After Cannes, which films will make it to the Oscars?

NEW YORK • With this year's edition of Cannes sewn up, which films have got a head start in next year's Oscars race?

The biggest contender has to be Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as faded show business figures.

But how will Sony handle the two stars, who are just about evenly split in terms of screen time?

It may try to classify Pitt as supporting. DiCaprio's washed-up actor has the biggest emotional arc and Pitt's stuntman character is in his employ and thus technically subordinate to him.

It would be bunk, but after Mahershala Ali won a supporting actor trophy just months ago for what was essentially a co-lead performance in Green Book, the gambit would at least give Pitt a strong shot at his first acting trophy.

Actors from other Cannes films who could get nominated include Willem Dafoe, who chews scenery with aplomb as a seaman in The Lighthouse, and Taron Egerton, who delivers a spirited turn as Elton John in Rocketman.

But he may be hamstrung by Rami Malek's recent, too-similar Oscar win for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

Also keep an eye on Antonio Banderas, who is subtle and moving in Pedro Almodovar's Pain And Glory, in which he plays a thinly veiled stand-in for his director.

Banderas has never been nominated for an Oscar, but charmed the Cannes press with funny stories about his long career. If he hits the awards circuit with that same gusto, he will be irresistible.

And then there is the winner of the Palme d'Or, Bong Joon-ho's Parasite. No Korean film has been nominated for the international Oscar, but Parasite is so strong it could blow past that category to factor in the directing and screenplay races.

A story of class struggle told in the most entertaining way, Parasite is Bong at his best and the academy could take note.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2019, with the headline 'After Cannes, which films will make it to the Oscars?'. Print Edition | Subscribe