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Ritesh Batra on Photograph


Daniel Schmidt and Gabriel Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
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92nd Oscars. Oscar Contenders of 2019 (for the 2020 Ceremony) - For prediction, discussion, entertainment purposes only

 discuss on the blog

Tier 1 - April Foolish Prediction

Since so much is dependent on Best Picture in the supporting categories they're very hard to see this far in advance. So just take this as excited "look at all the possibilities" theorizing...

John Lithgow
73 years old | 2 nominations
Dec 20th

PRO: Real life character and Oscar is obsessed with those. Also it's sure to be a very large supporting role if not a co-lead as he's playing Roger Aisles in this sexual harassment drama.

CON: Hasn't been nominated for an Oscar since the early 80s. (though this could also be a "pro" if the campaign is smart)

Matthew Rhys
44 years old | never nominated
Nov 22nd

PRO: Surely a leading role as the film reportedly is about how his journalist character is changed by meeting TV icon Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) but you know how these things go - he'll get a supporting campaign.

CON: Tom Hanks will be everyone's focus. At least at first.

Jeffrey Wright

53 yrs old | never nominated
Sept 13th

PRO: A key fine role (at least within the book) and John Crowley (the director) proved with Brooklynand Boy A that he's gifted with actors.

CON: It's a big ensemble so there's lots of internal competition for Best in Show honors and, thus, media attention.

Al Pacino
78 years old | 8 noms | 1 win
Release TBA

PRO: Real life infamous union leader Jimmy Hoffa presumably slain in '75 (his body has never been found). The media will probably be behind this, no matter the quality, given that a 'Pacino working with Scorsese for a comeback' narrative!

CON: Jack Nicholson wasn't nominated for playing Hoffa in '92 which was coincidentally also the last year Oscar loved Pacino.

Willem Dafoe

63 yrs old | 4 nominations
Release TBA

PRO: Real life character. He's on a roll right now (two consecutive nominations) and he plays the lead's (Anne Hathaway's) father in this drama about arms dealing. It's a juicy role (at least in the book that the film is based on)

CON: Three consecutive nominations isn't that common and Netflix is the distributor

Tier 2 - Or Maybe It'll Be

Tim Robbins
60 yrs old | 1 nom & win *for acting
Release tba

PRO: Real life character. This true story legal drama kicks off via a cancer stricken farmer in search of a lawyer. We think he has the sick farmer role...

CON: ... but we dont have confirmation. Perhaps it's another actor (no confirmatin on who most of the "names" are playing. Internal competition (depending on the roles) from: Bill Pullman, Victor Garber, and Bill Camp.

Gary Oldman
58 yrs old | 2 noms | 1 win
Release tba

PRO: Real life character. He and Banderas play law firm partners in crime in this journalism drama about the Panama papers expose. They have what appear to be the two largest male roles but how big? Actually leads? That helps in supporting (sigh)

CON: Sometimes they lose interest after giving "overdue" wins

Antonio Banderas
58 yrs old | never nominated
Release tba

PRO: Real life character. He and Oldman play law firm partners in crime in this journalism drama about the Panama papers expose. They have what appear to be the two largest male roles but how big? Actually leads? That helps in supporting (sigh).

CON: Internal competition. Perhaps this will help his Pain & Glory campaign in lead instead?


Ben Mendelsohn
50 years old | never nominated
Release TBA

PRO: Real life character and Oscar loves royalty porn. Plus Mendelsohn seems like an obvious "future Oscar nominee"

CON: They're not all that obsessed with Shakespeare adaptations actually... and perhaps the attention goes to Chalamet as his successor?

Brian Tyree Henry
37 yrs old | never nominated
Oct 4th

PRO: It's the right time in his career for a major breakthrough with Oscar (he's in demand and doing great work on the regular)

CON: He plays the Detective here so the juicier stuff might go to the other actors. Fictional character and Oscar is down on those lately (sigh)

Tier 3 - We might be underestimating...

Jonathan Majors
29 yrs old | never nominated
June 14th

PRO: Getting spotlight reviews for his work and said to be a memorable oddball role. (very large supporting role or co-lead possibly (?) though the narrative isn't about him per se)

CON: One man's quirky eccentric is another man's precious or twee. How will it fare in release?

Taika Waititi
43 years old | never nominated for acting
Nov 27th

PRO: Playing a fictional "imaginary friend" version of Adolf Hitler to a troubled boy.

CON: Though Waititi is on the rise and well-liked, the acting branch often can't see the brilliance within satirical or comic performances.

Tracy Letts
53 years old | 
never nominated
Nov 15th

PRO: Real life character. He's playing Henry Ford II who is out to beat Ferrari at racing (after negotiations fell through to buy Ferrari's company) and hires a crack team to do so.

CON: Letts is a national treasure but Oscar hasn't realized that yet.

Bruce Willis
64 years old | never nominated
November 1st

PRO: Focal point character as he's playing the murder victim in this mystery (presumably in flashbacks). And Oscar likes a mentor role.

