The Palm Springs Film Festival opened last night, and it brought all the Oscar contenders out of the post-holiday woodwork. As proof that he does care about these things, Leonardo DiCaprio ditched Cabo earlier in the day, his p-ssy posse mates Tobey Maguire and Lucas Haas and current girlfriend, Vittoria Ceretti, in tow. He turned up in Palm Springs last night with Lily Gladstone, and all of his Best Actor competitors were there, too.
Cillian Murphy was the recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Award for an Actor, which is the squiggly thing he’s holding in the photos (like Leo he hit the carpet with his co-star, RDJ). It’s a considerable boost to his Oscar campaign—Murphy is not the most aggressive campaigner in the world, and he’s up against really stiff competition, so every pre-nomination event matters, especially Palm Springs, which caters to the elder set within the Academy. The membership push of the last few years has diluted their power, but not done away with it, and everyone was out to smile and gladhand before nominations open next week.
Paul Giamatti was also on hand, as was Jeffrey Wright, who received a career achievement award. These two are running “it’s his time” campaigns, and I honestly can’t tell you how it will work out for them. They’re both tremendously popular with their peers, widely admired, and both gave outstanding performances, in The Holdovers and American Fiction, respectively. Unfortunately for both of them, though, their performances lean into comedy, and they might split votes if people are indecisive about who was “funnier”—the disrespect for comedy is real, and I can see the Academy choosing one over the other rather than acknowledge multiple funny movies at once (especially as Barbie is already sucking up a lot of that oxygen in the room). If that benefits anyone, it will be Murphy.
Colman Domingo, however, refuses to be counted out. Though he is also great as a supporting actor in The Color Purple, he is campaigning as a leading man in Rustin. He was there with Lenny Kravitz, who is campaigning for Best Original Song for “Road to Freedom” (be prepared for Barbie to dominate that category, they could easily bank three nominations for songs).
We might well be looking at our Best Actor lineup right here: Cillian Murphy, Colman Domingo, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Although, we can’t count out Bradley Cooper and his sweaty performance in Maestro. One of these guys isn’t getting a date to the movie prom.