It’s almost an understatement to say that 2023 was the year for cinephiles.

The best films of the year marked a return to auteur season with new features from Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Michael Mann (“Ferrari”), Sofia Coppola (“Priscilla”), Ridley Scott (“Napoleon”), Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”), David Fincher (“The Killer”), Richard Linklater (“Hitman”), Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”), Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”), Todd Haynes (“May December”), Ari Aster (“Beau Is Afraid”), and Greta Gerwig (“Barbie”).

Of course, Barbenheimer proved that theaters were back with billion-dollar box office numbers, but 2023 was also the year for high-brow streaming features to shake up the system. Netflix’s Leonard Bernstein ode “Maestro” saw Bradley Cooper get back into the director’s chair following Oscar-winning “A Star Is Born,” plus the streamer hosted first-time filmmakers Chloe Domont and Cord Jefferson’s respective films “Fair Play” and “American Fiction,” both produced by Rian Johnson. Netflix also released Tony-winning playwright George C. Wolfe’s historical biopic “Rustin,” with Colman Domingo portraying the Civil Rights leader. Meanwhile, Apple boasted big-budget “Napoleon” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” financing the epic period pieces.

Indie distributor Neon partnered with Mann for “Ferrari” and is behind Justine Triet’s crime film “Anatomy of a Fall,” which is among the Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture nominees along with a slew of other categories despite not clinching the official French Oscars submission (That honor went to “The Taste of Things.”). A24 distributes Celine Song’s “Past Lives” and Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” both heartbreaking, years-spanning romances, along with family drama “The Iron Claw.”

Venice winner “Poor Things,” Greta Gerwig’s culture-changing “Barbie,” and Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster “Oppenheimer” top the Oscar categories, with “Oppenheimer” being eyed as a frontrunner for a possible sweep with Robert Downey Jr. in the Best Supporting Actor category, Cillian Murphy in Best Actor, Nolan in Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, and the feature also up for Best Picture.

Although the race is not over yet: Netflix’s “American Fiction” has been a surprise dark horse contender especially in the Best Adapted Screenplay category thanks to Cord Jefferson’s award-winning take on Percival Everett’s satirical novel “Erasure.” Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown also received acting nominations, with the film additionally up for Best Picture.

And that top title is the most elusive pick of them all, with the 10 features in the running all vastly different from one another in terms of storytelling, aesthetic, and budget. First-time feature director indies like “Past Lives” and “American Fiction” are holding their own among smaller-budget auteur returns like “The Holdovers,” while blockbusters such as “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” are obvious audience favorites.

Speaking of favorites, the 2024 awards ceremony will boast some of the buzziest A-listers as presenters to commemorate a few cinema history anniversaries, like the 40th celebration of “Scarface” with Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Keep scrolling to see all of the films recognized by the 2024 Oscars nominations, and tune into the ceremony which will take place March 10, 2024 in Los Angeles.

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