Oscar Watch: Call Me by Your Name

The Sundance Film Festival of 2017 has come and gone, but this blogger is still sorting out the potential Oscar buzz coming from it. Even though it’s the earliest fest, Sundance has a habit of showcasing film or two and performers that get Academy nods a year later.

Perhaps no other picture generated more buzz this time around than Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name, a gay love story set in Italy during the 1980s. Based on an acclaimed 2007 novel by Andre Aciman, Name stars Timothee Chalamet (a relative unknown who’s appeared on Showtime’s “Homeland”), Armie Hammer, and Michael Stuhlbarg, a fine character actor who’s popped up in everything from Steve Jobs to Arrival to Doctor Strange to Miss Sloane as of late.

Buzz on this romance is terrific thus far and it sports a 100% current Rotten Tomatoes rating. It’s leaving Sundance with the strongest potential for Oscar voter notice along with Mudbound (which I already posted about). Picture, Director, Actor (Chalamet) and Supporting Actor (Hammer or Stuhlbarg) appear to be in play, as well as Adapted Screenplay.

Of course, it’s very early but Name appears to be a real contender.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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Box Office Predictions: February 3-5

The first weekend of February brings new titles to the marketplace to compete with holdovers and a football game on Sunday. They are: long gestating horror sequel Rings and sci-fi teen romance The Space Between Us. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/25/rings-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/26/the-space-between-us-box-office-prediction/

As I see it, both The Bye Bye Man and Split exceeded their opening weekend expectations (more on the terrific Split earnings below). It’s been a bountiful 2017 thus far for the horror genre and I believe Rings will debut just north of $20M for a first place showing.

The Space Between Us should struggle to reach the top 5 and my mid single digits forecast for it leaves it on the outside. Current #1 and #2 Split and A Dog’s Purpose should slide down a spot with awards hopefuls Hidden Figures and La La Land rounding out the top five.

And with that, a top 6 predictions for the weekend:

1. Rings

Predicted Gross: $20.3 million

2. Split

Predicted Gross: $14.4 million (representing a drop of 43%)

3. A Dog’s Purpose

Predicted Gross: $12.5 million (representing a drop of 31%)

4. Hidden Figures

Predicted Gross: $10.7 million (representing a drop of 24%)

5. La La Land

Predicted Gross: $8.3 million (representing a drop of 32%)

6. The Space Between Us

Predicted Gross: $6.7 million

Box Office Results (January 27-29)

If the $40 million opening didn’t convince you, the second weekend of Split solidified director M. Night Shyamalan’s major comeback. The horror thriller took in $25.6 million in its sophomore frame (higher than my $18.5M forecast) to bring its total to $77 million. The century mark is in its sights and it experienced the smallest week 2 decline of any Shyamalan effort since The Sixth Sense.

Despite controversy, A Dog’s Purpose brought in a pleasing $18.2 million for a solid second place showing. This was much more than my $10.3M projection, which I revised down from an original estimate of $17.9M. Should have stuck with my first thought…

Hidden Figures (which won the main SAG prize yesterday) was third with $14 million compared to my $12.8M prediction. The Oscar nominee now stands at $104M.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter posted a franchise low debut in fourth with just $13.6 million, just below my $14.6M estimate. Look for it to fade fast.

La La Land rounded out the top five with $12.2 million, above my $9.9M guesstimate. Like Figures, it also joined the $100M+ club as it’s made $106M.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage was sixth in weekend #2 with $8.6 million, in line with my $8.9M estimate for a weak tally of $33M.

Sing was seventh with $6.4 million (I said $5.6M) to pad its now $257M take.

Finally, Matthew McConaughey posted a career low wide opening with Gold. It only managed a 10th place debut with $3.4 million (I went higher with $5.4M).

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

Oscar Watch: Get Out

A horror flick written and directed by a comic actor potentially receiving Oscar attention? Get out, you might say! And Get Out is right and it’s the name of a Sundance premiere that’s drawing lots of positive attention.

