As I said last month, the films hoping for Academy Award love are essentially known commodities. Aside from The Color Purple, Flint Strong, The Iron Claw, and Napoleon, is there anything on Oscar’s potential radar that hasn’t screened at a film festival? The answer is, pretty much, no. So, we know the movies in play. So, that’s interesting. However, I wanted to consider, if at least for a moment, I wanted to look at these flicks to see if they have a shot at shaking up the race. Plus, predictions have been tinkered with, too…so there’s that as well!
Of the above lot, Flint Strong has just complete radio silence, so I’m skeptical of it even coming out in 2023. As for The Color Purple and Napoleon, I’ve heard from some who have seen it early, from different corners of the industry, and I’m not hearing chatter that suggests they’re going to be juggernauts. Could they be wrong? Of course. In one of the cases, it’s not even a question of quality, in the slightest. They’re just coming at a point where, as much as pundits are curious about new blood, the voters are still first checking in. So, they’re not as hungry for fresh meat. That leaves The Iron Claw, which just debuted its trailer and actually has the potential to surprise later on this year.
The Iron Claw is the one I think you should watch out for as a potential X factor. Filmmaker Sean Durkin has been looming as a possible Oscar darling for a while now. Could this move, ever so slightly, towards the mainstream do it for him? We don’t have a lot of history with wrestling and the Oscars, like with boxing, but The Wrestler certainly was a player. The trailer looks good, as entertaining as it will be moving, even if it’s, at its core, a tearjerker. All of that could/should play to a voter. It has an extra bit of oomph in its corner as well, since it’s an A24 release that’s secured an interim agreement with SAG. So, the cast, led by Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White, can campaign. At a time when the strike is still going on and actors/actresses won’t be on the trail, it’ll be not just a novelty, but an essential tool.
At the same time, we’re in a period where many are searching for anything to shake up the race. So, take it all with a grain of salt. Once we get actually nominees and winners when the precursor season begins, we’ll know more. So, for now, it’s a lot of speculation. Having a potential new contender, at least, is a fun little wrinkle to consider.
So, where do we stand now? More or less the same spot, as you’ve noticed. Best Actor and Best Actress look incredibly competitive, Best Supporting Actor could be Robert Downey Jr.‘s for the taking (though Ryan Gosling and Mark Ruffalo would like to have a word, especially when you look at what I’ve done with Gosling in this update), while Best Supporting Actress is now anyone’s game. Both of the Screenplay categories seem competitive, as well. Plus, the technical categories should be a large scale battle between Barbie, The Creator, Oppenheimer, and Poor Things, at least to some degree. At the same time, Christopher Nolan could be already locked and loaded for a Best Director coronation of sorts, while Oppenheimer still feels like the one to beat in Best Picture. Can that change? Of course. Will it change? That’s what we’re going to be looking for once the precursors get underway later on this month…
My prior early prediction article (found here) is still available for your perusal, and can see some more of the changes I’ve been making along the way if you click around. The festivals are almost done having their say, so changes are coming as I finish seeing the remaining high profile New York Film Festival titles. Especially as films decide whether to remain in 2023 and category placements are made, there’s updates coming. So, just stay tuned there for those.
Folks, as always you can see my newest crack at advance Oscar predictions (which, again, officially are just considered regular old new predictions, as opposed to year in advance) right here at Awards Radar. The changes are coming, and will continue to come, more and more, as the fall festivals continue and then wrap up. So, sit tight for much more…
Stay tuned for another update to these Oscar predictions as the fall festival season continues!