As Commercial Movies Aim for Oscar Glory, Hollywood Is at a Crossroads

As the Oscar shortlist tightens the race, Screen Talk looks at the big picture of this year's awards season.
Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.
"Top Gun: Maverick"

Months ago, when “Top Gun: Maverick” took off at the box office, there were early murmurs of Oscar season potential. Compared to traditional fall season awards material, from “TÁR” to “Women Talking,” a giant blockbuster sequel may not have looked like the most obvious Best Picture contender. But now, it even has some company in that department, with “Avatar: The Way of Water” gaining traction in the aftermath of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” taking off. “RRR” may not be an American spectacle, but it also brings a certain blockbuster scale to the awards conversation.

None of this means that other contenders, such as “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “The Banshees of Inisherin,” have zero chance at Best Picture. But Hollywood is embracing big commercial movies in awards season because Hollywood needs big commercial movies, period.

In this week’s episode of Screen Talk, Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson discuss what this means as Hollywood is at a crossroads and less likely to greenlight vanity projects from name directors going forward as a result. The pair also talk about the recent Oscar shortlists, including the surprises and snubs among the documentaries and international films. Screen Talk goes on break next year and will return in 2023.

Watch the full episode above or listen to it below.

Screen Talk is produced by Azwan Badruzaman and available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify, and hosted by Megaphone. Browse previous installments here, subscribe here, and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. 

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