2020 is fast approaching, which naturally means the Oscar predictions 2020 are here. There are contenders from some of the industry’s most respected directors (Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman), previous winners experiencing a career renaissance (Renée Zellweger in Judy, Charlize Theron in Bombshell) and some late additions that have bypassed the festival circuit (Greta Gerwig’s Little Women).
Read more: Oscars 2020: Everything You Need To Know
The hottest Oscar 2020 contenders
Little Women (out 26 December 2019)
Greta Gerwig’s follow-up to her solo directorial debut, the Oscar-nominated Lady Bird, is a starry retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved 1868 novel. Saoirse Ronan is Jo March alongside on-screen sisters Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen and Florence Pugh, while Timothée Chalamet plays heartthrob Laurie. Add to that Meryl Streep and Laura Dern as matriarchs Aunt March and Marmee, and you have a masterfully cast, meticulously researched production destined to become an instant classic.
© Landmark Media/ Alamy Stock Photo
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (out now)
After its Cannes debut in May, Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to Hollywood received a standing ovation and a rapturous response from critics. Since then, an extended cut of the film has landed in theatres, adding 10 minutes of new footage and keeping it at the forefront of Oscar voters’ minds. Tarantino is among the favourites for Best Director, having never won the award before, while Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie are expected to score acting nominations.
© Andrew Cooper
The Irishman (out now)
As the godfather of gangster cinema, Martin Scorsese’s return to the genre was always going to be hotly anticipated, and The Irishman delivers on all fronts. Robert De Niro’s nuanced take on hitman Frank Sheeran makes him an early contender for Best Actor (it’s been over three decades since his last win, in 1981 for Raging Bull). Meanwhile, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci could face off in the Supporting Actor category, with their formidable turns as mob bosses Jimmy Hoffa and Russell Bufalino.
© Netflix 2019
Marriage Story (out now)
A poignant divorce drama is Noah Baumbach’s latest project for Netflix. It stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as a couple fighting for custody over their young son and reflecting on their relationship in the process. Although the pair are in the running for lead acting categories, Laura Dern’s standout performance as Johansson’s brassy lawyer is a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actress.
© Wilson Webb
Joker (out now)
Despite the controversy that has swirled around Joker since it scooped the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Todd Phillips’s reinterpretation of the super villain’s origin story has grossed over $900 million worldwide. Even if it misses out on a Best Picture nomination, Joaquin Phoenix is still the frontrunner for Best Actor in a career-defining turn that is both heartfelt and horrifying.
© Niko Tavernise
Parasite (out 7 February 2020)
When acclaimed auteur Bong Joon-ho received this year’s Palme d’Or for Parasite, a tragicomic thriller about the Korean class system, it became a contender for Best International Feature Film. However, following a successful theatrical run in the US and continued buzz around its talented ensemble cast, Best Director and Best Picture nominations may be on the horizon too.
© Entertainment Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo
Bombshell (out 24 January 2020)
The explosive true story of the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News is the subject of Jay Roach’s latest offering. Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman play anchors Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson (complete with prosthetic noses), while Margot Robbie is Kayla, a fictionalised amalgamation of several staffers. One nomination that is almost certainly guaranteed? Kazuhiro Tsuji’s for Best Make-up and Hairstyling (he won an Oscar in 2018 for transforming Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour).
© Hilary B Gayle
Ford v Ferrari (Le Mans ’66) (out now)
Christian Bale and Matt Damon team up in James Mangold’s high-octane drama about racing cars and corporate interference. Damon plays designer Carroll Shelby and Bale driver Ken Miles, who set out to build a Ford car that can beat a Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France.
With its crowd-pleasing set pieces, it could zoom ahead as the populist choice for Best Picture.
© Merrick Morton
Judy (out now)
Renée Zellweger has been long overdue a comeback, but her performance in Rupert Goold’s biopic, which chronicles the final year of Judy Garland’s life, transcends clichéd awards season narratives. At turns animated and anguished, it’s an extraordinary portrait of the troubled icon and is likely to earn her a Best Actress statuette, 16 years on from her Supporting Actress win for Cold Mountain.
© David Hindley/BBC Films/Kobal/Shutterstock
Jojo Rabbit (out 3 January 2020)
The Toronto Film Festival People’s Choice Award is a reliable indicator of a film’s awards season potential – its last seven recipients were nominated for Best Picture. This year’s winner is Jojo Rabbit, a pitch-black comedy from New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi. It centres on a young boy (Roman Griffin Davis) living in Nazi Germany who has an imaginary friend that resembles Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself). With its urgent contemporary resonances, the release has struck a chord with audiences and could secure Waititi acting, directing and screenplay nominations.
© Kimberley French
Hustlers (out now)
Lorene Scafaria’s sexy crime drama is the perfect vehicle for Jennifer Lopez, who single-handedly pushes it into the Oscars conversation. She plays Ramona, a stripper who lures her colleagues into a racket that involves scamming Wall Street bankers. Though aided by Constance Wu and Keke Palmer, Lopez remains the star attraction and a favourite for Best Supporting Actress.
The Two Popes (out 20 December 2019)
With its ravishing cinematography, witty script and charming performances by Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes has converted even the industry’s most committed sceptics. Far from being a stuffy story about the Catholic Church, Fernando Meirelles’s retelling of the 2013 Papal transition of power is warm, unexpectedly funny, and fully deserving of awards season recognition.
© Peter Mountain
The Farewell (out now)
“Based on a true lie” is the phrase that opens Lulu Wang’s semi-autobiographical comedy about family life. It follows Billi (Awkwafina), who visits her grandmother in China after she is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. But in keeping with local tradition, the test results are kept secret from the patient and so an impromptu wedding is organised as an excuse for a family reunion. Awkwafina’s bittersweet turn, as well as Wang’s script and direction, could lead to multiple Oscar nominations.
© Landmark Media/ Alamy Stock Photo
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (out 6 December 2019)
Tom Hanks plays children’s TV icon Fred Rogers in Marielle Heller’s latest tearjerker. Inspired by a 1998 Esquire article, it charts Rogers’s friendship with a journalist (Matthew Rhys) whose life is transformed by their encounter. Heller is owed a Best Director nomination – she missed out last time for Can You Ever Forgive Me? – but Hanks, as a Supporting Actor, may be the film’s best hope.
© Lacey Terrell
Waves (out 17 January 2020)
Heartbreaking and hallucinatory, Trey Edward Shults’s coming-of-age story about two American siblings is full of surprises. Chief among them are barnstorming performances from newcomers Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Taylor Russell, alongside a moving turn from Sterling K. Brown who plays their concerned father. Acting nominations aside, Drew Daniels’s dizzying cinematography and Oscar-winning duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s swooning score are also worthy of note.
© Landmark Media/ Alamy Stock Photo
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