The 2019-20 awards season is in full swing. Sundance often brings a handful of early contenders, but this year was relatively light on narrative contenders: A24’s “The Farewell” broke out over the summer, and as ever, documentaries showed a stronger hand in Park City, with titles such as “Apollo 11,” “American Factory,” “One Child Nation,” and “Knock Down the House” all landing on the Oscar shortlist.
Several early releases are still standing in the Oscar race. Jordan Peele’s horror thriller “Us” scored $246 million worldwide for Universal, almost as much as the writer-director’s previous smash “Get Out” ($255 million worldwide), which earned four Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Daniel Kaluuya and Best Original Screenplay, which Peele won. Weighted with expectations, “Us” is a more polarizing effort but still boasts critical raves and strong Oscar buzz for Lupita Nyong’o’s double lead performance.
Cannes 2019 brought high-profile launches of Paramount’s “Rocketman,” starring Taron Egerton as Elton John, and Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” the latest effort from two-time Oscar-winner Quentin Tarantino, starring Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, who leads the Supporting Actor field. Both films are Oscar contenders for their respective studios.
Cannes is always a platform for the year’s foreign film contenders. Three films in competition at Cannes 2018 landed nominations: “Shoplifters,” “Cold War,” and “Capernaum.” And filmmakers such as Bong Joon-ho (“Parasite”), Pedro Almodovar (“Pain & Glory”), and the newcomer Ladj Ly all landed on the International feature Film shortlist.
The fall launched the usual onslaught of awards titles. Directors returning to the season include Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”), Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”), Marielle Heller (“It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”) and more. Scorsese’s “The Irishman” reunites the director with Robert De Niro in a gangster drama backed by Netflix. After “Roma” failed to win Best Picture this year over “Green Book,” the streaming giant is back in full Oscar campaign mode later this year with such titles as “Dolemite Is My Name!” starring Eddie Murphy and Fernando Mereilles’ “The Two Popes,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce.
Check out IndieWire’s Oscar predictions and full analysis for each category by clicking on the links below.
Best Documentary Short Subject
Best International Feature Film