Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.
Life is full of dumb questions. They can go from “Who wants to do a shot of Jager?” to “How did I end up in the hospital?”or as you get older they start at, “Should I just pay the minimum payment this month?” and lead to “Why am I in so much debt?”. My favorite personal dumb question to ask is, “Who will win Best Picture a year from now?” which usually leads to the question, “How could I have been this wrong?”
The following will be a list of numerous titles that will probably make the most waves at Oscars next year. This exercise can end up being futile as just this past year a Sundance film getting picked up by a streaming service ended up winning, but it’s fun to think about it. This exploration into so many titles then led to so many more titles, which led to me having to make two parts out of this, and maybe while I am working it will be three…
The most popular Oscar contender at this time is Killers of the Flower Moon. This is AppleTV’s next film fresh off their Oscar win this time with the legendary director Martin Scorsese at the helm who one could say is due for another win and will often draw in a nomination. It involves a star studded cast with Jesse Plemons, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Robert DeNiro who are no strangers to Oscar wins and nominations.
The best competition to Killers of the Flower Moon is Babylon, a movie from Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle who is looking for redemption after the snubbing of First Man. This movie is about old Hollywood which means at the very least it will receive nominations but recent history has dictated that subject matter might not be enough for the wins, Mank and Licorice Pizza being some examples. However, the cast of Meryl Streep, Margot Robbie, Tobey Maguire, Samara Weaving, Brad Pitt, and Emma Stone will draw much attention that likely won’t be ignored.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar 2 will be closely watched as two sequels to big budget Best Picture nominees with tremendous Box Office results. Black Panther is handling a lot of narrative shake ups after losing Chadwick Boseman and Avatar 2 has been working incredibly hard to keep up with the demands of effects that might not exist and yet its been reported the test footage is unbelievable. The firsts of each of these movies were divisive when they were nominated for Best Picture but if these two can get the same amount of attention as their predecessors, then they have a tremendous chance of going down the same road as before.
The Killer is the type of title that cannot be ignored. David Fincher directing a film written by Andrew Kevin Walker, reuniting for the first time since Se7en, with it starring Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton, there is no doubt it is bound to be getting nomination attention.
Baz Luhrman could barely get a ticket to the Oscars since Moulin Rouge and yet Elvis does look like a massive undertaking and while musical biopics are frequently derivative, the Academy does love them. At the very least the movie will scrounge up some technical nominations.
Ari Aster does not have the name that is synonymous with Oscar but he does have a name that has been frequently described as auteur and his new film Disappointment Blvd starring Joaquin Phoenix sounds incredibly ambitious and if film twitter makes enough of a stink this could lead to some of his first nominations.
While Knives Out did not get the coveted Best Picture nomination it was probably close and probably would have been in a field of ten as it was nominated for Best Screenplay. Knives Out 2 has a pretty attention grabbing cast and is backed by Netflix, which means quite a campaign can at least provide it with some nominations.
Florian Zeller shocked the world by directing Anthony Hopkins to his second Oscar in The Father and is coming out with his next film this year, The Son. This film has a tremendous cast that includes Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern and Zeller knows how to get the right performance which could lead to some nominations and possible wins.
With only two films, Jordan Peele went from Oscar winner of an iconic masterpiece to the maker of a divisive and artsy film. Therefore, it will be interesting to see where Nope falls this summer and to see if its legacy will last until award season.
White Noise is a beloved literary work and many question its ability to be adapted properly. However, Noah Baumbach is making this film with Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Don Cheadle, and Jodie Turner-Smith. It is also being made by Netflix and therefore there will be a campaign that will at least give this movie some attention come Oscar season.
Thirteen Lives would have been Oscar catnip in the early aughts or nineties, but these days having a narrative film based on a real event, in this case the rescue of the boys soccer team from Thailand, a year after there was a documentary about that event will often leave a bad taste in the general public’s mouth. Ron Howard has deservedly been a stranger to the Academy since Frost/Nixon but was quite the serviceable director before that and churned out compelling movies and with Thirteen Lives starring Colin Farell, Viggo Mortensen, and Joel Edgerton this could be his return.
After Taika Waititi’s success in JoJo Rabbit, his next film, Next Goal Wins has already been receiving buzz. The cast ranges from unique comedic players like Rhys Darby and Will Arnett to those familiar with award wins and nominations like Michael Fassbender and Elisabeth Moss and while comedies are scarce in the Oscars, Waititi has proven to be great at bridging that gap.
Darren Aronofsky previously resurrected the career of Mickey Rourke that lead to an Oscar nomination for his performance in The Wrestler and the same trend could possibly happen for Brendan Fraser in The Whale, where Fraser will play a morbidly obese man trapped in his apartment. Aronofsky frequently shoots his shot and sometimes it leads to Best Picture Nominees and Performance winners like Black Swan and sometimes it leads to Mother! And The Fountain which has their audiences but that is as far as they get. The Whale does not feel like a plot that will age well, unless it’s done properly.
TAR is a fancy musician biopic with Cate Blanchett at the lead and Todd Field writing and directing, who has not written or directed a film since Little Children and In The Bedroom which were huge contenders during their years.
Empire of Light is directed by Sam Mendes starring Olivia Colman and Colin Firth about a romance that takes place near a cinema, so just back up the Oscars Brinks truck to this movie right now.
The likelihood of Cha Cha Real Smooth being an Oscars frontrunner is low. However this is the beloved Sundance film from a practically unknown writer director bought by AppleTV Plus, which is literally the exact same path as CODA. While it is unlikely that lightning can strike twice, it’s still possible.
With its recent rating of NC-17, Blonde might have hurt its chances of Oscars but this is still a Netflix film where Ana De Armas is playing Marilyn Monroe and it’s nuts to think that she won’t be getting the smallest bit of Oscars attention, at least more than Deep Water.
While some people feel that Booksmart was overrated, Olivia Wilde still made a splash as a director from that film and her next film, Don’t Worry Darling, has a deep bench of cast including Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, Harry Styles, Nick Kroll, Kate Berlant, Timothy Simons, and Kiki Layne which will no doubt get attention for audiences and maybe even Oscars.
It’s been great to see Jennifer Lawrence have her come back even if it was in Don’t Look Up. However, she is continuing to pick projects that will have Oscar attention with Red, White, and Water. This is a movie that will showcase a former soldier dealing with traumatic brain injury, which will be a truly intense and important story. Finally, Brian Tyree Henry is continuing to expand and this could be the moment where he might get the attention much deserved by Oscar.
In Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos is reuniting with Emma Stone and its another Victorian film which is enough to draw Oscar buzz. There is also another gigantic deep bench including Mark Ruffalo and Margaret Qualley.
There’s not a lot that makes Tetris seem like it will be an Oscar contender with the exception of Taron Edgerton whose last big movie was Rocketman in which he just barely kissed a nomination and therefore this can make up for that snub.
Hold back the screams that I missed something, because I cut the titles in half and many more will be explored next week and for now bask in the glow that we have a great year of film coming up.