January 03, 2020
It doesn’t feel like five minutes since Olivia Colman fan-girled over Glenn Close, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper got very cosy indeed and Rami Malek fell off the stage, and yet we’re already on the road to the 2020 Academy Awards.
Oscars 2020 Predictions: 18 Films From The Last Year To Look Out For
And while plenty of the reported frontrunners in the upcoming Oscars race are yet to be released in the UK (think Parasite, Uncut Gems, Jojo Rabbit and The Lighthouse), a lot of them made their debut in 2019, and of those that did, these are the ones worth keeping an eye out for when the nominations are announced...UsReleased: 22 March
Summary: Lupita Nyong’o comes face-to-face with her croaky-voiced dopplegänger and, rather than offering a throat sweet, fights her to the death.
Why is it one to watch?: Us was the follow-up to Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, Get Out, which scooped four Oscar nominations in 2018, including a Best Picture nod and a win for Best Original Screenplay.
And even though critics were pretty divided on whether Us lived up to its predecessor, there was still enough noise around its release that it’s fair to assume it’ll be getting some awards buzz, particularly when you throw in the critically-lauded performances (plural!) from its leading star Lupita Nyong’o, herself already an Oscar-winner.
The only thing that might work against Us is that it was released so long ago that the Academy might have forgotten about it when it comes to voting time, not to mention horror is famously a hard sell when it comes to awards season (just ask Ari Aster and Luca Guadagnino, whose films Hereditary and Suspiria were both paid dust in 2019).RocketmanReleased: 22 May
Summary: Bohemian Rhapsody, but with Elton John.
Why is it one to watch?: To be honest, if you’d asked us this time a year ago, we’d probably have told you that this wouldn’t have been a film that would be bothering the Academy, but given that critics essentially described Rocketman as “Bohemian Rhapsody but better”, and the Queen biopic did so well in 2019, we could see this Elton John film following suit.
Like Rami Malek, Taron Egerton could well land his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Sir Elton, and after Bohemian Rhapsody managed to scoop a Best Picture nomination, we can’t say we’d be totally surprised if Dexter Fletcher’s follow-up managed to pull off the same feat.BooksmartReleased: 27 May
Summary: Two best friends decide they’re through with playing by the rules, and have one wild night out together before graduating high school.
Why is it one to watch?: Listen, this may well just be wishful thinking from us, as Booksmart didn’t exactly make a huge splash or set the box office alight upon its release, and comedies have a tendency to be unfairly overlooked when awards season comes round.
That being said, critics and cinema-goers loved Booksmart, so it would be nice to think that enough of the Academy would vote in favour of Olivia Wilde’s progressive and smart – but also silly and heartwarming – film, in some way or another, as the Golden Globes did, where the comedy was nominated in two categories. We’re not holding our breath, but stranger things have happened.Toy Story 4Released: 21 June
Summary: A talking fork meets loads of Disney characters from your childhood and triggers some class of existential crisis.
Why is it one to watch?: The latest instalment in what has turned into the Toy Story saga follows Toy Story 3, which became only the third animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture, after Beauty And The Beast and Up.
The reception to Toy Story 4 wasn’t quite as glowing as its predecessors, so we’d be shocked if it were to get the same recognition, but it’s a dead cert for a Best Animated Feature nomination, and we’d say Randy Newman’s music being nominated in some capacity is pretty likely too.The Lion KingReleased: 19 July
Summary: Beyoncé.
Why is it one to watch?: We tipped The Lion King for an Academy Award back in 2017, when Beyoncé was first rumoured to be involved in the project, and if Spirit, her new addition to the soundtrack, isn’t among the contenders for Best Original Songs we’ll be very, very surprised.
We’re already thinking about how iconic her performance during the ceremony will be, to be honest.
As for the film in general, we think its similarities to the original will probably hold it back from any of the bigger categories, but despite being billed as a “live-action remake”, it’s almost entirely CGI, so we’d be interested to see whether it qualifies for Best Animated Feature, alongside Disney’s other two major offerings in 2019.Once Upon A Time In HollywoodReleased: 14 August
Summary: Quentin Tarantino pays homage to the feet that walked around LA in the late 1960s.
Why is it one to watch?: Well, because literally every review of this film we read discussed its Oscars potential, to be quite honest.
Quentin Tarantino is yet to win an Oscar for Best Director, but this could easily be his year, while Brad Pitt and the film itself are both shoo-ins for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor nods.
Margot Robbie’s much-hyped performance as Sharon Tate is realistically too small a role to warrant a Best Supporting Actress nod, but we reckon Leonardo DiCaprio could well be about to snag his sixth nomination too, depending on how fierce the competition is.Pain And Glory (Dolor Y Gloria)Released: 23 August
Summary: Antonio Banderas has a long hard think about his life choices.
Why is it one to watch: Pain And Glory already won a heap of praise before awards season was even on the horizon. It was nominated for the Palme D’Or at Cannes, where Antonio Banderas was also awarded the Best Actor title, so he’s certainly one to keep an eye out for when the Oscars rolls around again.
The film has already been submitted as Spain’s choice for the Best International Film category, and with all of the buzz it’s received it’ll almost certainly be nominated, though whether it can take down Parasite for the title is another matter...HustlersReleased: 13 September
Summary: Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu go car shopping and play Gimme More by Britney Spears. We think other stuff happened too.
Why is it one to watch?: As soon as the first round of critics saw Hustlers, there was talk of Jennifer Lopez scoring her first ever Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the stripper Ramona. We assumed they were just being enthusiastic, but she genuinely is excellent, and the thought of writing “Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lopez” – or, dare we say it, “Academy Award winner” – is something that fills us with genuine joy.
We were really excited to see Hustlers, expecting it to be a fun way to spend a couple of hours, but it was actually so much more than that. It is undeniably one of our favourite films from the last 12 months, so we’d love to see any sort of recognition for it at the 2020 Oscars beyond a nod for J-Lo too.Downton AbbeyReleased: 13 September
Summary: The King and Queen come to Downton Abbey and essentially everyone loses their shit.
Why is it one to watch?: Yeah, we know that feature-length adaptations of ITV dramas don’t exactly scream “Oscar bait”, but it’s worth remembering that nestled among the cast is literal Dame actual Maggie Smith, who does a very good job at bringing her iconic Dowager Countess character to the big screen.
Given Downton’s popularity overseas, she shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to that Best Supporting Actress category.The FarewellReleased: 20 September
Summary: Awkwafina makes a trip to China to spend time with her grandmother, who has no idea she’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Why is it one to watch?: In short, The Farewell is the best film we saw in 2019. It looks gorgeous, it’s beautifully written and every single person in the cast does a brilliant and convincing job in their role.
Leading star Awkwafina is the obvious pick when it comes to acting nominations (like Jennifer Lopez, “Academy Award nominee Awkwafina” has such a fabulous ring to it), but what we’d love just as much would be for her on-screen “Nai Nai”, Zhao Shuzhen, to get some recognition too.
Best Director, Best Cinematography and even Best Picture would be completely deserved too, but our only fear is that it maybe didn’t make enough of a splash upon its release to be considered among 2019’s bigger hitters. Still, after Lulu Wang was famously snubbed at the Golden Globes, we’d love to see the Oscars giving her the plaudits she deserves.JudyReleased: 2 October
Summary: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, S04E08.
Why is it one to watch?: Two words: Renée Zellweger. Although she appeared in Bridget Jones’s Baby in 2016 and the Netflix camp-a-thon What/If last year, Judy marked Renée’s return to the world of mainstream cinema, and what a film to do it with.
After some time out of the spotlight, the Judy Garland biopic allowed the already Oscar-winning star to remind everyone exactly what she’s capable of, and while we’re not sure how popular the film itself will be come awards season, we’d be very shocked if Renée wasn’t on the shortlist for Best Actress.JokerReleased: 4 October 2019
Summary: Joaquin Phoenix spends an hour and a half laughing maniacally and killing people, before putting on clown make-up and dancing down some steps.
Why is it one to watch?: Love it or hate it (and we’ve made our stance pretty clear), there’s no ignoring the billion-dollar success Joker has had, and given how staunchly the film’s devotees feel about it, it’s a safe bet it’ll be up for a fair few Oscars in 2020.
