Awards Profile 2019: Rian Johnson’s ‘Knives Out’ from Lionsgate

Welcome to the 2019 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you in the coming year (at least at this time of writing). The series analyzes the films and their awards season potential, most notably for the Academy Awards, based on the talents attached, filmmakers involved, and story and source material.  Monday through Friday until mid-May, AwardsCircuit will bring you a new and exciting project and discuss its chances for success.  If you have a suggestion for a movie we should cover, include it in the comments section below.  If you miss a film covered, click on the tag or category for “Awards Profile.”

FILM: “Knives Out”

DISTRIBUTOR: Lionsgate
DIRECTOR: Rian Johnson
PRODUCERS: Rian Johnson, Ram Bergman, and Tom Karnowski
WRITER(S): Rian Johnson
CAST: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, LaKeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer, and Don Johnson
SYNOPSIS: Plot unknown. Described as a modern murder mystery in a classic whodunit style. (IMDB)
SCHEDULED RELEASE: November 27, 2019

POTENTIAL HIGHLIGHTS:

For a film we know little to nothing about, “Knives Out” remains one of my most anticipated films this year. I’ve made no secret about my love for Rian Johnson’s “Looper,” listing it among the best films of 2012, and the star-studded troupe of actors and actresses assembled has me salivating for November. Johnson re-teams with some of his “Looper” crew, including film composer Nathan Johnson and cinematographer Steve Yedlin, while bringing on additional talent – such as two-time Oscar nominee Drew Kunin (Sound Mixing) – to help bring his film to life.

POTENTIAL CHALLENGES:

With a capable director and one of the best casts you will see this year, it’s hard to single out any potential challenges this far out. It makes it especially difficult to assess the award chances of “Knives Out” while we are still collecting information about the plot of the movie.

Cited in our 2017 Spotlight section of our annual Breakthrough Performers list, Ana de Armas has all the makings of a potential star. IMDb has the future headliner listed first in their casting credits, leaving one to speculate on the size of her role. If she has one of the leading roles in the film, is the mostly unproven Cuban actress up for the challenge of carrying an A-list heavy ensemble? While my money is on de Armas, this remains a question mark for the film.

POTENTIAL AWARD CATEGORIES IN PLAY:

  • Motion Picture (Rian Johnson, Ram Bergman, and Tom Karnowski)
  • Director (Rian Johnson)
  • Actor in a Leading Role (Daniel Craig)
  • Actress in a Leading Role (Ana de Armas)
  • Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Shannon, Christopher Plummer, and Don Johnson)
  • Actress in a Supporting Role (Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, and/or Katherine Langford)
  • Original Screenplay (Rian Johnson)
  • Cinematography (Steve Yedlin)
  • Film Editing (To be announced)
  • Original Score (Nathan Johnson)

POTENTIAL KEY NOTICES FROM OTHER GROUPS

  • Best Performance by a Cast Ensemble (SAG Awards): Large and spectacular casts have missed with SAG many times (think: “Widows”), but with a wide variety of nationalities heading the film, “Knives Out” could end up a favorite for this award.
  • Best Original Screenplay (WGA): Several critics groups heralded Johnson’s screenplays for “Looper” and “Brick.” One of the most inventive storyteller’s working today, could a WGA nomination be the next step in the filmmaker’s career?
  • Best Lead Actor (Oscars): Aside from a BAFTA nomination for his performance in “Casino Royale,” Daniel Craig has yet to receive any attention from major awards bodies despite several prolific performances. Could this be the right role to earn the acclaim that has long evaded the talented British actor?

Are you excited or skeptical about Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out?” Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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