Author Archives: toddmthatcher

Gotham Awards Reaction 2018

It’s only mid-October, but the first significant precursor of awards season rolled out nominations today in the form of the Gotham Awards. If you’re not familiar, the Gothams honor independent film in a limited number of categories.

While not as prolific as the Golden Globes or SAG nominations, there has been a correlation with movies and performers nominated here getting Oscar attention. Let’s take a look at the past five Gotham awards nominees and how they matched up with the Academy:

In 2013, 12 Years a Slave was nominated for Best Feature and went on to win the Oscar. In the Best Actor race, eventual Academy winner Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) was victorious here and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Slave) also was nominated for both. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) was nominated here and went on to win the gold statue. It’s worth noting that the Gothams do not have supporting acting categories (we’ll get to that in a minute).

In 2014, three movies that got Best Picture nods were honored here: Birdman (Oscar winner), Boyhood, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. In the acting races, Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Oscar/Gotham winner Julianne Moore (Still Alice) were included.

For 2015, no Best Actor nominees for the Gothams correlated to Oscars. However, there were actress match-ups with Oscar winner Brie Larson (Room) and Cate Blanchett (Carol). Also – the Gotham and Oscar Best Picture winners were the same – Spotlight.

That happened once again in 2016 as Moonlight won the Oscar and the Gotham. Manchester by the Sea was also nominated for both. Casey Affleck’s work in that film won Best Actor at both ceremonies. For Actress, Natalie Portman as Jackie got double nods.

Last year, two Gotham Film nominees got Best Picture recognition: Call Me by Your Name and Get Out. In Actor, it was Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out as a double recipient. In Actress, same goes for Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) and Margot Robbie (I, Tonya). And coming back to the fact that there’s no supporting races, Willem Dafoe received an Actor nomination at the Gothams for The Florida Project while being recognized for Supporting Actor at the Oscars.

So, as you can see, there’s usually some overlap for the two ceremonies. And that brings us to today’s nominees and how I think that overlap will occur this year:

In the Gotham Best Feature race, the nominees are:

The Favourite

First Reformed

If Beale Street Could Talk

Madeline’s Madeline

The River

The average number of Gotham/Oscar film nominees lately has been two and that likely holds true here with The Favourite and If Beale Street Could Talk. The other three are highly unlikely to get Academy recognition.

In the Best Actor race, the nominees are:

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Ben Foster, Leave No Trace

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

LaKeith Stanfield, Sorry to Bother You

Grant is probably this year’s Willem Dafoe and will be recognized by the Academy in Supporting Actor. Adam Driver falls in the same category, but is more of a long shot. Stanfield is out of the running for Actor at the Oscars, while Foster and Hawke remain possibilities. That said – like 2015 – this could well be a year where there’s no matches.

That is not the case with Actress and the nominees are:

Glenn Close, The Wife

Toni Collette, Hereditary

Kathryn Hahn, Private Life

Regina Hall, Support the Girls

Michelle Pfeiffer, Where is Kyra?

Collette is a possible nominee, but it’s Close that seems a near lock for Oscar attention and a possible win. The others? Not so much.

Finally, a Special Jury prize was initiated that honors the three actresses from The Favourite. That would be Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz and all three could find themselves in the mix at Oscar time. The Gothams did the same jury designation for 2014’s Foxcatcher and 2015’s Spotlight. 

So there you have it! My take on how the Gotham Awards will relate to the biggest awards show of all…


2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 18th Edition

Back at it again with my weekly Thursday predictions in the major categories for this year’s Oscars! Here’s some tidbits about developments over the past week:

  • Damien Chazelle’s First Man experienced a lackluster liftoff at the box office this past weekend with just $16 million (about $5 million or so below expectations). Will this alter its course for numerous nominations? Short answer: probably not. However, I do have it dropping spots in Picture, Director, and Actor while still predicting nods for all three. Claire Foy remains at #2 behind Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) for Supporting Actress.
  • Speaking of that category, it will finally confirmed this week regarding placement of performers for The Favourite. Olivia Colman will compete in lead Actress with Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz in Supporting. As I have projected for weeks, I think that bodes well for all three actresses in garnering nods.
  • Beautiful Boy performed very well in limited release last week and I have vaulted Timothee Chalamet back to the #1 spot in the fluid Supporting Actor race.

