Oscar Predictions: The Batman

You have to go back to 2008’s The Dark Knight to find the last Batfilm to receive an Oscar nomination. It landed the most of them. While famously missing Best Picture (it’s often called the flick that caused the Academy to expand beyond five nominees), it garnered eight nods and won Supporting Actor (Heath Ledger) and Sound Editing. The other nominations were for Sound Mixing, Art Direction, Cinematography, Makeup, Film Editing, and Visual Effects. 1989’s Batman was 1 for 1 in its nominations with Art Direction while follow-up Batman Returns was up for Makeup and Visual Effects and Batman Forever received a mention for Sound Effects Editing. Batman Begins from 2005 made the Cinematography final five. Batman and Robin, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League all failed to show up at the big show.

That history lesson is, of course, given to you because reboot The Batman  with Robert Pattinson opens Friday and the review embargo lifted today. Early critical reaction has resulted in an 87% Rotten Tomatoes score thus far. Some write-ups are calling it masterful. Others are more mixed in the praise with some complaints of over length in particular.

So what are its Oscar prospects? As I see it, pretty strong in many of the races mentioned above. That includes Sound (now just one competition), Visual Effects, Production Design (what was Art Direction), Makeup and Hairstyling, Cinematography, and even Original Score (from Michael Giacchino). Director Matt Reeves, taking over the franchise, has experience in the VE derby with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes. 

Those down the line nods could be plentiful for The Batman. However, I don’t see it getting Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, or nominations for its actors. It won’t be for lack of social media chatter. We have seen numerous comic book adaptations receive fervent support online (from The Dark Knight to Deadpool to Avengers: Endgame to Spider-Man: No Way Home). Only Black Panther and Joker have made the BP cut. I don’t envision The Batman being the third, but tech nods should happen. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

March 4-6 Box Office Predictions

It’s an eagerly awaited weekend at the box office as The Batman looks to have the second highest debut of the COVID era (behind only Spider-Man: No Way Home). The DCEU reboot with Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader is the only new release of this weekend (and the majority of March) and my detailed prediction post on it can be found here:

The Batman Box Office Prediction

The range of possibility is wide (anywhere from $100 to $200 million depending on what you’re reading). I believe a gross just north of $150 million is most likely and my projection gives it the 20th largest domestic opening of all time.

Holdovers should experience heftier dips than this past weekend with Uncharted, Dog, Spider-Man, and Death on the Nile all sliding a spot. Here’s how I see it looking:

1. The Batman

Predicted Gross: $155.2 million

2. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $10.5 million

3. Dog

Predicted Gross: $6.4 million

4. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Predicted Gross: $3.8 million

5. Death on the Nile

Predicted Gross: $2.5 million

Box Office Results (February 25-27)

The leftovers didn’t spoil during the last frame of February while the two newcomers didn’t prove appetizing to moviegoers.

Uncharted ruled the charts for the second frame with $23 million, just ahead of my $21.8 million forecast for a two-week total of $83 million. Tom Holland, as I mentioned last week, has himself another promising franchise.

Channing Tatum’s Dog was a good boy in its sophomore outing with $10.1 million, outpacing my $8.4 million take. The two-week haul is $30 million.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was third with $5.8 million (I said $6 million) for a gargantuan take of $779 million.

Death on the Nile was fourth with $4.4 million, edging my $3.7 million prediction for a stalled $32 million overall.

Jackass Forever rounded out the top five with $3.1 million (I went with $2.8 million). It’s up to $52 million.

The fresh product managed respective 8th and 9th place starts. Studio 666, the horror comedy from the Foo Fighters, made only $1.5 million compared to my $2.1 million estimate. Cyrano with Peter Dinklage fared even worse with $1.3 million (I said $1.8 million).

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

2021 SAG Awards Reaction: CODA Moment

The eyes of Oscar prognosticators were focused on this evening’s SAG Awards and it provided some further suspense as we figure out who will be taking the Academy’s gold.

