Films To Look Out For This Awards Season (Part 2)

  1. Joker (Warner Bros)

            Of all the films in the conversation for Best Picture, the biggest question mark is Joker, Todd Phillip’s villain origin story that aims to critique modern society through the lens of 1981 Gotham City. This film has been a box office juggernaut, grossing $1 billion worldwide, the first R-rated film to do so. It’s also been a massive hit with audiences, no doubt becoming a classic for many. 

            However, the critical response has been a bit more divided, with many calling the film irresponsible, and some just not enjoying it. Plus, the Academy has a bias against comic book films, although they famously nominated Marvel film Black Panther for Best Picture last year. Also working in this film’s favor is that it won the Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice International Film Festival this summer. Past winners include Best Picture winner The Shape of Water (2017) and Best Picture nominee Roma (2018). As such, I think this film is hard to ignore, especially Joaquin Phoenix’s universally-praised performance as the titular character.

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Production Design.

  1. Little Women (Sony)

            The Academy simply loves period pieces, and they also love director Greta Gurwig, so this is a very safe bet. Out of the last nine Best Picture winners, five of them were period pieces. And I see them treating this film no differently, as Little Women is a classic story, having been remade a plethora of times, which may seem like a negative, but with films like these, it may actually help (see A Star is Born from last year’s Oscars). Also look to Lady Bird (2017), Greta Gurwig’s directorial debut, which was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture.

            The stars seem aligned for this to get a lot of attention at ceremonies this season. Sure, no one knows the quality of the film yet, as it has only been screened once for a small audience. But, I think it’s fair to assume it will be a part of the Oscars this year.

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Florence Pugh), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design.

  1. Marriage Story (Netflix)

            Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is one of the most exciting awards pictures of the year. Telling the story of a relationship through its end, this film displays a divorce that spans coast to coast, and has the couple’s child caught in the middle. Reviews claim that Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are fantastic, both giving career-best performances in a movie that is both powerful and entertaining. I, for one, am very excited to see this movie, and it seems like a film the Academy would enjoy. If this movie is as good as critics claim, it’s one of the most likely candidates to win Best Picture this year.

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Noah Baumbach), Best Actor (Adam Driver), Best Actress (Scarlett Johansson), Best Supporting Actress (Laura Dern), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing.

  1. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Sony)

            Director Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is one that came out of the gates as the Best Picture front runner when it was first released this summer, before buzz for the film slowly faded away. I don’t know if this is really a front runner for any category, but it is no doubt in the running for numerous. 

            For one, the performances are great, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt being especially great. I also think the style and recreation of the late 1960s is going to appeal to a wide number of awards voters, as will its depiction of television production in the period. I also think Tarantino is simply a director the Academy doesn’t typically ignore, with past films such as Pulp Fiction (1994), Inglourious Basterds (2009), and Django Unchained (2012) being popular with the Academy. This will be at the Oscars, even if it’s not at the center of things.

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Quentin Tarantino), Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Brad Pitt), Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design.

  1. Parasite (NEON)

            South Korean film Parasite is one of the buzziest and most acclaimed films of 2019, starting off as an effective social satire, before a second-act twist changes the entire course of the film, changing tones so quickly that it is like a magic trick. Having seen this film, I think it is phenomenal, but most importantly, it is an impeccably crafted film. This is a shoe-in for Best International Feature Film, but I also believe it can creep into much bigger categories as well, like Roma did just last year.

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Bong Joon Ho), Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film.

            All in all, this is an exciting awards season, with numerous excellent movies of a wide variety to engage audiences. These aren’t even all of the contenders for awards this year, with Bombshell, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Two Popes, Richard Jewell, Knives Out, The Lighthouse, and Waves also being exciting awards hopefuls. Awards season is just starting to take shape, and one thing is for sure – these are going to be an exciting few months for film-lovers.