And with that – here’s where I think Oscar standings are at this moment in time…

Best Picture

1. A Star Is Born (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. The Favourite (PR: 4)

4. Green Book (PR: 5)

5. First Man (PR: 3)

6. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

7. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

8. Black Panther (PR: 8)

9. Vice (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 11)

11. Widows (PR: 10)

12. The Mule (PR: 12)

13. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 15)

14. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 16)

15. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 17)

16. Boy Erased (PR: 14)

17. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 13)

18. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 18)

19. Leave No Trace (PR: 19)

20. Eighth Grade (PR: 22)

21. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 25)

22. Beautiful Boy (PR: 23)

23. The Hate U Give (PR: Not Ranked)

24. A Quiet Place (PR: Not Ranked)

25. The Front Runner (PR: 24)

Dropped Out:

At Eternity’s Gate

The Sisters Brothers

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (PR: 5)

4. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 3)

5. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 6)

7. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 7)

8. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 8)

9. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 10)

10. Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 11)

11. Steve McQueen, Widows (PR: 13)

12. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: 12)

13. Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 14)

14. Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 9)

15. Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased

Best Actor

1. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 2)

3. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 5)

5. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 6)

7. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 7)

8. Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy (PR: 9)

9. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: 8)

10. Hugh Jackman, The Front Runner (PR: 11)

11. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (PR: 10)

12. Lucas Hedges, Ben Is Back (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Ben Foster, Leave No Trace (PR: 15)

14. John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 14)

15. Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Stephan James, If Beale Street Could Talk 

Best Actress

1. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 2)

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: 6)

7. Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 7)

8. Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 8)

9. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back (PR: 9)

10. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 11)

11. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 12)

12. Toni Collette, Hereditary (PR: 10)

13. Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 14)

14. Carey Mulligan, Wildlife (PR: 13)

15. Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Keira Knightley, Colette

Best Supporting Actor

1. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 3)

2. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 1)

3. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

4. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Daniel Kaluuya, Widows (PR: 6)

7. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 8)

8. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 7)

9. Steve Carell, Vice (PR: 9)

10. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite (PR: 12)

11. Armie Hammer, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 10)

12. Russell Crowe, Boy Erased (PR: 11)

13. Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Robert Forster, What They Had (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Tim Blake Nelson, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Brian Tyree Henry, If Beale Street Could Talk

Bradley Cooper, The Mule

Best Supporting Actress

1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

2. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 2)

3. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite (PR: 4)

5. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (PR: 6)

7. Marina de Tavira, Roma (PR: 8)

8. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 7)

9. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 9)

10. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 11)

11. Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace (PR: 13)

12. Sissy Spacek, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 10)

13. Rachel McAdams, Disobedience (PR: 14)

14. Kathy Bates, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 15)

15. Dianne Wiest, The Mule (PR: 12)

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 1)

2. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 2)

3. A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

4. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Widows (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. First Man (PR: 6)

7. Leave No Trace (PR: 7)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

9. Boy Erased (PR: 9)

10. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 10)

11. Beautiful Boy (PR: 14)

12. Black Panther (PR: 11)

13. The Hate U Give (PR: 12)

14. The Front Runner (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Disobedience (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:


Best Original Screenplay

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. The Favourite (PR: 2)

3. Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Eighth Grade (PR: 5)

5. Vice (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 6)

7. First Reformed (PR: 7)

8. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 10)

9. A Quiet Place (PR: 9)

10. The Mule (PR: 8)

11. Private Life (PR: 11)

12. Ben Is Back (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Stan and Ollie (PR: 14)

14. At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 12)

15. Sorry to Bother You (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:



Johnny English Strikes Again Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Update (10/18): Reports have come out that this is only getting 500 screens next weekend. Therefore I am revising my estimate down from $2.7 million to just $1.3 million.

Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling spy is back on-screen next weekend when Johnny English Strikes Again hits theaters. This is the third entry in a franchise that began 15 years ago and saw a 2011 follow-up experience dwindling returns compared to the original. David Kerr directs with a supporting cast that includes Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller, Jake Lacy, and Emma Thompson.

In the summer of 2003, Johnny English opened to $9.1 and a $28 million overall domestic gross. Eight years later, Johnny English Reborn managed just $3.8 million out of the gate and $8.3 million overall. The sequel’s total stateside earnings is under the opening gross of its predecessor. It is worth noting that these English sagas perform far better overseas, where each made $160 million overall.

I expect the lackluster returns to continue here for part 3, while it should continue more robust earnings in other parts of the globe. I’ll say Strikes Again strikes out here and doesn’t even match the unimpressive numbers of Reborn.

Johnny English Strikes Again opening weekend prediction: $1.3 million

For my Hunter Killer prediction, click here:

Hunter Killer Box Office Prediction

Gerard Butler headlines the action thriller Hunter Killer next weekend alongside Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, and Toby Stephens. The submarine set pic comes out in the Halloween frame – which is typically a slow one at the box office. It will, at best, come in second to sophomore weekend for Halloween.

While there doesn’t seem to be much buzz for it, Butler has seen his recent efforts make a little more than anticipated. This includes Den of Thieves from earlier this year, which took in over $15 million. Even last year’s costly flop Geostorm still managed to make nearly $14 million.

I don’t see that kind of performance here, but I do think Killer could top double digits. On the other hand, it could debut on pace with something like Operation Finale from August. That action thriller didn’t even make $8 million over the long Labor Day frame.

This could be a bit high, but I’ve learned to spot Butler a couple million lately. I’ll say a gross between $10-$11 million is the likely scenario.

Hunter Killer opening weekend prediction: $10.6 million

For my Johnny English Strikes Again prediction, click here:

Box Office Predictions: October 19-21

Halloween looks to dominate the box office and slash all competition with a potentially record-setting opening. In order to do so, it would need to top the $80 million earned just days ago by Venom when it smashed the all-time October opening of all time. You can peruse my detailed prediction post in it here:

As you can see, I’ve got earning just north of $75 million. That puts it short of Venom, but easily at #2 as far as all-time debuts for the month (it only needs top the $55 million that Gravity took in five years ago). That shouldn’t be a problem at all.

While this weekend’s #1 pic is not in question, the holdover battle should be interesting as well. The Michael Myers appearance will likely made Venom lose at least half its audience and that could cause it to drop to third place after two weeks in first place. That means A Star Is Born should hold steady in second.

First Man had a rather lackluster debut (more on that below) and it hopes to experience a smallish decline in the low to mid 30s. If so, it should rank fourth with Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween not far behind.

The Hate U Give expands to approximately 2300 theaters after it’s performed well in limited fashion. I’ll put its gross at $6.7 million and that would leave it outside the top 5.

Here’s the top 5 predictions for the scary weekend ahead:

1. Halloween

Predicted Gross: $75.4 million

2. A Star Is Born

Predicted Gross: $19.2 million

3. Venom

Predicted Gross: $16.9 million

4. First Man

Predicted Gross: $10 million

5. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Predicted Gross: $9.4 million

Box Office Results (October 12-14)

Venom and A Star Is Born continued to rule the charts while all newcomers came in with rather lackluster returns. Marvel’s Venom repeated in first with $35 million in its second weekend, managing to top my $31.2 million estimate. The comic book based hit has amassed $142 million thus far.

A Star Is Born, as expected, held up well in its sophomore frame with $28.4 million (right in line with my $28.3 million projection). It’s about to join the century club after two weeks with $94 million currently.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was First Man, which failed to achieve liftoff in third with a disappointing $16 million, well below my $23.5 million take. Damien Chazelle’s Oscar hopeful with Ryan Gosling will hope for smallish declines, but this is unquestionably a letdown.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween couldn’t match its predecessor’s mid 20s start. It debuted in fourth with a mediocre $15.8 million compared to my $17.3 million prediction.

