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Friday, June 21, 2024

Final Oscars Shortlist Predictions: Documentary, International & More

The Oscars shortlist voting period has closed as of 5:00 p.m. PST.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the finalists in 10 categories — documentary feature (15), documentary short subject (15), international feature (15), makeup and hairstyling (10), sound (10), original score (15), original song (15), animated short film (15), live action short film (15), and visual effects (10) — on Thursday, Dec. 21.

We expect to see multiple best picture contenders in various races, including Greta Gerwig’s meta-comedy “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s historical biopic “Oppenheimer.” When it comes to “Barbie,” we are forecasting six mentions for the movie, including three of its songs — “Dance the Night,” “I’m Just Ken” and “What Was I Made For,” which feels like it sealed the deal with Billie Eilish’s moving musical performance on this week’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

Varying mediums and genres could find representation throughout the lists. Animated feature contenders “The Boy and the Heron” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” should fit nicely into the original score category for its composers Joe Hisaishi and Daniel Pemberton. “Spider-Verse” is also projected to land in the sound and visual effects shortlists, which will only help its hunt for a best picture nomination.

Aside from the shorts, the documentary feature race is the most unpredictable of the pending listings. Based on conversations with voters and strategists, only about seven features feel “safe” to make the cut, some with the added help of contending in the international feature category. Those include Kaouther Ben Hania’s “Four Daughters” from Tunisia and Mstyslav Chernov’s “20 Days in Mariupol” from Ukraine. Asmae El Moudir’s “The Mother of All Lies” is predicted to make the doc list only, while Dorota Kobiela’s animated flick “The Peasants” is forecast as an alternate pick for international feature.

STILL: A MICHAEL J. FOX MOVIE, Michael J. Fox, 2023. © Apple Original Films /Courtesy Everett Collection
©Apple TV/Courtesy Everett Collection

The Doc Branch is always reliable for a shocking omission from its reveal, as seen last year with Amazon’s “Good Night Oppy.” Depending on what you assume are the leading candidates, I’m going out on a limb and omitting the two four-hour non-fiction movies — “Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros” from Frederick Wiseman and “Occupied City” from Steve McQueen — and perhaps more surprising, “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” from Davis Guggenheim. The Apple TV+ intimate look into the life of Michael J. Fox is already up for a Primetime Emmy, which is more noticeable to branch members than people believe. While the delay of the ceremony to January 2024 helped the campaign, members may already feel it received its accolades and leave it off altogether. But we can’t know for sure.

The European voters also show their support in unexpected ways, which points to the inclusion of Lea Glob’s “Apolonia, Apolonia,” which can also become a BAFTA favorite down the line.

When it comes to the international feature category, in which an unknown number of members opt-in to participate, I was able to narrow the likely inclusion to 13 movies, which include the U.K.’s “The Zone of Interest,” France’s “The Taste of Things” and Finland’s “Fallen Leaves.” Some late-breakers came from Sudan’s “Goodbye Julia,” which had a large turnout of tastemakers hosted by executive producer Lupita Nyong’o.

The artisans are as competitive as ever.

Variety exclusively reported on the 20 visual effects finalists revealed earlier this month. Of those, inclusions such as “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quanumania,” “The Boys in the Boat” and “Nyad” turned a few heads, especially at the expense of Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” being omitted. Nonetheless, other movies seem to be rising, such as Toho’s “Godzilla: Minus One,” Sony’s “Napoleon” and Netflix’s “Society of the Snow,” which could have a better-than-expected day.

In the competitive sound race, the aural sensations of Neon’s “Ferrari,” Netflix’s “Maestro” and Warner Bros’ “The Color Purple” are on the more-than-likely side of things. The big incoming snub could be A24’s “The Zone of Interest” from Johnnie Burn. Don’t fret Burn enthusiasts — he looks to be clearing the mark for his work on “Poor Things” from Yorgos Lanthimos, a stronger best picture candidate in the running.

Read the final prediction list below.

