Oscar Predictions: Killers of the Flower Moon

All 206 minutes of Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon have been breathlessly awaited by pundits ahead of its Cannes premiere. That occurred today some five months before its domestic release. The crime western reunites the legendary filmmaker with his two most famous and frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro in this adaptation of David Grann’s 2017 non-fiction novel. Lily Gladstone (in what’s long been pegged as a role with awards potential) costars alongside Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, and John Lithgow.

On paper, Killers has looked like a surefire contender for Oscar glory ever since it was announced. Scorsese has seen five of his past eight films nominated for Best Picture: The Aviator, The Departed (which won), Hugo, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Irishman. As mentioned, the 1920s set tale of murders among the Osage Nation comes with a runtime that just exceeds its reported $200 million budget. Apple TV footed the bill, but it will see a theatrical bow prior to any streaming release.

Some of the early critical reaction does gripe about the length (same went for Scorsese’s predecessor The Irishman). Yet most reviews indicate this will be the gold player that we assumed. That last Marty movie scored 10 nods. This could match it or even exceed it. Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay (by the director and Eric Roth), Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Original Score, Production Design, and Sound are all feasible. The early Rotten Tomatoes meter sits at 100%.

As for the acting derbies, Leonardo DiCaprio is drawing raves and should be in line for his seventh acting nom (his sole win being 2015’s The Revenant). There was some question as to whether Gladstone would contend in lead or supporting. The buzz indicates the latter is more likely and it appears she’s a shoo-in for inclusion. I had her at #1 in my ranked predictions a few days ago and that may not change. A bigger question was Supporting Actor. It sounds like the role Jesse Plemons plays is relatively small (popping up in the third act). He could still sneak in (as he did in 2021 for The Power of the Dog). The studio’s campaigners could opt to throw their full attention to De Niro. The 79-year-old new dad looks to grab his eighth nod and first since 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook. You can pencil him in with DiCaprio and Gladstone.

Can you find the nominees in this picture? There could be plenty for Killers of the Flower Moon. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

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