Smallfoot rounded out the top five with $9 million (I said $8.9 million) to bring its tally to $57 million.

Finally, Bad Times at the El Royale failed to generate many check-ins as it opened in seventh place with $7.1 million, a tad under my $8 million estimate.

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


Eighth Grade Movie Review

It’s not often that I find myself rooting for a character as much as I did with Kayla Day in Bo Burnham’s directorial debut Eighth Grade. Played with vulnerable authenticity by newcomer Elsie Fisher, this is a coming-of-age story different from others we’ve seen before (The Edge of Seventeen is another recent winning example). What makes this rather unique is an occasional urgency of now as it explores social media fixation, anxiety, and even issues of consent that have dominated headlines over the past months.

Burnham is a comedian who made his mark online in YouTube videos. That’s what his main character is trying to do when we first meet her. Kayla is a shy thirteen year old who achieves the unfortunate distinction of being voted Most Quiet student. She’s about to graduate eighth grade and enter the awkward world of high school. Yet there’s still a bit of awkward middle school to go. Kayla posts faux inspirational streams that go mostly unseen where she offers the best advice she’s garnered at a young age. Not having many friends, Kayla’s daily interaction is with her kind single dad (Josh Hamilton, who has some fine moments).

Kayla is ready to branch out of her shell, but hasn’t figured out how. And there’s nothing about Fisher’s portrayal of her that feels the least bit fake. That’s a credit to the actress playing her and Burnham’s perceptive screenplay. One could think that’s a bit awkward itself coming from a male writer in his late twenties. However, Eighth Grade speaks to the uncomfortable nature we all found ourselves in back then. This includes a game of truth or dare with a senior boy that generates more suspense and heartache than expected.

The script includes some archetypes we anticipate in the genre. There’s the nerdy kid who crushes on Kayla. The heart-throb boy she crushes on who is only after one thing. Of course, there’s the popular girl who pays her zero attention. We’ve seen them often. We rarely see a depiction of a teen like Kayla with this much care and attention to detail. That’s what makes her character special and worth cheering for. No one is really watching Kayla at this point in her life, but we get the feeling she’ll be worth keeping an eye on as life goes on. Watching what Burnham does in showing her adolescent experience is well worth viewing.

***1/2 (out of four)


Skyscraper Movie Review

Rawson Marshall Thurber takes a break from directing comedies and Dwayne Johnson is on a hiatus from pairing with jungle animals in Skyscraper. Drawing clear inspiration from The Towering Inferno and Die Hard, the action thriller casts Johnson as Sawyer, an ex FBI agent who lost a leg in a hostage situation gone wrong. It didn’t all turn out badly though because he ends up marrying his surgeon (Neve Campbell) and they have two cute kids. Sawyer now works as a safety analyst for giant buildings and the biggest one has just been erected in Hong Kong by a billionaire entrepreneur (Chin Han). An occupational hazard develops when some terrorists led by Roland Møller set The Pearl (what the 200 plus story structure is named) on fire. Sawyer must then save his family from the burning. If you think one of his kids is asthmatic and the screenplay uses that overused cliché, you sure are right!

For a filmmaker who’s done Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, We’re the Millers, and Central Intelligence (with Johnson), Thurber keeps this a mostly humor free experience – save for our protagonist’s affinity for duct tape. While I’ve already mentioned its most obvious influences, the climax pays homage to The Man with the Golden Gun, of all Bond pics. That one is on the lower end of 007 efforts and so is this as far as Johnson’s action output.

Skyscraper never bothers to develop worthwhile villains and that’s something Die Hard sure had. The Towering Inferno had cutting edge effects at its time. Not here. And, um, the aforementioned Bond movie had a main bad guy with a third nipple. So that’s something.

Johnson manages to exude some charm, but it can only go so far with this ultimate nondescript affair. I could say something obvious like “Skyscraper didn’t floor me”, but that would be as lame as putting in a kid with asthma.

** (out of four)