The Best TV Shows of 2023, Part 1

The strikes of the Writers and Actors Guilds cut off the supply of new shows (and that’s good… withholding labor to get a fair contract is the right thing to do), but it didn’t matter. It still felt overwhelming to keep up with every new recommended show, not to mention the returning shows I loved. So once again, I’m expanding my list of favorites. This is Part One.

10. Justified: City Primeval (FX)
It shouldn’t have worked, and many would argue it didn’t. But transferring Raylan Givens from the hollers of Kentucky to the urban squalor of Detroit (adapting a story that didn’t originally involve the character) played seamlessly to me. This years-later sequel found time to focus on Raylan’s failings as a father, but also gave plenty of time to several Black characters, something it didn’t always do well in its original incarnation. But even outside of his usual haunts, Raylan soon discovered all cities run on some mix of bribery, corruption and chicanery, and no one’s hands are clean.
Standout episodes: “City Primeval,” “Backstabbers,” “The Smoking Gun”

9. Party Down (Starz)
Life being what it is under late capitalism, this premise needed absolutely no updating. Of course people in their 40s are still stuck catering the parties of rich assholes. But this new season perfectly integrated its original upwardly immobile waiters with a new generation of influencers. Jennifer Garner was the warmest of the new additions. As the recently divorced new girlfriend of Henry (Adam Scott), her role could have been thankless as a relatively normal person observing all the chaos. But she made it into something thornier. Of course, the show still belongs to Ken Marino, whose fearless performance has only gotten better (and sadder) over the years.
Standout episodes: “Kyle Bradway Is Nitromancer,” “First Annual PI2A Symposium,” “Sepulveda Basin High School Spring Play Opening Night”

8. The Great (Hulu)
Though some fans were bummed by the unceremonious cancelation, the show didn’t really have anywhere left to go after its dramatic (and ahistorical) shift midway through this season. The show was as funny, sexy and complicated as ever. And while I would have enjoyed seeing more of this extremely horny, extremely foul-mouthed, extremely well-dressed court, the show ended, quite literally, on a perfect note.
Standout episodes: “You the People,” “Fun,” “Once upon a Time”

7. Barry (HBO)
Speaking of perfect endings. While it seemed like Season 3 had the perfect place to end the show, Hader had one more season of insanity left in him. After getting arrested (and breaking out of prison after a botched hit against him), the show went even darker than before. A huge time jump showed the ripple effects of Barry’s chain reaction of bad decisions, with previously goofy characters like NoHo Hank and Fuches adopting hard exteriors to mask their pain. It was the least funny season of the show so far, but featured the best filmmaking yet.
Standout episodes: “Yikes,” “The Wizard,” “Wow”

6. Abbott Elementary (ABC)
All hail the return of the 22-episode network sitcom! The show remained a consistently hilarious and honest look at public education in America, while also delivering tremendous character growth and the single most romantic moment of the year (pictured above).
Standout episodes: “The Fundraiser,” “Teachers’ Conference,” “Festival”

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The Best Songs of 2023

Below are my top 50 songs of the year, plus a bonus track that’s among the year’s best, but not really available anywhere. Check out the Spotify playlist here.

