Nominations voting is from January 11-16, 2024, with official Oscar nominations announced January 23, 2024. Final voting is February 22-27, 2024. And finally, the 96th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 10 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT. We update predictions through awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2024 Oscar picks.
The State of the Race
As always, a select few Best Actress Oscar contenders have already emerged from the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals.
Celine Song’s celebrated breakout auto-fiction “Past Lives” (A24) stars never-nominated Greta Lee as a married Korean-American playwright who reunites with her childhood sweetheart (Teo Yoo).
British actress Phoebe Dynevor (“Bridgerton”) also scored raves in Sundance hit “Fair Play” (which sold to Netflix for $20 million) as a high-strung executive who struggles to maintain her secret relationship with her competitive office-mate and fiancé (Alden Ehrenreich).
American actress, singer, and dancer Teyana Taylor nabbed high praise for her heart-wrenching performance in Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner “A Thousand and One” (Focus) as a woman who leaves jail, finds her son in New York City, and raises him to manhood.
At Cannes, German actress Sandra Hüller (“Toni Erdmann”) earned kudos for two roles, one in Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or-winning “Anatomy of a Fall,” a French-English language courtroom thriller in which she stars as a mystery writer on trial for the death of her husband; and the other in Jonathan Glazer’s chilling German-language Grand-Prize winner “Zone of Interest,” set behind the scenes at Auschwitz. It’s early days, but France could submit the former for Best International Feature Film, while the UK could submit the latter.
Clearly Oscar-winner Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) will be in the mix for Cannes entry and New York Film Festival opener “May December” (Netflix) from Todd Haynes, while co-star Julianne Moore will be supporting.
Front and center in Greta Gerwig’s summer blockbuster “Barbie” (Warner Bros. Discovery) is two-time nominee Margot Robbie, who not only was perfectly cast in the title role in this smart mass-market comedy, but held her own against scene-stealer Ryan Gosling as Ken. While the movie is a commercial blockbuster, screenplay and director nominee Gerwig (“Little Women,” “Lady Bird”) elevates it to another prestige level.
And never count out Oscar-winner Helen Mirren (“The Queen”), who dons extra facial hair as the powerful Israeli prime minister in Guy Nattiv’s biopic “Golda,” which debuted at Berlin and played other festivals, but has eked out a mere 51 Metascore. Bleecker Street will release the film stateside August 25, with a planned Oscar campaign, whenever Mirren is allowed to participate post-strike.
A raft of movies are heading for festival play starring actresses who may not be able to promote their films for some time. Some movies could move back to a potential pileup in December, others may head to 2024.
In the fall festival roundelay, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Frankenstein’s monster film “Poor Things” will play in the Venice competition, even though Searchlight pushed back its release from September to December, when Oscar-winner Emma Stone (“La La Land”) will likely be more able to promote the film. Another Oscar-winner, Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), who is also an Emmy contender for another kind of Tammy project (“George & Tammy”) is coming up in Michel Franco’s “Memory,” starring opposite Peter Sarsgaard.
Among the actresses who are long overdue are four-time nominee Annette Bening, who stars as the long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad in “Nyad” (Netflix), and two-time nominee Carey Mulligan, who plays composer Leonard Bernstein’s wife Felicia in director-star Bradley Cooper’s Venice world premiere “Maestro” (Netflix).
Sofia Coppola cast rising star Cailee Spaeny (“Mare of Easttown”) in the title role in her biopic “Priscilla” (A24), opposite “Euphoria” breakout Jacob Elordi as Elvis.
In Telluride, Venice, and Toronto, multiple films for sale will be vying for attention (like 2017 TIFF sales title “I, Tonya”): their fate will be determined by reviews, audience reception, and distributor belief in their commercial — and awards —potential.
One high-profile sales title is Venice competition film “Origin,” based on Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” written and directed by documentary nominee Ava DuVernay (“13th”). Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”) leads a sprawling cast. Another is Ellen Kuras’ “Lee,” a biopic starring Oscar-winner Kate Winslet (“The Reader”) as photojournalist Lee Miller, who covered World War II for Vogue. Viggo Mortensen directs himself in Western romance “The Dead Don’t Hurt,” co-starring Vicky Krieps. And director Ethan Hawke’s drama “Wildcat” stars three-time nominee Laura Linney as Flannery O’Connor as she struggles through her first novel.
Not yet announced for a festival is Ridley Scott’s big-budget bio-epic “Napoleon” (November 22, AppleTV+), starring Vanessa Kirby as Josephine.
Waiting for year-end family business is holiday entry “The Color Purple” (Warner Bros. Discovery/Amblin), Blitz Bazawule’s adaptation of the Broadway Alice Walker musical, starring Fantasia Barrino as Ciele. She’s joined by a stellar cast that also includes Halle Bailey and Aunjanue Ellis (in her second possible awards movie).
Contenders are listed in alphabetical order, below. No actor will be deemed a frontrunner until we have seen the film.
Frontrunners Phoebe Dynevor (“Fair Play”) Sandra Huller (“Anatomy of a Fall”) Greta Lee (“Past Lives”) Margot Robbie (“Barbie”) Teyana Taylor (“A Thousand and One”)
Contenders Fantasia Barrino (“The Color Purple”) Jessica Chastain (“Memory”) Annette Bening (“Nyad”) Vanessa Kirby (“Napoleon”) Helen Mirren (“Golda”) Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”) Natalie Portman (“May December”) Cailee Spaeny (“Priscilla”) Emma Stone (“Poor Things”)