Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an experience of seemingly big moments in the most famous and loved franchise in history. There are instances of enormous satisfaction here and smaller developments and touches that work.

Jedi is also a little deceiving. When the credits rolled, I slowly began to realize the seismic occurrences witnessed weren’t necessarily all that. There are major developments with some historic characters, but there’s also examples of stagnation with some principals and truly furthering the action along. There is no other series of pictures where the positive aspects are magnified to legendary status and the flaws are portrayed as crimes against humanity. If Jar Jar Binks were to be tried in a court of fanatics, his demise would come slowly and with pain.

In the cycle of endless chatter that accompanies each episode, the 8th appears primed to garner both emotions. To this writer, some of its shortcomings were more obvious than what we saw in episode VII, The Force Awakens.

The knock on Awakens was simple and I believe mostly misguided. When J.J. Abrams and Disney took over the reigns from George Lucas, complaints were registered that it was essentially a remake of the 1977 original. This is a fair point to a small degree but I walked away from Awakens highly energized and quite pleased with the new crop of characters mixed with the ones we’ve grown up with. I didn’t feel it was just an effective ripening of our collective member berries. It stood on its own.

When we last left our heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley), she was standing on a lush mountain top seeking the help of one Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). An Awakens surprise was that Luke loomed in the story, but didn’t say a word and didn’t appear until the final frames. He’s present here and he’s plenty conflicted about whether he wants to help his Force bearing wannabe apprentice. While Daisy and Luke work all that out, Chewbacca gets to hang out with seriously adorable creatures called Porgs. They’ll make great Christmas toys.

Meanwhile, Finn (John Boyega) awakens from his slumber caused in the previous installment to befriend Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), a maintenance worker who becomes his right-hand girl. Poe (Oscar Isaac) is still the cocky fighter pilot who drives his superiors crazy. They include Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and another high ranking official played by Laura Dern.

Of course, there’s also the First Order. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who made his mom a widow, is back. He’s still experiencing family conflict drama that would probably keep his ship’s psychiatrist busy if there was one. Kylo is still under the command of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and he’s developed a telepathic type communication with Ren. It’s their dynamic that gives Jedi some of its most significant and powerful moments. Much credit is due to the superb work of Ridley and Driver, which was the case the first time around.

Not all character arcs work as well. It mostly does with Luke and Jedi features Hamill’s most convincing work as Luke. Isaac’s Poe is still a bit of a one trick pony, but the talented actor is granted more screen time to shine. Boyega’s Finn is sidelined with subpar subplots. He’s also saddled by teaming up with a thief played by Benicio del Toro. The Oscar winning actor plays his role so over the top that it’s a tad distracting. I’d say the same for Domhnall Gleeson as First Order General Hux. Finn and company have a whole segment on a new planet filled with degenerates and a lush casino. A triumph of production design, yes, but it also felt like filler.

The Last Jedi has a lot of humor in it, more so that I expected from its new director Rian Johnson. The reliance of it may disappoint some die hards, but I found most of it welcome. By its nature, some of the most dramatic moments succeed just because they’re present. Luke walking into the Falcon? Check. Luke and Leia reuniting after years apart? Check. So for those who complained about episode VII’s nostalgia peddling, it’s a bit unavoidable I say.

Bottom line: my Last Jedi reaction was a little more mixed than when I saw Awakens. It’s easily better than anything Lucas gave us in episodes I-III. For those hoping this would be the Empire of the new trilogy, you can transfer that hope to IX.

*** (out of four)

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Father Figures Box Office Prediction

Looking to tickle the funny bones of audiences over the long holiday weekend, Father Figures debuts next Friday. The pic casts Owen Wilson and Ed Helms as brothers searching for their biological pops after mom Glenn Close informs them it could be several men. J.K. Simmons, Christopher Walken, Ving Rhames, and Terry Bradshaw (playing himself) are among them. Katt Williams, June Squibb, and Harry Shearer are included in the supporting cast with Lawrence Sher directing.

Originally titled Bastards, the comedy was originally slated by Warner Bros. for a November 2016 opening before a delay until January 2017 and finally this Christmastime release. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence with the multiple push backs.

