Expanding the Best Picture field to 10 films may not have made room for another Marvel movie to go where only “Black Panther” has gone before (a tough break for “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”), but the move has managed to allow for a wild and woolly array of nominees that ranges from studio blockbusters like “Dune” to festival favorites like “CODA,” from sturdy biopics like “King Richard” to somber three-hour Japanese dramas about Chekhov like “Drive My Car,” and from streaming home runs like “The Power of the Dog” to mid-budget theatrical releases like “Licorice Pizza” and “Nightmare Alley” that tried their luck the old-fashioned way.
The wide range of nominees reflects the uncertainty of a year that was stuck between crisis and recovery — a year in which the film industry constantly found itself asking what, where, and for whom it wants to be. Studios, critics, and audiences all seemed to answer those questions in wildly different ways, and that confusion was further compounded by the streamers’ reluctance to share reliable viewing data. As a result, we’ve gotten the most unpredictable Best Picture race in years, and a slate of nominees that suggests the future of the film industry itself is up for grabs.
Before these movies are forever transformed by the context of whatever happens this Sunday night, we’ve decided to look at each of them head-on for one last time; not as winners or also-rans, but just as 10 movies that managed to stick during a year when it felt like Hollywood was just throwing darts at the wall. From the spectacular to the noxious to “Belfast” in between, here are all of the Best Picture nominees of 2022, ranked from worst to best.