2023 has been a wild ride for the film industry. The writers strike and then the actors strike rocked Hollywood and shut down production for months, and big studios re-set their schedules, moving many big titles like “Dune 2” into next year. Now that the strikes are over, though, the dust is settling, and writers and actors are back to work. For actors, this means filming new shows and movies, yes, but it also means they can resume promoting their work… and campaigning for Oscars.
And the Oscars races are indeed taking shape. “Oppenheimer” remains the early favorite in a number of categories, including Best Picture, but Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” as well as Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” Celine Song’s “Past Lives,” Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” and Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” are all likely to have voters of their own and could mount big campaigns if they so choose. Still, beyond these headliner titles are a number of lesser known titles at this point that have a lot of buzz coming out of film festivals that could make credible pushes for filmgoers attention, box office dollars, and Oscar contention.
Cord Jefferson’s American Fiction tells the story of a black author who reaches national prominence with a stereotype-laden book, and it stars Jeffrey Wright in a role that has also put him in the heart of the Best Actor race. Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ movie Poor Things, stars Emma Stone as a revived woman who sets off to learn about the world and all of its prejudices. Bradley Cooper’s forthcoming Netflix movie Maestro dramatizes the lives and marriage of American conductor Leonard Bernstein and his wife Felcia Montealegre, and it has earned awards buzz for both Cooper and Carey Mulligan.
Of course, there are countless other awards play movies making their debut for audiences soon. Some I’m most excited about are Todd Haynes’ May December, Michael Mann’s Ferrari, and Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest. As the 2023 entertainment strikes recede into history, it will be fascinating to see which directors, writers, and actors hit the campaign trail for their shots at Oscar glory.