The 2024 awards season has felt unusually hectic so far, thanks to the strike-delayed Emmy Awards shifting from their usual fall airdate to January. To help make sense of it all — and unpack the discombobulated state of Hollywood now — these five podcasts offer a mixture of expert analysis and predictions for the major ceremonies, original reporting on the industry trends and behind-the-scenes machinations that influence voting, and reflections on Oscar front-runners of the past that probably shouldn’t have been.
This Vanity Fair series debuted in 2015, which means it’s been on hand to chronicle some of the weirdest moments in Academy history, like the 2017 Best Picture flub (when “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as the winner instead of “Moonlight”), 2021’s muted Covid-era ceremony held in a cavernous Los Angeles train station, and the slap heard around the world in 2022. But even when there’s nothing quite so unusual going on, the analysis here always makes awards season more interesting. Hosted by the Vanity Fair journalists Michael Hogan, Katey Rich, Richard Lawson and Joanna Robinson, the conversation is always exhaustive and packed with expertise, exploring not just the contenders for Hollywood’s top prizes, but also the campaigning and strategizing that shape the race. Since many Oscar journeys begin at film festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, Venice and Toronto, there’s no shortage of news and releases to cover year round, not to mention interviews; recent guests have included Andrew Scott (“All of Us Strangers”), Emma Stone (“Poor Things”) and Greta Lee (“Past Lives”).
Starter episode: “Oscar Voters, Start Your Engines”
There’s a peculiar category of film that debuts with great fanfare, attracts plenty of awards buzz, and then fades from the cultural consciousness without a trace (and no awards). Not all of the films discussed on “This Had Oscar Buzz” fall into that bracket, but, as the title suggests, the focus is on the movies that had that buzzy aura around them, at least for a while. An early episode about “Cake,” a 2014 movie starring Jennifer Aniston as a woman living with chronic pain, exemplifies what works so well about this format — Aniston was lauded for her playing-against-type performance and campaigned intensely during that awards season, but was famously snubbed on Oscar nomination morning. The hosts, Joe Reid and Chris Feil, don’t belittle either the performance or the hustle, but rather use the hype around “Cake” as a jumping-off point to discuss Aniston’s career and celebrity more broadly, alongside the ins and outs of how exactly buzz gets built in the first place.
Starter episode: “Alexander (With David Sims)”
Though not a traditional awards season podcast with predictions or play-by-play recaps, “The Town” is an invaluable resource for anyone hoping to understand the upheaval in Hollywood. Delivered in snappy episodes that clock in around 30 minutes, Matthew Belloni, a former editor of The Hollywood Reporter and a founding partner of the digital media company Puck, shares insights and exclusive reporting on the industry, whether the issue is last year’s monthslong writers’ and actors’ strikes, Disney’s succession woes or the cost-of-streaming crisis. In a recent episode, Belloni and Brooks Barnes, a Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times, went deep on the current state of the “unkillable” Golden Globes, which returned last year after a hiatus sparked by controversy surrounding its now-defunct unorthodox voting body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Traditionally the first awards show on the calendar — and the most chaotic — the Globes have proved to have more staying power than many predicted, and this analysis is a good resource for anybody wondering why.