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Which Sundance 2024 films will be in next year’s Oscars?

Written by The Anand Market

Updated on:

We just received this year’s Oscar nominations, but is it time to start thinking about next season yet?

I can feel you bristling and I understand. “Kyle, no,” you just mumbled, because we’re on a first-name basis now and you’re still mired in the dinner party talk about whether Greta Gerwig’s snub in the best director race is a turnoff . level event.

I understand your concerns and I share them. But even as we continue to sift through the rubble and tea leaves following this season’s Oscar nominations, I’ve just returned from snowy Park City, Utah, where the 40th annual Sundance Film Festival presented a full slate of new films that could shape next year’s awards race. Make no mistake, trophy considerations can affect the fortunes of these films even at this early stage: I once heard that a terrific Sundance independent film struggled to sell due to fears that his film is not available for a full-fledged press tour. next awards season.

Could one of these films follow best picture nominee “Past Lives,” which premiered at Sundance last January, or even “CODA” (2021), the first Sundance film to win the best Oscar?

The film most likely to be considered in next year’s race is A real pain“, a comedy-drama starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kieran Culkin as mismatched cousins ​​who embark on a road trip through Poland to better understand the personal history of their late grandmother, a survivor of the Holocaust. Eisenberg, who also wrote and directed the film, plays the role of the cousin by the books and generously entrusts the flashy and sure-to-be nominated role to Culkin: his cousin is a charismatic mess and the film “Succession “, Emmy winner. “The actor zigzags and zags through each scene like a freewheeling live wire.

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Searchlight bought “A Real Pain” for $10 million, and I could see it heading into awards season. Called a “coup de grace” by our critic Manohla Dargis, it’s the kind of thematically resonant and culturally specific comedy that voters often respond to. Above all, I think movie fans will be eager to welcome Culkin into their club: they were just as obsessed with “Succession” as their TV brethren, and it’s finally their turn to reward the 41-year-old.

“The escape” based on the memoir by Scottish author Amy Liptrot, gives four-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan her best contemporary role since “Lady Bird” and a solid chance at another awards season. Directed by Nora Fingscheidt, the film features Ronan as a young hipster who returns to her hometown in Scotland’s remote Orkney Islands after her alcoholism spirals out of control. “The Outrun” is confidently produced, and it’s great to see Ronan in top form after recent missteps like “Foe” and “See How They Run”; between this and her upcoming role in Steve McQueen’s “Blitz,” she’s sure to have a big year ahead of her.


Saoirse Ronan in a scene from “The Outrun”.Credit…Roy Imer/The Outrun Film Ltd., via Sundance Institute

Ronan is also checked throughout “My old ass” an incredibly winning comedy about a teenager (Maisy Stella) who manifests an older version of herself (Aubrey Plaza) during a particularly powerful mushroom high. Alongside the winner of the audience award “Have I got,” about a Taiwanese American boy navigating his difficult teenage years, it was one of two coming-of-age comedies that made a strong impression at Sundance. While it’s not always a genre that voters enjoy, almost everyone I spoke to had these films at the top of their personal best list.

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Three dramas about family trauma were received with more respect: “Show forgiveness” with a juicy role for “Moonlight” star André Holland as a painter who struggles to let his father back into his life; “During the summers” another busy dad drama (this one won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize); And “Rob Peace” about a brilliant community activist who must navigate – you guessed it – a tricky relationship with his father, played by the film’s director, Chiwetel Ejiofor, in a role that could see some traction as an actor Support.

Adventurous voters for shows like the Film Independent Spirit Awards might turn to some of Sundance’s more unique offerings, like the trippy “I saw the television glow” about teenagers who find each other via a supernatural cult series, and “Sasquatch Sunset” which makes Riley Keough and Jesse Eisenberg unrecognizable Bigfoots and should be in the running for an Oscar for hair and makeup, if this branch of the academy is willing to make a bold choice.

Most of the films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary premiered at Sundance, but as that category has begun to shift more toward local international films, it’s hard to say whether documentaries that touch audiences Park City festival-goers will always click with academy members. . The one I expect to keep hearing about no matter what is “Will and Harper” which sends Will Ferrell on a road trip with his longtime friend Harper Steele, who came out as trans. It was a resounding success when it premiered, even as Utah lawmakers spent this week passing anti-trans legislation.

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There is also “Girls” which won the Sundance Audience Award in its documentary category as well as the festival award for all films presented. This one is an emotional drama that follows a group of young girls and their incarcerated fathers as they prepare for a daddy-daughter dance at the prison. At a festival filled with films about the complicated relationship between fathers and their children, “Daughters” dominated all competition. I’ve saved it for last here because even thinking about the movie brings on heartbreaking sobs, so this is my cue to cut all this speculation and get back to your regular stream (which is weeks of wondering if Christopher Nolan will win finally this Oscar).