This is the directorial debut of Jordan Peele of Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele” and last year’s so so Keanu. It focuses on a black man dating a white woman. When it’s time to meet her parents, he discovers a rather scary community where others of his race have a tendency to disappear. Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, and Catherine Keener star in this rather bold premise with a pretty darn effective trailer.

The film’s Sundance debut has drawn raves and it stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The chances of this getting into the Best Picture convo is unlikely. However, depending on level of competition, it could be in the mix for Peele’s Original Screenplay if voters remember it nearly a year after its February 24th domestic debut.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

2016 SAG Awards Predictions

The final major awards ceremony before Oscar takes place tonight on TBS and TNT as the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards airs. These awards and winners are voted by fellow thespians, so the races are a bit different in the sense that there’s no Best Picture per se. Instead it’s Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and the five nominated pictures contains one rather glaring omission: La La Land, even though it’s the front runner at the Academy Awards.

We do have the other acting races we’re accustomed to, as well as Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture. Let’s break each category down one by one with my predicted winners for this evening.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture 

Nominees: Captain Fantastic, Fences, Hidden Figures, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight

Predicted Winner: Moonlight

Analysis: The recipient here could solidify its status as Most Likely to Win Best Picture at the Oscars if La La doesn’t. I’ll predict the SAG voters give the edge to Barry Jenkins acclaimed drama over Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester, just like the Globes did.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Denzel Washington (Fences)

Predicted Winner: Casey Affleck

Analysis: The five nominees match five for five with the Academy. Affleck has received the lions share of precursors thus far and I expect that to continue here. Washington is the only other possibility.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees: Amy Adams (Arrival), Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Emma Stone (La La Land), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Predicted Winner: Natalie Portman

Analysis: Yes, I’m going for the minor upset here as Stone is the likely front runner. Only the two of them and Streep match the Oscar nods, as SAG honored Adams and Blunt instead of Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and Ruth Negga (Loving).

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion)

Predicted Winner: Mahershala Ali

Analysis: A win by either Bridges or Patel wouldn’t surprise me, but Ali has picked up a lot of critics prizes. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, surprise Globe winner for Nocturnal Animals, isn’t present here.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees: Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Predicted Winner: Viola Davis

Analysis: Another exact match with Oscar and I expect the same result – a win for Ms. Davis. Anything else would be a surprise.

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Nominees: Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Hacksaw Ridge, Jason Bourne, Nocturnal Animals

Predicted Winner: Hacksaw Ridge

Analysis: This is a tough one as either of the comic book flicks could win. Still, I’ll go with the only nominated Best Picture at the Oscars. By the way, why Nocturnal is present here baffles me.

And there you have it! Happy watching tonight…

Split Movie Review

Over the past two decades, audiences have witnessed the many personalities of director M. Night Shyamalan in his works. For instance, there’s his previous effort The Visit where I wrote that he seemed to thumbing his nose at both critics and moviegoers based on their disappointment for some of his films. There’s the Shyamalan that was heavily influenced by Spielberg and Hitchcock that contributed to high marks like The Sixth Sense and Signs. We have the comic book aficionado that made Unbreakable pretty special. And there’s whatever was going on his head while writing The Happening and its killer trees and pro hot dog chatter.

With Split, Shyamalan seems in the mode of returning to his former box office glories by throwing in everything that made his blockbusters break through. Not all those traits work, but they’re present in nostalgia inducing manner. There’s the stilted dialogue and characters reacting to dangerous situations that seem off kilter. On the other hand, there are occasional moments of truly well crafted tension. Some of the actors miss the mark, but you wonder if it’s because that’s how Night directed them. Finally, there’s one performance that is pretty awesome to behold and, yes, a major surprise ending that is quite satisfying.

Welcome back to the mixed bag of a world that Shyamalan creates with his pen. Split opens with three teen girls leaving a birthday party. Two of them (Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula) are your typical kids while Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) is more of an outsider. Quickly into our screen time, they are kidnapped by Dennis (James McAvoy), who locks them in a small yet very clean room as he’s got serious OCD. Then, the trio finds out they were also nabbed by Patricia, a proper sounding English older lady. They were also taken by Hedwig, a shy nine year old boy. There are others as these personalities (23 of them) all live inside the head of McAvoy’s Kevin and Casey and her sort of friends have to figure out a way for one of them to let them out.