Figures has plenty of competition and of the five wide releases premiering over the weekend, it will likely place fifth among them. Its best hope would be to replicate what Why Him? (last year’s Christmas entry in the genre) did with $15.5 million over the four-day frame.

That could be wishful thinking. I’ll predict this only reaches low double digits for its roll out.

Father Figures opening weekend prediction: $10.2 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/11/jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle-box-office-prediction/

For my Pitch Perfect 3 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/pitch-perfect-3-box-office-prediction/

For my The Greatest Showman prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/the-greatest-showman-box-office-prediction/

For my Downsizing prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/13/downsizing-box-office-prediction/

Downsizing Box Office Prediction

Director Alexander Payne’s latest Downsizing hits screens next Friday for a holiday release. The science fiction dramedy features Matt Damon, Kristin Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Christoph Waltz, and Hong Chau.

Payne has seen his last three films – Sideways, The Descendants, Nebraska – all nab Best Picture nominations. Downsizing was once seen as an Oscar contender until it premiered at the Venice Film Festival months ago to mixed reviews (it stands at a muted 64% on Rotten Tomatoes). In fact, its only Academy chatter is focused on costar Chau, who could manage a Supporting Actress nod.

The near complete lack of awards chatter has muted the buzz for this project. The pic also has plenty of competition for its intended adult audience, including The Greatest Showman and various other genuine Oscar hopefuls.

Add that up and I feel Downsizing will experience a debut in the low to possibly teens. That would put it in line with another Damon flick from an acclaimed director released over Christmas from six years ago, Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo. 

Downsizing opening weekend prediction: $13.8 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/11/jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle-box-office-prediction/

For my The Greatest Showman prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/the-greatest-showman-box-office-prediction/

For my Pitch Perfect 3 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/pitch-perfect-3-box-office-prediction/

For my Father Figures prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/14/father-figures-box-office-prediction/

Pitch Perfect 3 Box Office Prediction

The Bellas are back for the holidays as Pitch Perfect 3 hits theaters next Friday. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Alexis Knapp, and Hana Mae Lee are among returnees alongside Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. Newcomers to the series include Ruby Rose and John Lithgow. Trish Sie directs.

The 2012 original was a sleeper hit which grossed $65 million and then became more of a sensation once it became available for home viewing. The summer 2015 sequel shocked all prognosticators with a $69 million opening weekend (topping its predecessor’s entire domestic run) and $184 million overall.

It’s no surprise therefore that Universal Pictures wanted a third helping of accapella comedy. Two and a half years later, Pitch 3 faces competition even in its own musical genre with Hugh Jackman’s The Greatest Showman debuting two days prior. That said, the Bellas appear to have a built-in audience and it could be dangerous to underestimate them.

I still believe Pitch 2 could turn out to be the high water mark in the franchise. A debut in the low to mid 40s would probably put part 3 in the #3 spot behind the second weekend of Star Wars and the first for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Yet with its reported smallish budget of $45 million, that should still be music to the studio’s ears.

Pitch Perfect 3 opening weekend prediction: $40.6 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/11/jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle-box-office-prediction/

For my The Greatest Showman prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/the-greatest-showman-box-office-prediction/

For my Downsizing prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/13/downsizing-box-office-prediction/

For my Father Figures prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/14/father-figures-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The most eagerly anticipated review embargo of 2017 ended early this afternoon as critical reaction is pouring in for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Opening Friday, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that episode VIII of the vaunted franchise will generate the year’s biggest debut (and very possibly the second highest of all time after predecessor The Force Awakens).

So my attention now turns to its Oscar viability. At this moment, The Last Jedi stands at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s quite an impressive number (Force Awakens ended up at 93%) and it’s likely the Jedi number will fluctuate over the next couple of days. Still, many reviews have indicated it’s the strongest entry in the series since 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back – generally and rightfully considered the best of the lot. Other reviews, while positive, haven’t gone that far.

It’s worth noting that only the 1977 original managed a Best Picture nomination. Simply put, I don’t see that changing here nor do I see any of the actors getting recognition.

