(A way too early) Look at 2020/21 Awards Season Contenders

The most recent awards season came to an end over a week ago now with the spectacular Oscars sweep for Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, and I am now taking a very early and entirely hypothetical look at next years awards season.

The main reason for this post is to actually raise awareness for these films and keep them on people’s radar throughout the next year, to track the progress, and to see what film’s can completely surprise us to surge to the front of awards season next year.

The French Dispatch

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Score, Sound, Production Design, Costume Design, Make Up and Hair.

Nightmare Alley

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Score, Make Up and Hair.

Tenet

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Score, Sound, Production Design, Visual Effects.

West Side Story

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Score, Song, Cinematography, Sound, Production Design, Costume Design.

The Last Duel

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Score, Production Design, Costume Design.

Mank

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing.

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing.

News of the World

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress.

Hillbilly Elegy

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay.

Dune

Potential Categories – Picture, Cinematography, Production Design, Sound, Visual Effects.

Last Night in Soho

Potential Categories – Picture, Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Editing, Sound.

King Richard

Potential Categories – Picture, Actor, Screenplay.

In the Heights

Potential Categories – Picture, Actor, Screenplay, Cinematography, Song, Production Design.

Red, White, and Water

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay.

Ammonite

Potential Categories – Picture, Actress, Supporting Actress, Screenplay.

Soul

Potential Categories – Screenplay, Animated Feature.

Rebecca

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography.

Macbeth

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Editing.

Minari

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay.

Ironbark

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Production Design, Costume Design.

Da 5 Bloods

Potential Categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Screenplay.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Potential Categories – Actress, Supporting Actor, Sound.

Nomadland

Potential Categories – Picture, Actress, Cinematography.

The Father

Potential Categories – Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay.

Four Good Days

Potential Categories – Actress, Supporting Actress.

Blonde

Potential Categories – Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, Screenplay, Costume Design.

Promising Young Woman

Potential Categories – Actress, Screenplay.

Categories

This is just a bit of fun, and will mainly be something interesting to look back on to see just how wrong I was when the nominations are announced next year. I have given it my best shot, but it is very unlikely that this will be how the nominations look because so much can change over the year and few of these movies have even been shown (or begun filming in some cases).

Best Picture

Ammonite

Macbeth

Minari

Nightmare Alley

Red, White, and Water

Tenet

The French Dispatch

The Last Duel

West Side Story

Best Director

David Fincher – Mank

Guillermo Del Toro – Nightmare Alley

Joel Coen – Macbeth

Lee Isaac Chung – Minari

Lila Neugebauer – Red, White, and Water

Best Actor

Anthony Hopkins – The Father

Bradley Cooper – Nightmare Alley

Denzel Washington – Macbeth

Gary Oldman – Mank

Steven Yeun – Minari

Best Actress

Ana de Armas – Blonde

Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Jennifer Lawrence – Red, White, and Water

Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Frances McDormand – Macbeth

Best Supporting Actor

Adam Driver – The Last Duel

Brendan Gleeson – Macbeth

Bryan Tyree Henry – Red, White, and Water

Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Willem Dafoe – Nightmare Alley

Best Supporting Actress

Amanda Seyfried – Mank

Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy

Jodie Comer – The Last Duel

Saoirse Ronan – Ammonite

Toni Collette – Nightmare Alley

The Future of Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey

Following the release of Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, with all the controversy and discussion that has come with it, I will here take a look at what is next for everyone involved.

Firstly, I want to make it clear that I have now seen this film in cinemas twice, and it remains one of the most unique and simply one of the best comic book films I have ever seen, and a lot of people who have seen it agree. However, the issue is that not too many people are seeing it.

While it isn’t a disaster due to a low budget for this type of film, it is still likely to need $250 Million+ worldwide to properly break even, and that is starting to looking unlikely, although the next week or so will be key to its future. This is a disappointment to me as I was rooting for this film and everyone involved, and they all did a great job.

However, it is not all doom and gloom, and here I will look at the potential future for everyone involved in making Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (In hindsight, Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey may have been a better title).

The below post contains some spoilers from Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie)

This is the most straight forward case of anyone involved, as we know for certain at least one upcoming project she will be a part of. Margot Robbie will return to the role of Harley Quinn for the third time in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, due out in 2021. She is said to be one of the lead characters in the film, and it is unconfirmed yet whether the film takes place before or after Birds of Prey.

