As the sympathetic Dominic in The Banshees of Inisherin, Barry Keoghan is the next Case Of entry for the Supporting Actor contenders.
The Case for Barry Keoghan:
Following acclaimed performances including Dunkirk and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Keoghan get his first major awards exposure along with his three Banshees cast mates. Critics Choice, SAG, and Golden Globe nods followed with a surprising win at BAFTA. His lovestruck monologue to Kerry Condon is a ready made for your consideration Oscar clip.
The Case Against Barry Keoghan:
Ke Huy Quan from Everything Everywhere All at Once has a dandy clip or two himself and he won Critics Choice, SAG, and the Globe. Academy members may assume Keoghan has plenty more bites at the apple and he could split votes with costar Brendan Gleeson.
Despite the unexpected recognition from friends across the pond, Quan remains the heavy favorite for Supporting Actor.
My Case Of posts will continue with Steven Spielberg’s direction of The Fabelmans!
Write-ups for the other hopefuls in the race can be found here:
Creed III looks to KO all competitors as the Japanese animated episodic effort Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village and Guy Ritchie’s action comedy Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre also debut. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the trio here:
Michael B. Jordan makes his directorial debut in the third feature in the Creed franchise and ninth in the Rocky cinematic universe. It is the first not to feature Rocky himself Sylvester Stallone. However, reviews are strong and I see no reason why this wouldn’t continue the muscular grosses. The first two Creed flicks opened over long Thanksgiving frames. Part III could manage the highest three-day start at just under $40 million.
Swordsmith is a head scratcher. In 2021, Demon Slayer – Kimetsu No Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train astonished forecasters with $21 million in its first weekend. Swordsmith is not a sequel. Instead it combines episodes from a TV show related to the franchise. I’ve yet to see a theater count so that could alter my take. If it manages close to half of what Train accomplished, it would place in the top five.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, the latest collaboration between Ritchie and Jason Statham, seems like it is being dumped into multiplexes and my meager $4 million projection leaves it in sixth.
As for holdovers, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania experienced a massive second weekend dip (more on that below). The third frame drop-off shouldn’t be as disastrous (perhaps a bit over 50%). Cocaine Bear and Jesus Revolution both over performed in their premieres. The Revolution sophomore decline may only be in the high 20s with Cocaine being cut in the low to mid 40s.
Here’s how I envision the top six looking:
1. Creed III
Predicted Gross: $39.2 million
2. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Predicted Gross: $14.6 million
3. Cocaine Bear
Predicted Gross: $13.2 million
4. Jesus Revolution
Predicted Gross: $11.3 million
5. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba– To the Swordsmith Village
Predicted Gross: $9.8 million
6. Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre
Predicted Gross: $4 million
Box Office Results (February 24-26)
The #1 spot came without bragging rights as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania suffered the largest second frame fall of all the 31 MCU entries. At 70%, the Paul Rudd threequel made $31.9 million. I was slightly more generous at $34.2 million. The ten-day tally is $167 million and it will be the best earner of the Ant-Man trilogy. It still scored a record that Disney/MCU can’t be thrilled about.
Universal, on the other hand, can celebrate their marketing campaign for Cocaine Bear as it paid off with $23.2 million for second place. That’s well above the rosiest predictions and considerably beyond my call of $14.3 million.
Faith-based drama Jesus Revolution continued over performances for the genre at $15.8 million in third. I was more skeptical with only $8.7 million. With an A+ Cinemascore, this could be blessed with smallish declines in the coming weeks.
Avatar: The Way of Water was fourth with $4.8 million (I said $5.4 million) to bring the eleven week gross to $665 million.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish rounded out the top five with $4.1 million. I went with $4.6 million and the animated sequel has amassed $173 million.
As the no-nonsense IRS inspector with hot dog hands in an alternate universe, Jamie Lee Curtis’s in Everything Everywhere All at Once is next up for my Supporting Actress Case Of posts.
The Case for Jamie Lee Curtis:
For four and a half decades, Curtis has been a mainstay on the silver screen across all genres from Halloween to Trading Places to A Fish Called Wanda and True Lies to Freaky Friday and Knives Out. Despite that impressive and varied filmography, Everything marks her first nom from the Academy. A victory could double as a career achievement award. That could help explain her surprise win last night at SAG. She also made the cut at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice, and BAFTAs.
The Case Against Jamie Lee Curtis:
The same career achievement narrative can be applied to Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and she won the Globe and Critics Choice. Kerry Condon from The Banshees of Inisherin took the BAFTA. Curtis could also split votes with her costar Stephanie Hsu.
If I had written this post on Saturday, I wouldn’t have given Curtis much of a chance. The SAG recognition puts her in a three-way race with Bassett and Condon.
My Case of Posts will continue with Barry Keoghan in The Banshees of Inisherin!
Write-ups for Curtis’s competition can be accessed here:
A weekend of awards precursors was a blessing for Everything Everywhere All at Once. It stormed tonight’s SAG Awards and won the top prize at PGA the evening before. Make no mistake – Everything is now an even stronger frontrunner to take BP at the Oscars.
