2023 Oscar hopefuls from this year’s TIFF

TIFF has been a viable indicator as to which movies may be selected for Oscar nominations – or at the very least, a preview of the prospects. The last ten winners of the TIFF People’s Choice Award have all gone on to be Best Picture nominees, so Ontario Sportsbooks should be fielding many bets ahead of next year’s award show.

The 2023 Oscars are to be held on 12 March in Los Angeles, California, with nomination announcements being made on the 24 January. By now, many people have gotten a look at the movies released this year, and many speculations have already begun as it pertains to nominations.

Brendan Fraser and Colin Farrell seem to be contenders for best actors at next year’s Oscars. Fraser, who stars as Charlie in A24’s The Whale, plays an overweight, binge-eating English teacher who is mourning his dead lover. As Charlie remains affable and downcast, the women who surround him seem rather brash and insensitive.

The overall feel of the movie is altogether rather powerful. Fraser has only recently alluded to his struggles within Hollywood relating to sexual assault and his resulting physical decline, hence this movie, in part, afforded him the use of the full scope of his acting talent.

Farrell is also in the running. His film The Banshees of Inisherin has already won him Venice’s Best Actor Prize. He plays an Irish man who becomes estranged from his best friend (Brendan Gleeson). Yet another contender is Hugh Jackman for his role in the film The Son (Florian Zeller’s return to directing following The Father). Though his execution isn’t as notable as Hopkins’, it still gets him an honourable mention here.

Two other remarkable films from TIFF include The Woman King and Women Talking, which, as the titles suggest, feature masterful performances from its lead actors. Women Talking is a modification of a novel about Mennonite rape victims who secretly assemble to deliberate on their next steps. The film displays the different perspectives of the women affected and provides the viewer with an immersive experience of their lives, as well as the physical and mental impacts of rape.

In almost direct contrast is The Woman King. This movie is an action-packed, empowering period piece starring Viola Davis as an African general. It calls on the resilience and strength of women, and the film is also loosely based on Agojie warriors and their protection of Dahomey. Either film could definitely make an appearance at the 2023 Oscars.

Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans is yet another Oscar rival. It details his affinity for theater and portrays the divorce of his parents through his camera. Michelle Williams’ performance as Spielberg’s mother, has already catapulted her to the fore of the Best Supporting Actress race after the movie’s premiere. She plays a jovial, lively woman who is secretly obscuring deep pain and sadness. The rest of the cast is also quite spectacular in their roles within the film.

Spielberg’s only competition seems to be Sam Mendes’ Empire of Light, which coincidentally centres around cinema as well. It stars Olivia Colman as Hilary, a cinema employee who falls in love with her younger, black coworker Stephen (Michael Ward) during the early 1980s in Great Britain. Their romance becomes somewhat complex with the onset of her illness and the ever-present issue of racism.

In the Best Documentary category, Laura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed reveals the life and work of photographer Nan Goldin during the AIDS and opioid calamities. Goldin’s slideshows and footage of her protests present a stunning and thought-provoking piece and a definite compelling nominee for the 2023 Oscars.

Also in the running is the Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion. Director Rian Johnson has stuck our favourite detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), on a private island with a bunch of seemingly eclectic individuals to solve yet another murder mystery. They have apparently come together by directive of their equally eclectic tech billionaire friend and patron, Miles Bron (played by Edward Norton). As did its predecessor, the movie certainly does not disappoint in both entertainment and thrill.

All things considered, TIFF has provided us with some valuable insight into which films and/or actors may be chosen at the 95th Academy Awards. Past nominees have customarily had to have made it past the TIFF benchmark to carry them through to the Oscars.

Generally, there seems to be a public consensus on the films to be nominated this year, gauged by how well they have performed at TIFF. This seems to be the result of allowing the audience to honor the film solely based on overall impression and experience. In doing so, this almost guarantees promotion to the Academy Awards.