However, the future is a more open question, likely depending on the final box office of Birds of Prey and the box office for The Suicide Squad. Many people, including myself and apparently Margot Robbie too, are desperate for Harley to meet Poison Ivy, and for their fascinating relationship to play out on screen.

The most ideal situation would be for the DCEU to find a way for Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman to join the party and for us to finally get a Gotham City Sirens film. Some may say that is unlikely due to the mixed box office of Birds of Prey, but if the film was to have a PG-13 rating, and the popularity of Harley, Selina, and Ivy, then I think it could be an absolute smash hit. I would love to see Margot Robbie as Harley, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, and Ana de Armas as Poison Ivy.

Whatever happens next, I find it unlikely that we won’t see Margot Robbie stick the fishnets and ponytails back on and play Harley again after 2021, she is simply too good to lose.

The Birds of Prey (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez)

This is the most unpredictable aspect to predict, but I think I have made a good go of it. All of the cast members here are excellent and really inhabit the characters they are playing, but most do not necessarily have a fan base big enough to support another movie, especially if there is no Harley Quinn this time. With this in mind, it could be smart for Warner Bros to use their upcoming streaming service HBO Max to create a high budget Birds of Prey mini-series featuring these characters, in the same vein as a WandaVision is for the MCU. This would allow the stories of the characters to continue without the pressure of carrying their own film, and they could then continue to appear in supporting roles in future Gotham set films, and this could eventually lead up to a huge event film: Birds of Prey vs Gotham City Sirens.

On a side note, Black Canary specifically could appear as a co-lead in another film, potentially alongside a new iteration of the Green Arrow, if the DCEU decide to go down that route, especially now the CW show has finished.

Black Mask (Ewan McGregor)

While it seemed that Roman Sionis had met the same fate as his accomplice (and potential lover) Victor Zsasz and had been killed by the Birds of Prey, we never saw a body and they could easily find a way to bring him back, even if his physical appearance is hugely altered (which could work anyway due to the mask). McGregor’s performance was so universally loved that it would be a huge shame for him to just be a one and done character, and it would be great to see him pop up in future Gotham City set adventures in the DCEU.

Cathy Yan

Birds of Prey was only her second feature film, and while it has had mixed box office results, it was a critical and audience hit, with a lot of praise for the bold direction from Yan and the uniquely female perspective she brings to the story. Birds of Prey had an incredible energy and visual style, which is something Yan can claim ownership of and likely use to sell herself. She should be able to secure a future project, whether indie or blockbuster, but I personally would love her to stick around and direct either a Gotham City Sirens film or a Birds of Prey mini-series.

Christina Hodson

Hodson is a rapidly rising talent with huge potential and already some strong results. She wrote a strong and nostalgic script for the transformers spin off Bumblebee and she quirky and funny script for Birds of Prey was a real treat. Following this, she is set to be one of the key figures going forward for the DCEU. She was commissioned to write a script for a standalone Batgirl film that remains in very early development, and is writing the script for the solo Flash film that is already dated for 2022 (and potentially could be a game changing story for how the future of the franchise looks). She is a really talented writer and I am glad she seems to be having a big role in the immediate future of the franchise.

Overall

I loved Birds of Prey, and everyone in it, and while the box office didn’t live up to expectations, it isn’t a disaster remotely on the scale of something like Justice League, and due to the dedicated fan base the film seems to be developing, I think there could still be a bright future for all involved.

Killing Eve Season 3 – First Look

We finally have our first look and release date (26th April) for the much anticipated third season of Killing Eve.

Eve is working as a butcher and Villanelle is married to a woman in Barcelona, taking more agency for her kills and her life.

I will cover more in depth when we get the first trailer, but for now I want to say how this is arguably my most anticipated show of the year and I can’t wait to see what the incredible Jodie Comer does this year (and the amazing looks she has as Villanelle, one of them details above).

Let the fun begin.

Emma (2020) – Review

A Universal Picture, Written by Eleanor Catton, Directed by Autumn de Wilde.

