Time waits for no one, and just a quick peek at what’s in store in the year 2020 for the five Oscar nominees for Best Director seems to bear out this old bromide. In Vents’ continuing quest to bring readers up to date on what the various and sundry nominees have coming up on their dance cards, we were encouraged and delighted that all of this year’s noted and celebrated nominees are continuing to push themselves and their art with new and unique projects on the horizon.
Director Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) really needs no introduction: With a slew of classic films under his belt (Goodfellas, Raging Bull, The Departed, The Age of Innocence and After Hours), this auteur continues to push himself and his craft in a variety of unexpected and delicious ways. So, what does one of the most celebrated directors of our time have coming up in the way of film? First up is an executive producer credit for the upcoming Joanna Hogg film, The Souvenir: Part 2. The versatile talent then hops back into the director’s chair for his eagerly awaited period film Killers of the Flower Moon which reunites him with two of his most dependable muses, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. After this, Scorsese ambles back into executive producer mode for director Rodrigo Prieto’s film, Bastard. 2020 will obviously be a huge year for Mr. Scorsese producing-wise: After his executive producer turn for Prieto, the maestro assumes a simple producer role for the film Bernstein which will mark Bradley Cooper’s return to the director chair after the success of his remake of A Star Is Born. Scorsese is also listed as an executive producer for the long gestating film adaptation of the brilliant true-crime story book, The Devil in the White City. Wanna get really winded with this crazy list of Marty Scorsese projects? The director is also listed as being the director of note attached to helm Leonardo DiCaprio in the Teddy Roosevelt bio-pic, Roosevelt. Tellingly (and probably realistically) both Roosevelt and Devil…are given no release date or production time. Perhaps these latter two projects will slide into 2021 to give Mr. Scorsese a much needed break?
Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) has made a brilliant career for himself by defying audience expectations and delivering films that are both subversive and entertaining. Continuing that trend, a sequel (or a follow-up if the word “sequel” has you cringing) has been announced for his popular film, Django Unchained. This one is titled Django/Zorro and, as the title promises, features a team-up between the famous gunman and his sword wielding contemporary. Just a casting thought, but how about Antonio Banderas reprising his starring role from 1998’s The Mask of Zorro, Mr. Tarantino? Or is that perhaps too gimmicky? This film is listed for a 2022 release or production date and, after that, it looks like another sequel is on Mr. Tarantino’s dance card with Kill Bill: Vol. 3.
Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) had a terrific 2019 and it looks like it’s full speed ahead for the talented director with…Alright, I’m being coy here Constant Readers: After a terrific year, Joon-ho has nothing immediate listed on his To-Do List. Perhaps he might just spend some time plotting out a new film with Oscar nominated actress Rene Zellweger (another Oscar nominee with no immediate projects on the horizon).
Todd Phillips (Joker) broke all sorts of nifty box office records in 2019 with his collaboration with Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix. I’ll sheepishly admit to being surprised that the director of The Hangover trilogy (really just a poor man’s Very Bad Things) had such versatility and range and even as I type these words out I feel like a pretentious dolt who only reads Film Comment and schleps around mediocre coffee houses with an unread copy of something written by Hemingway tucked under my turtleneck bedecked arm. Phillips surprised the hell out of me with Joker and I’ve rarely been so happy to be proven so wrong about an opinion I’ve fostered regarding a director. This guy is the real deal folks and I’m anxiously awaiting his upcoming untitled…Hulk Hogan biopic?!? This is what Phillips is listed as directing next and I’ll try and keep an open mind. In the meantime, the industry is abuzz with rumors of a Joker sequel. Would that come before or after Hogan though? Time will tell good people.
Rounding out this list is a so-called “comeback story” that I’m genuinely excited about—Sam Mendes (1917). You know you’ve hit a chord that resounds when your film knocks off a friggin’ Star Wars movie from the top of the box office, especially when said film – 1917 – is a two hour period piece about the brutalities of war. Mendes has always been a top-notch director and you will find few people that are as fanatical about his work on American Beauty, Road to Perdition and Revolutionary Road as I am. Mendes veered off into the land of James Bond and I’d worried we lost him to the world of the Blockbuster Movies. 1917 represents a return to form for one of our finest directors. Next up for this visionary is an executive producer credit for the television series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. Here’s to his success in that endeavor and we all look forward to his next stint in the director’s chair.
As always, please take a gander at the complete list of Oscar nominees via the brilliant devices of our fellow pop culture brethren over at The Hollywood Reporter.