Which Sundance 2024 Movies Will Make It to Next Year's Oscars? – The New York Times

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The Projectionist
A Jesse Eisenberg-Kieran Culkin film, along with performances by Saoirse Ronan and André Holland, may be on the ballot next year.

We’ve only just gotten this year’s Oscar nominations, but is it already time to begin looking ahead to next season?
I can sense you bristling, and I understand. “Kyle, no,” you’ve just muttered, because we’re on a first-name basis now and you’re still mired in dinner-party discourse over whether the snub of Greta Gerwig in the best-director race is an extinction-level event.
I hear your concerns, and I share them. But even as we continue to sift through the wreckage and tea leaves following this season’s Oscar nominations, I’ve just come back from snowy Park City, Utah, where the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival debuted a full slate of new movies that could give shape to next year’s awards race. Make no mistake, trophy-related considerations can affect these films’ fortunes even at this early date: I’ve already heard that one terrific Sundance indie has had trouble selling because of concerns that its lead would be unavailable for a full-blown press tour next awards season.
Could any of these films follow best-picture nominee “Past Lives,” which premiered at Sundance last January, or even “CODA” (2021), the first Sundance movie to win the top Oscar?
The likeliest film to factor into next year’s race is A Real Pain,” a dramedy starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kieran Culkin as mismatched cousins who embark on a road trip through Poland to better understand the personal history of their late grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. Eisenberg, who also wrote and directed the film, plays the by-the-book cousin and generously hands the flashy, sure-to-be-nominated role to Culkin: His cousin is a charismatic hot mess, and the Emmy-winning “Succession” actor zigs and zags through every scene like a freewheeling live wire.
Searchlight bought “A Real Pain” for $10 million, and I could see it making a deep run into awards season. Pronounced a “knockout” by our critic Manohla Dargis, it’s the kind of thematically resonant, culturally specific comedy that voters often respond to. Most of all, I think movie folks will be eager to welcome Culkin into their club: They were just as obsessed with “Succession” as their TV brethren, and it’s finally their turn to shower the 41-year-old with awards attention.
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