Oscars: Predicting Next Year’s Competitors

Variety | 3/7/2018 | Brent Lang
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It’s never too early to start handicapping next year’s film awards race.

Much of Hollywood is still shaking off the hangover from another champagne-soaked Oscar night, but even 12 months removed from the next telecast, the coming battle for statuary is already taking shape.

Competition - Winners - Robert - Zemeckis - Damien

It’s a competition that could bring back previous winners such as Robert Zemeckis and Damien Chazelle or reward shockingly overlooked auteurs like Yorgos Lanthimos. There’s also the possibility that Martin Scorsese will be in the hunt for Oscar glory if Netflix moves up the release of “The Irishman,” a long-gestating, big-budget crime drama starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro that’s tentatively scheduled to debut in 2019.

Zemeckis has mostly been ignored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since winning the director Oscar for “Forrest Gump” in 1995, but his next project, “The Women of Marwen,” seems tailor-made to appeal to voters. The film follows a showroom designer (Steve Carell) who constructs a miniature village as a way of coping with a brutal attack that left him temporarily in a coma. Mixing fantasy with heartache certainly worked in the case of this year’s winner “The Shape of Water”; the same formula could pay off for Zemeckis.

Director - Winner - History - La - La

After becoming the youngest director winner in history for “La La Land,” Chazelle returns with “First Man,” a look at Neil Armstrong’s moon landing. The Oscars have long had a soft spot for space exploration, showering “Apollo 13” and “The Right Stuff” with multiple nominations; Universal, the studio behind the project, is high on the film, giving it a prime October release slot. Chazelle could find himself facing off against “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins after the two went toe to toe in 2017. Jenkins is returning with “If Beale Street Could Talk,” an adaptation of the James Baldwin novel.

As for Lanthimos,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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