SAG-AFTRA may still be on strike, but studios are, nevertheless, pushing their Oscar contenders to garner the adequate (and allowed) attention they need to land nominations.
One of the main methods is getting industry voters out to screenings and making films available on the Academy Screening Room and BAFTA screening platforms. With the two significant organizations banning physical DVD screeners, voting members rely on the respective digital viewing portals to catch up on some of this year’s contenders vying for awards consideration.
Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.
The Academy performs a heavy vetting process for each film that chooses to submit for consideration. Historically, over 300 movies are in the running for best picture consideration, with more films joining the fray over the next several months. Distributors are the ultimate decision-makers of when a movie is placed in the Academy Screening Room for viewing.
Following the first wave of movies that dropped on Aug. 18, the Oscars currently have 45 movies among its best picture hopefuls, which include new additions such as Netflix’s Chilean black comedy “El Conde” from Pablo Larraín and Universal’s duo of horror hits “Cocaine Bear” and “M3GAN.”
Other new additions: “The Beanie Bubble,” “Drift,” “The Eight Mountains, “Every Body,” “Flora and Son,” “Lakota Nation vs. United States,” “Little Richard: I Am Everything,” “32 Sounds” and “A Thousand and One.”
There are also 18 international feature titles from their respective countries available, notably films like Australia’s “Shadya,” Bhutan’s “The Monk and the Gun,” Chile’s “The Settlers” and Finland’s “Fallen Leaves” which were among the ones added this past week. Over 90 countries have submitted for international feature in the past few years; many more films will become available to members who opted to vote in the category this year. At a minimum, the International Feature Film Preliminary Committee must watch the movies in their respective assigned group before casting their secret ballot to determine a 15-film shortlist of contenders.
The documentary feature section currently has 67 contenders. “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” and “Stephen Curry: Underrated,” both from Apple Original Films, are among the ones listed. That number will continue to climb after years of seeing 238 and 138 movies submitted.
Regarding the best animated feature, another category where members can opt-in to vote for nominees, 11 movies have been listed so far. Those films are:
- “Elemental” (Pixar)
- “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures)
- “The Magician’s Elephant” (Netflix)
- “The Monkey King” (Netflix)
- “Nimona” (Netflix)
- “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (Illumination)
- “Suzume” (Crunchyroll)
- “They Shot the Piano Player” (Sony Pictures Classics)
- “Titina” (Norsk Film Distribujon)
- “Unicorn Wars” (GKids)
The short races for animated, live action and documentary are also beginning to rev up.
Animated short counterpart has 46 flicks on the screening room, including the recent uploads of Samantha Cutler and Daniel Snaddon’s “The Smeds and the Smoos” featuring the voice performance of Oscar-nominee Sally Hawkins.
Live action short has a robust 80 movies, including two from Netflix: Wes Anderson’s whimsical “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” with Ralph Fiennes and Benedict Cumberbatch and the drama “The After” from director Misan Harriman, which stars David Oyelowo.
Documentary short has 66 uploaded thus far, including Zeberiah Newman and Michiel Thomas’ “Relighting Candles: The Tim Sullivan Story, which is executive produced by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. Others include POV’s Critics Choice nominee and DOC NYC shortlisted “Between Earth and Sky,” PBS’ SXSW winner “Breaking Silence” and Netflix’s “Camp Courage.”
BAFTA Awards are crucial for international members, and it currently has 99 movies in its queue with some of the latest additions, including Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” which isn’t yet available for the Academy Awards voters. A few stragglers from the previous calendar year fall into the U.K.’s eligibility window and requirements but won’t be up for Oscar consideration, such as Mia Hansen-Løve’s “One Fine Morning” from Sony Pictures Classics.
The submission deadline for general categories is Nov. 18, 2023. Preliminary shortlist voting will begin on Dec. 18, with the results announced on Dec. 21. The voting period will run from Jan. 11-16, 2024, with the official nominations announcement on Jan. 23.
Oscars Predictions Categories
BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | BEST ACTOR | BEST ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT