Ranking Oscar’s 43 features

Posted by · 1:21 pm · March 6th, 2010

Tahar Rahim in A ProphetLast year I did this just for fun, so I thought I’d give it another whirl.  My ranking of the 43 features nominated for an Oscar this year.  (Interesting to note, last year it was 36 films.  I wonder if it’s always pretty close to 40.)

Feel free to offer up your list of whatever you’ve seen in the comments section.  The top 10 here, the rest after the jump:

1. “A Prophet”
2. “A Serious Man”
3. “Up in the Air”
4. “The Cove”
5. “Avatar”
6. “Precious”
7. “An Education”
8. “The Lovely Bones”
9. “Star Trek”
10. “The Messenger”

11. “The Hurt Locker”
12. “District 9”
13. “Food, Inc.”
14. “Up”
15. “Crazy Heart”
16. “The Secret in Their Eyes”
17. “Sherlock Holmes”
18. “Julie & Julia”
19. “Inglourious Basterds”
20. “Coraline”
21. “Fantastic Mr. Fox”
22. “In the Loop”
23. “Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country”
24. “The Princess and the Frog”
25. “Bright Star”
26. “A Single Man”
27. “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
28. “The White Ribbon”
29. “Which Way Home”
30. “The Secret of Kells”
31. “The Last Station”
32. “The Blind Side”
33. “The Young Victoria”
34. “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”
35. “The Milk of Sorrow”
36. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”
37. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
38. “Nine”
39. “Coco Before Chanel”
40. “Il Divo”
41. “Ajami”
42. “Paris 36”
43. “Invictus”

The best film not nominated for a single Oscar: “Antichrist”

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84 responses so far

  • 1 3-06-2010 at 3:35 pm

    Dylan said...

    So, to you the BP nominees are the ranked 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 14, 19, and . . . 32 of all the nominated films. That’s interesting.

  • 2 3-06-2010 at 3:39 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    Kris if A Prophet had been released in 09 would it have placed on your top ten of the decade list? If yes then where?

  • 3 3-06-2010 at 3:42 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    m1: If they haunt you then your problems run deep.

    Matthew: Maybe. Maybe not. Probably close, just like ASM.

  • 4 3-06-2010 at 3:43 pm

    Douglas said...

    Transformers before Invictus and Nine??
    I mean seriously they werent THAT bad

  • 5 3-06-2010 at 3:55 pm

    John said...

    (boring disclaimer that we are all allowed to have our own views, and I have the greatest of respect for my fellow posters’ viewpoints)
    I guess why I have a problem with it is that I can think of plenty of movies that are visually interesting yet dramatically unengaging, and AVATAR isn’t one of them. It’s not visuals that are pulling such repeat biz on this thing (OK, maybe with the 3d to a degree, but…) And he also got that rap on TITANIC. Both movies are big broad epics, yet hugely engrossing emotionally and viscerally. Yet it seems to me like the man is attacked because he writes in a genre where it is popular to say there’s no story and all visuals.
    First, the whole concept of being put into these alien bodies… that’s interesting stuff and good science fiction; it feels like he thought it out and isn’t just pulling a FREAKY FRIDAY on us (which is a cute movie, but not about the mechanics of how the change occurs). Then he has created one of the few believable other worlds in cinema history. Often, we just accept that they’re aliens and watch the show. but this seemed to me to be credibly another world. Again, he’s really thought this stuff out.
    The culture of this other world is credibly thought out. OK, they’re a bit nature-y/hippy-ish for my taste, but I believe this culture exists, it doesn;t feel like alien of the week on STAR TREK (not meaning to bash that show, it’s great, but the worst episodes felt liek an alien with a funny name and silly cloak).
    Then by the end of the movie, I was quite viscerally engaged in seeing these peace-loving aliens violently vanquish the invading humans. I’m a pretty pro-America, pro-military guy (not militaristically or in a knee-jerk fashion, but I see patriotism as a good thing in moderation), yet I was very actively cheering for the destruction of the humans by the Na’vi. Those who wish to claim that this is just a silly story with no relation to human history are woefully mistaken. This is an American movie designed to get us cheering against ourselves, and I found that rather subversive.
    So, I think it’s definitely got a lot more going on narratively than it’s given credit for. A much better script than that SERIOUS MAN, for my $.