Blur – “The Narcissist”
boygenius – “Not Strong Enough”
Brother Marshall and the Choir of Fire – “All the Gold in California”
Zach Bryan feat. Kacey Musgraves – “I Remember Everything”
Bully – “Days Move Slow”
Kelly Clarkson – “mine/me”
Cliffs + Caves feat. David Ramirez – “Mint Gum”
Lauren Daigle – “Waiting”
De La Soul – “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’”
Ingrid De Souza – “You Can Be Mean”
Madi Diaz feat. Kacey Musgraves – “Don’t Do Me Good”
Billie Eilish – “What Was I Made For?”
Everything but the Girl – “Nothing Left to Lose”
Explosions in the Sky – “Ten Billion People”
Margaret Glaspy – “Act Natural”
Kyle Gordon – “Ugliest Girl on the Beach”
Glen Hansard – “The Feast of St. John”
Brittany Howard – “Red Flags”
Jungle – “Candle Flame”
Noah Kahan – “Stick Season”
The Killers – “Your Side of Town”
Julie Klausner – “Silence”
MJ Lenderman – “Rudolph”
Lil Yachty – “drive ME crazy!”
M83 – “Oceans Niagara”
Steve Martin – “Which of the Pickwick Triplets Did It?”
Marvelous 3 – “If We’re on Fire (Let It Burn)”
Lizzy McAlpine – “A Little Bit of Everything”
Mereba – “Space and Time”
Brian Metolius – “Here to Jake, Gone Tomorrow”
Midwife – “Miss America”
Nicki Minaj – “Last Time I Saw You”
MUNA – “One That Got Away”
Nation of Language – “Sole Obsession”
NewJeans – “Super Shy”
Angel Olsen – “Nothing’s Free”
Genesis Owusu – “Leaving the Light”
Caroline Polachek – “Welcome to My Island”
Olivia Rodrigo – “All-American Bitch”
Romy – “Weightless”
Slowdive – “Skin in the Game”
The Smile – “Wall of Eyes”
Sufjan Stevens – “Will Anybody Ever Love Me?”
Tedashii feat. Trip Lee and Lecrae – “Texas Pete”
Thee Sacred Souls – “Running Away”
Tiffany Topol – “Teenage Feeling”
Joshua Ray Walker – “Christmas in Dallas”
Jessie Ware – “Hello Love”
Waveform – “Lonely”
Wednesday – “Quarry”

Bonus Track: Ken Pomeroy – “Cicadas”

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The Anniversary Albums Project: Best of 2023

1973

  1. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
  2. Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy
  3. Stevie Wonder – Innervisions
  4. Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On
  5. Sarah Vaughan – Live in Japan
  6. Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  7. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  8. The Who – Quadrophenia
  9. Paul McCartney and Wings – Band on the Run
  10. Kinky Friedman – Sold American

Honorable Mentions
• The Beatles – 1962-1966/1967-1970
• David Bowie – Aladdin Sane
• Albert Brooks – Comedy Minus One
• Can – Future Days
• Creedence Clearwater Revival – More Creedence Gold
• Faust – Faust IV
• Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters
• Hawkwind – Space Ritual
• Iggy and the Stooges – Raw Power
• Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure
• Steely Dan – Countdown to Ecstasy
• Tom Waits – Closing Time
• Various Artists – Precious Lord: New Recordings of the Great Songs of Thomas A. Dorsey

1983

  1. New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies
  2. R.E.M. – Murmur
  3. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
  4. Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones
  5. Various Artists – The Big Chill (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  6. U2 – War
  7. Talking Heads – Speaking in Tongues
  8. Madonna – Madonna
  9. Marshall Crenshaw – Field Day
  10. Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual

Honorable Mentions
• David Bowie – Let’s Dance
• Billy Bragg – Life’s a Riot with Spy vs Spy
• ESG – Come Away with ESG
• Hall & Oates – Rock ’n Soul Part 1
• The Jam – Snap!
• Malcolm McLaren – Duck Rock
• P-Funk All Stars – Urban Dancefloor Guerillas
• The Police – Synchronicity
• Sparks – In Outer Space
• The Style Council – Introducing the Style Council
• U2 – Under a Blood Red Sky
• The Who – Who’s Greatest Hits

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Streaming Picks: January 2024

All titles premiere on the first of the month, unless otherwise noted.

FILM
Top Pick
Cinema Paradiso – Paramount+
If you care about movies, love or history, this Italian Oscar-winner is an absolute must-see.

