News of films possibly or definitely moving out of 2023 and into 2024 as the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike prevents actors from promoting their films at film festivals, premieres, interviews and anything else, is changing as fast as I can type this. Moments earlier it was announced that Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers, starring Zendaya and set to open the 80th Venice International Film Festival, has been pulled by MGM off this year’s calendar and will now open on April 26, 2024. It was originally set for U.S. theatrical release on September 15.
Other festival appearances featuring Best Actress contenders that have been set include May December, starring Natalie Portman, opening the 61st New York Film Festival and Priscilla, starring Cailee Spaeny, as the fest’s Centerpiece. Netflix’s Nyad, starring four-time Academy Award nominee Annette Bening, has been rumored for a major festival debut at Telluride including a tribute to Bening, but that’s up in the air. Same goes for Carey Mulligan in Maestro (also Netflix), rumored to kick off at Venice and likely NYFF but the former feels virtually impossible now in light of a film like Challengers jumping ship, which could create a domino effect. All of those and more hang in the balance depending on how the strike plays out and for how long.
Yesterday, Variety reported that Warner Bros is possibly considering moving some of its high-profile fall and winter releases, including the feature film adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical version of The Color Purple starring Fantasia Barrino, but at the time there was no confirmation and their sources were contradictory, making it hard to sense WB’s direction.
All of these moves, real or potential, work out in favor somewhat for Margot Robbie, whose blockbuster film Barbie opened today. Robbie, as well as her co-stars and crew, hit their world premiere and interview junkets just before the end of June, when the SAG-AFTRA contract was initially set to expire and before the two week extension was added. Same goes for Greta Lee, whose film Past Lives opened in June to great indie box office success.
As the WGA strike is ongoing and the SAG-AFTRA strike is now in place since last month’s predictions, from an awards standpoint it’s going to be difficult to know how this season will truly play out. It seems unlikely the strikes will find proper resolution by the time Venice and Telluride kick off at the end of next month, what those festivals will look like in terms of films outside of what’s been announced so far, or if studios will start pulling some of their intended 2023 fall and winter releases and hold them for 2024, much like during the height of theater closures during the pandemic where several film moved into the next year.
With that, predictions will have a semblance of ‘normalcy,’ with existing dates and details until changes are revealed, but the main hope from me and everyone at AwardsWatch is unequivocally that writers and actors are able to secure contracts that value their work both artistically and financially to them, full stop.
Here are my 2024 Oscar predictions in Best Actress for July 2023.
- Lily Gladstone – Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)
- Fantasia Barrino – The Color Purple (Warner Bros)
- Margot Robbie – Barbie (Warner Bros)
- Sandra Hüller – Anatomy of a Fall (NEON)
- Greta Lee – Past Lives (A24)
- Annette Bening – Nyad (Netflix)
- Carey Mulligan – Maestro (Netflix)
- Cailee Spaeny – Priscilla (A24)
- Natalie Portman – May December (Netflix)
- Teyana Taylor – A Thousand and One (Focus Features)
Other top contenders: Merve Dizdar – About Dry Grasses (Janus Films/Sideshow), Kirsten Dunst – Civil War (A24), Phoebe Dynevor – Fair Play (Netflix), Sandra Hüller – The Zone of Interest (A24), Nicole Kidman – Holland, Michigan (Amazon Studios), Regina King – Shirley (Netflix), Jessica Lange – Long Day’s Journey Into Night (MGM), Jane Levy – A Little Prayer (Sony Pictures Classics), Trace Lysette – Monica (IFC Films), Helen Mirren – Golda (Bleecker Street), Emma Stone – Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures), Alicia Vikander – Firebrand (Amazon Studios/MGM/UAR), Kate Winslet – Lee (TBD)
Other contenders and/or possible 2024 releases:
- Marisa Abela – Back to Black (Focus Features)
- Uzo Aduba – The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat (Searchlight Pictures)
- Emily Blunt – Pain Hustlers (Netflix)
- Jessie Buckley – Fingernails (Apple Original Films)
- Jessica Chastain – Mothers Instinct (NEON)
- Aunjanue Ellis – The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat (Searchlight Pictures)
- Molly Gordon – Theater Camp (Searchlight Pictures)
- Anne Hathaway – Mothers Instinct (NEON)
- Salma Hayek – Without Blood (Fremantle)
- Sanaa Lathan – The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat (Searchlight Pictures)
- Thomasin McKenzie – Eileen (NEON)
- Layla Mohammadi – The Persian Version (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Katy M. O’Brian – Love Lies Bleeding (A24)
- Margaret Qualley – Drive-Away Dolls (Focus Features)
- Saoirse Ronan – Blitz (Apple Original Films)
- Saoirse Ronan – Foe (Amazon Studios)
- Mia Wasikowska – Club Zero (TBD)
Lead or Supporting Dilemma: Uzo Aduba – The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat (Searchlight Pictures), Jessica Chastain – Mothers Instinct (NEON), Jodie Comer – The Bikeriders (20th Century Studios), Aunjanue Ellis – The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat (Searchlight Pictures), Lily Gladstone – Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures), Anne Hathaway – Mothers Instinct (NEON), Vanessa Kirby – Napoleon (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures), Sanaa Lathan – The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat (Searchlight Pictures), Carey Mulligan – Maestro (Netflix)
Without U.S. distribution: Paula Beer – Stella. A Life (TBD), Juliette Binoche – The Pot au Feu (TBD), Cate Blanchett – The New Boy (TBD), Jessica Chastain – Memory (TBD), Patricia Clarkson – Lilly (TBD), Olivia Colman – Wicked Little Letters (TBD), Jodie Comer – The End We Start From (TBD), Catherine Deneuve – Bernadette (TBD), Judy Greer – Eric Larue (TBD), Emilia Jones – Winner (TBD), Rooney Mara – La Cocina (TBD), Barbara Mori – Lost in the Night (TBD), Camila Morrone – Gonzo Girl (TBD), Kangana Ranaut – Emergency (TBD), Saoirse Ronan – The Outrun (TBD), Talia Ryder – Joika (TBD)