    Craig… As for missing the boat on A SERIOUS MAN, here’s what I’d like to venture. These indie films which get beaucoup critical praise and arthouse followers yet never break out to the mainstream become sacrosanct to the cinephile community because everyone loves them, while a mainstream hit is often derided. this is because a mainstream film will be viewed by a large group of people and no film can appeal to everyone, therefore, we will find the people who don’t like it and they will be heard. A SERIOUS MAN is the sort of picture that doesn’t get mainstream attention, and that’s for the best, because a mainstrema audience would hate it, and I say rightfully so. Therefore, we don’t hear from the people who don’t like it, so it gets this insular impression of being a great film, when in fact it’s just not being tested by everyone. Personally, I couldn’t last 20 minutes in that movie, and everyone I personally know who has tried to watch it has had the same reaction. I love those Coens, I love that they make what they want, but when they do something that doesn’t connect to me, I will voice my opiion, as is the purpose of a film discussion website!

  • 6 3-06-2010 at 4:16 pm

    Brady said...

    1. Avatar
    2. An Education
    3. A Single Man
    4. The Hurt Locker
    5. Up
    6. Star Trek
    7. Up in the Air
    8. Precious
    9. Inglourious Basterds
    10. Coraline
    11. The Cove
    12. A Serious Man
    13. The Princess and the Frog
    14. Crazy Heart
    15. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
    16. District 9
    17. The White Ribbon
    18. Julie & Julia
    19. The Blind Side
    20. Nine
    21. Invictus
    22. Fantastic Mr. Fox

    I can’t believe I only saw 22 of them!

    @ Chad – I’m shocked you haven’t seen Avatar, considering every week you have to mention that Avatar is still raking in more money than (insert When in Rome-like disasters here).

  • 7 3-06-2010 at 4:19 pm

    Julian Stark said...

    First seven definite; last three not so sure

    1. Up
    2. Inglourious Basterds
    3. Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
    4. An Education
    5. Up in the Air
    6. Sherlock Holmes
    7. The Princess and the Frog
    8. Star Trek
    9. Coraline
    10. Crazy Heart

    Best Film Not Nominated for a Single Oscar: Adventureland

  • 8 3-06-2010 at 4:20 pm

    Damned Martian said...

    1. In the Loop
    2. The Cove
    3. A Serious Man
    4. The Hurt Locker
    5. Coraline
    6. Up
    7. District 9
    8. Up in the Air
    9. Fantastic Mr. Fox
    10. The Secret in Their Eyes
    11. The White Ribbon
    12. Food, Inc.
    13. Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country
    14. Star Trek
    15. The Messenger
    16. A Prophet
    17. A Single Man
    18. Crazy Heart
    19. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
    20. Avatar
    21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    22. Sherlock Holmes
    23. Bright Star
    24. An Education
    25. Julie & Julia
    26. The Secret of Kells
    27. The Blind Side
    28. The Young Victoria
    29. Coco Avant Chanel
    30. The Princess and the Frog
    31. Precious
    32. The Milk of Sorrow
    33. Inglourious Basterds
    34. Invictus
    35. The Lovely Bones
    36. Paris 36
    37. Nine
    38. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (the only downright bad film in the list)

    Haven’t seen yet: Ajami, Which Way Home, The Last Station (the three o fthem still unavailable for me here in Spain), The Most Dangerous Man in America, Il Divo.

    Best films not nominated for anything: (500) Days of Summer, Mary and Max, The Girlfriend Experience, Hunger, Adventureland.

  • 9 3-06-2010 at 4:26 pm

    thebizkey said...

    1.) The Hurt Locker
    2.) A Single Man
    3.) Coraline
    4.) Inglourious Basterds
    5.) Up
    6.) Up in the Air
    7.) Precious
    8.) The White Ribbon
    9.) The Messenger
    10.) The Prophet

    I think these were the best of the films nominated this year. And Kris, I love these lists and you, but your preoccupation with “The Lovely Bones” is embarassing. It’s a terrible movie.

  • 10 3-06-2010 at 4:52 pm

    Anna said...

    1. Inglourious Basterds
    2. The Hurt Locker
    3. A Serious Man
    4. Bright Star
    5. In the Loop
    6. Up
    7. Fantastic Mr. Fox
    8. The White Ribbon
    9. A Single Man
    10. Star Trek

  • 11 3-06-2010 at 5:02 pm

    radiojazzz said...


