This Year's Oscar-Nominated Films About Art

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed 

Nominated for Best Documentary Feature, this film explores two parallel narratives: the life and career of influential photographer Nan Goldin, and her quest to separate the art world from those responsible for the opioid crisis, particularly the Sackler family. The film details Goldin’s existence on the frontlines, as both an activist and as an advocate for the destigmatization of opioid addiction. Directed by Laura Poitras, the combination of contemporary interviews and archival footage shows Goldin’s dedication to bettering the art form and its institutions.

The Fabelmans

Set in post-World War II 1950s, The Fabelmans illustrates coming of age, not through the trope of romantic love, but through a love of art. Young Sammy Fabelman dreams of making movies. When his camera leads him to discover a family secret, he learns not just about the magic of fantasy, but also how film can reveal hidden truths. Starring Michelle Williams, Gabriel LaBelle, and Paul Dano, and directed by Steven Spielberg, this semi-autobiographical film is nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Actress and Best Director. 


Tár tells the story of Lydia Tár, portrayed by Cate Blanchett, the first female director of the Berlin Philharmonic and a woman who is considered one of the greatest living composer-conductors. The movie's sonic landscape, working hard to score a complex picture about classical music, helps elevate a haunting portrayal of the price of power in the male-dominated industry. Co-starring Noémie Merlant and Nina Hoss, the film is directed and written by Todd Field. It is nominated for six Oscars at this year’s awards, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress.

BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

A surreal movie centered around honest self-reflection, Bardo toes the line between fiction and reality. This semi-autobiographical film tells the story of a journalist-turned-documentarian who goes on an introspective journey to reconcile with his past, present, and Mexican identity. Bardo’s surreal nature conveys the reality of such emotionally turbulent experiences. Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the creative behind Birdman, and starring Daniel Giménez Cacho, Griselda Siciliani, and Ximena Lamadrid, the film received an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography.

Empire of Light

Empire of Light, nominated for Best Cinematography, is a celebration of the silver screen and the people behind it. Movie theater manager Hilary, played by Olivia Colman, is struggling with her mental health. She makes an unexpected connection with new hire Stephen, actor Micheal Ward, a young man longing to escape the provincial town and the adversity he faces there. Together, they find community, belonging, and light through cinema. The film is directed and written by Sam Mendes, and also features performances by Colin Firth and Toby Jones.