Tom Hardy is back to his dualistic ways in Venom: Let There Be Carnage this weekend. The sequel to the 2018 Marvel Comics property officially had its review embargo lifted today and the results are a bit surprising. While plenty of critics aren’t being overly kind, the 58% Rotten Tomatoes rating is an improvement over its predecessor’s 30% score.
Sony is hoping audiences are primed for more of Hardy and his black goo. The only awards possibility lies in the Visual Effects race. And if part 1 couldn’t manage a nod, I doubt this will either.
There is serious competition with other comic book based pics including Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and the upcoming Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home. It’s also a safe bet that Dune and The Matrix Resurrections will make the cut. Perhaps Carnage will surface in the ten finalists vying for five slots, but I wouldn’t count on it getting in. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…
Camille Nielsson’s documentary President premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early in the year. Focused on the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe, the pic stands a chance at inclusion at the Oscars. In its favor is that Sundance named it for their world cinema special jury award back in January.
Sporting a 90% Rotten Tomatoes rating, the reviews are decent enough that it could be a player. On the other hand, they’re not strong enough for me to believe it’s a threat to win.
In my first prediction posts covering this category on Sunday, I had President ranked fourth and therefore making the cut. At the moment, The Rescue and Flee look like potential victors. Those two pictures appear to be in. The rest of the doc hopefuls should be duking it out for the other three slots and President is worth paying attention to. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…
The 15 year era of Daniel Craig as one of cinema’s most famous characters concludes with No Time to Die. James Bond will return… but not with arguably his best incarnation since Sean Connery. Prior to the October 8 stateside bow, the embargo lifted this evening and the results are encouraging.
007’s 25th adventure stands at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes (with 35 reviews out at press time). Many critics are calling it a surprisingly emotional swan song for Craig’s contribution to the British super spy series. There’s also hints that it resembles more of the Roger Moore era of the canon than one might expect (a direction it seemed to be taking with predecessor Spectre). Ana de Armas is drawing raves for her very short amount of screen time. The consensus on Rami Malek’s main villain seems a bit mixed. There’s some complaints about the length (a Bond high 163 minutes).
Yet no one seems to be arguing that it’s a rather fitting conclusion to Craig’s tenure in the part. So will Oscar take notice? Skyfall, the third pic in the actor’s five appearances, probably came close to a Best Picture nod. It did earn five nominations – winning Sound Editing and Original Song (Adele’s title track) with mentions in Sound Mixing, Score, and Cinematography. 2015’s follow-up Spectre (which had less laudatory reviews) managed a sole nomination in Song with Sam Smith’s “The Writing’s on the Wall” where it scored an upset victory.
I wouldn’t be shocked if an internet campaign is mounted for Craig to get a Best Actor slot (kind of as a tribute to the whole run). It’s highly unlikely to materialize. I do believe Die will make it three in a row for the songs with Billie Eilish’s title tune work. Whether she wins is a question mark (Beyonce has a ditty from King Richard that might serve as its main competition). Cinematography and Sound are two other feasible possibilities.
Bottom line: while I don’t foresee this factoring into the biggest races, tech and musical recognition could be coming its way. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…
***Blogger’s Note Part III (10/06): I have revised my No Time to Die prediction from $104.1 million down to $94.1 million, which would still set a COVID era record.
***Blogger’s Note Part II (10/03): With the news that Venom: Let There Be Carnage has grossed approximately $90 million out of the gate, it’s go big or go home for No Time to Die! I’m re-upping my estimate from $84.1 million to a COVID era best $104.1 million***
**Blogger’s Note (10/01): A week before its stateside premiere, I have decided to significantly increase my prediction (partly due to the apparent over performance of Venom: Let There Be Carnage). I’m going from $72.1 million to $84.1 million**
Ladies and gentlemen, the second frame of October finally marks the weekend for Daniel Craig’s swan song as 007 in No Time to Die. The 25th official entry in the James Bond franchise was gearing up for release in April of 2020 (Billie Eilish’s title track had already dropped) when COVID scuttled the plans. It experienced several more delays before at last settling on October 8. Craig is back for his fifth and final appearance along with series returnees Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Rory Kinnear, and Christoph Waltz. On the job for the first time are Rami Malek as the main villain, Lashana Lynch, Craig’s Knives Out costar Ana de Armas, and Billy Magnussen.
