The cream of the crop.
The 95th Academy Awards will air today on Seven Plus live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Hosted by late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel (in what would be the third time), the Academy Awards, or Oscars, will feature big-budget spectacles such as Avatar: The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick battle for Oscar glory against smaller, character-driven feature films such as The Banshees of Inisherin and Tár.
But which nominated films at this year’s Oscars are the best to watch? Here are our best three picks!
All Quiet on the Western Front
Nominated for nine Oscars – including Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film – the German language anti-war film All Quiet on the Western Front is the latest, and dare we say best, adaptation of Ericha Maria Remarque’s influential novel of the same name.
Set during the First World War, All Quiet on the Western Front tells the story of Paul (Felix Kammerer), a 17-year-old soldier whose romantic view of war is shattered when he is thrust onto the frontlines and witnesses firsthand the brutality of man. The film also stars Daniel Bruhl (Inglorious Basterds) and Albrecht Schuch (Dear Thomas).
Directed by Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front is an emotionally and viscerally powerful antiwar movie of impeccable craft, with the scenes of trench warfare a harrowing experience of sound and fury that is matched by an emotional core that haunts long after the end credits role.
All Quiet on the Western Front can be streamed now on Netflix.
Nominated for eight Oscars – including Best Motion Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role – is Elvis, an emotional and exhilarating biopic on Elvis Presley that delves into the legend, the man, and the music of the King of Rock and Roll, which director Baz Luhrmann delivers with hip-shaking bombast.
Shot in Queensland, Australia, Elvis is set in the familiar Presley trotting grounds of America’s south in the 1950s, Hollywood in the 1960s, and Las Vegas in the 1970s. Luhrmann’s long-time production and costume designer Catherin Marin brings all these period settings to life with vibrant, bristling energy. This Elvis biopic, however, is told through the perspective of Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), the notorious manager of Presley who is loathed by many Elvis fans for his tight-gripped control of the superstar.
Delivered with impeccable craft and dramatic flair, Luhrmann does a remarkable job in portraying both the mythos and the humanity of Elvis Presley. Best of all is the performance by Austin Butler, who becomes Elvis Presley in body and spirit, commanding the screen with a primal raw superstardom that comes across once a generation.
Elvis is available to rent/buy on Amazon Prime Video.
Top Gun: Maverick
Nominated for six Oscars – including Best Motion Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay – is Top Gun: Maverick, a legacy sequel to the 1986 original, that repositions Tom Cruise as the world’s biggest movie star in his reprisal of a role that he invests with wisdom and experience without losing that hotshot confidence. That Cruise did not receive a nomination for Leading Actor is a snub by the Academy of the highest order.
Top Gun: Maverick sees Cruise reprise his iconic role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a highly skilled and daring US Navy pilot whose lukewarm reaction to authority has seen him rise no higher than the rank of captain during his long tenure in the military. When the Navy undertake a top-secret mission to destroy an enemy’s nuclear arsenal, they call upon Maverick to train a group of young high-class fighter pilots to complete the daring mission. Complicating matters is that one of the pilots is Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s late co-pilot Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (played in the first Top Gun by Anthony Edwards.)
Superbly director by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy), Top Gun: Maverick delivers everything a great blockbuster needs: thrilling action; high-stakes drama; engaging characters; and a magnetic performance by a movie star lead. Showcasing the best aviation sequences in a feature film so far, Top Gun: Maverick presents the perfect blend of drama and action, resulting in a film that soars above any expectation placed on it.
Top Gun: Maverick can be streamed now on Paramount Plus.