Let’s get the particulars out of the way as I went 3 for 5 (just like last year). One burning question was whether Best Actress would continue to be a free for all of unpredictability. And it did as Jessica Chastain took SAG for The Eyes of Tammy Faye. She was runner-up over my pick of Globe winner Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos). This puts Chastain in a better position to take the Oscar, but the race is far from decided.

As for Actor and Supporting Actress – SAG followed the Globes lead with Will Smith (King Richard) and Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) respectively. It solidifies their status as Academy frontrunners and matches my projections. I wouldn’t bet against either come Oscar time, but let’s see if the forthcoming BAFTAs can change the narrative.

I also called Troy Kotsur (CODA) for Supporting Actor yet that Academy competition is hardly over as Globes recipient Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) should make it interesting.

CODA turned out to be the big winner of the night as it also took Best Ensemble. Not bad for a Sundance darling that Apple TV purchased the streaming rights for. It was my runner-up pick to Belfast, which could have used a trophy this evening for momentum.

While CODA‘s impressive showing could lead to dark horse predictions for it to nab Best Picture in a month, I wouldn’t go too far down the rabbit hole as The Power of the Dog still looks to be the odds on favorite.

And there you have it, folks! My Oscar speculation will keep rolling for the next four weeks!

Oscars 2021: The Case of Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz’s performance in Parallel Mothers is the third Best Actress entry in my Case Of posts. If you missed the ones covering the other C’s (Jessica Chastain and Olivia Colman), they’re here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jessica Chastain

Oscars 2021: The Case of Olivia Colman

The Case for Penelope Cruz:

More than any other high profile race, Best Actress looks wide open. Spain inexplicably didn’t name Mothers as its International Feature Film selection (it probably would’ve been nominated). Instead it settled for this nod and Original Score. This could provide a way for the Academy to honor it.

The Case Against Penelope Cruz:

If Cruz were to take this, she would do so without mentions from the Globes, SAG, BAFTA, or Critics Choice. That just doesn’t happen.

Previous Nominations: 3

Volver (2006 – Actress); Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008 – Supporting Actress, WON)Nine (2009 – Supporting Actress)

The Verdict:

When Cruz won Supporting Actress 13 years ago for Vicky Christina Barcelona, she was the favorite. For her other two nominations in 2006 and 2009, she was a major long shot. That is once again the case and of the five women up, I believe she’s got the lowest chance to emerge victorious.

My Case Of posts will continue with the third Best Actor competitor – Andrew Garfield in Tick Tick… Boom!

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jane Campion

The third entry in my Case Of posts for the Best Director nominees belongs to Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog. If you missed the first two, you can find them here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Paul Thomas Anderson

Oscars 2021: The Case of Kenneth Branagh

The Case for Jane Campion:

After a 12 year absence from filmmaking, New Zealand’s Campion made an acclaimed return with the Netflix drama. It led all movies in terms of nods with an even better than anticipated 13. Already the winner of the Golden Globe, Campion has been the frontrunner ever since Dog‘s release. She would become just the third female to take this race after Kathryn Bigelow with 2009’s The Hurt Locker and Chloe Zhao for last year’s Nomadland. 

The Case Against Jane Campion:

If Dog is simply all nominations and very few wins (similar to The Irishman from two years ago), we could see plenty of upsets and that would include Campion losing here.

Previous Nominations: 1 (for directing only)

The Piano (1993)

The Verdict:

In 1993, Campion was probably runner-up in this category to Steven Spielberg for Schindler’s List. Even though Spielberg is up against her again with West Side Story, Campion comes into this ceremony as the sturdy favorite. Even if Power doesn’t take Best Picture, I’d still likely be forecasting Campion in this competition and in Adapted Screenplay. That would add Oscars two and three to her mantle after an Original Screenplay victory for The Piano. 

