Wes Anderson (‘The French Dispatch’): An Oscar at last after 7 losses?

Wes Anderson has racked up seven Oscar nominations across five films but has yet to win. He could finally cross the finish line this year and win at the Academy Awards for his new Searchlight Pictures release “The French Dispatch.” And he may well hit double digits in overall nominations.

Anderson earned his first bid in 2002 for Best Original Screenplay (shared with Owen Wilson) for “The Royal Tenenbaums,” and followed that up eight years later with a Best Animated Feature nom for “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” After that, he and Roman Coppola were nominated for Best Original Screenplay in 2013 for “Moonrise Kingdom.” Then came 2015, where his most successful movie to date, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” earned him a trio of nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay (shared with artist Hugo Guinness).

In 2019 we thought Anderson and Glenn Close might both break their long-standing losing streaks in the same year by winning for “Isle of Dogs” and “The Wife,” respectively. Instead, they both lost: Anderson lost the Best Animated Feature race to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” while “The Favourite’s” Olivia Colman won Best Actress over Close.

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While Close will have to wait another year to win her first Oscar, Anderson is a strong contender this year. “The French Dispatch” is the tale of a titular, fictional French newspaper magazine. The anthology showcases three stories as told by a trio of the magazine’s finest writers. It is a typical Anderson film with A-list talent delivering quirky dialogue while garbed in flawless costumes set against the backdrop of beautiful production design that is captured with arresting cinematography.

It plays like a return to the likes of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and Anderson could reap the same three bids he did for that film: producing, directing, writing. Of these, he is strongest in Best Original Screenplay, a category where he has so far earned three nominations. He crafted the script with three of his previous co-writers: Coppola, Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman. This quartet currently sits just outside of our predicted five nominees behind the screenwriters for “King Richard,” “Mass,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Belfast,” and, in first place, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza.”

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