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Oscar Buzz Like Never Before

Updated: Mar 4

By Isabel Pulgarin

After a groundbreaking year of cinema with films like “Barbenheimer” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” the 96th Oscars are finally around the corner. On March 10, we all find out who wins the gold man for Best Picture. Until then, here is The Buccaneer’s breakdown of the nominations in our particular order.

Photo Credit to Wikipedia

My top nominee is this Western epic based on the 2017 critically acclaimed nonfiction account of “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F.B.I.” by journalist David Grann. It claimed nine Academy Award nominations while I’ve only just started to crack it open after discovering it in my creative nonfiction course with writer and Professor Christina Crossgrove.

This tragedy of American sin stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone, known for “Certain Women” and “Winter in the Blood.” Gladstone’s role made history as the first indigenous actress to be nominated and win a Golden Globe acting award and again when she was nominated for the Oscars’ best actress category. Her character grapples with love and betrayal as an Osage Nation member of a tribe that endured a greedy spree of murders in 1920s Oklahoma when oil was discovered.

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This heartwarming blockbuster comedy made a statement in the box office grossing $1.4 billion worldwide. With nominations for best picture; best supporting actor; adapted screenplay; production and costume design; and two original songs, it’s painful for the crew and their fellow Barbies that its director and co-writer Greta Gerwig and lead actress Maggot Robbie were Oscar snubbed.

It’s considered an epic for modern feminism, according to reviewers, as a story of self-discovery. The film follows Barbie and Ken, Ryan Gosling, as they navigate and blend between the colorful Barbie dream world and human reality.

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This romance joined the cult favorites like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” as it follows a fateful, New York City week of long-lost childhood loves from South Korea after 20 years of growth. Based on director Celine Song’s real-life encounter with a childhood sweetheart, this film is one of the three nominations directed by women— the first time in the Academy Award’s almost 100-year history—alongside “Barbie” and “Anatomy of a Fall.”

Starring the touching Greta Lee and Tee Yoo, it’s a rich story of love, closure and destiny. I’m holding off on this one until I need a good, reminiscent cry.

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Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, known for “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” this gothic comedy film stars lead actress Emma Stone as the young and beautiful Bella Baxter who was brought back to life by a doctor played by Willem Dafoe and goes off traveling across continents with a lawyer played by Mark Ruffalo. This fantastical revision of “Frankenstein” is nominated for 11 Oscars with its set design and costumes.

If you want a weird yet wonderful philosophical movie, this one is great.

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This dramatic epic by acclaimed director and writer Christopher Nolan is based on the real-life theoretical physicist and the book, “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer,” of his role in the creation of the atomic bomb and the Manhattan Project. It’s been nominated for 13 Oscars with a great cast including the lead actor Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. and others who brought the biopic to life.

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Directed, co-written and led by Bradley Cooper as American composer Leonard Bernstein, this romantic biopic chronicles the complex life-long relationship and its tests between Bernstein and actress Felicia Montealegre played by “She Said” actress Carey Mulligan. For this Netflix film nominated for seven Oscars, Cooper shared he studied conducting for six years to capture more than six minutes of the London Symphony Orchestra live.

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This dramedy is a brilliant satire of white wokeness as a novelist, led by Jeffery Wright from “The Batman” (2022), is fed up with the establishment profiting from Black entertainment and reducing people to stereotypes. He then uses a pen name for a “Black” book that grapples with it all to prove his point and gets enthralled in the hypocrisy. As Cord Jefferson’s directorial debut, the film has gotten rave reviews for poking societal fun. The film also stars Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae and Sterling K. Brown.

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This film is a coming-of-age dramedy based in the ‘70s starring Paul Giamatti, known for the 2002 film “Big Fat Liar” and “Cinderella Man,” and debuting Dominic Sessa as the troubled teenager babysat over the holidays by Giamatti’s cranky history teacher character and grieving head cook portrayed by Broadway and West End star Da’Vine Joy Randolph. Reviews find this film a bittersweet, redemptive holiday film about keeping everyone and everything at arm’s length.

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This French crime thriller follows a writer trying to prove her innocence in her husband’s death. She is a mother of a partially sighted son with a relationship that gets put to the test on trial and at home. This courtroom drama explores how biased context constructs narratives possibly far from the truth.

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Loosely based on the novel of the same name by Martin Amis, the story follows the married life of an Auschwitz commandant living right next door to the camp seemingly living a dream with their home and garden. As a historical A24 film, it’s about horrors being kept out of sight and out of mind.

As much as I want my first few favorites to win, it’s hard to go up against the great director Christopher Nolan is. So, I predict “Oppenheimer” will win best picture.

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