My Case Of posts will continue with the third Best Actress hopeful – Penelope Cruz in Parallel Mothers

Oscars 2021: The Case of Troy Kotsur

Troy Kotsur’s performance as the randy dad in CODA is my second Case Of post for the Supporting Actor nominees. If you missed the first on Ciaran Hinds in Belfast, it’s here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Ciaran Hinds

The Case for Troy Kotsur:

The deaf actor was the comedic and emotional highlight of CODA, which maintained its positive buzz from Sundance through Oscar nomination morning. Precursors have been kind as he’s nabbed nods from SAG, Golden Globes, and Critics Choice. It’s almost impossible to see CODA and not root for him.

The Case Against Troy Kotsur:

CODA tied Licorice Pizza for the least amount of nominations of the Best Picture contenders at 3 (costars Emilia Jones and Marlee Matlin didn’t make the cut). It’s up for Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and here. There’s a very good chance it loses all of them to The Power of the Dog. In Kotsur’s case, it would be to Kodi Smit-McPhee (who took the Globe).

Previous Nominations:


The Verdict:

If Kotsur can win SAG tomorrow, this could be a real showdown between him and Smit-McPhee. If not, it probably means the latter is sweeping the season.

My Case Of posts will continue with Jane Campion’s direction of The Power of the Dog

Oscars 2021: The Case of Ariana DeBose

Ariana DeBose’s performance in West Side Story is next up with my Case Of posts for Supporting Actress. If you missed the first covering Jessie Buckley in The Lost Daughter, you can find it here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jessie Buckley

The Case for Ariana DeBose:

Her performance as Anita has been consistently called the highlight among the cast. There’s Oscar history to be had as Rita Moreno won the same award 60 years ago in the same role. Even before its release, DeBose was correctly looked at as a strong contender and she’s already got a Golden Globe to show for it (in addition to SAG and Critics Choice nods and plenty of trophies from critics groups).

The Case Against Ariana DeBose:

The film itself was a box office disappointment and perhaps the Academy will honor a more seasoned competitor like Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog (especially if that pic begins to run the table at the ceremony).

Previous Nominations:


The Verdict:

DeBose is unquestionably the frontrunner here and I’d say this is the easiest of the four acting derbies to forecast. That said, there’s been upsets in this race before.

My Case Of posts will continue with the supporting work of Troy Kotsur in CODA

2021 SAG Awards Winner Predictions

The SAG Awards air this Sunday night and I’m here to give you my take. For some context, I went 4/5 in my projections from 2017-2019 and 3/5 last year. The winners here will certainly help themselves if they’re nominated for Oscars (as you’ll see – not all are).

Let’s get to it!

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture




Don’t Look Up

House of Gucci

King Richard


I could offer an argument for anything but Gucci (partly because The Birdcage from 1996 is the only winner that wasn’t nominated for BP at the Oscars). The rest of the pics are BP players with the Academy. Belfast is the most likely to win (notice frontrunner The Power of the Dog isn’t here). Even though I’m not projecting its lone nominee (Balfe) to take the SAG and it was a surprise that Ciaran Hinds didn’t make it, I’ll say the cast is ultimately honored as a whole. CODA is right on its heels.

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Runner-Up: CODA

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role


Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Jennifer Hudson, Respect

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos


Welcome to the confounding world of Best Actress in the 2021 awards season and this is easily the trickiest race to figure out. The Oscar/SAG match is 3/5. Gaga and Hudson didn’t make the Acadeny’s cut in favor of Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) and Kristen Stewart (Spencer).

Let’s start with Gaga. The SAG winner in this race has never not been nominated for an Oscar so the superstar would certainly make history if she takes this. That stat discourages me from calling her name, but who knows? All hopefuls here would be first-time winners in this category (Hudson took Supporting Actress 15 years back in Dreamgirls). She seems least likely to win. So we’re down to Chastain, Colman, and Kidman. All could prevail. Kidman took the Golden Globe and a podium trip could solidify her status as the Oscar frontrunner. Chastain’s showy role could be honored and it’s a bit of a coin flip for me. I’ll give Kidman an ever so slight edge.

