Oscars

Oscars 2020: Best Picture Predictions

Updated February 22, 2019
11 min read

I know what you are thinking. This early? I also know some of you might be suffering a hangover of the Oscars this year. But what better way to get rid of that hangover than start looking ahead. “Forget the past and look towards the future.” If you believe in this mantra in your personal life, why not also follow that the same here, in the world of Oscar predictions. In any case, I have mentioned this time and again that I enjoy the process much more than the goal. So, while we are at it, let’s have some fun and predict the ten movies that look as the strongest contenders for Best Picture Oscar next year.

The below ten movies have been selected carefully based on several factors: pedigree of the makers behind the film, past track record of the director, release date, studio, star cast… the list goes on and on. Despite my expertise and past record, I don’t claim that every single movie on this list will make the nomination list next year. There will always be movies that will come out of the left field and take everyone by surprise — as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ proved this year and ‘Moonlight’ in 2016. I particularly welcome such movies as well. There is nothing more satisfying that being blown away by a film that you knew nothing about from before. Having said that, my intention here is to only highlight films that have the best possible chance on paper. Whether you care about Oscars or not, there’s no question that you will find these films exciting and worth waiting for.

10. The Laundromat

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Melissa Rauch, Gary Oldman, Meryl Streep, Alex Pettyfer, David Schwimmer, James Cromwell, Matthias Schoenaerts, Antonio Banderas

Synopsis: Saga of journalists unearthing the Panama Papers scandal — a massive tax-evasion scheme involving 11.5 million files, secret banking accounts, powerful political figures.

Oscar Prospects: Steven Soderbergh, who took a temporary hiatus, seems to be back in his prolific form. The Laundromat will be his second film this year — but of course of higher pedigree. This will also be his first Oscar-calibre film in several years. With Netflix’s marketing muscle behind the film, I won’t be surprised if it makes into the Best Picture nominee list, especially considering its all-important subject material.

9. The Report

Director: Scott Z. Burns

Starring: Adam Driver, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Morrison, Annette Bening

Synopsis: The time after 9/11 was one of the most difficult times in the history of America. The country was in massive upheaval and the sense of strong patriotism became the means of justification for all sorts of activities. The CIA had been actively working in catching the perpetrators to bring them to justice. However, their means of interrogation weren’t something that everyone would agree with. While preparing his report on the CIA’s Interrogation Program, Senate staffer Daniel Jones found himself in disagreement with their methods and tirelessly worked to bring their actions to light. This film tells the story of one man who fought against both the CIA and the White House to get his report published.

Oscar Prospects: The film played at Sundance this year to super-positive critical response. But that’s not the reason why I am predicting this as a strong Best Picture contender. Here’s the actual reason: Amazon acquired film’s right at an astronomical price of $14 million. Clearly, Amazon wants to get into the Oscar game and seems to be banking big on this film. There’s another reason the film will do well with Oscar voters: In this super-charged political climate, any film that sends out a strong anti-Trump message is bound to get bonus points for just that.

8. The Goldfinch

Director: John Crowley

Starring: Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Finn Wolfhard,

Synopsis: The film follows a child, Theodore Decker, who survives a terrorist bombing at Metropolitan Museum of Art — an attack that kills his mother. From there, he tumbles through a series of adventures that finds him living in Las Vegas with his deadbeat father and, later, involved in art forgeries. The film is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning book by the same name. In October 2017, after a two month casting search, Ansel Elgort was selected to portray the lead role of Theodore “Theo” Decker, following his breakout turn in Baby Driver. Later that month, in light of his recent performance in Dunkirk, Aneurin Barnard was cast as Boris.

Oscar Prospects: John Crowley directed my favorite film of 2015: Brooklyn. Surprisingly, not just me, but almost everyone loved that film. Of course, it will be difficult for Crowley to replicate the success of Brooklyn, but I am very hopeful. The Goldfinch is scheduled to release in the middle of Oscar season (Oct 11th) and that’s a big hint in itself. Also, with so many big names associated, it is highly likely that we have a strong Oscar contender on our hands.

7. Gemini Man

Image Courtesy: imdb.com

Director: Ang Lee

Starring: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen

Synopsis: The film follows the life of Henry Brogen, an aging assassin seeking to exit his career finds himself going against a younger clone of himself, who can predict his every move. ‘Gemini Man’, based on a concept by Darren Lemke, was originally slated to be produced by Walt Disney Pictures along with Jerry Bruckheimer in 1997. At the time, Disney’s now-defunct animation/visual effects department The Secret Lab developed a test short, known as Human Face Project, to create visual effects for the film, which would involve creating a younger CG clone of the main actor. In 2016, Skydance Media acquired the film from Disney, with Jerry Bruckheimer still attached as producer.

Oscar Prospects: I know this might feel a long shot to many because it is a science fiction film. But there are three reasons I am hopeful about the film: Ang Lee. Ang Lee. Ang Lee. I am also aware that Lee’s last film was a big failure. Frankly, that’s why I am expecting Gemini Man to be nothing short of extraordinary. If there’s one thing that we know about Ang Lee, it is that he knows how to make great comeback. If he can turn a fantastical story like Life of Pi into an Oscar contender, why not a science fiction film.