The Force Awakens ended up garnering five nods two years ago: Original Score, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects. It won zero. My estimate is that Jedi will not reach that number. Composer John Williams will face competition with himself and I see his work for Steven Spielberg’s The Post being nominated instead. Editing could be a stretch as some reviewers are already nitpicking its pacing. It could certainly nab nominations in both Sound categories and Visual Effects is a given. Like Force Awakens, I believe it won’t emerge victorious in any of the races it gets in for.

Bottom line: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, even with its general consensus that it improves over Awakens, is unlikely to be an Academy player in any significant manner other than technical stuff.

The Greatest Showman Box Office Prediction

20th Century Fox is hoping moviegoers will be in tune with their offering The Greatest Showman over the long holiday when it opens next Wednesday. The musical period piece casts Hugh Jackman in the role of circus master P.T. Barnum with a supporting cast that includes Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya. It marks the directorial debut of Michael Gracey.

Mr. Jackman has found Christmastime success in this genre before five years with Les Miserables. Expectations aren’t quite as high here, but the reported $84 million production will try to bring in an adult female audience that could be slightly under served. Showman received three Golden Globe nods just yesterday for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), for Jackman in Best Actor, and for Original Song.

That said, there is some direct competition in the form of Pitch Perfect 3, which arrives two days later and Downsizing, which is also looking to attract an older crowd. I’ll say Showman manages a mid to possibly high teens gross for the four-day weekend that includes Christmas and low to possibly mid 20s for its six-day take.

The Greatest Showman opening weekend prediction: $16.1 million (Friday to Monday), $22.4 million (Wednesday to Monday)

For my Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/11/jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle-box-office-prediction/

For my Pitch Perfect 3 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/pitch-perfect-3-box-office-prediction/

For my Downsizing prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/13/downsizing-box-office-prediction/

For my Father Figures prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/14/father-figures-box-office-prediction/

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Box Office Prediction

Even with the considerable competition including the second weekend of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, animated fare like Ferdinand and Coco, and a slew of other holiday wide releases, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle looks primed for a healthy box office haul. The board game related comedic adventure follows up on the 1995 Robin Williams hit with a cast that includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Bobby Cannavale, and Nick Jonas. Jake Kasdan directs.

It doesn’t hurt that Johnson and Hart are two of the more bankable stars around (their collaboration Central Intelligence was a blockbuster). It also helps that the wealth is usually spread around on Christmas weekend. Jumanji debuts on Wednesday next week as it looks to play well throughout the long weekend frame.

Kids should turn out if they’re not clamoring to see Jedi a second time. The X factor here that makes me believe it could over perform? It’s garnering surprisingly solid buzz with a Rotten Tomatoes score currently at 82%. An even more important factor could be the nostalgia one as older moviegoers are quite familiar with the 22-year-old original. We already have witnessed how that dynamic propelled Jurassic World to amazing numbers.

Jumanji will be no Jurassic, but I certainly believe a four-day take in the mid 40s and mid 60s six-day take is quite doable. That should put it in second after Jedi for the holidays.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle opening weekend prediction: $46.9 million (Friday to Monday), $65.1 million (Wednesday to Monday)

For my The Greatest Showman prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/the-greatest-showman-box-office-prediction/

For my Pitch Perfect 3 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/pitch-perfect-3-box-office-prediction/

For my Downsizing prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/13/downsizing-box-office-prediction/

For my Father Figures prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/14/father-figures-box-office-prediction/

Box Office Predictions: December 15-17

As the weekend approaches, the burning box office questions are clear:

How will the animated Ferdinand open after Pixar’s Coco has dominated the charts for three weeks straight?

Could Wonder jump above Justice League as they enter their fifth respective weekends?

How well will The Disaster Artist hold after an impressive 800 theater expansion?

Oh… who am I kidding? We all know what this weekend is really about…

Star Wars: The Last Jedi freaking opens!!! After The Force Awakens crushed every box office record in sight two years ago, anticipation is mighty high for episode VIII. You can read my detailed prediction on it and Ferdinand here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/04/star-wars-the-last-jedi-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/06/ferdinand-box-office-prediction/

As you can see, I have Jedi slated for the second biggest domestic debut of all time behind its predecessor. My estimate puts it about $28 million shy of Awakens.

