Must List

You need to see these movies before the 2023 Oscars

The 2023 Academy Awards will be held on March 12, and we absolutely cannot wait. It's coined "Hollywood's Biggest Night" for a reason—there's high fashion, glitz, glamour and defining pop culture moments almost every year (remember Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes hosting last year as a trio of history-making female co-hosts?). But most importantly, it's an evening for the year's best films to shine. 

Rooting for your fave movies is fun, although it can be difficult to find the Oscar-nominated films that are actually worth watching (and not, like, *totally* boring). Lucky for you, we've rounded up some of our picks from this past year that you def need to see before the big night. Whether you're an action fanatic or a sucker for a heartfelt film, 2023 brought us some high-quality flicks. So grab some popcorn, because we've got all the films you need to see before this year's Academy Awards. 

1. Top Gun: Maverick

Arguably the biggest blockbuster of the past year, the long-awaited sequel to Top Gun (1986) was worth the 36-year time jump. Once a decorated trainee himself, the film follows Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) as he mentors a new group of Top Gun Naval aviators for one of their most challenging missions to date. With eye-candy cinematography, a rollercoaster of airborne action sequences and our latest celeb crush Miles Teller taking center stage (ofc), this film is a must-see before Oscar night. And our fave part? Unlike the 1986 film, this one features a woman taking on Top Gun training with poise. Played by Monica Barbaro, Lieutenant Natasha "Phoenix" Trace is our aviator it-girl. To the skies! 

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound

2. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

Looking for something totally cute and totally thoughtful? Then this Oscar nom should def be up next on your watchlist. Titular character Marcel, an anthropomorphic shell, was initially conceived in a series of Youtube shorts created by Dean Fliescher Camp and Jenny Slate. The film is an extension of these shorts and features Camp as director and Slate as the voice of Marcel, respectively. Marcel is an adorable protagonist who navigates unlikely fame and friendship. If you're looking for a reason to laugh, smile and marvel at the delicate beauty of stop-motion animation, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On is for you. 

Nominated for: Best Animated Feature

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once

As the title would suggest, this movie's got just about everything. A complex female protagonist? Check. Tons of humor? Check. A painfully realistic mother-daughter bond? Double check. And it doesn't stop there! With action-packed martial arts sequences and creative plotlines (talking rocks, anyone?), this film has got it all. It's a whirlwind of colorful twists and turns and serves as a searing portrait of a hardworking Asian-American family. With a whopping 11 nominations, if you're looking for a feast for the senses, let Everything Everywhere All At Once be your next pick. 

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director: Kevin Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Best Actress in a Leading Role: Michelle Yeoh, Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu, Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Ke Huy Quan, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Film Score, Best Song: "This is a Life"

4. Elvis

OK, we've all def seen heartthrob Austin Butler grace our TikTok feed this past year, but the countless edits you probs saw over the summer were made for good reason. Butler skyrocketed to mainstream fame this past year in Baz Luhrmann's biopic "Elvis," a film depicting the life and times of the king of rock 'n' roll, Elvis Presley. The film is glamorous, and Butler's performance as "The King" is explosive and absorbing. It's got tons of great music too, from Elvis covers to Doja Cat. This movie blends both modern and historical tastes seamlessly—it's one to watch with the whole fam. 

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role: Austin Butler, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design,  Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Film Editing, Best Sound

5. The Fabelmans

If you're a fan of old classics like Jaws, Jurrasic Park or E.T., The Fabelmans could be the Oscar nom you're craving. The semi-autobiographical film by directorial great Steven Spielberg is a coming-of-age tale about a young boy who falls in love with cinema after seeing The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) in theaters. The boy begins to make films of his own and finds new, albeit sometimes troubling, perspectives through his creations. Dubbed Steven Spielberg's love letter to the film industry, The Fabelmans is the perfect film for any girl who appreciates the power of good movie-making. 

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director: Steven Spielberg, Best Actress in a Leading Role: Michelle Williams, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Judd Hirsch, Best Original Score, Best Production Design

What movie do you hope takes home an award this year? 

Let us know on Twitter @girlslifemag!

Slider image: @billieeilish


by Laila Mayfield | 3/6/2023