6. The Woman in the Window

Image courtesy: imdb.com

Director: Joe Wright

Starring: Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Wyatt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry, Fred Hechinger

Synopsis: This film is based on the novel of the same name by A.J Finn and follows an agoraphobic child psychologist who witnesses a crime while spying on her neighbors, leaving her to determine whether to alert the police.

Oscar Prospects: Joe Wright has made several major Oscar contenders in the past (most recently, Darkest Hour). Even though, this film is a mystery drama — unlike Wright’s previous films, most of which have been period pieces — I am hopeful because of the presence of so many heavyweights in the film. Talk about assembling a star cast. Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman. You can’t do better than this. Another important sign is film’s release date (Oct 4th), which is in the middle of the Oscar season.

Read More: Upcoming Amy Adams Movies

5. Little Women

Director: Greta Gerwig

Starring: Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Bob Odenkirk and Meryl Streep!

Synopsis: Louisa May Alcott’s autobiographical account of her life with her three sisters in Concord, Massachusetts in the 1860s. With their father fighting in the American Civil War, sisters Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth are at home with their mother, a very outspoken women for her time. The story tells of how the sisters grow up, find love and find their place in the world.

Oscar Prospects: Greta Gerwig made the best film of 2017. ‘Lady Bird’ was among the three Oscar frontrunners for Best Picture that year. Will she repeat her success this year? Isn’t this a remake? Well, Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born is also a remake. And look how well it did on all fronts — box office, critics and Oscars. So, why not Gerwig? Over the years, Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of the same name has acted as an inspiration for several stories, having been officially adapted onscreen seven times. The eighth adaptation comes in the form a Greta Gerwig film.  She has already hinted that she will be tinkering with the storytelling format. Whether that works or not, only time will tell, but we have our hopes high.

4. A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

Director: Marielle Heller

Starring: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Enrico Colantoni

Synopsis: Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor.

Oscar Prospects: Marielle Heller’s last film, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, is an exceptionally well-made film that deserved to be nominated this year. With A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, she will have another shot at the glory. What is great about this film is that a super-likable guy is playing another super-likable guy. Academy voters will find it hard to ignore Heller this time around.

3. Fair and Balanced

Director: Jay Roach

Starring: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Allison Janney, Kate McKinnon, Malcolm McDowell, Mark Duplass, Alice Eve, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Liv Hewson, and Alanna Ubach

Synopsis: This film is based on the novel of the same name by A.J Finn and follows an agoraphobic child psychologist who witnesses a crime while spying on her neighbors, leaving her to determine whether to alert the police.

Oscar Prospects: It’s been more than two years since sexual harassment allegations against Fox News founder triggered a worldwide phenomena, which would be later known as #MeToo. Despite several feministic themed movies made during this time, there hasn’t been a single film that truly defined this #MeToo era. Could this be that film? Going by its strong female casting, I am pretty sure that if this hits all the right notes, we might be looking at our next Best Picture winner.

Read More: Upcoming Charlize Theron Movies

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Damian Lewis, Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning and Lena Dunham.

Synopsis: A faded TV actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of the Hollywood Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.

Oscar Prospects: ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ has been one of the most anticipated films ever since the film was announced. And why not? The name “Quentin Tarantino” is enough to warrant attention. In this case, it is not just one name, but several names — Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino — that only add to the excitement. Tarantino has won two Oscars before — both for Best Original Screenplay. He has not won Best Director or Best Picture prize. Can you believe that? Someone who arguably is the most influential director of past two decades has not been considered worthy enough to be rewarded with the topmost achievement for filmmaking. I am hopeful that that will change this year. A summer release works in favor of the film. The film will undoubtedly be a monstrous box office hit, and an early release date means any controversies surrounding the film would have died down by end of the year.

Read More: Upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio Movies

1. The Irishman

Image Courtesy: imdb.com

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Bob Cannavale, Stephen Graham, Ray Romano and Anna Paquin

Synopsis: The film  is based on the book  I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt that tells the story of Frank Sheeran, a WWII veteran, who becomes an American labor union official and alleged hitman for the mob. De Niro plays the lead role of Frank Sheeran.

Oscar Prospects: I think Scorsese should be awarded with an Oscar just for assembling that star cast alone. No kidding. Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino in one film? I can’t wait for the film. My excitement aside, we are also looking at a major Oscar contender. You might have to hold your breath for a while when I tell you that Netflix has spent over $140 million on the film. Yup, you read that right. And that doesn’t even include the marketing cost of the film. To give you a better idea of how expensive the film is, ‘Iron Man’, with all its CGI, cost $140 million. It is clear that Netflix is here to stay. With Roma’s big Oscar success this year, don’t be surprised if 2020 also belongs to Netflix.

Read More in Oscar Predictions:

Best Actress | Best Actor Best Director

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