Did you know that Brad Pitt has another Oscar-y movie — besides “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” — that is landing this year on Sept. 20? Well, now you do thanks to this exclusive IMAX trailer for “Ad Astra,” directed by James Gray (“The Lost City of Z”). The actor, who has been lingering on the Academy Award overdue list to be recognized for his thesping abilities for far too long, might have a shot with his lead role as astronaut Roy McBride, who is blasted into space to find his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones), a renegade scientist whose experiments could harm the solar system.
The epic space odyssey, which will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this month, also stars Liv Tyler as Pitt’s wife as well as Donald Sutherland, Ruth Negga and Jamie Kennedy. When Gray first announced his plans to do the film — whose title means “to the stars” in Latin — he compared it to Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness,” saying he wanted to make “the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie and to basically say, ‘Space is awfully hostile to us.’ ” Gray collaborated with cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema to create a special look for the film based on Kodak stock images based on the Apollo 11-17 lunar missions. Pitt is also a producer on the movie.
There has been a spate of sci-fi space travel movies in the past decade, including 2013’s “Gravity,” 2014’s “Interstellar” and 2015’s “The Martian.” Last year’s fact-based “First Man,” which focused on Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and his moonwalk during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission was well-received by critics but underwhelmed at the box office.
Also in the wings for this year is “Lucy in the Sky,” which stars Natalie Portman as an astronaut who returns to Earth and begins an affair with a fellow intergalactic traveller, which leads to an emotional downward spiral when her lover begins an affair with an astronaut trainee. The premise sounds more soap opera than space opera, especially since it is partly inspired by astronaut Lisa Nowak’s travails. The film will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month and opens Oct. 4.
Be sure to make your Oscar nominee predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on January 13. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.