Monday, July 15, 2024

The Film Festival World Premieres Of Best Picture Nominees

As the summer continues, our eyes start looking ahead toward the fall film festivals – Venice, Telluride, TIFF, NYFF & AFI Fest. It is here where we feel most of our Best Picture contenders will typically emerge for the Oscar race. But as I was looking ahead, it got me wondering…Which film festivals have been the most influential lately when it comes to holding the world premieres of films that eventually go on to be nominated for Best Picture? Are we looking in the wrong spots for where the next Best Picture winner might ultimately come from? I decided to look back since the beginning of the Best Picture expansion from 2009 to find where each of the nominees had their world premieres, and here is what I found.

Sundance Film Festival
2022: None
2021: CODA
2020: The Father, Judas And The Black Messiah (premiered a year later), Minari & Promising Young Woman
2019: None
2018: None
2017: Call Me By Your Name & Get Out
2016: Manchester By The Sea
2015: Brooklyn
2014: Boyhood & Whiplash
2013: None
2012: Beasts Of The Southern Wild
2011: None
2010: The Kids Are Alright & Winter’s Bone
2009: An Education & Precious

Berlin International Film Festival
2022: None
2021: None
2020: None
2019: None
2018: None
2017: None
2016: None
2015: None
2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel
2013: None
2012: None
2011: None
2010: None
2009: None

SXSW Film Festival
2022: Everything Everywhere All At Once
2021: None
2020: None
2019: None
2018: None
2017: None
2016: None
2015: None
2014: None
2013: None
2012: None
2011: None
2010: None
2009: None

Cannes Film Festival
2022: Elvis & Triangle Of Sadness
2021: Drive My Car
2020: None
2019: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood & Parasite
2018: BlacKkKlansman
2017: None
2016: Hell Or High Water
2015: None
2014: None
2013: Nebraska
2012: Amour
2011: The Artist, Midnight In Paris & The Tree Of Life
2010: None
2009: Inglourious Basterds & UP

Venice Film Festival
2022: The Banshees Of Inisherin & TAR
2021: Dune & The Power Of The Dog
2020: Nomadland
2019: Joker & Marriage Story
2018: The Favourite, Roma & A Star Is Born
2017: The Shape Of Water & Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
2016: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge & La La Land
2015: Spotlight
2014: Birdman
2013: Gravity & Philomena
2012: None
2011: None
2010: Black Swan
2009: The Hurt Locker (premiered the year before)

Telluride Film Festival
2022: Women Talking
2021: Belfast & King Richard
2020: None
2019: Ford v Ferrari
2018: None
2017: Darkest Hour & Lady Bird
2016: Moonlight
2015: Room
2014: The Imitation Game
2013: 12 Years A Slave
2012: Argo
2011: The Descendants
2010: 127 Hours & The King’s Speech
2009: Up In The Air

Toronto International Film Festival
2022: All Quiet On The Western Front & The Fabelmans
2021: None
2020: Sound Of Metal (Premiered the year before)
2019: Jojo Rabbit
2018: Green Book
2017: None
2016: Lion
2015: The Martian
2014: The Theory Of Everything
2013: Dallas Buyers Club
2012: Silver Linings Playbook
2011: Moneyball
2010: None
2009: A Serious Man

New York Film Festival
2022: None
2021: None
2020: None
2019: The Irishman
2018: None
2017: None
2016: None
2015: Bridge Of Spies
2014: None
2013: Captain Phillips & Her
2012: Life Of Pi & Lincoln
2011: Hugo
2010: The Social Network
2009: None

AFI Film Festival
2022: None
2021: None
2020: None
2019: None
2018: None
2017: None
2016: None
2015: The Big Short
2014: American Sniper & Selma
2013: None
2012: None
2011: None
2010: None
2009: None

90 Best Picture nominees (out of 126) since 2009 have had their world premieres at film festivals with the breakdown by film festival below:

Venice Film Festival: 21
Sundance Film Festival: 15
Telluride Film Festival: 15
Cannes Film Festival: 14
Toronto Film Festival: 12
New York Film Festival: 8
AFI Fest: 3
Berlin Film Festival: 1
SXSW: 1

Venice is still the king when it comes to providing the most Best Picture nominees overall since 2009, while Cannes 2011 and Venice 2016/2017 produced three Best Picture nominees from their respective festivals those years. Sundance gave us four Best Picture nominees in 2020 but three came from the 2020 festival while the fourth came from the following year (due to the shifted eligibility window caused by the pandemic). Berlin and SXSW are undoubtedly the worst when looking for where possible Best Picture nominees will come from, although last year’s Oscar winner “Everything Everywhere All At Once” premiered at SXSW, marking the first time a nominee or winners came from the festival. AFI Fest had a good run in 2014 and 2015 but has not hosted the world premieres of any Best Picture nominees since (though, one could argue they came close with “Tick, Tick…Boom!” in 2021).