The action in Split is not confined to Kevin/Dennis/Patricia/Hedwig’s choice of holding rooms. On the outside, he is mostly Barry, an insecure fashion designer who visits his psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley). The doctor is an expert in these types of disorders who believes those suffering from it behold powers that are beyond human. And when Kevin warns of a 24th person in that head called The Beast, Dr. Fletcher’s theories may get a chance to be proven right or wrong.

McAvoy is given the chance to play in a universe that any actor would cherish and he’s impressive. There are scenes when he transitions from person to person that are quite enjoyable to watch. It really is his show, though Casey’s character is given a backstory via flashback that helps flesh out her perspective on everything.

There are times in Split that feel like vintage Shyamalan, but they come in infrequent spurts. My criticism here is simple, other than the dodgy dialogue we’ve come to anticipate even in his finest pictures. Split just really isn’t that scary or suspenseful while you’re watching it. Some of the best parts are when the director wants you to laugh… intentionally I think.

I certainly won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that it culminated this otherwise so-so experience with an unexpected surprise. In truth, I’ve thought more about what happened in the last 30 seconds than in the two previous hours and what it could mean in the future. That doesn’t excuse its faults, but at least Night wraps it up on that George Costanza high note.

**1/2 (out of four)

The Space Between Us Box Office Prediction

Next weekend, the genres of science fiction and teen romance are intertwined when The Space Between Us lifts off in theaters. The film stars Asa Butterfield (who played the title role in 2013’s Ender’s Game) alongside the busy Britt Robertson (currently costarring in A Dog’s Purpose), Gary Oldman, and Carla Gugino.

Just like Rings (the only pic opening wide on the same day), Space has been delayed more than once by its studio. It was originally scheduled to open last July, then August, then December, and finally now. I don’t really see a scenario where this breaks out with its intended audience of genre buffs and females looking for some YA type material.

The film is based on an original idea, so there’s no known source material for moviegoers to base their anticipation on. Marketing for Space has been rather ho-hum as well. I’ll predict it only manages a mid to higher single digits gross and fades quickly.

The Space Between Us opening weekend prediction: $6.7 million

For my Rings prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/25/rings-box-office-prediction/

Rings Box Office Prediction

After nearly 12 years, that creepy contortionist Samara and that deadly videotape returns to the silver screen when Rings debuts next weekend. The horror flick reboots a franchise that began in 2002 with the American version of a 1998 Japanese pic. It was a huge success, followed up by a somewhat lackluster 2005 sequel. The question is whether young audiences who flock to the genre and now older moviegoers who were transfixed by the original turn out.

F. Javier Gutierrez takes over directorial reigns in this follow-up set 13 years after part two. The cast includes Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Curiously, Rings has been pushed back on multiple occasions. First scheduled for fall of 2015, then spring 2016, and then October – Paramount finally settled for February 2017. The stateside version of The Ring in 2002 started off with a decent $15 million opening before its solid word-of-mouth carried it to a $129 million overall domestic gross. The sequel debuted much bigger with $35 million, but petered out quickly with a $76 million eventual tally.

I don’t expect Rings to come anywhere near the franchise high of Ring Two. There’s also a football game that Sunday that could deter some viewers away. That said, we’ve seen the horror genre outperform expectations twice already in the new year – when The Bye Bye Man took in nearly $16 million out of the gate and Split made $40 million for its start. This could also mean genre enthusiasts may have had their fill in recent weeks. I believe Rings manages to just top $20 million.

Rings opening weekend prediction: $20.3 million

For my The Space Between Us prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/26/the-space-between-us-box-office-prediction/

The Accountant Movie Review

Gavin O’Connor’s The Accountant is, on one hand, an often routine Jason Bourne style thriller with lots of decent fights. It even stars Mr. Bourne’s buddy Ben Affleck. On the other hand, Bill Dubuque’s screenplay contains some plot elements that left me shocked it was green lit. I don’t necessarily mean that in a negative way. You just don’t see action flicks where the central character is an autistic math whiz who mows down bad guys everyday. Said script also comes with a generous heaping of plot holes and meandering subplots.

