Oscar Watch: Blade Runner 2049

24 hours can change the dynamic considerably at this time in the Oscar season. When I made my weekly Oscar predictions yesterday, Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying was ranked 8th in my Best Picture possibilities with Blade Runner 2049 outside at #13.

Yesterday, support for Flag wavered a bit with a mixed critical reaction stemming from the New York Film Festival. On the other hand, Blade has sharpened its chances with reviews coming out this morning. Denis Villeneuve’s continuation of Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi pic from 35 years ago is drawing raves (it’s at 97% currently on Rotten Tomatoes). The word “masterpiece” has been thrown around by some critics.

Bottom line: its chances for a Best Picture nomination have risen dramatically. Just last year, Villeneuve’s Arrival scored eight nominations, including Picture and Director. That could happen here again. While I doubt any of the actors (including Ryan Gosling and the return of Harrison Ford in the role of Deckard) will hear their names called, there are other races in play. This includes Adapted Screenplay, Production Design, Editing, both Sound categories, and Visual Effects (where it will almost certainly be named).

And then there’s Cinematography. Again, a nomination for its cinematographer Roger Deakins seems virtually assured. If so, it will mark his 14th nomination. The list of films he was nominated for? The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, Kundun, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn’t There, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men, The Reader, True Grit, Skyfall, Prisoners, Unbroken and Sicario. Number of wins? 0. There’s definitely a feeling that Mr. Deakins is long overdue for his gold statue and the 14th time could be the charm.

When I made my box office prediction for 2049 earlier this week, I compared my $44.1 opening weekend estimate to Mad Max: Fury Road from two years ago. As of this morning, I’m thinking the opportunity is there for it to come close to Fury‘s 10 Oscar nominations too.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Last Flag Flying

A major piece of the awards season puzzle came into focus today as Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying has screened at the New York Film Festival. The pic casts Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne as Vietnam vets brought together decades later by a tragedy.

Flying opened the festival and has been seen as a serious Oscar contender for some time. Three years ago, Linklater’s Boyhood was nominated for six Academy Awards and the subject matter here made this an immediate curiousity item in the season ahead. Early reaction has been mixed. It stands at 79% currently on Rotten Tomatoes and there has been some reviews calling it a disappointment.

For a while, it’s been unclear how the three leads would be campaigned for. It appears Amazon Studios will tout Carell in Lead Actor with Cranston and Fishburne in Supporting. Cicely Tyson is said to have a one scene role that is a highlight according to some notices. It’ll be interesting to see if Amazon mounts a campaign for her. It’s entirely feasible none of them make the dance and Carell will even be competing against himself in Battle of the Sexes (unless he’s switched to Supporting there).

The mixed buzz will likely mean a downgrade in my next projections where I’ve had Flag planted at 8th and getting in the Best Picture race. Right now, Adapted Screenplay is looking lighter than Original Screenplay so that could perhaps be the best chance at any nod.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…


My Little Pony: The Movie Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (10/04/17): I have revised my estimate up from $8.2 million to $10.9 million

Lest you confuse it with My Little Pony: The Seance or My Little Pony: The Rodeo perhaps, My Little Pony: The Movie gallops into theaters next weekend with a likely soft footprint.

Based on the Hasbro toy franchise that also spawned Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises, this one leaves out the action and is geared towards family audiences and little girls. The pic is an extension of a children’s animated show that airs on The Hub (which is apparently a thing… I’m probably not the target audience).

In addition to the voice actors who work on the TV series, there’s some familiar faces behind the voices including Emily Blunt, Zoe Saldana, Liev Schrieber, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Pena, Sia, Uzo Aduba, and Taye Diggs.

Family audiences will have Ninjago in its third weekend for competition, even though it’s underwhelmed in its earnings. Yet it’s hard to see these ponies breaking out in any major way. I have doubts this will even reach double digits out of the gate.

My Little Pony: The Movie opening weekend prediction: $10.9 million

For my Blade Runner 2049 prediction, click here:


For my The Mountain Between Us prediction, click here:


Todd’s 2017 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 28th Edition

Back at it with my weekly Oscar predictions on the eight major categories and how those races are shaping up! In the next week, two big pieces of the Academy puzzle will come into focus. Last Flag Flying will screen this evening at the New York Film Festival and Blade Runner 2049 will have its reviews out as it opens a week from tomorrow (early word-of-mouth is strong). I’m also, for the first time, including Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris, which hasn’t been confirmed for release by the end of the year (though it’s expected to be).

