CinemaCon 2022 – Recap & Awards Potential

CinemaCon took place over the last week and there was SO MUCH to take in! While we were not there, we did try our best to keep up with absolutely everything that was going on related to awards season! Here is a brief recap of each day and studio’s presentations. Quick note, we are not going to be breaking down absolutely everything. Just a quick recap of what we think could play into the award season.

Sony Pictures kicked off day one with a presentation for their upcoming slate through 2024.Their presentation included footage from Bullet Train, the upcoming action film starring Brad Pitt, which let’s just say this would be a great contender for a stunts category if they wanted to add this year… Sony also premiered footage from The Woman King, Viola Davis’ next upcoming project. Davis was on hand to present the first look at the film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. Keeping my eye on a Viola Davis Lead Actress campaign!

Sony Pictures CEO Tom Rothman was on hand to introduce Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The duo talked about making the two sequels for Spider-Verse. While we unfortunately are not going to get the sequel this year, we know based on what was shown this will be a frontrunner for Animated Feature next season.

Warner Brothers had quite the day for their presentation. While there were no big reveals for Dune 2, Denis Villeneuve assured the attendees he was absent from the presentation because he was deep into pre-production on Dune 2. Seems like while there is no update officially on the sequel, we have nothing to worry about with it clearly steaming ahead.

Baz Luhrmann was on hand to discuss his upcoming film Elvis, which he described not a biopic but about America in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. It will be told through the lens of Elvis Presley’s less than scrupulous manager. The way he phrased this has some of us wondering if the rumors are true that Tom Hanks’ role as the manager is more of a leading performance narrative wise rather than Austin Butler’s titular Elvis. A sizzle reel was shown of the film that mainly was framed around a concert, but seemed to showcase Butler’s performance. While the release date and Cannes premiere is giving me deja vu of Rocketman, I can’t count out Luhrmann. 

Attendees also received a first look at Don’t Worry Darling, the second feature film directed by Olivia Wilde. A trailer was premiered at CinemaCon and Wilde described the film as a blend between Black Swan, Inception and The Truman Show. The director also praised performances in the film from Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. The trailer dropped this week for the rest of us and I may have my eye on this for more categories than I had anticipated.

Footage of upcoming DC films was shown and while The Flash, Shazam: The Fury of the Gods and Black Adam could be tech players, we’re going to wait and see on this slate. The Batman sequel was announced at CinemaCon with Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves confirmed to return; while we don’t presently know if the first installment will get love (please Michael Giacchino and Greig Fraser!), we will definitely keep our eye on Reeves’ crew for some awards love in the tech categories. DC also showed some footage of League of Super Pets, which maybe will be in play for Animated Feature, but we’ll see how this unfolds later in the year.

NEON was on hand to present their upcoming slate, but only showcased their summer releases. Whether this just means they’re holding some footage to keep us on our toes, time will tell. First, they brought out David Cronenberg to talk about his anticipated return to the horror genre with Crimes of the Future. A full-length trailer was shown and sounds like Cronenberg fans are in for a treat. The film premieres in a few weeks at the Cannes Film Festival. While this most likely will not be an awards play given the genre and how the Academy treats horror films, still going to keep an eye on it for perhaps an amazing Visual Effects nomination and what the make-up/hairstyling category was made for!

NEON presented two additional films, both documentaries. First up, the production company showed a teaser for Fire of Love, which they acquired from Sundance earlier this year. Sara Dosa’s documentary film about volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft was picked up by National Geographic Documentary Films and will have a theatrical run from NEON this July. Next up was the first documentary film sanctioned by David Bowie’s estate, Moonage Daydream. Brett Morgen, the director and editor of the film, was on hand to introduce footage of the film. He also explained the film was designed as a cinematic experience that he hopes audiences will check out in theaters and IMAX this Fall. Definitely keeping an eye on both documentaries from NEON for the Documentary category, but also editing and sound.

Disney made the most of their presentation with footage from many upcoming films and a few trailers debuting. The studio showed footage from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which could be a tech player, as well as Lightyear, which will certainly be an Animated Feature contender. Footage was also shown from The Bob’s Burgers Movie, which could contend in the Animated Feature category as well.

Two trailers were debuted for the CinemaCon audience that the awards crowd has been waiting for…Avatar: The Way of the Water and David O. Russell’s Amsterdam. 3D glasses were distributed for the first look of the trailer for Avatar 2, now officially called Avatar: The Way of Water. The trailer will be attached to Doctor Strange in theaters for a weekly exclusively and then will release online. Avatar will most likely be a big awards contender, so we will definitely keep our eye on this one. 

The next trailer shown to CinemaCom attendees was for Amsterdam from director David O’Russell. The all-star cast includes John David Washington, Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldaña, Mike Myers, Michael Shannon, Timothy Olyphant, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Taylor Swift and Robert De Niro. While I’m unsure of how to discuss this film without all discussing the allegations and history of O’Russell, the film will definitely be in the awards conversation. 

Universal had a jammed packed presentation as they have over 20 films to be released this calendar year. The studio played a new Downton Abbey: A New Era trailer, which could maybe in the Costume Design conversation, but otherwise I don’t see this being in an awards conversation. The studio also played an extended trailer for Jurassic World: Dominion, which perhaps could have some momentum in the technical categories, but otherwise doesn’t seem like an awards player. 

The Universal presentation continued with some footage of Minions: The Rise of Gru, which could be in the Animated Feature conversation. A trailer for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Beast, Easter Sunday, Bros, Ticket to Paradise, Violent Night and Halloween Ends. While some of these have most likely no Oscar potential, Bros is one I will be keeping my eye on for perhaps some love outside of the Oscar race, but perhaps with other awards bodies. 

Universal debuted footage from TÁR, the first film from Todd Fields in sixteen years, which stars Cate Blanchett. Not only can you never count out Blanchett, but the conversation around the footage seems undeniable she will be in the Oscar conversation. Footage was shown from Jordan Peele’s NOPE, but audience members were requested by Peele to not discuss what they saw. Hoping this is a Jordan Peele horror film that can break into the Oscar race, but only time will tell. 

Two big potential awards players had presentations from Universal. First up, James Gray’s Armageddon Time, which stars Anthony Hopkins and Anne Hathaway. While this may not be an awards player, personally, I believe it could still be a great movie as it comes from James Gray. The film currently does not have a release date,but is premiering at Cannes. The CinemaCon audience got the first look at the debut trailer for She Said, a highly anticipated film about the journalists who exposed rampant sexual harassment in Hollywood, with Harvey Weinstein at the center of their investigation.

Paramount, who has already had quite the year, presented their slate for the balance of the year following a brief presentation of their successes from the year. Paramount presented a sizzle real, which gave us a glimpse at what they have to come this year. CinemaCon attendees got a look at Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, a possible Animated Feature contender. This is co-directed by Real Housewives of Beverly Hills husband, Rob Minkoff, who previously directed The Lion King

The audience also got a first look at Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, which stars Diego Calva, Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire and more. The film has been described as a jazz-era, edgy and funny early Hollywood film. Given Chazelle’s track record with the Oscars, we’re expecting big things from this film come award season. 

Paramount screened Top Gun: Maverick to rave reactions. While this film premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in a few weeks and drops in theaters shortly after, the release date should not prevent this from being a technical player as well as an Original Song contender come award season. 

The Oscars Central Calendar will be updated as some of these films release dates are announced. Stay tuned for our big Oscar Board, which will show each category and films we believe will be in the hunt for an Oscar nomination.

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