HOLLYWOOD—The 2019 Oscar race might not be quite under way, but we now know many films that will be positioning themselves over the next seven months, thanks to a series of announcements from some of the major autumn festivals. The 2019 Oscar ceremony will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019. It seems that over the last few days, the Venice and New York film festivals have given snapshots of their highlights. Now it’s Toronto’s turn. Toronto overlaps with Venice and the Telluride Film Festival. Most Oscar contenders will hope to be screened at one of the festivals, while some, like last year’s best picture winner “The Shape of Water,” will play at more than one.
Let’s look at some films whose inclusion on the autumn festival circuit clearly signals their Oscar intentions. “A Star is Born,” which Bradley Cooper acts, writes, produces and directs is already generating Oscar buzz. He makes his directorial debut in this remake of a remake. Cooper plays a musician who falls in love with Lady Gaga who is a struggling singer/songwriter. As her career ascends, their relationship suffers. The film is getting a lot of buzz.
The world premiere will take place at the Venice Film Festival which will take place on August 29 and ends on September 8. It will then play at the Toronto Film Festival which will begin on September 6 and ends on September 16. Cooper could score in multiple categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor. Lady Gaga could score a Best Actress nomination . She could also get a nod with Mark Ronson for Best Original Song for “The Shallow,” which is featured in the trailer and has smash written all over it. The film will be in theaters on October 5, 2018.
Ryan Gosling stars in “First Man,” the story of pilot and astronaut Neil Armstrong in the lead-up to the 1969 moon landing. He’s hoping it lands him his first Oscar. It’s got the coveted opening film slot at Venice. It’s director Damien Chazelle had the same slot two years ago with “La La Land.” Other films that have opened the festival include “Gravity,” and Best Picture winner “Birdman.” Venice has its world premiere at the end of August and it will screen in Toronto in September, indicating that it will also play Telluride a few days later. Chazelle is the youngest ever Best Director Oscar winner, and could pick up his second Oscar in three years. Gosling and Claire Foy, who plays Armstrong’s wife-could both get acting nods.
The film “The Favourite,” is an 18th Century costume drama about two women, played by Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, competing for favor at the court of Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne. The film has received positive praise, with all three main actors receiving praise. Director Yorgos Lanthimos is known for offbeat projects “The Lobster,” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” but this is said to be his mainstream effort. The film will have its world premiere at Venice and then possibly head to Telluride. It will open the New York Film Festival at the end of September. Weisz, Stone and Colman could all get acting nods. Best Picture is more than possible. The film “The Favourite,” has to be an early favorite in production design and make-up and hair, while Sandy Powell could win a fourth statuette for her costume design.
Than we have “Beautiful Boy,” that could land Amazon its second Best Picture nomination. Timothee Chalamet plays a young man struggling with drug addiction and Steve Carell plays his father.The tear-jerking trailer showcases the talent of its two stars, in the kind of true story that often appeals to Oscar voters. The film will have its world premiere in Toronto. If the film works, acting nominations are in the cards for both Chalamet and Carell.
Oh yes, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” starring Melissa McCarthy, best known for her comedy work, takes a more serious turn in the true story of best-selling writer Lee Israel, who turned to forgery and deception. Comedy performers showing lesser-seen sides to their talents often attract Oscar buzz. It’ll have its international premiere at Toronto. It’s not all about the autumn festivals, of course. It’s usual to see a few films that were released earlier in the year sneaking into consideration. This year that list could include “Black Panther,” “Black Kkklansmen,” “A Quiet Place” and “Hereditary.”
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