The Dukes’ Oscars Season: What to Look Out For


The Dukes are in the middle of their Oscars Season cinematic run, screening many of the awards favourites in the coming fortnight. From big, multi-nominated tentpole films to small, thoughtful indies, here are six of the films included in The Dukes’ run to add to your watchlists and check out at Lancaster’s artistic home.

Allowing fans of these films to watch them a second time or newcomers to experience the qualities that make every picture on this list a worthy part of this cultivated collection, The Dukes have organised a generous run. Greeted in the lobby by an Oscars-style red carpet photo opportunity, the tone for a wonderful experience is set straight away, before the atmosphere of an excited theatre draws you into the world of the film.

The majority of these films all have screenings in the next week, and a list of screening times for these films and more can be found here:


23rd March, 17:20 @The Dukes

Todd Field’s return to feature film directing has been met with widespread critical acclaim. It has a good chance of winning in its six nominated categories.

The film has received most of its attention for the captivating lead performance given by Cate Blanchett who portrays the fictional, single-minded conductor Lydia Tár. Her BAFTA win for Best Actress in a Leading Role suggested a repeat of that accolade at the Oscars will be likely, though she is still up against tough competition in Michelle Williams and Michelle Yeoh.

It has a chance in the Best Picture category but the smart money is on Everything Everywhere All at Once, while Todd Field is contending with exemplary work by Martin McDonagh, Daniels, Steven Spielberg and Ruben Östlund in a directorial category that is too tough to call.

Every nominated director also wrote or co-wrote their screenplays which are all nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category, where McDonagh or Daniels seem to be the most likely victors. In Cinematography, its subtly dark look may have made the right impression, but in Film Editing Everything Everywhere‘s ostentatious style might have drawn voters away from understated Tár.

To watch this at The Dukes amongst a packed audience was a simply marvellous experience.

Women Talking

14th March, 18:15 @The Dukes

Before its release, Women Talking was perceived as a heavy Oscars player with a star-studded cast with an important subject matter, but MGM’s release strategy and lack of promotion for the film led to it getting zeroed out at the BAFTAs. It eventually only got two nominations at the Oscars – Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.

Women Talking is adapted from a book of the same name by Miriam Toews, focusing on a remote Mennonite community where the men have collectively sexually abused the women. The women have limited time to discuss what to do for their future: do nothing, stay and fight, or leave.

Sarah Polley’s distinct direction is masterful in handling this empowering story, but the Oscars went for an all-male director line-up once again. Women Talking should have received some supporting actress nominations at the Oscars, especially for Judith Ivey, but vote-splitting amongst the cast might have led to none of them being nominated. Hildur Guðnadóttir’s distinct score was also snubbed at the Oscars.

Despite underperforming in nominations, Sarah Polley still looks strong in the Adapted Screenplay category after winning the Writers’ Guild of America Awards and the USC Scripter Award. She would be a deserving winner as her script is one of the strongest of the year and keeps the audience engaged in a long chamber piece.


Winning a number of awards at minor or independent ceremonies, Aftersun has made a major splash amongst audiences and critics alike. Charlotte Wells’ debut feature film has been praised for its direction and delicate handling of an intense subject, but it has won most admirers for the strength of its lead performances. Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio play father and daughter Callum and Sophie on holiday in Turkey, while the adult Sophie revisits the holiday through the MiniDV footage she recorded.

Mescal’s nomination for Best Actor is reward for a complex portrayal of a young father’s hidden struggle with bubbling mental health problems and is the only nomination received by the film. His 12-year-old co-star Corio also excels in her role as an adolescent coming into contact with the real world for the first time, but acting categories stacked with big names makes her exclusion from the Oscar nominations no great surprise. Audiences in my two viewings of the film at The Dukes responded with an equal measure of laughter and heartache at this perfect duo.

After a career start which has seen Mescal pick up two BAFTA nominations and one win, and now an Academy Award nomination, his star is becoming one of the very brightest in the film industry. With Aftersun being both Wells and Corio’s entry to feature filmmaking, the hope is that their obvious talents reward them with greater accolades in the future.

The Whale

19th March, 17:00 @The Dukes

Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale is about a reclusive teacher, Charlie, who suffers from severe obesity and attempts to reconcile with his estranged daughter. It is a gripping piece that traps Charlie in the 4:3 frame. Like many other Aronofsky films, it has received divisive reception for its heavy-handed approach to depicting obesity.

Aronofsky creates a sense of claustrophobia, aided well by a strong cast, including the Oscar-nominated Brendan Fraser and Hong Chau. Fraser has been neck-and-neck with Elvis‘s Austin Butler in the Leading Actor category at other ceremonies. Fraser is also riding on a strong comeback narrative as this is his first role after a long hiatus due to an incident where the then HFPA president sexually assaulted Fraser and blacklisted him from Hollywood for calling him out. When it comes to the Oscars, Butler’s transformative portrayal as a real-life icon in a biopic seems to align more with their taste. This year’s Best Actor race is unusually competitive, and it is hard to call who will win.

The Whale is also nominated in the Hair and Makeup category for the prosthetic fat suit on Brendan Fraser. The category has been leaning towards Elvis in guild awards, which could indicate that Elvis is likelier to take home the Actor-Makeup Oscar combo instead of The Whale.

All Quiet on the Western Front

18th March, 14:45 @The Dukes

Edward Berger’s adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s famous anti-war novel is one of the most nominated films at this year’s Oscars. It swept seven BAFTAs from 14 nominations in February, including in the major categories such as Best Film, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Cinematography.

Lacking any acting nominations at the Academy Awards, it is again gunning for recognition for its craft behind the camera, with all of its BAFTA winners being nominated for Oscars, except Edward Berger who has not received a nomination for his directorial exploits.

This snub casts doubt on the likelihood of a similar sweep across the pond, where titles like Everything Everywhere All at Once and Tár have received more of the pre-awards focus. Best Picture might represent too great a challenge for it as a result, but in the Adapted Screenplay category, its cultural capital makes it a good bet to supersede the competitors.

It is a favourite for Best International Feature, Volker Bertelmann’s bone-crunching Original Score, and Best Sound, and could win Best Cinematography, but this is always a competitive category. Against The Whale and Elvis in Makeup and Hairstyling, and Avatar: The Way of Water in Best Visual Effects it has little hope of winning.


21st March, 20:30 @The Dukes and 22nd March, 17:45 @The Dukes

Broker was Hirokazu Kore-eda’s follow-up to the Palme d’Or-winning and Oscar-nominated Shoplifters (2018). Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave was selected as South Korea’s entry for the International Feature category over Broker, but was not nominated either. The Oscars should look into awarding the category to the film’s director instead of following the rigid rule of one submission per country.

Broker is a story about Sang-hyeon (Song Kang-ho) and Dong-soo (Gang Dong-won), who steal babies from a church’s baby box to sell them to the adoption black market. They met So-young (IU), a young mum who joins their journey in finding new parents for her baby. It is a sweetly made family story about criminals, which some might regard as a rehashing of Shoplifters, but personally, Broker worked excellently and moved me to tears.

Despite watching it over half a year ago, IU’s performance in Broker is still resonant. In a world where the Oscars truly appreciate talents worldwide, IU should have at least been in the Supporting Actress conversation. It is a film worth checking out during the Dukes’ Oscars Season despite not being Oscar-nominated.

, , , , , ,
Similar Posts
Latest Posts from