Returning to the Oscar fray are frontrunner Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”), Kathy Bates (“Richard Jewell”) and Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”) along with newcomers Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh.
A multiple Netflix fall festival entry is the David Heyman-produced Noah Baumbach dramedy “Marriage Story” (December 6), starring Adam Driver, dual nominee Johansson and two-time nominee Dern (“Wild,” “Rambling Rose”) who boasts a showy supporting role as a fast-talking feminist lawyer. She took home a double win from the New York Film Critics Circle for “Marriage Story” and “Little Women,” as well as SAG, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Critics Choice wins. Dern is also earning kudos for HBO’s “Big Little Lies.” She’s a beloved child of Hollywood.
Johansson also delivers a strong Critics Choice and SAG-nominated performance in Taika Waititi’s Hitler satire “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight) as the activist mother of a lonely young Nazi enthusiast (Roman Griffin Davis) with an imaginary friend (Waititi) who battles for dominance with a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) hidden in their house. Clearly, the TIFF People’s Choice award-winner and popular hit has coattails.
Read: 2020 Oscar Predictions
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“I, Tonya” nominee Margot Robbie starred in two big 2019 movies, as Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino’s summer hit “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” as well as Jay Roach’s Roger Ailes docudrama “Bombshell” (December 20, Lionsgate). Robbie was nominated for her role as a fictional Fox News associate producer who took on the toxic male culture of Fox News along with Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman).
Emerging from the AFI Fest was Clint Eastwood’s solid true story “Richard Jewell,” featuring a strong performance by Kathy Bates (who missed a SAG nod), as a mother who loves her security guard son (Paul Walter Hauser), who turns from the hero who saved lives when a bomb exploded during the 1996 Summer Olympics to the victim of false accusations by the FBI. Bates landed Best Supporting Actress from the Globes and National Board of Review, 17 years after winning the same award for “About Schmidt.”
Florence Pugh as flirtatious, angry Amy has emerged from the starry ensemble of “Lady Bird” auteur Greta Gerwig’s latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic “Little Women” (December 25, Sony), but while critics’ groups have nominated Pugh, the late-breaking movie was snubbed by the SAG Awards.
As always, contenders are listed in order of their likelihood to win.
Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”)
Kathy Bates (“Richard Jewell”)
Florence Pugh (“Little Women”)
Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”)