Southeastern Film Critics Association Names ‘Oppenheimer’ as the Best Film of 2023

A man with a hat and trenchcoat avoids the press all trying to take his picture
Cillian Murphy in OPPENHEIMER

Press Release

Christopher Nolan’s chronicle of the Manhattan Project also earned Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Ensemble, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Score

Press Release: The Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) has named Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer as the Best Picture of the Year. SEFCA’s eighty-nine members located across nine Southeastern states also recognized Christopher Nolan for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Additionally, the film earned Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey, Jr. and Best Ensemble for its star-studded cast that includes Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Aldren Ehrenreich, Jason Clarke, Tom Conti, Josh Hartnett, Kenneth Branagh and others. Behind the camera Oppenheimer took the top prizes for Best Cinematography (Hoyte Van Hoytema) and Best Score (Ludwig Goransson).

"This fall featured three big films from three grandmasters of cinema,” said SEFCA President Scott Phillips. “Martin Scorsese released Killers of the Flower Moon. Ridley Scott brought Napoleon to the big screen and Michael Mann hits theaters next week with Ferrari. Despite this bumper crop from heavy-hitting auteurs, Christopher Nolan’s film from six months ago is walking away with eight SEFCA awards. Oppenheimer is a stunning cinematic achievement. Our members recognized that in July, and they are rewarding it in December."

A man helps an Indigenous woman out of a car
Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone in KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

When asked about the film year that was 2023, SEFCA Vice President Jim Farmer said, "2023 will be remembered by many as the year that featured the commercial, critical and cultural phenomenon known as Barbenheimer. But it was also a season that offered a stunning amount of high-quality films, with master filmmakers near the top of their games, fresher faces making strong impressions and performers showing new dimensions. It was a pleasure to take in all that 2023 had to offer."

Those "fresher faces" include writer/director Celine Song whose debut feature, Past Lives, lands at # 4 on SEFCA’s Top 10 of 2023, and writer/director Cord Jefferson whose debut feature, American Fiction, placed seventh in the SEFCA Top 10. The diverse list also includes an animated film (Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse) and two foreign films (Anatomy of a Fall, The Zone of Interest).

Read SEFCA’s full list of winners below. Visit SEFCA on the web at to learn more about its members as well as past winners. You can also follow SEFCA on Twitter at @SEFilmCritics.

A woman lies down next to a black and white dog
Sandra Huller in ANATOMY OF A FALL

Top 10 Films of 2023 (Asterisks indicate it was reviewed on 1 of my Stories)

1. Oppenheimer

2. Killers of the Flower Moon

3. The Holdovers

4. Past Lives

5. Barbie

6. Poor Things

7. American Fiction

8. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

9. Anatomy of a Fall

10. The Zone of Interest

A student and teacher stand next to each other in coats in the snow
Dominic Sessa and Paul Giamatti in THE HOLDOVERS

Best Actor
Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer

Best Actress
Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Supporting Actor:
Robert Downey, Jr., Oppenheimer

Best Supporting Actress:
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers

Best Ensemble:

Best Director
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer

Best Original Screenplay
David Hemingson, The Holdovers

Best Adapted Screenplay
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer

Best Documentary
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

Best Animated Film
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Best Foreign-Language Film
Anatomy of a Fall

Best Cinematography
Hoyte Van Hoytema, Oppenheimer

Best Score
Ludwig Goransson, Oppenheimer