The postponement of "Dune 2" has increased the chances of "Oppenheimer" at the 2024 Oscars

The postponement of "Dune 2" has increased the chances of "Oppenheimer" at the 2024 Oscars
Photo by Dan Meyers / Unsplash

There was a shake-up in the upcoming Oscar 2024 race this past week as Warner Bros. Studios officially postponed the premiere of the sci-fi film "Dune 2." It's a drastic move that could benefit the second most popular summer blockbuster, the biographical drama "Oppenheimer."

The first "Dune" won six Oscars - for design, camerawork, editing, sound, visual effects and original score. Judging by the trailer and early rumours, the second part could likely compete again in the same categories (perhaps even more). With Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan could clearly compete for awards in the same categories.

Plus, Universal Pictures is clearly set to win the award for best film of the year after failing with previous contenders - the war drama "1917" (2019) and Steven Spielberg's confessional "The Fabelmans" (2022). Throughout history, the most awarded Oscars have been historical films or pillars of their genres, such as James Cameron's "Titanic" (1997) and Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings 3: The Return of the King" (2003). Since the list of Best Film nominees expanded from five to 10 in 2009, there have been others that have dominated their respective ceremonies but fell short of the top trophy, such as "Gravity" (2013).

How many Oscars "Oppenheimer" can claim
Barring unforeseen circumstances (which can't be accounted for in Oscar season), "Oppenheimer" was early projected to receive 12 Oscar nominations - best film, director, actor (Cillian Murphy), supporting actor (Robert Downey Jr.), supporting actress (Emily Blunt), adapted screenplay, production designer, cinematography, costume design, editing, sound and soundtrack.

With so many nominations, Christopher Nolan's tale of the origin of the atomic bomb would rank alongside other iconic Hollywood films such as Ben-Hur (1959), Dances With Wolves (1990) and Schindler's List (1993). It would be in a favourable position if it could also find a way to attract additional nominations such as make-up and hair, visual effects or perhaps even a double nomination for Matt Damon's performance as a supporting actor.

Naturally, competition could come from strong contenders like Bradley Cooper's partially monochrome "Maestro" or the drama "Killers of the Flower Moon," not to mention the fact that "Barbie," which should be the highest-grossing film of the year, has every chance of being a "pink" engine that could pick up steam as awards season approaches.

But it's "Oppenheimer," with its more than $770 million in worldwide box office receipts and critical acclaim, that will benefit most from the absence of "Dune 2." In the so-called "technical" categories, that's for sure.