Oscars Best Picture Review: Which Were Truly Oscar Worthy?

by Louisa Billingsley, Social Media Manager

The Oscars is the biggest night for film, celebrating the year’s best movies. I’m not much of a cinephile myself, but I decided to watch every movie nominated for best picture to determine whether the winner was truly Oscar-worthy. I put in the twenty one hours and fifty seven minutes so you don’t have to.


Run time: 2h 35m, Rated: PG-13

“Dune,” directed by Denis Villeneuve, is originally a novel written by Frank Herbert. The book is notoriously long and drawn out, and the movie encapsulates that as well. The film follows Paul Atreides, played by Timothee Chalamtet, as he travels to other planets for the greater good of his own, dealing with lots of “Space Politics” and protecting his family. This movie’s cinematography and special effects were terrific. On the other hand, the plot was dragged out and anti-climatic. I definitely felt all two hours and thirty minutes of this movie. I thought Zendaya would have a more significant part in the film, but I was not expecting her five minutes of screen time. The movie felt like watching a three-hour-long perfume commercial, with sprinkled-in plot points. In terms of length and bore, it stays true to the book.


Run time: 1h 38m, Rated: PG-13

This movie follows a young working-class family during religious conflict in Northern Ireland. It’s a true story about the director Kenneth Branagh’s childhood, showing his growing love for cinema and coming-of-age tale. This movie checked a lot of boxes for me including focusing on the small things in life. Jude Hill, who is eleven, gave this movie so much character. The best moments were the simpler moments, the grandson to grandparent’s conversation, and where the most was

revealed about characters. This movie has a beautiful message: holding on to the past and what we find comfortable contrasting leaving the past behind in order to have new experiences. The acting in this movie was impeccable. My only issue was not understanding what they were saying at times due to thick Irish accents, but that’s my fault.

Power of the Dog

Run time: 2h 5m, Rated: R

Conflict sparks between two brothers who work on a ranch after one of them marries, causing the wife and her son to move in their house. The character of Phil, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, back story unfolds as he gets closer to his son peter. There isn’t much I can say about this movie without spoiling it. Every shot of this movie was so meticulous. There was foreshadowing in every shot towards the end. The ending of this movie had me in a state of shock for a solid hour. The cinematography was terrific, as well as the acting. This movie had me so engaged and questioning every plot point. The movie has a slow start, but watching the story unfold at the very end is worth it.

Drive My Car

Run time: 2h 59, Unrated

“Drive My Car” follows a man grieving the death of his late wife Otto, while directing a play and forming bonds with the people he meets while rehearsing. This movie captured such a small vignette of life and made it so powerful. Every conversation had loads of depth and added so much more to the plot. The dialog and the acting made this movie a masterpiece. I found myself sympathizing with characters whose story was far from my own. The movie kept things so simple on the surface, but once everything was uncovered, you could see the layers each character had. My one complaint revolves around the length of the film. I struggled to keep focus at times, considering it was three hours long. This movie is a must-watch. The takeaways from the film outway all of its flaws, and the language barrier was far from an issue. 

King Richard

Run time: 2h 24m, Rated: PG-13

Richard Williams is the father of Venus and Serena Williams, played by Will Smith, and his dream for his daughters to be the best tennis players in the world. The newfound respect I have for the Williams family after this movie is immense. This story is so admirable and was brought together perfectly on screen. The plot was captivating, and it had me interested the whole time. Even after the controversy, Will Smith’s performance was undeniably one of the best this year, being spot on and scarily accurate. This is a feel-good, underdog must-watch, highlighting the importance of family and determination.


Run time: 1h 51m, Rated: PG-13

“CODA” is an acronym for child of a deaf adult, and that who this movie follows. The daughter of two deaf parents has a dream to become a singer, but has to balance her dreams with helping her family. This was the one movie on this list that moved me to tears, it was simplistic yet able to make me laugh, and cry. It’s a story anyone can relate to whether you have deaf parents or not, because deep down it’s just a story about family. In comparison every other oscar nominee took itself way too seriously, I think “Coda” proves it doesn’t have to be over the top to be an amazing movie/story. It definitely deserved to win best picture in my eyes.

Don’t Look Up

Run time: 2h 25m, Rated: R

One night when two astronomers working they discover a mass extinction level asteroid is going to hit earth in about 50 days. They try to convince the government and America to help do something in order to save the world. This movie brought together so many A-list actors for a social commentary piece, but was executed poorly. Saying I didn’t love this movie makes it seem as if the message went right over my head. I can acknowledge the faults in our society and politics today and also think that this movie isn’t enjoyable. It was a satirical twist to something that could have been so much more impactful and had so much potential.

West Side Story

Run time: 2h 36m, Rated: PG-13

A modern take on the timeless classic. Steven Spielberg’s rendition of the 1961 version, following a conflict between two gangs fighting over land, living in New York City. A Romeo and Juliet tale, as well as a fantastic soundtrack. I am a huge fan of the original. The music and the dancing are unbeatable; you can’t go wrong with it. That being said, the newest version does a great job capturing that nostalgia factor. The acting, on the other hand, wasn’t as notable. Ansel Elgort would not have been my top choice for Tony, considering he doesn’t have a musical theater background and a lacking singing voice. Main consensus: the original is better.

Licorice Pizza

Run time: 2h 13m, Rated: R

A fifteen-year-old boy falls in love with a twenty-five-year-old woman is the best possible way of describing this film. As controversial as that statement sounds, I still enjoyed this movie, especially for the cinematography. Paul Thomas Anderson did a phenomenal job at transporting the viewer into the ’70s, with the costumes as well as a fantastic soundtrack. However, it was hard to get behind the characters’ age differences and some insensitive jokes made at parts. This movie could have been a little shorter and lost my attention towards the end, but it was truly worth watching.