Affleck is Chris Wolff, suburban number cruncher by day who moonlights for criminal empires catching embezzlers for his real work. He gets paid in cash at times, but also with cool stuff like original Action Comics (appropriate for the newest Caped Crusader) and Picasso paintings. When Chris takes a seemingly legit job auditing a robotics company, he uncovers some questionable practices. Anna Kendrick is one of the business’s employees assisting him.

The myth of Chris and his exploits have caught the attention of a Treasury agent (J.K. Simmons) looking to nab him. He’s about to retire because of course he is, so he blackmails a fellow agent with a shady past (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to join his mission. Jon Bernthal is a hit man whose motivations you’ll spot from a mile away, which by the way is about the distance where Chris can hit any target.

We’re also given flashback sequences detailing the title character’s childhood. It begins in 1989 as Chris’s parents are struggling to deal with his diagnosis. Mom leaves. Dad’s solution is to toughen him up, along with their other son. His military background helps turn the boys into badasses.

Does this all sound just slightly weird? Oh it is. The Accountant is loaded with a lot of plot and much of it ends up making little sense. It’s also written with an earnestness and directed with a soberness more than it warrants. This could have worked (maybe – just maybe) if the creative forces and actors just went all in on its B movie goofy as hell material.

Our lead actor plays this about as stone-faced and humorless as he can muster. No performances really stand out among the supporting players, though John Lithgow is always a welcome sight as he plays a corporate meanie. The talented Kendrick is thoroughly wasted.

I was more bemused by The Accountant than entertained by it. I’ll give it a small amount of credit for attempting to inject something different into an otherwise ordinary genre pic. Still, like The Joker said in a franchise Affleck is now part of: Why So Serious?? You may ask that at times along with “Are You Serious?”

** (out of four)

 

Todd’s 2016 Oscar Nominations Reaction

And… they’re out! After months of predictions and Oscar Watch posts, the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced this morning. Save for a couple of the technical categories, I must say I’m pretty pleased with my results! Per usual, there were a couple of surprising inclusions and omissions.

Let’s go race by race and see how I did, shall we? I am also including my commentary with each category and, for the first time (!) giving my first predictions on who and what will win…

Best Picture

Todd’s Performance: 9/9 (!)

Analysis: Since the Oscars went to the format where 5-10 Pictures can be nominated, 9 has mostly been the magic number and that held true this time around. There were no surprises here, as evidenced by my perfect score with the biggest race of all. The nominees are: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight.

Winner Prediction: La La Land

There are 3 films that stand a chance – La La, Manchester, and Moonlight. Yet there’s no denying that Damien Chazelle’s musical is the front runner, as it tied the record of 14 nominations today along with All About Eve and Titanic.  

Best Director

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Analysis: There were four easy picks to make and they were all honored: Chazelle (La La), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester), and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival). The fifth slot has consistently been the tricky one in recent weeks and I went with DGA nominee Garth Davis (Lion). The Academy instead brought previous winner Mel Gibson back into their good graces once again for Hacksaw Ridge.

Winner Prediction: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

This one is tougher than Picture. Barry Jenkins has emerged victorious in a number of precursors. Ultimately I’m forecasting that Picture and Director will match in honoring Chazelle’s return to the Hollywood musical.

Best Actor

Todd’s Performance: 5/5 (!)

Analysis: The five performers recognized today have been the most likely to get in for about a month, at least. They are: Casey Affleck (Manchester), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw), Ryan Gosling (La La), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), and Denzel Washington (Fences). It played out as such.

Winner Prediction: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Actor is essentially a two man race between Affleck and Denzel, but the Manchester lead has racked up the lions share of other awards show and I feel Oscar will follow.

Best Actress

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Analysis: Let’s get the four women I got right out of the way: Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Emma Stone (La La), and Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins). No surprises there, but what was a bit startling was the omission of Amy Adams in Arrival. I had her ranked third out of five possibilities. Then – my sixth (Annette Bening, 20th Century Women) and seventh (Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train) place alternate picks didn’t make it in. That slot was filled with #8 – Ruth Negga in Loving. Not a huge shock as Actress has been packed for some time, but I thought Negga getting it would replace either Huppert or Streep. Not so.

