The market for Best Picture at next year’s Academy Awards ceremony is already up and running and a new contender has entered at the top of the betting.
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power have given Jojo Rabbit, which stars Scarlett Johansson, a quote of 9/1 to scoop the Best Picture Oscar in 2020, making it the joint fifth favourite in the betting, alongside the latest Tom Hanks vehicle, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.
The movie is directed by New Zealand filmmaker and actor Taika Waititi, who earned an Oscar nomination for his 2004 short Two Cars, One Night, and who later directed the critically well-received Thor Ragnarok in 2017. Based on a novel called Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, it is the story of a young boy raised without a father in wartime Austria, who escapes reality through an imaginary friend, a version of Adolf Hitler. Johansson, who has yet to earn an Oscar nomination despite starring in a series of critically-acclaimed movies, plays the young boy’s mother; a covert anti-Nazi who is hiding a Jewish refugee girl in their home.
Jojo Rabbit also stars Waititi as Hitler, and Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Stephen Merchant as Nazi soldiers or officials. The reputation of Waititi as rising star of the movie world, and the engaging story appear to be a winning combination and have prompted bookmakers to cut the odds on the movie scooping the Best Picture award to single figures.
But even at this early stage of the betting, Jojo Rabbit faces some potentially stiff competition. As well as A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, which is based on the life of the much-loved US television presenter Fred Rogers, the rival movies include political thrillers The Laundromat, (4/1) directed by Steven Soderberg, and The Last Thing He Wanted, (6/1) starring Anne Hathaway and Willem Dafoe.
And a couple of Hollywood heavyweights will also be releasing lively contenders this year. Quentin Tarantino’s Charles Manson murder story Once Upon A Time In Hollywood features a host of stars including Leonardo di Caprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Al Pacino, while Pacino also has a role alongside Robert De Niro in the current 4/1 favourite The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorcese.