From the looks of it, we have a bonafide Oscar juggernaut with Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon with Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio singled out as potential frontrunners in the acting categories. Gladstone, in particular, seems well positioned to run the gamut of Oscar season. Even if the film starts to pick up detractors here and there, praise for her has been unanimous. The viral video of her emotional reaction to the Cannes applause and standing-O coupled with the narrative that she almost quit the business make for an near-irresistible scenario for voters.
It’s always tricky to have to start the season at the top with nowhere to go but down, but the prestige involved here, along with the historical relevance, makes me think it has more than a good shot at holding onto its status in the months ahead, especially since we’ll be seeing more contenders in a few short months.
So far, the reviews coming out of Cannes have been positive, taking it to a 96 on Rotten Tomatoes:
Our critic Zhuo-Ning Su’s review is here.
Roger Friedman gives Killers of the Flower Moon an A+ and declares “Oscars for everyone,”
The Cannes audience is going wild cheering for Martin Scorcese and the cast of Killers of the Flower Moon. Brilliant film. May be the longest standing ovation ever. The Applause sounds like hard rain on a rooftop.
Oscars for everyone.
Scorsese turned the story of the murders of the Osage Indians in Oklahoma into a mob allegory and a cinema classic at the same time. It’s a thrillingly intimate and powerful film that is the equal of any of the directors’ other hits and his best film since “Wolf of Wall Street.” Or maybe ever. Scorsese is a mind blowing director aided by editor Thelma Schoonmaker, another genius.
Leonardo Di Caprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone lead a superb cast who are always spot on and insanely good as they tell this story, which really happened, and is adjacent to the tragic killings of Blacks in Tulsa that led to the Juneteenth memorials.
Screen International’s Fionnuala Halligan writes:
Killers Of The Flower Moon is to be savoured as elevated cinema, each frame a picture moving towards a goal. Not just in the more bravura camera sweeps, but the very construction of even the most — deceptively — simply-staged scenes.
The film will open in theaters in October before heading to AppleTV.
DiCaprio and De Niro have traditionally been muses for Martin Scorsese, and even if this isn’t as fast-paced as audiences are used to, it tells an important story and it’s one that many Americans don’t even really know about.
I would take much of the hype around it right now with a grain of salt. We have many months to go before the Oscar race settles in. Perhaps this is inevitable but making this movie the frontrunner, then feeling the need to take it down, is an ongoing drag of Oscar season every year.
Either way, it’s off to a great start.