The highly anticipated Oscars are set to commence at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on 12 March, with nominations to be announced on 24 January. But members of the Academy have already released shortlisted nominees in 10 categories including Live Action Short Film, Music, Sound, Visual Effects and more. From the new Avatar to Elvis and Black Panther, here are the movies to watch ahead of the 2023 Oscars.
The film talks about a close-knit Asian American family living in the rural city of Bad Axe during the pandemic in 2020. Having lived through Cambodia’s “killing fields” trauma, director David Siev’s father immigrated to a town in Michigan with his mother and six siblings. The documentary covers the family fighting to keep their local restaurant alive when businesses were forced to close during the lockdown, and how they united when having to face racism that dominated the rural city during Trump’s presidency.
Shortlisted in: Documentary Feature Film
Taking place in the 1920s in Los Angeles, Babylon tells the tale of several characters in early Hollywood, following the rise and fall of their popularity. Its cast consists of Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li and Jean Smart, who get tied up in the decadence and depravity of fame.
Shortlisted in: Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), and Sound
Charlie, a 600-pound English teacher, who suffers from chronic binge eating after being abandoned by the death of his gay lover has decided to eat himself to death. While doing so, he’s also trying to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter in an attempt at redemption. The Whale explores a story of family love, grief, and self-infliction that is sure to evoke emotions.
Shortlisted in: Makeup and Hairstyling
Armageddon Time, a coming-of-age film, debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and takes place in Queens, New York in 1980, on the heel of the presidential election. The film talks about the strength of family, racial inequality, and the pursuit of the American Dream for protagonist Paul Grey and his Jewish household.
Starring Austin Butler, this biography movie talks about American music icon Elvis Presley, who rose to fame in the mid-1950s. The story is told from Colonel Tom Parker’s point of view, the controversial manager who met Elvis when he was only 20 years old. The film depicts young Elvis who was heavily influenced by African-American blues and Christian gospel music, who then grew up to be a star but later got addicted to barbiturates and died from a heart attack.
Shortlisted in: Makeup and Hairstyling and Sound
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Playing with the concept of the multiverse, Everything Everywhere All at Once focuses on a Chinese immigrant, played by Malaysia’s own Michelle Yeoh. She gets unwillingly placed on an adventure to stop an evil being from harming the multiverse. To do so, she connects with different versions of herself in varying universes, providing the audience with a multitude of action-packed fighting scenes.
Shortlisted in: Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), and Sound
Avatar: The Way of Water
Following the first Avatar movie, Jake Sully has now formed his family on Pandora with Neytiri but faces a familiar threat. In order to protect the Omaticaya, Jake and his family sought solace with the Metkayina, known as the reef people clan. They learn the Metkayina’s ways of survival and together as a family, fought against Colonel Quaritch and his army, whose main mission was to kill Jake Sully.
Shortlisted in: Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Sound, and Visual Effects
Decision to Leave
Protagonist Hae-Joon is a detective in this South Korean romantic thriller and arrives at a scene where a man has died in the mountains. After interviewing the dead man’s wife, Seo-Rae, Hae-Joon immediately suspects her, due to insufficient emotions and bruises on her body. But as he digs deeper into the investigation, he discovers himself trapped in romance and deception revolving around Seo-Rae.
Shortlisted in: International Feature Film
Top Gun: Maverick
As the second franchise to the 1986 release ‘Top Gun’, this film talks about Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators. In a mission, he leads a team of Top Gun’s elite graduates but had to confront some ghosts of his past and his deepest fears. The action-packed movie comes with a plethora of sacrifices, which brings the audience on an emotional ride.
Shortlisted in: Music (Original Song), Sound, and Visual Effects
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The follow-up to Black Panther begins with T’Challa dying from an illness as his sister Shuri attempts to synthetically recreate the “heart-shaped herb” in order to cure the King of Wakanda. However, T’Challa succumbs to the disease, leaving the leaders of Wakanda to fight for the nation from newfound enemies led by a water-breathing superhuman, Namor. With the need for a new Black Panther, Shuri steps up to claim the throne, leading and protecting her people.
Shortlisted in: Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Sound, and Visual Effects