The selection of “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Barbie” are a powerful indication that the film industry is embracing artistic audacity. Many of the Best Picture nominees this year, including films such as “Oppenheimer,” “Poor Things,” and “The Zone of Interest,” display a trend towards embracing strangeness in storytelling. This shift in movie viewing reflects a skepticism towards realism. Films such as “American Fiction,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and “Barbie” are unorthodox, creating a blend of historical fiction and imaginative storytelling. However, the focus on historical films and biopics as Oscar contenders may indicate a sense of political exhaustion, as the dominance of these genres suggests that the industry is fighting old battles that have already been resolved. The rise of superhero films reflects this shift in storytelling preferences, amplifying skepticism towards realist fiction.
The effects of this shift are evident in the Oscar nominations, as the dominance of historical films often involves revisiting old battles that have already been resolved. This may explain why films that reckon with uncomfortable truths about history and current injustices, such as “Origin,” have not received the attention they deserve from critics and the Academy. Similarly, bio-pics provide a reliable Oscar shot for actors, as performances based on historical figures are deemed to reflect seriousness of purpose and elevate the virtuosity of actors. However, this preference for earnest representations of historical figures may result in the oversight of films that deal with substantial ideas through stylized storytelling, such as “Barbie.”
The dominance of historical films and bio-pics also reflects the earnest tone of the Oscars, which seeks to confirm the social value of the film industry through serious subjects. However, the rise of comedy in films such as “Barbie” is often overlooked, as comedy gets little respect from the Academy. This is evident in the lack of recognition for Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig, who played significant roles in shaping the essence of “Barbie” through their performances and direction. While the Academy nominees profess to embrace artistic audacity, the lack of recognition for films like “Barbie” and directors with a sense of style indicates a backlash towards films that offer substantial ideas through unconventional storytelling.
Despite the trend towards historical films and bio-pics in the Oscar nominations, the year has been a great one for movies based on the artistic achievement that the best of them represent. This is evident in the inclusion of several of the year’s best movies, such as “Asteroid City,” “Barbie,” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” among the Oscar nominees for Best Picture. The creative and imaginative storytelling in these films reflects a departure from traditional storytelling, embracing artistic audacity in film.