With pretty much every film under the sun postponed until later in the year, we’ve got a small handful of movies at the moment that are fighting for the honour of best of 2020.
But what if this current crop of 2020 releases were all we had for the Oscars?
It’s sure there would be some big upsets, so let’s imagine a little and see what things would like if next year’s Oscars were hosted now.
(Note: For ‘2020’ films, we’re counting films on general release in the USA from 1 January 2020.)
Winner: Birds Of Prey
The Other Nominees: The Invisible Man, Onward, The Rhythm Section, Bad Boys For Life, The Gentlemen, Sonic The Hedgehog, The Hunt
In a breathlessly close fight for the top prize at this strangest of Academy Awards, I’d put my money on Cathy Yan’s Birds Of Prey just edging out Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man.
Whannell’s horror thriller is perhaps the more emotionally affecting of the two, but Birds Of Prey is a real breath of fresh air – an anarchic, eccentric and original blockbuster that the superhero genre has been sorely missing. Its ensemble cast is delightful, and its fun-loving, kaleidoscopic energy is just what we all need in difficult times.
The following pack would be a bit of a mish-mash of releases from early 2020. Pixar would certainly be in play for Onward, while some surprise nominations include Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen, the long overdue Bad Boys For Life, and even Sonic The Hedgehog.
Winner: Leigh Whannel – The Invisible Man
The Other Nominees: Cathy Yan – Birds Of Prey, Guy Ritchie – The Gentlemen, Reed Morano – The Rhythm Section, Jeff Fowler – Sonic The Hedgehog
Just missing out on Best Picture, The Inivisible Man can take consolation in the fact that it would certainly take a well-deserved win for Best Director.
Leigh Whannell’s powerfully atmospheric reimagining of H.G. Wells’ classic horror isn’t just exciting, but scary and emotionally rich throughout. It’s one of the best horror movies in years, yet its dramatic depth is what really powers it home all the way.
Cathy Yan would certainly be close for her hugely energetic direction of Birds Of Prey, although her handling of the film’s often messy narrative means she would just miss out compared to Whannell in this category.
Winner: Ewan McGregor – Birds Of Prey
The Other Nominees: Aldis Hodge – The Invisible Man, James Marsden – Sonic The Hedgehog, Matthew McConaughey – The Gentlemen, Will Smith – Bad Boys For Life
Yet another battle between Birds Of Prey and The Invisible Man sees the DC Comics blockbuster come out on top in Best Actor.
Ewan McGregor’s brilliantly evil performance as Black Mask is a highlight of Birds Of Prey‘s fantastic blend of comedy and dark drama. His villainous charisma is infectious throughout, yet he also brings a striking intensity to a villain role that is so often overlooked in superhero ensemble movies.
Aldis Hodge’s excellent turn in The Invisible Man alongside Elisabeth Moss definitely deserves recognition, however, while surprisingly striking performances from Matthew McConaughey and Will Smith in The Gentlemen and Bad Boys For Life respectively would also be worthy additions to the line-up for Best Actor.
Winner: Elisabeth Moss – The Invisible Man
The Other Nominees: Margot Robbie – Birds Of Prey, Anya Taylor-Joy – Emma., Blake Lively – The Rhythm Section, Betty Gilpin – The Hunt
Perhaps the easiest category to predict in this makeshift Oscars, Elisabeth Moss’ performance in The Invisible Man was so good, that I wouldn’t bet against her picking up a nod at the real ceremony come next year.
A mesmerising display of terror and exhaustion, Moss’ intense performance is arguably one of the scariest things about the film, yet her strength and determination on screen makes her a riveting presence throughout, and lends thrilling depth to her character’s fight for survival in the face of a terrifying, abusive menace.
The following pack would absolutely include Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Birds Of Prey (a far better turn than in Suicide Squad), while Anya Taylor-Joy, Blake Lively and Betty Gilpin would all take home deserving nominations for each of their memorable performances.
Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Hugh Grant – The Gentlemen
The Other Nominees: Jim Carrey – Sonic The Hedgehog, Ben Schwartz – Sonic The Hedgehog, Jude Law – The Rhythm Section, Martin Lawrence – Bad Boys For Life
Another easy category to decide, Hugh Grant’s deliciously nasty supporting turn as a slimy journalist in The Gentlemen turned heads back in January, and for good reason.
Based on his own experiences with journalists, Grant gives his all into making his character – who attempts to blackmail a mob boss – as unpleasant as possible, all the while having great fun with it. He even changes his voice beyond recognition in the performance.
Strangely, Sonic The Hedgehog would do very well in this category, picking up two nods for the eccentric Jim Carrey and the lively Ben Schwartz. Meanwhile, Jude Law’s hard-knuckled turn in The Rhythm Section and Martin Lawrence’s enjoyable return to the big screen in Bad Boys For Life would also pick up deserved nominations.
Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Rosie Perez – Birds Of Prey
The Other Nominees: Michelle Dockery – The Gentlemen, Hilary Swank – The Hunt, Julia-Louis Dreyfus – Downhill, Ella Jay Basco – Birds Of Prey
Female ensemble Birds Of Prey was always going to do well in this category, and while Rosie Perez is a deserved winner here, her victory isn’t a foregone conclusion.
Perez’s brilliant blend of professional determination and off-the-chain antics as detective Renee Montoya is one of the brightest sparks in Birds Of Prey. But she faces a close race with Michelle Dockery hard-as-nails turn in The Gentlemen, whose intensity was without a doubt one of the most entertaining and memorable parts of that film.
Of the rest of the Birds Of Prey cast, young Ella Jay Basco would be most deserving of a nomination here, alongside nods for Hilary Swank’s against-type turn in The Hunt, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Downhill, given that she was the best part of that disappointing comedy by a long way.
Some Other Categories That I Can Think Of Winners For
Best Original Screenplay: Onward
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Invisible Man
Best Animated Feature: Onward
Best Cinematography: The Invisible Man
Best Original Score: The Invisible Man
Best Costume Design: Emma.
Best Production Design: Emma.
Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Birds Of Prey
Best Editing: The Invisible Man
Best Visual Effects: Sonic The Hedgehog
PREDICTED FINAL AWARDS TALLY
The Invisible Man – 6 awards
Birds Of Prey – 4 awards
Onward – 2 awards
Emma. – 2 awards
The Gentlemen – 1 award
Sonic The Hedgehog – 1 award