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Contenders Film: Los Angeles Spotlights 28 Awards-Season Movies

Deadline’s Contenders Film: Los Angeles kicks off Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. PT spotlighting 28 movies, with panel discussions featuring cast and creatives from this awards season’s most talked-about films, including actors scheduled to return to post-strike duty from Margot Robbie, Bradley Cooper, Cillian Murphy, Jeffrey Wright, Colman Domingo, Lily Gladstone, Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson and Annette Bening to Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Carey Mulligan, Anna Kendrick, Eve Hewson and America Ferrara.

Click here to launch the livestream.

During the summer of 2023, with both the writers’ and actors’ strikes in full swing, the future of Contenders was by no means a sure thing. Indeed, SAG-AFTRA’s call to arms immediately preceded the extraordinary double whammy of Barbie and Oppenheimer, right at the moment when it seemed mainstream audiences were ready to go back to the cinema.

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After Contenders Film: London in October proved that the films themselves are the real stars, and producers, directors, cinematographers, casting directors, sound designers, costume designers, editors and animators all stepped forward to take the spotlight, telling candid stories of the incredible craft that goes on behind the scenes.

We were in the course of bringing that lesson with us to Contenders Film: Los Angeles when the actors’ strike ended — with the result that our panels were still adding talent as we went to print, so keep an eye out for some surprises not noted in this program.

This has all led to our most wide-ranging lineup yet, filling in the fascinating backstories behind so many of the films that have reignited the box office this year, from the action-packed John Wick: Chapter 4, to the franchise-reviving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, right up to Martin Scorsese’s critically acclaimed period thriller Killers of the Flower Moon, his first to put Leonardo DiCaprio in the frame with Robert De Niro and an attempt to right the wrongs of a historic crime that shocked America.

For sure, there will some big names from the directing world, like Michael Mann, who will be Zooming in to present his Italy-set motor racing saga Ferrari, starring Adam Driver and Penélope Cruz. Alexander Payne will be joining us to discuss his New England Christmas fable The Holdovers. Todd Haynes will be taking the stage for the first time since Cannes with the cast of his provocative drama May December. And, circumstances permitting, there may even be a surprise or two from the team behind Maestro, Cooper’s biopic of mercurial composer Leonard Bernstein, in which he stars with Mulligan as Bernstein’s long-suffering wife Felicia.

But Contenders is a broad church, and the panels will reflect that. While offering sneak previews of such films as The Color Purple, a musical reimagining of Alice Walker’s classic story by Blitz Bazawule, and The Boys in the Boat, a timely World War II period piece from director George Clooney, there will also be a chance to catch up with lighter but no less topical films. Like Flora and Son, about a struggling Irish single mom who gets the music bug, or Dumb Money, in which the wolves of Wall Street get a taste of their own medicine, or Cassandro, the outrageous story of a gay Mexican luchador.

Barbie and Oppenheimer, the unlikely kissing cousins that dominated the summer multiplex, will, of course, be handsomely represented. But it’s fitting that we’ll also be hearing from the makers of Creed III, the ninth installment of the Rocky franchise and a film that’s just as fresh to today’s audiences as the first was back in 1976. As boxer Adonis Creed knows, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

Check out below for today’s lineup rolling out live from the DGA Theater in Los Angeles, and follow along all day for panel coverage on Deadline and on our social channels via the hashtag #DeadlineContenders.

Deadline’s Contenders Film: Los Angeles

Panel schedule

8:30 a.m. PT – Livestream begins

UNIVERSAL

Oppenheimer

Cillian Murphy (Actor)
Emma Thomas (Producer)
Ellen Mirojnick (Costume Designer)
Jamie Leigh McIntosh (Hair Department)
Andrew Jackson (Visual Effects Supervisor)

WARNER BROS

The Color Purple

Blitz Bazawule (Director)
Taraji P. Henson (Actor)
Danielle Brooks (Actor)
Fantasia Barrino (Actor)

FOCUS FEATURES

The Holdovers

Alexander Payne (Director)
Dave Hemingson (Writer/Producer)
Kevin Tent (Editor)

COLUMBIA PICTURES

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Phil Lord (Writer/Producer)
Christopher Miller (Writer/Producer)
Kemp Powers (Director)
Amy Pascal (Producer)

COLUMBIA PICTURES/STAGE 6 FILMS/BLACK BEAR PICTURES

Dumb Money

Lauren Schuker Blum (Writer/Executive Producer)
Rebecca Angelo (Writer/Executive Producer)
Aaron Ryder (Producer)

DREAMWORKS ANIMATION

Trolls Band Together

Walt Dohrn (Director)
Gina Shay (Producer)
Anna Kendrick (Voice Actor)

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Freud’s Last Session

Matthew Brown (Writer/Director)

The Peasants

Hugh Welchman (Writer/Director/Producer)

AMAZON MGM STUDIOS

American Fiction

Cord Jefferson (Writer/Director/Producer)
Laura Karpman (Composer)
Hilda Rasula (Editor)
Cristina Dunlap (Cinematographer)
Jeffrey Wright (Actor)

Creed III

Irwin Winkler (Producer)
Elizabeth Raposo (Producer)
Keenan Coogler (Writer)
Zach Baylin (Writer)

The Boys in the Boat

Grant Heslov (Producer)
Tanya Swerling (Editor)

ORION STUDIOS/AMAZON MGM STUDIOS

Bottoms

Emma Seligman (Writer/Director)
Alison Small (Producer)
Rachel Sennott (Actor)

NETFLIX

Maestro

Bradley Cooper (Writer/Director/Producer/Actor)
Carey Mulligan (Actor)
Matt Bomer (Actor)

Nyad

Chai Vasarhelyi (Director)
Annette Bening (Actor)

LUNCH

NETFLIX

Fair Play

Chloe Domont (Director/Writer)
Alden Ehrenreich (Actor)

Rustin

Colman Domingo (Actor)
Branford Marsalis (Composer)

May December

Todd Haynes (Director)
Julianne Moore (Actor)
Natalie Portman (Actor)
Charles Melton (Actor)
Samy Burch (Writer)

WARNER BROS

Barbie

Greta Gerwig (Co-Writer/Director)
Margot Robbie (Actor/Producer)
America Ferrera (Actor)

AMAZON MGM STUDIOS

Air

Alex Convery (Writer)
William Goldenberg (Editor)

Cassandro

Roger Ross Williams (Director/Writer)
María Estela Fernández (Costume Designer)
Marcelo Zarvos (Composer)

The Burial

Maggie Betts (Writer/Director)

APPLE ORIGINAL FILMS

Killers of the Flower Moon

Lily Gladstone (Actor)
Jacqueline West (Costume Designer)
Julia O’Keefe (Osage Clothing Consultant)

Flora and Son

Eve Hewson (Actor)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Actor)
Gary Clark (Songwriter/Composer)

LIONSGATE

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Kelly Fremon Craig (Writer/Director/Producer)
James L. Brooks (Producer)
Julie Ansell (Producer)
Abby Ryder Fortson (Actor)

John Wick: Chapter 4

Chad Stahelski (Director-Producer)
Erica Lee (Producer)

PARAMOUNT PICTURES and NICKELODEON FILMS

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Jeff Rowe (Writer/Director)
Evan Goldberg (Writer/Producer)
Seth Rogen (Writer/Producer/Actor)

NEON

Ferrari

Michael Mann (Director/Producer)
Adam Driver (Actor/Executive Producer)
Penélope Cruz (Actor)
Shailene Woodley (Actor)

ILLUMINATION

Migration

Benjamin Renner (Writer/Director)
John Powell (Composer)

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