Director Sam Mendes, who won the Best Director Oscar in 1999 for his directorial debut American Beauty is once again in the running for Academy Awards accolades, with his latest project.
Bookmakers are already taking bets on the contenders for the 2020 Oscars, and according to Irish bookie Paddy Power, 1917, directed by Mendes and starring Dean-Charles Chapman and Charles MacKay, has been given an 11/1 quote in the Best Picture market, alongside Elton-John biopic Rocketman, directed by Dexter Fletcher, available at the same price.
While he has only once scooped the Best Director award, Mendes has a history of directing Oscar-harvesting movies. American Beauty produced eight nominations and five awards, while Road To Perdition (2002), Revolutionary Road (2008), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015) gathered an impressive fifteen nominations and four Oscars in total.
Since finishing back-to-back Bond films with the release of Skyfall, Mendes has been working in theatre, but his return to the movie world will have caught the attention of Oscars punters, as his reputation as a critically-acclaimed director inevitably improves the odds of any move that he is associated with. But as for the movie itself, very little is known, other than that, as the title suggests, it is set in the First World War, and the screenplay was written by Mendes himself. It is also being backed by Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Partners.
This will be the first screenwriting credit of Mendes’ career, which may partially explain the relatively long odds for the movie, though the cautious quote of 11/1 probably also reflects the fact that this looks like being an extremely competitive Oscars market, even at this early stage.
The betting is currently headed by The Irishman(3/1) directed by Martin Scorcese, a gangster movie that has been ten years in the making and brings together Al Pacino, Robert De Nero and Joe Pesci. Pacino also crops up in the cast of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (7/1) along with Brad Pitt, Leonardo di Caprio and Margot Robbie, and there are other strong contenders in the form of political thrillers The Laundromat (4/1) and The Last Thing He Wanted (6/1).