Scottish interest in the Oscars is usually fleeting, tangential, obscure or all three. Sure, Irish actor Paul Mescal made the shortlist at this year’s ceremony for his role in Aftersun, the feature debut of Edinburgh-born director Charlotte Wells.

And yes, Stirling-born ex-triathlete Lesley Paterson was nominated for her screenplay for All Quiet On The Western Front. But big name wins in the top categories? All quiet on pretty much every front – though honourable mentions to Tilda Swinton, Armando Iannucci and director Kevin Macdonald, who have all won or been nominated in the relatively recent past. By which I mean this century.

Nominations for the 2024 Oscars will be announced on Thursday and industry bible Variety is predicting another round of the Barbenheimer face-off, with both Greta Gerwig’s day-glo romp and Christopher Nolan’s deadly serious biopic expected to gain nominations in dozens of categories. Hear that? It’s the sound of a board being swept.

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That’s good news for Edinburgh boy (and new Doctor Who) Ncuti Gatwa, who has a small role in Barbie. But elsewhere it’s the Irish actors who will be smiling – Oppenheimer star Cillian Murphy, Saltburn’s Barry Keoghan and All Of Us Strangers pairing Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal. They are all in the running for nominations. And if you fancy an outside bet, try Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson for musical Flora And Son.

But there will be Scottish interest in the other sense of the word because one film tipped to scoop a handful of nominations is Poor Things, an adaptation by director Yorgos Lanthimos of a 1992 novel by none other than the late Alasdair Gray.

That fact is weird enough. But the Greek film-maker has also stuffed his film with A-listers in the form of Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe. Stone already has an Oscar for her mantle-piece courtesy of La La Land, and the other two have seven nominations between them. Title aside, Poor Things is rich.

The film had its glitzy UK premiere in London last Thursday, but its genesis lies in a meeting many years earlier and many hundreds of miles to the north – in Glasgow, to which Lanthimos brought himself and his long-standing admiration for the novel in a bid to persuade Gray to let him film it.

The celebrated author and illustrator walked his guest around his beloved city, showing him locations which feature in the novel or which inspired it. Gray was impressed by Lanthimos taking the time to visit, and liked what he was shown of the Greek’s work (especially Dogtooth, his very strange Greek language film). So he said yes, having previously turned down offers to film Poor Things.

“I’ve never read anything like it before, I was very taken by it,” says Lanthimos today. “Alasdair Gray’s novel is immediately something very visually striking and complex – the themes, the humour, and the complexity of its characters and language … [It is] a story about a woman’s freedom in society. ”

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Chances are that this year it won’t just be in Scotland that people come to the Oscars with renewed interest. The event is always popular and newsworthy, of course, but with two barn-storming movies leading the charge – movies which energised debate and were genuine cultural landmarks – and a long-running and wide-ranging series of strikes now in the rearview mirror of the industry’s Barbiemobile, it’s probably true for once to say: the Oscars are back, baby!

Or almost. Another reason to pay attention to the Oscars is that this has been an especially good year for sex scenes, at least according to American pop culture website, Vox. Poor Things is positively throbbing with them and there are much-discussed sexual encounters of all varieties in Oppenheimer, Napoleon, Passages, Saltburn and Beau Is Afraid to name just five.

But not everyone sees that as a good thing. In a social media post which has now had nearly 40 million views, a young American woman talks about not wanting to see sex scenes on screen and how, when her partner closed his eyes during Oppenheimer’s variant on the form, the pair figured he had missed absolutely nothing that was crucial to the plot. Backing that up, a study of Gen Z-ers conducted by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) found that nearly half of respondents thought sex scenes unnecessary. “God forbid any of these people see Poor Things,” was the slightly mocking opinion of Vox critic Esther Zuckerman.

I imagine most of the rest of us can hardly wait, however. Clothes on or off, the Oscars are back.