Oscar Watch: Frozen II

One week ahead of its massive launch, the review embargo has lifted for Disney’s Frozen II, the sequel to the 2013 animated smash that grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. Financial expectations are understandably enormous and a big question was whether it matches the quality of the original.

Early critical reaction suggests… not quite. Frozen achieved a 90% Rotten Tomatoes rating while the follow-up is currently at 81%. Part 1 was nominated for two Oscars and won both – Animated Feature and Best Original Song for the omnipresent “Let It Go” as sung by Idina Menzel (or whatever John Travolta called her at the Academy ceremony).

Frozen II is very likely to be nominated in both races like its predecessor. The tune is likely to be the ballad “Into the Unknown”. However, unlike the original, it may not be the favorite to win in either category. The biggest competition in Animated Feature comes from another Mouse Factory sequel with this summer’s Toy Story 4 (which I still believe to be the frontrunner). Another non-Disney sequel, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, could also be a factor – albeit less so than Woody and Buzz. In Original Song, there’s serious competitors in the form of Elton John and Taylor Swift tracks from Rocketman and Cats, respectively.

Bottom line: Frozen II should nab the same nods that Frozen did. Victories are another story. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Dark Waters

Director Todd Haynes has guided Julianne Moore and Cate Blanchett to previous acting nominations in Far From Heaven, I’m Not There, and Carol. His latest effort is the corporate legal thriller Dark Waters, based on a true story. Mark Ruffalo stars and produces, playing a lawyer taking on the DuPont conglomerate.

Somewhat surprisingly, Waters skipped the late summer and autumn festival circuit ahead of its November 22nd release and reviews are just trickling out. They’re decent and the Rotten Tomatoes score is currently 75%.

Critics have praised Ruffalo’s work. He is thrice nominated in the Supporting Actor race for 2010’s The Kids Are All Right, 2014’s Foxcatcher, and 2015’s Spotlight. He would stand the best chance at recognition for the first time in lead – over the film itself and costars including Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, and Bill Pullman. Yet, as has been discussed before on the blog, Best Actor is packed. I believe there’s eight thespians at the moment with legit shots at nods. Ruffalo isn’t in that mix.

Bottom line: chances for Dark Waters in the awards conversation are murky at best.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Box Office Prediction

Tom Hanks dons the iconic red cardigan next weekend in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The feel good drama casts the double Oscar winner as childrens host Mister Rogers, just one year after Won’t You Be My Neighbor? became one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time. Marielle Heller (who directed Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant to Academy nods last year in Can You Ever Forgive Me?) is behind the camera. Matthew Rhys stars as a journalist doing a story on Rogers with Susan Kelechi Watson and Chris Cooper in the supporting cast.

Since Day debuted at the Toronto Film Festival a couple months back, solid buzz followed and its current Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 97%. It appears probable that Hanks will receive his first Oscar nomination (in Supporting Actor) since 2000’s Cast Away. The aforementioned 2018 doc likely helps its visibility, as does casting one of our biggest movie stars as one of America’s most beloved figures.

There is the matter of Frozen II, which could siphon some family audiences away. Beautiful also arrives on the pre Thanksgiving long frame and some filmgoers may simply choose to spend time in this neighborhood at that time.

While I do believe a premiere of over $20 million (maybe even $25 million) is feasible, I’ll say  high teens with weekends of strong holds ahead is the play.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood opening weekend prediction: $19.6 million

For my Frozen II prediction, click here:


Frozen II Box Office Prediction

Today, frozen is the word described by many as what they’re experiencing when they attempt to view Disney Plus on its first day of launch. Next weekend, Frozen II looks to heat up a sleepy box office and continue the Mouse Factory’s stellar year. This is the sequel to the 2013 smash hit that earned over a billion dollars worldwide. The computer animated musical fantasy has Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad returning to voice their known characters along with newbies Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Marsha Plimpton, and Jason Ritter. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee make a return engagement behind the camera.

Six years ago in November, part 1 turned into a phenomenon. Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, the critically hailed Oscar winner took in $93 million and legged out impressively to a domestic haul of $400 million. This time around, expectations are understandably sky high. A gross north of $100 million out of the gate is anticipated.

With its rather short span between entries, Frozen II should achieve that status. I suspect earnings in the neighborhood of what Toy Story 4 ($120.9 million) took in this summer is the range. I’ll put it a few million under that mark as some families may choose to wait until Turkey Day weekend to make the trip.

Frozen II opening weekend prediction: $113.7 million

For my A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood prediction, click here:


November 15-17 Box Office Predictions

It’s been a distressingly sluggish November at the box office thus far and it might take Frozen II to heat it back up. That doesn’t come out until weekend. For this frame, we have the racing pic and Oscar hopeful Ford v Ferrari with Matt Damon and Christian Bale, the reboot of the Charlie’s Angels franchise with Kristen Stewart, and the Ian McKellen/Helen Mirren thriller The Good Liar. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:




Some estimates have Ford zooming to the top spot with $30 million plus. I’m skeptical. While it should have no trouble hitting #1, I believe mid 20s is the more likely scenario as it hopes to flex strong leg muscle over the holiday season.

