It may seem a little early to be talking about the 2020 Oscars, but if a week is a long time in politics, a year is nothing in the film industry. For instance, the current favourite for the Best Picture Academy Award, The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorcese, has been in production for over ten years.
So, it’s natural that speculation about next year’s Oscars, and according to the bookmakers, one of the early favourites is The Laundromat starring Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman.
Potential Critics Favourite
Paddy Power rate the film, which is based on the real-life investigation that uncovered the Panama Papers, as the 4/1 second favourite to scoop Best Picture next February, and it is already being talked about as a potential critics favourite, not least because it is directed by the much-decorated Steven Soderbergh, the youngest solo director to win the Palme d’Or, and who in 2001, became the first director since 1938 to be nominated for two Academy Awards in the same year.
Notably, as with The Irishman, streaming giant Netflix will have a role in distributing The Laundromat, and Soderbergh, who has a reputation for pushing the boundaries of film-making, has said he would be happy if the film were distributed entirely by Netflix and never appeared in a movie theater.
The biggest rival to The Laundromat in the Oscars betting at this stage is The Irishman, Martin Scorcese’s labour of love, which will see Oscar winners Al Pacino and Robert de Niro working together for the fourth time in their careers, alongside Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel. Paddy Power rate the gangster film, which has cost in excess of $200 million as the 3/1 favourite.
Streep Already Has 3 Oscars to Her Name
But if this contest were decided by the number of Academy Awards already won by its main actors, then The Laundromat would be the clear winner. Pacino and de Niro have three Oscars between them, but Streep has won three on her own. She earned Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer (1980) and Best Actress for Sophie’s Choice (1983) and The Iron Lady (2012), while Oldman won Best Actor as recently as 2018 for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
Information about the plot and style of the film, which is currently in pre-production, is limited, but we know that it will follow the story of a group of journalists who broke the Panama Papers scandal of 2015, which revealed the details of the offshore tax avoidance practices of a host of celebrities and world leaders, dating back to the 1970s. It isn’t yet clear how closely the film will stick to the real-life events, and it also remains to be seen how the moguls and stars of Hollywood will react to a film that shines another light on the elaborate financial dealings of the rich and famous.
Stiff Competition from a Strong Lineup
It is also likely to face stiff competition from a number of other worthy contenders, such as the 6/1 shot The Last Thing He Wanted, starring Anne Hathaway and Willem Dafoe, which offers a potentially critically-appealing combination of politics, pathos and family drama, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (7/1) and Elton John biopic Rocketman (11/1)
But the pedigree of those involved in The Laundromat, and the topical nature of the subject are likely to make it a popular option for Academy Awards punters, and the fact that the film also Antonio Banderas, Melissa Rauch and David Schwimmer may also give it a dash of commercial appeal.