The 2024 Oscars BuzzMeter is here to trumpet the contenders that will be and the ones that should be

They're back again, those Buzz people, and here to flag what will — and argue passionately for what should be — in the Oscar conversation. It's the first round of the BuzzMeter, which we think of as an awards season viewing guide.

Each round, our panel of six veteran film journalists ranks picks in each of 10 Oscar categories, using a points system (most points for top choice) that yields a fair picture of what their roiling, wrestling group mind believes are the best bets. In Round 2, they'll predict the actual Oscar nominees. In Round 3, they'll predict the winners.

Think you can do better? Fill out your own slate in our online polls each week for each featured category. This week, we officially kick off awards season (now that the strikes are thankfully over!) with The Big One: Best picture.

Your 2024 Oscars BuzzMeter panel: Six veteran film journalists.

The Buzz Gang's first pass at the best-picture race mixes personal picks and perceived slam dunks by acclamation, this summer's "Barbenheimer" phenomenon among them.

Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" is well out in front, 6.5 points ahead of the two films tied for second place in Round 1, Yorgos Lanthimos' ferociously feminist Frankenstein fable "Poor Things." and the UK's German-language international feature entry, Jonathan Glazer's study of the banality of evil, "The Zone of Interest." Martin Scorsese's Osage murders chronicle, "Killers of the Flower Moon" (which plays a bit like "Get Out" from the point of view of the white folks), is in fourth.

Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" places fifth in initial polling, and as expected, shows up in many of the 10 BuzzMeter categories, leading in two of them.

Panelist Glenn Whipp notes that "Barbenheimer" "dominated the cultural conversation for weeks after their summer release. There’s still plenty more to talk about, though, and the motion picture academy, with an eye toward ratings, will welcome that discourse."

A second foreign-language film, "Anatomy of a Fall" (somewhat controversially not selected as France's Oscar entry), places in the Top 10 of Round 1.

Dave Karger says, "I’m also rooting for two of my favorite films of the year which seem to be on the bubble at this early stage: 'Anatomy of a Fall' and 'All of Us Strangers.' The race would be much more interesting with them in the running."

This being the "buzzy" round, in which the panelists champion contenders they think deserve notice even if they doubt they'll receive it, France's actual Oscar entry, "The Taste of Things" also makes the list. Insert your own joke about that title here, but it features a warm performance by Juliette Binoche that may land the actress her third nomination, having won for "The English Patient."

Despite this flood of prestige dramas, Claudia Puig says, "This could be the tide-turning year where comedies are finally shown respect by Oscar voters. 'Barbie' and the bizarrely funny 'Poor Things' are sure to make the cut, as well as the poignant buddy comedy 'The Holdovers' and the witty social satire 'American Fiction.' ”

Tim Cogshell, meanwhile, stumps for George C. Wolfe's "Rustin," widely considered a lead-actor contender for Emmy winner and Tony nominee Colman Domingo. But he also champions a title that may surprise many awards watchers: "The best picture most Black folks saw this year is 'They Cloned Tyrone.' One imagines the NAACP Awards and AAFCA will correct this likely academy oversight. And no, I'm not kidding — the best film of the year.

"And I loved 'Barbie,' too."

Among those not receiving votes in Round 1 (some of which had not screened at press time): "The Boy and the Heron," "Dream Scenario," "Dumb Money," "Flora and Son," "Freud's Last Session," "May December," "Napoleon," "Next Goal Wins," "Nyad," "Saltburn."

1. "Oppenheimer

2. (tie) "Killers of the Flower Moon

2. (tie) "Poor Things

4. "The Zone of Interest

5. "Barbie

6. "Past Lives

7. "All of Us Strangers

8. "The Holdovers

9. "Anatomy of a Fall

10. "Maestro

11. "They Cloned Tyrone"

12. "The Color Purple"

13. "Rustin"

14. "The Burial"

15. "The Taste of Things"

16. "American Fiction”

17. (tie) "Fallen Leaves"

17. (tie) "Showing Up"

Two veterans look like slam dunks: Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese. Given the popularity of her film and her previous nom (for "Lady Bird"), Greta Gerwig also looks like a solid pick in a tie at No. 4 with Yorgos Lanthimos, also a previous nominee (for "The Favourite").

