Deadline’s ninth annual The Contender Los Angeles event is now underway at the newly refurbished DGA Theater in Hollywood. An overflow crowd of Motion Picture Academy members, key guild members and other voters will see a record 20 studios and 38 movies paraded in front of them in the ultimate For Your Consideration event of the movie awards season. Check back on Deadline throughout the day as we cover it all, and follow along on social at #DeadlineContenders.
It is hard to believe this is our ninth consecutive Contenders in Los Angeles, the city where this must-stop on the awards season circuit started it all. In that time it has only grown bigger and better, expanding with the demand to Emmy season and our The Contenders Emmys event in April, as well as to Oscar season events in London and New York. It is a logistical triumph to piece it all together, but with dedicated work from Madelyn Hammond and her programming magic — as well as a staff of dedicated Deadliners making it work so smoothy from dawn to dusk — it is the ultimate place to be in order to kick off the season for voters who need to be informed on what to watch when they get their screeners.
This year, the lineup truly covers the waterfront in terms of subject matter, size of budget, comedy, drama, dramedy, superheroes, personal passion projects, re-imaginings of real life events, animation, international sensations, and even a group of strippers (!). These are the movies the studios themselves choose to showcase in order to get your consideration, so we should consider this annual lineup of awards hopefuls the best of the best.
Increasingly true life stories have become a huge part of awards season, and this one is no different. At least 16 of the films on display deal with real people or real subjects. Some revolve around hot-button topics like The Report, Dark Waters, Bombshell, Just Mercy, The Banker, Seberg and more that are ripped from the headlines. Expect to see some of the actual people onstage that these movies were inspired by, in addition to the stars who play them. And speaking of that, we will be highlighting movies about icons of entertainment from Mister Rogers to Elton John to Sharon Tate to the aforementioned Jean Seberg. And speaking of icons, you can’t go any higher than the two living Popes, Francis and Benedict. We don’t have the real ones beaming in from the Vatican, but maybe the next best thing.
Movies got personal this year as well and we will explore films taken from the real lives of those actors and directors who lived them, however thinly disguised they may be. Those include Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory, Lulu Wang’s The Farewell and Shia LaBeouf’s Honey Boy.
From Harriet Tubman to Ford v Ferrari to an Irishman to some real-life huckster strippers, there will be something for everyone. The racial divide will be explored as we feature exciting new films like Waves, Queen & Slim and Jordan Peele’s Get Out follow-up Us to name three that will have you talking. And it is gratifying to report that this year’s The Contenders Los Angeles event sports the largest number of female directors in our history with at least nine appearing to talk about their awards-contending movies. Whether that is an encouraging trend or just the nature of the movie year 2019 remains to be seen, but we are happy to be able to showcase them and all these great movies. It is an embarrassment of riches.