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Oscars 2024 - Early Predictions

It’s that time of the year! The time when the great films hit the cinemas.


October, November, December are the months of the year when major studios spend a lot of their marketing budget promoting their hopeful films to bring attention and sway the vote of the academy members towards their film.

It’s a fine art in the launch and promotion of a film, from distribution rights to festival runs and marketing campaigns, which I won’t go in depth here.


Instead, looking purely at films I’ve seen, films that are coming up, trailers, current buzz and adding some 10 years of watching how the festivals/awards circuit influence the Oscars, here are my early predictions of launched or upcoming films that I think are likely to get nominated on March 10th, 2024 at the Academy Awards.


Killers of the Flower Moon

Looking at the trailer, promotional clips, cast, topic and the fact that this veteran director (Martin Scorsese) is in its top form, this is a clear front-runner for the Best Picture award.


Set in 1920s Oklahoma, the film tells the chilling true story of a series of murders of Osage Native Americans and the FBI investigation that followed. The trailer reminded me of Paul T. Anderson’s There Will Be Blood mixed with Shutter Island.


Categories: Best Picture, all 4 acting categories, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography


Killers of the Flower Moon hits theatres worldwide on 20th October 2023 and on AppleTV+ after its theatrical run.


Oppenheimer

Although this launched in the summer and is nearing $1 billion at the box office, this film is not just a money-maker. It’s proof that the cinema experience holds strong. Launching a film about the science of the atomic bomb and the nature of humankind in the face of god-like powers is something only an established director like Christopher Nolan can pull in the middle of the summer.


This film is one that changes every time you rewatch it. I personally have seen it twice and it keeps you on the edge every time. Plus, it feels very contemporary: replace the atomic bomb with AI and the film becomes much more important.


Categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography


Oppenheimer is still in cinemas as of writing this and will surely be available to rent on all major platforms after its theatrical run.


Poor Things

One of my favourite indie directors, Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest film doesn’t jump far from the tree. This is one of the few directors that has a style that you can recognise. Basically, if the opening credits were not there, you could still say ‘this is a Yorgos Lanthimos film’.


This wildly inventive Victorian-era dark comedy starring Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe and Mark Ruffalo tells the story of Bella Baxter (Stone), a woman brought back to life by an eccentric scientist, Godwin Baxter (Dafoe). What follows is a surreal tale of mistaken identities, gender politics, and Gothic horror. Lanthimos brings his signature deadpan humour and visual flair with stunning cinematography and committed performances, this is a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience from one of cinema's most singular directors.


Categories: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup


Poor Things is in UK cinemas from 8th December 2023.


Barbie

It was the summer of Barbie. And a breath of fresh air from the usual summer action-movie bonanza. In a way, this is the opposite of Oppenheimer. Weird, unexpected and not-a-franchise-film along with a clever script and vision from director Greta Gerwig has put this firmly on track to hit $1.5 billion at the box office and well worth it.


The film doesn’t take itself too seriously and at the same time feels new and progressive due to the inventive script and perfect cast. Can’t wait to see what Greta Gerwig does next.


Categories: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best Art Direction


Barbie is in cinemas as of writing this article and will be available to rent on all major platforms after its theatrical run.


Napoleon

Not sure what Apple is doing, but this film doesn’t seem to be actively promoted at the moment (mid-October 2023). It is certainly a front-runner at the Oscars with all the right ingredients, it’s just missing the marketing push before launch. May be due to the actors strike, but hopefully will get the attention it deserves soon.


Director Ridley Scott takes on the legendary figure in epic fashion. And we know how well he can do it (remember Gladiator or The Duel?). Starring Joaquin Phoenix as the ambitious Corsican military leader, Napoleon charts his meteoric rise to power during the French Revolution and his subsequent conquests across Europe. Oscar-nominee Vanessa Kirby co-stars as Josephine, Napoleon's storied love interest.


In the hands of Ridley Scott, this promises to be both an epic war spectacle and an intimate portrait of the man that has single-handedly revolutionised warfare and crowned himself emperor. Plus, the trailer deserves an award in itself!


Categories: Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Visual Effects, Best Costume Design


Napoleon is in UK cinemas on 8th November 2023.


Maestro

Netflix’s major push at the awards this year is Bradley Cooper’s black & white biopic Maestro


The film follows composer Leonard Bernstein's complex life and career, from his conducting debut at 25 filling in for a sick Bruno Walter, to his turbulent marriage to Felicia Montealegre. With Carey Mulligan starring as Felicia, Maestro promises to provide an intimate look at the artistic genius and inner turmoil of Bernstein.


The film marks Cooper's directorial follow-up to A Star is Born which was another film set in the world of entertainment, it was aptly directed and was heavily nominated.


Categories: Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, Best Original Score


Maestro is in theatres in November and Netflix on 20th December 2023.



Anatomy of A Fall

This year’s crowned film at Cannes Film Festival deals with the fine art of family destruction. The emotional rollercoaster ride starts on a wintry morning, at their house in the Alps where the husband, Samuel, is found dead apparently from a fall from the third floor or maybe a push?


Considering this is just the beginning of the film, the centrepiece is the wife Sandra (played with great finesse by Sandra Huller), an acclaimed writer that has made a living from writing about moments in her own life of which she confesses to have seeds of truth.


While the trailer presents this as thriller, based on the reviews this lands firmly in the courtroom psychological thriller and I would expect the audience to be part of the jury until the very last second.


Categories: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Actress, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay


Anatomy of a Fall is in UK cinemas on 1st November 2023.


American Fiction

A bit of a wild card, but this film deserves awards attention not just because it is a comedy (they don’t get nominated very often) but because it does that rare thing where it deals with an important topic by infusing it with dark humour.


The topic? Racial commodification. From looking at the trailer, angry and depressed writer Monk (Jeffrey Wright) is unable to find a publisher for his latest work, a reimagining of Aeschylus’s The Persians, because it’s deemed inadequately Black. So, in a burst of frustration, Monk decides to ‘spit out’ a catalogue of over-the-top cliches about urban suffering an sends it to his agent and publishers as a critique to their narrow conception of what being Black means.


You guessed it, the response is not what Monk was expecting and things get weirder from there.


Categories: Best Actor, Best Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing


American Fiction is in UK cinemas on 22nd December 2023.


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