My take on Ferdinand is that it will get close to $20 million (it could surpass it) for a solid second place showing as it will may play well into the holiday frames ahead.

The rest of the top 6 should be filled with leftovers as a handful of high-profile titles open in the approaching Christmas weekend.

Here’s my top 6 projections:

1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Predicted Gross: $219.7 million

2. Ferdinand

Predicted Gross: $18.6 milion

3. Coco

Predicted Gross: $11.2 million (representing a drop of 39%)

4. Wonder

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million (representing a drop of 43%)

5. The Disaster Artist

Predicted Gross: $4.3 million (representing a drop of 34%)

6. Justice League

Predicted Gross: $4.3 million (representing a drop of 55%)

Box Office Results (December 8-10) 

It was the quiet before the Force this weekend as Coco remained #1 for the third weekend in a row with $18.4 million, right on pace with my $18.3 million forecast. The Pixar effort has amassed $135 million total.

Justice League was second with $9.6 million (a bit above my $8.2 million prediction) as it’s earned $212 million overall.

Wonder placed third with $8.4 million (I said $7.6 million) as it crossed the century mark at $100 million.

The Disaster Artist received a nice expansion with a fourth place showing at $6.3 million, ahead of my $4.2 million projection.

Thor: Ragnarok rounded out the top five with $6.2 million (I said $6.5 million) as it blew past the triple century mark at $301 million.

Finally, the Morgan Freeman/Tommy Lee Jones comedy Just Getting Started sputtered in 10th place with just $3.2 million – not matching my generous $5.2 million prediction.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Todd’s Weekly 2017 Oscar Predictions: December 11th Edition

Back at it again with my weekly Oscar predictions. There’s been a host of precursor activity in the past week with the biggest coming this morning as the Golden Globe nominations were announced.

The verdict? The five nominated Best Drama contenders are all very likely Oscar competitors – Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, The Post, Three Billboards, Call Me by Your Name. In the Comedy category, both Lady Bird and Get Out got in as expected.

Speaking of Get Out, this week marks its first inclusion in my estimated nine contenders. In fact, it vaults four spots up to #7. Something had to come out and it was Darkest Hour, whose luster seems to be fading.

Another Globe surprise: the strong showing for All the Money in the World. Reviews have yet to come, but it was nominated for Director (Ridley Scott), Actress in Drama (Michelle Williams), and Supporting Actor (Christopher Plummer, who famously took over the role from the embattled Kevin Spacey). All three debut on the lower rung on my predictions.

In other developments:

  • Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water) is in for Supporting Actor over Mark Rylance (Dunkirk)
  • Two changes in Supporting Actress with Melissa Leo (Novitiate) and Hong Chau (Downsizing) in over Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water) and Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread)
  • In the Screenplay races, Wonder is in for Adapted over Wonderstruck while in the crowded Original Screenplay category, The Shape of Water is back in over Phantom Thread

Read on!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Lady Bird (PR: 3)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

4. The Post (PR: 2)

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 5)

6. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

7. Get Out (PR: 11)

8. The Florida Project (PR: 9)

9. Phantom Thread (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

10. Darkest Hour (PR: 8)

11. Mudbound (PR: 10)

12. I, Tonya (PR: 12)

13. Detroit (PR: 13)

14. All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

The Disaster Artist

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (PR: 2)

3. Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird (PR: 3)

4. Steven Spielberg, The Post (PR: 4)

5. Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

7. Jordan Peele, Get Out (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread (PR: 7)

9. Dee Rees, Mudbound (PR: 8)

10. Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Sean Baker, The Florida Project

Joe Wright, Darkest Hour

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

3. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. James Franco, The Disaster Artist (PR: 4)

5. Tom Hanks, The Post (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman (PR: 7)

7. Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger (PR: 6)

9. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (PR: 9)

10. Andrew Garfield, Breathe (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Robert Pattinson, Good Time

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird (PR: 1)

2. Meryl Streep, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 3)

4. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (PR: 4)

5. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (PR: 6)

7. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 7)

8. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul (PR: 9)

9. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (PR: 8)

10. Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project (PR: 1)

2. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 2)

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 4)

5. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk (PR: 5)

7. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

8. Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 8)

9. Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird (PR: 2)

2. Allison Janney, I, Tonya (PR: 1)

3. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound (PR: 4)

4. Melissa Leo, Novitiate (PR: 6)

5. Hong Chau, Downsizing (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water (PR: 5)

7. Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread (PR: 3)

8. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick (PR: 9)

9. Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip (PR: 10)

10. Lois Smith, Marjorie Prime (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 1)

2. The Disaster Artist (PR: 2)

3. Mudbound (PR: 3)

4. Molly’s Game (PR: 4)

5. Wonder (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Wonderstruck (PR: 5)

7. All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Last Flag Flying (PR: 6)

9. The Beguiled (PR: 9)

10. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Victoria and Abdul 

First, They Killed My Father

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Lady Bird (PR: 2)

2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 1)

3. Get Out (PR: 5)

4. The Post (PR: 4)

5. The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Phantom Thread (PR: 3)

7. The Florida Project (PR: 7)

8. I, Tonya (PR: 8)

9. The Big Sick (PR: 9)

10. Dunkirk (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Darkest Hour 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Coco (PR: 1)

2. The Breadwinner (PR: 3)

3. Loving Vincent (PR: 2)

4. Cars 3 (PR: 5)

5. The Girl Without Hands (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. The LEGO Batman Movie (PR: 6)

7. Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (PR: 4)

8. Despicable Me 3 (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Boss Baby (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

Ferdinand

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

In this Corner of the World

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Foxtrot (PR: 2)

2. BPM (Beats Per Minute) (PR: 1)

3. The Square (PR: 7)

4. First, They Killed My Father (PR: 3)

5. Loveless (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Fantastic Woman (PR: 6)

7. In the Fade (PR: 4)

8. The Insult (PR: 5)

9. Thelma (PR: 9)

10. The Divine Order (PR: 10)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane (PR: 1)

2. Faces Places (PR: 5)

3. City of Ghosts (PR: 3)

4. Long Strange Trip (PR: 7)

5. Strong Island (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (PR: Not Ranked)

7. One of Us (PR: 9)

8. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Chasing Coral (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cries from Syria

Icarus

Risk

Kedi

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. The Post (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Lady Bird (PR: 5)

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. I, Tonya (PR: 6)

7. Get Out (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Darkest Hour (PR: 8)

9. Call Me by Your Name (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Detroit (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Phantom Thread

Blade Runner 2049 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. The Post (PR: 4)

5. Wonderstruck (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Darkest Hour (PR: 5)

7. Mudbound (PR: 8)

8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 7)

9. Lady Bird (PR: 9)

10. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 10)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. The Shape of Water (PR: 2)

3. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 3)

4. Beauty and the Beast (PR: 5)

5. Phantom Thread (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Post (PR: 7)

7. The Greatest Showman (PR: 9)

8. Wonderstruck (PR: 8)

9. Darkest Hour (PR: 6)

10. Murder on the Orient Express (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Phantom Thread (PR: 1)

2. Beauty and the Beast (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. The Post (PR: 4)

5. The Greatest Showman (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Darkest Hour (PR: 5)

7. The Beguiled (PR: 7)

8. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. Wonderstruck (PR: 10)

10. Murder on the Orient Express (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Wonder Wheel

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Phantom Thread (PR: 5)

3. Beauty and the Beast (PR: 2)

Other Possibilities:

4. Wonder (PR: 9)

5. I, Tonya (PR: 6)

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (PR: 3)

7. The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

8. The Greatest Showman (PR: 7)

9. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 8)

10. It (PR: 10)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 1)

2. The Shape of Water (PR: 2)

3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 4)

4. War for the Planet of the Apes (PR: 3)

5. Dunkirk (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Beauty and the Beast (PR: 6)

7. Spider-Man: Homecoming (PR: 7)

8. Wonder Woman (PR: 9)

9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (PR: 8)

10. Thor: Ragnarok (PR: 10)

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 5)

4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 3)

