Academy Awards: Hüller, Wenders, Çatak - Wer holt die Oscars 2024?

Some filmmakers should have acceptance speeches ready.

Academy Awards: Hüller, Wenders, Çatak - Wer holt die Oscars 2024?

Some filmmakers should have acceptance speeches ready. Cillian Murphy (47), for example, is considered a sure winner at the 96th Academy Awards on March 10th. With his role as physicist Robert Oppenheimer, co-inventor of the atomic bomb, the Irish star has already won countless trophies in the current awards season. The historical drama “Oppenheimer” leads the race for the world’s most important film award with 13 nominations. Director Christopher Nolan and leading actor Murphy could receive their first Oscar ever.

Oscars "Made in Germany" 

It would also be the first Oscar gold for Sandra Hülser, Wim Wenders and Ilker Çatak. Hülser, who comes from Thuringia and lives in Leipzig, has already written a piece of Oscar history with her leading role in the legal drama “Anatomy of a Case”. The 45-year-old is the first German actress to be nominated for Best Actress since the 1930s. At that time, Luise Rainer, who was born in Düsseldorf and lives in Hollywood, won two Oscars in a row for her roles in “The Great Ziegfeld” (1937) and “The Good Earth” (1938).

Wim Wenders has already been nominated for a documentary Oscar three times, but has always come away empty-handed. Now, at the age of 78, the German directing legend could receive the long overdue Oscar for his poetic film “Perfect Days”. The story of a man named Hirayama (Koji Yakusho), who works as a toilet cleaner in Tokyo, enjoys reading and listening to rock music, is in the running for Japan in the "International Film" category.

The Oscar in this category could also go to Germany with the social drama “The Teacher’s Room”. Director Ilker Çatak (40), who was born in Berlin and grew up partly in Turkey, turns a school into the scene of a complex conflict. At the center is a young teacher (Leonie Benesch) who wants to solve a series of thefts. The gripping film deals with prejudices, debate culture and the pressure on teachers.

A year after the sensational Oscar success of the anti-war epic "All Quiet in the West" with four trophies, including the foreign Oscar, German filmmakers are once again showing a strong presence in Hollywood.

Huller in the spotlight

In "Anatomy of a Case" by French director Justine Triet, Hülser shines as a successful writer who comes under suspicion of murder after her husband's death and has to defend herself in court. However, Oscar predictions give their US colleagues Lily Gladstone ("Killers of the Flower Moon") and Emma Stone ("Poor Things") the better chances. Gladstone would be the first Indigenous leading actress to win an Oscar.

But no other German actress has recently been in the international spotlight as much as Hülser. This was also the case recently at the awarding of the French César trophies, when the German woman, visibly surprised, won the award for best actress. She wouldn't have expected that, especially not as a German. “On set, language and origin were not a barrier, but an opportunity,” she said in French.

US trade publications are full of praise for Hülser. The renowned magazine “The New Yorker” dedicated a 7-page portrait to her. It also highlights her courageous role in "The Zone of Interest" by British director Jonathan Glazer. Hülser plays the wife of concentration camp commandant Rudolf Höß (Christian Friedel), who lives with his family in a large house right next to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Both Hülser films are each nominated for five Oscars, including the top category “Best Film”.

“I’m just happy that both films have received such great recognition and that all of our work is so recognized,” said Hülser in an interview with dpa after the nominations were announced. "It's just a very nice feeling that this space is getting so big in which this is visible. That's really great." But with that comes fame and increased interest in her person, which the theater and film actress sees critically. "People think that you belong to everyone or that you now have a duty to the public," she recently told the New York Times.

Records and rarities

Justine Triet (45) is also in the spotlight as the director of “Anatomy of a Case” - she is only the ninth woman ever to be nominated in the “Best Director” category in the long Oscar history. There she meets Christopher Nolan ("Oppenheimer"), the Greek Giorgos Lanthimos ("Poor Things"), the Brit Jonathan Glazer ("The Zone of Interest") and the Hollywood veteran Martin Scorsese ("Killers of the Flower Moon") ), at 81 years old, the oldest directing award contender ever, as the film academy announced.

“Oppenheimer” goes into the Oscar race with 13 nominations - and has a chance of setting a record. So far, three films have won 11 Oscars each: "Ben Hur", "Titanic" and "The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King". If “Oppenheimer” can now convert at least 12 nominations into awards, that would be the new top spot.

The bizarre Frankenstein adaptation "Poor Things" has the second most chances of winning (11) - with a fearless Emma Stone. Martin Scorsese's drama "Killers of the Flower Moon" is nominated ten times.

At 92 and with his 54th Oscar nomination for the music of Indiana Jones and the Wheel of Fortune, composer John Williams is the living filmmaker with the most Oscar nominations. Walt Disney (1901-1966) holds the Hollywood record with 59 Oscar chances. Williams has already welcomed five golden boys, the last one exactly 30 years ago for “Schindler’s List”.

Stars at the gala

The Academy is already getting in the mood for the gala with big names: US comedian Jimmy Kimmel is hosting for the fourth time. Celebrities such as Al Pacino, Nicolas Cage, Michael Keaton, Jennifer Lawrence, Zendaya and Jamie Lee Curtis help distribute prizes as “presenters”. Performers included Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell and Hollywood star Ryan Gosling with their nominated "Barbie" songs "What Was I Made For?" and "I'm Just Ken" announced. An Oscar for one of the two songs could be the “Barbie” consolation. The biggest box office hit of 2023 is in the running with eight nominations, including for supporting actor Gosling and for best film, but without leading actress Margot Robbie or director Greta Gerwig. For her, the pink Oscar dream has already burst.