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Oscar Race Stock Up / Stock Down: The Nominations Begin

the Oscar statuette

The 2024 Oscar race begins with early nominations from critics and other groups, as films like Past Lives’ stock is up while The Color Purple’s is down.

There are still three months before the 96th Academy Awards, but the race to get to the ceremony got started in a major way in the past few weeks. Critics’ groups and other major awards bodies have started to announce their nominees and winners for the best of the year, highlighted most notably by this week’s Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards nominations.

Even in just this short period of time, we’ve already begun to see frontrunners emerge, sleeper picks starting to look more and more likely to happen, and a few that we thought might be favorites starting to look like they’re on shakier ground than maybe was first anticipated. Obviously, there’s still plenty to come, and a lot more will happen over the course of the next few weeks that will help to begin giving us an even clearer picture about what’s going to happen as the Oscar race heats between now and when nomination day rolls around on January 23.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little bit of fun and talk about whose stock is up or down, since precursor nominations and wins have started to be announced.

Stock Up: International Features as Contenders

loud and clear reviews Oscar Race Stock Up / Stock Down: The Nominations Begin - Anatomy of a Fall
Oscar Race Stock Up / Stock Down: The Nominations Begin – Anatomy of a Fall (Neon)

As the Academy has expanded in recent years, one of the most exciting trends has been the representation of some of the best in film from all over the world in categories outside of just International Feature. This year seems like it will be no different, as at least two films (Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest) seem primed to be in the hunt for Best Picture and several other major categories — with several more films also earning nominations from critics’ groups so far.

Both Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest seem to be competing for those final couple of Best Picture slots with films like May December and The Color Purple, and it really seems like it will come down to just how good a resume both will have and how they look to the Academy. Both Justine Triet and Jonathan Glazer appear to be in the mix for Best Director noms, Sandra Hüller is competing for nominations in both movies (Lead Actress for Anatomy of a Fall and Supporting Actress for The Zone of Interest), and both are also competing strongly in precursors for Original and Adapted Screenplay, respectively. Throw in the potential for Film Editing for Anatomy of a Fall and Cinematography, Original Score and Sound for The Zone of Interest, and we could be looking at two of the strongest Best Picture resumes for an international film since Parasite or Drive My Car.

But, of course, the accolades for international features doesn’t end there. Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron is likely the only other film that has a real chance of beating Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse for Best Animated Feature, and it also received a Golden Globe nomination for Joe Hisaishi’s score. Another Japanese film, Godzilla: Minus One, has been building a lot of buzz since its release, and is getting to a point where a nomination in Best Visual Effects doesn’t feel out of the question.

Throw in Finland’s Fallen Leaves, which also scored a surprise Golden Globes nomination in Lead Actress in a Musical or Comedy for Alma Poysti, and this early portion of awards season has definitely been generating a ton of buzz for global cinema.

Stock Up: Past Lives

loud and clear reviews Oscar Race Stock Up / Stock Down: The Nominations Begin - Past Lives
Oscar Race Stock Up / Stock Down: The Nominations Begin – Past Lives (A24)

Not too long ago, some concern began to grow surrounding Past Lives and its Oscar chances. It’s been months since the film first gained traction as a favorite out of Sundance or since it was released in theaters back in early June, a lot of bigger movies with bigger stars came out — and still are coming out — and it was looking like there was a chance that maybe it could become that critical darling that just wasn’t able to catch on in the awards race and missed out on what people thought it could be early in the year.

Fast forward through these first few weeks of precursor nominations and awards, and Past Lives is looking like it’s going to be able to jump into Oscar season ready to compete for some of the biggest prizes. Last week it received nominations from both the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice for Best Picture, it seems primed to be a Best Original Screenplay nominee and should be in the mix for Best Actress and (maybe wishful thinking, on my part) Best Director as well.

It’s been great to see that, at least for now, it looks like the momentum hasn’t stalled out on Past Lives, but of course it will be interesting to see how things go the rest of the way when it comes to things like SAG, PGA, and also if the film can earn wins at any of these early major precursors.

