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2023 Awards Season Film Preview

Here are the most antipated films to look out for in theatres in the coming months.
Claire Peterson
(Design by Claire Peterson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


The Golden Globes and Academy Awards may be months away, but until then, the heavy hitters in those shows will be sneaking their way into theaters. To avoid missing out, or needing to rapidly catch up when nominations are announced, here are a few films to look out for in the remainder of 2023.

Anatomy of a Fall

This French courtroom thriller follows Sandra, a woman convicted of murdering her husband who must prove her innocence. The only witness to the death is her blind, 11-year-old son.

After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the film won the Palme d’Or, the highest award given at the festival. The film has been described as “tense” and “ambitious.” Many critics highlight the maturity and nuance of the characters and story.

This complex tale can be caught starting Oct 27.

The Holdovers

Director Alexander Payne’s newest feature takes place in the 1970s. A grumpy teacher at a boarding academy must watch over a group of students unable to go home over the Winter holidays. One of the students tests the teacher’s limit as the two clash, trapped together by circumstance.

While this premise may sound cliche and preachy, Payne is known for making truly heartwarming pictures with quirky twists like “Nebraska,” “The Descendants” and “Sideways.”  The film received glowing praise upon its premiere at the Telluride Film Festival. Critics claim the film ascends above its somewhat generic setup to tell a warm, funny and human story perfect for the winter season.

Escape the cold with this film starting Nov 9.


Bradley Cooper directs and stars in this biopic about the complicated life of influential American conductor Leonard Bernstein. Both Martin Scorsese and Cooper were at different times set to tell this layered story but the reins were given to Cooper following his directorial debut “A Star Is Born.”

Some may not know his name but most have heard Leonard Bernstein’s music through his countless classical pieces and work on musicals such as “West Side Story.” The musical genius’s life is one worth exploring as beyond his talents was a life of secrecy. Most notably, his marriage to actress Felicia Montealegre hid that he was a gay man.

Critics claim the film is led by two of the best performances of the year, that of Cooper and Carey Mulligan. The film studies their complex relationship while maintaining the legacy of Bernstein’s work.

This history of music, love and heartbreak can be seen in theaters on Nov 22.

Poor Things

“Poor Things” marks director Yorgos Lanthimos biggest and boldest movie to date. It follows naive Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist. She learns about the world around her and the prejudices of the times, determined to stay a free woman.

Lanthimos is known for creating strange, sometimes disturbing and often darkly comedic films. His latest project seems no different. After the success of his films “The Favorite” and “The Lobster,” it appears a studio has given him a sizable budget to let him build a detailed and absurd world that fits his chaotic characters and narratives.

The cast is star-studded featuring Emma Stone alongside Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo and Ramy Youssef. Premiering at the Venice Film Festival and hitting many others in the last few months, the picture has been given universal acclaim by everyone who has seen it.

This twist on the “Frankenstein” tale hits cinemas Dec 8.

American Fiction

Jeffery Wright stars as Monk, a novelist irritated by the success of Black entertainment using outdated and offensive cliches. When Monk writes a book featuring these tropes to prove his point, he finds himself twisted in the net of the world he sought to criticize.

Winning the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, this equally poignant and hilarious film has won over audiences with its smart and layered look at the Black experience. The wit of the script can be attributed to its writer and director, Cord Jefferson. Jefferson is most well-known for writing beloved shows such as “Master of None” and “The Good Place.”

This funny yet thoughtful piece can be seen in theaters starting Dec 15.

The Color Purple

In this musical retelling of the classic Alice Walker book, an African-American teenager named Celie struggles for empowerment in the face of abuse while growing up in early 1900s Georgia.

While the book was adapted in 1985 by Steven Spielberg, this new version is specifically an adaptation of the stage musical that first hit Broadway in 2005. Although Celie’s story can often be a difficult one to watch, it’s ultimately one of triumph and a reminder of our individual power. These themes are sure to be heard through the Tony-award-winning music.

The cast is stacked with talented people starring Taraji P. Henson, Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, Halle Bailey and Colman Domingo just to name a few. Critics have yet to see the film, but given the wide range of big names it has collected behind the camera including the original author, it’s safe to say it won’t disappoint.

The inspiring tale comes out Dec 25.


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About the Contributors
Graham Jones, Arts Writer, News For U Producer
Graham Jones was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and moved to Utah to study film. Despite his passion for cinema, Graham joined the Chronicle to engage with the University of Utah community and pursue his love for journalism. Outside of the student media office, Graham can be found buried deep into the pages of a graphic novel or lip-syncing to the greatest hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Claire Peterson, Designer
Claire has been a part of the design desk at the Chronicle since 2021. She’s a senior studying urban ecology with minors in geography and architecture. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, skiing, and paddle boarding.

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