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Year in Advance Oscar Predictions: Barbenheimer is Here and Both Films Could Be Major Awards Contenders

Universal Pictures

This weekend, Barbenheimer is upon us. Yes, both Barbie and Oppenheimer have hit screens. The two films will be forever intertwined not just because they both are out on the same day, but because they both could be real Oscar threats. They come about it differently, as one is a surprise potential player, while the other has been seen as a contender since the moment it was announced. As such, this was always seen to me as a perfect time to present updated predictions. So, today you can see those, along with a mild primer on what these two movies could be gunning for.

Barbie is, on the surface, not an awards contender. It’s the quality, as well as the surprise of it all, that has it in contention. Plus, Barbie is helmed by Greta Gerwig, who has seen both of her prior directorial efforts nominated for Best Picture (not to mention co-writing with partner Noah Baumbach, a multiple time nominee himself). Margot Robbie has a shot at recognition as the title character, but the biggest player here is Ryan Gosling and his instantly iconic supporting turn. My absolute rave of a review here mentioned Oscars like so:

Oscar-wise, I think this deserves legit consideration in several categories. Best Picture, Best Director (for Gerwig), Best Actress (for Robbie), Best Supporting Actor (for Gosling), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Gerwig and Baumbach), Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, and Best Original Song (potentially times two) should all be on the table. My guess is that Picture, Supporting Actor, Adatped Screenplay, Production Design, and Original Song nominations are potentially gettable, with Actress next in line. If the Academy ignores this one based on what they assume it is, they’ll miss out on what it is and end up with an awful snub, mark my words.

Oppenheimer, on the other hand, was always seen as a potential awards player. Christopher Nolan‘s epic biopic has arguably exceeded expectations, even. So, look for above the line attention, not just for Nolan, but for stars Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., and lead Cillian Murphy. Below the line, Hoyte Van Hoytema‘s visuals and Ludwig Göransson‘s score should be sitting pretty. My rave review here talks of the Academy Award potential in the following manner:

Oscars are potentially coming for this flick. At the minimum, a ton of nominations are likely in the card for Oppenheimer. Best Picture, Best Director (for Nolan), Best Actor (for Murphy), Best Supporting Actor (for Downey Jr.), Best Supporting Actress (for Blunt), and Best Adapted Screenplay (also for Nolan) highlight the potential above the line forces on display. Below the line, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography (for Van Hoytema), Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Original Score (for Göransson), and Best Visual Effects could add to the totals. This film could easily be an Academy Award juggernaut if the season goes a certain way.

Warner Bros.

It’s important to know that these are summer films, so it’s certainly possible that they both fade by precursor season. It’s not a stretch to see Barbie wrongly dismissed as fluff and unable to latch on with the precursors. While it’s harder to envision Oppenheimer shut out, the film could run into the problem of just being among the glut and not at the forefront of any voter’s mind at the end of the year. So, the movies are hardly locks.

At the same time, it seems undeniable that Oppenheimer will be at least somewhat of an Oscar player. Barbie is more of an X factor, but the likely box office windfall coming its way certainly won’t hurt. We shall see, but they’re pumping some excitement into a still very amorphous awards season. If the flicks can go the distance, then it will be a fun addition to the season. Assuming that happens, the journey begins now…

Remember, it’s still relatively early, all things considered here. My prior predictions article (found here) from earlier in the summer may look fairly similar to this new one, but that’s the nature of the beast right now. I’m remaining pretty conservative, though still trying to tell a story with my nominees, hence the changes mostly centered around Barbie and Oppenheimer. That certainly can change, in terms of being conservative, but it still won’t be for a bit, since as I keep saying, nothing concrete, Oscar-wise, usually happens in the summer. The prior article proves that point, too, though this one suggests another possibility.

As always, you can see my newest crack at advance Oscar predictions here at Awards Radar. We shall see, but this list is sure to change once again when I give it another update, likely right before I leave for the Telluride Film Festival in late August. Until then, the usual suspects from the initial ranking still loom fairly large, give or take the little movements here and there, aside from the Barbenheimer-centric update…

Stay tuned for an update to these Oscar predictions as the summer continues!


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4 months ago

I think that is my thinking will they be sniffy about Barbie or will they recognize it no matter how pink it is ! Oppenheimer looks to be a strong contender but I wonder which big one will underwhelm or be overlooked.

Robert Hamer
4 months ago
Reply to  Kellie

It’s worth remembering that Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan have both been down this road six years ago with a movie seen as a longshot because of the Academy’s longstanding bias against “girly” stories and a World War II epic that people loved but was released in the summer and feared would be forgotten by voters as the backloaded contenders started pouring in.

4 months ago
Reply to  Joey Magidson

Should be interesting



Written by Joey Magidson

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