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2023 Young Critic Awards

Top 10 Films of 2023

2023 was quite the whirlwind year, from the strikes that ground Hollywood to a halt to the geopolitical turmoil around the world, and even yours truly started a job that has hampered my ability to watch as many films as before. Nevertheless, it was still a year where great films came out, and despite not having been able to see all of them, I’ve compiled a list of those that most impressed me in the last 12 months.


Honorable Mentions


Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret


Asteroid City




The Holdovers


The Killer





10. Afire


Christian Petzold’s meditation on the anxiety and self-hatred that many artists and creators feel is brought to searing life in this drama. His ability to balance a protagonist that might come across as unlikeable, but which we all somehow relate to is the true triumph showing the clashes of hubris and humble need for connection with others.


9. Saltburn


Emerald Fennell’s sophomore directorial film was even more ambitious than Promising Young Woman (2020) and took aim at the class politics in the UK. With a riveting lead performance from Barry Keoghan, and one of the best visual palettes of the year, Saltburn brings us a satire, horror, and character piece rolled into one. 


8. Other People’s Children


Rebecca Zlotowski’s take on the romantic comedy genre, much like The Worst Person in the World (2021), seeks to be its antithesis. Along with a fantastic lead performance from Virginie Efira, we see the deconstruction of the romantic expectations to reveal not a cynical underbelly, but rather a sadly raw reality of how relationships come and go and how age and time beckons us to continue onward with a smile on our faces.


7. A Thousand and One


This portrait of a single mother who kidnaps her own son after being released from jail, is a searing and hard-to-watch view of the traumatic cycles of poverty and the impossible struggle of a single mother to survive and have her child escape the confines that bound her life.


6. American Fiction


This satirical comedy takes on the obsession and fascination that American culture has with the suffering of black people. Jeffrey Wright portrays an author writing a cliched book with black suffering tropes, only to find it be a best seller. The laughs and pointed social commentary add to a rather affecting character and family drama that will bring viewers to tears.


5. Anatomy of a Fall


The Palme D’Or winner at this year’s Cannes is a straightforward and seemingly dry legal drama, which slowly morphs into a biopsy of a relationship. Led by fantastic performances from Sandra Huller and Milo Machado Graner, Justine Triet’s film has viewers constantly guessing as to where the guilt of the murder (and the relationship’s friction) lies only to find themselves reflecting on their own perception of truth and guilt. 


4. Killers of the Flower Moon


The ever-youthful Marin Scorsese delivers another career defining work in his take on the Osage County murders of the 1920s, when white men sought to marry and murder Native Americans to steal their oil-rich land. Led by the towering performances of Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio, the film is nearly stolen by Lilly Gladstone, encapsulating the hurt and restrained trauma this dark episode wrought on Native Americans and which sadly reflects too closely on modern America. 


3. Poor Things


Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest is a varied take on “Frankenstein,” taking Mary Shelly’s philosophical underpinnings instead of the horror elements and diving headfirst into them. Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo deliver career-best performances in this picaresque adventure that seeks to answer the questions of what humanity is. Along with an expert control of visuals, production design, and music, every inch of Poor Things is calibrated to facilitate the philosophical and humanist ponderings of the meaning of life. 


2. Maestro


Leonard Bernstein’s biopic is an incredibly ambitious sophomore directing effort from Bradley Cooper in both style and scope. Using an intriguing free-wheeling structure and a spying visual feel, viewers feel truly absorbed into the private life of Bernstein and his wife Felicia Montealegre. The latter is embodied by the fantastic Carey Mulligan, who along with Cooper’s script and direction, rightly elevate her role and importance in Bernstein’s life making her journey the secret narrative in the film.


1. Oppenheimer


Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus take on the American nuclear physicist brings together the skills and lessons from all his previous films and culminates them in this biopic. Alongside the pin-point perfect technical elements and impressive restraint to use only practical effects, Cillian Murphy delivers a career-defining performance alongside one of the best all-star casts of all time. Nolan’s exploration of the guilt and horror of his protagonist as well as the context of his own mind and moral journey helps deliver the most impactful, well-rounded, and impressive film for Young Critic in 2023. 

               Best Drama                


Winner: Oppenheimer


Anatomy of a Fall

Killers of the Flower Moon


Poor Things


        Best Horror/Thriller       


Winner: The Killer


A Haunting in Venice

As Bestas


The Killer

Talk to Me

         Best Family Film             


Winner: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret


Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret


TNMNT: Mutant Mayhem

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse


             Best Director                


Winner: Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer)


Justine Triet (Anatomy of a Fall)

Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon)

Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer)

Bradley Cooper (Maestro)

Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things)

         Best New Director         


Winner: Cord Jefferson (American Fiction)


A.V. Rockwell (A Thousand and One)

Cord Jefferson (American Fiction)

Chloe Domont (Fair Play)

Celine Song (Past Lives)

Danny Philippou & Michael Philippou (Talk to Me)

             Best Comedy              


Winner: American Fiction


American Fiction

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

Asteroid City


Other People's Children

 Best Action/Adventure Film  


Winner: The Creator


The Creator

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves


The Equalizer 3


John Wick: Chapter 4


Guy Ritchie's The Covenant 

         Best Documentary       


Winner: Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour


Judy Blume Forever

The Pigeon Tunnel

Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour

            Best Performer             


Winner: Emma Stone (Poor Things)


Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon)

Carey Mulligan (Maestro)

Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer)

Emma Stone (Poor Things)

Barry Keoghan (Saltburn)

Breakthrough Performer 


Winner: Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon)


Milo Machado Graner (Anatomy of a Fall)

Dominic Sessa (The Holdovers)

Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon)

Charles Melton (May December)

Cailee Spaeny (Priscilla)

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