A few weeks ago, we published a piece titled “The Top 10 Films Of 2019, According To CinemaBlend” – a feature generated by analyzing the average out-of-five scores given to every film members of our staff saw in the previous calendar year. It’s become a bit of a tradition on the site, as we’ve run similar articles annually going back to 2015, and last year we even introduced a new mid-year variant.
Now we’ve taken that same general idea and applied it in a new direction: ranking the nominees for Best Picture at the 2020 Academy Awards.
All nine of the films up for the top prize at the Oscars were seen by at least 18 members of the CinemaBlend staff, many of us working hard in recent weeks to catch up with titles we missed last year (explaining why the rankings and scores here are slightly different than those in the Top 10 of 2019 feature). Our final analysis? It’s most definitely a crop of movies that we seriously dig. Without further ado, let’s dive into the rankings!
#9. Ford v Ferrari
Average Score: 3.8055556/5
It can’t really be said that James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari was CinemaBlend’s “favorite” new release of 2019, placing 27th overall in our site-wide ranking, but it’s certainly a film that our staff appreciates. It’s a story that’s pretty basic as far as sports movies go, but also one hell of a ride thanks to incredible and tense action sequences and fantastic performances from both Matt Damon and Christian Bale. We wouldn’t be surprised in the least if it wound up winning some major technical awards during the Oscars (it’s nominated in three other categories), but it’s not exactly our number one pick for Best Picture.
Average Score: 4.0909091/5
Todd Phillips’ Joker stunned the film world when it wound up earning more Academy Award nominations than any other 2019 release earlier this month – a grand total of 11. Because of this, it’s unlikely that the movie walks away from the show totally empty handed (Joaquin Phoenix has some strong odds in the Best Actor category), and there are select members of the CinemaBlend staff who would whole-heartedly cheer if it were to win the biggest prize of the night. Controversial as the comic book adaptation may be, it earned no score below a three in our company survey… though also didn’t end up with an average particularly close to the top.
#7. The Irishman
Average Score: 4.1136364/5
Martin Scorsese might be 77 years old, but he still makes films with the energy of a 20-year-old, and The Irishman is a truly stunning piece of work. It took the filmmakers years and years to actually get the project made, ultimately needing technology to catch up with his grand vision, and what he has created fits every definition of epic. As many have pointed out, it’s definitely what you might call “a lot of movie,” requiring a three-and-a-half hour runtime to tell its story, and that surely dinged its final score, but it most definitely is a piece of art that is greatly appreciated in the CinemaBlend offices.
#6. Marriage Story
Average Score: 4.2272727/5
Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story just missed out on the holy quintinity of Academy Award nominations – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress – as Baumbach didn’t get the nod in that second category, but it richly deserves all of its recognition. Both Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson deliver some of the best work of their respective careers with emotional and captivating performances, and it’s fascinating that every viewer who watches it takes something different away from the central conflict and story. Four of the 22 members on the staff who saw it give it 5/5 scores, and nobody gave it lower than a 3.5.
#5. Jojo Rabbit
Average Score: 4.2857143/5
The CinemaBlend staff is filled with movie fans who are very much on the same wavelength when it comes to the wild and hilarious sensibilities of Taika Waititi, and being a film that is very much pure Taika, Jojo Rabbit was most definitely one of our team’s most beloved features from last year (hence it ranking at #6 on our end-of-year list. The World War II satire does a remarkable job executing a very complex tone – finding cartoonish comedy in Nazi-controlled Germany – and it’s stunning how it’s able to have your rolling with laughter one minute, and crying the next. It’s a powerful and relevant piece of work, and a favorite among the crop of Best Picture nominees.
#4. Little Women
Average Score: 4.3095238/5
Coming out at the very, very end of 2019, not everyone on the CinemaBlend staff had the opportunity to see Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, and as a result it just missed out being on our Top 10 of 2019. That’s changed in the weeks since, though, and the result has been an improved average score that demonstrates it as one of our team’s favorites among the Best Picture nominees. This is a film that is sweet, stunning, and overloaded with charm – brought to life with brilliant performances from the entire ensemble. And no, we don’t know why Greta Gerwig didn’t get a Best Director nomination either.
#3. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Average Score: 4.3260870/5
While Quentin Tarantino owns two Academy Awards (both for writing), three of his movies have been up for Best Picture in the past, and none of them have won. That means that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood winning this year would be a long overdue achievement for the filmmaker – and there’s not a person on the CinemaBlend staff that would be overly upset with the turn of events. In totality it’s a beautiful and loving tribute to the legendary titular city/industry, but also an exciting piece of revisionist history that features some of the best performances we saw on the big screen last year.
Average Score: 4.5476190/5
Alfonso Cuarón's Roma wound up turning a lot of heads when it became the first foreign language film in years to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and just 12 months later Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite makes us question why it isn’t the norm (it’s pure hubris to assume all of the greatest movies are English-speaking). While the story is set in South Korea, the true power of its satire is that it’s universal in its themes, and it weaves a brilliant story that whacks you upside the head halfway through with a twist you could never see coming. It’s surprising, witty, clever and powerful right up to the end.
Average Score: 4.5952381/5
World War I is easily one of the most extensively covered international events in cinematic history, and yet director Sam Mendes – in collaboration with genius cinematographer Roger Deakins – found a whole new way to let audiences experience the conflict with 1917. The combination of the single take photography with the ticking clock plotline creates a phenomenal immersive experience unlike anything found in your typical war movie, and just the way it’s all pieced together is magnificent. We here at CinemaBlend love it, and collectively as a team it’s our favorite to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
How would you rank this year’s class of nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars? Hit the comments section to let your voice be heard, and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more of our award season coverage!