The Rental Movie Review

Well-known actors crafting nifty little suspense thrillers tinged with horror has become a thing lately (think John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place and Joel Edgerton’s The Gift). Dave Franco gets in on it with The Rental, which is swift in its running time and plentiful with twists that you see coming and some that are nicely rewarding. It also features a quartet of solid performers whose weekend getaway gives them far more than they bargained for.

Charlie (Dan Stevens) finds a swanky vacation house to nab for the weekend with help from his trusted assistant Mina (Sheila Vand). They’re celebrating something going right with their business and it’s good reason to let their hair down with Charlie’s wife Michelle (Alison Brie, the director’s real life spouse). Mina happens to be dating Charlie’s brother Josh (Jeremy Allen White) so he tags along with his puppy. Pets aren’t allowed at the establishment, but that turns out to be the least of their issues. For instance, there might be a psycho around and it’s not safe to be in the shower.

Upon arrival, the foursome confront the property’s caretaker Taylor (Toby Huss). The first problem is a racially tinged one. Mina, who’s of Middle Eastern descent, tried to rent the place and was promptly denied. Charlie had no such trouble. They decide to overlook that and the first night becomes an alcohol and designer drug filled party. This is where the aforementioned “twists” that follow are somewhat predictable in nature. However, the actors have a real chemistry with one another and you’ll want to see where it all leads.

Without venturing into spoiler territory, The Rental isn’t its eventual genre for about two thirds of its brisk 88 minutes. Credit is due to Franco and Joe Swanberg’s script for keeping the audience engaged in the dynamics of the four principals. Of them, it’s Vand who has the best role and she’s quite impressive.

When we arrive at the final third, the build up has been sturdy enough that we care about the fates of the characters as they navigate their way through dense fog and deeply personal conflicts. Franco has crafted a lean and effective directorial debut and its title is worth the price of one.

*** (out of four)

A Quiet Place Part II Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (03/12): In what is becoming a new reality due to the COVID-19, the release of this film has been delayed indefinitely from its 03/20 opening. I’ll keep the prediction up, but certainly revisions are likely to be made once a future release date is secured.

Arriving two years after its predecessor made serious noise at the box office, A Quiet Place Part II hits theaters next weekend. The horror sequel to the acclaimed 2018 blockbuster sees John Krasinski returning as writer/director with his spouse Emily Blunt headlining. Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe are back as her children. New cast members include Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou.

The original struck a loud chord with audiences and critics with a $50 million opening. Part one legged out impressively for its genre with an eventual $188 million overall domestic haul. It even earned some awards attention with Blunt winning a Supporting Actress SAG trophy.

All horror titles not named The Invisible Man have faced a tough road at multiplexes in 2020. However, with the first feature fresh in their minds, audiences should turn out for this follow-up. The X factor is, of course, worldwide events and this is likely to be a recurring theme in my projections for the foreseeable future. The impact of the Coronavirus on the moviegoing public is playing out in real time. At present, I will say Part II makes a few million under what the first accomplished.

A Quiet Place Part II opening weekend prediction: $42.5 million

2019 SAG Awards WINNER Predictions

Another major Oscar precursor holds their ceremony this evening with the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. This particular show has definitely served as a massive indicator where the Academy might go with the acting winners. As for Best Picture, not so much.

So let’s get into it as I make my projections for what will happen tonight!

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

The Nominees: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Renee Zellweger (Judy)

Analysis: Nyong’o is the odd one out here as she didn’t nab an Oscar nomination. A win here by Johansson and Theron (both are possible) could set up a narrative as being Zellweger’s legit competition. Over the past decade, the SAG and Oscar winner have matched seven out of nine times. The outliers include last year when Glenn Close took the SAG for The Wife and Olivia Colman won the Academy Award for The Favourite. Tonight could also solidify Zellweger’s work as Judy Garland in the biopic. My suspicion is that it happens.