New Releases
Plan 75 – Criterion Channel
Society of the Snow – Netflix 1/4
Foe – Prime Video 1/5
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts – Prime Video 1/5
Landscape with Invisible Hand – Prime Video 1/9
Role Play – Prime Video 1/12
Fast X – Prime Video 1/16
The Origin of Evil – AMC+ 1/19

Essential Viewing
21 Jump Street – Hulu
22 Jump Street – Hulu
Adventureland – Paramount+
The Adventures of Tintin – Paramount+
Airplane! – Prime Video
Almost Famous – Paramount+
Atlantic City – Paramount+
The Blair Witch Project – Criterion Channel
The Breakfast Club – Max
Bridesmaids – Prime Video
Blood Simple – Criterion Channel
Cat People (1942) – Criterion Channel
Chameleon Street – Criterion Channel
Days of Heaven – Paramount+
Do the Right Thing – Peacock
The Doom Generation – Criterion Channel
Dr. Strangelove – Max
The Elephant Man – Paramount+
Face/Off – Paramount+
Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Peacock
Fight Club – Peacock
Forrest Gump – Prime Video
The Godfather – Paramount+
The Godfather Part II – Paramount+
Gone Baby Gone – Paramount+
Good Will Hunting – Prime Video
Heat (1995) – Hulu
High Noon (1950) – Paramount+
Hoop Dreams – Criterion Channel
If Beale Street Could Talk – Prime Video
Inside Llewyn Davis – Criterion Channel
Inside Man – Peacock
John Wick 1-3 – Netflix
Jurassic Park – Netflix
The Killing – Prime Video
Killing Them Softly – Max
The King of Comedy – Hulu
The Last Black Man in San Francisco – Max
The Long Goodbye – Prime Video
Miller’s Crossing – Paramount+
Mission: Impossible 1-4 – Prime Video
The Mummy (1999) – Hulu
My Left Foot – Paramount+
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Hulu
No Country for Old Men – Prime Video
Notting Hill – Prime Video
Ocean’s Trilogy – Peacock
Paris Is Burning – Criterion Channel
The People vs. Larry Flynt – Paramount+
Pretty in Pink – Paramount+
Pulp Fiction – Prime Video
RoboCop (1987) – Max
Saving Private Ryan – Prime Video
Scream (1996) – Paramount+
Scream 2 – Paramount+
Searching for Bobby Fischer – Paramount+
Shoplifters – Hulu
Sideways – Peacock
Slacker – Criterion Channel
The Social Network – Starz
Something Wild (1986) – Prime Video
Step Brothers – Prime Video
Sweeney Todd – Paramount+
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) – Prime Video
Team America: World Police – Paramount+
Terms of Endearment – Paramount+
Tropic Thunder – Paramount+
True Grit (2010) – Peacock
True Lies – Peacock
When We Were Kings – Criterion Channel
The Wolf of Wall Street – Peacock
Snowden – Max 1/15
Burn After Reading – Prime Video 1/16
Train to Busan – Peacock 1/17
Nope – Peacock 1/18

Spotlight Collection
HandMade Films – Criterion Channel
Criterion highlights the many unique (and often hilarious) films financed by George Harrison’s HandMade films in the 1980s. Originally begun to provide last-minute funding to Monty Python to film Life of Brian, the independent studio released some of the most impressive films of the Thatcher era, including John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday, Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, Dick Clement’s satire Water, Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa and Bruce Robinson’s dark comedy classic Withnail and I. The collection also brings the 2019 documentary An Accidental Studio to its audience of cinephiles.

Hidden Gems
Changing Lanes – Paramount+
The Devils – Criterion Channel
Side Effects – Prime Video
Support the Girls – Paramount+
Compliance – Hulu and Peacock 1/2
Take This Waltz – Peacock 1/19

Nostalgia Pick
Beethoven – Netflix

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The List: Top 10 ‘Mr. Show’ Sketches

Mr. Show with Bob and David ended 25 years ago this week. The cult favorite only lasted for 30 episodes and rarely got the attention it deserved. But thanks to DVDs, reruns and (eventually) streaming, the innovative series got its due. Now, feel free to tell me to “eat shitty fruit from a rotten tree.” This list does not contain “The Story of Everest.” Nor does it contain “Coupon: The Movie.” Two of the show’s most beloved and ridiculous sketches were definitely considered for this list, but ultimately I went with the ones that made me laugh the hardest.

