How the 10 best picture Oscar nominees are making their final pitches for a win

Two soldiers shout amid fires and celebrating in "All Quiet on the Western Front."
“All Quiet on the Western Front” was made by Germans who hate war just as much as the next European Union country, except for maybe those Swedes.

For the 10 movies nominated for best picture, being invited to the party was just the first step. Now the focus is on winning the Oscar in what remains a wide-open race. Campaign pitches must be freshened, talking points adjusted and the souls of all involved cleansed with Ophora water and superfood smoothies, making it possible to formulate an answer to the question “so ... how did this project originate?” and not completely die inside because it has been asked, by this point, several thousand times.

So as we head into the final stretch before voting begins, let’s look at the messages the nominated movies seem to be sending.



Yes, there have been other adaptations of “All Quiet on the Western Front,” but this is the best version. And not just because it was made by a German. OK ... it is precisely because it was made by a German! We have reclaimed this story for Deutschland, annexed it, if you will. No. Strike that. Poor choice of words. Just appreciate that this is an antiwar movie — yes, it gets off on the battle scenes, but don’t all war movies do that? — made by Germans who hate war just as much as the next European Union country, except for maybe those Swedes, but WHAT THE HELL DO THEY KNOW ABOUT THE GRIM REALITIES OF LIFE? Sorry. We didn’t mean to shout. Again: Vote for us. That’s an order.

The tall, aqua-colored Metkayina clan of "Avatar: The Way of Water."
There are billions of reasons to reward the “Avatar” sequel.
(20th Century Studios/20th Century Studios)


We can give you 2 billion reasons to reward our movie. What? You turn up your nose at our box office bounty? Fine. We’ll be over here, counting our money, knowing you’ll have another chance to honor us with “Avatar 3,” “Avatar 4,” “Avatar 5” ...

Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan sit on a stone wall, a bottle of booze between them in "Banshees of Inisherin."
Pour yourself a pint and raise a toast to “Banshees of Inisherin.”
(Jonathan Hession/Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)



Forget the thrown fingers. And the poor donkey ... though wasn’t that a beautiful shot of Colin Farrell at her grave? In fact, we bet you remember a number of lovely images from the film. Kerry Condon letting Barry Keoghan down easy by the lake. “There goes that dream.” Whew. Was there a more perfectly acted scene in a movie this year? Was there a more perfectly cast movie this year? We’ve stumped you, haven’t we? Pour yourself a pint and raise a toast!

Austin Butler sings on stage as older Elvis.
All together now: “If we can dream of a better land, Where the Oscar goes to a movie that people can stand ...”
(Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)


[Sung to the tune of “If I Can Dream”]


There must be votes coming our way somewhere
Got to be love for a movie so true
If we can dream of a better land
Where the Oscar goes to a movie that people can stand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t our dream come true?

There must be a prize for Austin Butler sometime
For he still talks just like Elvis and it’s been years
If we can dream of a warmer sun
Where Oscars go to the deserving one
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won’t that sun shine this year?

A woman and her adult daughter share an emotional embrace in "Everything Everywhere All at Once."
Despite the chaos, it’s about family, OK?
(Allyson Riggs)


It’s about family, OK? Yes, it takes place in the multiverse, and we know that is confusing and perhaps even threatening and/or alienating for some of you. Take a deep breath. Relax. Maybe invite your children to watch the movie with you. Or your grandchildren, if you’re so blessed. Don’t have any? Maybe that guy who lives down the street, the one with the funny-looking plants growing in his backyard, could come over and help you out. Just remember, again: It’s a story about a family, in this case an immigrant family, struggling to communicate with each other and the beautiful journey they take toward acceptance and understanding. Doesn’t that sound nice?


Michelle Williams gives her young son a movie camera in a scene from "The Fabelmans."
Despite its love for cinema, it’s about family, OK?
(Universal Pictures and Amblin En/Universal Pictures and Amblin En)


It’s about family, OK? In our case, it’s Steven Spielberg’s family and how his upbringing informed his art and set him on the path to become one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of the medium. “Family, art, life — it will tear you in two!” Who among you cannot relate to that line in some way, even if you’ve never been screamed at by John Ford?

Cate Blanchett sits at a piano writing notes on sheet music in a scene from "Tar."
Popular? Maybe not. But “Tar” will stand the test of time.
(Courtesy of Focus Features/Courtesy of Focus Features)



Have you heard? The London Film Critics Circle just gave us best picture, making us only the fourth movie to win top prizes from the Los Angeles, New York, National Society of Film Critics and London groups. The other three: “Schindler’s List,” “L.A. Confidential” and “The Social Network.” And, yes, of those movies, only “Schindler’s List” won best picture. But as time has passed, you probably wish the others had won too. “The King’s Speech”? Really? How does that look today? Think of what movie will stand the test of time and vote accordingly.

Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise in "Top Gun: Maverick."
I’m not crying, you’re crying. But then, strong men also cry.
(Paramount Pictures)


Sure, sure, we’ve heard all the talk about how “Top Gun: Maverick” saved movie theaters from extinction — not disputing it, by the way — but, if we may, let’s dig a little deeper here and get real. You needed this movie. And by you, we mean all the dads who came of age with the original “Top Gun” and still get a lump in their throats when they hear those opening synths of the “Top Gun” anthem, forcing them to reach for their aviator sunglasses because, OK, something got in their eyes. We are not surprised at your tears. Strong men also cry. Especially when they’re given such a potent reminder that you can be of a certain age and still fly right into the danger zone and come out, not just unscathed, but a damn hero.

A boat captain and passenger lean and sway onboard in a scene from "Triangle of Sadness."
The yacht may crash, but does the satire?



[Sung to the tune of the “Love Boat Theme”]

Was it the galley’s stew?
Into the ocean blue!
The haaaate boat
Soon will be making another run
The haaaate boat
Making fun of the rich is fun

Keep ahold of your dentures
And try to barf in the potted plants
And hate won’t hurt any more
Even if our satire’s a crashing bore
It’s haaaaate ...
Welcome aboard!

Claire Foy and Rooney Mara look serious in a scene from "Women Talking."
Yes, women talk. And debate and challenge and encourage and ... thrill.
(Michael Gibson/Orion Releasing)



We know you may not have taken the time to watch our movie yet. No judgment — unless you’re one of those bros who can’t get past the title. Then, sure, you may feel a little silent contempt radiating your way. But there’s still time to appreciate one of the year’s most critically acclaimed films — we made more Top 10 lists than “Elvis” and “The Batman”! — and take note that our esteemed writer-director, Sarah Polley, is nominated for the beautiful way she adapted Miriam Toews’ novel, making 100 minutes of women debating, encouraging, understanding and, yes, talking, into a thrilling film.