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6 Movies to Watch before 2020 Awards Season

by Megan Bishop

With film festival season ending, Awards season is fast approaching. Films are becoming front runners, a site for controversy, and hailed masterpieces. With the mass amount of contenders, these are the 6 you should watch before awards season to be an Awards expert.

1. Parasite

Dir. Bong Joon-ho

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Foreign Film

The newest film from Bong Joon-ho has becoming a critical and cultural phenom. Parasite is a thriller which follows a lower-class family who become obsessed with wealthy family and chaos ensues. The film premiered at the 2019 Cannes FIlm Festival and won the coveted Palme d’Or. The film also played at the Toronto International Film Festival and was the second runner up for the People’s Choice Award. With early praise from Cannes, the film continues to build momentum. The film seems to be following in the steps of Roma, being an early front runner for best director and foreign film.

2. Marriage Story

Dir. Noah Baumbach

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score

Hailed as Noah Baumbach’s masterpiece, Marriage Story is sure to be a major player come awards season. The film is an honest, hilarious and devastating look at divorce. The film is grounded in career best performances from Adam Driver and Scarlett Johanssen, expertly delivering Baumbach’s fast and dense dialogue. Marriage Story is dominating the film festival circuit premiering at the Venice Film Festival, being awarded the first runner-up to the People’s Choice Prize at the Toronto International FIlm Festival, and screening at the New York Film Festival and the BFI London FIlm Festival. While a Netflix film, Marriage Story will receive a limited theatre release. After the critical acclaim and the massive film festival tour, Marriage Story is sure to secure multiple nominations come awards season.

3. Jojo Rabbit

Dir. Taika Waititi

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay

Self-proclaimed as an anti-hate satire, Jojo Rabbit follows a 10-year-old living in Nazi Germany who learns that his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. After its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Jojo Rabbit has become the front runner for a Best Picture nomination and potential win as it won the People’s Choice Award, which last year’s best picture winner Green Book also received. The film has received mixed reviews since the film deals with Nazi’s in a comedic way. This will likely not be a huge issue come nominations as director Taika Waititi is known for his irreverent and quirky humor. While nominations will fluctuate depending on the award show, Jojo Rabbit will likely receive big nominations at the Academy Awards as the voters are people working in the industry.

4. The Farewell

Dir. Lulu Wang

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay

Based on a true story (an actual lie as stated in the film), The Farewell follows a young Chinese-American woman who travels to China to spend time with her grandmother who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer but is unaware of her illness. The film is based on director Lulu Wang’s family who chose not to tell her Grandmother that she had cancer. The Farewell won the Audience Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was purchased by A24. While the film was released in the summer, it remains a critical darling. The film was praised for its honest storytelling and the dramatic turn from comedy actress and rapper Awkwafina.

5. Joker

Dir. Todd Phillips

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score

Taking a well-known comic book character and abandoning its comic origins on film was a risky move but paid off immensely at the box office. Black Panther proved that comic book films can be awards fare, and Joker has continued this momentum. Joker is a character study of Arthur Fleck, following his transformation into the iconic Batman villain. The film premiered at the 2019 Venice Film Festival where it won the Golden Lion prize and was later screened at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. While the critics are divided on the film, most unanimously agree that Joaquin Phoenix’s transformative performance is worthy of praise.

6. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Dir. Quentin Tarantino

Likely Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay

When Tarantino releases a new movie, it gets nominated. His latest is a love letter to Hollywood while also re-writing Sharon Tate’s history regarding the Manson murders. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and was released during the summer. The film has stumbled a little as it was under fire as Sharon Tate, the female lead, has very little dialogue in the film. Also, Brad Pitt, who was the best supporting actor front runner, has announced that he will not be campaigning for his role in the film. While the film had a good (not great) reception, the power of Tarantino will likely vault nominations in a few major categories come awards season.

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