Perhaps surprisingly, comfortably in third place is Jonathan Glazer for "The Zone of Interest"; a nomination would make him the sixth director in six years to be honored for a film substantially in a language other than English.

Glenn Whipp says, “Jonathan Glazer has made four daring, distinctive films in 23 years – ‘Sexy Beast,’ ‘Birth,’ ‘Under the Skin’ and, now, ‘The Zone of Interest.” Dave Karger says, “I’m also bullish on ‘The Zone of Interest’s’ visionary Jonathan Glazer, who despite making roughly one film per decade, remains a favorite amongst his fellow directors. He’s had two BAFTA nods but never an Oscar nomination. That very well could change this year.”

Justin Chang thinks Glazer is likely, but says if not him, the academy easily could continue to honor international filmmakers: “This year’s Cannes lineup provides many options: Justine Triet (‘Anatomy of a Fall’), Wim Wenders (‘Perfect Days’), Tran Anh Hùng (‘The Taste of Things’).”

If Gerwig got her roses, says Puig, "The academy would also be acknowledging a woman—which it has only done three times before in its 95 years. (‘Showing Up’s’ Kelly Reichardt and ‘Past Lives’ ’ Celine Song are also highly deserving this year)."

Anne Thompson sees strong candidates on the outside, looking in: “Who gets left out? Bradley Cooper for his second feature in which he stars, ‘Maestro’? Alexander Payne, who may have to settle for cheering on his ‘The Holdovers’ screenwriter?”

Among the notables not receiving votes in Round 1: Blitz Bazawule (“The Color Purple”); Ava DuVernay (“Origin”); Emerald Fennell (“Saltburn”); David Fincher (“The Killer”); Craig Gillespie (“Dumb Money”); Todd Haynes (“May December”); Taika Waititi (“Next Goal Wins”).

1. Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)

2. Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

3. Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)

4. (tie) Greta Gerwig (“Barbie”)

4. (tie) Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)

6. Celine Song (“Past Lives”)

7. (tie) Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”)

7. (tie) Andrew Haigh (“All of Us Strangers”)

9. (tie) Cord Jefferson (“American Fiction”)

9. (tie) Kelly Reichardt (“Showing Up”)

9. (tie) Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)

Oscar winner Emma Stone's utterly committed work powers Yorgos Lanthimos' "Poor Things" (he also directed her to a nom in "The Favourite"); she tops the Round-1 voting.

Glenn Whipp says, “It’s immediately apparent from the moment Emma Stone lurches on screen as the Frankenstein-like creation in ‘Poor Things’ that we’re witnessing a fearless performance of the first order ... give her that second Oscar already."

Her lead is tenuous, however: Only two points over Lily Gladstone for "Killers of the Flower Moon," despite some disagreement in the panel about whether Gladstone should be considered lead or supporting (The studio is submitting her as lead).

Justin Chang says, “Lily Gladstone: lead or supporting? Apple says lead, a decision that reads as a strategic ‘though just short of cynical’ attempt to brand the hotly debated ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ as an Osage-centric narrative. I lean supporting, mainly due to screen time and narrative emphasis, though I’m sympathetic to counterarguments citing the outsized emotional impact of Gladstone’s performance. She’s astonishing either way.”

Meanwhile, Anne Thompson considers it "a two-way race between Emma Stone ... and Carey Mulligan." Dave Karger says "Annette Bening and Emma Stone seem like locks."

"Sandra Hüller’s two roles — her excellent turn in ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ and her disturbing role as a Nazi wife in ‘Zone of Interest’ — should definitely put her in the running," says Claudia Puig. "Greta Lee’s sublimely sensitive portrayal in ‘Past Lives’ merits a nomination, as does the excellent Michelle Williams for her understated performance in ‘Showing Up.’ Less likely, but just as worthy, is Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s layered and bittersweet performance in ‘You Hurt My Feelings.’ "

Among the notables not receiving first-round votes: Leonie Benesch ("The Teachers' Lounge"); Jessica Chastain ("Memory"); Jodie Comer ("The Bikeriders"); Eve Hewson ("Flora and Son"); Helen Mirren ("Golda"); Julianne Moore ("May December"); Cailee Spaeny ("Priscilla"); Michelle Williams ("Showing Up").