Handsome, Clever, Rich. That is how our protagonist Emma Woodhouse is described, and it is also the way you could describe this charming romantic comedy. An adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved comedy, Emma has a real energy and charm that you would hope for from such a film.

While it doesn’t have particularly much substance, it does have some emotional moments, but what you really came for is the romance, the comedy, and the outfits, and the film delivers on all of these fronts. First time director Autumn de Wilde crafts a beautiful looking film, that also is packed full of charming interactions and strong performances.

The whole cast is superb here, with a great mix of young and older performers. Mia Goth is the emotional heart of this film and delivers a really strong performance. Johnny Flynn, Callum Turner, Josh O’Connor, Tanya Reynolds, and Connor Swindells all do a fine job and have big futures ahead. As for the older cast; Bill Nighy, Gemma Whelan, and Miranda Hart all do excellent jobs.

However, the absolute star of this film is Anya Taylor-Joy, who dominates the screen as Emma. Taylor-Joy has proven in recent years with performances in films like The Witch, Split, and Thoroughbreds, that she is an incredibly talented and charismatic actress. She has the unique and striking beauty, as well as the comedic and emotional chops to carry this film, and she does it with a real flourish.

I doubt this film will live long in people’s memories once they have left the cinema, but it is sure to be a great Valentine’s Day viewing an should play well beyond that too. This should become popular each year around this time of year and therefore prove very profitable for Universal in the long run.

Rating = 3.5/5

Stranger Things 4 – Hopper Lives

As a Valentine treat for fans all around the world, Stranger Things released a short teaser for the new season, which reveals what many suspected, that the American prisoner in Russia was in fact Chief Hopper, alive and in the flesh.

David Harbour is undoubtedly one of the best things about the show, and it’s great to see he’s returning. Between this and Black Widow, Harbour is really doubling down on Russia this year…

My suspicion is the show may launch season 4 in December this year, and the winter setting here maybe hints even more at that (or it could simply be because it’s Russia and it’s always like that). Either way, I can’t wait to see more updates over the coming months from Netflix’s flagship show.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) – Review

A Paramount Picture, Written by Pat Casey, Josh Miller, Directed by Jeff Fowler.

The much discussed and delayed video game adaptation has finally hit screens, and it is entirely fine and harmless. It is by no means a cinematic classic, but it was never trying to be. What it is, is a solid and well acted film aimed at kids, and I think it will be a big hit with its target audience.

It takes itself seriously enough to not mock the source material, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is able to provide some good comedy beats.

It doesn’t make the mistake of being an origin story that only promises what we want to see at the end, and instead provides a good story first time round.

One aspect that really never worked for me was our leads sister in law constantly trying to get her sister to divorce Marsden’s Tom, despite him being an entirely good man and provider for the family. It was used for cheap laughs that never landed and didn’t work.

James Marsden and Ben Schwartz both do really good jobs, carrying the film well and both giving charismatic turns (Schwartz only in a voice role but still as impressive).

Jim Carrey starts off the film seeming like he is trying too hard, but as it goes on, he really settles in and ends up being the best thing in the film, and does some of his best work in a long time.

I imagine this will do well enough to get a sequel, and the teases at the end of the film show there is plenty of story left to tell.

Rating = 3/5

The Batman – Suit Reveal

We have our first look at Robert Pattinson in the batsuit, and it was very brief but fascinating.

The 55 second video ominously builds and starts to reveal the suit, with a striking version of the symbol on the chest.

We then finally build to the reveal of Pattinson in the mask and it delivers, with his chiseled features perfectly suiting the mask and providing a very different Batman to the hulking presence that Ben Affleck was.

This is very much a tease, but it is still interesting and shows just how anticipated this film is. I can’t wait to get better looks at Pattinson and the rest of the cast in the coming months.

Casting the Knives Out Sequel

Over the last few days the internet has been ablaze with suggestions for what the title should be for the sequel to Rian Johnson’s smash hit Knives Out (my personal suggestion is Knives Out: The Last Detective). Johnson has yet to even start writing the film but we know that it will be an entirely new mystery for Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc to solve, meaning it is likely that none of the hugely talented ensemble will be returning. While this is a shame, it also presents an opportunity for an entirely new, star studded ensemble to take its place.