Audiences have shown a distaste with unasked for reboots all year and I expect that to continue with Angels, which has failed to generate significant buzz. My low teens projection would guarantee no more editions of this series into the future.

As for Liar, solid reviews and Oscar chatter would’ve helped and it hasn’t achieved either. My $6 million take leaves it outside of the top five.

When it comes to holdovers, Midway was a surprise #1 due to the massive underperforming of Doctor Sleep (more on that below). A dip in the early to mid 40s should put it in fifth.

I expect Playing with Fire and Last Christmas to have the best holds in their sophomore weekends in the 30s region, while Sleep should plummet in the mid 50s or more. This means Sleep may find its way below the high five. I anticipate that being the case and here’s how I envision the weekend:

1. Ford v Ferrari 

Predicted Gross: $24.4 million

2. Charlie’s Angels 

Predicted Gross: $14.2 million

3. Midway

Predicted Gross: $10.2 million

4. Playing with Fire 

Predicted Gross: $8.3 million

5. Last Christmas 

Predicted Gross: $7 million

Box Office Results (November 8-10)

It isn’t often that the film you pick to be at #4 tops the charts, but it happened this weekend as Midway led a sleepy frame with $17.8 million. That’s above my $13 million prediction. With a reported budget of $100 million, Lionsgate might not be popping champagne corks. Yet they do have bragging rights.

That World War II pic has Doctor Sleep to thank for its relative success. The Shining sequel was a massive failure with just $14.1 million for second place. That’s considerably under my $24.8 million projection. Warner Bros is fortunate to still be counting that Joker cash because there’s absolutely zero positive way to spin this.

John Cena’s family comedy Playing with Fire surpassed expectations in third with $12.7 million, well above my $7.9 million take. It looks poised for a healthy holiday run.

Speaking of the Yuletide season, rom com Last Christmas opened fourth with $11.4 million. That’s under its anticipated numbers and I had it at $16.9 million. However, with a smallish price tag of $30 million, it too looks for meager declines ahead.

Terminator: Dark Fate plummeted to fifth with $10.8 million compared to my guesstimate of $13.2 million. The highly disappointing two-week tally is $48 million and the $100 million mark domestically appears out of reach.

Joker was sixth with $9.2 million, on pace with my $9.1 million prediction for $313 million overall.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was seventh at $8.4 million (I said $7.2 million) as it nears the century figure at $97 million.

Harriet was eighth in its sophomore outing with $7.4 million (I went with $7.7 million) for $23 million total.

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

2019 Oscar Predictions: November 11th Edition

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (Previous Ranking: 2)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

3. Parasite (PR: 4)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 3)

5. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

6. Little Women (PR: 7)

7. 1917 (PR: 5)

8. The Two Popes (PR: 8)

9. Bombshell (PR: 9)

10. Joker (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities:

11. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 10)

12. The Farewell (PR: 13)

13. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 12)

14. Rocketman (PR: 14)

15. Waves (PR: 15)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 3)

3. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

4. Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (PR: 5)

5. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Greta Gerwig, Little Women (PR: 6)

7. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 7)

8. James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 9)

9. Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes (PR: 8)

10. Lulu Wang, The Farewell (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Todd Phillips, Joker

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Adam Driver, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

3. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 6)

4. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

5. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (PR: 8)

7. Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 5)

8. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 7)

9. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 9)

10. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 10)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

2. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story (PR: 3)

3. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 2)

4. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women (PR: 4)

5. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 6)

7. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 8)

8. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 7)

9. Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell (PR: 9)

10. Felicity Jones, The Aeronauts (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Helen Mirren, The Good Liar

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 3)

4. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 4)

5. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Shuzhen Zhou, The Farewell (PR: 6)

7. Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 7)

8. Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PR: 9)

9. Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 10)

10. Nicole Kidman, Bombshell (PR: 8)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

4. Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (PR: 5)

5. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy (PR: 8)

7. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 6)

8. Song Kang-Ho, Parasite (PR: Not Rankled)

9. Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy (PR: 7)

10. Sterling K. Brown, Waves (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

John Lithgow, Bombshell

Wesley Snipes, Dolemite Is My Name

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Marriage Story (PR: 2)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 4)

5. Pain and Glory (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bombshell (PR: 5)

7. Booksmart (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Waves (PR: 8)

9. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

10. Honey Boy (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:


Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. Little Women (PR: 4)

4. The Two Popes (PR: 3)

5. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joker (PR: 5)

7. Just Mercy (PR: 7)

8. Richard Jewell (PR: 8)

9. Downton Abbey (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Hustlers (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


Dark Waters

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Parasite (PR: 1)

2. Pain and Glory (PR: 2)

3. Les Miserables (PR: 3)

4. Atlantics (PR: 7)

5. Beanpole (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Monos (PR: 4)

7. And Then We Danced (PR: 6)

8. A White, White Day (PR: 9)

9. Those Who Remained (PR: 8)

10. Papicha (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Tel Aviv on Fire

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Toy Story 4 (PR: 1)

