Sunday, December 8, 2019

OSCAR WATCH: Once Upon a Time...The Irishman Led the Best Picture Race

'The Irishman' takes early frontrunner status, but the race is far from over

When the ever expanding Critics Choice Association announces their 2019 award nominations later today, the state of the awards race will begin to come into sharp focus. While early critics awards (i.e. NBR and NYFCC) have annointed "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" and "The Irishman", the televised impact and large voting pool of the Critics Choice Association tends to give a better reflection of where the Academy place their votes. And later this week, two more televised awards-giving bodies will add their say, namely the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes. Based on current buzz, we can expect them all to agree on, the following top 5: "The Irishman", "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood", "1917", "Parasite" and "Marriage Story".

If this were 20 years ago, those would be your Best Picture field. But in this era of the category's expansion, there will be fierce competition for the remaining slots. Will the divisive but distinctive "Jojo Rabbit" and "Joker" garner enough passion votes? Or will more universally acceptable films like "Ford v Ferrari", "Dolemite is My Name" and "Knives Out" take their place? As the academy continues to diversify its ranks, I suspect we will see a combination of challenging and accessible filmmaking in the final Best Picture lineup. As it stands, here is my current assessment of the top frontrunners for Best Picture:

  1. The Irishman
  2. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
  3. 1917
  4. Parasite
  5. Marriage Story
  6. Jojo Rabbit
  7. Ford v Ferrari
  8. Richard Jewell
  9. Knives Out
  10. Dolemite is My Name
Stay tuned throughout the season as I continue to track the awards season all the way through to Oscar night on February 9th.

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