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Awards Update: No More Contenders in the Shadows

November 29, 2023
Hunter Friesen
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Welcome to an ongoing series where I cover the 2023/2024 awards season. On a regular basis, I will update my Oscar predictions, taking into account the new information that has been received since the last update. Full predictions in every category can be found on the Home and Awards page.

We’ve finally made it to the point in the season where there are no longer any movies lurking in the shadows. Everything has either been publicly unveiled or has rumors swirling around that it has been seen by a select number of people. I guess Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon are still lying in wait, but I think we’ll be okay leaving those alone.

The Color Purple awakened from its long slumber this past week as it premiered to rapturous social media reactions. We still have to take these reactions lightly as the full embargo doesn’t lift for some time, but there’s still enough information for us to read the tea leaves. Danielle Brooks has received the vast majority of praise, pushing her into the potential winner’s circle with Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers). Fantasia Barrino and Taraji P. Henson also got great notices, leaping them past shaky standalone contenders like Annette Benning (Nyad) and Penélope Cruz (Ferrari) respectively. Director Blitz Bazawule and writer Marcus Gardley didn’t raise their stock, but several of the technical crafts such as Cinematography and Costume Design were mentioned as nomination landing spots.

Also premiering this past week was Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, which went about as expected given the director’s track record with the Oscars. The film has little to no chance of securing anything above the line, but it does look confident in craft categories such as Sound, Costume Design, and Visual Effects. I wouldn’t be surprised if Phoenix and/or Kirby receive nominations from the Golden Globes and/or Critics Choice on account of the extra nomination slots.

With the SAG strike over, the starting gun has been fired for actors to promote their work to various awards bodies. Netflix has been shuttling their major talent around like clockwork, with Bradley Cooper & Carey Mulligan (Maestro), and Colman Domingo (Rustin) shaking hands and kissing babies. Cooper and Mulligan are locked, but Domingo has dropped below Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction) as Cord Jefferson’s film continues to pick up steam the same way Green Book and CODA did years before. I won’t be predicting American Fiction to win Best Picture or anything, but it’s doing an impeccable job making itself a viable contender in the already crowded Adapted Screenplay category.

This will be the final update before the precursor season fully kicks into gear. Here’s a mini-breakdown of what’s happening over the next few weeks:

  • (11/27) Gotham Awards

  • (11/30) New York Film Critics Circle Awards

  • (12/05) Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations

  • (12/06) National Board of Review Nominations

  • (12/10) Los Angeles Film Critics Circle Awards

  • (12/11) Golden Globe Nominations

  • (12/13) Critics Choice Nominations

My next update will come immediately after all those events. It’ll be a moment of fun chaos as our predictions become even more solidified and the races go down to the wire.

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