5. War for the Planet of the Apes (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Baby Driver (PR: 6)

7. Wonder Woman (PR: 7)

8. Detroit (PR: 10)

9. The Post (PR: 8)

10. The Greatest Showman (PR: 9)

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 7)

4. Baby Driver (PR: 3)

5. The Greatest Showman (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 6)

7. War for the Planet of the Apes (PR: 8)

8. Beauty and the Beast (PR: 10)

9. Detroit (PR: 5)

10. Transformers: The Last Knight (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Post

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

2. The Shape of Water (PR: 1)

3. Dunkirk (PR: 3)

4. The Post (PR: 4)

5. Darkest Hour (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 10)

7. Wonderstruck (PR: 6)

8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 7)

9. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 9)

10. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Remember Me” from Coco (PR: 1)

2. “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall (PR: 2)

3. “Mighty River” from Mudbound (PR: Not Ranked)

4. “Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast (PR: 4)

5. “The Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Prayers for this World” from Cries from Syria (PR: 3)

7. “It Ain’t Fair” from Detroit (PR: 7)

8. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from Fifty Shades Darker (PR: 6)

9. “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman (PR: Not Ranked)

10. “Truth to Power” from An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

“Come Alive” from The Greatest Showman

“The Promise” from The Promise

And that break down for the following number of nominations for each picture:

13 Nominations

The Shape of Water

9 Nominations

Dunkirk, The Post

6 Nominations

Phantom Thread, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Call Me by Your Name

5 Nominations

Blade Runner 2049

4 Nominations

Beauty and the Beast

3 Nominations

Darkest Hour, Mudbound

2 Nominations

Get Out, The Florida Project, The Disaster Artist, I, Tonya, Coco, The Greatest Showman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, War for the Planet of the Apes

1 Nomination

Novitiate, Downsizing, Molly’s Game, Wonder, Wonderstruck, Baby Driver, Marshall, The Breadwinner, Loving Vincent, Cars 3, The Girl Without Hands, Foxtrot, BPM (Beats Per Minute), The Square, First, They Killed My Father, Loveless, Jane, Faces Places, City of Ghosts, Long Strange Trip, Strong Island 

Lady Bird Movie Review

Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird is an authentic coming of age tale with a genuine sense of time and place. Sporting superior performances down the line, it also announces actress Gerwig as a director and writer to watch.

The time is 2002 and the place is Sacramento. Christine (Saoirse Ronan) is a senior at Catholic high school who goes by the self named moniker of Lady Bird. She wishes to be anywhere but California’s capital city, yearning to attend college on the East Coast. Her relationship with mom Marion (Laurie Metcalf) is complicated and strained as many tend to be during that tenure. Dad (Tracy Letts) is more of the softie, but also dealing with his own issues of unemployment and unhappiness.

In addition to her familial issues, we see Lady Bird in two romantic relationships. The first is with Danny (Lucas Hedges), the theatrical guy who she performs alongside in the embarrassingly accurate portrayal of a high school play. And there’s Kyle (Timothee Chalamet), the brooding musician who rallies against the establishment and believes he’s far more profound than he likely is. We also see her friendships with the key one being Julie (Beanie Feldstein), her kindly and insecure bestie.

Gerwig grew up in Sacramento and attended Catholic school. While she’s said Lady Bird is just semi autobiographical, it sure feels like she knows these people and their situations very well. This applies to the main players and the smaller ones, including Lois Smith’s helpful nun and Stephen McKinley Henderson’s drama teacher.

We’ve seen many a film about dealing with adolescence. Like The Edge of Seventeen last year, Bird manages to be a genre highlight with its honesty and earned laughs and emotional resonance. The central relationship is the mother/daughter dynamic. It’s written well and much credit goes to Ronan and Metcalf for their terrific inhabitations of them.

Lady Bird also touches on class (the family is constantly trying to make ends meet), sexuality, and feelings of where one belongs. Ronan’s appealing creation goes through life believing there’s no place other than home that she wants to be. Gerwig knows the home lovingly detailed here. She knows that the young woman growing up before us will soon recognize its significance to her and how it’s shaped her. When the credits roll, you can imagine Lady Bird writing about it someday. And that it’ll turn out to be quite appealing.

***1/2 (out of four)