Documentary Feature (15)

  • “20 Days in Mariupol” (PBS)
  • “32 Sounds” (Abramorama)
  • “American Symphony” (Netflix)
  • “Anselm” (Janus/Sideshow)
  • “Apolonia, Apolonia” (CAT & Docs)
  • “Beyond Utopia” (Roadside Attractions)
  • “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (National Geographic)
  • “The Eternal Memory” (MTV Documentary Films)
  • “Four Daughters” (Kino Lorber)
  • “Little Richard: I Am Everything” (Magnolia Pictures)
  • “Kokomo City” (Magnolia Pictures)
  • “The Mission” (National Geographic)
  • “The Mother of All Lies” (Arizona Distribution)
  • “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” (Greenwich Entertainment)
  • “Stamped From the Beginning” (Netflix)

Alternate: “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” (Apple Original Films)

Documentary Short Subject (15)

  • “The ABCs of Book Banning” (MTV Documentary Films/Paramount+)
  • “American Santa” (L.A. Times Studios)
  • “Away” (The New York Times Op-Docs)
  • “The Barber of Little Rock” (The New Yorker)
  • “Between Earth and Sky” (POV Shorts)
  • “Breaking Silence” (PBS Digital)
  • “Camp Courage” (Netflix)
  • “Deciding Vote” (The New Yorker)
  • “The Family Statement” (Field of Vision)
  • “Last Song from Kabul” (MTV Documentary Films)
  • “The Last Repair Shop” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “Neighbor Abdi” (The New York Times Op-Docs)
  • “Nina & Irena” (The New Yorker)
  • “The Noble Guardian” (To be announced)
  • “Relighting Candles: The Tim Sullivan Story” (Hulu)

Alternate: “A Chocolate Lens” (Distributor TBD)

International Feature (15)

  • “20 Days in Mariupol” (Ukraine) — dir. Mstyslav Chernov
  • “Blaga’s Lessons” (Bulgaria) — dir. Stephan Komandarev
  • “Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World” (Romania) — dir. Radu Jude
  • “Fallen Leaves” (Finland) — dir. Aki Kaurismäki
  • “Four Daughters” (Tunisia) — dir. Kaouther Ben Hania
  • “Goodbye Julia” (Sudan) — dir. Mohamed Kordofani
  • “Io capitano” (Italy) — dir. Matteo Garrone
  • “Perfect Days” (Japan) — dir. Wim Wenders
  • “The Promised Land” (Denmark) — dir. Nikolaj Arcel
  • “The Settlers” (Chile) — dir. Felipe Gálvez Haberle
  • “Society of the Snow” (Spain) — dir. J.A. Bayona
  • “The Taste of Things” (France) — dir. Trần Anh Hùng
  • “The Teachers’ Lounge” (Germany) — dir. İlker Çatak
  • “Tótem” (Mexico) — dir. Lila Avilés
  • “The Zone of Interest” (United Kingdom) — dir. Jonathan Glazer

Alternates: “About Dry Grasses” (Turkey)

Makeup and Hairstyling (10)

  • “Barbie” (Warner Bros.)
  • “The Color Purple” (Warner Bros.)
  • “Golda” (Bleecker Street)
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” (Marvel Studios)
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)
  • “Maestro” (Netflix)
  • “Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)
  • “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “Wonka” (Warner Bros.)

Alternates: “Cassandro” (Amazon MGM Studios)

Sound (10)

  • “Barbie” (Warner Bros.)
  • “The Color Purple” (Warner Bros.)
  • “Ferrari” (Neon)
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)
  • “Maestro” (Netflix)
  • “Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)
  • “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “Society of the Snow” (Netflix)
  • “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures)

Alternate: “The Zone of Interest” (A24)

Original Score (15)

  • Christopher Bear, Daniel Rossen — “Past Lives” (A24)
  • Kris Bowers — “Origin” (Neon)
  • Jerskin Fendrix — “Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Michael Giacchino — “Society of the Snow” (Netflix)
  • Ludwig Göransson — “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)
  • Laura Karpman — “American Fiction” (MGM)
  • Mica Levi — “The Zone of Interest” (A24)
  • Joe Hisaishi — “The Boy and the Heron” (GKids)
  • Thomas Newman – “Elemental” (Pixar)
  • Daniel Pemberton — “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures)
  • Robbie Robertson— “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)
  • Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt — “Barbie” (Warner Bros.)
  • Lukasz Rostowski — “The Peasants” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • John Williams — “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (Walt Disney Pictures)
  • Anthony Willis— “Saltburn” (Amazon MGM Studios)