As for this week, we’ve seen some significant changes in the rankings at the top for both Actress and Supporting Actress. Again, I’ll note that just because I’m ranking something first doesn’t mean I think it wins. This is strictly guesstimates on chances of being nominated.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Post (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

4. Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

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

6. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

7. Mudbound (PR: 5)

8. Last Flag Flying (PR: 9)

9. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

10. Phantom Thread (PR: 11)

11. Wonder Wheel (PR: 12)

12. The Greatest Showman (PR: 10)

13. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 14)

14. Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 15)

15. The 15:17 to Paris (PR: Not Ranked)

16. Get Out (PR: 24)

17. All the Money in the World (PR: 17)

18. Detroit (PR: 16)

19. Downsizing (PR: 13)

20. The Big Sick (PR: 21)

21. Lady Bird (PR: 25)

22. I, Tonya (PR: 20)

23. The Florida Project (PR: 19)

24. Molly’s Game (PR: Not Ranked)

25. Wonderstruck (PR: 22)

Dropped Out:



Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Joe Wright, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Dee Rees, Mudbound (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

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

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

8. Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying (PR: 8)

9. Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 11)

10. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread (PR: 10)

11. Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel (PR: 12)

12. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 9)

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

14. Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman (PR: 15)

15. Clint Eastwood, The 15:17 to Paris (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World

Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

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

3. Tom Hanks, The Post (PR: 3)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman (PR: 4)

5. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Steve Carell, Last Flag Flying (PR: 9)

7. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

8. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (PR: 7)

9. Domhnall Gleeson, Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 8)

10. Andrew Garfield, Breathe (PR: 11)

11. Donald Sutherland, The Leisure Seeker (PR: 10)

12. James Franco, The Disaster Artist (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Jeremy Renner, Wind River (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 13)

15. Christian Bale, Hostiles (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Bryan Cranston, Last Flag Flying (reportedly competing in Supporting Actor)

Liam Neeson, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House

Matt Damon, Downsizing

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Meryl Streep, The Post (PR: 2)

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

3. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 1)

4. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

5. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (PR: 7)

7. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

8. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird (PR: 10)

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

10. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman (PR: 9)

11. Diane Kruger, In the Fade (PR: 11)

12. Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (PR: 12)

13. Brooklyn Prince, The Florida Project (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Jennifer Lawrence, mother! (PR: 13)

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

Dropped Out:

Carey Mulligan, Mudbound

Jane Fonda, Our Souls at Night

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: 5)

5. Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound (PR: 6)

7. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk (PR: 8)

8. Bryan Cranston, Last Flag Flying (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Laurence Fishburne, Last Flag Flying (PR: 9)

10. Kevin Spacey, All the Money in the World (PR: 10)

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

12. Will Poulter, Detroit (PR: 12)

13. Patrick Stewart, Logan (PR: 11)

14. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 15)

15. Dustin Hoffman, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Garrett Hedlund, Mudbound

Christoph Waltz, Downsizing

Best Supporting Actress

1. Allison Janney, I, Tonya (PR: 2)

2. Melissa Leo, Novitiate (PR: 1)

3. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird (PR: 6)

4. Hong Chau, Downsizing (PR: 4)

5. Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound (PR: 7)

7. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick (PR: 11)

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

9. Claire Foy, Breathe (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Margot Robbie, Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 8)

11. Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled (PR: 9)

12. Julianne Moore, Wonderstruck (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel (PR: 14)

15. Tatiana Maslany, Stronger (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Julianne Moore, Suburbicon

Michelle Pfeiffer, mother!

