Christopher Nolan’s atomic bomb drama Oppenheimer has tied for the most mentions on the recently announced BAFTA longlists, signaling its momentum going into awards season. Along with Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed Barbie film and Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, Oppenheimer received 15 longlist mentions across various categories.
Main Contenders Emerge in Packed Year for Film
With awards pundits predicting one of the most competitive best picture races in years, the BAFTA longlists offer the first glimpse into what films may end up as main contenders for the top prizes.
Oppenheimer coming out with the most longlist mentions is a strong sign for its Oscar hopes. As an epic biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the creation of the first atomic bomb, the film seems poised to strike a chord with voters. Directed by one of today’s most acclaimed filmmakers in Christopher Nolan, and starring Cillian Murphy in the lead role, Oppenheimer brings together prestige and star power.
Matching Oppenheimer’s 15 mentions are two films that have already built major award season buzz:
- Barbie: Greta Gerwig’s inventive take on the famous doll has drawn widespread critical acclaim for its humor, heart and clever cultural commentary. With stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling leading the charge, Barbie seems sure to be a major player this award season.
- Killers of the Flower Moon: Martin Scorsese reteams with Leonardo DiCaprio in this crime drama about the 1920s Osage murders. Boasting the kind of weighty historical subject matter that often appeals to voters, Killers of the Flower Moon looks to be one of Scorsese’s major late-career films.
The Road Ahead for the Main Contenders
While the longlist appearance doesn’t guarantee anything, all three of these films should feel good about standing out from the pack so far with the most mentions. Other top films this year like Babylon, The Fabelmans and Glass Onion also performed well with 11-14 longlist spots each. But for now, Barbie, Killers of the Flower Moon and Oppenheimer have edged ahead ever so slightly.
It remains to be seen if that will actually translate to big nominations hauls for all three films. While they tied on longlist mentions overall, Oppenheimer specifically missed out on a Best Supporting Actor mention for Matt Damon despite some predictions he could make the cut there as General Groves. So while Oppenheimer showed breadth across multiple categories, the stiff competition may prevent it from converting all its longlist spots into actual BAFTA nominations when those are announced January 19. Barbie and Killers of the Flower Moon face no easy path either with many other acclaimed 2022 films also eyeing those coveted nomination slots.
Still, in a fitting metaphor for the nuclear bomb it depicts the creation of, Oppenheimer has exploded onto the awards scene with a wave of longlist mentions suggesting Christopher Nolan’s epic still has plenty more firepower to unleash this season. After early festival buzz at Venice, where it premiered to mostly positive reviews last September, Oppenheimer now looks well on its way to Oscar night next month where it may cap off an impressive run with some big wins – or go home empty-handed if it loses momentum amid fierce competition.
It’s sure to be a close, hard-fought battle until the end.
Full Longlist Breakdown for Main Contenders
Barbie, Killers of the Flower Moon and Oppenheimer all showed breadth by landing mentions across numerous BAFTA categories rather than relying too heavily on one or two:
|Best Film, Director, Original Screenplay, Lead Actor, Supporting Actor, Casting, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hair, Original Score, Sound, Special Visual Effects
|Best Film, Director, Original Screenplay, Lead Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Casting, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hair, Original Score, Sound
|Killers of the Flower Moon
|Best Film, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Lead Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Casting, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hair, Original Score, Sound, Special Visual Effects
This level of widespread recognition bodes well, signaling the overall craft and performances throughout each film have made an impression. While other films may ultimately score more total nominations due to a concentrated focus in fewer categories, Oppenheimer, Barbie, and Killers of the Flower Moon have displayed impressive range.
Of course, since these are just longlists with several more rounds of cuts to come, some of the specific nods are still vulnerable to getting snubbed as the field narrows. Best Original Song seems especially fraught – only Barbie and Oppenheimer landed there initially, but 19 total songs remain in a very crowded race at this early stage.
Other Major Longlist Takeaways Beyond the Top Three:
Women directors thrive: Alongside Barbie’s Greta Gerwig, several other films directed by women scored well including Sarah Polley’s Women Talking and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Woman King with 10 mentions each. After years of #OscarsSoWhite and #OscarsSoMale criticism of the film industry, this could reflect a push toward greater diversity that may also be felt during award season.
All Quiet on the Western Front makes noise: Though lesser known than some other contenders, Edward Berger’s German-language adaptation of the classic antiwar novel surprised some by landing an impressive 13 longlist spots. As an acclaimed Netflix production, it seems poised to defy the odds and potentially break into major categories.
Fan favorites shine: Blockbuster hits like Top Gun: Maverick and mega pop culture phenoms like Glass Onion and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 reminded voters of their crowd-pleasing appeal with 10-14 mentions each. Especially after titles like Dune and CODA scored big nominations a year ago, popular films seem as viable as ever this award season rather than being relegated just to “technical” categories.
Animated race takes shape: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio led a strong showing for animation across the board with 8 longlist spots. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On and Turning Red also broke through in a race that often comes down to Disney vs. Pixar vs. the occasional foreign darling like last year’s Flee.
What Happens Next on the Road to the BAFTAs
The longlist mentions are an early indication of momentum, but there are several more rounds of voting and announcements ahead before the final winners are revealed at the BAFTA ceremony on February 19:
January 12 – Round One voting closes
January 19 – Nominations announced
January 20-31 – Round Two voting
February 3 – Shortlists announced
February 4-17 – Round Three voting
February 19 – Winners announced at BAFTA ceremony
So while the longlists may provide clues, plenty could still change with multiple voting rounds remaining where films can further build or lose steam. With Oppenheimer bursting onto the longlists tied for the lead, Christopher Nolan’s atomic epic laid the groundwork for a potential big night at the BAFTAs. But Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon also remain right on its heels in what’s shaping up to be a fierce three-way battle for awards supremacy this season. May the best film win.
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