(Photo by Niko Tavernise, Kirsty Griffin/©Netflix)
It’s officially that time of year when we put aside talking about misunderstood superhero movies and underappreciated cult classics to dive headfirst into awards season. With the Academy Awards just a few short weeks away, we’re looking at the 10 nominees for Best Picture to assess not only whether or not they deserve their nominations, but also whether or not their Tomatometer scores are a good indication of where they rank against each other.
The elephant in the category is, of course, Adam McKay’s satire Don’t Look Up, the only Rotten movie of the bunch (currently at 55% on the Tomatometer) and the worst-reviewed film to earn a Best Picture nomination since 2011’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, which sports a 45% Tomatometer score. Despite a few standout moments and all-star cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, and Timothée Chalamet, just to name a few, critics felt the film could have been a lot sharper and more focused. While the film has its fans, some felt that spot should have gone to a different film, like Pig, or Passing, or The Green Knight.
Aside from Don’t Look Up, though, most folks seemed fairly satisfied with the choices. Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley was also something of a surprise, since it hadn’t really made much noise elsewhere during awards season. Similarly, Japanese director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s thoughtful drama Drive My Car unexpectedly earned several nominations, including Best Picture, thanks in large part to sweeping wins across several prominent critics organizations.
Drive My Car also sports the highest Tomatometer score in the category, but according to our ranking formula, which takes into account the number of reviews for each film, it still falls behind the current frontrunner, Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. TPotD has thus far taken home the most hardware this year by a significant margin, according to our Awards Leaderboard, and it also happens to lead the Oscars with the most nominations of any film. Is it a shoo-in for Best Picture at this point?
Joining our regular co-hosts Jacqueline Coley and Mark Ellis this week to make sense of all the Best Picture nominees is esteemed guest Kyle Buchanan, pop culture reporter and awards season columnist for the New York Times who pens The Projectionist column. He feels near certain Jane Campion will win Best Director for The Power of the Dog, but he argues that the race for Best Picture is actually a lot closer than we all think. He’s also just released a book called Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road, which Mark and Jacqeuline are only too eager to talk about.
Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”
Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:
If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at email@example.com.
Meet the hosts
Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.
Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.