Anticipation is certainly present with the culmination of Mr. Craig’s service as the British super spy – one rivaled by only Sean Connery. He’s actually had the longest run as the character in terms of time, though not actual volume of pictures. It seems like eons since moviegoers have had their Bond fix. With the frequent pushbacks, the just shy of a six-year wait is the second lengthiest break between 007 adventures (beaten by the sabbatical of 1989’s Licence to Kill and 1995’s Goldeneye at nearly six and a half years).
Fifteen years ago, Craig defied expectations with the critically acclaimed Casino Royale. It made $40 million for its start but legged out very impressively. Sequel (and it was the first true Bond sequel) Quantum of Solace debuted two years later with $67 million. 2012’s Skyfall marked a high point at the box office as it grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. The premiere stateside is a series best $88 million. Three years later, Spectre kicked off with $70 million.
So where will this golden era of 007 culminate in terms of opening weekend? There’s certainly a range of possibilities. First things first: it will have no trouble eclipsing what Craig’s first foray achieved a decade and a half ago. I do believe the COVID times will prevent the record setting starting number of Skyfall managed (but you never know). It’s hard to totally factor in the excitement for its star’s last go-round. A video of Craig bidding adieu to his costars and crew has been widely circulated on social media in recent weeks.
My hunch is that a premiere in the range of Quantum and Spectre is most likely stateside (I’m sure its overseas haul will be massive). I’m tempted to say a low to mid 60s gross just under them could occur. However, I’ll err on the side of over performance and project low to mid 70s. (PER ABOVE: I have increased estimate from $72.1M to $84.1M to $104.1 million)
No Time to Die opening weekend prediction: $94.1 million
An October filled with potential heavy hitters begins Friday with the release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Tom Hardy’s sequel to the 2018 comic book blockbuster. We also have spooky animated sequel The Addams Family 2 and Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the trio here:
One thing seems certain: the September long reign of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will cease with the arrival of Venom. I don’t envision it approaching the $80 million premiere achieved by its predecessor, but a high 50s forecast has it ruling the roost.
The two other newbies are also both available for home viewing (Addams for general rental, Newark on HBO Max). Addams should have no trouble snapping into the 2 spot. I’m projecting it earns a little more than half of the original’s $30 million.
Newark is a bit of a head scratcher. It stands to reason that many Sopranos devotees may have a Max membership and simply choose to view from their couch. I’ll say it gets close enough to double digits to just outdo Shang-Chi in its fifth frame (though it could be close).
After a muted debut, Dear Evan Hansen should drop in the low to mid 40s for a fifth place showing.
Here’s how I see the top 5:
1. Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Predicted Gross: $58.7 million
2. The Addams Family 2
Predicted Gross: $16.6 million
3. The Many Saints of Newark
Predicted Gross: $8.5 million
4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Predicted Gross: $7.6 million
5. Dear Evan Hansen
Predicted Gross: $4.2 million
Box Office Results (September 24-26)
As anticipated, Shang-Chi made it a September clean sweep as it remained #1 for the fourth weekend and became the highest grossing domestic earner of the COVID era. With $13 million (I overshot at $14.9 million), the impressive take is $196 million.
The musical drama Dear Evan Hansen couldn’t get most critics or crowds on its side. It underperformed with $7.4 million, falling shy of my $8.6 million prediction. Its A- Cinemascore rating could mean small declines ahead, but fans of the Broadway show may have already rushed to view it (just not as many as the studio hoped).
Free Guy was third with $4.1 million compared to my $4.5 million projection and it’s up to $114 million.
Candyman placed fourth with $2.5 million. My guess? $2.5 million! Total is $56 million.
Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho rounded out the top five in its sophomore frame with just $2 million (I said $2.8 million) for $8 million overall.
The life of Julia Child has intersected with Academy voters before when Meryl Streep was nominated for Best Actress as the famed cook in 2009’s Julie & Julia. Will it occur again with Julia, a documentary hitting screens on November 5?
From directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West, Julia premiered this month at the Telluride Film Festival. The reviews are all positive and it stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, some of thumbs up assessments weren’t overly glowing in their praise.
The co-production with CNN Films certainly stands a decent shot at inclusion in Documentary Feature, but I didn’t feel confident enough about it to slot it in my top five earlier today. We’ll see if it eventually bubbles up to the surface. My Oscar Predictions posts on the films of 2021 will continue…
My weekly Oscar predictions has at last expanded to all categories covering feature films! That means we have counts on how each picture will fare and I have Dune and Nightmare Alley leading the way to 10 nods apiece.
There are changes to ponder as Don’t Look Up takes the biggest fall. I have been toying with removing the Netflix disaster drama from Best Picture contention for a couple of weeks. A clip from the pic circulated yesterday and drew some criticism, but I wouldn’t judge it from that brief glimpse. This is more of a hunch that Up might not going for a BP vibe. So it’s out with Up and in with Spencer. Additionally, C’Mon C’Mon rises in Original Screenplay over Adam McKay’s latest.
In other developments:
The Tragedy of Macbeth premiered at the New York Film Festival Friday and solidified its BP viability. Same goes for Denzel Washington. There’s still a question mark as to whether Frances McDormand will be placed in lead or supporting (sounds like a case could be made for both). For now, I’m putting her back in Best Actress and saying she gets in. Same goes for Jennifer Hudson in Respect. Their inclusion knocks out Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) and Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter).
I’m back to projecting Bradley Cooper as a double nominee. His placement in Actor for Nightmare Alley removes Joaquin Phoenix (C’Mon C’Mon).
The Supporting Actress derby seems to be getting a new #1 each week. This time it’s Caitriona Balfe for Belfast.
Lots more to peruse in the inaugural expanded listings below!
1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)
2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (+1)
3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (-1)
4. Dune (PR: 4) (E)
5. House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)
6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (+1)
7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 6) (-1)
8. West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)
9. King Richard (PR: 10) (+1)
10. Spencer (PR: 12) (+2)
11. Don’t Look Up (PR: 9) (-2)
12. Flee (PR: 16) (+4)
13. CODA (PR: 13) (E)
14. Mass (PR: 14) (E)
15. The Humans (PR: 11) (-4)
The Hand of God
The French Dispatch
Tick, Tick… Boom!
The Lost Daughter
Being the Ricardos
1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)
2. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)
3. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)
4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 4) (E)
5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)
6. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (+1)
7. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 6) (-1)
8. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)
9. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: 12)
10. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 10)
Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up
Paolo Sorrentino, The Hand of God
Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard
Asghar Farhadi, A Hero
Stephen Karam, The Humans
1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)
2. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 3) (+1)
3. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2) (-1)
4. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from supporting
5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 6) (+1)
6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 4) (-2)
7. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (-2)
8. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 8)
9. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 13) (+4)
10. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (-3)
Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World
Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up
Emilia Jones, CODA
Halle Berry, Bruised
Tessa Thompson, Passing
1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)
2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)
3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (E)
4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (E)
5. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (+1)
6. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (-1)
7. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 7) (E)
8. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 11( (+3)
9. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 10) (+1)
10. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (-2)
Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!
