The Oscar nominations come out today (in the usual stilted, interminable announcement, while reporters across the world scream "just send us a bloody list!" at the screen) and it's looking very good for Oppenheimer, inevitably.
In a year when a film full of men talking about physics is by far the biggest deal (and in which the movie's two women, who lit it up like an atom bomb during their very limited screentime, have been paid very little attention) it seems likely that the awards are going to be a bit of a sausage-fest. Again.
Still, let's have a look at where we stand on some of the big awards. Despite making more money than God last year ($1.45 billion, making it the year's highest-grossing movie, and the 14th of all time), its sister movie (I've sort of been thinking of them like that, imagine Christmases round their gaff) Barbie hasn't seen as much luck as hoped in awards season so far.
Notwithstanding a good result at the Critics Choice Awards, in which it made good on six of its astonishing 18 nominations, the film won only two of its nine possible Golden Globes (one of which was the inaugural Cinematic and Box Office Achievement Award, AKA the award for Making Loads of Money). Despite being longlisted for 15 Baftas, it landed just five on the shortlist, and crucially, Greta Gerwig missed out on a nod for Best Director. Bafta nominations are traditionally seen as a hot tip for the Oscars, so it's a bit of a blow for Barbs.
What about the Best Actors? Among the women, Lily Gladstone feels like a shoo-in, being the best thing about Killers of the Flower Moon, despite her snub at the Baftas, which felt really weird. Somehow I think Academy voters might love her story, so it would be a huge shock if she didn't make it onto the shortlist. Emma Stone, who knocks it out of the park as a child-woman coming into her own in Yorgos Lanthimos's Poor Things, is bound to make it in, and if Carey Mulligan doesn't get a nod for her exquisite performance as Felicia Montealegre, wife to the composer Leonard Bernstein in Maestro, we should riot in the streets.
Rounding that category out we could see an inclusion for Sandra Hüller, brilliant in Anatomy of a Fall, and Greta Lee (Past Lives). And Academy voters love a real-life story, so Annette Bening could make it in for her performance as the inspirational long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad.
As for the blokes, Cillian Murphy's Robert Oppenheimer is the one to beat, obviously. Though the internet got quite hot under the collar about Bradley Cooper's Bernstein, the support of the family and the fact that it's just a really great performance seems to have cooled that sufficiently for him to be widely regarded as a frontrunner, at least for a nomination. It would be a surprise if Paul Giamatti won for his grouchy teacher in The Holdovers but the film is tremendous, and his performance should by rights be celebrated at least with a nom. And the film could easily be a bit of a dark horse when it comes to Best Picture.
Jeffrey Wright could squeak in for his deliciously despicable Monk in Cord Jefferson's highly accomplished debut American Fiction, about a black writer who finds himself pandering appallingly to his white publisher's taste for racial stereotypes. It'll probably make too many people feel a bit uncomfortable to make it into Best Picture, but it's a superb piece of work. Rustin, about Bayard Rustin, an advisor to Martin Luther King Jr and a gay man, slipped slightly under the radar here, but a lot of the American press is tipping Colman Domingo for his performance in the title role.
Let's have a look at supporting! Da’Vine Joy Randolph is having a great season, having won both the Golden Globe and the Critics' Choice Best Supporting Actress awards, and is definitely a frontrunner for the Academy Award for her stellar performance as a grieving mother in The Holdovers. Emily Blunt ought to be given a nod for her superb turn as Oppenheimer's wife Kitty (she appears on the Baftas list), but she's also barely in the damn film, much to its detriment. Whatever you think about Emerald Fennell's Saltburn, it's hard to deny that Rosamund Pike is the standout, and deserves recognition.
Julianne Moore could be in the running for her turn as, let's face it, a woman who had a paedophilic relationship with her now husband in May December, a film that has been curiously short of buzz considering its subject matter and quality, and I wonder about Danielle Brooks for The Color Purple, though that movie has been dogged by claims of poor working conditions so it's definitely limping in the Oscars race.
Among the boys, they might just give a nod to Robert De Niro for Killers of the Flower Moon, because it's him, and it's Martin Scorsese, but it feels a bit autopilot to me. Ryan Gosling should get one for Barbie, having generated at least as much buzz as his co-star, but it seems unlikely that the Academy would give him the gong. I'd like to see it though, because I think it would tickle him as much as anyone else.
Robert Downey Jr was brilliantly oily as dodgy congressman Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer, and voters will be happy to have him properly back from the stratosphere where he's spent the last who knows how long as Tony Stark, and I'd like to see Sterling K. Brown on the list. His understated performance as Monk's damaged brother in American Fiction, a man who has recently come out as gay and lost his marriage, his kids and most of his business as a result, is a little jewel in the fabric of that film. Then there's the wild card of newcomer Dominic Sessa, who more than holds his own opposite the titans of Giamatti and Randolph in The Holdovers. It'd be nice, no?
The nominations for the Academy Awards are announced today at 1pm; oscars.org