Predicted Winner: Nicole Kidman

Runner-Up: Jessica Chastain

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role


Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth


Not complicated like Actress as there’s a 5 for 5 lineup with the Academy’s nominees. Unlike the Oscars, I do buy into the theory that Garfield might be more of a spoiler than Cumberbatch to Smith. The SAG folks could reward Garfield’s showy role. That said, I’m not betting against Smith.

Predicted Winner: Will Smith

Runner-Up: Andrew Garfield

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role


Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Ruth Negga, Passing


There’s only a 2 for 5 symmetry with the big show and that’s DeBose and Dunst. Balfe, Blanchett, and Negga are in over Academy picks Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter), Judi Dench (Belfast), and Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard). I do think it’s between the Oscar contestants. Dunst is a threat though I’m going with DeBose sweeping until I see different.

Predicted Winner: Ariana DeBose

Runner-Up: Kirsten Dunst

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role


Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar

Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog


Like Supporting Actress, just a 2 for 5 (Kotsur, Smit-McPhee) match. Affleck, Cooper, and Leto got SAG love instead of Oscar selections Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog), and J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos). And I’ll also say it’s between the two Academy players. This is difficult because I could easily see Smit-McPhee sweeping (he won the Globe). Yet I have a sneaking suspicion the thespians may go for Kotsur. With little confidence, I’ll pick that.

Predicted Winner: Troy Kotsur

Runner-Up: Kodi Smit-McPhee

I’ll have reaction up on the ceremony Sunday night!

Oscars 2021: The Case of Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch is the second Best Actor hopeful covered in my Case Of posts for that category. If you missed the first on Javier Bardem for Being the Ricardos, it’s here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Javier Bardem

The Case for Benedict Cumberbatch:

We might be witnessing a right year and right movie matchup for Cumberbatch to nab his first Oscar. After being previously nominated seven years back for The Imitation Game, he’s starring in the Best Picture frontrunner and garnered career best reviews. He’s been mentioned in all key precursors such as the Globes, SAG, BAFTA and Critics Choice. Furthermore, he had an impressive 2021 beyond Dog with kudos for the title role in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain and appearing as Doctor Strange in box office behemoth Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The Case Against Benedict Cumberbatch:

Only 3 Best Actor recipients in the 21st century came from the BP winner. Yet the most compelling case against comes courtesy of Will Smith, who stands as the favorite for King Richard. This is Smith’s third try and Benedict’s second. Voters may figure Cumberbatch will have other opportunities. The Academy has three other options to bestow gold on the Dog cast (with the best possibility being Kodi Smit-McPhee in supporting actor).

Previous Nominations: 1

The Imitation Game (2014 – Actor)

The Verdict:

I do believe Cumberbatch is a strong second to Smith at the moment.  If Cumberbatch manages to grab the SAG or BAFTA, he could play the spoiler role that Anthony Hopkins (The Father) managed last year over the favored Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

My Case Of posts will continue with Supporting Actress and Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

The Batman Box Office Prediction

Another chapter for the Caped Crusader flies into theaters March 4th with The Batman. The franchise reboot comes with high expectations and pent up anticipation as Robert Pattinson takes over the title role. Matt Reeves, best known for Cloverfield and the last two Planet of the Apes pics, directs. The supporting cast includes Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred, and an unrecognizable Colin Farrell as the Penguin. Originally slated for summer 2021, it looks to rule the month of March after its COVID delay.

There is little competition in its way and its event picture status should propel it to huge numbers. How big? The Batman could be in line for a larger opening weekend than 2008’s The Dark Knight ($158 million) and 2012 follow-up The Dark Knight Rises ($160 million). And you may have forgotten that 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice actually holds the highest Bat premiere at $166 million.

Spider-Man: No Way Home showed that moviegoers were more than ready to turn out in force with the right product. Early IMAX offerings have already sold out for opening day. Estimates are wide. It could be as low as $100 million or approach $200 million. I’m thinking $145-$165 million is the likeliest range.

The Batman opening weekend prediction: $155.2 million