10. (tie)
“Good News” (Season 1, Episode 2)
“Hail Satan Network” (Season 3, Episode 1)
“Swear to God” (Season 3, Episode 5) 
I’m cheating right off the bat. But these three brief sketches delivered spot-on parodies of televangelists and other TBN programming, especially Praise the Lord. As someone who grew up Christian – but thankfully did not have to regularly endure shows like these – I found them all especially funny. But they made this list because of how accurately they nail the misplaced passion of these caricatures.

9. “Spite Marriage” (Season 4, Episode 7) 
Gleefully skewering homophobia and macho antics, Larry (Bob) and Tom (David) refuse to back down after a barroom scuffle, leading to a decades-long marriage. Taking the joke to a new level every few seconds paved the way for other troupes like Key & Peele and Human Giant. Bonus points for having the guys wear sleeveless shirts in every scene, even at the wedding.

8. “Phone Sex” (Season 4, Episode 3) 
Another brilliant example of commitment to the bit. After losing a bet, Glen (Bob) owes Mike (David) “two hours worth of phone sex.” But instead of redeeming his winnings from a qualified sex worker, he demands to cash in immediately, while Glen’s at work, in 30 second increments. The silver lining? Bob’s hidden talent makes him the biggest name in auditory fantasy.

7. “Titannica” (Season 3, Episode 10)
It may be hard to remember now, but in the ’90s pop culture was blamed just about every time a kid did something violent. Could it be unresolved mental health issues or easy access to guns? Nah, it’s gotta be the obscene lyrics or bloody video games! In this masterpiece of poor taste and puppetry, metal band Titannica pays a visit to young fan Adam (David Cross), who tried suicide after listening to their song “Try Suicide.” They hope to absolve themselves with backstage passes and merch, but grow horrified when they see Adam’s acid-shriveled body in the show’s greatest sight gag. It’s both dark and gross in a way only this show could pull off.

6. “The Fairsley Difference” (Season 4, Episode 4)
This series of fake grocery store ads perfectly mirrors ugly political attack ads. The claims grow more ridiculous and disingenuous, preying on customers’ fears. Is it any surprise that our own political candidates would use these same tactics?

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Oscar Picks: December 2023

The picture’s starting to come into focus. Both New York and L.A. critics have given out their awards, and the newly revamped Golden Globes have revealed their nominees. Both of these are imperfect precursors, but they have shown who’s up (May December) and who’s down (The Color Purple).

BEST PICTURE
American Fiction
Anatomy of a Fall
Barbie
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon
Maestro
Oppenheimer
Past Lives
Poor Things
The Zone of Interest

Falling off: None
Rising star: May December

The skinny: I’m still holding onto these 10, but American Fiction, Anatomy of a Fall and Past Lives are looking weaker by the minute. All three are exceptional, but if May December keeps this up, one of them will find their awards prospects greatly diminished.

BEST DIRECTOR
Greta Gerwig, Barbie
Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things
Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest

Falling off: None
Rising star: Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall

The skinny: One thing’s remained constant for the last several months: Christopher Nolan is the front-runner for this award, and if he loses it will be a shock.

BEST ACTOR
Colman Domingo, Rustin
Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers
Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
Andrew Scott, All of Us Strangers
Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction

Falling off: Bradley Cooper
Rising star: Joaquin Phoenix, Beau Is Afraid

The skinny: Believe it or not, Paul Giamatti has only been nominated for one Oscar: as the corner man in Ron Howard’s boxing biopic Cinderella Man. But in the nearly 20 years since, he’s cemented his place as one of the most reliable character actors in Hollywood. Winning a career achievement award, especially in a comedy, seemed highly unlikely even a few weeks ago. But it’s looking more and more likely now, even if with such stiff competition.

BEST ACTRESS
Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
Carey Mulligan, Maestro
Natalie Portman, May December
Margot Robbie, Barbie
Emma Stone, Poor Things

Falling off: Greta Lee
Rising star: Fantasia Barrino, The Color Purple

The skinny: It’s a three-way race (between Gladstone, Robbie and Stone). But honestly, giving this to anyone but Gladstone would be a huge mistake.

