Unlike most categories this month, Best Picture sees movement from every single film in the top 10 for August, not the least of which is a brand new #1 in Sony/TriStar’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which vaults from out of the top 10 all the way up to the top spot. The Marielle Heller-directed film about the relationship between beloved television icon Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) and Esquire journalist Tom Junod (Matthew Rhys) is set to world premiere at TIFF and not only seems like a prime candidate for Toronto’s People Choice Award (which 2019 Best Picture winner Green Book picked up first), feels like an elixir to the nonstop barrage of devastating social and political news we’re living in.
Nearly all of the moves up this month – ABDITN, Netflix’s Marriage Story, Sony/Columbia’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, A24’s The Farewell, Sony’s Little Women and Warner Bros’ Just Mercy – also saw coordinated moves up in Best Director.
Alternately, with the exception of Martin Scorsese for Netflix’s The Irishman, most of the red films this month saw their directors fall with them.
There are still some unanswered questions like will the Todd Haynes come out this year? Will it surprise show at Telluride? It’s slated for a January 2020 release in the UK, which should be a sign that’s going to be a 2019 release but Focus Features has been mum on it and the film still doesn’t even have an official title, much less a film still or anything to go from.
The new Watch Out For section sees some of last month’s Other Contenders moving up the ladder with a special eye on Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life. Curiously, both it and Jojo Rabbit feature Nazi-heavy themes but told in a very different way (straightforward drama vs extreme satire). It’s bold that Fox Searchlight, which is now owned by Disney (who are reportedly now very nervous about Jojo Rabbit and their base), has its two biggest awards shots tackling it from totally opposite ends. Will it work for them? Maybe. We know that year after year they are a superb studio for multitasking and juggling awards films but this year, with these two films, will be a true test.
This time next month, nearly all of these films will have been seen and the responses, both from critics and audiences, will have a significant impact on all predictions going forward. August is really the last ‘guessing’ month and what you see today could look very, very different come in 30 days.
Here are my 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions in Best Picture for August 16, 2019.
Green – moves up Red – moves down Blue – new/re-entry
1. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/TriStar – Nov 22) TIFF world premiere
2. Marriage Story (Netflix) Venice world premiere/Telluride/TIFF/NYFF
3. The Irishman (Netflix) NYFF world premiere
4. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia – 7/26) Cannes
5. The Farewell (A24 – 7/12) Sundance
6. Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight – Oct 18) TIFF world premiere
7. Harriet (Focus Features – Nov 1) TIFF world premiere
8. Little Women (Sony – Dec 25)
9. 1917 (Universal) December 25
10. Just Mercy (Warner Bros – Dec 25) TIFF world premiere
NEXT UP (alphabetical by film)
The Aeronauts (Amazon – Dec 6, theatrical / Dec 20, streaming) Telluride world premiere
Ford v. Ferrari (20th Century Fox – Nov 15) Telluride world premiere/TIFF
Motherless Brooklyn (Warner Bros – Nov 1) Telluride world premiere/TIFF/NYFF
Parasite (Neon – Oct 11) Cannes world premiere/Telluride/TIFF
The Two Popes (Netflix) Telluride world premiere/TIFF
WATCH OUT FOR (alphabetical by film)
A Hidden Life (Fox Searchlight – Dec 13) Cannes//Telluride/TIFF
The Laundromat (Netflix) Venice world premiere/TIFF
Pain and Glory (Sony Classics – Oct 4) Cannes world premiere/Telluride/TIFF
Untitled Todd Haynes aka Dry Run or Dark Water (Focus Features)
Uncut Gems (A24 – Dec 13) Telluride world premiere/TIFF
OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical by film)
Ad Astra (20th Century Fox – Sep 20) Venice world premiere
Cats (Universal – Dec 20)
The Goldfinch (Amazon/Warner Bros – Sep 13) TIFF world premiere
The Good Liar (Warner Bros – Nov 15)
Joker (Warner Bros – Oct 18) Venice world premiere/TIFF
The Last Thing He Wanted (Netflix)
Queen & Slim (Universal – Nov 27)
The Personal History of David Copperfield (TBD) TIFF world premiere
Radioactive (Amazon) TIFF world premiere
The Report (Amazon – Nov 15, theatrical / Nov 29, streaming) Sundance world premiere/Telluride/TIFF
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (Disney – Dec 20)
Untitled Roger Ailes Project aka Fair and Balanced (Lionsgate – Dec 20)
Us (Universal – Mar 22) SXSW
Waves (A24) Telluride world premiere/TIFF