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16 movies that could win Oscars in 2020

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The 91st Academy Awards is done and dusted with Best Picture having gone to road trip comedy-drama Green Book.

It was a year of historic firsts: Black Panther became the first comic book movie to win Best Original Score (for composer Ludwig Goransson), and its production and costume designers became the first African-American recipients of the prize. The typically fiery Spike Lee also claimed his first ever Oscar: Best Adapted Screenplay for incendiary race-relations tale BlacKkKlansman.

And while the red carpet has been rolled away for another year, we're wondering who are the 2020 Oscar contenders? We've looked ahead to bring you 16 potential front-runners...

1. Captain Marvel

Released 8th March

Superhero and blockbuster movies have been routinely ignored by the Academy Awards in the past. As mentioned, however, this year they sought to reward Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) epic Black Panther with a Best Picture nomination, plus three history-making Oscars.

Given the radical make-up of elements informing latest MCU movie Captain Marvel, we might expect a similar level of awards attention. Like Black Panther, it's a movie with its finger firmly on the pulse, promising to blend popcorn thrills with intelligent topicality. Not only is it the first MCU movie fronted by a female lead (Oscar-winner Brie Larson), it's also the first of their movies to be co-directed (Anna Boden) and scored (Pinar Toprak) by women.

Add in the ambitious story that divides its time between the title character's outer-space adventures and her human origins on Earth, and this could well be the next Marvel Oscar contender.


2. Us

Released 22nd March

Comedian turned film-maker Jordan Peele made the world sit up and take notice with 2017's Get Out. The film's blistering mixture of sharp satire and race relations horror yielded critical acclaim, box office gold and an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. 

Expectations are therefore sky-high for his follow-up, Us, the story of a black family terrorised by their own dopplegangers. As Peele takes another typically provocative plunge into themes of identity and family, bolstered by an excellent cast including Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o, it stands to reason this is a strong awards contender.




3. Tolkien

Released 3rd May

The Academy Awards love to honour a biopic – just look at 1982's Gandhi as an example of that, which walked away with eight Oscars including Best Picture. Combine the genre's inherent prestige with no less grand a subject than author J.R.R. Tolkien, and we can expect the forthcoming drama to factor in the Oscars.

X-Men's Nicholas Hoult plays the celebrated writer in his younger years, as his horrific experiences in World War I inform the writing of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.


4. Rocketman

Released 24th May

Music biopics are big business at the moment, both commercially and artistically. Last year's Queen movie Bohemian Rhapsody set new box office records with takings of $800 million, and it also nabbed an Oscar for front-man Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury.

Rocketman therefore couldn't arrive at a better time. Focusing on the early career of Elton John as he transitioned from humble Reginald Dwight into the gaudily-attired pop icon we know and love, it's poised to be huge. Plus, lead actor Taron Egerton does his own singing and has already been lauded by John himself. How can it possibly fail?




5. Toy Story 4

Released 21st June

Disney-Pixar's track record of Oscar wins is formidable – to date, nine of their 20 movies have won the Best Animated Feature prize, the most recent being Mexican fable Coco.

They may have lost this year's trophy to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but they're poised to come out swinging with Toy Story 4. It reunites us with Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen), two of the most beloved movie characters of all time for what's described as a road-trip movie. Plus, there's a new character in the form of existential crisis-riven home-made toy Forky (Tony Hale).




6. Yesterday

Release date 28th June

Individually, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter/director Richard Curtis are forces of nature. The former has unleashed classics such as Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire on the world (both Oscar-winners). The latter is renowned as one of Britain's sharpest screenwriters following the blockbusting likes of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill.

Now they're joining forces for Yesterday, a comedy-drama centred on a world in which The Beatles don't exist. There's one man who can remember them (Himesh Patel) who co-opts their iconic music for his own gain. Boyle, Curtis and Beatles? This is surely enough to impress the Academy, right?


7. The Lion King

Released 19th July

Disney are on a roll with their roster of live-action remakes. In March this year we'll get Tim Burton's take on Dumbo, and in the summer Jon Favreau revitalises 1994 masterpiece The Lion King.

But is it live-action or animation? With no flesh and blood human characters in the story, it technically isn't the former, but the photo-real CGI glimpsed in the trailer certainly takes the breath away. Donald Glover is the adult Simba, James Earl Jones is back as Mufasa, and Hans Zimmer, Elton John and Tim Rice are all returning to score the music. Plus, Favreau scored a 2016 Disney smash with The Jungle Book. Will he do so again?




