The 2020 Oscars are hitting the calendar earlier than usual, with the Oscar show on February 9. This year’s returning hopefuls include Oscar winners Renée Zellweger (“Cold Mountain”) and Charlize Theron (“Monster”).
“Judy” (Roadside/LD Entertainment) marks the return of “Bridget Jones” star Zellweger as she takes on aging chanteuse Judy Garland. The film, written by Tom Edge (“The Crown”), covers the singer’s final 1968 concerts in London. Frontrunner Zellweger is on winning streak, sweeping the drama Golden Globe, Critics Choice, BAFTA and SAG awards. It’s hers to lose.
Making a splash is multi-talented British singer-actress Cynthia Erivo (“Widows”) who stars in the title role of abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ biographical drama, “Harriet,” a fall hit for Focus Features. Erivo landed Critics Choice, Globe and SAG nominations but was surprisingly overlooked by BAFTA.
Netflix played multiple fall festivals to great acclaim for “Marriage Story,” a relationship drama from New York writer-director Noah Baumbach, which boasts two juicy lead performances from once-nominated Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”) and first-time nominee Scarlett Johansson as a couple going through a fractious divorce. Marvel star Johannson landed dual actress and supporting nods from CCA, SAG, and BAFTA.
Hitting the year-end holiday season is Baumbach’s partner Greta Gerwig’s follow-up to Oscar-nominated “Lady Bird,” the writer-director’s adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott children’s classic “Little Women” (December 25, Sony). Gerwig reunites with “Lady Bird” stars Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet as Jo and Laurie. Ronan scored her fourth Oscar nomination; she nabbed nods from critics groups and BAFTA, but missed a SAG mention.
Also heading into the holidays, Jay Roach’s Roger Ailes docudrama “Bombshell” (December 20, Lionsgate) boasts an embarrassment of riches for the actresses playing the women who took on the toxic male culture of Fox News. The main adversary for the Fox News czar (John Lithgow) is Megyn Kelly, played by chameleon Theron, who earned her third nomination; the film landed a coveted SAG ensemble mention, and Theron landed SAG, BAFTA and Globe nods.
As ever, contenders are listed in order of their likelihood to win.
Renée Zellweger (“Judy”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”)
Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”)
Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”)