At PGA, Everything emerged as predicted. Some prognosticators went with Top Gun: Maverick as an upset pick. It wasn’t to be. The Producers Guild also went with Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio in the animated field. This is just as all other major precursors have done. It appears on a glide path for the Academy statue.
My PGA miss was in Documentary Feature as they chose Navalny over Fire of Love. Given that it’s won BAFTA and PGA, Navalny is the favorite. I don’t think it’s automatic (like I do with Pinocchio in Animated), but the odds are certainly in its favor.
Now… let’s get into SAG. Wow. I went 3 for 6. I correctly selected Everything for Best Ensemble. I nailed Stunt Ensemble for Top Gun: Maverick. And Ke Huy Quan made it a near sweep (though BAFTA went with Barry Keoghan for The Banshees of Inisherin) with tonight’s Supporting Actor win. His acting race is the easiest to project for the Oscars.
The other three? They got more interesting. And I missed them all tonight!
By far, the biggest surprise is Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything) being named Supporting Actress over Critics Choice and Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), who I predicted and BAFTA winner Kerry Condon (Banshees), who was my runner-up. That potentially makes it a three-person derby at the Oscars. It is worth noting that 9 of the past 10 Supporting Actress SAG victors became the Oscar recipient. So… discount Curtis at your own peril.
In the lead acting races, my runner-ups crossed the SAG finish line. It was Michelle Yeoh (Everything) in Actress over Cate Blanchett (Tár) and Brendan Fraser (The Whale) instead of Austin Butler (Elvis), who did get some airtime graciously escorting various winners up the steps. Best Actor and Actress at the Oscars are now legit two-person competitions and I’ll be mulling them over before making final predictions. They’re coming March 8th ahead of the March 12th ceremony!
Bottom line: Everywhere did everything it needed to this weekend and then some while three acting races added real intrigue. Stay tuned!
Paul Mescal’s big screen breakout work in the coming-of-age drama Aftersun is the next Case Of post for the Best Actor contenders.
The Case for Paul Mescal:
At age 27, voters took notice of the Irish thespian with nominations at BAFTA and Critics Choice. Expect to see a lot of Mescal in the coming years with potential awards hopefuls from Richard Linklater, Garth Davis, and a Gladiator sequel.
The Case Against Paul Mescal:
Another young performer – Austin Butler as Elvis – is picking up the bulk of precursor victories. Mescal didn’t make the cut at the Golden Globes or SAG. His placement for Aftersun marks the picture’s sole Academy nom. That’s typically not a recipe for an Actor victory.
Mescal should have more opportunities in the future. At the 95th Academy Awards, he’s probably fifth in the running for the aspiring quintet.
My Case Of posts will continue with Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere All at Once!
If you missed my other write-ups on the Actors, click here:
One of the biggest box office surprises of 2021 was the haul of Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train in the spring. While it finished #2 behind Mortal Kombat, the $21 million start and $13k+ per screen average was astonishing.
On March 3rd, the Japanese animated franchise appears again in multiplexes with To the Swordsmith Village. This is not a sequel to the 2021 pic. Haruo Sotozaki, like in Train, conducts the directorial assignment that shows the 10th and 11th episodes of the Toho and Aniplex property.
Distributed stateside by Sony/Crunchyroll, I’ll be frank with this projection. Without a theater count (which I’ve yet to see), this is a highly tricky call to make. Train could have been lightning in a bottle or we may witness another massive over performance with Village. For now I’ll say high single digits since this appears to be a limited release that viewers don’t have to book passage to a multiplex to watch.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village opening weekend prediction: $9.8 million
For my Creed III prediction, click here:
For my Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre prediction, click here:
There’s a sequence in this movie where the title creature’s furry vengeance turns to chasing an ambulance. Entering full drug-addled beast mode while Depeche Mode blares on the 80s soundtrack, it represents the best about what something called Cocaine Bear can be. It is juicy and mindless violent fun and there’s enough other moments that approach that high point.
As we are informed in the beginning, this is inspired by true events. In 1985, smuggler Andrew C. Thornton II (Matthew Rhys) dumped a bunch of blow from a plane that crashed in a Northwest Georgia national forest. Thornton doesn’t survive the flight he’s on but his product is available for the snorting pleasure of a black bear. The computer generated animal (with decent special effects involved) turns highly aggressive when under the influence. This is bad news for the many characters who end up visiting the park. In fact, there’s probably too many characters vying for our attention.
Rhys’s The Americans costar Keri Russell is a single mom whose daughter (Brooklyn Prince) and friend (Christian Convery) ditch school for a day in the wilderness. Rhys and Russell’s The Americans costar Margo Martindale is the park ranger who’s sweet on her game warden colleague (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). A St. Louis cop (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) turns up to investigate Rhys’s demise. Then there’s his fellow smugglers Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) who are tasked with finding the $14 million worth of merchandise. Eddie is the son of kingpin Syd (Ray Liotta, hamming it up gleefully in one of his final roles) and humorously mourning the loss of his wife through ballads by Jeffrey Osborne. There’s also a vacationing Nordic couple and a trio of forest dwelling thugs who have no clue what they’re in for.
That’s a lot of faces when we’re really present to watch the bear not feel her own (yes… it’s a girl!). Even at a speedy 95 minutes, a tad more attention span to some and jettisoning others might have elevated this. I would have enjoyed more screen time with Stache (Aaron Holliday), one of the wannabe ruffians, for example.
Elizabeth Banks directs and her third feature after Pitch Perfect 2 and Charlie’s Angels (the one no one talks about) is no whammy in the filmography. Due to the CG involved, no bears or cocaine were harmed in the production. It does generate a consistently amusing if disposable wild trip in the park.
Playing a version of Steven Spielberg’s real mother, Michelle Williams is nominated for her fifth Oscarin The Fabelmans.
The Case for Michelle Williams:
From the moment this personal project of Spielberg’s was announced, Williams was correctly assumed to have an awards bait role. Precursor noms have materialized at Critics Choice and the Golden Globes. There could also be a feeling that she is overdue given that her track record is 0 for 4 on previous mentions.
The Case Against Michelle Williams:
Universal Pictures surprised everyone when they announced they were campaigning Williams in lead instead of supporting. I maintain that she would stand a considerably better shot at winning in the latter. Some wondered if the Academy might choose to put her up in supporting anyway. SAG and BAFTA left her off their ballots and there’s no significant victories to speak of. The general consensus and one I agree with is this is a two-person race between Cate Blanchett (Tár) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once).
Brokeback Mountain (Supporting Actress, 2005); Blue Valentine (Actress, 2010); My Week with Marilyn (Actress; 2011); Manchester by the Sea (Supporting Actress; 2016)
I believe the choice to slot Williams will universally be regarded as an unforced error. She seemed headed for 0 for 5.
My Case Of posts will continue with Paul Mescal in Aftersun!
If you didn’t catch my other write-ups on the contending Actresses, click here:
Creed III enters the theatrical ring on March 3rd and some early reviews indicate it’s an improvement over its predecessor. Michael B. Jordan, returning in the title role, makes his directorial debut in the threequel that costars Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Wood Harris, Florian Munteanu, and Phylicia Rashad. One notable name not seen is Sylvester Stallone as the ninth feature in this cinematic universe is the first not to include Rocky.
In 1976, Rocky landed 10 Oscar nominations and won 3 including Picture and Director. In 1982, Rocky III nabbed an Original Song nod with “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. When Jordan’s character entered the mix in 2015, Stallone’s seventh appearance as Mr. Balboa was up for Supporting Actor (where he surprisingly lost to Mark Rylance from Bridge of Spies). Creed II (2018) received no nominations.
II also has a lower Rotten Tomatoes rating than part III. While the original Creed had 95%, the sequel was 83%. Based on nearly 60 reviews thus far, III is at 89%. Yet unlike the third franchise entry for Rocky, this doesn’t have an inspiring theme song about the optical determination of large striped cats. In other words, I’m not really sure where Creed III would enter the awards conversation despite the solid reactions. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Ahead of Sunday evening’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, it’s the producers turn on Saturday night. The 34th PGA Awards winner for their best in show has matched the Oscar Picture victor 70% of the time in the previous decade. The times they diverged were 2015 with PGA naming The Big Short instead of Spotlight, 2016 with La La Land over Moonlight, and 2019 when 1917 took the producer prize as opposed to Parasite. PGA also has animated and documentary competitions. I’m walking through them one by one with a winner and runner-up projection.
Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Top Gun: Maverick
There’s a 7 for 10 correlation with the PGA contenders and the BP hopefuls from the Academy. The former has Black Panther, Glass Onion, and The Whale up while the Oscars went with All Quiet on the Western Front, Triangle of Sadness, and Women Talking. The PGA is known for favoring blockbusters over some smaller pics from time to time. Previous examples that didn’t make the Academy’s cut include Bridesmaids, Skyfall, Gone Girl, Straight Outta Compton, Deadpool, Wonder Woman, and Crazy Rich Asians.
This helps explain why some prognosticators are favoring Maverick to take PGA’s highest award. Another explanation is that pundits are attempting to make the race more exciting than it actually is. I do believe Everything Everywhere All at Once is still most likely to emerge. Maverick does warrant runner-up status.
Predicted Winner: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Runner-Up: Top Gun: Maverick
Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Minions: The Rise of Gru
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Guillermo del Toro’s Netflix rendering of the classic tale has cleaned up with precursors and there’s no reason to believe it won’t with PGA.
Predicted Winner: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Runner-Up: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
All That Breathes
Fire of Love
I wrongly picked Fire of Love to win the BAFTA instead of Navalny. Have I learned my lesson? Nope! I’m doubling down and saying a Fire PGA victory will make the Oscar quintet more competitive.
Predicted Winner: Fire of Love
I’ll have a recap up Saturday evening or Sunday ahead of the SAG show. If you missed my SAG predictions, they can be accessed here: