How Many Oscars Will Dunkirk Win? And Can It Also Win Best Picture?

Many of you might be wondering what are Dunkirk’s Oscar chances?

Even though it is way too early to start talking Oscars, I prefer to wait until TIFF to get into that world, there can be no denying Dunkirk seems to be a major Oscar contender.

Dunkirk is the kind of big historical film the Academy loves, with its recreation of the massive evacuation at Dunkirk of more than 300,000 soldiers, both British and the allies. Utterly surrounded by the German army, they must find a way out or be decimated by the powerful Nazis.

Christopher Nolan, one of the finest directors working today, has yet to be nominated for an Oscar as Best Director, despite recognition from the DGA. How did the Academy miss him for The Dark Knight (2008) still the greatest comic book, super hero film ever made? Single handedly he turned a relatively new genre into art. Nominated for a whopping eight Academy Awards, how does critically acclaimed work miss the top two categories? Well, it’s the Oscars, and last year taught us there are no sure things, not ever.

Bear in mind, all war films are forever measured against Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998), which lost the top Oscar! Dunkirk is a very different war film, surreal in that we never see the enemy, but we feel their presence.

John’s Take:

Best Picture: With the ridiculous number of nominations for Best Picture, it seems likely Dunkirk will be among them. It is too big a film, and far too good, not to be nominated.

Best Director: Dunkirk should get Nolan his first nomination as Best Director, but there are a lot of films to be seen yet, and more than one are generating Oscar buzz.

Acting categories: I doubt the film will receive any acting nominations because there is just not enough dialogue from any single character.

Screenplay: Not enough dialogue, sorry, though the Academy nominated The Artist (2011) for Original Screenplay and it was a silent film! It could sneak in here based on the love for Nolan and/or the historical content.

Best Cinematography: The best bet. A no brainer given the films magnificent look and feel.

Sound mixing and Sound editing: Very likely to win given the film’s startling recreation of combat.

Best Original Score: Has Zimmer score builds tension and certainly deserves a nod.

Best Film Editing: Very likely to win, given the win for Hacksaw Ridge (2016) last year.

Best Visual Effects: Again, very likely to win. Though they tend to go with sci-fi or fantasy films for this one.

Production design: Possibly, a win. Nomination, certain.

Costume design: Would get nominated but won’t win.

At the end of the day Dunkirk is such a massive undertaking it could lead all nominees with as many as eleven nominations. No acting nominations will hurt its Best Picture chances, but then again, it did not hurt Braveheart (1995).

Gautam’s Take:

My overall take is that ‘Dunkirk’ will do as well as ‘Gravity’ in 2013, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ in 2015. Basically, it will be a technical juggernaut and will sweep almost all below the line categories.

Best Picture: It will certainly get nominated. No question about it. Will it win? Difficult to say as of now since we haven’t seen most of the contenders yet. On top of that, Best Picture prize over last couple of years have become political. So, it may sway in the direction political wind blows.

Best Director: The Academy won’t be able to ignore Nolan this time and he will get his first Oscar nomination. I am going to stick my head out and say he is very likely to win.

Acting categories: Agree with John. It won’t get any nomination. Mark Rylance is its best shot. Having said that, the film might actually win SAG Best Ensemble.

Screenplay: It will get nominated, but not enough in the screenplay to warrant a win.

Best Cinematography: It will win.

Sound mixing and Sound editing: 100%. It will win both the categories.

Best Original Score: Will get nominated. Win, not certain.

Best Film Editing: Likely to win.

Best Visual Effects: Likely to win.

Production design: Nomination guaranteed. But win not certain.

Costume design: Nomination guaranteed. But win not certain.

Overall, it will receive anywhere between 10-12 nominations and may end up winning 6 to 7.