PREDICTED WINNER: RENEE ZELLWEGER

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

The Nominees: Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Analysis: A Best Actor derby where ten performers were vying for five spots means 2 men here didn’t make the Oscar cut: Bale and Egerton. Therefore, I see this as a three person showdown between DiCaprio, Driver, and Phoenix. The Oscar/SAG linkage here is significant as eight of the last nine victors went on to take the Academy Award. 2016 was the only exception when Denzel Washington got the SAG for Fences and Casey Affleck was the Oscar recipient for Manchester by the Sea.

Driver could be the larger threat, but this season is shaping up to be a sweep for Phoenix. That’s where the smart money is tonight.

PREDICTED WINNER: JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

The Nominees: Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Analysis: There is a 7 for 9 SAG/Oscar match in this category this decade. Foxx didn’t get the Academy attention. Hanks is beloved, but his movie has underwhelmed elsewhere. Pacino and Pesci should split votes. And the narrative continues for Pitt to have a terrific awards season.

PREDICTED WINNER: BRAD PITT

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role 

The Nominees: Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Nicole Kidman (Bombshell), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

Analysis: During the 2010s, there was an 8 for 8 SAG/Oscar match here from 2010-2017. Yet 2018 was the exception and a rather enormous one. Emily Blunt’s victory last year for A Quiet Place was a stunner since she had no Oscar nod. And the Academy’s winner (Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk) didn’t get a SAG nod.

Could this set up a situation where Lopez, snubbed by the Academy, could walk to the podium tonight? I’m tempted to make that upset pick. However, Dern is unquestionably the favorite and I just can’t bet against her.

PREDICTED WINNER: LAURA DERN

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Nominees: Bombshell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite

Analysis: Now here is where it gets interesting! Unlike the individual acting races, there isn’t as much of a history with this category matching up with Oscar’s Best Picture. This decade it’s happened four out of nine times. For the 21st century, it’s nine out of nineteen times.

You don’t see 1917 listed here and with its Golden Globe Best Drama and PGA victories, it’s the soft front runner for Oscar. An omission here doesn’t mean much as the last two Academy BP recipients (The Shape of Water, Green Book) missed here. Other than Bombshell, the nominees here are all nominated for Best Picture. Any of them winning tonight could position that film as the main competitor to 1917. That said, I don’t discount Bombshell taking the prize this evening as it received the greatest number of SAG nods.

Parasite is the only nominee where none of its individual performers were nominated. You could argue that the voters simply saved for their votes for this race. Jojo has its hardcore fans. The Irishman boasts a trio of acting legends.

Ultimately, I’m leaning toward the sprawling cast of Hollywood. Yet I’ll freely admit that this category seems wide open.

PREDICTED WINNER: ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

And there you have it! I’ll have a post up recounting how I did and what it means for the Oscar race soon enough…

2019 SAG Awards Nomination Reaction

The Screen Actors Guild voters definitely had some surprises in store this morning as they unveiled their nominations for the ceremony airing on January 19th. And the biggest bombshell was… the performance of Bombshell itself, which led the major nods with four. This was followed by The Irishman, Marriage Story, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at three.

Some quick takes before I break it down race by race. It was a bad morning for Dolemite Is My Name, The Farewell, Little Women, and The Two Popes as they received zero nominations. For Dolemite, I thought this might be the branch that would give it some attention. It wasn’t to be.

The nominations today have made Best Actor more confusing and opened up even more the possibility of two actors that I didn’t have listed as alternates factoring into the Oscar mix. All in all, on a morning that had genuine surprises, I went 16 for 25 on my picks. Here’s how it happened:

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Nominees: Bombshell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: The absence of Marriage Story here is unexpected. Less so is the omission of the aforementioned Dolemite. I didn’t have Bombshell or Parasite named here. The Parasite nod could be construed as a strong sign that it’s a real contender for Best Picture for that other awards ceremony. This race probably comes down to Irishman or Hollywood and the latter likely has the edge.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture

Nominees: Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: It was Bale and Egerton that I didn’t have listed as my first or second alternate. Those spots were instead designated for Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory and Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems. This opens up Bale and Egerton to greater Academy attention. It’s also worth noting that Robert De Niro’s work in The Irishman has now been snubbed by the Golden Globe and SAG voters. This makes his road to Oscar considerably bumpier. As I suspect it will be with the Oscars, I suspect it’s Driver vs. Phoenix with this category.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture

Nominees: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Renee Zellweger (Judy)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: No 5 for 5 projections for this blogger today and this is the only one where I named four correctly. It’s Nyong’o in over Awkwafina in The Farewell and that could assist with her Oscar cred after already picking up some critics awards. While Zellweger might be called the soft front runner, the Bombshell love certainly increases the possibility of a Theron win.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Nominees: Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: I mentioned yesterday in my predictions post that it might be foolish to leave out Hanks and I was proven right. The genuine surprise here is Foxx, who has been falling under the radar screen as of late (I didn’t even have him in my top 10 of possibilities in my Oscar estimates on Monday). Expect that to change. Hanks and Foxx are in over Willem Dafoe for The Lighthouse (he missed the Globes too) and Anthony Hopkins for The Two Popes. As I said with the Globes, a Pacino/Pesci split could clear the way for Pitt’s trip to the podium.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Nominees: Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Nicole Kidman (Bombshell), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: One item I did call was the double nomination for Johansson. I did not anticipate Kidman getting in along with her Bombshell costar Robbie. In fact, I didn’t predict either of them as I went with Florence Pugh in Little Women and Zhao Shuzhen in The Farewell. Both of those actresses also missed Globe nods. Dern and Lopez could find themselves in a battle for this one. I also wouldn’t totally rule out the chance for a ScarJo upset as voters may want to honor her double nod (as they did here with Emily Blunt in 2018 for A Quiet Place).

I imagine these SAG Award announcements will impact my thinking when I update my Oscar projections on Monday. Stay tuned…

AFI Sharpens The Oscar Focus

The AFI Film Awards came out with their 2019 honors today and they do things a little differently. This particular group names their favorite 10 pictures of the year without naming a winner. And their top films are the only category they bother with.

Today those ten movies were as follows: 1917, The Farewell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Knives Out, Little Women, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Richard Jewell. 

So what’s to learn when it comes to Oscar pontificating? Let’s start with comparing this list to yesterday’s announcement of the National Board of Review’s 10 honored titles… eleven actually because their winner was The Irishman. The NBR’s different titles were Dolemite Is My Name, Ford v Ferrari, Uncut Gems, and Waves. Not on NBR’s list from AFI:  The Farewell and Little Women. 

Shared AFI/NBR pics: The Irishman, 1917, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Richard Jewell. If you think getting Picture mentions in both guarantees Oscar love, 2018 proved otherwise. Five films did just that last year and didn’t land Best Pictures nods: Eighth Grade, First Reformed, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns, and A Quiet Place.

Confused? Welcome to the world of awards speculation. As I see it currently, there are only two shared 2019 AFI/NBR features that could miss out on the big race: Knives Out and Richard Jewell. I’ll also take this opportunity to note that Parasite (which is looking decent for Best Pic attention) is ineligible for AFI since it’s a foreign film.

As for Best Pic hopefuls that landed no love from these groups, we have A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (I believe its chances are fading quickly) and Bombshell (not as convinced that it cannot rebound). It could get the 2018 Vice slot, which was ignored by AFI/NBR. There’s also Rocketman, which can hang on to the thought that it could be this year’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

When you look at the AFI list’s history over the past half decade, it is a fairly reliable barometer on certain directions the Academy will take. Last year, five out of the eventual eight nominees were on their list and that’s the lowest percentage. In 2016 and 2017, it was 7 for 9. In 2014 and 2015, it was 6 for 8. So you can pretty much bank on at least half of AFI’s list and probably a bit more landing Oscar nominations.

I’ll leave you with this: while Knives Out is certainly one of the most obvious candidates for something that could miss a Picture nod, I like its chances better than I ever have before. This could be a case of perfect timing as it just opened, had a much bigger debut than expected, and audiences and critics are singing its praises. I wouldn’t count it out. In fact, I suspect when I update my estimates on Monday – it will rank higher than ever before and enter my top 15 possibilities. That will knock a candidate out and Mister Rogers could be the unfortunate victim.