2. Frozen II (PR: 2)

3. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PR: 3)

4. I Lost My Body (PR: 5)

5. Weathering with You (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Abominable (PR: 8)

7. Missing Link (PR: 7)

8. Bunuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (PR: 6)

9. Klaus (PR: 9)

10. Spies in Disguise (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. American Factory (PR: 1)

2. One Child Nation (PR: 2)

3. The Cave (PR: 5)

4. Maiden (PR: 3)

5. Apollo 11 (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Biggest Little Farm (PR: 6)

7. Honeyland (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Knock Down the House (PR: 7)

9. The Edge of Democracy (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Sea of Shadows (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

For Sama

Diego Maradona

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 3)

4. The Lighthouse (PR: 5)

5. Joker (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 6)

7. A Hidden Life (PR: 4)

8. Ad Astra (PR: 8)

9. Parasite (PR: 7)

10. Marriage Story (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Portrait of a Lady on Fire 

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Downton Abbey (PR: 4)

3. Rocketman (PR: 5)

4. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 2)

5. Little Women (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Irishman (PR: 7)

7. Judy (PR: 6)

8. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 9)

9. Joker (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Dumbo (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:



Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 3)

4. Parasite (PR: 5)

5. Marriage Story (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities: 

6. 1917 (PR: 4)

7. Bombshell (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 7)

9. Joker (PR: 9)

10. Avengers: Endgame (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


Knives Out 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bombshell (PR: 1)

2. The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Judy (PR: 3)

4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 5)

5. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Rocketman (PR: 6)

7. Joker (PR: 10)

8. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 9)

9. The Two Popes (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Us (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


The Aeronauts 

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Little Women (PR: 4)

4. 1917 (PR: 5)

5. Parasite (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 3)

7. Cats (PR: 7)

8. Downton Abbey (PR: 9)

9. Joker (PR: 10)

10. The Aeronauts (PR: 8)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Little Women (PR: 2)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

5. Joker (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 5)

7. A Hidden Life (PR: 6)

8. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

9. The Aeronauts (PR: 7)

10. Ad Astra (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II (PR: 1)

2. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman (PR: 2)

3. “Stand Up” from Harriet (PR: 4)

4. “Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats (PR: 3)

5. “Spirit” from The Lion King (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Speechless” from Aladdin (PR: 6)

7. “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn (PR: Not Ranked)

8. “I’m Standing With You” from Breakthrough (PR: 5)

9. “Together From Afar” from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PR: Not Ranked)

10. “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4 (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

“The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” from Toy Story 4

“One Little Soldier” from Bombshell

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 2)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 1)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

4. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 6)

5. Ad Astra (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Rocketman (PR: 5)

7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

8. The Irishman (PR: 7)

9. Cats (PR: 9)

10. Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Aeronauts

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 3)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 1)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 2)

4. Rocketman (PR: 4)

5. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ad Astra (PR: 9)

7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 6)

8. Cats (PR: 10)

9. The Irishman (PR: 7)

10. Joker (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 2)

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 1)

3. The Lion King (PR: 4)

4. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 3)

5. The Aeronauts (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ad Astra (PR: 8)

7. Gemini Man (PR: 7)

8. 1917 (PR: 9)

9. Alita: Battle Angel (PR: 6)

10. Dumbo (PR: 10)

And that all equates to these pictures getting the following number of nominations:

10 Nominations

The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

8 Nominations

Marriage Story

7 Nominations

1917, Little Women

6 Nominations


4 Nominations

Bombshell, Joker, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Two Popes

3 Nominations

Avengers: Endgame, Ford v Ferrari, Rocketman

2 Nominations

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Dolemite Is My Name, Frozen II, Harriet, Jojo Rabbit, Judy, The Lighthouse, The Lion King, Pain and Glory

1 Nomination

Ad Astra, The Aeronauts, American Factory, Apollo 11, Atlantics, Beanpole, Cats, The Cave, Downton Abbey, The Farewell, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Hustlers, I Lost My Body, Les Miserables, Maiden, One Child Nation, The Report, Toy Story 4, Weathering with You

Oscar Watch: The Good Liar

Pairing Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren together is a potential recipe for awards attention success and that’s happening next weekend with the release of The Good Liar. The thriller comes from Bill Condon, who directed McKellen to one of his two Oscar nods in Gods and Monsters. Mirren has received four Academy recognitions with a win in 2006 for The Queen.

The thriller casts McKellen as a con artist attempting to swindle Mirren’s wealthy widow. Reviews are out and while they’re decent (71% on Rotten Tomatoes), the picture is highly unlikely to be much of a box office success and awards chatter is very quiet. While the two leads are garnering praise for their work, both the lead Actor and Actress categories are already filled with more legitimate contenders.

Bottom line: the truth is that The Good Liar will come up empty-handed come nominations time. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…