I will only provide one sentence for all of these films, because there are far too many to do into great detail. They might have been rightfully nominated for a tech award, but that does not make them a good film. Here are all of the Academy Award nominated films ranked, from worst to best.
52. Mary Queen of Scots
A misfire royal epic that is only solid with its performances and displays, and not much else.
51. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Easily one of the weaker Star Wars films out there; a kind of fun series of escapades with Han Solo, and that’s virtually it.
50. The Wife
Outside of the strong performances of Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce, The Wife is far too carried away with its side plots to truly drive its main point of gender-based-discrimination home.
49. Animal Behaviour
Puns, puns, and more puns stymie this short in such a way that its heartfelt ending cannot save.
Great ideas and solid parts cannot glue together all of these glorious fragments into a solid idea.
47. A Night at the Garden
A brilliant seven minutes, but a short that is far too reliant on its time of release in a way that almost seems lazy; far too brief.
46. Green Book
As safe as they come; a crowd pleaser, but hardly an opus that will be widely discussed in many years.
45. Ready Player One
A sloppy story, but a smashing good time when it comes to its shallower qualities.
A strong conclusion, but a difficult first half thanks to the many tantrums the main child throws; it’s a chore at times.
A rather exploitation short that offers very little when it comes to the real James Bulger case.
A factually strong documentary, but an extremely simple execution, especially compared to the bold subject matter its discussing.
41. Christopher Robin
Uneven, but a cute and heartfelt journey back to the hundred acre wood; if only there was a bit more.
40. Bohemian Rhapsody
An uneven story that relies on Mercury’s legacy, and the stop-start motion of introducing the conception of songs way too much; still a fun time, at least.
39. A Quiet Place
A nice idea that has spawned a new type of reality; even more story building could have turned this horror-thriller into a modern day cinematic fable, though.
38. Hale County this Morning, This Evening
Even though it’s plotless, this documentary does showcase some breathtaking sequences of a county’s major moments in an old way ideologically.
37. Ralph Breaks the Internet
A fun sequel that does well with the continuation of the first film’s world building, but falls a bit lower with its actual story structure.
36. The Avengers: Infinity War
A decent piece in the never-ending Marvel storyline; weak as a standalone, but essential for the entire big picture.
35. Mary Poppins Returns
Not the worst return to an older cinematic world, Mary Poppins Returns is uplifting and even somewhat refreshing.
34. Of Fathers and Sons
This documentary is beyond challenging, but getting yourself to watch it will offer a glimpse into a hateful hell you never thought you would see (and are thankful you are not a part of).
33. Incredibles 2
Another safe sequel, except this time Incredibles 2 does all of the things the first film did but just slightly not as well; still a lot of fun.
32. Late Afternoon
A great conclusion is attached to this questionable start; strong sense of creativity with the animation, here.
31. Black Sheep
Brilliant concept and delivery, let down by an abrupt and unfulfilling ending.
30. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
A solid anthology series that offers a fun escape for a little while, but nothing too substantial otherwise.
29. First Man
A technical marvel, and a rather tight story, First Man has a few kinks that do not overshadow its ambitions.
Incredibly dark and extremely uncomfortable, Border is a modern day fairy tale done in an unbelievably twisted way.
27. Black Panther
A comic book film that goes the extra mile, you can sense a bit of longevity with Black Panther even outside of its Marvel lore.
A short that only gets stronger the more it goes on; this is a delicate form of a difficult revelation.
25. End Game
A hard hitting look at verité realism, End Game faces death with sincerity and optimism.
24. At Eternity’s Gate
Colourful, saddening, and different, this biopic focuses more on capturing Van Gogh’s mindset than trying to retell his Wikipedia page.
Although somewhat lessened by a quick ending, Mother is a nauseating thrill ride about the worst moment in a mom’s life, mostly done in one long take.
22. Never Look Away
A few narrative issues may be noticeable, but otherwise Never Look Away is so beautiful and emotional, that it might be impossible to not well up.
A moving short that combines the time and passion that goes into cooking with the inevitability of your child having to move on.
A disturbing opening, an even more disgusting second act, but a conflicted comeuppance as a final climax, Skin has something specific to say but is not afraid to dive into complexities during its closing seconds.
19. Period. End of Sentence.
A light hearted documentary short about a serious subject matter; we can still learn without being yelled at.
A troublesome tale of childhood told in a fever dream kind of way; everything is hazy, but sharp enough to resonate.
17. One Small Step
Formulaic, but still absolutely magical; One Small Step isn’t about the ending being predictable, it’s all about how we got there.
A rocky start does not deter this documentary short from becoming one of the most harrowing cinematic visions of humanity in 2018.
A horrifying tale of childhood innocence going too far, Fauve is one of the darkest tales of a young boy facing the realities of his actions.
14. Free Solo
Daring, nerve-wracking, yet glorious; Free Solo is a view of the world that only very few people can provide.
13. Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse
One bold move after another, Spider-Verse is one hell of a cinematic take on how comic books tell stories (perhaps the best interpretation).
12. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
A true story full of guilt and reason, this dramedy knows how to take in all of its elements and turn in a solid confessional.
11. A Star is Born
A re-imagination of a story done to death; this time, there is new life breathed into this tale, and strong modern relevancy, too.
Non-stop anxiety surrounding a horrifying tale of a troubled childhood in an unforgiving setting; Capernaum is that intense.
It’s interesting how many avenues this film takes to ask the basic question of what a family truly is; no easy roads were taken here, regardless.
8. First Reformed
A faith vs. science battle that suddenly unites both ideas to fight against the politics that are killing both; the dive into the extreme makes for an open-ended, disturbing touch.
7. Isle of Dogs
Fun, yet sympathetic, Isle of Dogs is possibly Wes Anderson’s most emotive work to date, with its heart in all of the right places.
6. Minding the Gap
A once-in-a-lifetime documentary that features everything one’s own eternity can offer in such a hard-hitting, unforgettable way.
5. If Beale Street Could Talk
As literary as it is soulful, this James Baldwin adaptation is sadly still relevant, but that’s all the more reason for this spectacular reintroduction of it into our lives.
4. Cold War
I keep using the word bittersweet to describe this film, but there is no other way to label it solidly; a mesmerizing blend of every emotion at once.
Bold, vicious, hilarious, scary, BlacKkKlansman is a tip-toe between extremist ideas in order to display a greater good in Spike Lee fashion.
2. The Favourite
One of the great satires of the decade, The Favourite is a layer of hell that we can mock and adore from a mile away.
A decade defining opus, there aren’t many films that champion-yet-challenge the very basis of cinema quite like this revelation.
Enjoy the Academy Awards tonight!
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.