Critics have suggested that Joaquin Phoenix is the one to beat when it comes to Best Actor, but considering some of 2019’s Best Picture nominees, Joker is more than likely to be on that shortlist in 2020 too, especially as it received the Golden Lion at Cannes, the last two recipients of which were Best Picture winner The Shape Of Water and Best Picture nominee Roma.The IrishmanReleased: 8 November
Summary: 50 years of Frank Sheeran’s life, played out pretty much in real time.
Why is it one to watch?: Of all the films on our list, The Irishman is the one that feels most like an Oscar film, probably because it harks back to huge films like The Godfather and Goodfellas.
Critics loved it, but perhaps more importantly, so did plenty in the film industry, meaning stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino – not to mention director Martin Scorsese – should probably clear their diaries for the 2020 Oscars (even if their film runs for roughly as long as the average Academy Awards broadcast).
Plus, all the trickery done to make the actors look younger is bound to get some recognition in either special effects or hair and make-up.Marriage StoryReleased: 15 November
Summary: A crippling reminder that break-ups are the absolute worst.
Why is it one to watch?: All three of its principal stars – Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver and Laura Dern – have received widespread praise for their performances in Marriage Story, as has director Noah Baumbach, who also wrote the film.
We’re predicting big things for this one when the time comes for the year’s Oscar nominations.Frozen IIReleased: 22 November
Summary: Anna and Elsa were going to live happily ever after, but Disney decided to cash in on a sequel, so more things happened to them.
Why is it one to watch?: The first Frozen film was nominated for two Oscars, and won both of them, so with film critics loving the sequel – some of whom have even suggested it surpasses the original – a repeat performance could definitely be on the cards.
Frozen II is pretty much a dead cert not just for a Best Animated Feature nomination, but also Best Original Song (let’s just hope they have someone other than John Travolta introducing the performance... although now we’ve said it, let’s hope they have John Travolta introducing the performance).The Two PopesReleased: 29 November
Summary: What happens in the rare event that a Pope is alive to help coach his successor.
Why is one to watch?: After proving a surprise hit after its debut, The Two Popes looks set to be another awards season hit for Netflix, thanks in no small part to its two stars, Jonathan Pryce and Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Both actors have been at the centre of awards chatter, but even after almost 50 years in the entertainment industry, the former is yet to receive an Oscar nomination – so imagine the buzz if 2020 were to be his year. CatsReleased: 20 December
Summary: A load of celebrities leaping about pretending to be cats.
Why is one to watch?: The Cats trailer was one of the most frightening things the public was subjected to in 2019 (and that’s saying something), but while we don’t expect the film’s special effects will be winning awards any time soon, we thought Taylor Swift’s new addition to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s soundtrack could well kick off the star’s 2020 with her first Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.
However, recent reports have suggested that Universal are is no longer putting Cats forward for the Oscars, meaning Taylor’s first Academy Awards nom may still be a little way off.Little WomenReleased: 27 December
Summary: It made Moe cry on The Simpsons, and Joey had to put it in the freezer on Friends.
Why is one to watch?: First of all – have you seen the cast? Saiorse Ronan! Florence Pugh! Meryl Streep! Timothée Chalamet! Laura Dern! Emma Watson! Names! Names! NAMES!
And speaking of names – Little Women is the second film to be helmed by Greta Gerwig, one of only five women to have been nominated for Best Director at the Oscars, for the so-good-we-still-get-a-bit-emotional-talking-about-it Lady Bird.
Depending on how the Academy is feeling, we could easily see Greta picking up her second nomination in a row (even if the Globes didn’t feel like recognising any women in 2020), while Saiorse could well bag her second nod for Best Actress, too.
And let’s face it, if there’s one thing the Oscars are big fans of, it’s rewarding Meryl for the absolute bare minimum, so expect something to come her way for Best Supporting Actress too.
The 2020 Oscars will take place on 9 February, while the nominees will be announced on 13 January.READ MORE... All The Key Cameos In Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon Time In Hollywood 9 Recurring Symbols And Easter Eggs In Jordan Peele's Us Explained The Cats Trailer Reaction Is A Refreshing Reminder Of What Unites Us
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