Richard Whittaker’s Top 10 Films of 2023

The Iron Claw

1) Oppenheimer Science, war, politics, and pettiness combine in this landmark film.

2) Maestro Bradley Cooper effortlessly conducts the man and the century.

3) American Fiction The year's funniest and most touching film acknowledges the Black middle class exists.

4) The Iron Claw A tragedy so heartbreaking that it has to be true.

5) The Holdovers Giamatti and Payne deliver a Christmas gift of warming kindness.

6) Suzume Makoto Shinkai reenforces his claim to being the greatest anime director of the decade

Godzilla Minus One

7) Godzilla Minus One Spectacle and wisdom: Gojira as powerful metaphor.

8) Past Lives The unbearable weight of what if.

9) BlackBerry My god, the stench of old T-shirts and pizza nights emanating from the screen. Perfect historical recreation.

10) Elemental Pixar made the year's best movie about immigration, assimilation, and integration.

Near Misses: Dream Scenario, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Most Overrated: The Boy and the Heron, May December, Bottoms, Asteroid City

Most Underrated: Suzume, Elemental, The Killer

Wild Card: Dream Scenario, American Fiction, The Holdovers and, yes, Oppenheimer: the year of academia in crisis.

Acting Kudos (Male): Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers), Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer), Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction)

Acting Kudos (Female): Anne Hathaway (Eileen), Anna Kendrick (Alice, Darling), Greta Lee (Past Lives)

Best Director: Bradley Cooper (Maestro), Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer), Celine Song (Past Lives)

Best Original Screenplay: Franklin Ritch (The Artifice Girl), Celine Song (Past Lives)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Kai Bird, Martin Sherwin (Oppenheimer), Cord Jefferson, Percival Everett (American Fiction), Alexis Nolent, Luc Jacamon, Andrew Kevin Walker (The Killer)

TV Series/Event: Only Murders in the Building made its inevitable trip to the Great White Way for season 3, and somehow managed to turn the dreaded musical episode into a delicious musical season. Gut milk, anyone?

Worst Film: Hell opened up and spat out the untrammeled narcissism of Beau is Afraid.

The Little Film That Could: Two great overachievers. First, Franklin Ritch deliberately asked more questions than he answered with microbudget AI drama The Artifice Girl, questions that you'll be pondering for months after. Second, Kevin Perjurer revolutionized the YouTube documentary format with Journey to EPCOT Center: A Symphonic History, a movie that combines Disney history with Stan Brakhage visuals.

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Top 10s 2023

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