1. Emma Stone ("Poor Things")

2. Lily Gladstone ("Killers of the Flower Moon")

3. Sandra Hüller ("Anatomy of a Fall")

4. Carey Mulligan ("Maestro")

5. Greta Lee ("Past Lives")

6. Margot Robbie ("Barbie")

7. Annette Bening ("Nyad")

8. Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor ("Origin")

9. Michelle Williams ("Showing Up")

10. Anjanue Ellis-Taylor ("The Nickel Boys")

11. Teyana Taylor ("A Thousand and One")

12. Halle Bailey ("The Little Mermaid")

13. Fantasia Barrino ("The Color Purple")

14. Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("You Hurt My Feelings")

Andrew Scott is way out in front in Round 1 (by eight points over Cillian Murphy) for his searching performance in the haunting romance, "All of Us Strangers."

Glenn Whipp says Scott "boasts a long resume of distinguished credits in British theater, the BBC series ‘Sherlock’ and, of course, the rather handsome priest on ‘Fleabag.’ With ‘All of Us Strangers,’ he finally has a film role worthy of his talent ... It’s a soul-stirring turn filled with vulnerability, openness and a beauty that shatters.”

“Basically, there’s Andrew Scott in ‘All of Us Strangers’ and there’s everyone else," says Justin Chang, before listing an "everyone else" roster of highly praised international performances.

Claudia Puig writes, "Best actor, by all rights, should go to Andrew Scott for his masterfully nuanced and soulful performance in ‘All of Us Strangers,’ closely followed by Colman Domingo’s dazzling turn in ‘Rustin’ and Jeffrey Wright’s witty portrayal in ‘American Fiction.’ "

As to the horse race, Anne Thompson says, "For now, it’s Cillian Murphy’s to lose for the title role in ‘Oppenheimer,’ while Andrew Scott (Hot Priest in ‘Fleabag’) could move up in the rankings as more people see his bravura performance."

Dave Karger says, "Nine-time nominee Bradley Cooper delivers a career-best performance in ‘Maestro’ and could be a 12- or 13-time nominee within a few months. Could this finally be his year?"

Among the notable performances not on the first-round list: Paul Dano ("Dumb Money"); Zac Efron ("The Iron Claw"); Anthony Hopkins ("Freud's Last Session"); Barry Keoghan ("Saltburn"); Joaquin Phoenix ("Napoleon").

1. Andrew Scott ("All of Us Strangers")

2. Cillian Murphy ("Oppenheimer")

3. Leonardo DiCaprio ("Killers of the Flower Moon")

4. Bradley Cooper ("Maestro")

5. Jeffrey Wright ("American Fiction")

6. Colman Domingo ("Rustin")

7. Jamie Foxx ("The Burial")

8. Nicolas Cage ("Dream Scenario")

9. Teo Yoo ("Past Lives")

In the first-round polling, Jodie Foster ("Nyad") is tied at the top with Da'Vine Joy Randolph ("The Leftovers"): Randolph "has spent the past four years proving that she isn’t bound by genre," says Glenn Whipp. "Her understated turn ... showcases her dramatic talents in a way that makes her first Oscar nomination feel inevitable.”

Justin Chang writes, “I’m slotting Lily Gladstone in this race despite her lead-actress campaign for ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’ though it’s worth noting that hers isn’t the only performance that could conceivably fall into either race. Juliette Binoche is arguably a lead in ‘The Taste of Things.’ And in terms of screen time and emotional impact, I’d say Jodie Foster is on even footing with Annette Bening in ‘Nyad,’ a movie whose very message boils down to: Every supporting player is a star.”

Some superb performances may be too brief for even supporting attention, such as Patti LuPone's pure poison in "Beau Is Afraid"; Tracee Ellis Ross' bullseye-hitting turn in "American Fiction" and Carey Mulligan's unfailingly missing-the-mark (and memorably so) role in "Saltburn."

“The number of minutes the extraordinary Viola Davis is in ‘Air’ is few, but perfect," says Tim Cogshell.

Dave Karger, meanwhile, guesses that " ‘The Color Purple,’ still largely unseen, is the key that will unlock this category. Both Danielle Brooks and Taraji P. Henson are possible nominees just based on their respective roles."