Following the success of the first film, it is likely Johnson is going to be able to attract even bigger names (especially due to the reasonably short amount of time it would take them to film) for his sequel. With this in mind, here is a realistic but absolutely ideal list of the cast I hope Johnson assembles…

Daniel Craig

This is the one certainty. Craig will be back to solve another case, and he’ll be bringing that delightful southern accent along for the ride.

Adam Driver

Driver is not only one of the best actors of his generation, but he has already worked with Johnson and delivered a stunning performance in The Last Jedi. This is exactly the sort of film he would take on, and the Johnson/Driver reunion would add even more anticipation to this film. He can play both sympathetic and villainous at the flip of a coin, which would make him perfect for a murder mystery.

Jodie Comer

Comer is arguably my favourite actress working today, and her performance as Villanelle on Killing Eve is startling. She is starting to make moves into films in her breaks from shooting Killing Eve (including a film co-starring Driver) and this could be the perfect film as it would easily fit in a gap between seasons. She was supposed to star in Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile but had to drop out because of scheduling difficulties, so this could be the perfect addition to Comer’s filmography.

Amy Adams

One of the 21st Century’s best actresses, and hopefully will soon be rewarded with a long overdue Oscar in the next couple of years. She can play mysterious and yet likable better than many other people, and would add a real feeling of prestige to this sequel.

Sophia Lillis

I don’t know the story of this film, but if we could get Amy Adams, then we must get Sophia Lillis to play her daughter (she has already played a younger Adams in Sharp Objects) and this would be perfect casting. For actress who is still young, Lillis has great depth to her performances and could be a real asset.

Song Kang-ho

One of South Korea’s biggest stars, who achieved global recognition in 2019 due to his starring role in the Best Picture winning Parasite. He is a brilliant actor, and it would be great to see him feature in a film like this. While he could play any sort of part very well, I think it would be great for him to be the local detective working alongside Blanc to solve the case, similar to Lakeith Stanfield in the first film.

Michael Douglas

This is a left field choice but one that reminds me of the casting of Don Johnson, but Douglas comes with even more star power and prestige. In his main era, he would’ve been the star of a film like this, so it would be fascinating to see what he could do with Johnson letting him run wild and have fun in a supporting role.

Kelly Marie Tran

This is a casting fans have been talking about for a long time and it is something I would definitely support. Tran received ridiculous backlash for her role in The Last Jedi and was inexplicably side-lined in the Rise of Skywalker, and she is a talented actress, so a reunion with Johnson for this film would make sense for everyone.

Adam Sandler

He reminded everyone in Uncut Gems that in the right project, he is one of the best and most unique talents out there, and a role in a film like this could be a great follow up to Uncut Gems to maintain his momentum and to show another side of his acting. It would likely break film twitter and could attract an audience that wouldn’t have usually seen this film.

Wildcard – Ana de Armas

I know Johnson said the original cast wouldn’t be returning, but de Armas was the absolute stand out of the first film, and with the way the last film ended, she could very easily use her new wealth to help Benoit Blanc solve mysteries. He did even call her his ‘Watson’…

Whoever Johnson decides to cast, this is certainly going to be one of my most anticipated films for the year it comes out (likely fall 2021) and I can’t wait to follow along with any further developments.

The French Dispatch – Trailer

The trailer has been released for Wes Anderson’s first live action film since The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014, titled The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun.

The visually striking (what else do we expect from the talented Anderson) gives very little plot away, but looks incredibly intriguing.

The film is set to feature three storylines and will be a love letter to journalist’s set at an outpost of an American Newspaper in 20th Century France (and that is about all we are likely to find out until the film opens).

The cast Anderson has established could very possibly be one of the greatest ensembles ever brought together. It includes; Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, Lea Seydoux, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Mathieu Amalric, Steve Park, Lois Smith, Christoph Waltz, Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Henry Winkler, Willem Dafoe, Ed Norton, and Saoirse Ronan.

This is one of my most anticipated films of the year, and I can’t wait to see what Anderson has in store.

Awards Season 2019/20 – Review and Reaction

Bong Hive rise, we have reached the end of awards season 2019/20 and Parasite is officially the Academy’s Best Picture. It was definitely Parasite’s night at the Oscars in what proved to be a historic and incredibly satisfying night, and while the Oscars are still the stand out awards show, there is much more than just them to awards season and I want to give a quick overview of the big winners and losers from the overall season (out of the films nominated for best picture), culminating with the Oscars.

