2020 OSCAR PREDICTIONS: It’s never too early to begin looking at the landscape of the upcoming Oscar season. Just yesterday, the 2020 Telluride Film Festival opened their box office for forthcoming festivities that kick off Labor Day weekend and sold out in a record 20 minutes (Myself, along with Mark Johnson and J. Don Birnam will be in attendance).
If you have been listening to the last two weeks of “Circuit Breaker” podcasts, including the one released today, we’ve been previewing the film slate for each studio and what they may offer to the conversation this year.
Today on The Circuit Hub, the collection of predictions for all award shows on AwardsCircuit.com, we’ve finally completed the first full rankings for the 93rd Oscars, 78th Golden Globes, and the 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Some administrative items to note on The Circuit Hub:
- You may notice two new categories added to the Oscars: “Stunts” and “Casting.” It has been rumored that the Academy is heavily considering the addition of one or both of these categories to their annual award show, but any Academy representative has not confirmed this. To push them accordingly in the “addition” direction, we will begin predicting both of these possible categories until AMPAS adds them to their roster. We believe wholeheartedly that these two talents and jobs within a film are equally vital and worth citing in any award show (at AwardsCircuit, we’ve added them both to our annual “AwardsCircuit Community Awards” for our readers to vote upon). Note to AMPAS if they’re reading, do the right thing, and include these men and women among your annual honoring of achievements.
- You may have noticed in the final weeks leading to the Oscar ceremony; the Circuit Hub was very glitchy in terms of presenting the official predictions, and the ability to make your own predictions. We are working on a new design and plan on bringing to all of you by May 1, the 12 year anniversary of AwardsCircuit.com. Stay tuned for more.
- The sliders on the front page have had a few issues as well (as still seen by it showing pictures of “The Irishman” and “Parasite”). We are aware and have also put that on our list of things to fix.
- The first wave of Emmy Predictions should be up and revealed by next week. Be sure to come back and tune in as they will be updated every week as well.
- None of the other precursors on The Circuit Hub have been updated yet: DGA, PGA, BAFTA, Critics Choice, and WGA. They will also be given some attention over the next few weeks. We’re asking readers with any award shows to be added to put the requests in the comments below for consideration.
Now that we have that out of the way let’s discuss what’s happening when we know nothing yet.
Chloé Zhao‘s “Nomadland” has been given my one-year look treatment as “the one to beat.” It should be noted that I have not been correct on this front since my tradition began in predicting these films one year out, but I’m ready to be right one day, and we hope it would come in the form in a second female-directed Best Picture winner. When Zhao blazed onto the scene with “The Rider” in 2017, the indie world knew she was something special. Evidently, studio executives did as well, giving her the keys to not just “Nomadland” but the next Marvel endeavor “Eternals.” She looks to be set up for a great year ahead. Karen Peterson reflects on these thoughts in the Awards Profile for “Nomadland.”
We’re excited for a slew of musicals dropping this year most prominent is “In the Heights” from “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu. A celebration of Latinx culture is very much overdue, and in the hands of co-producer and stage co-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, we expect a respectful, highly entertaining feature to kick off the summer.
Latinx culture will also be celebrated in Steven Spielberg‘s remake of “West Side Story” with Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler in the lead roles. While remakes are not really a popular thing around these parts, it’ll be appealing to see Latinx roles played by Latinx actors. We’re also putting a lot of faith in Ariana DeBose to nail the famous character of Anita, the part that won Rita Moreno her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1961.
Amazon Studios’ “Annette” from Leos Carax is probably my most anticipated film of the year as it brings the vocal power of Adam Driver, who already broke us down with his rendition of “Being Alive” in “Marriage Story,” and Marion Cotillard, who introduced sexy and heartbreak in the underwhelming “Nine.” The chemistry of these two may be a sight to behold.
We’re also sitting patiently for Ryan Murphy’s “The Prom” that may present a valiant effort at another original musical, especially with the likes of Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep, a part of the cast.
One last musical to include is the adaptation of “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” from Jonathan Butterell and 20th Century Studios. Starring Max Harwood in the lead role, along with recent Oscar-nominee Richard E. Grant, this could be a crowd-pleaser amid the awards season, bowing in late October.
Netflix’s slate is robust as ever with features coming from Spike Lee (“Da 5 Bloods“), Ron Howard (“Hillbilly Elegy“), George C. Wolfe (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom“), Charlie Kaufman (“I’m Thinking of Ending Things“), and more. All eyes and punditry will be on their collaboration with David Fincher taking on screenwriter Heman J. Mankiewicz’s writing of the iconic “Citizen Kane” in his film “Mank.” With a stellar cast that includes Academy Award winner Gary Oldman in the title role, along with Lily Collins, Amanda Seyfried, and Tom Burke as Orson Welles, this could be up the Academy’s alley.
We are also thrilled by Warner Bros. slate that brings the next effort from Denis Villeneuve with the remake of the cult-classic “Dune” with Timothée Chalamet along with aforementioned “In the Heights.” They’re also set up for a big return at the box office as Christopher Nolan‘s “Tenet” and Patty Jenkins‘ “Wonder Woman 1984” are sure to draw huge crowds.
