Not even COVID-19 can stop the annual fall kickoff to the Oscars. From Leonardo DiCaprio to Lady Gaga, this year’s slate of awards hopefuls is packed with star power, as the industry is trying to rebuild from an unusual year that left most movie theaters shuttered.
Netflix, which has thrived in a world where people stream their movies at home, has a formidable list of Oscar hopefuls. Yet to win the best picture statue, could that change with the musical, “tick, tick…Boom!” from debut director Lin-Manuel Miranda or the period drama “The Power of the Dog” from Jane Campion? Both films show promise for their leading men, Andrew Garfield and Benedict Cumberbatch, respectively. In addition, the streamer brings Black cowboys with the BFI London opener “The Harder They Fall,” set to drop Nov. 3, and a complex take on motherhood with Maggie Gyllenhaal’s first outing as a director with “The Lost Daughter,” releasing Dec. 17.
Then again, Netflix’s buzziest title could be Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” an ensemble feature starring DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, which will debut around the holidays.
The same goes for Searchlight Pictures and Guillermo del Toro, who’s working hard on his “Nightmare Alley” remake with Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett, scheduled for Dec. 3 in theaters.
Populist flicks with Hollywood’s biggest stars are bowing in the coming months. Timothée Chalamet has three film projects, with Denis Villeneuve’s long-delayed “Dune” from Warner Bros, being the most prominent. But, with other roles in McKay’s film and Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” with Searchlight, it’ll take more than the pandemic to keep cinephiles away.
Will Smith is back and could tug at the heartstrings as tennis pros Serena and Venus Williams’ father in “King Richard,” marking 20 years since his first Oscar nom for “Ali,” which he lost to another probable contender this year, Denzel Washington for “Training Day.” The WB biopic releases on Nov. 19.
Kristen Stewart will take on an interpretation of Princess Diana in Neon’s “Spencer” from Pablo Larraín, which is set to debut at Venice before heading out to theaters on Nov. 5 while Penélope Cruz teams back up with Pedro Almodóvar for his drama “Parallel Mothers” from Sony Pictures Classics, which already caused a stir following its nipple-leaking poster being removed from Instagram.
Black and white movies will be a theme with A24’s “C’mon C’mon” with Joaquin Phoenix from director Mike Mills and Focus Features’ “Belfast” with Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan from five-time Oscar-nominee Kenneth Branagh.
Joel Coen’s first solo feature without his brother Ethan comes in the form of “The Tragedy of Macbeth” from co-distributors A24 and Apple TV Plus. The New York Film Festival opener stars Denzel Washington and recently crowned Frances McDormand.
Amazon Studios has two A-list films in post-production, which will descend before year’s end – Aaron Sorkin’s Lucille Ball biopic “Being the Ricardos” with Nicole Kidman and George Clooney’s adaptation of “The Tender Bar” with Ben Affleck and “The Departed” scribe William Monahan.
And who could forget Lady Gaga, set to portray the murderous Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” from United Artists and MGM, opposite Adam Driver, who also has a role in Scott’s other film “The Last Duel” from 20th Century Studios? Nov. 24 can’t come soon enough.