2018 FINAL Oscar Winner Predictions

We’ve had months of predictions and endless speculation on this blog about the 2018 Oscars and now it’s come to this. On Sunday, the 91st edition of the Academy Awards will air with your host…

As you’ve likely read, there actually is no emcee for this year’s ceremony. I’m not here to write about that. I’m here to make my final picks for the winners! Let’s break down each race one by one, shall we? And, of course, I’ll have a piece up Sunday night with my thoughts on how it all went down.

Best Picture

Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice

Analysis: First things first. It’s extremely rare that the winner here doesn’t have its director nominated. Therefore, two films that might have served as the biggest competition to Roma could now be seen as longer shots: A Star Is Born and Green Book. You could correctly point out that Argo achieved a victory just six years ago without Ben Affleck getting an individual nod. However, it had been 23 years prior to that (Driving Miss Daisy) when it had occurred previously. BlacKkKlansman and The Favourite are upset possibilities, but the smart money is on Alfonso Cuaron’s Netflix Mexican drama and it would mark the streaming service’s first win in the big race.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Director

Nominees: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)

Analysis: I feel even more confident that Cuaron will take the gold here, even if Roma somehow comes up short in Picture. He’s run the table on precursors, including the DGA prize. It would be his second win in five years, after winning for 2013’s Gravity.

Predicted Winner: Cuaron

Best Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

Analysis: This is a tough one as Malek and Bale have split a number of precursors. With the SAG Awards, I deemed it a coin flip and picked Malek. I was right. At the Golden Globes, they both won due to category splits. I won’t be surprised to see either win, but my 50/50 feeling going with Malek worked before

Predicted Winner: Malek

Best Actress

Nominees: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Analysis: Aparicio and McCarthy should be honored to be nominated. Colman and Gaga are threats, but Close has fared best in previous ceremonies and there’s the fact that she’s a highly respected performer who’s yet to win despite multiple nods.

Predicted Winner: Close

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Analysis: This category features the last two Oscar winners as Ali won in 2016 for Moonlight and Rockwell took it last year for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. They have far different chances to become two-time victors. Ali is the front-runner. Supporting Actor has seen upsets, but Ali looks strong.

Predicted Winner: Ali

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Marina de Tavira (Roma), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Analysis: Even though King didn’t get a SAG nod, they bestowed their award to Emily Blunt for A Quiet Place and she’s not even nominated. An Adams name call is feasible since she’s never won, but King will probably be crowned Sunday evening.

Predicted Winner: King

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, BlacKkKlansman, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born

Analysis: Star could perhaps shine here, but this really feels like the race where voters will recognize BlacKkKlansman. 

Predicted Winner: BlacKkKlansman

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Favourite, First Reformed, Green Book, Roma, Vice

Analysis: This one is legitimately difficult and I think you can make a case for all of them. Roma is a distinct possibility as the Picture favorite and Green Book could make a showing. Yet my slight favorite here is The Favourite.

Predicted Winner: The Favourite

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Capernaum, Cold War, Never Look Away, Roma, Shoplifters

Analysis: This could be interesting. As revealed above, Roma is my Picture pick. So it’s automatic that it wins here right? Not so fast. Cold War could get the consolation prize and I feel that’s even more possible since it nabbed a surprise nod for director Pawel Pawlikowski. I’m tempted to pick it, but I’ll say Roma manages the double win. However, if you wish to get creative in your office pool, this could be the race to do it.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Animated Feature Film

Nominees: Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

Analysis: Pixar has dominated this field for years. In most years, it would be risky to bet against them – therefore Incredibles 2. This might be the year to do it as SpiderMan arrived late in the year, swung the momentum, and swept the precursors.

Predicted Winner: SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees: Free Solo, Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Minding the Gap, Of Fathers and Sons, RBG

Analysis: One of the biggest shockers when nominations came out was the omission of Mr. Rogers doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor?. I likely would’ve picked it to win had it been nominated. Now I believe this is between Solo and RBG. Reverence for the latter could swing it that way, but I’ll give a small edge to Solo.