But their passion for an awards play can be focused elsewhere as they take on the upbringing of Venus and Serena Williams with “King Richard” from Reinaldo Marcus Green, his follow-up after 2018’s “Monsters and Men.” Starring Will Smith as Richard Williams, the pro-tennis pair’s father, this could be an opportunity for the two-time Oscar-nominated actor to go back to his greatness that was displayed in films like “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Smith also serves as a producer on the picture.
The other effort is the still-untitled Fred Hampton project starring Oscar-nominee Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”) as the famed Black Panther founder. With producing power from Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”) and Charles D. King (“Mudbound”), we expect the sophomore directing effort from Shaka King to be a breakout for him.
Interesting note, the film also marks the very first time a former AwardsCircuit staff writer is featured on one of our Oscar Prediction pages, as the film is co-written by Keith and Kenneth Lucas, more famously known as “The Lucas Bros.” Keith Lucas served as a staff writer here at AC from 2008 until about 2010 while he attended Duke University Law school. We’re super proud and wish him and his brother a fruitful (still unbiased!) road ahead.
Other interesting crumbs from the prediction pages include:
- We have six people of color listed in the top five of the acting categories for the Oscars. We do not support or believe in “tokenism” rather just believe there are quality performances out there if people subject themselves to them. This is still one person short of the record set in 2007 when there were seven.
- The directing lineup has two people of color, Zhao and Chu, both of which are in the top spots respectively.
- Zhao will be just the sixth woman nominated for directing following Greta Gerwig for 2017’s “Lady Bird.” If “Nomadland” is nominated for Best Picture, she will be the 15th woman to ever direct a Best Picture nominee, and first Asian filmmaker to do so. This may also be the first time in AwardsCircuit history that a woman is listed on the predictions with more than one project (cannot confirm this but it based on what little research was done, this seems correct, anyone?)
- Chu would be the fifth Asian man nominated for directing (seventh time overall as Ang Lee has been nominated three times, winning twice).
- There are thirteen women listed in the Best Director Oscar category and we know we are missing a few. Share those in the comments section below.
- If Will Smith is nominated for “King Richard,” he will be the third most nominated black actor in Oscar history with three behind Morgan Freeman (with five) and Denzel Washington (with eight).
- The current list of possible double nomination threats for this year a la Scarlett Johansson this past year: Bill Murray (“On the Rocks” and “The French Dispatch”), Adam Driver (“Annette” and “The Last Duel”), Tom Hanks (depending on category placements for “News of the World,” “Greyhound,” and “BIOS”), Timothée Chalamet (“Dune” and “The French Dispatch”), Matt Damon (depending on category placement “The Last Duel” and “Stillwater”), Angelina Jolie (depending on category placement “Those Who Wish Me Dead” and “Eternals”), Toni Collette (“Nightmare Alley” and “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”), Tilda Swinton (“The French Dispatch,” “Memoria,” and “Three Thousand Years of Longing”), Michelle Pfeiffer (“French Exit” and “Turn of Mind”), David Strathairn (“Walkaway Joe,” “Nomadland,” and “Nightmare Alley”), Chadwick Boseman (depending on category placement “Da 5 Bloods” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Willem Dafoe (“Nightmare Alley,” “Siberia,” and “The French Dispatch”), Frances McDormand (“Nomadland” and “The French Dispatch”), and Glenn Close (depending on category placement “Hillbilly Elegy” and “Four Good Days”).
- If the late Jack Fincher, father of director David Fincher, is nominated in Best Original Screenplay for “Mank,” he will be the 10th person posthumously nominated for a writing Oscar. If he wins, he will be the second after Sidney Howard won in 1939 for “Gone with the Wind.”
- Who are the individuals who can receive the MOST Oscar nominations in one night (at this time of writing) if Lady Luck breaks their way? Here’s the list:
- Guillermo del Toro – 5 nominations
- Best Picture (“Antlers,” “Nightmare Alley,” “The Witches”)
- Best Director (“Nightmare Alley”)
- Best Adapted Screenplay (“Nightmare Alley”)
- Tom Hanks – 5 nominations
- Best Picture (“Greyhound” and “News of the World”)
- Best Actor (“Greyhound” and “News of the World”)
- Best Supporting Actor (“BIOS”)
- Best Adapted Screenplay (“News of the World”)
- Chloé Zhao – 4 nominations
- Best Picture (“Nomadland”)
- Best Director (“Eternals” and “Nomadland”)
- Best Adapted Screenplay (“Nomadland”)
- Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner
- Best Picture (“Kajillionaire,” “Minari,” “Irresistible,” and “Blonde”)
- Guillermo del Toro – 5 nominations
- What records can be broken this year?
- If Meryl Streep gets nominated again for “The Prom,” she extends her record to 22 Oscar nominations for acting.
- If Glenn Close is nominated and were to lose again for either “Hillbilly Elegy” and/or “Four Good Days,” she extends her record for most nominations without a win.
- Possible EGOT Alerts! – James Earl Jones (“Coming 2 America”), Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In the Heights”), Lily Tomlin (“The Road Home”), and Cynthia Erivo (“Needle in a Timestack”)
- If Saoirse Ronan is nominated for either “Ammonite” or “The French Dispatch,” she will be the youngest actress to achieve five acting nominations in her career.