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The winner should be… 2024 edition 

An orange with "O&J" on it.

By Jack McLaughlin 

Arts & Features Editor

By Owen Glancy

Asst. Arts & Features Editor

Best Visual Effects:


The best visual effects Oscar is typically awarded to a big American blockbuster, whether it be a giant sci-fi epic, or the latest superhero film. It is incredibly rare to see a foreign film, let alone one made on a budget of only $15 million get nominated. 

What “Godzilla: Minus One” is able to achieve with such limited resources is frankly astonishing. Whether it’s seeing the iconic monster destroying Ginza or simply watching him swim toward boats, it all looks excellent. 

“Godzilla” as a franchise has always been synonymous with special effects, especially practical effects. While this film does away with the classic rubber-suit Godzilla is known for, the tradeoff is a more flexible, realistic, and menacing monster than ever before. 

While it isn’t the only film from this year to have incredible CG effects - “The Creator” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” come to mind - it’s the only one where the CG went above and beyond expectations to deliver something both entertaining and memorable. 

Even if some of the other nominees look just as good as “Godzilla: Minus One,” none of them deserve it nearly as much. This film managed to compete with and surpass big budget Hollywood franchise films with a fraction of the money. If that doesn’t deserve recognition, I don’t know what does. 


It’s always remarkable what you can do with a small budget for VFX, like what was done in “Godzilla: Minus One,” but it’s also just as impressive when you have a lot of money put into VFX and it shows. 

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” was one of the best blockbusters last summer, seemingly a fluke in the midst of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) slowly losing its audience. One of the biggest aspects that separated it from its fellow MCU films was the visual presentation. 

The character Rocket Raccoon is without a doubt the emotional backbone of this film, and is entirely computer generated. The crew behind the VFX did an excellent job telling this character’s story visually with the best effects that the MCU has had since “Infinity War.”

Even the practical effects look incredible. From the sets to the design of The High Evolutionary, this movie is a visual feast for the eyes. 

This was one of my favorite films of last year, and its VFX goes above and beyond to tell a satisfying and emotionally compelling story.  

Best Animated Feature:


The year 2023 was undoubtedly amazing for animated films, from “Nimona” finally releasing, to “Blue Giant” adapting a classic manga into a new animated classic. However, the two that stand at the pinnacle of these films are “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and “The Boy and the Heron.” Of them, “The Boy and the Heron” is the superior film. 

Hayao Miyazaki finally came out of his 10-year retirement to create another masterpiece, and it feels like he never left. The film is not only beautiful from a technical stand-point, but from a story-telling perspective as well. 

This film tells such a mature and complete story in only two hours, something that for as good as “Spider-Verse” was, even it could not manage. 

Every character is extremely memorable, and voiced to perfection in both English and Japanese. For most anime films, the English dub is so bad it’s not even worth bringing up. However, here it legitimately might be just as good as the original Japanese version.

“The Boy and the Heron” accomplishes the incredible feat of being better than nearly every single film that came out last year, including many of the Best Picture nominees. While its competitors are good, this is the only film from that bunch that truly goes above and beyond. 


“The Boy and the Heron” could have been the more narratively satisfying story, but “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” pushed the medium of animation to what feels like its absolute limit. 

From the first frame, the electrifying style of this movie is present and each scene looks undeniably gorgeous. The story explores Miles Morales even deeper as a character while simultaneously giving us a host of new spider-people to latch onto, while keeping some from the first movie. 

For fans of animation and the titular web-slinger, it is jam-packed with so many little details to love like its score, script, and performances. 

The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) easily became one of the best on-screen villains for Spidey, mixing both a hilarious and terrifying presence with one of the coolest designs of a Marvel villain put to screen. 

Metro Boomin’s original soundtrack for the film is used to enhance many of the scenes, especially the track “Am I Dreaming” being the song for the credits. 

The rather abrupt ending is divisive, with many arguing it feels like “part one” of a larger narrative. I felt the ending, while quite literally leaving the audience hanging, is simply set up for what will likely be an even crazier conclusion but gives you enough for a relatively satisfying ending. 

Best Picture:


The Best Picture Oscar is simultaneously the most prestigious and most contentious award every year. With a few exceptions, it always feels like the academy selects the most by-the-books safe pick for this award, regardless of what actually deserved it. 

Last year, we saw “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” win this award. That was a weird film that in any other year, the academy would not have normally picked. This year, there is another strange film that deserves as many accolades as it can get. 

“Poor Things” is a genuine masterpiece. The set design is absolutely gorgeous, the score is memorable and masterful, the characters are both sympathetic and quirky, and the story is simultaneously empowering and tragic. It’s everything you could ask for in a film, rolled into one. 

Rarely with feminist films these days do the protagonist and messages come across as powerful as intended. Oftentimes we get impossibly perfect female protagonists who only further detach themselves from the audience. 

Here, we get a real person. Bella Baxter is flawed and not exactly the ideal role-model. However, because of her realism, we can relate to her and her feminist ideas and actions. 

In a year full of excellent films made by some of the best filmmakers of all time, “Poor Things” stands out as, in my opinion, the only one to push the medium further and really challenge both the filmmakers and audience. 


So many fantastic movies came out last year, but even after my first viewing of “Oppenheimer” in July, I was positive this was going to be Christopher Nolan’s first Best Picture winner. 

I’m someone that would identify as a strong criticizer of Nolan’s body of work, especially his more recent films. “Oppenheimer” did the unthinkable and made me downright love a Nolan film, something I never thought would be possible after “The Dark Knight.”

The cast is stacked with incredible performances, which is led by Cillian Murphy’s killer lead role.

Other amazing additions to the cast include Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, and Matt Damon, amongst a countless number of others. 

Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema continues to prove himself to be one of the best in the industry. Every shot looks beautiful and is accompanied by a stellar score from Ludwig Göransson. 

While the leadup to the Trinity Test was riveting, it’s the last hour where the fallout and ramifications of creating a weapon like this are explored is where this movie is at its absolute peak. 

I never thought I’d say this, but Nolan pulled off an amazing feat with “Oppenheimer” and I think it has the best shot of Best Picture this year. 


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