Oscars 2024: Barbie to Oppenheimer, a guide to Best Picture | Hollywood - Hindustan Times
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Oscars 2024: Barbie and Oppenheimer to Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon, a guide to Best Picture

Mar 05, 2024 09:12 AM IST

Oscars 2024: Who will win Best Picture? American Fiction, the French drama Anatomy of a Fall or box office hits Barbie and Oppenheimer?

Oscars 2024: Barbenheimer dominated the year, and Oppenheimer has a clear path to victory, but it’s been a great year for movies in general – with three foreign language films, an exploration of Native American exploitation, a biting satire of the modern African American experience, and much more. Also read: Oscars 2024 full list of nominations

Oscars 2024: Margot Robbie in Barbie (left) and Cillian Murphy in a still from Oppenheimer.
Oscars 2024: Margot Robbie in Barbie (left) and Cillian Murphy in a still from Oppenheimer.

American Fiction

Cord Jefferson’s stunning directorial debut received five nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor. Jeffrey Wright shines in the role of a lifetime as Thelonius ‘Monk’ Ellison, an author who writes a ‘Black’ novel as a joke, only to find that it becomes a bestseller. The ensuing success upends his life while he deals with an ailing mother and a wayward brother, played by the first-time nominee Sterling K. Brown.

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Anatomy of a Fall is nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Anatomy of a Fall is nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Anatomy of a Fall

The French-language hit is simultaneously a thrilling courtroom drama and a searing look at the complexities of marriage. Justine Triet’s screenplay is structured like a puzzle but asks the viewers to construct the final piece as they choose. Was it a suicide, a murder, or simply an accident? Five nominations including Best Director and Best Actress is well deserved recognition for one of the finest films of the year.

Barbie

What can be said about Barbie that hasn’t been said already? Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig willed this plastic toy to life and tag-teamed their way to $1.5 billion, but it still wasn’t enough for either a Best Actress or a Best Director nomination. It’s a damn shame for this truly magnificent and subversive movie that was written off as a doomed vanity project as recently as 12 months ago.

Alexander Payne's dramedy The Holdovers is also up for the top prize.
Alexander Payne's dramedy The Holdovers is also up for the top prize.

The Holdovers

There’s always that one Best Picture nominee every year - a quintessential American story with modest ambitions and great performances. This time, it’s Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers. Set in a New England boarding school at Christmas time in 1970, the bittersweet tale revolves around a student who has nowhere to go for Christmas, the teacher who is forced to stay behind to chaperone him, and the cafeteria manager.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Martin Scorsese’s 3 hour epic about a series of Osage murders in 1920s Oklahoma is a harrowing watch. Lily Gladstone is compelling and would be a deserving winner in Best Actress (the only likely win for the movie despite 10 nominations). But the movie is ultimately not as powerful - in a world where a show like Reservation Dogs exists, Flower Moon seems like white guilt.

Bradley Cooper is seen as composer Leonard Bernstein in Maestro.
Bradley Cooper is seen as composer Leonard Bernstein in Maestro.

Maestro

Every great biopic finds some unique insight into understanding its subject. For Bradley Cooper, the key to unlocking Leonard Bernstein was his relationship with his wife, the actress Felicia Montealegre. Yes, Cooper famously learned to conduct for the virtuoso sequence at Ely Cathedral, but the movie’s real superpower is Carey Mulligan’s performance as the only person who truly understands who Lenny is.

Oppenheimer

Nolan has delivered multiple blockbusters for Hollywood and has been hailed as the saviour of the theatrical experience more than once, but he’s never really gotten the respect of his peers. This time, he’s made an R-rated epic about the atom bomb which grossed nearly a billion at the box office, and it should deliver him that elusive Best Picture statuette.

Past Lives is classic for this life and those yet to come.
Past Lives is classic for this life and those yet to come.

Past Lives

For my money, the best movie of the year is Past Lives, a quiet and introspective look at growing up, accepting your past, and learning to move on. With a stunning central performance by Greta Lee, who was robbed of a nomination, Past Lives heralds the arrival of a major creative force in writer-director Celine Song. Watch out for Song’s next project with Pedro Pascal, Chris Evans, and Dakota Johnson.

Poor Things

Poor Things is Yorgos Lanthimos’ second collaboration with Emma Stone, and they’ve already announced a third, signaling the start of a creative partnership on the lines of Scorsese and De Niro. Poor Things gets you to think and question everything (you think) you know about women, anchored by a towering and daring performance by Stone.

The Zone of Interest is nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture.
The Zone of Interest is nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture.

The Zone of Interest

The third of the foreign language films to break into Best Picture, The Zone of Interest is a timely window into the world today refracted through the lens of Nazi Germany. It’s a searing and thought-provoking look at how people can disconnect and go on with their quotidian lives while unspeakable atrocities are taking place literally next door. It’s never going to win, but it should definitely be watched more widely as a cautionary tale.

Read more from our coverage of the Awards Season 2024 here.

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