Hollywood’s biggest night came and went in 2019 in grand fashion, as it does every year. Some awards were well-deserved, while others were subject to controversy and debate.
Regardless, people form their own opinions, and thus there is always disagreement over winners and losers. One thing I think we can all agree on, however, is that we love anticipating which movies are destined for Oscar recognition and glory.
Directors Jordan Peele and Ryan Coogler have shown us over the past couple years it’s never too early to start talking about the Oscars.
Peele’s social horror “Get Out” was quite the directorial debut. The movie first hit theaters February 24, 2017, and proved to be a smashing success not only with large audiences but with the academy as well. It earned four nominations, including best picture and best original screenplay.
Coogler’s cultural phenomenon “Black Panther” debuted in theaters February 17, 2018, and did wonders for Marvel at the box office and at the 2019 Oscars, earning seven nominations and three wins.
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Before it gets too late, it’s time to look at the year in film ahead and assess which movies will be in the mix for next year’s Oscars.
It should be noted that this year’s live action “Lion King,” “Toy Story 4” and “Avengers: Endgame” will not be a part of the following list considering their blockbuster status and universal recognition. These movies all have potential to be some of the best in 2019 and are all highly anticipated, but this list serves to recognize and describe the other big names in the field some may or may not have heard about yet.
“Us” (Universal Pictures, in theaters now)
Peele has done it again with his second social horror “Us.”
This movie cannot be previewed like the rest in this list, since it has already come out and I have seen it, but the movie is worthy of a spot on this list. The film has both generated substantial buzz following its success in its opening weekend and earned high praise from top critics. Peele beautifully blends comedy with truly thrilling, jarring and horrific moments while maintaining complete control of his art with striking cinematography. Every moment and detail count in this one, so viewers will surely be back for multiple showings.
Aside from some killer twists and shocking moments, perhaps the real highlight of the film is the haunting dual performance from Lupita Nyong’o. I do not want to say anything else about her character and performance other than that they are both terrific.
Winston Duke, who stars alongside Nyong’o, does a terrific job in his role, transitioning from warrior M’baku in “Black Panther” to an American father trying to make sense of the horrific situation he and his family are placed in. What stands out most about Duke’s performance is his comedic timing.
The movie is a lot of fun and one of the best experiences I have had at the theater in a while. Just as “Get Out” found its way to Oscar recognition and glory, look for Peele’s second flick to be in the conversation in multiple categories at the Oscars in 2020.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Columbia Pictures, July 26)
The expectations for any Quentin Tarantino movie these days are sky high, and understandably so. The one-of-a-kind director/writer’s ninth feature film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has been the talk of the town ever since the casting, and has intensified with a recent trailer release.
The film is set in 1969 Los Angeles and centers around an actor and his stunt double trying to make a name for themselves in Hollywood during the midst of the Charles Manson murders. Leonardo DiCaprio, fresh off his three-year acting hiatus following his Oscar-winning performance in “The Revenant,” stars alongside Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino and Bruce Dern. These stars lead a deep ensemble which includes big, familiar names like Dakota Fanning, Damian Lewis, Kurt Russell, James Marsden and more. From the trailer we can gather that DiCaprio plays the actor, Rick Dalton, while Pitt plays his stunt double.
With a filmmaker such as Tarantino, a legendary cast and an intriguing plot, how could this not be great? Look for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” to be a front runner for the Oscars’ biggest prizes next year following its summer release.
“The King” (Netflix, release date not set)
Netflix has yet to announce an official release date for their biopic about the reign of King Henry V in England. There are no further details on the plot other than the film is adapted from three different Shakespeare plays — Henry V, Henry IV Part I and Henry IV Part II.
Director David Michod (“Animal Kingdom,” “The Rover”) has taken the reins on this project as he looks to make his first appearance on an Oscar-nominated film. He also co-wrote the movie with one of film’s stars, Joel Edgerton.
The brilliant young actor and heartthrob Timothée Chalamet is poised to deliver his second Oscar-nominated performance as King Henry V. Chalamet earned a nomination at the 2018 Academy Awards for his leading role in “Call Me by Your Name,” but was snubbed this year for his supporting performance as the drug-addicted Nic Sheff in “Beautiful Boy.” This could be the perfect role and opportunity for Chalamet to bounce back quickly.
Alongside Chalamet is the aforementioned Edgerton, Ben Mendolsohn as Henry IV, and Robert Pattinson as the dauphin of France.
Anything with Chalamet is worth a watch and with such a dependable supporting cast behind him, keep tabs on any news regarding this Netflix flick. Nominations on the acting front are the safest bet right now for “The King.”