Some of the notable performances not receiving first-round recognition: Vanessa Kirby ("Napoleon"); Patti LuPone ("Beau Is Afraid"); Parker Posey ("Beau Is Afraid"); Rosamund Pike ("Saltburn"); Florence Pugh ("Oppenheimer"); Tracee Ellis Ross ("American Fiction"); Jurnee Smollett ("The Burial"); Leslie Uggams ("American Fiction").

1. (tie) Jodie Foster ("Nyad")

1. (tie) Da'Vine Joy Randolph ("The Holdovers")

3. Penélope Cruz ("Ferrari")

4. (tie) Juliette Binoche ("The Taste of Things")

4. (tie) Claire Foy ("All of Us Strangers")

4. (tie) Sandra Hüller ("The Zone of Interest")

7. Taraji P. Henson ("The Color Purple")

7. (tie) Lily Gladstone ("Killers of the Flower Moon")

9. (tie) Viola Davis ("Air")

9. (tie) Danielle Brooks ("The Color Purple")

9. (tie) H.E.R. ("The Color Purple")

9. (tie) Rachel McAdams ("Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret")

13. (tie) Emily Blunt ("Oppenheimer")

13. (tie) Julianne Moore ("May December")

15. Erika Alexander ("American Fiction")

It's "Barbenheimer" made flesh as Robert Downey, Jr. and Ryan Gosling are tied for No. 1 in the first round for giving, let's face it, exactly the same performance in identical films.

“By mid-summer, many had already pegged this as a ‘Barbenheimer’ race: a showdown between Robert Downey Jr. at his Marvel-liberated best and Ryan Gosling at his most self-mockingly hilarious," says Justin Chang. "Neither would be an undeserving winner, though take them out of the running and you’d still have an incredibly rich field."

"He's not just Ken," says Glenn Whipp of Gosling. "He's a revelation."

Dave Karger says, "Mark Ruffalo is effectively hammy in ‘Poor Things,’ while breakout Charles Melton more than holds his own opposite Oscar winners Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore in ‘May December.’ Special mention to Glenn Howerton who walks away with Blackberry thanks to his transformative performance.”

Tim Cogshell says, beyond the frontrunners, he's "hopeful for Colman Domingo for ‘The Color Purple,’ Glynn Turman in ‘Rustin,’ Chris Rock in the same film, and Sterling K. Brown in ‘American Fiction’ because he should have been nominated for ‘Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul’ last year.”

Some of note who did not receive votes this round: Willem Dafoe ("Poor Things"); Noah Galvin ("Theater Camp"); Matthew Goode ("Freud's Last Session"); Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("Flora and Son"); Tommy Lee Jones ("The Burial"); Marshawn Lynch ("Bottoms"); Jonathan Majors ("Creed III"); Paul Mescal ("All of Us Strangers"); Chris Messina ("Air"); Peter Sarsgaard ("Memory"); Liev Schreiber ("Golda"); Jeffrey Wright ("Rustin").

1. (tie) Robert Downey Jr. ("Oppenheimer")

1. (tie) Ryan Gosling ("Barbie")

3. Mark Ruffalo ("Poor Things")

4. Robert De Niro ("Killers of the Flower Moon")

5. Dominic Sessa ("The Holdovers")

6. (tie) Charles Melton ("May December")

6. (tie) Colman Domingo ("The Color Purple")

8. (tie) Glynn Turman ("Rustin")

8. (tie) John Magaro ("Past Lives")

10. (tie) Sterling K. Brown ("American Fiction")

10. (tie) Chris Rock (Rustin)

10. (tie) Jamie Bell ("All of Us Strangers")

What's in an original screenplay? The writers' branch of the academy will have the final say (as it has done in the past, when it switched the categories of scripts such as those for "Syriana" and "Moonlight"), but the Greta Gerwig-Noah Baumbach script for "Barbie" is being campaigned by Warners as original, rather than adapted. Clearly, there has been a host of animated "Barbie" movies and TV shows (as well as books and comics), but just as clearly, the Gerwig-Baumbach script is an entirely different animal compared to those — can anyone find the plot thread in "Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2" in which, driven by questions about death, she travels to the real world?

Anyhoo, "Barbie" sits atop the BuzzMeter's first-round selections in the category of original screenplay.

