EJ Moreno looks at films heading for the 2024 Oscars…
As we enter the New Year and the 2024 award season begins, the contenders for Best Picture are starting to take shape.
While anything can happen from now to the Oscars in March, we have over ten films that most likely play a part in the conversation. For this list, we’ll look at each film and rank their chances to land a nomination and eventually a Best Picture win.
Let’s look at the Best Picture Oscar contenders, and let us know your favorite from this race.
–Anatomy of a Fall
10. Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse
My dark horse contender, but that isn’t an attempt to diminish the power of this film. Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse deserves the Best Picture as much as Toy Story 3 and Up did before.
In what many have dubbed the best “Part 2” in recent memory, the sequel status is always what hurts the film’s chances. Some feel that Across The Spider-Verse is an incomplete story with the plot left hanging open. You are left wanting more, but it’s still a perfectly crafted experience.
Voice acting, story, easter eggs, and, of course, the animation: every department is firing on all cylinders. We rarely see such an explosive animated adventure, but does it fit what the Academy wants?
9. The Zone of Interest
If you ask the more traditional Oscars expert or Best Picture trackers, The Zone of Interest would be a surefire bet. That would be true if we were still in a conventional era, but all bets are off now.
Jonathan Glazer crafts a strong film with a strong message, but it doesn’t pack the punch you’d expect. Most pundits are now placing this in the dreaded tenth spot, if at all, and the chatter with critics is almost none. Sometimes, even some pretty great films can go under the radar.
The Zone of Interest doesn’t cover any new ground, but as current world events carry on, the film lingers in the back of your mind. We could see an unlikely underdog here.
8. American Fiction
A satirical comedy has found its place during recent awards season, and American Fiction aligns with some recent Best Picture nominees. This one, though, could be the most charming yet.
Jeffrey Wright is the real reason this goes from good to great; his work should not be overlooked. While melodrama is never wrong, the family drama gets a bit tiresome. Focusing mainly on Wright’s book journey and the comedic chaos could’ve rounded it out more.
Still, don’t be shocked if this lands that Best Picture spot that we’ve seen films like Don’t Look Up and Triangle of Sadness nab before. It’s also even better than those hits.
7. The Color Purple
A crowd-pleaser goes a long way, especially with great songs and stellar visuals. Warner Bros. surprisingly has this and Wonka in contention, hitting those same notes, but none soar like The Color Purple.
Seeing this reimagining of the classic film and adaptation of the hit Broadway show in a packed house was almost a religious experience. You’re consumed with the story, even if it’s your second or third time seeing it unfold. That’s what happens when pure talent comes together.
A musical isn’t a hard sell to the Academy, but you could see a slight downturn since La La Land that could affect this. A strong holiday season will help this ride to a top-ten spot.
6. The Holdovers
The Holdovers, in the nicest way, is the type of movie you could show your parents and they’d love. Inoffensive, heartwarming, and packed with stellar acting, it’s easy to see why this is a contender.
You also can’t overlook Alexander Payne, a two-time Academy winner, who plays well what Academy Awards tend to like. Although, he hasn’t made a splash in a decade with 2013’s six-time nominee, Nebraska. The new guard could embrace the charm like they did with CODA.
The Holdovers feels like a return to form, but has the era of Payne passed? It will be interesting to see where this lands, but expect it to be beloved by many voting groups.
5. Killers of the Flower Moon
This could’ve easily been a top-three contender at the start of the year. Even with its multiple glowing reviews from Flickering Myth, it’s hard to bet against it. But the controversies weigh it down.
No Martin Scorcese film is without some discourse, but Killers of the Flower Moon didn’t get as warm of a reception as expected. The reviews are strong, and no one questions the filmmaking, but the narrative choices are where people begin to get shady.
Killers of the Flower Moon is by no means DOA; it’s just the fact the movie isn’t at the top of the list as you’d expect. Things could always change, but even with a powerhouse film, it’s not the correct year.
4. Poor Things
Yorgos Lanthimos brings such an old-school energy to the Oscars race, even if his films feel built to be anti-awards contenders. Nevertheless, the conversation this year wouldn’t be complete without Poor Things.
Emma Stone is an easy contender for Best Actress, while the art department and cinematography excel. The script is where you can see some issues, with the film being wildly sexual and, some say, exploitative. Will the Oscars (and other significant awards) want to avoid this?
Lanthimos has a pedigree with the Academy now, even winning some awards for The Favourite, and it could easily carry over to this year. A strong campaign could carry to the finish line.
Christopher Nolan seems to have an Academy Awards curse against him, but Oppenheimer is the most obvious choice this year. Still, there’s a reason why Best Picture has always escaped him.
As we’ve discussed old-school Academy voting versus what the newer era seems to bring, Nolan has yet to find his place in this transition. Dunkirk and Tenet performed vastly differently, so Oppenheimer is make or break. The film is so strong that if it doesn’t at least rank, what could Nolan do?
While the film isn’t my personal favorite contender of the year, it’s undoubtedly everything Christopher Nolan fans love and everything he could possibly do to score his long-awaited Best Picture finally.
Bradley Cooper has something special on his hands with Maestro. If things fall into place, this artful biopic could become one of the most interesting Oscar winners in some time.
Much like Nolan, Netflix hasn’t been able to land the big one, with Apple grabbing Best Picture before them. Cooper is campaigning like an old-school vet, and he has such a masterful project to bring forth. The streamer could have their awards king here.
Are we over musician biopics? Is the film too much for the new school Academy? A Best Picture/Best Director win may be too early for Cooper, but he can’t get much better than this.
Greta Gerwig has many things working in her favor heading into Oscars 2024. Barbie is a crowd-pleaser, a blockbuster with a feel-good message; it almost seems destined to be crowned.
A blockbuster hasn’t felt this poised for an awards season since Return of the King, an equal combination of fan love and excellent filmmaking. While The Dark Knight and Avatar failed to win the big prize, Barbie has the important messaging to boost it more as a contender.
Greta Gerwig also has the pedigree that her peers have. She’s well-liked in the industry, has a strong film under her belt, and an even brighter future. This is her crowning moment.
Flickering Myth critics Rob Kojder and EJ Moreno are voters in the Critics Choice Association, which airs on January 14th, 2024. The 96th Academy Awards air on March 10th, 2024.