Sat. Jul 20th, 2019

2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions: BEST PICTURE (June)

The Aeronauts starts its ascent (Photo courtesy: Amazon Studios)

Is Fox’s Ford v Ferrari a commercial or awards push? Is it both? I’ve elevated the film in all categories this week, largely in part because of its early marketing rollout, but it’s tough to know how much anonymity Disney is going to give Big Fox (20th Century) and Little Fox (Searchlight) in the first awards season since the merger. I think it will make a play for both and the film moves up three spots this month and into the top 5.

I’m hearing good things about Amazon’s The Aeronauts, which reteams Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones (both for The Theory of Everything) in an elaborate, survivalist adventure story in a hot air balloon. It’s from Tom Harper, who has an indie feature – Wild Rose – opening in the US next week. The rise of The Aeronauts comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that the streamer intends to roll out their Sundance buy The Report, from executive producer Steven Soderbergh and starring Academy Award nominees Adam Driver and Annette Bening, for just two weeks in September before debuting on Amazon Prime Video. This is a reversal of how Amazon has been playing the theatrical release game for its films and, according to New York Times Carpetbagger Kyle Buchanan, it was partly at the request of Soderbergh himself. Interestingly enough, Soderbergh has his own streamer studio film – The Laundromat from Netflix – later this year.

Speaking of Netflix, their films continue to rise this month with The Pope moving up one and the upcoming Noah Baumbach entering the top 10 with what I’m told is his most accessible film and one that Netflix plans to push hard. Still, three films from one studio making it in is extremely unlikely. Not impossible, just unlikely. Hence, it’s why I’m keeping Martin Scorsese’ The Irishman at the top; it just makes the most sense.

Same goes for Sony this year. They have three major hopefuls but hard decisions will have to happen. The summer release of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood should prove to be a box office success but will the Oscars continue to bite? In most aspects I think they will. Marielle Heller’s Mr. Rogers pic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood has a nice third week of November bow but it could just be another Saving Mr. Banks. Greta Gerwig is back with a remake of Little Women, set for Christmas, which falls just out of the top 10 this month.

Universal, which just won its first Best Picture prize since 2001’s A Beautiful Mind this year with Green Book, has an excellent slate but they’ve never been the best campaigners here (it took huge critical support for Get Out before the studio did anything for it). Green Book basically fell into their lap and carried itself across the finish line. This year they have the Sam Mendes WWI epic 1917, the Melina Matsoukas romantic thriller Queen & Slim about a black couple who kill a police officer in self defense (written by Emmy winner Lena Waithe) and the horror/thriller/satire Us, Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his massively successful Get Out. Us is already a bonafide box office and critical success after its March release. Queen & Slim has an excellent end of November release date (making it a likely festival run) and 1917 is currently set for Christmas.

But wait, there’s more. They also have the long-awaited, long-gestating (like a hairball) feature film version of one of Broadway’s longest-lasting (and oft reviled) musicals, Cats. With a wildly eclectic cast that includes Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson and Ian McKellen and being shot in mo-cap with extra large sets for the actors to pounce around on, this is going to be one of 2019’s biggest flops or biggest surprises.

Here are my 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions in Best Picture for June 14, 2019.

Green – moves up Red – moves down Blue – new/re-entry

1. The Irishman (Netflix)
2. Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight) October 18
3. Harriet (Focus Features) November 1
4. Ford v. Ferrari (20th Century Fox) November 15
5. 1917 (Universal) December 25
6. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia) July 26
7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/Columbia) November 22
8. The Pope (Netflix)
9. Untitled Noah Baumbach (Netflix)
10. The Farewell (A24) July 12

NEXT UP (alphabetical)

The Aeronauts (Amazon) November 1
Just Mercy (Warner Bros) January 17, 2020
The Laundromat (Netflix)
Little Women (Sony/Columbia) December 25
Queen & Slim (Universal)

OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical)

Ad Astra (20th Century Fox) September 20
Antlers (Fox Searchlight)
Cats (Universal) December 20
The French Dispatch (TBD)
The Goldfinch (Amazon/Warner Bros) September 13
A Hidden Life (Fox Searchlight)
The Last Thing He Wanted (Netflix)
Motherless Brooklyn (Warner Bros) November 1
Nomadland (Fox Searchlight)
Pain and Glory (Sony Classics) October 4
The Personal History of David Copperfield (TBD)
Radioactive (Amazon)
The Report (Amazon) September 20
Rocketman (Paramount) May 31
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (Disney) December 20
Untitled Roger Ailes Project aka Fair and Balanced (Lionsgate) December 20
Untitled Todd Hayes aka Dry Run (Focus Features)
Us (Universal) March 22
Waves (A24)
The Woman in the Window (20th Century Fox) October 4

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