Ahead of the official Academy nominations on Tuesday, Observer film critics pick their own favourites

Amid the hype over her acclaimed performance as Diana, Princess of Wales in Spencer, Kristen Stewart briefly stopped awards pundits dead in their tracks when, upon being asked about her Oscar buzz, she drily admitted, “I don’t give a shit.” Sacrilege! Some of the best films and performances of all time haven’t been considered by the Academy, she continued. “There’s five spots. What the fuck are you going to do?”

Nobody disagrees with Stewart on any of this: just ask our critics, whose ideal Oscar ballots below are knowingly far from the expected reality of next week’s nominations. That the actor’s comments made showbiz headlines anyway speaks to the strange aura the Oscars maintain as a gold standard of cinematic achievement: for several months a year, people fret and discuss and strategise about them, while companies expensively campaign for them, only to spend the rest of the year complaining that they don’t mean anything anyway. Even Stewart’s scepticism emerged while on the campaign trail, being interviewed on a Variety podcast named Awards Circuit. Should she win for Spencer, she’ll doubtless turn up and give a humbly grateful speech anyway. That’s the game. Nobody gives a shit about the Oscars, after all, except when everyone does.

Here, then, are our critics’ picks of who and what should be on those Oscars shortlists. Guy Lodge


Summer of Soul

The Green Knight



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