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A State Of The Race

Dec 8, 2022

If you are a regular moviegoer chances are you’ve already seen one of 2023’s Best Picture nominees. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and, quite surprisingly, “Top Gun: Maverick” are deep in the mix for the 10 picture field. As always, however, the fall festival season looks like it will bring a deluge of legitimate contenders in a manner we haven’t seen since before the pandemic. In previous years, it would be disheartening so many distributors held their “best” for the fall, but considering the last two Oscars seasons, we’ll gladly take it.
READ MORE: Did The 2023 Oscars Kick Off At Cannes?
Let’s quickly review the past six months, shall we?
There is some irony in the fact that “CODA” became the first Sundance Film Festival world premiere to win Best Picture considering how weak the 2021 edition of the event was on the narrative side. It goes without saying that Sundance continues to have the greatest selection of documentary premieres for any wide film festival (meaning non-doc specific) in the world. Unfortunately, this time around the fiction side was much weaker. And, no disrespect intended but the festival’s U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury winner, “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” is looking at more Spirit Award nominations than Oscar love. Sundance could make some noise with “Living’s” Bill Nighy for Best Actor but for those thinking the acclaimed “Good Luck Leo Grande” still qualifies, are mistaken. The old rules are back and that popular Searchlight and Hulu acquisition will be in the Emmy race in 2023.
Cannes, on the other hand, saw two potential Best Picture players in Ruben Ostlund’s Palme d’Or winning “Triangle of Sadness” and Lukas Dhont’s “Close,” which tied for the first runner-up prize.” Acquired by NEON and A24 respectfully, the former is an often hilarious English language rich eating the rich satire while the latter is a moving drama centered on young friendship that will resonate stateside considering the increasing attacks on LGBTQ+ rights. And, like clockwork, Cannes provided a slew of films that will eventually be selected as their nation’s International Film submission.
At the moment, the four major fall festivals are putting the finishing touches on their upcoming slates. Venice, Telluride, Toronto, and the New York Film Festivals are all hunting for world premieres and stars who will turn heads. In the process, they will inevitably launch Best Picture nominees and, regrettably, break the hearts of filmmakers who don’t make the cut. There are also, of course, a number of films who will hold their debuts closer to their November or (the statistically not smart if you want to win) December release dates.
Keeping all that in mind, here’s a preview of what distributors have in their pipelines. Although, take note: We’ve been warned by at least one studio that a few surprise additions may be in store. What studio is it? Well, you’ll have to figure that out on your own.
PARAMOUNT
“Babylon”
Damien Chazelle’s love letter to Hollywood’s Golden Age stars Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. Everyone is assuming a fall festival berth, but with a Christmas wide release, maybe not?
“Top Gun: Maverick”
Over $1 billion and counting, it likely has the best shot for a major “broad” film to crack the Best Picture race. Paramount might want to start figuring out their campaign sooner rather than later because without any international votes it could hit some turbulence.
A24
“Everything Everywhere All At Once”
The art-house word-of-mouth wonder is very likely a Best Picture nominee, but if Michelle Yeoh doesn’t get a Best Actress nomination heads will roll.
“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On”
An Animated Feature player with a shot at an Adapted Screenplay nod.
“Close”
Major tearjerker. If it screens at Telluride, watch out.
“The Whale”
Darren Aronofsky’s first film in five years. Is it more “Mother!” or “Black Swan”?
“Untitled Jennifer Lawrence Project”
The source material suggests Ms. Lawrence could be looking at her fifth acting nomination.
FOCUS FEATURES
“The Northman”
More of a below-the-line player than it should be. That being said, Nicole Kidman deserves some Supporting Actress attention for one of her most electric performances in years (and, yes, with her body of work that’s saying something).
“Armageddon Time”
New York critics, voters, and audiences will love it. Let’s see how it plays in LA. Could get James Gray his first not in the Original Screenplay category though.
“Tár”
The buzz on Todd Field’s first film in 16 years is reaching operatic levels. Oh, and there’s Cate too.
SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
“The Menu”
Emmy-winner and “Succession” maestro Mark Mylod directs his first feature in over a decade with Anya Tayor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, and Ralph Fiennes.
“The Banshees of Inisherin”
Martin McDonagh earned two Oscar nods for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.” Now’s he reuniting with his “In Bruges” collaborators Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.
“Empire of Light”
Sam Mendes follows up “1917” on a decidedly smaller scale with Colin Firth and Olivia Coleman. Mendes’ screenplay is described as a “love story around an old cinema” which sounds like catnip for industry voters.
APPLE TV+
“The Greatest Beer Run Ever”
Did you love “Green Book”? Well, Peter Farrelly is back with another adaptation of a true story with Zac Efron and Russell Crowe in tow.
“Killers of the Flower Moon”
Martin Scorsese’s latest collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t supposed to make the cut this year, but just in case Marty changes his mind…

