First 2020 Predictions
Julian Fellowes "Downton Abbey"
Steve Zaillian "The Irishman"
Dee Rees and Marco Villalobos "The Last Thing He Wanted"
Greta Gerwig "Little Women"
John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, Stephany Folsom "Toy Story 4"
Other Contenders - Benh Zeitlin and Eliza Zeitlin "Wendy", Tracy Letts "The Woman in the Window", Peter Straughn "The Goldfinch", Richard Linklater, Holly Gent, Vincent Palmo Jr. "Where'd You Go Bernadette?", Matthew Michael Carnahan and Mario Correa "Untitled Todd Haynes Project", Lee Hall and Tom Hooper "Cats", Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller, and James Mangold "Ford v. Ferrari", J.J. Abrams, Chris Terrio, Colin Trevorrow, and Derek Connolly "Star Wars: Episode IX", Taika Wahiti "Jojo Rabbit", Simon Blackwell and Armando Iannucci "The Personal History of David Copperfield", J.C. Lee and Julius Onah "Luce", Jennifer Lee and Allison Schroeder "Frozen II", Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke "Shazam!", Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet "Captain Marvel", Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely "Avengers: Endgame", Ehren Kruger "Dumbo", Jeff Nathanson and Brenda Chapman "The Lion King", John August and Guy Ritchie "Aladdin", Matt Greenberg and Jeff Buhler "Pet Sematary", Tracy Oliver "The Sun is Also a Star", Simon Kinberg "Dark Phoenix", Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers "Spider-Man: Far From Home", Michael Goldenberg, Adam Kline, and Conor McPherson "Artemis Fowl", Gary Dauberman "It: Chapter Two", Mark Bomback "The Art of Racing in the Rain", Todd Phillips and Scott Silver "Joker", Edward Norton "Motherless Brooklyn", Michael Green "Call of the Wild"
Commentary - Welcome to the 2019-2020 Oscar season! It has been a month since the last Oscars, and it is time for us to start thinking ahead to the next season that will gear up before we know it. This stage of the game can be tricky. Release dates change, surprise contenders splash at film festivals. But it is also nice to take a look at the journey ahead, knowing that the narrative can always take unexpected turns. For example, Green Book wasn't on anybody's radar at this point last year, until the studio decided to make it an Oscar contender and premiere it at Toronto. So let's start with the screenplay categories. Probably at the top of most people's list is Martin Scorsese's The Irishman. Netflix got a jump on the season when it announced it during this year's Oscar ceremony. They know they have a mammoth contender on their hands, and they will give it all they got. Steve Zaillian is a four time nominee, and won for Schindler's List. Two recent screenplay nominees Dee Rees and Greta Gerwig hope to build on their success with Mudbound and Lady Bird. Both projects have a lot of potential. Animated films often do well in these categories, and Pixar in particular often finds support among the writing branch. Toy Story 4 has the potential to be the next Inside Out or Toy Story 3. If that is the case, it's in. Finally, I know firsthand the madness that Downton Abbey inspired, as my library and its patrons were Downton obsessed for years. I also saw it continually rack up loads of Emmy nominations year after year. If the film inspires the same level of love and respect, expect it to soar with Oscar voters. Beyond those five there are lots of contenders to keep in mind. Benh Zeitlin returns seven years after his surprise Oscar hit Beasts of the Southern Wild. Tracy Letts is adapting the hit novel The Woman in the Window, and hopes to avoid the fate as Gillian Flynn did with Gone Girl. Where'd You Go Bernadette? got pushed back to late summer, meaning that the studio might have both a moneymaker, and a potential Oscar contenders on its hands. The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer, and Peter Straughn is a previous nominee for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Musicals don't historically do well in screenplay categories, but Tom Hooper doing Cats could change some minds. Armando Iannucci returns with The Personal History of David Copperfield, and I like the looks of Luce, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Call of the Wild, Ford v. Ferrari, and the new Edward Norton, Taikia Wahiti, Todd Haynes films. Then there are the big guns. The Disney, Marvel, DC, blockbusters that are all hoping to crash the party the way Black Panther did this year (although it did miss out on a screenplay nomination). These include: Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Dark Phoenix, Star Wars Episode Nine, Dumbo, The Lion King, Joker, It: Chapter Two, Artemis Fowl, Shazam!, Captain Marvel, Frozen II, and Aladdin. We have many months to figure out just how this story will unfold. Stay tuned.