CON: Willis has never gotten much credit for his talent (beyond fame and fortune that is) but also hasn't been challenging himself for a good long while

Aldis Hodge
32 years old | never nominated
Release TBA

PRO: He's playing a death row inmate and has won fine reviews. The film also won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and heat from lead categories (Alfre Woodard in this case) can help supporting campaigns.

CON: Will probably be strictly a Best Actress play unless critics rally. We'll see.

Tier 4- Too early to rule anyone out!

David Straithairn
70 yrs old | 1 nomination
Release TBA

PRO: So talented and sounds like the right kind of actor to pair with Frances McDormand.

CON: Nothing known about his role, could be non-essential


Jonathan Pryce
71 years old | never nominated
Release TBA

PRO: Real life famous character Pope Francis (and probably a very large role though the film centers on Pope Benedict, his predecessor). Fernando Meirelle directing.

CON: Oscar has yet to warm to him and it's a Netflix movie so who knows if its gets distribution or not.

Mike Moh
35 yrs old
| never nominated
Release TBA

PRO: Oscar loves it when people ace mimicry of famous celebrities. He was the breakout star of the trailer

CON: We're fully aware that that trailer might be the entirety of his performance but it's fun to dream as we want more of Mike Moh's Bruce Lee immediately.

Kristoffer Hivju
40 yrs old | never nominated
Release TBA

PRO: He was brilliant in Force Majeure (we nominated him right here) and the only actor transferring to this English language remake.

CON: Did they give him the same role or a lesser one? Force Majeure will be hard to top.

Shia Labeouf
32 yrs old
| never nominated
Release TBA

PRO: Playing a version of his own father and winning strong reviews for it.

CON: Complicated personal baggage... will the media support him?

Tier 5 - Other Possibilities



  • John Turturro in Gloria Bell -- but he would need a big push for Julianne Moore to win heat at year's end


Who will pop in these films? What will their roles be like?

  • 1917 - Richard Madden, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Colin Firth, George Mckay
  • Ad Astra - Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, John Ortiz
  • Cats - Sir Ian McKellen, James Corden, Idris Elba, Jason DeRulo, Ray Winstone, and Robert Fairchild. It definitely doesn't mean much given how changed this would have to be to work on screens but from these men Corden, Winstone, and Fairchild are playing the male cats that were Tony-nominated in the original Broadway show: Bustopher Jones, Growlitiger, and Munkustrap
  • Ford v Ferrari - Christian Bale (if supporting), Matt Damon (if supporting), Jon Bernthal, JJ Feild, Josh Lucas, and Ray McKinnon
  • Gemini Man - Clive Owen, Benedict Wong
  • The Goldfinch - Luke Wilson, Denis O'Hare, Aneurin Barnard
  • The Good Liar - Russell Tovey, Jim Carter
  • Harriet - Leslie Odom Jr, Joe Alwyn, Clarke Peters, Zackary Momoh (is he playing Harriet's husband?), Vondie Curtis Hall, Tim Guinee (is he playing abolitionist John Brown?). None of their roles are specified on the cast list but given that Odom Jr and Alwyn are the biggest "names" among the men, who are they playing?
  • The Irishman - Jesse Plemmons, Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, Harry Keitel, Sebastian Mansicalco. A sprawling Scorsese ensemble so who knows who (if anyone) will pop?
  • JoJo Rabbit - Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant
  • Judy - Rufus Sewell (as Sidney Luft, Judy's ex husband), Michael Gambon (as Bernard Delfont, theatrical producer), and Finn Wittrock (as Mickey Deans, Judy's young husband who she married three months before her death)
  • The Kitchen - James Badge Dale, Domnhall Gleeson,
  • The Laundromat - Matthias Schoenaerts, Robert Patrick, James Cromwell, Will Forte, Jeffrey Wright, David Schwimmer
  • Little Women - Timothée Chalamet, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, and Louis Garrel
  • Lucy in the Sky - Jon Hamm, Dan Stevens
  • Motherless Brooklyn - Willem Dafoe, Bobby Cannavale, Dallas Roberts
  • Once Upon Time in Hollywood - Lots of actors playing famous people: Damian Lewis (as Steve McQueen), Mike Moh (as Bruce Lee), Damon Herriman (as Charles Manson), Nicholas Hammons (as Sam Wanamaker). Plus: Bruce Dern, Emile Hirsch, Luke Perry, Scoot McNairy, Timothy Olyphant, Al Pacino, who are all playing either less famous real people or fictional characters.
  • Personal History of David Copperfield - Ben Whishaw, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Laurie, Benedict Wong, and Aneurin Barnard
  • The Report - Corey Stoll, Jon Hamm
  • Rocketman - Richard Madden, Jamie Bell
  • Torrance - Al Madrigal, TK Carter, Da'Vinchi
  • Waves - Sterling K Brown, Lucas Hedges, Kelvin Harrison Jr
  • The Woman in the Window - Gary Oldman, Wyatt Russell, Anthony Mackie
  • Untitled Todd Haynes Project - Bill Pullman, Tim Robbins, William Jackson Harper, Victor Garber, and Bill Camp
  • Untitled Roger Aisles Project - Malcolm McDowell, Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney,