Ranking the Best Picture nominees, 2010s

One of the consequences of sea level rise is the increased urgency felt by filmmakers who have a statement to release commenting on Our Times, a phenomenon that plucks entropy from the merely conceptual. Anticipate more farragoes like Vice, more distillations of the Liam Neeson ethos like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, more spirited defenses of American intelligence services like Argo. Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire was wrong, or at least suffers from a want of imagination.

Oscar devotees know about the expansion of the Best Picture category, approved so that voters could appease an audience less interest in telecasts by including box office smashes. The results are mixed. I see more small critical hits like The Favourite, Nebraska, and Brooklyn — guaranteed finalists in the eighties, by the way — than Avatars and Black Panthers. Indeed, winners The King’s Speech and Spotlight are ideal dinner-and-movie fare, 1986.

The Hague

Hacksaw Ridge
The Help
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Dallas Buyers Club
Midnight in Paris
Green Book
Silver Linings Playbook
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Imitation Game
Zero Dark Thirty
The Big Short


The King’s Speech
127 Hours
American Sniper
La La Land
Black Swan
The Fighter
Hidden Figures
Django Unchained
American Hustle
The Descendants
Captain Phillips
The Martian
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
12 Years a Slave
A Star is Born
Life of Pi
The Shape of Water
The Theory of Everything
The Revenant
War Horse
The Post
The Wolf of Wall Street

Sound, Solid Entertainments

The Favourite
Winter’s Bone
Bridge of Spies
Black Panther
Hell or High Water
Toy Story 3
Beasts of the Southern Wild

Good to Great

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Phantom Thread
The Kids Are All Right
Call Me by Your Name
Mad Max: Fury Road
Lady Bird
The Social Network
True Grit
Get Out
Tree of Life
Manchester by the Sea

4 thoughts on “Ranking the Best Picture nominees, 2010s

  1. Jukebox

    American Hustle is the perfect example of stylish film that’s smoke and mirrors: There’s nothing behind it; just Scorsecian tics and good music. Film itself might be the biggest scam, and I’m not sure David O. Russell is a genius JUST for pulling this off. Otherwise, I’m not interested in him or the film.
    Worst of all, Dallas Buyers Club is the perfect example of self-service, progressive film with tranquilizer message of homophobe gets desease, he starts making friends with transvestite, Now, he’s an activist! NOT that homophobe after all. “We’re all in this together” tropes that Academy falls flat on their faces time and again. It’s GREEN BOOK and tons of others films of the same stripes. Although I would say the Farrelly film it’s better lensed and even has an aesthetic clear, whereas Jean Marc whatever’s it’s anonymous filmmaking that predates even Harvey Weinstein’s most annonymous hack jobs. You’re still not getting The Graduate’s feels like me, Alfred, but you are making me re-think and re-discover music. I never told you I discovered your blog because I was hesitant about a song that you, obviously, proclaimed among LMAO material. I googled: “XXX song”, worst songs ever and then came you:)- So I came here basically for the wrong reasons but stayed for the good ones!

    1. humanizingthevacuum Post author

      As always, hugs for the kindnesses.

      I told colleagues in December 2013, “Your endorsements of American Hustle will embarrass you in six months.” I was wrong: it took only three.

      Which song?

      1. Jukebox

        Thank YOU! Hugs back!

        Well, the NYFCC embarrased themselves first, no?
        About that song. Don’t kill me, but it’s “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”. Of course, like everybody else my age, I heard the annoying Crash Test Dummies version first, so when I discovered it was an XTC’s original I payed attention. I didn’t even know what it was about, either. You make a case with that, so nothing to add. I just was entraced by that harmonica and the rawer delivery by comparison. But I’m still re-shuffling the 70s and I really am discovering there are more interesting things pre-77 there than I supposed. I’m in 1975 now, the year of the “Quiet Storm” revolution and I’m liking my list is reflecting that fact. With the 80s I will not have that many problems, as I was more aware of my tastes, then. And the music was like in real time for me.
        It’s the 90s the problem. I don’t think I can even get to 200 songs there (I’m approaching the 500 in the 70s only!). Almost all of your LMAOF I have are in there. And pisses me off a little because that’s the decade I self consciously get into music, purchasing new and old records and stuff. And the Pazz & Jop “guide”. So I may have neglected radio back then. I didn’t like what I was hearing. So an “orthodox” track like XTC’s (at least, musically) fitted for me. I still think that my 90s list is overpopulated with hip-hop. Then again, there was a paucity of exciting “White Music” pushing the envelope not unsimilar of what I’m finding out in the mid 70s (not being country or Joni Mitchell) But I’ll tell you when I get there. Strangely enough, the 80s where very fertile for “White Music”. As were the late 70s or the 60s. Not that I NEED to find White Music interesting. I want a little variation to not bore myself to death when I finish completing. That’s that.

        Perhaps is my academic audiovisual formation, but I find easier to explain a film in English and tell apart the good or bad (at bare minimum) than with individual songs. It’s so fucking difficult! Especially when it’s not in my mother tongue. It’s also easier we might agree on albums than tracks. Not even critics get a playlist that reads “consensus”. It’s so spread out. I think making even a blurb about a track it’s more head-scratching than criticize a film. For there’s no academic history to back that up behind it. Not here, at least.
        But your choices are so spot-on. Really!! And I can see you were eyeing both Billboard’s and UK Charts because you get the years RIGHT. Something some your colleagues don’t even get.

        Finally, an example of your help: I needed I song I really liked to back up the sequence before “In France They Kiss on Main Street”. I found it. It’s Phoebe Snow’s “Poetry Man”. Perfect!!

        I created my wordpress to someday comment on my list of songs in Spanish. But I thought my selection was limited an incomplete. And I was right.

        Sorry for the long post. I gotta get back to work;-

  2. Jukebox

    No wonder Bruce Springsteen was tagged the “saviour” of rock and roll in 1975. “White Saviour” might have been a more accurate reading. It helps so much to make this lists year by year carefully. Adds context.


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