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Awards season has officially begun, so who are the Oscars front-runners?

Awards season has officially begun, so who are the Oscars front-runners?

The Gotham Awards officially kicked off the 2023/2024 awards season in New York on Monday, Nov. 27. These prizes are ones to watch, with recent winners like Everything Everywhere All at Once, CODA, Nomadland, Marriage Story, Moonlight, Spotlight, and Birdman all going on to win big at the Oscars.

After the first big event of the season, all the months leading up to the Academy Awards in March will be packed. Industry prizes like the Actors’ Guild and the Producers’ Guild Awards are significant in predicting Oscar nominations due to the overlap in their voting bodies. With less intersection but more cultural relevance, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, the Spirit Awards, and the Critics Choice Awards have all become Oscar indicators in their own ways. Critics Awards like the NYFCC, LAFCA, and NSFC Awards always create momentum as well.

This list will be updated as more winners are crowned. Following the announcement of the Academy’s official nominations on Jan. 23, we will attempt to predict the winners.

Oppenheimer (Universal Pictures)

Christopher Nolan’s biographical epic Oppenheimer is well on its way to being the big winner at this year’s Oscars. The Academy loves a biopic and has gone on to award movies in this genre that were much less deserving. Not only has Oppenheimer been celebrated by critics, but it has also broken box-office records and experienced extraordinary demand physical copies of the film — something which feels historic in its own right during this streaming era.

Cillian Murphy is a shoo-in for Best Actor. The Best Director race is a bit of an all-star competition this year, but Nolan’s odds are looking good, with the NYFCC crowing him Best Director. Oppenheimer might also nab some trophies in the technical categories, as well as a Best Supporting Actress nod for Emily Blunt.

Barbie (Warner Bros.)

Barbie was the biggest movie of 2023. Last year’s winning streak for Everything Everywhere All At Once proves Academy votes are more than open to unconventional contenders which could bode well for Greta Gerwig’s fierce fantastical take on the most famous doll in the world.

At this point, Ryan Gosling’s culture-shifting supporting performance as Ken seems to be Barbie’s biggest shot at an award, along with prizes for production and costume design. Greta Gerwig taking home the Best Director trophy would be a refreshing surprise, but knowing the Oscars, there’s always a legitimate, if slight fear she might not even be nominated in the first place.

Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)

The master filmmaker Martin Scorsese delivered what was arguably the year’s most striking film with Killers of The Flower Moon, which will undeniably attract nominations in all major categories. The western crime drama is a ruthless yet stunningly sensitive dissection of the murders of Osage Nation citizens by predatory white businessmen looking to steal their oil rights in the 1920s.

Robert De Niro will give Gosling a run for his money in the Best Supporting Actor category, while the love and respect for Scorsese’s career might just give him the edge over Nolan among voters. Lily Gladstone would make for a revolutionary Best Actress winner, but the competition might just prove too fierce. The film won big at the NYFCC Awards, securing the top prize of Best Film and a win for Gladstone.

Past Lives (A24)

Word of mouth, and the film’s ability to leave anyone who watches it scrambling for words in its aftermath, have propelled Celine Songs’s directorial debut Past Lives into sleeper hit status this year. Fresh off winning the Gotham Award for Best Feature Film, this contemplative romantic drama might have just secured a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.

While Past Lives could go on to be a dark horse, and will hopefully at least receive a nomination for Best Original Screenplay as well, any major wins at the Oscars seem like wishful thinking at this point. Let’s see how the remaining awards ceremonies play out.

Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures)

The wacky Frankensteinian narrative Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite, Dogtooth) created for Poor Things from a screenplay by Tony McNamara leaves no one indifferent, for better or for worse. Still, the film’s reception at the festival circuit has been overwhelmingly positive, which combined with Lanthimos and his cast’s track record should make this black comedy a 2024 Academy Awards heavyweight.

Besides an almost guaranteed Best Picture nod, Emma Stone is a favorite in the Best Actress category, and Mark Ruffalo might get some love too. An Original Screenplay nomination is likely in the bag, as well as technical nods for cinematography, costume design, and production design.

Maestro (Netflix)

Bradley Cooper has been exceeding expectations in the director’s chair, with Maestro being hailed as a step-up from A Stair is Born, which did well enough at the Oscars in 2019 too. The Leonard Bernstein biopic was initially plagued by controversy but has since won over the hearts of both critics and audiences.

While Cooper might not be ready for a Best Director nod, Maestro‘s odds for nominations in virtually every other category are looking favorable. Carey Mulligan will most likely have Emma Stone and Lily Gladstone sweating in the Best Actress category, while Cooper’s probable Best Actor nod doesn’t seem all that threatening yet.

The Holdovers (Focus Features)

Paul Giamatti plays a grouchy prep-school teacher who gets assigned babysitting duty over all the stidents who have no one to spend the Holidays with, known as “the holdovers,” in this Alexander Payne dramedy, which has been gradually gaining Oscar buzz.

Tugging at the heartstrings and a healthy dose of sincerity usually play well with Academy voters, so expect The Holdovers to make quite a dent on the nominations list come January. Not exactly leading the race in any of the categories, this modern Holiday classic will probably receive love in the acting, directing, and screenplay categories. Da’Vine Joy Randolph took home the Best Supporting Actress trophy at the NYFCC Awards.

Anatomy of a Fall (Canal+, Neon)

This French courtroom-procedural-meets-domestic-psychological-drama from Sibyl director Justine Triet has been capturing the hearts and minds of film critics and aficionados since its Cannes world premiere. It centers around a family, Sandra (Sandra Hüller), Samuel (Samuel Theis), and their son Daniel (Milo Machado Graner) as the investigation into the mysterious death of the father begins unearthing disturbing truths about the marriage.

Star Hüller is having a gigantic year with her other film, Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, also generating award buzz. Still, Anatomy of a Fall seems to be winning the race for now with wins at the Gotham Awards (Best Screenplay, Best International Feature) and the NYFCC Awards (Best Foreign Language Film).

May December (Netflix)

No one can stop talking about May December. The combination of fantastic performances, sublime direction, and a famous tabloid story from which it draws, has proved to be the perfect driving force for this twisty Todd Haynes melodrama which is now streaming on Netflix. The movie is loosely inspired by the story of Mary Kay Letourneau and her predatory relationship with student Vili Fualaau. Julianne Moore plays a version of the former, while Riverdale‘s Charles Melton takes on a variation of the latter. Natalie Portman plays an actress studying Moore’s character in preparation for a movie.

Melton has been far and away the stand-out success story from May December. His performance, which stunned audiences and critics from the moment the film premiered at Cannes, is currently leading the Best Supporting Actor race with wins both at the NYFCC Awards and the Gotham Awards. The NYFCC also awarded May December with Best Screenplay. The film is set to receive nods from the Academy in a lot if not all major categories.

The Color Purple (Warner Bros.)

The Color Purple has been branded as “a bold new take on the beloved classic.” The musical film is not a remake of Spielberg’s 1985 film but a loose adaptation of the Broadway musical and the novel. It features an all-star cast of Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Ciara, and more, who have been receiving a lot of love following early reactions to the film.

Fantasia plays Celie, an African-American woman growing up in the early 1900s who must overcome many obstacles and hurdles in life including sexual abuse and forced marriage. The narrative of perseverance and emancipation has become well-known and celebrated through the years both from Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and Spielberg’s acclaimed film. Blitz Bazawule directs this new version which could receive nominations for several categories including Best Picture.


By: Francisca Tinoco
Title: Awards season has officially begun, so who are the Oscars front-runners?
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Published Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2023 17:40:16 +0000

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