Brad Pitt, who won an Oscar in 2014 for his role in Twelve Years A Slave, has two shots at being involved in another Academy Awards success in 2020. According to the bookmakers, his best chance comes with Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, the latest Quentin Tarantino feature, which also stars Leonardo di Caprio. Paddy Power rate that movie a 6/1 shot to scoop the Best Picture feature at next year’s Oscars, but Pitt has a second string to his Oscars bow with Ad Astra.
A science-fiction movie, Ad Astra is directed by the critically-acclaimed director James Gray, whose career has earned him four Palme d’Or nominations at the Cannes Film Festival, and also stars Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones and Hollywood veteran Donald Sutherland. The movie tells the story of an Army Corps engineer who travels to Neptune in an attempt to uncover what happened to his father who went missing on a mission to look for alien life on the planet twenty years earlier.
The heavyweight cast, and the few hints about the plot that Gray has provided suggest that this will not be a typical Star Wars-style space jaunt, and will have more in common with the ‘realistic’ genre of science fiction, which has included Gravity, which was nominated for Best Picture in 2013 and The Martian which picked up a nomination in the same category in 2015.
Initially due to be out in January this year, Ad Astra is now scheduled to be released in May and has been given a tentative 20/1 quote by Paddy Power. That price may not be a reflection of the likely merits of the movie, and is more likely to be influenced by the fact that there is such a crowded field of contenders this season, including the aforementioned Quentin Tarantino project, current favourite The Irishman (3/1) and political thrillers The Laundromat (4/1) and The Last Thing He Wanted (6/1).