Focus Features launched their 2019 awards site, with their contender listings and their respective categories. They include “The Mustang” from Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre, “Downton Abbey” from Michael Engler, and “Harriet” from Kasi Lemmons, which just premiered last night at the Toronto International Film Festival. More films are likely to be added throughout the first phase of the awards push including “Dark Waters” from Todd Haynes.
“Harriet,” that just had its world premiere at TIFF on Tuesday night, with positive notices to go around, is gearing to mount a rapturous campaign for the film and its talent. All the major categories are listed including Best Picture, Director (Kasi Lemmons), Actress (Cynthia Erivo), Supporting Actor (Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Vondie Curtis Hall), Supporting Actress (Janelle Monae, Jennifer Nettles), and Original Screenplay (Gregory Allen Howard, Kasi Lemmons).
Along with all the technical races listed and hoping to compete such as production design, cinematography, costumes, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, and original score, the film will also submit an original song. Produced by Erivo herself, along with Joshuah Brian Campbell, Will Wells, and Gabe Fox-Peck, the number “Stand Up” will offer another opportunity for Erivo to nominated, and perhaps even perform, as she sings the epic number.
“Harriet” will have its first awards screening in Los Angeles on Thursday, Sept. 12 @ 7:00 pm.
Not many shocking category surprises or placements to report thus far. “The Mustang,” which opened in theaters in March, following its bow at Sundance in January, listed all its eligible placements. With a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, could some key critical citations during the precursor awards help a campaign for Matthias Schoenaerts in Lead Actor or Original Screenplay for writers Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre, Mona Fastvold, and Brock Norman Brock.
No awards screenings have been set for “The Mustang.”
The big-screen version of the Emmy-winning “Downton Abbey” is gearing up for its Sept. 20 bow. Critics screenings have been happening over the past month but the film looks to hope for citations in tech categories such as costumes (Anna Robbins) and adapted screenplay (Julian Fellowes), which could benefit for a lackluster race developing there. And you can never count out Dame Maggie Smith for a mention, which could easily happen at groups like the HFPA.
“Downton Abbey” will have its first awards screening in Los Angeles on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 2:00 pm and in New York on Sept. 16 at 6:30 pm.
Focus Features has also not listed any of their features that didn’t fare so well this year including the thriller “Greta” with Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz, “Captive State” with John Goodman and Ashton Sanders, and “The Dead Don’t Die” with Adam Driver and Bill Murray.
Other studios have also had their soft awards launches with their websites.
Netflix has their listings with their already released slate that includes documentary hopefuls “American Factory,” “The Black Godfather,” “The Edge of Democracy,” “The Great Hack,” “Knock Down the House,” and “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese.”
Their early narrative features are also hoping for traction like “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” with Zac Efron‘s performance front and center, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” from first-time director Chiwetel Ejiofor, and “The Highwaymen” from John Lee Hancock. With the mixed reviews, we shouldn’t expect too much noise on that front as the months move on.
Look for their big ponies like “The Irishman” from Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, “Marriage Story” from Oscar-nominee Noah Baumbach, and “The Two Popes” from Fernando Meirelles to get a front-and-center fold on their marketing pages.
There is still plenty of road left, so just sit tight and watch it all unfold.
Look for the updated Oscar Predictions to include all these contenders on the Circuit Hub on Monday, along with Awards Circuit’s most popular “Awards Season Tracker.”