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Streaming Picks: December 2023

And so another year comes to a close, and with it, this current format. Starting in 2024, I’m hoping to get even more curatorial, focusing on just the best stuff, as well as titles that aren’t among the same two dozen or so that pass from streamer to streamer.

FILMS
Top Picks
May December – Netflix 12/1
Maestro – Netflix 12/20
Once upon a Time in Hollywood – Hulu 12/25
The first two are strong awards contenders from Netflix. Although both have flaws that keep them from greatness, both feature tremendous performances and terrific music. The former follows an actress (Natalie Portman) as she insinuates herself in the life of an older woman (Julianne Moore) and her much younger husband (Charles Melton). The latter is the life story of Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper), focusing on his marriage to Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan).

And you’ve probably seen Once upon a Time in Hollywood by now, or at least the many memes its spawned. But while it’s only four years old, it’s cemented itself as a modern classic. See for yourself, even if you’re not a huge Tarantino fan.

Other Recommendations
10 Cloverfield Lane – Paramount+ 12/1
The Addams Family (1991) – Paramount+ 12/1
Airplane! – Paramount+ with Showtime 12/1
Angel Heart – Paramount+ 12/1
Bend It Like Beckham – Paramount+ with Showtime 12/1
Black Swan – Netflix 12/1
The Bourne Trilogy – Hulu 12/1
Braveheart – Paramount+ 12/1
Boyz N the Hood – Netflix 12/1
Caddyshack – Paramount+ 12/1
Cloverfield – Paramount+ 12/1
Crawl – Paramount+ 12/1
The Dead Zone – Paramount+ and Prime Video 12/1
Death Proof – Paramount+ with Showtime 12/1
District 9 – Hulu 12/1
Face/Off – Paramount+ with Showtime 12/1
The Fugitive – Paramount+ 12/1
High-Rise – Hulu 12/1
The Hours – Paramount+ 12/1
The Hunt for Red October – Max 12/1
Hustlers – Hulu 12/1
In the Heat of the Night – Prime Video 12/1
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – Disney+ 12/1
The Informant! – Max 12/1
The Iron Giant – Paramount+ 12/1
Jackass Number Two – Paramount+ 12/1
Judas and the Black Messiah – Paramount+ 12/1
Jumanji – Peacock 12/1
Juno – Hulu 12/1
L.A. Confidential – Netflix 12/1
Mad Max: Fury Road – Max 12/1
Man on the Moon – Peacock 12/1
The Matrix Trilogy – Hulu 12/1
Megamind – Paramount+ 12/1
Mother! – Paramount+ 12/1
Naked Lunch – Max 12/1
National Treasure – Hulu 12/1
Notes on a Scandal – Max 12/1
Paddington 2 – Hulu 12/1
Pitch Perfect – Peacock 12/1
Planet Terror – Paramount+ with Showtime 12/1
Red Dawn (1984) – Max 12/1
Rosemary’s Baby – Paramount+ 12/1
The Shawshank Redemption – Paramount+ 12/1
The Shining – Paramount+ 12/1
Skyfall – Max 12/1
The Souvenir – Max 12/1
The Suicide Squad – Netflix 12/1
Support the Girls – Prime Video 12/1
Taken – Netflix 12/1
Tangerine – Paramount+ with Showtime 12/1
That Thing You Do! – Paramount+ with Showtime 12/1
The Thing (1982) – Paramount+ with Showtime 12/1
Tombstone – Hulu 12/1
Trainspotting – Paramount+ 12/1
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas – Paramount+ 12/1
The Virgin Suicides – Paramount+ 12/1
War of the Worlds (2005) – Paramount+ 12/1
Witness – Paramount+ 12/1
Wonder Woman – Netflix 12/1
Crazy Rich Asians – Hulu 12/6
The Matrix Resurrections – Hulu 12/10
Asteroid City – Prime Video 12/12
Beau Is Afraid – Paramount+ with Showtime 12/21
No Escape (2015) – Paramount+ with Showtime 12/26

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Oscar Picks: November 2023

BEST PICTURE
American Fiction
Anatomy of a Fall
Barbie
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon
Maestro
Oppenheimer
Past Lives
Poor Things
The Zone of Interest

Falling off: None
Rising star: Air

The skinny: All the major players have done their festival turns, but there appear to be no late-breaking contenders yet. I have Air penciled in for a couple reasons: 1. It was the first screener sent out. 2. An old-fashioned, feel-good biopic with a lot of movie stars? Neither of those can be discounted completely.