“Assuming voters abide by the studio’s campaign, Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s witty ‘Barbie’ screenplay will be the one to beat here," says Dave Karger. "For the fifth slot, I’m rooting for the riveting and complex courtroom drama ‘Anatomy of a Fall,’ which remains, in my mind, the most thought-provoking film of the year.”

Claudia Puig says, apart from "Barbie," "I predict a three-way contest between Celine Song’s ‘Past Lives,’ Nicole Holofcener’s ‘You Hurt My Feelings’ and Justine Triet for her French courtroom drama ‘Anatomy of a Fall.’ May the best woman win."

Of the Finnish-German romantic comedy "Fallen Leaves," Glenn Whipp writes, “There’s a depth of feeling that you don’t usually find in this sodden genre, along with some terrific deadpan humor. And the love story between two blue-collar workers is sublime. It’s a hopeful film set in a hardened world, the perfect antidote to our current, trying times.“

Among the contenders not on the first-round list: "Dream Scenario" (Kristoffer Borgli); "Fingernails" (Christos Nikou); "The Iron Claw" (Sean Durkin); "Origin" (Ava DuVernay"); "The Persian Version" (Maryam Keshavarz); "Showing Up" (Jon Raymond, Kelly Reichardt); "A Thousand and One" (A.V. Rockwell).

1. “Barbie” — Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach

2. “Past Lives” — Celine Song

3. (tie) “Anatomy of a Fall” — Justin Triet, Arthur Harari

3. (tie) “The Holdovers” — David Hemingson

5. “Maestro” — Bradley Cooper, Josh Singer

6. “May December” — Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik

7. (tie) “Fallen Leaves” — Aki Kaurismäki

7. (tie) “Rustin” — Julian Breece, Dustin Lance Black

7. (tie) “Showing Up” — Jon Raymond, Kelly Reichardt

10. (tie) “Asteroid City” — Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

10. (tie) “You Hurt My Feelings” — Nicole Holofcener

10. (tie) “Saltburn” — Emerald Fennell

Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" screenplay manages to be epic and intimate at the same time (and also manages to almost completely dodge the fallout — literal and figurative — of the protagonist's crowning accomplishment) and is well out in front of the pack (by seven points) in Round 1.

Panelists cite its "astonishing biographical compression" (Justin Chang) and call it a "historic tour-de-force" (Anne Thompson). Some Buzzpeople alternately see it as a two-way race between "Oppenheimer" and "Killers of the Flower Moon," or "Oppenheimer" and "Poor Things."

Thompson says of the latter matchup, "Nolan’s blockbuster may have the advantage, as Lanthimos pushes the edge of the envelope with his feminist and overtly sexual coming-of-age tale.”

"If there’s any justice," says Claudia Puig, "this Oscar will go to ‘All of Us Strangers’ for Andrew Haigh’s brilliant adaptation of the novel by Taichi Yamada."

Tim Cogshell writes, "Hopeful possibilities for me include ‘The Color Purple,’ adapted by Marcus Gardley; Cord Jefferson for ‘American Fiction’; and Andrew Haigh for ‘All of Us Strangers,’ a beautifully and cleverly scripted adaptation.”

"American Fiction," making the Top 5 this round, emerges as a panel favorite:

Dave Karger says, "Of course, there’s also a chance ‘Barbie’ could end up here if the writers’ branch ignores the suggested original category placement. And don’t ignore Cord Jefferson’s searing, satirical work on Toronto festival winner ‘American Fiction.’”

“Cord Jefferson’s ‘American Fiction’ has won audience awards from the Toronto, Mill Valley and Middleburg film festivals, so it must be doing something right," writes Glenn Whipp. "It’s silly, sharp, heartfelt and, yes, the best kind of crowd-pleaser.”

1. “Oppenheimer” — Christopher Nolan

2. “All of Us Strangers” — Andrew Haigh

3. (tie) “Killers of the Flower Moon” — Eric Roth, Martin Scorsese

3. (tie) “Poor Things” — Tony McNamara

5. “American Fiction” — Cord Jefferson

6. “The Zone of Interest” — Jonathan Glazer

7. “The Color Purple” — Marcus Gardley

8. “The Taste of Things” — Tran Anh Hung

In recent years, there has often been an international-feature contender that came to be seen as inevitable — "Roma," "Parasite," "All Quiet on the Western Front" among them. Jonathan Glazer's "The Zone of Interest" appears to have taken that mantle this year — or so says the panel — as the deadpan study of the banality of evil is the sole consensus pick in the first round of the BuzzMeter.

