Oscars 2020: Best Director Predictions

IndieWire | 5/7/2019 | Staff
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It’s still early days, as we head into Cannes, which mainly delivers contenders for the newly dubbed Best International Feature Film. That said, the Academy’s director’s branch, packed with overseas voters, tends to be the most receptive to non-American auteurs. Never underestimate Quentin Tarantino, who’s back after a decade in Cannes Competition with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie.

As always, the fall film festival circuit will yield the most Oscar fodder. This year, finally, offers more than a few strong women contenders for directing nods, including returning “Lady Bird” nominee Greta Gerwig. Netflix has a strong set of offerings, including Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” one of several 2019 VFX-packed movies featuring the de-aging of its principals. The other that could factor in the directing race is Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man,” starring Will Smith.

Quentin - Tarantino - Compete - Cannes - Palme

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Breaking out at Sundance was Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” (A24 – July 12), a true story about a Wang family trip to China to visit her ailing grandmother. While well-observed and poignant, the movie starring Awkwafina may be too low-budget and comedic to go all the way. But reviews are ecstatic and A24 is no slouch when it comes to shepherding indies like “Moonlight” into Oscar contention.

Cannes - Pedro - Almodóvar - Pain - Glory

Cannes is Pedro Almodóvar’s semi-autobiographical “Pain & Glory” (fall, Sony Pictures Classics), starring Antonio Banderas as Salvador Mallo, an aging filmmaker in declining health looking back on his life, from his ’60s childhood through his ’80s coming of age and discovery of cinema. Almodóvar broke out Banderas in his 20s in Spain with “Labyrinth of Passion” (1982) and “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” (1989). “Pain & Glory” marks Banderas’ first starring role in an Almodóvar feature since 2011’s “The...
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