Brooklyn Prince, The Florida Project (moved to Lead Actress)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Post (PR: 1)

2. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 2)

3. Mudbound (PR: 3)

4. Last Flag Flying (PR: 4)

5. Molly’s Game (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. All the Money in the World (PR: 10)

7. Wonderstruck (PR: 5)

8. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. The Beguiled (PR: 7)

10. The 15:17 to Paris (PR: Not Ranked)

11. The Disaster Artist (PR: 12)

12. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 11)

13. Stronger (PR: 9)

14. Wonder (PR: 13)

15. Thank You for Your Service (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:


Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

3. Darkest Hour (PR: 2)

4. Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

5. The Big Sick (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Get Out (PR: 7)

7. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 5)

8. Dunkirk (PR: 8)

9. Phantom Thread (PR: 12)

10. Lady Bird (PR: 10)

11. Downsizing (PR: 9)

12. The Florida Project (PR: 11)

13. Wind River (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 14)

15. The Greatest Showman (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:


And there you have it! Updates will be on the way next Thursday…

The Mountain Between Us Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (10/04/17): I have revised from estimate down from $10.6 million to $9.2 million

There’s been plenty of movies about disastrous relationships, but The Mountain Between Us brings in a different dynamic. Hany Abu-Assad’s pic casts Kate Winslet and Idris Elba as a journalist and doctor, respectively, whose jet crash lands in the wilderness. They’re the survivors and perhaps they fall in love too while battling the nasty elements.

Based on Charles Martin’s 2010 novel, Mountain premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month to so-so critical reaction (it’s at 73% currently on Rotten Tomatoes).

The film’s biggest hurdle to climb could be competition from adults. Blade Runner 2049 opens against it and American Made will be in its second weekend. 20th Century Fox’s best hope is that a sizable female audience turns up. I’m not too confident. I’ll predict Mountain gets just above double digits in its premiere.

The Mountain Between Us opening weekend prediction: $9.2 million

For my Blade Runner 2049 prediction, click here:


For my My Little Pony: The Movie prediction, click here:


Blade Runner 2049 Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (10/04/17): I have revised my estimate up from $44.1 million to $52.1 million

Arriving 35 years after Ridley Scott’s now classic science fiction work, Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters next weekend. The sequel has been in development for pretty much the entire 21st century. The reported $185 million production is headlined by Ryan Gosling as an LAPD officer in a dystopian future who ends up teaming with original Blade Runner Deckard, played by Harrison Ford. Denis Villeneuve, hot off his Oscar nominated hit Arrival, handles directorial duties with Mr. Scott executive producing. Costars include Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, and Dave Bautista. 

Fans of the 1982 original are many as Blade Runner has become a beloved genre pic. One legitimate question: are younger audiences familiar enough with the source material? It may not matter much as early word-of-mouth for 2049 is very encouraging. Official reviews won’t be out until next week, but screenings have indicated this is a satisfying visual feast like its predecessor.

So how high can this open? The current October opening record belongs to Gravity at $55 million. Even with the positive buzz, I don’t see 2049 running that high. Tracking has indicated $40-$45 million and that sounds about right. In fact, a $45 million opening would match the debut of 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, another entry in a franchise that was dormant for decades and made a rousing return.

I’ll put this just under that mark for what should be a solid opening for Columbia Pictures, as it’s likely to perform well overseas too.

Blade Runner 2049 opening weekend prediction: $44.1 million

For my The Mountain Between Us prediction, click here:


For my My Little Pony: The Movie prediction, click here:


Oscar Watch: Marshall

Early reviews are out for Marshall, which casts Chadwick Boseman as a young Thurgood Marshall in this courtroom drama set decades before he became the first African-American to sit on the Supreme Court. The film comes from director Reginald Hudlin, known mostly for 90s comedies like House Party and Boomerang. Costars include Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, and James Cromwell.

With a Best Actor race that’s looking somewhat thin thus far, Boseman seemed like a decent possibility for inclusion. He’s had an impressive career playing real-life figures Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get On Up. The actor has also increased his visibility with a larger audience as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War and in his own spin-off next year. Yet he hasn’t received attention from the Academy.

Marshall is getting decent critical notices so far, but not to the level where Best Picture seems feasible. I also find it likely that Boseman will be 0 for 3 in Best Actor portraying his third high-profile person, unless the picture manages to really break out with audiences.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…


Box Office Predictions: September 29-October 1

A record breaking September (thanks to a certain clown) draws to a close in a busy weekend with the two highest profile debuts being Tom Cruise’s American Made and sci-fi horror remake/sequel Flatliners. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:



They aren’t the only newbies this weekend. There’s the thriller ‘Til Death Do Us Part with Taye Diggs and Christian themed drama A Question of Faith. As of this writing, there are screen counts on neither. As I see it, both could potentially over perform, but I’ll say $2.8 million for Death and $1.2 million for Faith. Those numbers could change, but right now it puts both well outside the top 5.