“ ‘The Zone of Interest,’ which is also a strong contender for best picture, will certainly become the United Kingdom’s third-ever nominee in this category and quite possibly its first winner," says Dave Karger.

Anne Thompson says, "Nothing will catch up with it."

But beyond that sense of inevitability, a number of other international entries have passionate support from the panel.

Tim Cogshell says, “ ‘'Bye Bye, Tiberias,’ from Palestine, will either be shunned or embraced by the academy; It should be embraced." He also cites "The Teachers' Lounge" (from Germany) and "20 Days in Mariupol" (Ukraine) as contenders.

Seeing "lots of worthy possibilities," Claudia Puig cites "Finland’s tale of working-class lovers, ‘Fallen Leaves’ and Mexico’s poignant family drama ‘Tótem,’ ‘Perfect Days,’ a poetic slice-of-life from Japan and either the French gastronomic feast for the eyes, ‘The Taste of Things’ or the timely German classroom drama The Teachers’ Lounge.’ " as "Zone" alternatives.

Meanwhile, Justin Chang would have you "Spare a thought for Romania," as he lists the many worthy titles the country has submitted in the last 20 years, all for nought. "I’d like to think things will go differently for Radu Jude’s extraordinary ‘Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World,’ but do not expect too much from the motion picture academy.”

And Glenn Whipp calls Round 1's No. 2 film, "The Taste of Things," "a sumptuous romance ... [starring] the legendary Juliette Binoche." In choosing to submit this film over its other heralded candidate, "Anatomy of a Fall" (which might also have suffered some political pushback), Whipp says "France chose France — or, at least, all the things you associate with France: Food, love, Binoche."

1. “The Zone of Interest” (United Kingdom)

2. “The Taste of Things” (France)

3. “The Teachers’ Lounge” (Germany)

4. “Fallen Leaves” (Finland)

5. “Tótem” (Mexico)

6. (tie) “20 Days in Mariupol” (Ukraine)

6. (tie) “Bye Bye Tiberias” (Palestine)

6. (tie) “Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World” (Romania)

The big news is, of course, the return of the dean of Japanese animation, Hayao Miyazaki, with a film erupting with beautiful imagination, "The Boy and the Heron." But there are other major contenders, including the sequel "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," which many viewers and critics felt surpassed its Oscar-winning predecessor; a complete rejuvenation of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" franchise; and the beautifully rendered and often hilarious "Nimona," which manages to take great liberties with its source material while remaining true to its heart.

" 'The Boy and the Heron’ certainly feels like a farewell; a meditation on resilience in the face of loss as well as a summation of the 82-year-old legend’s career,” says Glenn Whipp.

Claudia Puig sees a two-way race: "Think spiders and herons facing off. It will be ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ vs (spiderversus) Hayao Miyazaki’s latest masterpiece, ‘The Boy and the Heron.’ Either one is likely to trounce the rest of the competition."

On the other hand: " ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’ is the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles anything in decades," says Tim Cogshell. " ‘Elemental’ did not do well at the box office, but I've noticed actual children love it. Perhaps the academy will notice this also.”

Dave Karger says, "Netflix’s boundary-pushing ‘Nimona,’ featuring several LGBTQ+ characters and irreverent humor, would be a welcome addition to the category.”

“Any year that brings us the latest final film from Hayao Miyazaki is a good one," says Justin Chang, admitting he hasn't seen "nearly enough feature-length animation this year. I’m pretty sure I didn’t see ‘PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie,’ although after a while, the near-hourly PR emails made me think that I had.”

1. “The Boy and the Heron”

2. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

3. “Elemental”

4. “They Shot the Piano Player”

5. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”

6. “Suzume”

7. “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget”

8. (tie) “Nimona”

8. (tie) “Wish”

10. “Robot Dreams”

Get the Envelope newsletter, sent three times a week during awards season, for exclusive reporting, insights and commentary.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.