A few more high-flying Oscar early birds that could compete for best picture:
* Academy members like to nominate films about moviemaking — as they did in 2021 with MANK, which lost, and with ARGO, which won in 2013. Paramount’s BABYLON is set in Hollywood as talkies are replacing silent movies and careers are being launched — or destroyed.
BABYLON director Damien Chazelle won in 2017 for directing LA LA LAND. Among BABYLON’s stars is Margot Robbie as Clara Bow, Brad Pitt as John Gilbert & Tobey Maguire as Charlie Chaplin.
* Searchlight’s usually up for best picture — and often wins. It has a new contender in EMPIRE OF LIGHT from Sam Mendes (pictured), an Oscar nominee in 2020 for directing 1917 & a 2000 winner for AMERICAN BEAUTY, his first film, which also won the best picture.
EMPIRE stars Colin Firth, who won the best actor in 2011 for THE KING’S SPEECH, & Olivia Colman, who won the best actress in 2019 for THE FAVOURITE. Both could get noms now, giving EMPIRE valuable support for best picture & directing.
* Films like these typically connect with Academy members. But here’s one that usually wouldn’t resonate with them — although it’s exactly what viewers would root for on Oscar night.
Paramount/Skydance’s TOP GUN: MAVERICK stars Tom Cruise, who turns 60 on 7/3. Academy members usually ignore event films, but MAVERICK’s critical acclaim & boxoffice impact could boost those dismal Oscar ratings.