Predicted Winner: Free Solo

Best Film Editing

Nominees: BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Vice

Analysis: Bohemian Rhapsody won the significant precursor for its branch and The Favourite or BlacKkKlansman could factor in as well. My gut says Vice may get this one, however.

Predicted Winner: Vice

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Cold War, The Favourite, Never Look Away, Roma, A Star Is Born

Analysis: Major love for the foreign pics here and Cold War has a shot. This is probably Roma’s race to lose though.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Production Design

Nominees: Black Panther, The Favourite, First Man, Mary Poppins Returns, Roma

Analysis: This one comes down to Panther and Favourite in my view and I’ll give the latter an ever so slight edge,

Predicted Winner: The Favourite

Best Costume Design

Nominees: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Black Panther, The Favourite, Mary Poppins Returns, Mary Queen of Scots

Analysis: Like Production Design, Panther and Favourite are the favorites. The best bet could be The Favourite, but Panther has to win something right?

Predicted Winner: Black Panther

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees: Border, Mary Queen of Scots, Vice

Analysis: A Border win isn’t out of the question, but Vice is the likely recipient here.

Predicted Winner: Vice

Best Sound Editing

Nominees: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, A Quiet Place, Roma

Analysis: First Man and Panther could get this, but that Wembley Stadium sequence could cause Rhapsody to achieve gold status.

Predicted Winner: Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Sound Mixing

Nominees: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, Roma, A Star Is Born

Analysis: Even though Star didn’t get in the other Sound race, Mixing seems like where it could be picked. I wouldn’t count out First Man, but I’ll guess Star wins here.

Predicted Winner: A Star Is Born

Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Avengers: Infinity War, Christopher Robin, First Man, Ready Player One, Solo: A Star Wars Story

Analysis: It was a bit surprising that Black Panther missed the cut here. Its MCU counterpart Infinity is possible, but I’ll say this is the sole victory for First Man.

Predicted Winner: First Man

Best Original Score

Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk, Isle of Dogs, Mary Poppins Returns

Analysis: Another chance for Panther lies here, but I’m going with a coin flip between BlacKkKlansman and Beale Street.

Predicted Winner: If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Original Song

Nominees: “All the Stars” from Black Panther, “I’ll Fight” from RBG, “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns, “Shallow” from A Star Is Born, “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Analysis: My last race is the easiest. “Shallow” is the massive favorite here.

Predicted Winner: “Shallowfrom A Star Is Born

And there you have it. Enjoy the show Sunday night!

2018 SAG Awards Reaction

The wealth was spread this evening at the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards as It provided more clues to how Oscar voters may choose their winners in February. I went 4 for 5 in my predictions and I’m pretty pleased with that because some of these races were quite unpredictable.

The miss was indeed a surprise as Emily Blunt took Supporting Actress for her work in A Quiet Place. She wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar and the exclusion of Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) here was significant. Ironically, the Blunt victory over the Academy nominated Amy Adams in Vice or Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) may give King a boost come Oscar time.

As for the other acting categories, it was another trophy for Mahershala Ali in Green Book for Supporting Actor as he continues to solidify his status as the front-runner. Same goes for Glenn Close in The Wife in lead actress. In lead actor, that’s a bit murkier as Rami Malek took the Actor for Bohemian Rhapsody. I still consider the Oscar race close between him and Christian Bale in Vice. Bradley Cooper’s chances for A Star is Born have dimmed even more.

It was a bad night for that picture as it went 0 for 4. The top Ensemble race went to the sprawling cast of Black Panther. What does that do for its Oscar chances? Truth be told, I think not much as the victor here often doesn’t match the Academy’s Best Picture recipient.

There’s your recap, folks! Now it’s onto more speculation for Oscar…

2018 SAG Award Predictions

The 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award air tomorrow evening and they could shed some light on which performers are looking more solid for the Oscar in a few weeks. Let’s break down the top races with my winner predictions, shall we?