Ben Foster, The Survivor
Jude Hill, Belfast
Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza
Amir Jadidi, A Hero
Best Supporting Actress
1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 2) (+1)
2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (+1)
3. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 1) (-2)
4. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (E)
5. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 5) (E)
6. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 7) (+1)
7. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 11) (+4)
8. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 14) (+6)
9. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley (PR: 9) (E)
10. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (+2)
Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth – moved to lead
Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley
Judi Dench, Belfast
Martha Plimpton, Mass
Dakota Johnson, The Lost Daughter
Best Supporting Actor
1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)
2. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 2) (E)
3. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)
4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 4) (E)
5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)
6. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (E)
7. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 10) (+3)
8. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (-1)
9. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)
10. Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 14) (+4)
Mark Rylance, Don’t Look Up
Ciaran Hinds, Belfast
Willem Dafoe, Nightmare Alley
David Alvarez, West Side Story
Troy Kotsur, CODA
Reed Birney, Mass
Best Original Screenplay
1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)
2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)
3. Mass (PR: 4) (+1))
4. King Richard (PR: 5) (+1)
5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6) (+1)
6. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3) (-3)
7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)
8. A Hero (PR: 10) (+2)
9. The Hand of God (PR: 8) (-1)
10. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 12) (+2)
The French Dispatch
Being the Ricardos
Last Night in Soho
Best Adapted Screenplay
1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)
2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)
3. House of Gucci (PR: 4) (+1)
4. The Humans (PR: 3) (-1)
5. The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (E)
6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)
7. Dune (PR: 7) (E)
8. CODA (PR: 8) (E)
9. West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)
10. Passing (PR: 10) (E)
Tick, Tick… Boom!
The Last Duel
The Green Knight
In the Heights
Best Animated Feature
4. The Mitchells vs. the Machines
7. Raya and the Last Dragon
9. Ron’s Gone Wrong
10. Where Is Anne Frank
Best International Feature Film
1. A Hero
3. The Hand of God
4. Petite Maman
5. The Worst Person in the World
6. Parallel Mothers
7. Drive My Car
8. Compartment No. 6
9. 7 Prisoners
10. I’m Your Man
Best Documentary Feature
1. The Rescue
5. The Lost Leonardo
6. Summer of Soul
8. The Sparks Brothers
9. The First Wave
10. Becoming Cousteau
2. The Tragedy of Macbeth
3. Nightmare Alley
5. The Power of the Dog
6. West Side Story
8. Licorice Pizza
9. The French Dispatch
10. The Hand of God
Best Costume Design
2. House of Gucci
5. Nightmare Alley
6. The Tragedy of Macbeth
7. West Side Story
8. Licorice Pizza
9. The French Dispatch
Best Film Editing
3. Nightmare Alley
4. Licorice Pizza
5. West Side Story
6. The Power of the Dog
7. Don’t Look Up
8. House of Gucci
9. King Richard
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
1. House of Gucci
4. The Eyes of Tammy Faye
5. Nightmare Alley
8. West Side Story
9. Licorice Pizza
10. The French Dispatch
Best Original Score
3. The Power of the Dog
4. The Tragedy of Macbeth
5. The French Dispatch
6. Nightmare Alley
7. Licorice Pizza
9. Don’t Look Up
10. King Richard
Best Original Song
1. “Be Alive” from King Richard
2. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die
3. “Down to Joy” from Belfast
4. “Colombia, Mi Encanto” from Encanto
5. “Here I Am” from Respect
6. “So May We Start” from Annette
7. “Every Letter” from Cyrano
8. “Believe” from The Rescue
9. “Don’t Look Up” from Don’t Look Up
10. “At the Automat” from The Automat
Best Production Design
1. Nightmare Alley
3. West Side Story
4. The French Dispatch
6. House of Gucci
8. Licorice Pizza
9. The Tragedy of Macbeth
2. West Side Story
3. The Matrix Resurrections
4. Nightmare Alley
5. The Tragedy of Macbeth
7. Don’t Look Up
8. No Time to Die
9. A Quiet Place Part II
10. King Richard
Best Visual Effects
2. The Matrix Resurrections
4. Godzilla vs. Kong
5. Don’t Look Up
6. Spider-Man: No Way Home
7. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
8. The Suicide Squad
9. Free Guy
10. Jungle Cruise
And that gives us the first take on how many nominations the various pictures will receive:
Dune, Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
House of Gucci, Spencer, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Licorice Pizza, West Side Story
Flee, The Humans, Mass
Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Matrix Resurrections, Respect
Attica, Belle, C’Mon C’Mon, Cruella, Cyrano, Don’t Look Up, Eternals, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, A Hero, The Lost Daughter, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, No Time to Die, Petite Maman, President, The Rescue, The Worst Person in the World
French director Celine Sciamma’s 2019 historical romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire turned plenty of heads upon its release. Its accolades included the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a nod for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes.
