The year of 2019 was a roundly solid one in the world of cinema and, despite the usual glaring omissions (Hey, Academy members – Best Picture nominee Little Women did not direct itself; Where’s the love for Greta Gerwig, y’all?) the Oscar contenders this year represent some of the best talent in the film industry.
Yesterday we took a look at what the nominees for Lead Actress have coming up for the year of 2020. Today we’re going to look at their male counterparts for Lead Actor and just what projects they have coming down the pike for anxious film fans. So strap yourselves in Dear and Constant Readers, because faster than you can say Hugh Downs or Barbara Walters we are going to take a gander at these five actors and their upcoming slate of film projects!
Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes) is an insanely talented and respected actor who gets major plaudits for a filmography that reads like a super-stuffed telephone book. I’ll always and forever love the man for his work in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and it’s nice to see the man recognized for his consistent and steady work in the world of film: Next up for this distinguished gent after an incredibly busy 2019 is the new science fiction television series, Tales from the Loop. After that? World domination would be my bet. Congrats on the deserved Oscar nomination, Mr. Pryce. By the way, Jonathan shares a poignant connection to our next nominee, Joaquin Phoenix. Pryce actually worked alongside Phoenix’s older brother River in his last film performance, Dark Blood. Which, I suppose, makes a good segue way to Joaquin himself…
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) only gets better as he goes along, his acting chops are mostly unrivaled and how the man has not yet won the Oscar is beyond my meager mind. Next up on Mr. Phoenix’s plate is director Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon which has just wrapped shooting. And while rumors abound of Phoenix reprising his role in Joker, the smart money is on this eclectic actor taking on something completely different that does not have a roman numeral after its title.
Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) is up to bat again at the Oscars after having finally won for his striking turn in The Revenant. Credit to this new nomination must go to Once Upon a Time’s director and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino who pushed this exceptional actor in new and unexpected directions. DiCaprio has been attached to so many films that never happened with his participation that it’s harder to nail this one down. I recall getting excited when, back in 1994-’95 the erstwhile talent was lined up to play actor James Dean in a Michael Mann bio-pic that never got off the ground. Or how about the time he seemed close to closing a deal on the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination story, Slay the Dreamer? Or what about that time he was announced as taking on the role of jazz trumpet player Chet Baker? Or what about…Well, you get the idea. DiCaprio has always been in demand and I don’t forecast that changing anytime too soon. For his next project, DiCaprio may star alongside Robert De Niro (his co-star in the wonderful films This Boy’s Life and Marvin’s Room) in director Martin Scorsese’s next film, Killer of the Flower Moon. Also listed as being in pre-production for him is a flick titled The Black Hand (an early mob in America story). He’s also still attached to the very long gestating The Devil in the White City (excellent and frightening book, by the way). And somewhere down the line, he’s still slotted to play good old Teddy Roosevelt himself in the aptly titled film, Roosevelt. Sounds amazing, Leo. Now just buckle down and get some of these projects made (although please keep up your excellent work with the environment!).
When not attempting to oppress the Jedi, actor Adam Driver (Marriage Story) has been quietly busy carving out a brilliant film career that would make even the most seasoned thespian green with envy. Nominated for the wrenching and altogether heart-touching film Marriage Story, this talent has two new projects in the offing: Annette which is being directed by Leos Carax and The Last Duel. The former is listed as being in post-production and the latter in pre-production. Ridley Scott is penciled in as director on Duel, incidentally.
Finally for this installment is a dark horse nominee that I didn’t predict as walking away with an Oscar nomination, but I’m happy he’s being recognized by his Hollywood peers and contemporaries – Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory). Banderas is one of those rich and rare natural resources that we (and by “we” I probably mean “I”) take for granted just based on his career longevity and the amount of work he has out there already. He’s a movie star who has eschewed that particular title infavor of being a consummate actor and he’s kept from some of us a secret: He is a wonderful actor who deserves a million more Crazy in Alabama or Pain and Glory opportunities. 2020 looks to be crazy for Banderas: Doolittle, Lamborghini: The Legend, The New Mutants, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, The Devil May Care, Havana Quartet and Down by the Water are all on his dance card in the immediate future.
2020 looks to be a very solid year for the Actor nominees and I look forward to seeing and reviewing many of the above film titles!
Tune in tomorrow as Vents studies the next moves of the Best Director nominees! And, as always, you can check in with our amigos over at the esteemed Hollywood Reporter for a full list of all of the deserving 2020 nominees. Tell ‘em 20/20 sent ya!