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Crazy Rich Asians, A Star is Born

Analysis: It’s important to note that the SAG ceremony honors casts and not the “Best Picture” like other shows. This is about the ensemble. A Star is Born is really concentrated on three performances (Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliot) and they’re all up for their individual races, where they all have a shot of winning. I believe it’s entirely possible, however, that the trio also all lose and this could be a considerable consolation prize. The other four films have more sprawling casts. That’s especially true for Black Panther and I’ll say the voters ultimately reward in a different category to project.

Winner Prediction: Black Panther

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

The Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

Analysis: As mentioned, Cooper is a possibility. Yet he’s come up empty in other precursors. This could come down to the two Golden Globe recipients for their categories – Bale and Malek. I think it’s a coin flip to be honest. I’ll give the latter a razor-thin edge.

Winner Prediction: Malek

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

The Nominees: Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Analysis: Gaga is the only actress whose picture is also nominated. Her tie with Glenn Close at the Critics Choice Awards made things even murkier. Colman is a possibility here, but I’ll say this branch of actors give it to Close after decades of memorable performances.

Winner Prediction: Close

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

The Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliot (A Star is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Analysis: I wouldn’t count out Elliot, but Ali appears to be the front-runner in all these shows. I think his streak continues.

Winner Prediction: Ali

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

The Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Margot Robbie (Mary Queen of Scots), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Analysis: A fascinating race as Oscar favorite Regina King’s work in If Beale Street Could Talk was surprisingly snubbed. Blunt is a double nominee, but stands little chance of emerging victorious in either spot. The Favourite ladies could split votes. Robbie didn’t land an Oscar nod and is a long shot. That leaves Adams, who could be a double winner tomorrow with her work in HBO’s Sharp Objects.

Winner Prediction: Adams

And there you have it! I’ll have a recap up after the program airs!

2018 FINAL Oscar Predictions

Well, folks, this is it. After months of weekly predictions and dozens of Oscar Watch posts, it’s time for my final Oscar picks in each feature film category (with an alternate listed as well). Nominations will be out Tuesday morning. I’ve used thousands of words to analyze the 2018 race and here’s the ones that count.

I’ll have analysis up Tuesday evening with how I did. Here we go!

Picture

A Star Is Born

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

If Beale Street Could Talk

Roma

Vice

AlternateFirst Man

Director

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Alternate – Adam McKay, Vice

Actor

Christian Bale, Vice

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Alternate – John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

Actress

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma

Glenn Close, The Wife

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Alternate – Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Alternate – Sam Rockwell, Vice

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Vice

Claire Foy, First Man

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Alternate – Marina de Tavira, Roma

Adapted Screenplay

A Star Is Born

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

If Beale Street Could Talk

AlternateFirst Man

Original Screenplay

The Favourite

First Reformed

Green Book

Roma

Vice

AlternateEighth Grade

Foreign Language Film

Burning

Capernaum

Cold War

Roma

Shoplifters

AlternateNever Look Away

Animated Feature

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks the Internet

SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

AlternateEarly Man

Documentary Feature

Free Solo

Minding the Gap

RBG

Three Identical Strangers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

AlternateShirkers

Film Editing

A Star Is Born

The Favourite

First Man

Roma

Vice

AlternateBlack Panther

Cinematography

Cold War

The Favourite

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Roma

AlternateA Star Is Born

Production Design

Black Panther

Crazy Rich Asians

The Favourite

Mary Poppins Returns

Roma

AlternateFirst Man

Costume Design

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Queen of Scots

AlternateCrazy Rich Asians

Makeup and Hairstyling

Black Panther

Border

Vice

AlternateMary Queen of Scots

Sound Editing

A Quiet Place

A Star Is Born

Black Panther

First Man

Roma

AlternateBohemian Rhapsody

Sound Mixing

A Quiet Place

A Star Is Born

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

Roma

AlternateMary Poppins Returns

Visual Effects

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

First Man

Mary Poppins Returns

Ready Player One

AlternateSolo: A Star Wars Story

Score

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Mary Poppins Returns

AlternateIsle of Dogs

Song

“All the Stars” from Black Panther

“Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin

“I’ll Fight” from RBG

”Shallow” from A Star Is Born

“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” from Mary Poppins Returns

