As we close in on the end of the year, cinephiles have one thing on their mind: which film is going to take home the most wins this award season. 2023 was a notable year for film, with more people heading to the movies than in both 2022 and 2021. Thanks to a stellar lineup of movies, box office earnings are almost back to where they were pre-COVID. That's due in part to popular options like Barbie, Oppenheimer (who can forget the summer of Barbieheimer?), Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, The Super Mario Bros Movie, and Killers of the Flower Moon, just to name a few.
But while there were plenty of box office hits to choose from, not every movie can win an award. In fact, some fan favorites won't even be nominated at all. We have a few solid guesses about which 2023 films could potentially dominate awards season, and all of them are worth watching if you want to tune into shows like the 2024 Golden Globes or Academy Awards and actually know what's going on. Here are 10 predictions for the movies that will win big this awards season.
Directed by Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer is easily one of the biggest films of the year and is an Oscars frontrunner, with many assuming it's going to take home Best Picture, and likely some technical trophies including Best Cinematography Oscar. Stars include Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, and Matt Damon, and it tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Murphy) who develops and designs the atomic bomb. It is the second-highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, the highest-grossing biographical film of all time, and the highest grossing World War II-related film. The film's ensemble cast could easily get nominated for acting awards as well.
Thanks to stellar cast, incredible set, fun costumes, and nostalgic feel, Barbie was quite possibly the most anticipated film of the year—and it delivered. It stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, with other stars like America Ferrera, Michael Cera, and Issa Rae, and was directed by Greta Gerwig. The film follows the Barbie dolls entering the "real world," which totally upends their perfect Barbie world, and touches on sexism and gender inequality. It broke many box office records, like becoming the highest-grossing film by a solo female director, and won awards at the Golden Trailer Awards and Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Film Awards. It's bound to come up during awards season as well.
Maestro doesn't come out until November 2023 in the U.S., but it's already generating plenty of awards season buzz. This biographical drama stars Bradley Cooper as American composer Leonard Bernstein and Carey Mulligan as his wife, Felicia Montealegre. It was directed by Cooper as well and also stars Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, and Sarah Silverman. Critics are already saying the movie is sure to score some nominations and wins, and Cooper could win his first-ever Academy Award as an actor or director... or both!
Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse
The sequel to Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, this gorgeously-animated film is definitely one to watch. When Spider-Man reunites with Gwen Stacey, he is sent into the Multiverse, where he comes across an intimidatingly-large team of Spider-People, ends up pitted against them. The film has garnered critical acclaim thanks to its visual style, story, and action sequences, so don't underestimate it just because it's animated.
The Color Purple
The Color Purple won't be released until the end of December, so it's definitely going to be a latecomer. That said, it's still one to watch during award season. This 2023 version is sort of a remake—a film rendition of the musical adaptation of Alice Walker's foundational novel of the same name. The film shows the struggles of an African-American woman living in the south during the early 1900s. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Fantasia, and Halle Bailey, this will be a moving film with some incredible musical moments that we've already seen teased in the trailers.
Killers of the Flower Moon
This Western crime drama film is directed by Martin Scorsese and has a cast that is basically a list of award-winners: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow, Tantoo Cardianl, and Brendan Fraser. The film, adapted from the David Grann book of the same name, is about Mollie Burkhart, a member of the Osage Nation, who tries to save her community from murderers seeking their valuable headrights for land found to be on oil fields. There's crime, love, and some gritty scenes, and it's been a box office hit since it came out. Due to the cast and director all working at the top of their game here, this is sure to hit awards season with a smash.
American Fiction is another movie that won't be released in the U.S. until mid-December, but it's clearly got awards potential from what we've seen so far. Based on the 2001 novel Erasure by Percival Everett, this satirical comedy drama is about a frustrated novelist who is sick of the establishment profiting off of Black entertainment. He decides to use a pen name to try to teach everyone a lesson—it just doesn't go as planned. It already won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Anatomy of a Fall
If any foreign film is going to dominate awards season, it's probably going to be French film Anatomy of a Fall. This courtroom drama thriller is about a woman who is accused of killing her husband and is trying to prove her innocence. The only witness? Their blind son. It won the highest honor at Cannes, the Palme d'Or, which certainly bodes well for its performance at other awards shows.
May December will be released in November and is one to watch thanks to its amazing cast, compelling storyline, and great director Todd Haynes. Starring Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton, it's a black comedy-drama. Portman plays an actress who meets the woman she's supposed to play in a film, and things go haywire from there. It will screen in select theaters in the U.S. and then becomes streamable on Netflix later, so it's an easy one to catch.
Another black comedy, this one also works in some fantasy. It will be released in early December in the U.S. and stars Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, and William DaFoe. The new film from Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things is based on the 1992 novel of the same name by Alasdair Gray, about a young Victorian woman who has been resurrected by a scientist after her suicide. She runs off with a debauched lawyer and discovers herself along the way. It's already received a lot of critical acclaim.
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