All you need to know about the 2024 Awards Season - and what's worth seeing in cinemas now!

All you need to know about the 2024 Awards Season – and what’s worth seeing in cinemas now!

Blanka Douglas analyses some of the runners and riders, and tries to guess this year’s likely winners at the Oscars and BAFTAs.

This year’s movie award season contenders include some great gems. Many of the recently-announced Academy Award nominations may have been unsurprising (for those who pay attention to the buzz), but there have also been some dark horses (plus a few snubs).

Let’s dive straight in with the winners of the 81st Golden Globes, which took place on 7th January in Beverly Hills. The big winner of the night was certainly Christopher Nolan’d Oppenheimer, awarded Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for Cillian Murphy, and Best Director – Motion Picture for Nolan himself.

Barbie not receiving any Golden Globes was a surprise, yet the real shock was to come: the lack of Academy Award nominations for director Greta Gerwig and star/producer Margot Robbie. Considering that Ryan Gosling did receive a nomination for his supporting role as Ken, a widely-shared joked is the nominations have simply reproduced the whole plot of Barbie!

Luckily, America Ferrera made it on to the nomination list for her own supporting (yet absolutely crucial) role in the film. But the clear favourite for the Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar is Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who already bagged a Golden Globe for her role in Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers.

The Academy Award for the Actor in a Supporting Role will most probably not go to Ryan Gosling – the favourite seems to be Robert Downey Jr. for his performance as Rear Admiral Lewis Strauss in Nolan’s biographical film focusing on J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project. Downey Jr. was a popular winner at the Golden Globes, and this is his third Oscar nomination. The first-time nomination for Sterling K. Brown could pull of a shock underdog win an Oscar for the satirical American Fiction (adapted from Percival Everett’s 2001 novel Erasure), but the five nominations for that film should at least help improve its box office.

Sticking with the acting nominations, the Golden Globe for Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy went to Emma Stone for her role in Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things, while Lily Gladstone won the equivalent gong for the Drama category for her performance in Martin Scorsese’s Apple TV+ epic Killers of the Flower Moon. Stone is not new to the buzz of awards season: this is her fourth acting nomination at the Oscars, including a win for her lead role in La La Land. Lily Gladstone, on the contrary, is celebrating her first nomination, and she will arrive at the Academy Awards having already become the first Indigenous American actress to win a Golden Globe.

But while this may be a two-horse race, we can’t skip the phenomenal Sandra Hüller and her performances not only in Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or winner Anatomy of a Fall, for which she is nominated for her leading role at both the Oscars and the BAFTAs, but also in Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest (adapted from the Martin Amis novel), for which she has received a supporting role BAFTA nomination. Nominations for non-English speaking roles are still rare, but hopefully becoming much more common – Huller is outstanding in both films, but winning an acting award for a non-English language film would show that the film industry is truly ready for change.

The newly expanded memberships of both academies produced satisfyingly diverse slates of nominees, including the Oscar and BAFTA nominated Triet – up or both Directing and Original Screenplay (with co-writer Arthur Harari) for Anatomy of a Fall at both. Having already won a Golden Globe, Triet and Harari might be on a wining path to BAFTA and Oscar glory. Also featuring this award season is Korean-Canadian writer-director Celine Song, whose Past Lives is nominated for both an Oscar (Best Original Screenplay) and BAFTA (Film Not in the English Language). Many in the film Industry were unhappy that Song missed out on a directing nominations.

Another film worthy of mention when it comes to awards season is All of Us Strangers, directed by Andrew Haigh. A standout film from the last year, All of Us Strangers premiered at Telluride in August, and was shown at several festivals including the Camerimage Film Festival in Toruń in November- where Director of Photography Jamie Ramsey was nominated for The Golden Frog. He later received a British Independent Film Award for his work, but was overlooked by BAFTA and the Oscars. The biggest disappointment for AOUS, though, came from the lack of nominations for Andrew Scott. The film did receive six BAFTA nominations, though, and a win for Best Casting by Kathleen Crawford would endorse the perfect pairing with Paul Mescal (also nominated for a Supporting Actor BAFTA).

The UK seems to be appreciating the importance of casting more than Hollywood does. The BAFTA category for the Best Casting was introduced in 2020, a great move which should set an example for the Academy and the Golden Globes. Another body that awards casting directors, and has been doing so since 2017, is the British Independent Film Awards. 2023’s BIFA for Best Casting went to Isabella Odoffin for How To Have Sex, and Odoffin is now nominated for this year’s BAFTA. This debut feature from Molly Manning Walker is also nominated for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding British Debut by a director, writer or producer, following the Un Certain Regard award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Finally, when it comes to directing Christopher Nolan is the clear front-runner – having already picked up the Golden Globe – to win the Oscar and it would be well deserved, although a win for Justine Triet really would shape the future of filmmaking. It is still not common to see a nominations for female filmmakers in this category, especially female filmmakers that is aren’t from the USA. That shouldn’t be the only reason to hope for a Triet win, though: her way of storytelling is unique and poignant. Another underdog candidate is Jonathan Glazer, whose The Zone of Interest will be released in the UK next week. What really stands out in this film is the camerawork and how Glazer worked with cinematographer Łukasz Żal, BAFTA- and Oscar-nominated for this work. Żal used ten cameras simultaneously to portray the banality of evil.

The BAFTA award ceremony takes place on 18 February in London, and the Oscars follow on 11 March in Beverly Hills. Until then, we encourage you to see some of our favourite latest releases, in cinemas now:

All Of Us Strangers ★★★★★

American Fiction ★★★★

Poor Things ★★★★★

The Zone of Interest ★★★★★