This critic dreads one event of the movie year beyond all others – Oscar night.

The show, once a beloved broadcast bringing joy and surprises, is now a humorless slog of speeches and finger wagging.

Something similar is happening with another annual task – compiling a list of the year’s best movies.

Another seemingly joyful moment is now riddled with stress and uncertainty. Hollywood doesn’t make many “great” movies these days, the kind you can’t wait to watch again as soon as you leave the theater. The best of the best haunt you for days, nay weeks, after that first, rapturous screening.

Recent years have delivered a few such films, like “Joker” and “Jojo Rabbit.”


Oscar-bait movies like “Last Night in Soho,” “Belfast” and “Nightmare Alley” arrive with all the necessary awards season heat, but they can’t deliver the goods. Others,…

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