Alternates: “All of Us Strangers” (Searchlight Pictures) — Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch; “Nyad” (Netflix) — Alexandre Desplat; “The Color Purple” (Warner Bros.) — Kris Bowers

Original Song (15)

  • “American Symphony” (Netflix) — “It Never Went Away” by Jon Batiste and Dan Wilson
  • “Barbie” (Warner Bros.) — “Dance the Night” by Caroline Ailin, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt
  • “Barbie” (Warner Bros.) — “I’m Just Ken” by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt
  • “Barbie” (Warner Bros.) — “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish and Finneas
  • “The Color Purple” (Warner Bros.) — “Keep It Movin’” by Halle Bailey, Denisia Andrews, Brittany Coney, Morten Ristorp
  • “Flamin’ Hot” (Hulu/Searchlight Pictures) — “The Fire Inside” by Diane Warren
  • “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (Lionsgate) – “Can’t Catch Me Now” by Olivia Rodrigo, Dan Nigro
  • “The Iron Claw” (A24) — “Live That Way Forever” by Laurel Sprengelmeyer and Richard Reed Parry, Little Scream
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures) — “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People” by The Osage Tribe
  • “Origin” (Neon) — “I Am” by Stan Walker, Michael Fatkin, Vince Harder, Te Kanapu Anasta
  • “Rustin” (Netflix) — “Road to Freedom” by Lenny Kravitz
  • “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures) — “Am I Dreaming” by Leland Wayne, Rakim Mayers, Michael Dean, Peter Lee Johnson, Landon Wayne
  • “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (Illumination) — “Peaches” by Jack Black, Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic, Eric Osmond, and John Spiker
  • “Trolls Band Together” (DreamWorks Animation) — “Better Place” by Justin Timberlake, Karl Schuster, Amy Allen
  • “Wish” (Walt Disney Pictures) — “This Wish” by Julia Michaels and Benjamin Rice

Alternates: “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (National Geographic) — “Everything Is Gonna Be Alright” by Bobi Wine; “Flora and Son” (Apple Original Films) — “High Life” by John Carney and Gary Clark; “Theater Camp” (Searchlight Pictures) — “Camp Isn’t Home” by Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt and Mark Sonnenblick; “Wonka” (Warner Bros.) — “A World of Your Own” by Neil Hannon, Simon Farnabay, Paul King

Animated Short Film (15)

  • “AshkasHa” (Distributor TBD)
  • “Backflip” (The New York Times Op-Docs)
  • “The Day I Became a Bird” (Passion Pictures)
  • “La Grande Arche” (Miyu Productions)
  • “La perra” (ARTE Mediathek)
  • “Morning Joy” (Liaison Pictures)
  • “Mushka” (Mushka Productions)
  • “Once Upon a Studio” (Walt Disney Pictures)
  • “Pete” (The Criterion Channel)
  • “Peter and the Wolf” (Max)
  • “Pivot” (Atomic Cartoons)
  • “Rosemary A.D. (After Dad)” (The Animation Showcase)
  • “The Smeds and The Smoos” (Les Films du Préau)
  • “Starling” (The Animation Showcase)
  • “Way Better” (Distributor TBD)

Alternate: “27”

Live Action Short Film (15)

  • “The After” (Netflix)
  • “Aikane” (qWaves)
  • “Airhostess” (The New Yorker)
  • “Eid Mubarak” (Kanopy)
  • “The Old Young Crow” (Distributor TBD)
  • “Shadow Brother Sunday” (Distributor TBD)
  • “The Shepherd” (Walt Disney Pictures)
  • “A Strange Way of Life” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • “The Stupid Boy” (Authentive Productions)
  • “Take Me Home” (Distributor TBD)
  • “Troy” (The New Yorker)
  • “We Were Meant To” (Distributor TBD)
  • “Weathering” (Netflix)
  • “Wild Animal” (Backscatter Productions)
  • “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” (Netflix)

Alternate: “Nisei”

Visual Effects (10)

  • “The Creator” (20th Century Studios)
  • “Godzilla: Minus One” (Toho)
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” (Marvel Studios)
  • “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (Walt Disney Pictures)
  • “Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)
  • “Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “Society of the Snow” (Netflix)
  • “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures)
  • “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” (Paramount Pictures)
  • “Wonka” (Warner Bros.)

Alternate: “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (Paramount Pictures)

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