Winner Prediction: Emma Stone, La La Land

I could see Stone, Portman, and maybe even Huppert taking the statue, but I’ll give Stone the gold.

Best Supporting Actor

Todd’s Performance 5/5 (!)

Analysis: I’ll give myself a hearty pat on the back for this as Supporting Actor was a tough race to wrap your head around this year. The nominees: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester), Dev Patel (Lion), and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals).

Winner Prediction: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Ali has won the bulk of precursors and this is the safe pick. That said, this is often a race where upsets happen and I could see Bridges, Patel, and possibly Shannon standing a chance.

Best Supporting Actress 

Todd’s Performance: 5/5 (!)

Analysis: I’ll give myself a softer pat on the back with this one as the five expected nominees held court. They are: Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), and Michelle Williams (Manchester).

Winner Prediction: Viola Davis, Fences

Of all the acting races, this is the easiest to project as Davis has been the front runner for months and remains so.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Analysis: As expected – Arrival, Fences (which some had on the fence), Lion, and Moonlight are in. I had Nocturnal Animals getting a nod, but the writers chose Hidden Figures instead.

Winner Prediction: Moonlight

The Barry Jenkins picture is a heavy, heavy favorite here.

Best Original Screenplay

Todd’s Performance: 3/5

Analysis: I correctly predicted Hell or High Water, La La Land, and Manchester by the Sea. I was a bit surprised to see Captain Fantastic left off, not as much so for dark horse pick I, Daniel Blake. In their place: The Lobster and 20th Century Women.

Winner Prediction: Manchester by the Sea

Kenneth Lonergan’s script is the favorite, but don’t discount a La La sweep factoring in here. Hell or High Water is a potential upset pick.

Best Animated Feature

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Analysis: I went with a bit of an upset pick with Pixar’s Finding Dory… and you usually don’t associate this category not including that studio’s work. Instead, The Red Turtle got in along with predicted nominees Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, and Zootopia. 

Winner Prediction: Zootopia

Disney is likely to see their blockbuster take the prize, though Kubo could be lurking.

Best Documentary Feature

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Analysis: I Am Not Your Negro, Life, Animated, O.J.: Made in America, and 13th were correct estimates while Fire at Sea nabbed a nod instead of Cameraperson.

Winner Prediction: I Am Not Your Negro

This is a tough one as O.J. and 13th also stand decent chances.

Best Foreign Language Film

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Analysis: Tanna got in instead of predicted The King’s Choice. Other nominees: Land of Mine, A Man Called Ove, The Salesman, and Toni Erdmann.

Winner Prediction: The Salesman

The safe money could be on German comedy Erdmann, but I’m leaning toward Iranian drama The Salesman. I could switch back before showtime.

Best Cinematography

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Analysis: My Nocturnal Animals love bore no fruit again as my first alternate Lion was nominated. Other nominees: Arrival, La La Land, Moonlight, and Silence.

Winner Prediction: La La Land

I’ll go with the probable Best Picture winner, but Moonlight and Arrival are possibilities.

Best Costume Design

Todd’s Performance: 5/5 (!)

Analysis: I guess I know my costumes as I correctly predicted Allied, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Florence Foster Jenkins, Jackie, and La La Land.

Winner Prediction: Jackie

The La La love could extend here and possibly even Colleen Atwood’s work for Fantastic Beasts, but I’ll go Jackie.

Best Editing

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Analysis: Hell or High Water got in as opposed to Manchester. Other nominees: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, and Moonlight.

Winner Prediction: La La Land

This category often matches Picture and it should here, too. Hacksaw and Arrival have shots.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Todd’s Performance: 1/3

Analysis: Not so good… There were seven possibilities out of three nominees and I only was able to get Star Trek Beyond right. In place of Deadpool and Florence Foster Jenkins are A Man Called Ove and Suicide Squad.