Alternate – “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns

And my picks equate to the following movies getting these numbers in terms of nods:

10 Nominations

A Star Is Born, The Favourite, Roma

9 Nominations

Black Panther

7 Nominations

First Man

6 Nominations

Vice

5 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns

4 Nominations

Bohemian Rhapsody

3 Nominations

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

2 Nominations

A Quiet Place, Cold War, First Reformed, RBG

1 Nomination

Avengers: Infinity War, Beautiful Boy, Border, Burning, Capernaum, Crazy Rich Asians, Dumplin, Free Solo, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mary Queen of Scots, Minding the Gap, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ready Player One, Shoplifters, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse, Three Identical Strangers, The Wife, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: January 17th Edition

It’s been two weeks since I’ve made Oscar predictions and it’s fair to say a lot has happened since then. The show never did find a host, but a host of significant precursors happened. There were the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards. The Directors Guild named their five nominees and they typically nail four of the five eventual nominees in that race. The last 14 days of action have changed my #1 rankings in some very big categories:

  • After consistently being ranked at #1, A Star Is Born now falls to second behind Roma.
  • Keeping with the theme, Christian Bale’s work in Vice vaults to first in Actor ahead of Bradley Cooper in Star.
  • Once again, a Star dips from the top spot as Glenn Close (The Wife) is first in Actress above Lady Gaga.
  • After Globe and Critics victories, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse is #1 in Animated Feature instead of Pixar’s Incredibles 2.

You can can read all the rankings below and on Sunday, I will reveal my final picks for nominees ahead of Tuesday morning’s announcements!

Best Picture

1. Roma (Previous Ranking: 2)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Green Book (PR: 4)

4. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 5)

5. Black Panther (PR: 6)

6. The Favourite (PR: 3)

7. Vice (PR: 8)

8. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 10)

9. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

10. First Man (PR: 9)

11. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 11)

12. A Quiet Place (PR: 13)

13. First Reformed (PR: 15)

14. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Eighth Grade

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

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

3. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 3)

4. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 6)

5. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 9)

7. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 5)

8. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

9. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 8)

10. Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Paul Schrader, First Reformed

Best Actor

1. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 2)

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

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

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

5. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

7. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 7)

8. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 8)

9. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 10)

10. Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased (PR: 9)

Best Actress

1. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 3)

2. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite (PR: 2)

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

5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

7. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 8)

8. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Toni Collette, Hereditary (PR: 7)

10. Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back

Best Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 1)

2. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 2)

3. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

4. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 4)

5. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 7)

7. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 6)

8. Steven Yeun, Burning (PR: 10)

9. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite (PR: 8)

10. Brian Tyree Henry, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give

Best Supporting Actress

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

2. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 2)

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

4. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 3)

5. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 6)

7. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 8)

8. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Marina De Tavira, Roma (PR: 10)

10. Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 1)

2. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 3)

3. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

4. A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

5. First Man (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Leave No Trace (PR: 7)

7. Black Panther (PR: 5)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

9. Widows (PR: 9)

10. The Death of Stalin (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Hate U Give

Best Original Screenplay

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Green Book (PR: 3)

3. Roma (PR: 2)

4. First Reformed (PR: 4)

5. Eighth Grade (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Vice (PR: 6)

7. A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

8. Cold War (PR: 10)

9. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 9)

10. Private Life (PR: 8)

Best Foreign Language Film

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. Cold War (PR: 2)

3. Shoplifters (PR: 3)

4. Burning (PR: 4)

5. Never Look Away (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Capernaum (PR: 5)

7. The Guilty (PR: 6)

8. Birds of Passage (PR: 8)

9. Ayka (PR: 9)

Best Animated Feature

1. SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse (PR: 2)

2. Incredibles 2 (PR: 1)

3. Isle of Dogs (PR: 3)

4. Ralph Breaks the Internet (PR: 4)

5. Mirai (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Early Man (PR: 6)

7. Smallfoot (PR: 8)

8. The Grinch (PR: 7)

9. Ruben Brandt, Collector (PR: 10)

10. Lu Over the Wall (PR: 9)

Best Documentary Feature

1. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (PR: 1)