    1. ‘Up in the Air’
    2. ‘Avatar’
    3. ‘The Hurt Locker’
    4. ‘Un prophete’
    5. ‘An Education’
    6. ‘Nine’ (let me be the only one)
    7. ‘The Cove’

    quite good:

    8. ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’
    9. ‘Star Trek’
    10. ‘A Serious Man’
    11. ‘Inglourious Basterds’
    12. ‘A Single Man’
    13. ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’
    14. ‘Sherlock Holmes’
    15. ‘The Messenger’
    16. ‘The Princess and the Frog’
    17. ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’


    18. ‘The Lovely Bones’
    19. ‘Food, Inc.’
    20. ‘The Young Victoria’
    21. ‘Invictus’
    22. ‘Coraline’
    23. ‘In the Loop’
    24. ‘The Last Station’
    25. ‘District 9’
    26. ‘Crazy Heart’
    27. ‘Up’


    28. ‘El secreto de sus ojos’
    29. ‘Precious’
    30. ‘Julie & Julia’
    31. ‘Il divo’
    32. ‘Das weisse Band’
    33. ‘Coco avant Chanel’


    34. ‘The Blind Side’
    35. ‘Bright Star’
    36. ‘The Secret of Kells’

    Haven’t seen ‘Transformers’, ‘Faubourg 36’, couple of foreign ones and 3 of 5 documentaries.

    Great films not nominated for a single Oscar: ‘Two Lovers’, ‘The Road’, ‘(500) Days of Summer’ (all three would’ve been my Best Picture nominees), ‘Public Enemies’, ‘State of Play’.

  • 12 3-06-2010 at 5:26 pm

    Dylan said...

    Best film not nominated for a single Oscar: Ponyo (it just breaks my heart)

  • 13 3-06-2010 at 6:02 pm

    Packie said...

    1. Inglourious Basterds
    2. A Serious Man
    3. Fantastic Mr. Fox
    4. In the Loop
    5. The Hurt Locker
    6. The White Ribbon
    7. Up
    8. Star Trek
    9. An Education
    10. Bright Star
    11. Up in the Air
    12. Coraline
    13. Avatar
    14. District 9
    15. Julie and Julia
    16. Crazy Heart
    17. Lovely Bones
    18. Invictus
    19. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    20. The Last Station

    Those are the only was I have seen.

  • 14 3-06-2010 at 6:13 pm

    Plum said...

    The ones I’ve seen:

    1. Inglorious Basterds
    2. Up
    3. The Hurt Locker
    4. In The Loop
    5. An Education
    6. Up in the Air
    7. Fantastic Mr Fox
    8. Julie & Julia
    9. Nine
    10. The Young Victoria

    Star Trek
    Food, Inc.
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    The Cove
    The Blind Side

    Good films with no nods (in order of preference): Antichrist, It’s Complicated, Duplicity, Where The Wild Things Are, A Christmas Carol.

  • 15 3-06-2010 at 6:17 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    thebizkey: That’s a pretty stupid sentiment.

  • 16 3-06-2010 at 6:18 pm

    Ryan Hoffman said...

    17. “Sherlock Holmes”
    18. “Julie & Julia”
    19. “Inglourious Basterds”

    I don’t even LOVE IB but…joke list lol.

  • 17 3-06-2010 at 6:20 pm

    G1000 said...

    Nice to see a few people finally putting “The Hurt Locker” at #1, where it belongs. Seriously, how good was that film?

  • 18 3-06-2010 at 6:41 pm

    Sebastien Bertrand said...

    1. A Single Man
    2. Invictus
    3. Julie & Julia
    4. Precious
    5. An Education
    6. Up in the Air
    7. The Messenger
    8. El secreto de sus ojos
    9. Un Prophet
    10. Crazy Heart
    11. Coco avant Chanel
    12. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    13. Up
    14. Inglorious Basterds
    15. The Blind Side
    16. The Princess and the Frog
    17. Avatar
    18. Ajami
    19. The Young Victoria
    20. Nine
    21. Bright Star
    22. Coraline
    23. District 9
    24. Fantastic Mr. Fox
    25. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
    26. The Hurt Locker
    27. Sherlock Holmes
    28. The Cove
    29. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
    30. Food Inc.
    31. The Lovely Bones
    32. Paris 36
    33. The Last Station
    34. Star Trek
    35. La teta asustada
    36. Das weisse Band
    37. In the Loop
    38. The Secret of Kells
    39. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
    40. A Serious Man
    41. Il Divo
    42. Burma VJ

    I have yet to see Which Way Home.

  • 19 3-06-2010 at 7:00 pm

    James The Greatest said...

    I’m excited because I JUST NOW finally finished my checklist off, so it’s the perfect time for me to write this list. For those who care, Paris 36 was the final film I had to sneak in today. (An asterisk denotes a movie I saw post-nomination. Two means I saw it post-nomination on DVD because it was unavailable in theaters.)

