It all still feels so premature right now, but screening rooms are being booked for November and beyond, the distributors that are playing have made their decisions and are just waiting for the jets to start flying… and while every journalist you are reading is guessing with the authority of a Magic 8 Ball, the narrowing has already begun. There are 29 titles in total that are legitimately in the game for the 10 Best Picture nominations.
The Venice Film Festival starts in 19 days… Telluride, 3 nights later… Toronto a week after that.
With all respect to my colleagues in this field… if you are claiming that anyone is a front-runner in any category today, you need to go get your shine box.
Some sideshow guessers are running full lists of potential advertisers. Disregard.
History, amazingly, hangs on as strongly as the winds of change blow.
History tells us that these 5 films are likely being nominated for Best Picture.
Bardo - Netflix - Iñárritu
Elvis - Warner Bros - Luhrmann
Empire of Light - Searchlight - Mendes
The Fablemans - Universal - Spielberg
Top Gun Maverick - Paramount - Kosinski
The only filmmaker on the list who doesn’t already have an Oscar at home is Joseph Kosinski. But he has Tom Cruise… who also doesn’t have an Oscar at home, but does have 3 nominations and a movie that got deified this summer.
Top Gun Maverick and Elvis are, as you know, big summer hits that have both done more than 4x opening weekend.
The Fablemans feels like Spielberg’s opportunity to bring big emotional fireworks with a personal story that is relatable in classic cinematic ways. It would have to be quite bad to miss… but I expect it to be much better than that for many reasons, but especially Tony Kushner.
Even amongst the exotics, Iñárritu always stands out and Bardo (subtitle seems to have been scrapped), like Cuarón’s Roma before it, will surely deliver a big emotional punch and epic film imagery in a film with actors few Academy voters will have seen before this film.
Sam Mendes’ 10th feature film, Empire of Light, is loaded down with all that stuff Oscar voters hate… like Olivia Colman and Colin Firth. It’s set in and around a cinema on the coast of England in the 1980s. A love story.
Then there are 25 more titles, led by a group of 3 titles that have a head start to the gate…
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Ryan Coogler
Nominated the first time, same high-end director, digging deeper into emotion, likely as not to be the highest grossing film of 2022.
Everything Everywhere All at Once - A24 - The Daniels
The indie hit of the year, Michelle Yeoh looking strong in getting her due, 2 great supporting performances that could find momentum, A24 is good at this.
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