2. Free Solo (PR: 2)

3. RBG (PR: 6)

4. Three Identical Strangers (PR: 4)

5. Shirkers (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Minding the Gap (PR: 3)

7. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (PR: 7)

8. On Her Shoulders (PR: 10)

9. Crime + Punishment (PR: 8)

10. Of Fathers and Sons (PR: 9)

Best Film Editing

1. First Man (PR: 2)

2. Roma (PR: 3)

3. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

4. Vice (PR: 6)

5. The Favourite (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther (PR: 4)

7. Green Book (PR: Not Ranked)

8. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 7)

9. A Quiet Place (PR: 9)

10. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Widows

Mary Poppins Returns

Best Cinematography

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. First Man (PR: 2)

3. The Favourite (PR: 5)

4. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 4)

5. Cold War (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

7. Black Panther (PR: 7)

8. The Rider (PR: 9)

9. Widows (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Mary Poppins Returns

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IVeUMLYxXXE

Best Production Design

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. Roma (PR: 5)

4. First Man (PR: 4)

5. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 9)

7. A Star Is Born (PR: 8)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 7)

9. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 6)

10. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 10)

Best Costume Design

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 3)

3. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 2)

4. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 4)

5. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 5)

7. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

8. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PR: 10)

9. A Star Is Born (PR: 7)

10. Colette (PR: 9)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

1. Vice (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

4. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

5. Border (PR: 3)

6. Suspiria (PR: 7)

7. Stan & Ollie (PR: 5)

Best Sound Editing

1. First Man (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 3)

3. A Quiet Place (PR: 2)

4. A Star Is Born (PR: 4)

5. Roma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mission: ImpossibleFallout (PR: 6)

7. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 8)

8. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 7)

9. Incredibles 2 (PR: 10)

10. Ready Player One (PR: 9)

Best Sound Mixing

1. First Man (PR: 2)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Black Panther (PR: 3)

4. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

5. A Quiet Place (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

7. Roma (PR: 8)

8. Mission: ImpossibleFallout (PR: 7)

9. Incredibles 2 (PR: 10)

10. Ready Player One (PR: 9)

Best Visual Effects

1. Black Panther (PR: 3)

2. Avengers: Infinity War (PR: 2)

3. First Man (PR: 1)

4. Ready Player One (PR: 4)

5. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Solo: A Star Wars Story (PR: 6)

7. Welcome to Marwen (PR: 8)

8. Christopher Robin (PR: 10)

9. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (PR: 7)

10. AntMan and the Wasp (PR: 9)

Best Original Score

1. First Man (PR: 1)

2. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 3)

3. Black Panther (PR: 4)

4. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 2)

5. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Isle of Dogs (PR: 5)

7. A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 8)

9. Annihilation (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Vice (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Ready Player One

Best Original Song

1. “Shallow” from A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. “All the Stars” from Black Panther

3. “I’ll Fight” from RBG (PR: 4)

4. “Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin (PR: 5)

5. “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” from Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 6)

7. “Revelation” from Boy Erased (PR: 7)

8. “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 9)

9. “We Won’t Move” from The Hate U Give (PR: 10)

10. “OYAHYTT” from Sorry to Bother You (PR: 8)

And that equates to the following movies getting these numbers when it comes to nominations:

10 Nominations

A Star Is Born, The Favourite

9 Nominations

Black Panther, First Man, Roma

5 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns, Vice

3 Nominations

Bohemian Rhapsody, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

2 Nominations

Cold War, First Reformed, Mary Queen of Scots, A Quiet Place, RBG

1 Nomination

Avengers: Infinity War, Beautiful Boy, Burning, Crazy Rich Asians, Dumplin, Eighth Grade, Free Solo, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Never Look Away, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ready Player One, Shirkers, Shoplifters, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse, Three Identical Strangers, The Wife, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?