There could be a real battle for #1. If American Made manages to debut in the high teens to low 20s, it should capture that spot. However, my mid teens estimated debut puts it in the runner-up spot behind the second weekend of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I expect Circle to experience a larger drop than the 49% one that its predecessor had. It should fall one spot to third.

With a considerably lower than anticipated opening, The Lego Ninjago Movie is likely to be fourth, though it may have a smallish decline due to lack of family options.

This brings us to the five spot. I am not expecting much out of Flatliners and the Emma Stone/Steve Carell Oscar hopeful Battle of the Sexes is expanding to over 1000 screens. I believe that could create a close race between them, though I’ll give Flatliners the edge.

And with that, I’ll do a top 6 predictions this weekend:

1. Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Predicted Gross: $17.4 million (representing a drop of 55%)

2. American Made

Predicted Gross: $15.5 million

3. It

Predicted Gross: $15.1 million (representing a drop of 49%)

4. The Lego Ninjago Movie

Predicted Gross: $12.6 million (representing a drop of 37%)

5. Flatliners

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million

6. Battle of the Sexes

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

Box Office Results (September 22-24)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle took the gold this weekend with $39 million, a touch below my $43.6M projection. The sequel to the acclaimed 2015 sleeper hit didn’t receive the critical appreciation of the first, but it did manage to open slightly above its predecessor’s $36 million.

It dropped to second after two weeks on top with $29.7 million (I was right there with my $29.8M forecast) for a staggering tally of $266 million overall.

While Warner Bros has been celebrating the considerable accomplishments of Pennywise and The Losers, there was little to boast about with The Lego Ninjago Movie. The animated feature opened to just $20.4 million in third – way below my $38.6M estimate. The studio better hope its non spin-off sequel to 2014’s The Lego Movie gets the franchise back on track.

American Assassin was fourth in its sophomore frame at $6.2 million (I said $6.9M) for $26 million total.

mother! rounded out the top five with $3.2 million for a meager $13M total and I incorrectly had it outside the top five.

That’s because I gave far too much credit to the horror pic Friend Request. I pegged it at $5.7 million, but it managed just $2 million for seventh place. One wonders if It is simply sucking the oxygen out of any genre competition (it’s part of the reason I have Flatliners rather low).

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

Oscar Watch: First They Killed My Father

Three years ago, Angelina Jolie’s war drama Unbroken was looked at as a major awards contender until it screened for critics. While it performed well at the box office, her second directorial effort received three technical nominations outside of the major categories.

Now, First They Killed My Father (her fourth feature behind the camera) could be looking at a Best Picture nod, but in a different manner. The pic, which played at the Telluride and Toronto fests and is currently available on Netflix, has received the best reviews of the director’s career (89% on Rotten Tomatoes).

The 1970s set dramatic thriller will be Cambodia’s official entry into the Best Foreign Language Film race and it stands a very real shot at recognition. I don’t see it getting into the conversation for Picture itself, but Jolie could still find herself in the Oscar mix in a way that fell through in 2014.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: A Fantastic Woman

Sebastian Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman is a Chilean import that made waves when it premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. The drama boasts a 100% rating currently on Rotten Tomatoes and is Chile’s official submission in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars.

Chances are quite good it will land a nomination there, but it could also make Oscar history if its recognized in another race. Daniela Vega has landed raves for her performance. If she was able to nab a Best Actress nomination, Vega would be the first transgender performer to do so.

In another year, the critical acclaim and history making might be enough to make the final five. In 2017, it could be a long shot because this race is jam packed. At this juncture, Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes and Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri look like they’re in. Meryl Streep’s work in Steven Spielberg’s The Post has yet to be screened, but it sure sounds like an Oscar type role. That’s in addition to a host of other possibilities, including Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Kate Winslet (Wonder Wheel), Judi Dench (Victoria and Abdul), and Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game).

That said, there could still be room for a “surprise” nod and Vega would seem to fit the bill. I currently have her listed at #9 in the race and we’ll see how the coming weeks play out.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…