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Do We Have Any Academy Award Contenders From The First Half Of 2019?

In just a few days, we will officially be on to the second half of the year. Yes, we’re literally about to be done with the first half of 2019. Shortly, we’ll be looking at the best of 2019 so far, but before we do that, there’s an interesting question to ponder. That question, is, in fact, are there any Oscar players from the first six months of the year? I do believe that there are a handful of possibilities, so I pulled a half dozen specific ones to discuss a bit today. These weren’t the only ones, as the Animated, Documentary, and technical branches offer hope for the likes of Dumbo, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Wrestle, and so on, but the six you’ll see below are the ones to pay the most mind to. They could be the best hopes for the first part of the year to get awards traction…

Here now are the six potential Academy Award players from the first half of 2019:

Aladdin – Disney’s latest seems strictly like a below the line player, with Best Production Design and Best Original Song seemingly the most likely spots for it to crack a lineup. This tale could easily get lost in the shuffle by the end of the year, especially if The Lion King sucks up all of the air, but for now, it’s one to consider. It’s not the most likely of nominees, but it’s in play, for sure.

Avengers: Endgame – The biggest film of all time has to show up somewhere at the Oscars, right? Last year, Avengers: Infinity War only managed a single nomination, in Best Visual Effects. That spot seems likely again, though with Black Panther having finally gotten the MCU some wins and prestige nominations, there’s a chance for more. Best Film Editing especially could be a place to honor the massive achievement. It will be interesting to see how hard Disney/Marvel campaigns in support of this one at year’s end.

Booksmart – Don’t sleep on this gem of a comedy in the Best Original Screenplay field. The Academy does tend to cite comedies within Original Screenplay, so Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut isn’t a total long shot. Admittedly, the fact that it didn’t become a box office hit will hurt it somewhat, but this is the sort of movie that a precursor groundswell could really end up supporting. Something like that would put it in position to crack a lineup. Stay tuned!

Rocketman – After the success last year of Bohemian Rhapsody, all eyes were on this Elton John biopic. Oscar went all in on the Freddie Mercury story, along with audiences as well. Rocketman has been better received by critics, but isn’t the same box office juggernaut this time around. Don’t expect Best Picture attention or anything like that, but Taron Egerton does deserve to be in play for some Best Actor love, depending on the competition that emerges.

Toy Story 4 – Pixar has done it again and voters will take notice of it. Not only is it a lock to be nominated in Best Animated Feature (and the early odds on favorite to win the category), there’s avenues for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score citations as well. The franchise hasn’t missed with Oscar voters yet, and that won’t change this time around. It’s simply a question of how well it’ll do…

Us – Jordan Peele won an Academy Award his first time out for the modern horror classic Get Out. Now, his sophomore feature is hoping that members of the Academy gravitate towards him once again. Give or take another run in Best Original Screenplay, the chances for us mostly rest on a long shot Lupita Nyong’o nomination in Best Actress. Stranger things have happened, but the precursors will have to go all in on her in order for it to happen. We shall see.

Stay tuned for more on the first half of 2019 in the days to come!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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