The Oscars just happened last night, and after all that it climaxed with naming Green Book the best film of the year and relegating Glenn Close once again to the losers’ table. It’s enough to make you not want to think about anything Hollywood-awards-related for months to come, and thankfully most of us won’t have to. But if we do…
Even the most cursory glance ahead to next year reveals that hopefully things won’t be quite as messy or questionable as they were this year. Directing talents ranging from legends like Martin Scorsese to our favorite newcomers like Greta Gerwig return with new films. Leonardo DiCaprio has his first big role since finally winning his first Oscar, three years ago; and Annette Bening might just be our new Glenn Close. Granted, new buzzy contenders could emerge as the year goes on through the festival circuit, and some of the films named here could turn out to be total busts, but for now, here’s a way-too-early rundown of possible Oscar nominees for 2020.
Annette Bening and Adam Driver for The Report
Are we really going to do this to ourselves? Glenn Close and Amy Adams are the actresses with the most Oscar nominations without any wins, and unfortunately both kept their streaks going last night. After them, it’s none other than Annette Bening, who has racked up four previous nominations; would we just be setting ourselves up for disappointment by even starting to think about a possible Bening nomination, let alone win?
Well, Amazon is already thinking about it. The company plopped down an eye-popping $14 million at Sundance to buy the director Scott Z. Burn’s The Report, a political drama about the investigation into the CIA’s use of torture. Bening is said to have a standout role as Senator Dianne Feinstein that is already garnering buzz (though there seems to be wiggle room as to whether her role could be considered lead or supporting). We’d wonder if the real Feinstein’s recent odd showdown with actual children might affect Bening’s chance, but Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell just received nominations for playing Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, so that seems like a silly road to go down. The fact that Bening has a plum supporting part in Captain Marvel will only serve to heighten her profile this year, and if for some reason The Report doesn’t take off with Oscars buzz, she also has upcoming roles this year in Christoph Waltz’s directorial debut, Georgetown, and Hope Gap, from the Oscar-nominated screenwriter William Nicholson, though it’s too early to gauge the buzz on those.
While Bening is said to shine in The Report, by all accounts the movie belongs to Adam Driver, who plays the investigator Daniel Jones. His nomination for BlacKkKlansman was his first, but Driver seems like an actor destined to pick up a few nominations and an eventual win over the next few years. Even without The Report, 2019 is slated to be huge for Driver. He’ll say goodbye to his role as Kylo Ren in the upcoming conclusion of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and could also generate Oscar buzz for his role in Noah Baumbach’s upcoming untitled project. This year will also find Driver starring in the art-house hero Jim Jarmusch’s tantalizingly curious zombie flick The Dead Don’t Die, alongside Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Bill Murray, and Selena Gomez, among others.
Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, and Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Despite Quentin Tarantino’s reputation for working with actors and rehabilitating careers, no one has ever received an Oscar nomination for acting in one of his movies. Seems odd right? Indeed, the Oscars have a bit of a weird relationship with Tarantino and have most often recognized his films for their screenwriting (he’s won best original screenplay twice). Still, the fanboys seem to be holding out hope that his upcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood could be a career-redefining film for the director. It’s certainly star-studded enough. This will be Leonardo DiCaprio’s first role after finally winning, for The Revenant, in 2016, and there’s always the chance that Brad Pitt could receive his fourth nomination as an actor (and if not for this then possibly for the sci-fi epic Ad Astra). However, we wonder if it might be Margot Robbie, in her supporting role as Sharon Tate, who could become the first person to get nominated for a Tarantino role. The Academy seems to love her.
Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, and Netflix for The Irishmen
Roma ultimately fell short of winning best picture last night, but the multiple awards it did receive seemed to put an end to any doubt that Netflix movies could compete at the Oscars. Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, which was teased during a commercial break last night, could be the film that follows through on that. The film not only reunites Scorsese with Robert De Niro and brings them both back to their mafia drama roots, but it is rumored to have a budget as high as $200 million (some of that will be used, apparently, to digitally youthen De Niro so he can play his character at different points in his life). While none of the lead players is overdue for an Oscar (Al Pacino, De Niro, and Scorsese all have at least one), the combined star power could leave it’s mark.
Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman for The Goldfinch
Remember The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel that everyone seemed to be reading a few years back? Yeah, well, the movie version is due this year. Ansel Elgort (who, yes, folks, is happening) stars in the lead role, and the supporting cast is filled with some up-and-comers (Aneurin Barnard and Ashleigh Cummings) and talented veterans (Sarah Paulson and Nicole Kidman). Elgort certainly seems destined to join the likes of Timothée Chalamet and Lucas Hedges as an Oscar-nominated leading man of tomorrow (if not for this, then possibly for the West Side Story remake), while Kidman always seems a shake of the dice away from winning her second Oscar. Paulson has never been nominated, but it seems like one day the right part will come around to make it inevitable.
Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and John Lithgow for Untitled Roger Ailes Project
All the comedy director boys suddenly want Oscars. Last night’s big winner, Green Book, was directed by Peter Farrelly, formerly of Shallow Hal and There’s Something About Mary fame. Adam McKay, the director of several Will Ferrell flicks, has now received multiple-nomination love for his two most recent films, The Big Short and Vice. Now Jay Roach, most noted for the Austin Powers trilogy, is trying his hand after warming up with HBO projects like Game Change and the film Trumbo.
His Untitled Roger Ailes Project features a murderer’s row of blonde actress (Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, and Margot Robbie among them) as Fox News employees and John Lithgow as a their infamously abusive boss. Hard to say what the film’s Oscar chances will be, but it would be nice to see Lithgow get his first nomination in more than 30 years, wouldn’t it? Even if it is for playing Roger Ailes.
Timothée Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, and Meryl Streep for Little Women
Greta Gerwig assembled some of her Lady Bird stars and added Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, and Emma Watson into the mix for this highly anticipated take on the literary classic. It’s Christmas release date certainly speaks to high, high Oscars hopes.
Tom Hanks for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Tom Hanks playing the American icon Mr. Rogers seems like the kind of thing the Oscars were invented for, though here’s hoping the film’s director, Marielle Heller, gets some recognition after being oddly snubbed for her work directing Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Taron Egerton for Rocketman
Hey, if Rami Malek just struck gold for playing Freddie Mercury, who says Taron Egerton couldn’t do the same for playing Elton John? Unlike Malek, he actually sings the songs in the film too.
Lupita Nyong’o for Us
Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out is set for release on March 22, so we won’t have to wait long to figure out if he has another Oscars contender on his hands.
Taylor Swift for Cats
Just kidding, we think. Thankfully, we still have at least six months before anyone anywhere needs to think about this at all.