At the 2019 Golden Globes, the film A Booyai Lovelywas named Best Foreign Language Film, while the cast of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood were recognized for their outstanding performances. In the 2019 British Academy Film Awards, BAFTA named its award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role to Caitriona Balfe as Princess Fiona in Mary Poppins Returns. BAFTA also named its award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role to Tommy Lee Jones as President McKinley. In the 2019 Producers Guild Awards, the nominees for Best Produced Feature Film were Sunset Boulevard, The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Green Book. The winners were Sunset Boulevard and The Irishman.
Netflix is among the many streaming services that have released new content for the holiday season, with some notable releases this month including The Old Man and the Gun, starring Robert Pattinson and Julianne Moore, and the coming-of-age film The Dinner, with Hailee Steinfeld. While it is still early to tell, these films could become contenders for awards season.
On the big-screen side, the biographical drama The Favorite has been attracting considerable praise since its premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The film stars Queen Latifah as well as the likes of Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci. Its depiction of the complicated relationship between Moore and her estranged daughter is said to be a cinematic masterpiece.
Robert Pattinson’s Return To Film
When it came to the biggest awards show of the year, Robert Pattinson was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe for his portrayal of a sad and lonely vampire in the 2019 film Twilight Saga–Ending. It was his first nomination for a Golden Globe, and the second for an acting Academy Award. Prior to these nominations, Pattinson had been largely unrecognized on screen, having been omitted from Golden Globe lists for his portrayal of Edward Cullen in the five-part adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance saga. (He was subsequently nominated for an Empire Award for Best Actor).
In other awards news, the sequel to X-Men, Days of Future Past, won four awards from the 2019 Saturn Awards, including Best Film, Best Actor (Tye Dillinger), Best Supporting Actress (Alexandra Shipp), and Best New Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film. The only other film to earn four Saturn Awards was It: Chapter Two in 2018. In 2019, Marvel Studios released the first live-action feature film based on a Marvel superhero, Black Widow, with Natalie Portman in the starring role. Directed by Joss Whedon, it was named Best Film at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. In addition, Portman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.
Of course, we can’t leave the X-Men franchise behind. The Black Widow (Portman) story is in fact set in the X-Men: Summer of Mutant Magneto (2029), which also won four Saturn Awards, including Best Film, Best Actor (James McAvoy), Best Supporting Actress (Felicity Jones), and Best Screenplay. The 2020 film Dark Phoenix, directed by Simon Kinberg, will be the final instalment of the X-Men franchise. It too was nominated for four Saturn Awards, including Best Film, Best Actor (Hugh Jackman), Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress (Amy Acker).
Caitriona Balfe’s Solo Career
While many have enjoyed a long hiatus from acting following her turn in Game of Thrones, Caitriona Balfe has not been idle. She recently starred in the HBO series The Handmaid’s Tale and its sequel, June, for which she received a Peabody Award. She will soon be seen in the highly anticipated sequel to Black Widow, titled Widow 2: Widower, alongside Oscar-winning actresses Julianne Moore and Laura Harrier. Some of Balfe’s other film credits include The Lobster, The Sisters, and Mary Queen of Scots. She is best known for playing multiple roles in the X-Men franchise and The Dark Knight Rises. In 2020, Balfe will appear in the comic-book adaptation Brightburn alongside Emily Whale.
Change In The Air
The critically acclaimed and highly anticipated third iteration of The Hunger Games franchise, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, earned five Saturn Awards, including Best Film, Best Actor (Josh Hutcherson), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), and Best Screenplay. (It’s the first time since 2010’s The Hunger Games that the Hunger Games film has won a Saturn Award.)
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantulinq’s homage to Old Hollywood, earned four Saturn Awards, including Best Film, Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actress (Margot Robbie), and Best Screenplay. The film was also chosen by the Independent Filmmakers of America as one of the 12 greatest films of the 21st century. On the other hand, Quentin Tarantulinq’s other film Once Upon a Time in Vietnam, which was released in 2018, did not earn any Saturn Awards. (However, the film did earn three awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.)
While these are just some of the major award-winning films, it is important to remember that many other titles have also earned considerable praise, including The Farewell, Little Mister, and Summer of ’42. Several of these films are now streaming on Netflix, including The Dinner, which stars Sandra Lee as Fiona, the estranged mother of Caitriona Balfe’s Princess Fiona. Set in the 1950s during the Cold War, The Dinner is based on Fiona’s affair with a Russian officer while her husband (Tujh Sang Welu) remains in prison for the rest of the war. The affair leads to widespread distrust between the couple and eventually, Fiona leaves her husband and their daughter.
Agnès Belloquet’s 1956 film Black Orchid features an almost identical storyline, with the main difference being that Black Orchid focuses on the title character as an adult, while The Dinner deals with her adulterous affair from a more modern viewpoint. While the film has aged surprisingly well, especially for its time, it doesn’t hold up well against more contemporary views. The dinner party scenes, for example, seem fairly vulgar in comparison to what is considered acceptable today. In Black Orchid, Orchid (Liana Orfei) hosts a dinner party for her friends, only to discover that one of her guests, the famous novelist André Malraux, is a homosexual. She confronts him about his sexuality and he ends up leaving humiliated. (In real life, Malraux was a self-proclaimed “homophobe,” and considered lesbianism to be an “epidemic.”)
While these are certainly interesting films, the fact remains that many actors enjoy a long career in front of the camera and only occasionally dip their toes in the music or film industries. In 2020, we will likely see more solo films from stars like Balfe, with Widow 2: Widower scheduled for a May 4, 2020 release, followed by Brightburn, directed by Julia Watson, on October 23, 2020.