For a festival not too concerned with wanting to serve as an Oscar launchpad, the Cannes Film Festival has surprisingly given us more Best Picture nominees than the Toronto International Film Festival since 2009. Of course, when taking into account films that screen again later at these festivals, such as Telluride (which famously screened the eventually Best Picture winner eight years in a row from 2010-2017), the numbers will differ as films which premiere earlier in the year at Sundance, Berlin, and Cannes will screen again at the later film festivals such as Telluride, Toronto & NYFF.

Along with Venice, Telluride is a consistent spot to look for Best Picture nominees, as both festivals have only ever missed out on a world premiere for Best Picture nominee two years each. But there is another place to look for even greater consistency when uncovering where the next Best Picture Oscar winner might come from, outside the film festivals entirely.

No Film Festival World Premiere
2022: Avatar: The Way Of Water & Top Gun: Maverick
2021: Don’t Look Up, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley & West Side Story
2020: Mank & The Trial Of The Chicago 7
2019: Little Women & 1917
2018: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody & Vice
2017: Dunkirk, Phantom Thread & The Post
2016: Fences & Hidden Figures
2015: Mad Max: Fury Road & The Revenant
2014: None
2013: American Hustle & The Wolf Of Wall Street
2012: Django Unchained, Les Miserables & Zero Dark Thirty
2011: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help & War Horse
2010: The Fighter, Inception, Toy Story 3 & True Grit
2009: Avatar, The Blind Side & District 9

As you can see, films that forgo a film festival launch and go straight to theatrical (outside of 2020’s pandemic year, of course) have had the most success with Academy voters. Since 2009, thirty-five Best Picture nominees elected not to premiere at a film festival throughout the year and went straight to theaters. Most of these are major studio films with higher budgets than what you would typically see from an indie festival such as Sundance and sends a strong message to the rest of the industry that the Academy still favors big-screen spectacle, with a certain level of polish in its presentation that can transport, dazzle and entertain.

So what does this all mean for this year when looking for where Best Picture Oscar contenders could come from? Well, let’s first take a look at which film festivals have given us at least one Best Picture nominee per year since 2009:

Venice Film Festival: 12/14 years
Telluride Film Festival: 12/14 years
Toronto Film Festival: 11/14 years
Cannes Film Festival: 9/14 years
Sundance Film Festival: 9/14 years
New York Film Festival: 6/14 years
AFI Fest: 2/14 years
Berlin Film Festival: 1/14 years
SXSW: 1/14 years

Given we’ve already experienced Sundance, Berlin, SXSW, and Cannes, and what we’ve heard about the buzz from surrounding various titles that have already had their world premieres, that Berlin will likely not produce another Best Picture nominee this year. There’s an outside chance for SXSW to start developing a trend following “Everything Everywhere All At Once” last year with “Air” this year, but the chances are low at the moment unless the film rallies back at the end of the year in a major way. Should that come to be, we will have to start paying a closer eye on SXSW in the future as a new launchpad for Best Picture nominees.

Next up are Cannes and Sundance, which will likely give us a few Best Picture nominees this year, given word of mouth surrounding the world premieres of “Past Lives” out of Sundance and “Killers Of The Flower Moon” from Cannes. There’s a chance Cannes could also produce Best Picture nominations for the Palme d’Or winner “Anatomy Of A Fall” and Jonathan Glazer’s Grand Priz prize winner “The Zone Of Interest” but for now, let’s stay conservative and stick with just Celine Song and Martin Scorsese’s films.

So now, we have two (possibly three) Best Picture nominees pre-the fall film festivals. It’s reasonable, given the trends as of late, to expect two nominees from Venice as they usually give us more than one Best Picture nominee 50% of the time, one to two from Telluride, with another from TIFF. New York Film Festival is due for another nominee soon, but I wouldn’t expect anything more than one. That brings us to seven Best Picture nominees. Considering the non-film festival movies tend to give us two to three Best Picture nominees each year (but no more than four), you can expect that to fill out the rest of the lineup. For all we know, “Oppenheimer,” “Dune: Part Two,” and “The Color Purple” could be these three films. Maybe “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse” can overcome animation bias and ride the wave of its enthusiastic reception critically and financially to a Best Picture nomination!

As per usual, for the majority of the year, we don’t know what we don’t know. We sort of know where the nominees in a Best Picture lineup tend to come from based on the trends of the last fourteen years. Consider this my first official crack at predictions for the ten nominees for Best Picture using what I have at my disposal for the time being until the Next Best Picture team reveals their first Oscar predictions next month:

The Color Purple (Theatrical)
Dune: Part Two (Theatrical)
The Holdovers (Venice)
Killers Of The Flower Moon (Cannes)
Maestro (Venice)
Next Goal Wins (TIFF)
Oppenheimer (Theatrical)
Past Lives (Sundance)
Saltburn (Telluride)
Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (Theatrical)

What do you think will be nominated for Best Picture this year? Where do you think the nominees will come from this year? How many of this year’s Best Picture nominees have already been seen? Please let us know in the comments section or on our Twitter account.

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Matt Neglia
Matt Negliahttps://nextbestpicture.com/
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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