NEON
“Triangle of Sadness”
Seven of the nine members of the jury that awarded it the Palme d’Or (seemingly unanimously) are now Academy members. Pay attention.
UNIVERSAL PICTURES
“Nope”
Jordan Peele is never just making a movie about aliens terrorizing human beings on earth. Y’all know that right?
“She Said”
“Unorthodox” helmer Maria Schrader follows two New York Times reporters’ investigation into the #MeToo movement in Hollywood.
“The Fabelmans”
Steven Spielberg revisits his childhood in this semi-autobiographical tale with Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, and Judd Hirsch. I mean…
SONY PICTURES
“The Woman King”
The release date (Sept. 16) is highly quite questionable for a prestige pic, but we believe in the talent of Gina Prince-Bythewood.
“Devotion”
This Korean War-set drama – which screams TIFF gala premiere – is all about Jonathan Majors.
“A Man Called Otto”
Marc Forster adapts the Oscar-nominated 2015 Swedish film “A Man Called Ove” with Tom Hanks, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Netflix’s “The Lincoln Lawyer”), and Rachel Keller along for the ride.
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody”
Whitney Houston‘s life story…but directed by Kasi Lemmons. Will it be more historically truthful than “Elvis”?
WARNER BROS
“The Batman”
Another probable below-the-line player, but anything is possible.
“Elvis”
Production Design, Costumes, Sound, Makeup and Hairstyling and Austin Butler, Austin Butler, Austin Butler, and Austin Butler.
“Don’t Worry Darling”
Olivia Wilde directs (and appears) in this 1950s dramatic thriller where all is certainly not what it seems. Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Timothy Simmons, Kate Berlant, and Nick Kroll round out a crazy intriguing cast.
20TH CENTURY STUDIOS
“Amsterdam”
David O. Russell‘s first feature in seven years is a ’30s set mystery with Christian Bale, Anya Taylor-Joy, Margot Robbie, Zoe Saldana, Rami Malek, Michael Shannon, Robert De Niro, John David Washington, Andrea Riseborough, and, oh yeah, Taylor Swift.
“Avatar: The Way of Water”
The first one earned nine nominations including Best Picture and won three trophies. The sequel is a player until it, potentially, isn’t.
WALT DISNEY RELEASING/MARVEL STUDIOS
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
The first one earned seven nominations including Best Picture and won three trophies. The sequels is a player until it, potentially, isn’t.
NETFLIX
“Bardo”
Alejandro G. Iñárritu‘s latest is said to be inspired by his childhood in Mexico (Hmmm, where have you heard that before). A four-time winner, including back-to-back directing wins, all his films have been in the Oscar race in some capacity for over 20 years. Not even Eastwood had a run like that.
“White Noise”
Noah Baumbach‘s follow-up to “Marriage Story,” the film that won Laura Dern a long deserved Academy Award. This one is a rare adaptation for the writer, of a Don DeLillo novel, no less, with Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig starring.
“The Wonder”
Sebastián Lelio directs this adaptation of Emma Donoghue‘s novel starring Florence Pugh, Niamh Algar, Ciarán Hinds, and Tom Burke. Let’s see what festivals it ends up at.
“Blonde”
An NC-17-rated film is likely a non-starter as a Best Picture nominee, but Ana de Armas may garner some attention in the Best Actress race for her portrayal of Norma Jeane, an actress better known by her screen name, Marilyn Monroe.
“Athena”
Romain Gavras directed and co-wrote (with “Les Miserables” helmer Ladj Ly) this city streets-set drama. No matter how good it is, will France even consider a Netflix film as its International Film Oscar submission? Ponder.
“The Pale Blue Eye”
Christian Bale reunites with director Scott Cooper in this adaptation of Louis Bayard‘s acclaimed 2006 novel of the same name.
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
Rian Johnson earned an Original Screenplay nod for the original and if there were 10 Best Picture nominees that year, it almost certainly would have the cut. So, sure.
AMAZON STUDIOS
“My Policeman”
Set in the 1950s, a policeman (Harry Styles) hides a gay love affair (David Dawson) from his non-suspecting wife (Emma Corrin). It’s the second narrative feature film from celebrated stage director Michael Grandage.
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
“The Son”
Oscar-winner Florian Zeller directs an adaptation of his stage play which is part of a trilogy that includes “The Father.” Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, and Vanessa Kirby star.
“Living”
Bill Nighy gives an incredible performance in Oliver Hermanus‘s remake of Akira Kurosawa’s “Ikiru.” Can SPC campaign two Best Actor hopefuls?
MGM
“Till”
“Clemency’s” Chinonye Chukwu chronicles the lynching of Emmett Louis Till (Jalyn Hall) and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley (Daniel Deadwyler) who fought for justice in his name. Oct. 7 is a release date that shows confidence from a distributor.
“Creed III”
Longshot, but as star Michael B. Jordan‘s directorial debut, it will be worth a look.
“Bones and All”
Luca Guadagnino reunites with Timothée Chalamet, Michael Sthulbarg and Chloë Sevigny in a road-trip drama centered on a young woman who likes to eat flesh played by “Waves” star Taylor Russell. Expected to be one of many films in this post debuting at Venice.
“Women Talking”
Sarah Polley‘s first film in 11 years stars Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy and Ben Whishaw. When we spoke earlier this month, Foy said, “It’s not like any other film anyone has made before.”

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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