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Newsletter: Film awards are coming fast and furious

Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in “Knives Out.”
Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in “Knives Out.”
(Lionsgate)

Top 10 lists from AFI and the National Board of Review are out. The New York Film Critics Circle announced its prizes Wednesday; the Los Angeles Film Critics vote Sunday.

And then come the Golden Globes nominations Monday, followed by those for the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Wednesday.

So, yes, the awards season is kicking into high gear.

Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season leading up to the Oscars.

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I’m Glenn Whipp, The Times’ awards columnist and your newsletter host.

Consensus taking shape for best of 2019

Seven movies made both the AFI and NBR lists: “The Irishman,” “Marriage Story,” “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood,” “1917,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Knives Out” and “Richard Jewell.” The last title, a late-arriving drama from Clint Eastwood, felt like a National Board of Review gimme, given how the group has feted Eastwood over the years.

The NBR gave its top prize to Martin Scorsese’s mob epic “The Irishman,” as did the New York Critics Film Circle. The latter is a more prestigious prize; for one thing, we know who’s voting. (The NBR doesn’t disclose its membership, saying only it’s a “select group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals, academics and students,” all of whom, apparently, share a love for Eastwood’s oeuvre.)

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The New York critics made a number of superb choices, including Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”) for best actress and Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”) for best actor.

Songwriting partners Bernie Taupin, left, and Elton John.
Songwriting partners Bernie Taupin, left, and Elton John.
(Gavin Bond / Paramount Pictures)

Elton up for an Oscar

When I met Elton John a few weeks ago backstage at the Greek Theatre, he immediately took pains to explain that the green Gucci suit he was then wearing was not the outfit he would be donning when he took the stage later that night.

“This is my ‘Coming to the Greek suit,’ ” John says. “I’m very fond of the Greek, so I wanted to wear something special for the occasion. I have another one for the stage,” pointing to a bold, geometric print jacket, Gucci by way of Mondrian, with silver, sequined lapel trim.

It was a very Elton John moment, one of a few from my interview with him and his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.

“We’ve both been through triumph and anguish and we’re closer now than ever,” John said, looking at Taupin. “That kind of love is very hard to come by.”

“Taylor Swift: Miss Americana” will kick off the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
“Taylor Swift: Miss Americana” will kick off the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
(Sundance Institute )
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Taylor Swift doc to open 2020 Sundance

Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” premiered at Sundance in January and remains very much in the Oscar conversation nearly a year later.

What movies could make a mark in 2020? Times film writer Jen Yamato sussed the just-announced lineup, highlighting such anticipated titles as “Downhill,” a remake of Golden Globe-nominated Swedish dramedy “Force Majeure,” starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus; “Worth,” with Michael Keaton as 9/11 Fund appointee Kenneth Feinberg; “Four Good Days,” starring Glenn Close and Mila Kunis in a story involving opioid addiction; and Julie Taymor’s “The Glorias,” featuring Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander as activist Gloria Steinem.

The opening night premiere is a documentary, “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana,” produced by Oscar winner Morgan Neville, directed by Lana Wilson and billed as a “raw and emotionally revealing look” at the recording artist during a turning point in her career. It’s sure to bring out the lovers ... and the haters.

Feedback?

I’d love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.


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