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Award Season 2024: Snubs, Sweeps, and Surprises

For the casual moviegoer to the film guru, the period between late January and early March marks an exciting time for entertainment: awards season. During these months, our feeds are flooded with news of nomination snubs, surprise wins, and red carpet faux pas. Although there are more than twenty major events during this season, it is largely agreed upon that three emerge in a holy trinity of sorts: the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTAs), the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAGs), and, at the top of the pyramid, the Academy Awards. 

Receiving an Academy Award is the pinnacle of many filmmakers’ careers, but winners often take home more than just a golden statuette. The award show not only honors their nominees for their past year of artistry, but often also ensures their future success in the film industry. Dubbed the “Oscar effect,” high-profile sponsorships, bigger roles, and higher contract pay are just some of the benefits that await an entertainer with the title of  “Oscar-Winner.” These coveted benefits make the Academy Awards race a heated one, as filmmakers vie for critical nominations in the top categories. Wins in other award shows also play an important role in the Oscars race, as they are often key to predicting the winners. For example, the SAG picks for Best Actor and Actress have lined up with the Academy picks for the past two seasons, and matched up approximately 73% of the time in the past 30 years. The SAGs accurately predicted three of the four acting categories, with Oppenheimer star Cillian Murphy winning for Best Actor, and Robert Downey Jr. and Da’Vine Joy Randolph receiving Best Supporting Actor and Actress respectively following their wins at the SAGs.

Oppenheimer, iconic director Christopher Nolan’s thrilling biopic, experienced unparalleled success this season, being nominated for a whopping 13 Academy Awards and becoming the highest-grossing biopic of all time. Dominating the BAFTAs and SAGs with 10 combined wins, Oppenheimer charged into the Academy Awards with a total of seven Oscars, including Best Director for Nolan as well as Best Cinematography, Editing, and Original Score. Unsurprisingly, it also snatched the top prize for Best Picture, beating out blockbusters like Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, the latter of which it famously competed with during their shared “Barbenheimer” opening weekend. In his acceptance speech for Best Director, Nolan remarked, “Movies are just a little over 100 years old. Imagine being 100 years into painting or theater– we don’t know where this incredible journey is going from here, but to know that you think I’m a meaningful part of it means the world to me.”

This season has also been record-setting for female filmmakers and entertainers, marking a pivotal point for their future success in an often male-dominated industry. Greta Gerwig, director of Barbie, was notably rebuffed for a Best Director nomination, with star Margot Robbie also left out for Best Actress. As a film that quite literally centers around the female experience in a male world, fans were outraged at this perceived irony. However, Barbie scored a key nomination for Best Picture, where it stood beside two other female-directed films, a record in Oscars history. Anatomy of a Fall director Justine Triet became the first French woman to be nominated for Best Director following her win of the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival, and actress Lily Gladstone of  Killers of the Flower Moon made history as the first Native American woman to be nominated for Best Actress, although she was ultimately beat by Poor Things star Emma Stone. 

Award shows are a long-standing tradition and a cornerstone of the film industry, as they recognize storytelling and artistry and inspire innovations in movie-making. However, their presence has become increasingly controversial following accusations of their excessive grandeur and growing antiquity. As the 2024 season comes to a close, it is evident that voting boards have realized the need to include a diverse range of artists and work, as films play an important role not only in keeping us entertained, but shaping our perspective of the world. 

Oppenheimer promotional image [Image credit: NBCUniversal]


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    Piper is a senior at SBHS. She loves hiking, the beach, and spending time in nature. She loves movies and is excited to write articles for Arts and Entertainment.

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