Winner Prediction: Star Trek Beyond

I guess I’ll go with it since it’s the only one I named correctly. This could change…

Best Original Score

Todd’s Performance: 3/5

Analysis: Jackie and a legitimately unforeseen Passengers got in instead of Florence Foster Jenkins and Nocturnal Animals, along with La La Land, Lion, and Moonlight.

Winner Prediction: La La Land

The musical should win here, but Lion could possibly be an upset winner. Not likely though.

Best Original Song

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Analysis: Expected nominees got in like the two from La La (“Audition” and “City of Stars”), Moana‘s “How Far I’ll Go”, and Justin Timberlake’s Trolls chart topper “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”. I went with “Drive It Like You Stole It” from Sing Street but the voters surprisingly chose “”The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story, a tune that was never even on my radar.

Winner Prediction: “City of Stars” from La La Land

It’s won the Golden Globe and should take this one.

Best Production Design

Todd’s Performance: 2/5

Analysis: Damn production designers! This one threw me for a loop as I only got Arrival and La La Land right. I whiffed on Jackie (which I was certain would get in), Nocturnal Animals (again), and Silence. In their place: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Hail, Caesar!, and those darn Passengers.

Winner Prediction: La La Land 

La La should have this wrapped up over the competitors.

Best Sound Editing

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Analysis: Sully got in here instead of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, along with Arrival, Deepwater Horizon, Hacksaw Ridge, and La La Land.

Winner Prediction: Hacksaw Ridge

Could be La La, Arrival, or even Deepwater, but I’ll give this to Hacksaw for its lone win.

Best Sound Mixing

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

Surprise nod here for 13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. I had Sully picked. Other nominees: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, and Rogue One.

Winner Prediction: La La Land

Hard to imagine La La not taking this one.

Best Visual Effects

Todd’s Performance: 3/5

Deepwater Horizon and Kubo and the Two Strings made it in as opposed to Arrival (bit surprised there) and Fantastic Beasts (not as much so). Other nominees: Disney trio Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, and Rogue One.

Winner Prediction: The Jungle Book

This could be a close one with Rogue, but I’ll predict Mowgli and his amazing CG animals pals.

That leaves this official breakdown of nominations:

14 Nominations

La La Land

8 Nominations

Arrival, Moonlight

6 Nominations

Hacksaw Ridge, Lion, Manchester by the Sea

4 Nominations

Fences, Hell or High Water

3 Nominations

Hidden Figures, Jackie

2 Nominations

Deepwater Horizon, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Florence Foster Jenkins, Kubo and the Two Strings, A Man Called Ove, Moana, Passengers, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

1 Nomination

Allied, Captain Fantastic, Doctor Strange, Elle, Fire at Sea, Hail, Caesar!, I Am Not Your Negro, Jim: The James Foley Story, The Jungle Book, Land of Mine, Life, Animated, The Lobster, Loving, My Life as a Zucchini, Nocturnal Animals, O.J.: Made in America, The Red Turtle, The Salesman, Silence, Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad, Sully, Tanna, 13th, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Toni Erdmann, Trolls, 20th Century Women, Zootopia

And HERE is my current WINNER breakdown:

9 Wins

La La Land

2 Wins

Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight

1 Win

Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, I Am Not Your Negro, Jackie, The Jungle Book, The Salesman, Star Trek Beyond, Zootopia

And that (whew) does it for now! You can rest assure I’ll be back shortly before the big ceremony to make final winner picks. Until then…

 

 

Oscar Watch: The Big Sick

Another day, another Sundance Film Festival write up of a film that could have 2017 awards hopes. The Big Sick has emerged as a huge audience favorite in Utah. This romantic comedy was written by Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon and borrows from their real life experiences as a mixed faith couple. Nanjiani (who you may recognize from HBO’s “Silicon Valley”) also headlines and costars include Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, and Ray Romano. Judd Apatow serves as a producer.

Sick is said to be a crowd pleaser and Amazon showed a lot of their faith with it when they plunked down $12 million for the distribution rights. When it does receive its stateside release, it could have a sleeper status potential.

Will that translate into awards chatter? It’s doubtful as comedies always have an uphill battle for recognition. Yet one category where it could pop up is Original Screenplay, depending on level of competition.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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