8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Released 26th July

Iconoclastic and controversial director Quentin Tarantino is something of an Academy Awards darling. Let's not forget his witty, post-modern and ultra-violent pop extravaganzas Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained won him Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay.

We're therefore expecting great things from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, his kaleidoscopic look at 1969 Tinseltown around the time of the notorious Manson Family murders. With a cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino and Margot Robbie as Manson victim Sharon Tate, we're beyond excited to see it.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


9. Downton Abbey

Released 13th September

The Yanks went wild for ITV's lavish costume drama, one exploring the upstairs-downstairs tensions that accompany the Crawley family. Anticipation for the big screen adaptation has been building for years, and given the usual Oscar love towards British period fare, this will surely get some measure of recognition.

Many of our favourite characters are back including Hugh Bonneville's Lord Grantham and Maggie Smith's acid-tongued Dowager Countess. Will this translate into Oscar gold?



10. Gemini Man

Released 11th October

Not much is currently known about this sci-fi tale, but it's got some pedigree behind it. Oscar-winning Life of Pi and Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee is behind the camera, it stars Will Smith, and the story is intriguing. It focuses on an ageing assassin confronted by his younger clone, who can predict his every move. 

11. The Goldfinch

Released 11th October

Donna Tartt's critically lauded novel won the 2014 Booker Prize for Fiction, so any subsequent film adaptation comes freighted with expectation. It's the story of a young man who survives the bombing of a New York art museum, in which his mother dies, and his subsequent connection to a Dutch painting known as The Goldfinch.

Brooklyn film-maker John Crowley helms the film adaptation, and the excellent cast includes Baby Driver's Ansel Elgort, Lion's Nicole Kidman and American Horror Story's Sarah Paulson. Plus, it's being lensed by Oscar-winning Blade Runner 2049 cinematographer Roger Deakins, so we know it'll look sublime.

12. Ford vs Ferrari

Released 15th November

Logan director James Mangold tackles one of the most famous rivalries in automative history in this fact-based drama.

Originally intended as a project for Heat director Michael Mann, the movie pairs Vice's Christian Bale and The Martian's Matt Damon as, respectively, British race car driver Ken Miles and car designer Carroll Shelby. Their mission: to build from scratch an entirely new automobile with the potential to beat Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France.

13. Frozen 2

Released 22nd November

Another of Disney's significant (non-Pixar affiliated) releases in 2019, this follow-up to smash-hit Frozen refuses to let it go. Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) return for another Jennifer Lee-scripted adventure, one that takes us beyond the boundaries of kingdom Arendelle.

Lee is promising ear-worming songs beyond what we heard in the first blockbusting movie, and Josh Gad is back as warm-hearted snowman Olaf.




14. A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

Released 6th December

Who can resist the loveable Tom Hanks? The Academy Awards certainly can't – he won back to back prizes for 1993's Philadelphia and 1994's Forrest Gump, and remains one of the big screen's finest embodiments of truth and decency.

He's therefore perfect casting for the role of Fred Rogers, the enduring American television icon who enraptured family audiences with his decade-spanning show Mister Rogers' Neighbourhood. This drama, directed by Can You Ever Forgive Me?'s Marielle Heller, takes an intimate look at Rogers and the show's creation.

15. Cats

Released 20th December

Released just in time for the Christmas season, Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of his own celebrated stage production will no doubt capitalise on the craze for all things musical. (The Greatest Showman was an enormous success in the same release slot in 2017.)

With a cast including Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Idris Elba, plus direction from Les Miserables' Tom Hooper, it surely ticks all the boxes.

16. Little Women

Released 24th January 2020

Indie film actor turned director Greta Gerwig scored a huge hit with 2017 comedy-drama Lady Bird. The movie walked away with five Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actress for Saoirse Ronan, so the prospect of her adapting Little Women is very promising.

Louisa May Alcott's timeless story of an American family's ups and downs will no doubt benefit from Gerwig's sensitive touch, and then there's the cast. As well as Ronan herself, Fighting With My Family's Florence Pugh, Harry Potter's Emma Watson, Call me By Your Name's Timothee Chalamet and Mamma Mia!'s Meryl Streep all star.


What movies do you think will score big at the 92nd Academy Awards? Let us know @Cineworld.