    1. Up In The Air
    2. A Prophet *
    3. The Hurt Locker
    4. The Messenger
    5. An Education
    6. Up
    7. A Single Man
    8. Precious
    9. Avatar
    10. Inglourious Basterds
    11. In The Loop
    12. District 9
    13. Coraline
    14. Which Way Home *
    15. Fantastic Mr. Fox
    16. The Secret In Their Eyes *
    17. Ajami *
    18. Star Trek
    19. The Young Victoria
    20. Crazy Heart
    21. Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
    22. The Princess And The Frog
    23. Bright Star
    24. The Cove
    25. Food, Inc.
    26. A Serious Man
    27. Julie & Julia
    28. The White Ribbon
    29. The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus *
    30. The Most Dangerous Man In America *
    31. Coco Before Chanel **
    32. The Blind Side
    33. Invictus
    34. The Milk Of Sorrow *
    35. Burma VJ *
    36. Sherlock Holmes
    37. Paris 36 **
    38. The Lovely Bones
    39. The Secret Of Kells **
    40. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen **
    41. Il Divo **
    42. The Last Station
    43. Nine

  • 20 3-06-2010 at 7:03 pm

    BrianC said...

    1. A Prophet
    2. The Hurt Locker
    3. The White Ribbon
    4. Up
    5. A Single Man
    6. A Serious Man
    7.Bright Star
    8. Inglorious Bastards
    9. An Education
    10. The Cove

  • 21 3-06-2010 at 7:22 pm

    Fitz said...

    @ Kris Tapley

    Parallel universe Oscar list?
    That would be my ballot on this universe. Well maybe not Zombieland.

  • 22 3-06-2010 at 7:23 pm

    Johnny Doubles said...

    Kris, I’m ranking the top BP nominated films from the past decade. I’m interested if you made such a list, how much ours would contrast. Not that you have as different taste in movies than I, but simply there have been a few you have been pretty enthusiastic toward (i.e. ‘Up in the Air’) that I felt more lukewarm than anything else

  • 23 3-06-2010 at 7:43 pm

    Estefan said...

    1. The Princess and the Frog
    2. Avatar
    3. Inglourious Basterds
    4. Up
    5. Star Trek
    6. Up in the Air
    7. A Serious Man
    8. Julie & Julia
    9. Coraline
    10. Sherlock Holmes

    11. Fantastic Mr Fox
    12. District 9
    13. The Hurt Locker
    14. The Lovely Bones
    15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    16. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
    17. The Milk of Sorrow

    The best film not nominated for a single Oscar: “Ponyo”

  • 24 3-06-2010 at 8:15 pm

    Fitz said...

    Ponyo was nominated for Animated feature.

  • 25 3-06-2010 at 8:16 pm

    Fitz said...

    Nix comment 73, wasn’t paying attention. Although in a better world Zombieland, Adventureland and WGD would be nominated for something.

  • 26 3-06-2010 at 9:04 pm

    Wha said...

    1. Inglourious Basterds
    2. The Cove
    3. Up
    4. The Messenger
    5. El Secreto de Sus Ojos

    I’ve seen probably 30 but too lazy to write them all out lol. That’s also actually my top 5 of the year, so kudos to AMPAS for getting things sorta right this year.

    Best film not nominated for an Oscar: Moon (Duncan Jones & Sam Rockwell deserve a whole hell of a lot more attention).

  • 27 3-06-2010 at 9:45 pm

    ChuckAmuck said...


    Sorry, mate, I didn’t mean to make it seem like my opinion was end all, be all, or that I didn’t respect others’ opinions. I know many found “Avatar” dramatically engaging, I just wasn’t one of them. Something beyond the spectacle clicked with audiences and kept bringing them back, hence the $2.5 billion its made worldwide. I’ve even seen it twice, even though I was not incredibly impressed the first time (at least, not with the storytelling aspect).

    Mind uploading and the conscience transference for a specific purpose or mission is nothing new. “Avatar” handled it alright, though. It’s really the flow and pace of the story that were the main issues.

    I agree, the world that was created in the movie was brilliant, but how it looked and how engaging the environment was really has nothing to do with the story. Cameron certainly did carefully think out the world’s look and feel. I just wish he had done the same with his own script.

    I bought into the world, too, for the most part. At least, for the first 45 minutes. Then there was about an hour where I was wondering how much longer I would have to wait before the story picked back up. I will admit, it did pick up big time during the last half hour or so, and I even really started rooting for the characters. Until the corny climactic scene when the animals came to help. That kinda pulled me back out of the picture. The movie wrapped up fairly good, but it’s what I had to sit through I have a problem with. The novelty of the 3D wore off within the first hour, and great scenery and effects only go so far.

