The Cinema Squad’s Full Fall Film Festival Update – “Off To The Races” Season 3

Oscar Season is finally in full swing now that the Telluride, Venice and Toronto Film Festivals are over.  There have been a lot of exciting premieres of movies over the last few weeks… And now we have a bit of a deeper understanding of which ones are in contention to be nominated for the Golden Statue.  Based on critics and audience reviews, as well as what movies ended up winning awards at these festivals… Here is a List of Eight Films that Have A Great Chance of Being Nominated at the 2024 Oscars. (Keep in mind, these are just movies that premiered at Toronto, Venice, and TIFF. So, Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon and Barbie will not be on this list).

1.Poor Things (Venice)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos 

Starring: Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, Jarrod Charmichael and Rami Youssef

Premise: Brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist, a young woman runs off with a lawyer on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, she grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.

Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Picture, Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo and/or Willem Dafoe), Best Production Design, Best Costumes, Best Hair/Make-Up, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Editing

Commentary: Poor Things is definitely the break-out hit at the fall film festival circuit.  Not only did it win the top Prize at Venice, The Golden Lion, it also cemented Emma Stone as the one to beat for Best Actress.  Can this film overcome its strange fantasy/sci-fi genre and win big at next year’s Oscars?  The answer is, yes, most likely. 

2. Maestro (Venice)

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke and Jeremy Strong

Premise: American conductor Leonard Bernstein falls in love with Costa Rican actress Felicia Montealegre.

Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Picture, Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Actress (Carey Mulligan), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Hair/Make-Up

Commentary: There is a good chance that Bradley Cooper might miss out on another Best Director nod after his surprise snub for A Star Is Born.  But, this biopic definitely has enough momentum (and Netflix behind it) to snag it Nominations for both of its stars’ performances… who both have never won, but have been nominated numerous times in the past.  

3. The Holdovers (Telluride/Toronto)

Directed by: Alexander Payne

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randoph, Carrie Preston, and Dominic Sessa

Premise: A curmudgeonly instructor at a New England prep school remains on campus during Christmas break to babysit a handful of students with nowhere to go. He soon forms an unlikely bond with a brainy but damaged troublemaker, and with the school’s head cook, a woman who just lost a son in the Vietnam War.

Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Picture, Best Actor (Paul Giamatti), Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Da’Vine Joy Randolph)

Commentary: Though it lost out to another film for the top Prize at TIFF, it still ranked second place for the Audience Award.  Alexander Payne, despite his last critical dud Downsizing, has always been an Oscar darling… and The Holdovers looks to be a return to form.  It might not win any awards on Oscar day, but this crowd-pleaser is definitely getting nominated.  

4. Saltburn (Telluride)

Director: Emerald Fennell 

Starring: Barry Keoghan, Rosamund Pike, Jacob Elordi, Carey Mulligan, and Richard E. Grant

Premise: A student is invited to an eccentric classmate’s estate for an exciting summer.

Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Picture, Best Actor (Barry Keoghan), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Costume Design

Commentary: Hot off her win for Best Original Screenplay for Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell is back with another shocking, divisive movie.  Though critics have been torn, the ones who love this movie are calling it a masterpiece and one of the most insane & provocative movies ever made.  That alone should keep its momentum going through the rest of Oscar Season.  

5. American Fiction (Toronto)

Director: Cord Jefferson

Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis-Ross, Keith David, Adam Brody and Issa Rae

Premise: Monk is a frustrated novelist who’s fed up with the establishment that profits from Black entertainment that relies on tired and offensive tropes. To prove his point, he uses a pen name to write an outlandish Black book of his own, a book that propels him to the heart of hypocrisy and the madness he claims to disdain.

Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Picture, Best Actor (Jeffrey Wright) Best Adapted Screenplay

Commentary: American Fiction was the surprise winner of the Top Prize at Toronto.  Though it might have trouble sneaking in to more technical awards, the “biting, whip-smart” screenplay will for sure be getting some love from Academy voters.  And keep in mind, that 14 of the last 16 TIFF Audience Award winners have been nominated for Best Picture…

6. The Boy and the Heron (Toronto)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Premise: Mahito, a young 12-year-old boy, struggles to settle in a new town after his mother’s death. However, when a talking heron informs Mahito that his mother is still alive, he enters an abandoned tower in search of her, which takes him to another world.

Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Animated Feature, Best Score

Commentary: The hottest ticket at the Toronto Film Festival, ended up winning the bronze prize… but, buzz around this movie has not waned since its premiere.  The Boy and the Heron is a long shot for Best Picture, but there is no way that it’s not being nominated for Best Animated.  It would have had a better shot at winning against Across the Spider-Verse, if Miyazaki hadn’t announced that he was already working on a new movie. 

7. Rustin (Telluride)

Directed by: George C. Wolfe

Starring: Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Chris Rock, Divine Joy Randolph, Audra McDonald

Premise: Bayard Rustin, advisor to Martin Luther King Jr., dedicates his life to the quest for racial equality, human rights and worldwide democracy. As an openly gay Black man, he is all but erased from the civil rights movement he helped build.

Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Actor (Colman Domingo)

Commentary: Though it’s Directed by George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and written by Oscar-Winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk), it looks like Rustin’s sole nomination will be for its star, Colman Domingo.  But, the Emmy-Winner is on a hot streak right now. And he could take the adoration for his performance in this film, to win the Statue against mainstays like Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper.  

8. Nyad (Telluride)

Directed by: Elisabeth Chai and Jimmy Chin

Starring: Annette Bening, Jodie Foster and Rhys Ifans

Premise: The true story of Sixty-four-year-old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad… Who attempts to become the first person ever to swim from Cuba to Florida.

Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Actress (Annette Bening), Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster)

Commentary: These predictions might be a little more of a long-shot compared to most on these list. But, there’s a definite chance that always-the-bridesmaid, never-the-bride Annette Bening gets a nomination here… Once again, it’s even more of a long shot for her to win).  Jodie Foster could also sneak in, if the performances in The Color Purple don’t blow us away…Like we are all expecting them to.  

Out of all of these films, which ones are you most excited for?  And who would you like to see nominated at the 2024 Oscars?  

For continuing Film Festival and Oscar Coverage, Stay Tuned to That Hashtag Show!

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