Oscars 2019: 20th Century Fox strong slate led by ‘Widows,’ ‘Ad Astra’ …

Last year, 20th Century Fox had two films in Oscar contention based on true stories: the P.T. Barnum musical biopic “The Great Showman” starring Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams; and “The Post,” Steven Spielberg‘s docudrama about the 1971 decision by Washington Post publisher Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) to trust her editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and publish a classified dossier on the escalating American involvement in the Vietnam conflict.

This year, the studio has four strong contenders led by Steve McQueen‘s “Widows,” a film version of a hit British TV series. This is his first film since the Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave” in 2013. The all-star cast is led by Viola Davis, who could well be nominated for her leading role as a woman who takes over the planning of a bank robbery after her husband dies.

Below, detailed listings of each of these Oscar contenders, including release dates, creative types, cast lists, running times, plot summaries,  and receptions both critical and commercial.

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“Ad Astra” (20th Century Fox)
Director: James Gray
Writers: James Gray, Ethan Gross
Cast: Brad Pitt, Ruth Negga,Tommy Lee Jones, Jamie Kennedy, Donald Sutherland

Summary: Twenty years after his father left on a one-way mission to Neptune in order to find signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence, Roy McBride, an Army Corps engineer travels through the solar system to find him and understand why his mission failed.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” (20th Century Fox)  – November 2
Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Anthony McCarten
Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, Mike Myers

Summary: A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s legendary appearance at the Live Aid  concert in 1985.

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“Love Simon” (20th Century Fox) – March 16
Director: Greg Berlanti
Writers: Isaac Aptaker, Elizabeth Berger (based on the novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”
by Becky Albertalli)
Cast: Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Talitha Bateman, Katherine Langford
Running Time: 110 minutes

Summary: Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.

Reception: Rotten Tomatoes – 91; MetaCritic – 72
Box Office: US – $41 million; Rest of World – $28 million

“Widows” (20th Century Fox) – October 6
Director: Steve McQueen
Writers: Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen (based on the TV series of the same name by Lynda LaPlante)
Cast: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson

Summary: Four armed robbers are killed in a failed heist attempt, only to have their widows step up to finish the job.

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