Winners

1917

While it had a bad night on Sunday, this film has swept most of the other awards shows despite it’s late release and unveiling, and has also become a huge box office hit, which is the perfect combination for any studio.

The ‘one take’ World War One epic has been awarded around the board as a technical marvel, giving Roger Deakins his second cinematography Oscar in three years, following such a long wait for his first.

It won Sam Mendes the Best Director awards at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and it also won the main prize at the PGA awards, which essentially means it was close to doing a clean sweep of the season.

However, the most impressive thing is that it managed to is transfer awards attention into box office gold, and without any movie stars in the lead roles, become a huge hit, ensuring a large audience has been able to experience Sam Mendes’ epic.

Parasite

The film everyone is talking about and rightly so. It won the major prize at the SAG awards and won in it’s category at the WGA awards, but other than that had mainly had to play the role of underdog through the season behind 1917. However, just like the film itself, a huge twist occurred at the Oscars as the film won Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature, Best Director, and Best Picture.

It was a historic win, making Parasite the first foreign language film in the Academy’s 92 year history to win Best Picture, and launching the films of South Korea into the public eye for arguably the first time, despite the fact that the country has been making unique and impressive films for years.

Parasite is already a worldwide box office success but this win seems set to send it into the stratosphere, with huge interest in the film set to make the film into an unbelievable box office hit.

It is undeniable that the two main winners of this awards season have been 1917 and Parasite.

Joker

One of the most controversial movies in recent history in the ‘film twitter’ space, but in general society it was a much liked cultural sensation, becoming the most profitable comic book film of all time and grossing over 1 billion dollars. It won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival and became the most nominated film at this years Oscars, with 11. It was another step forward for comic book films in the awards race, after the progress films like Black Panther and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse had already made in recent years. It also finally gave Joaquin Phoenix his much deserved first Oscar for Best Actor, and gave Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir an Oscar to add to the Emmy and Grammy awards she has won, all within the last 6 months. We could have another EGOT on our hands folks.

Middle Ground

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Despite initially seeming like an awards front runner, you would still say that overall this film was a success. It was a huge box office event, grossing nearly $400 Million worldwide and proving a big win for old school, star driven movies.

It also was one of the most nominated films of awards season, picking up multiple wins along the way, including at the Oscars for Production Design and winning Brad Pitt his much deserved first acting Oscar.

Jojo Rabbit

Little Women

Much was made of Greta Gerwig’s snub in the best director category (I personally think she should’ve been nominated, despite the category being very strong, but the film did get 6 Oscar nominations, and won one for costume design (and narrowly lost out in Adapted Screenplay, a category I personally think Gerwig should’ve won).

It was also another big box office success, and fully cemented Gerwig as one of the premiere directors of our generation, which can only be a positive sign.

Ford v Ferrari

The ‘dad movie’ of the season got very few people excitedly talking but what it did do was deliver a thoroughly enjoyable movie, with strong technical aspects and impressive movie star turns from Matt Damon and Christian Bale, and was another box office success for the old school movie. James Mangold is one of the most reliable directors in the industry, and his film won two Oscars (Editing and Sound Editing) which should not be glossed over.

Marriage Story

One of Netflix’s crown jewels of 2019 and arguably the most meme’d movie of the year, should not be overlooked, as it was one of the best of the year. It had the most single acting nominations for one film at this years Oscars, and it got a win for Laura Dern in the Supporting Actress category.

Losers (Within reason)

The Irishman

While undeniably an impressive film from one of the greatest of all time, starring one of history’s most distinguished ensembles, this film was a large nominee without any wins at most major awards shows.

It had an insane budget and awards campaign that absolutely no studio but Netflix could’ve afforded, but they may still see it as a success as they brought lots of attention to the streaming service and again showed they are willing to invest in filmmakers.

Summary

Overall, while some of the categories were disappointingly predictable, on the majority this was a very satisfying awards season with most of the successful films being varying levels of good to great and a lot of deserving people getting their first taste of Oscar glory. Hopefully Parasite’s win is a sign of a new academy going forward, and I will do a post in the next few days taking a brief look at what films to keep an eye out for in next years awards race.

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