BEST DIRECTOR
Greta Gerwig, Barbie
Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things
Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest

Falling off: Celine Song
Rising star: Alexander Payne, The Holdovers

The skinny: My doubts about Greta getting her second nomination have faded. It’s an unstoppable juggernaut at this point. That means Celine Song will have to settle for an Original Screenplay nod (and possible win). And The Holdovers appears to be mounting a classic word-of-mouth campaign. With a wide release this week, its old-school charms are poised to work their magic on audiences and voters alike.

BEST ACTOR
Bradley Cooper, Maestro
Colman Domingo, Rustin
Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers
Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction

Falling off: Leonardo DiCaprio
Rising star: Andrew Scott, All of Us Strangers

The skinny: Yes, this race is so crowded I’ve taken DiCaprio out of the running. It’s anyone’s guess as to who’s the frontrunner at the moment, but Domingo seems born to play civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. But while these performances are showy in their own ways, the quieter turn from Andrew Scott will need a lot of support to break through. (And he’d have to leapfrog DiCaprio to do it.)

BEST ACTRESS
Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
Greta Lee, Past Lives
Carey Mulligan, Maestro
Margot Robbie, Barbie
Emma Stone, Poor Things

Falling off: None
Rising star: Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a Fall

The skinny: This category has the potential to produce one of the best line-ups of any Oscars category ever, and Hüller might not even make it!

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Streaming Picks: November 2023

FILMS
Top Picks
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – Prime Video 11/1
The Killer (2023) – Netflix 11/10
Twenty years ago, the movie that should have won Best Picture was released. Alas, no one seemed interested in seafaring movies after that unless they starred Johnny Depp. So enjoy a time when oceans had become battlefields.

If you want something new and absolutely not majestic, try David Fincher’s latest: a brutal dark comedy about a hitman (Michael Fassbender) out for revenge. If you like icy detachment, hard-hitting violence and the music of the Smiths, you’ll love this one like I did.