Stock Up: Lily Gladstone

loud and clear reviews Oscar Race Stock Up / Stock Down: The Nominations Begin - Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon
Oscar Race Stock Up / Stock Down: The Nominations Begin – Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple TV+ & Paramount Pictures)

A lot of people were pretty surprised a few months back when word came out that Lily Gladstone would be campaigning in Best Actress for Killers of the Flower Moon, after it had been widely speculated and assumed she’d be the favorite to win Best Supporting Actress. In a pretty loaded field that included performances from previous nominees like Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, Margot Robbie and Carey Mulligan, there were questions of just how well a breakout performance like Gladstone’s would do up against some of the more established names she would be competing against in this year’s Oscar race.

And, apparently, the answer to that question is pretty darn well. Gladstone not only appears to be a lock to earn the nomination but also at this point is probably the favorite in the category. Most likely, it should be a tight race between Gladstone and Stone, but these early awards from critics’ groups make it look really encouraging that they made the right decision to put her in Lead.

Stock Down: The Color Purple

The Color Purple (2023): Film Review – Loud And Clear Reviews
Film Review: The Color Purple (2023) is a mixed bag, featuring some tremendous showstoppers within a weak and disarrayed structure.

For a while, I had assumed that The Color Purple would be that big crowd-pleasing musical that would storm its way through award season and maybe play a potential spoiler to the Best Picture hopes of films like Oppenheimer or Killers of the Flower Moon. But, as of now, it looks like Blitz Bazawule’s film is one of the handful of potential contenders on the bubble to make it into the 10 nominees.

In the Best Picture race, it’s missed the top 10 with both AFI and NBR, as well as surprisingly being left out of the Musical or Comedy category at the Golden Globes. Even Best Actress and Supporting Actress contenders Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks have only just started receiving some recognition, with Barrino earning a Globes nomination and Brooks being honored by both the Globes and CCA.

The bright side, however, is that there’s plenty of time for things to shift back in the right direction — especially considering The Color Purple still isn’t being released until Christmas and doesn’t have the bonus among some of these early critics groups of having a festival release earlier in the year like a lot of the other contenders do. Wednesday’s Critics’ Choice nominations were the first bright spot of the awards season for the film, as it came away with five nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Brooks), Best Costume Design, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, and Best Ensemble.

If it has a great showing at CCA, some big nominations and wins with SAG, and getting a big positive reaction when the film is released, there’s still definitely a chance that The Color Purple will be able to be a major player this awards season. But, as of right now, it’s looking like it’s beginning to face a pretty steep climb.

Stock Down: The Best Visual Effects Category

loud and clear reviews Oscar Race Stock Up / Stock Down: The Nominations Begin - Oppenheimer
Oscar Race Stock Up / Stock Down: The Nominations Begin – Oppenheimer (© Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved.)

There have been some outstanding uses of visual effects in film this year, but unfortunately this category is getting a stock down from me due to the exclusion of Oppenheimer in the top 20 finalists that have made it to the next round of voting.

It seemed like Christopher Nolan’s newest offering would be a lock to be a nominee, and likely the favorite, in the category after his previous film, Tenet, won the category in 2021. But it appears the blockbuster will be left out of the category altogether. The speculation mostly has centered around the film’s heavier usage of practical effects rather than CGI, but nonetheless it is still a pretty massive surprise to see it not listed among the 20 best uses of visual effects in film this year.

With that said, however, there are some pretty great options left on the list we could get to see in the category. It would be awesome to see films like Godzilla: Minus One or Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse honored here.

Oscar Race 2024: Current Best Picture Top 10 (as of December 20):

  1. Oppenheimer
  2. Killers of the Flower Moon
  3. Barbie
  4. Poor Things
  5. The Holdovers
  6. Past Lives
  7. American Fiction
  8. Maestro
  9. May December
  10. The Zone of Interest

First four out: Anatomy of a Fall, The Color Purple, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Air

The 96th Academy Awards will take place on March 10, 2024 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Read our next article in the Stock Up / Stock Down series, where we talk about nominees day!

Oscar Race Stock Up / Stock Down: Nominees Day – Loud and Clear
The Oscar race continues with the nominees announcement on Tuesday! Which films have more chances? Read our Stock Up / Stock Down article!
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