MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Best 2023 Awards Contenders

2023 has been a brilliant year for movies and an astonishing number of outstanding films representing all genres are now vying for awards consideration. There are so many top titles that if you were to watch movies from dawn to dusk for this quiet week between Christmas and New Year’s Day — without taking a break — you probably couldn’t manage to view all of the serious awards contenders. So, with this week’s Movie of the Week feature, we are recommending titles picked by Team MOTW members — titles that they say must be seen before the awards shows so you will be prepared to enjoy all of the awards season’s buzz and shine in social media opining and chatter around the watercooler. These are our must see films and we’ll wager that once you see them you will want to see them again. Happy holiday week viewing!!!

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 22, 2023: Best MOTWs of 2023

Team #MOTW looks back at the films we featured during 2023 and highlights our favorites. There are many things about 2023 that we want to forget, but these femme-helmed/femme centric films that brought inspiration, understanding, compassion, and respite replete with laughter are not among them — and they must not slip into oblivion. Their themes, topics and genres are diverse, and each one of them is a gem. Add them to your watch list. Share the titles with friends. To find out more about each of the selected films, click on the titles for links to our full #MOTW coverage. Enjoy all of AWFJ’s Best #MOTWs of 2023.

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Oscar Best Picture Noms Are a Muddle – Thelma Adams reports

The Golden Globe nominations are in, along with those of the National Board of Review winners and a host of critics’ groups – Why is Oscar’s Best Picture still in such a muddle? It seems to me that the potential winners have been split into distinct categories, like potential Jeopardy questions: Barbenheimer; All the Big Dudes; The Cool Kids; The Internationals; and Outlier Odds and Ends.

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: The Gotham Awards 2023 – Thelma Adams reports

The Gothams get out in front of the awards season as actors return to the red carpet, and stylists heave sighs of relief. On Monday night, November 27, while I was chugging Nyquil, the Gotham Awards unfolded at Cipriani’s Downtown in Manhattan. First awarded 32 years ago in 1991, the baby sister to the West Coast Film Independent Spirit Awards launched in 1984, the event’s original mission prioritized recognizing indies as opposed to Oscars. It’s since sacrificed some of its indie street cred with a slew of special awards to attract the big-name stars (Leo! Bobby! Penelope! Greta! Bradley! Margot!), exploiting the night’s current position as the first awards ceremony out of the gate.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 13, 2023: ANATOMY OF A FALL

Justine Triet’s engrossing French family drama/courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Fall expertly explores the subjectivity of memory and the complexity of marriage and parenthood. As the woman at the center of it all, Sandra Huller commands the screen, turning in a performance that’s by turns fierce, vulnerable, and calculated, ultimately raising as many questions as she answers about her character’s role in the titular fall and the events leading up to it.

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ANATOMY OF A FALL – Review by Susan Granger

Golden Globe-winner as Best Foreign Film, Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall has a scandalous premise that should intrigue true-crime aficionados. The whodunit plot pivots around Samuel Maleski (Samuel Theis) a writer who dies suspiciously after falling from the upper floor of an Alpine chalet and is discovered sprawled in the snow amid a trail of blood from a deep cranial wound.

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ANATOMY OF A FALL – Review by Loren King

The title Anatomy of a Fall, not to mention the striking US poster graphic of a prone body, brings to mind Otto Preminger’s 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder and Saul Bass’s iconic poster art. Although Anatomy of a Fall is just as riveting a courtroom drama, it’s an unconventional one. Director and co-writer Justine Triet keeps the viewer engaged but off-kilter and she adroitly layers surprises and ambiguity. That’s just right for a film about what’s heard but not seen; the fine line between reality and fiction; how memory might not be trusted; and how two people can recall the same events with shaded perceptions.

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ANATOMY OF A FALL – Review by Leslie Combemale

Anatomy of a Fall is most fascinating in its representation of how women are demonized by succeeding, asking for what they want, and being uncompromising. Of the lead character, one of her defense lawyers says, “if she is guilty of anything, it’s of succeeding where her husband failed.” In Justine Triet’s fourth outing as director, she and co-screenwriter Arthur Harari create the character of Sandra as neither victim nor hero, but a woman full of faults and weaknesses, just like most people. It’s in the ways that she is perceived in court and by the public, however, that we see just how much her gender plays a factor.

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ANATOMY OF A FALL – Review by Diane Carson

Writer/director Justine Triet’s intriguing Anatomy of a Fall demonstrates in complex, compelling ways the elusive, bewildering search for the truth behind a death. The multilayered intrigue kicks off early in the film as wife Sandra and Samuel’s vision-impaired, eleven-year-old son Daniel discovers Samuel lying bloody in the snow beneath their Grenoble chalet’s second-floor window.

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ANATOMY OF A FALL – Review by Amber Wilkinson

An ambiguous tension sings throughout this meticulous courtroom drama after an author finds herself accused of killing her husband. Sandra Hüller plays writer Sandra, with Samuel Theis as Samuel, who is found dead from a fall in the snow by his young, partially-sighted son, Daniel (a compelling, intense performance from Milo Machado Graner). Whether Samuel’s death was an accident, suicide or murder hangs over the rest of the film. As Sandra faces a court case, we see that her guilt or innocence is merely one facet of her problems.

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