Other Recommendations
10 Things I Hate About You – Prime Video 11/1
The 40-Year-Old Virgin – Peacock 11/1
The Addams Family (1991) – Netflix 11/1
Aliens – Max 11/1
All the President’s Men – Prime Video 11/1
An American in Paris – Prime Video 11/1
Bad Santa – Paramount+ 11/1
Batman series (1989-1997) – Prime Video 11/1
The Big Lebowski – Netflix and Peacock 11/1
The Big Short – Paramount+ 11/1
Black Hawk Down – Paramount+ 11/1
Blade – Hulu 11/1
Blade II – Hulu 11/1
Blue Velvet – Paramount+ with Showtime 11/1
Braveheart – Prime Video 11/1
Casino – Peacock 11/1
Catch Me If You Can – Paramount+ 11/1
Chicago – Paramount+ and Prime Video 11/1
A Christmas Story – Max 11/1
City of God – Paramount+ 11/1
Cold Mountain – Paramount+ 11/1
Contagion – Hulu 11/1
The Crying Game – Paramount+ with Showtime 11/1
Desperado – Netflix 11/1
Diner – Max 11/1
Drag Me to Hell – Netflix 11/1
Elf – Max 11/1 and Hulu 11/23
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Peacock 11/1
Fast Five – Prime Video 11/1
Fatal Attraction – Prime Video 11/1
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Paramount+ 11/1
The Godfather Trilogy – Paramount+ with Showtime
Gran Torino – Max 11/1
Hannah and Her Sisters – Max 11/1
Haywire – Peacock 11/1
High Life – Max 11/1
How to Train Your Dragon – Peacock and Prime Video 11/1
The Hunger Games series – Peacock 11/1
John Dies at the End – Max 11/1
Jurassic Park – Prime Video 11/1
Killing Them Softly – Prime Video 11/1
King Kong (2005) – Peacock 11/1
The Last Duel – Hulu 11/1
Legally Blonde – Max 11/1
Long Shot – Paramount+ 11/1
MacGruber – Peacock 11/1
The Manchurian Candidate (2004) – Max
Meet the Parents – Prime Video 11/1
Men in Black – Hulu 11/1
Menace II Society – Paramount+ with Showtime 11/1
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – Hulu and Prime Video 11/1
Misery – Max 11/1
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Max 11/1 and Hulu 11/23
Notting Hill – Prime Video 11/1
The Omen (1976) – Hulu 11/1
Out of Sight – Peacock 11/1
Pacific Rim – Hulu 11/1
Paddington 2 – Max 11/1
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Paramount+ 11/1
The Pirate – Max 11/1
Pitch Perfect – Netflix 11/1
The Prince of Egypt – Prime Video 11/1
Raging Bull – Prime Video 11/1
Reality Bites – Peacock 11/1
Reservoir Dogs – Paramount+ with Showtime
Rocky – Max 11/1
Sabrina (1954) – Paramount+
The Sandlot – Hulu 11/1
Saving Private Ryan – Paramount+ 11/1
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – Netflix 11/1
Scream 4 – Paramount+ 11/1
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – Peacock 11/1
The Shop Around the Corner – Max 11/1
Shutter Island – Paramount+ 11/1
Sixteen Candles – Netflix 11/1
The Social Network – Netflix 11/1
Sunset Blvd. – Paramount+ 11/1
Tigerland – Hulu 11/1
The Town – Paramount+ 11/1
Trance – Hulu 11/1
The Truman Show – Paramount+ 11/1
Twister – Hulu 11/1
Uncle Buck – Prime Video 11/1
Unforgiven – Prime Video 11/1
Up in the Air – Paramount+ 11/1
The War of the Worlds (1953) – Paramount+ 11/1
WarGames – Max 11/1
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – Prime Video 11/1
When Harry Met Sally – Paramount+ with Showtime 11/1
Whiplash – Netflix 11/1
Winter’s Bone – Max 11/1
Witness for the Prosecution – Prime Video 11/1
Spider-Man: Far from Home – Disney+ 11/3
Edge of Tomorrow – Hulu 11/7
Vengeance (2022) – Peacock 11/16
The Conjuring 2 – Max 11/21
Her – Max 11/29

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Too Early for This: Oscar Picks – October 2023

I didn’t start this summer because, frankly, there wasn’t any point. This feels like a more natural starting place since most of the contenders have already premiered (at least at festivals).

BEST PICTURE
American Fiction
Anatomy of a Fall
Barbie
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon
Maestro
Oppenheimer
Past Lives
Poor Things
The Zone of Interest

The skinny: Barbie and Oppenheimer battled it out this summer, with both achieving tremendous success. While both are guaranteed a Best Picture nomination, the latter seems poised for a sweep. Of course, there’s still a long road to go.

BEST DIRECTOR
Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
Celine Song, Past Lives
Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things
Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest

The skinny: It’s going to be embarrassing when the Directors Branch only nominates one woman this year, but competition is fierce. Right now my money’s on Song, but she could easily lose for her debut to Greta Gerwig, who’s already been nominated here. As long as Oppenheimer is the frontrunner, Nolan will be too.

BEST ACTOR
Bradley Cooper, Maestro
Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon
Colman Domingo, Rustin
Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction

The skinny: Wright’s American Fiction wowed audiences at TIFF, where it won the coveted Peoples’ Choice Award. He’s long overdue for a nomination, and it’s likely the other four nominees will be playing real people. The Academy loves that, especially in this category, but it’s entirely possible they all cancel each other out.

BEST ACTRESS
Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
Greta Lee, Past Lives
Carey Mulligan, Maestro
Margot Robbie, Barbie
Emma Stone, Poor Things

The skinny: Not giving this to Lily Gladstone would be a grave mistake, but I’m used to disappointment. (They didn’t even nominate her for Certain Women!) So Robbie certainly seems like she’s in the lead, though Stone is nipping at her heels.

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