The Road to the Oscars

A great year for movies, as 2023 was, means a lot to look forward to as awards season begins. Things get started tonight with the Golden Globes ceremony, and later this week it’s on to nominations for the Screen Actors Guild and Producers Guild of America Awards. The big one — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — will announce its nominations for the 96th Oscars on Jan. 23.

To get you ready, we’ve put together a guide to the movies, directors and performances that The Times’s critics think the Academy should recognize this year. And although the Globes have a mixed record of predicting which movies will win Oscars, tonight’s ceremony is a good excuse to look back on some of the year’s best films.

The competition for the best picture Oscar is so fierce this year that Kyle Buchanan, The Times’s awards season columnist, decided to discuss 13 possible nominees rather than his usual 10.

Oppenheimer,” a three-hour biopic about the father of the atomic bomb directed by Christopher Nolan, tops Kyle’s list. Pitted against it, and favored by the Times critics Manohla Dargis and Alissa Wilkinson, is another historical epic: “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Martin Scorsese’s study of a murderous campaign targeting members of the Osage Nation in 1920s Oklahoma. Manohla and Alissa are also rooting for Todd Haynes’s “May December,” a tale of two eerily synced women and the anguished man they manipulate. All three films are up for Golden Globes.

But, as Kyle notes, “recent best-picture winners tend to tug more at the heart than at the head.” That could augur an upset win for “Past Lives,” a romantic indie film; “American Fiction,” a dramedy; or “Barbie,” which leads the Golden Globes pack with nine nominations. Alissa would also like to see Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron,” which is about coming of age in World War II Japan, in the running — though no animated feature has ever won best picture.

Nolan, for “Oppenheimer,” made all three of our critics’ lists of potential best directors. Manohla also likes Wes Anderson for the wry “Asteroid City,” while Alissa is championing Scorsese and Greta Gerwig, for “Barbie.”

Kyle has profiled a top contender for best actress: Lily Gladstone, who portrays an Osage woman whose relatives are systematically murdered in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” If nominated, Gladstone would become the first Native American up for the award. And if our critics have their way, she could face Sandra Hüller for “Anatomy of a Fall,” a courtroom drama about an aspiring writer’s mysterious death.

One potential nominee for best actor is Paul Giamatti. His performance as an irritable New England schoolteacher in “The Holdovers” drew on “a deep well of melancholy and thinly disguised tenderness,” my colleague Reggie Ugwu writes. Alissa also shouts out Cillian Murphy, whose craggy, haunted visage captured J. Robert Oppenheimer’s angst. But Colman Domingo — who powers “Rustin,” a biopic about a gay civil rights activist — is Alissa’s and Manohla’s leading candidate.

We’ll find out which of our critics’ darlings ended up in contention when Oscar nominations are released later this month. And if all of this sounds like a lot to watch, the good news is that you’ll have until March, when the Academy Awards ceremony will take place, to catch up.

  • A sudden hole appeared on the side of a Boeing 737 Max plane midflight on Friday. It comes after years of problems with Boeing’s aircraft.

  • A major snowstorm hit the Northeast, where forecasters expect parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to get as much as two inches of snow per hour.

  • Inside a crisis: How Harvard’s board went from standing behind Claudine Gay as the university’s president to pushing her out within weeks.

  • Many colleges are critical of rankings, but they collectively pour millions of dollars into the industry.

Disqualifying Trump from the ballot may bar him from office, but the ideology he represents will continue to consolidate power, Ross Douthat writes.

Trump portrays himself as Christlike, even as he bedevils America, Maureen Dowd writes.

The Sunday question: Should Claudine Gay have resigned as Harvard’s president?

Gay’s failure to immediately condemn antisemitic language “made her a symbol of the progressive groupthink infecting higher education and American institutions more broadly,” The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board writes. But the forces behind her resignation — external political pressure — “could set a dangerous precedent” for higher education, The Washington Post’s editorial board writes.

A mystery: A New York pet cemetery was accustomed to unusual requests. Then came a call from a lawyer in possession of the cremated remains of a mysterious woman.

“I Miss the Library”: In September, a small-town public library was forced to close after protests over a drag queen story hour for children. It hasn’t reopened.

Vows: Gerry Turner of “The Golden Bachelor” married Theresa Nist in front of 150 guests (and even more TV viewers), before enjoying an intimate off-air reception.

Lives Lived: Joseph M. Hendrie was a physicist who led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the United States’ worst nuclear power accident at Three Mile Island. He died at 98.

I recently spoke with the comedian Eddie Izzard about his move into politics, coming out as trans, and how losing his mother as a child made him suspicious of love as an adult.

In your memoir, you write that “trying to bring my mother back is at the base of everything that I’m doing, and everything that I’ve ever done.” Does that feel liberating? Constrictive?

It is an underlying motivation: If I can do stuff that is good enough, maybe Mum will see it on the other side. I don’t believe in the other side, but that is probably a subconscious thing. The conscious thing is more that I’m trying to do things so that I go, “Who did that?” I was trying to impress myself. I say we have to be brave and curious and not fearful and suspicious.

How do bravery and curiosity jibe with another thing that you say in your book, which is that you’ve been very suspicious about being in love?

Well, there’s loving someone, and then there’s being in love. Being in love seems to be chemical. I think there’s a chemical release, and I don’t trust it for that reason.

Can you explain what you mean?

I just don’t trust it. It is kind of like crying: You can’t switch off crying. I’m linking together certain things that happen in our bodies that once they switch on, they’re difficult to switch off.

You don’t like them because it’s a loss of control?

Yes. Do you like loss of control?

People like the feeling of letting go.

You’ve got to line these people up for me, David: “I love being out of control.” But I would say generally that I’m not into not being in control. But once you’ve lost your mother, you never trust anyone or anything again.

Read more of the interview here.

Mixtapes and T-shirts: New books take up the task of cataloging hip-hop’s early relics before they slip away.

Our editors’ picks: “What’s Cooking in the Kremlin,” which explores the last century of Russian history through food, and eight other books.

Times best sellers: “Ruthless Vows,” Rebecca Ross’s sequel to “Divine Rivals” is No. 1 on the young adult hardcover best-seller list.

Add nuts and dates to charred broccoli.

Reduce stiffness with a foam roller.

Clean your water bottle. It’s time.

  • Bangladesh is holding elections today.

  • Large strikes by transportation workers are expected to cripple the London Underground for several days this week.

  • Congress returns to Capitol Hill tomorrow to resume negotiations on aid for Ukraine and stricter immigration policy.

  • Trump’s lawyers are expected to argue in an appeals court Tuesday that he is immune from prosecution for seeking to overturn the 2020 election.

  • Hunter Biden is scheduled to appear in a California court Thursday over tax charges.

  • Taiwan will hold presidential elections on Saturday.

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