    I never said the story didn’t have any relation to human history. I said the story was unoriginal and that the script did a poor job making the story or the characters break out of convention. With the exception of Naytiri, Zoe’s performance in the movie was great. Everyone else… not so much.

    “Avatar” also isn’t the first movie to have us cheering against ourselves, but points for making it happen on such a huge scale. It doesn’t excuse its major scripting flaws, though. As for the scripts, though… I’ve read the screenplay for “A Serious Man” twice since I saw the movie and would read it again if the mood hit me. The script for “Avatar,” on the other hand, I’ve only read once after seeing the movie, and I have absolutely zero urge to read it again. Without the visuals and the performances, “Avatar” is one of the dullest and corniest blockbuster scripts ever written. Besides, I had already read the script for “Dances with Wolves,” so I essentially read the same script twice. You’d be surprised how much more obvious the similarities are when you’re just reading the words.

  • 28 3-06-2010 at 9:50 pm

    ChuckAmuck said...

    Let me rephrase my last bit there. By saying they are essentially the same script, I kind of insulted “Dances with Wolves.” “Wolves,” however, had a much tighter and interesting script than “Avatar.” What I meant was the events are essentially same, they’re just handled better in “Wolves.” Not that they are completely the same, of course, but there aren’t huge differences.

  • 29 3-06-2010 at 9:59 pm

    JP said...

    1. A Single Man
    2. An Education
    3. A Serious Man
    4. Up
    5. Inglourious Basterds
    5. Up in the Air
    6. A Prophet
    7. Avatar
    8. The White Ribbon
    9. District 9
    10. Precious

    11. Princess and the Frog
    12. Julie and Julia
    13. Fantastic Mr. Fox
    14. Star Trek
    15. Sherlock Holmes
    16. Bright Star
    17. Coraline
    18. Crazy Heart
    19. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
    20. The Hurt Locker
    21. The Lovely Bones
    22. Invictus

    Those are the ones I’ve seen.

    Movies I wish had gotten some Oscar love: (500) Days of Summer, Moon, Where the Wild Things Are

  • 30 3-06-2010 at 10:58 pm

    Rare Addict said...

    1. Inglourious Basterds
    2. Avatar
    3. Coraline
    4. Up
    5. The Princess and the Frog
    6. District 9
    7. Star Trek
    8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    9. Fantastic Mr. Fox
    10. The Hurt Locker
    11. A Serious Man
    12. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

  • 31 3-06-2010 at 11:36 pm

    Jeff said...

    1. A Prophet
    2. Bright Star
    3. The White Ribbon
    4. The Hurt Locker
    5. The Cove
    6. Fantastic Mr. Fox
    7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    8. In the Loop
    9. Up
    10. District 9
    11. Star Trek
    12. Precious
    13. Julie & Julia
    14. The Princess and the Frog
    15. The Secret in Their Eyes
    16. Inglourious Basterds
    17. A Serious Man
    18. Avatar
    19. Sherlock Holmes
    20. An Education
    21. Up in the Air

    1. The Door
    2. The Lady and the Reaper
    3. A Matter of Loaf and Death
    4. Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
    5. French Roast
    6. Logorama

  • 32 3-07-2010 at 2:06 am

    ChuckAmuck said...

    btw, best movies not nominated for a single Oscar:

    1. Where the Wild Things Are
    2. Moon
    3. (500) Days of Summer
    4. Ponyo
    5. Taken (nobody seems to remember this one came out in 2009)
    6. The Road
    7. Anvil! The Story of Anvil
    8. The Damned United
    9. The Informant!
    10. Big Fan

  • 33 3-07-2010 at 3:42 am

    Michael said...

    The funny thing is that although I really don’t agree with most parts of your ranking (Up in the air, serious man wouldn’t be that high in my list, Avatar would be far lower and of course lovely bones… I think most people disagree, but okay) I would have given the same movies on the two ends. A Prophet is the best one here, and yeah, Invictus was the worst or at least the most disappointing and the one that makes you really angry due to the respect and the ridiculous acting nominations it got.

  • 34 3-07-2010 at 8:31 am

    Steve said...

    Enjoyable list to read in the ranking of the films. Surprising, but enjoyable. And I believe Transformers 2 was terrible, awesome as hell, but bad. I probably wouldn’t place it above Invictus or HP6 but if you fell asleep then I can’t argue with you there.