Her follow-up is the family drama Petite Maman, which premiered this spring in Berlin and was released overseas in the summer. Reviews for the feature are mostly glowing and it stands at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.
If France selects Maman for representation in International Feature Film, it could achieve something that Portrait did not – a nomination in that category. Two years ago, the French chose to go with Les Miserables instead and it did make the final cut (losing to juggernaut Parasite).
A nod is certainly feasible, though this race has plenty of major contenders including A Hero, Flee, The Worst Person in the World, and The Hand of God. Whether there’s room for Sciamma’s latest is certainly a question mark at the moment. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2022 will continue…
The veil has lifted for a major awards hopeful with Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. This version of the Shakespearian tragedy casts Denzel Washington as Lord Macbeth and Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth and it is kicking off the New York Film Festival. Between the two leads, they have five Oscars between them. Do they need to find more room on their shelves?
With Denzel, news from the Big Apple indicates yes. Some early reviews are calling it among his career best work. In the Best Actor derby, it’s likely that Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) and Will Smith (King Richard) have already punched their tickets to the dance. I believe we can add a third today with Mr. Washington.
With McDormand, it’s a bit more complicated. The answer may come down to whether distributor A24 elects for a campaign in lead or supporting. Based on the buzz, it sounds like a case could be made for either. My hunch is that Supporting Actress (which appears fairly wide open at the moment) will be the play. If so, McDormand probably stands a better chance for inclusion. I question whether her recent Best Actress victories (in 2017 for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and last year’s Nomadland) make her vulnerable to newcomers. Yet in Supporting Actress, I could easily see the Academy making room for her.
As for the rest of the cast, both Corey Hawkins and Kathryn Hunter are generating solid notices. However, their screen time could be a hindrance to make the cut (for Hunter, this definitely holds true if McDormand goes supporting).
Beyond Denzel, the cinematography is being heralded and it’s a safe bet Macbeth gets recognized there. Other techs like Production Design and Sound are feasible. Adapted Screenplay from Mr. Coen (making his first pic without brother Ethan) is in the cards. On the other hand, it’s said to deviate very little from the Shakespeare text and that may leave it off some ballots in that particular category.
Moving to the largest race of all, I’ve included Macbeth in my top ten for Best Picture all along. I don’t think it’s guaranteed a slot, but I don’t see myself moving it out based on the current buzz. Coen’s placement in Best Director is questionable but possible.
Bottom line: The Tragedy of Macbeth has elevated its lead actor and put itself in position for numerous other races. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…
Making its way to theaters and HBO Max on October 1 is The Many Saints of Newark, which follows the teen years of Tony Soprano in the 1960s and 70s. Series vet Alan Taylor directs with show creator David Chase cowriting. In a bit of bittersweet casting, the late James Gandolfini’s son Michael is Tony. The cast also features Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom, Jr., Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, John Magaro, Ray Liotta, and Vera Farmiga.
The crime drama arrives 14 years after the celebrated HBO program faded to black. Early reviews are decent as it stands at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Devotees of the series will no doubt be curious. However, the big question for me is whether many of them will wake up on the morning of the 1st and realize they’ve got themself the opportunity to view it on HBO Max.
I suspect many will. It stands to reason that plenty of Sopranos fans may have a subscription to the streamer. This could limit its potential at multiplexes. My gut says the number on Max could be impressive, but Newark could struggle to reach double digits in its theatrical premiere.
The Many Saints of Newark opening weekend prediction: $8.5 million
For my Venom: Let There Be Carnage prediction, click here: