Oscar Predictions: Showing Up

Kelly Reichardt is an acclaimed indie filmmaker behind the recent Certain Women and First Cow. Her latest, which premiered at Cannes, is Showing Up and it casts Michelle Williams as a sculptor in the family drama. Costars include Hong Chau, Judd Hirsch, John Magaro, Andre Benjamin, and James Le Gros.

Reviews say this is a lighter take on Reichardt’s material and the 100% Rotten Tomatoes indicates a winner. In what is becoming a common refrain in these posts, the distributor is A24. It will be a juggling act when it comes to their Oscar campaigns (Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Whale, and Aftersun are just three of their hopefuls).

Williams is drawing early raves. She’s seeking her fifth nomination after two lead nods for 2010’s Blue Valentine and 2011’s My Week with Marilyn and two supporting mentions for 2005’s Brokeback Mountain and 2016’s Manchester by the Sea. While she could draw attention here, there’s also Steven Spielberg’s upcoming The Fabelmans where she could make an appearance in supporting.

It’s important to remember that First Cow starting garnering some awards chatter that ended up petering out. That could happen here but the strong Cannes start helps its case. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Aftersun

Irish thespian Paul Mescal has received an Emmy nod and plenty of critical praise for his role on Hulu’s Normal People and he recently made his cinematic debut in Netflix’s The Lost Daughter. 

More kudos are coming his way via Cannes for Aftersun, a family drama currently holding at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The first feature from Charlotte Wells and produced by Moonlight auteur Barry Jenkins, the A24 acquisition is potentially the type of project that could generate awards chatter with the right campaign.

The issue could be that A24 will have other pics to focus on and there’s only so much promotion to go around. Time will tell, but there’s no doubt Mescal is an actor on the upswing. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

May 27-30 Box Office Predictions

***And a final update for Top Gun: Maverick as my prediction rises again to $113.4 million for the three-day and $138 million for the four-day. That it gives it the #2 all-time Memorial Day for both frames.

***Blogger’s Note: Another day, another significant update raising my Top Gun: Maverick prediction. Now at $103.7M for the three-day and $124.4M for the four-day.

**Blogger’s Note (05/24): My Top Gun: Maverick prediction has risen from a $75.6M and $98.8M three and four-day start to $86.6M and $104.9M

Tom Cruise is poised to land his largest debut of all time over this Memorial Day weekend with the long in development sequel Top Gun: Maverick as the animated The Bob’s Burgers Movie is also served up. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the pair here:

Top Gun: Maverick Box Office Prediction

The Bob’s Burgers Movie Box Office Prediction

Arriving 36 years after the first entry made Cruise a superstar, Maverick is generating terrific buzz. For the three-day portion of the holiday frame, it needs to surpass the $64 million earned by 2005’s War of the Worlds in order to set a personal best start. I have it achieving that feat with over $10 million to spare with a gross just shy of $100 million for the Friday to Monday haul.

As for Burgers, it could find itself locked in a race with Downton Abbey: A New Era for third.

After a three-week reign atop the charts, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will drop to second with The Bad Guys likely rounding out the top five.

Here’s how I see for the four-day frame and I’m throwing in the three-day projections for the newbies:

1. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $138 million (Friday to Monday); **$113.4 million (Friday to Sunday)

2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $22.1 million

3. The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Predicted Gross: $11.6 million (Friday to Monday); **$9.2 million (Friday to Sunday)

4. Downton Abbey: A New Era

Predicted Gross: $9.5 million

5. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $6.2 million

Box Office Results (May 20-22)

The good doctor held off competition for the third week as Multiverse took in $32.3 million, ahead of my $27.8 million projection. The MCU juggernaut is up to $342 million thus far.

Downton Abbey: A New Era settled for second with $16 million, a bit shy of my $18.4 million take. That’s on the lower end of expectations and significantly under the $31 million that its 2019 predecessor earned out of the gate.

The Bad Guys was third with $6.1 million, in range with my $5.7 million prediction for $74 million overall.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 took fourth with $4 million (I said $3.5 million) to bring its impressive tally to $181 million.

Alex Garland’s Men failed to attract an audience with $3.2 million for fifth. I was a little more generous at $4.1 million. Despite some decent reviews, the Cinemascore grade was a putrid D+.

Everything Everywhere All at Once was sixth with $3.1 million compared to my $2.7 million guesstimate. With $52 million in the bank, it is now A24’s highest domestic earner.

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

Oscar Predictions: God’s Creatures

Emily Watson scored a pair of Oscar nominations back in the 90s – one for her debut performance in 1996’s Breaking the Waves and another for Hilary and Jackie (1998). It’s been a long break since then though she recently received an Emmy nod for Chernobyl. 

God’s Creatures is an Irish psychological drama from directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer and it’s premiered at Cannes. Early critical reaction indicates this is Watson’s most impressive big screen role in some time and there’s additional praise for costar Paul Mescal.

With an 88% Rotten Tomatoes rating, the small sample of reviews indicates only Watson could realistically be championed come awards time. Distributor A24 would really need to mount an aggressive campaign for that to occur. I question whether that’s doable considering the amount of competition likely to come. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Men Box Office Prediction

Men is a later than usual addition to my box office predictions as it opens in just two days. This is Alex Garland’s latest feature after his acclaimed sci-fi pics Ex Machina (2015) and Annihilation (2018). More of a horror experience than his usual fare, the A24 distributed tale currently holds an 82% Rotten Tomatoes score. Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear star.

While that’s certainly solid, some critics have predicted that this won’t be an audience favorite. The best hope might be for a decent start as a hefty sophomore weekend drop is likely coming. It sounds as if it’s going quite wide at an estimated 2500 screens (something I wasn’t aware of until this late date). I could see Men debuting in the same range as from the same studio. It grossed just over $4 million and that sounds about right here.

Men opening weekend prediction: $4.1 million

For my Downton Abbey: A New Era prediction, click here:

Downton Abbey: A New Era Box Office Prediction

 

Oscar Predictions: Men

In 2015, Alex Garland nabbed an Original Screenplay Oscar nod for his directorial debut Ex Machina. That acclaimed sci-fi tale also surprisingly took the gold in Visual Effects over heavy hitters like Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

His 2018 follow-up Annihilation didn’t fare as well at multiplexes or with awards voters. Despite an 88% Rotten Tomatoes rating (Machina got a 92%), it failed to generate any nominations.

On February 20th comes Garland’s third behind the camera effort Men. Featuring Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear, the A24 release sounds like it’s right up the distributor’s dark alley. That means it may score better with critics than crowds. The RT is currently the filmmaker’s lowest at 83% (still pretty darn solid). Like Annihilation, don’t expect it to be in the Academy mix. My Oscar prediction posts will continue…

May 6-8 Box Office Predictions

The summer box office season officially kicks off in the manner it has many times lately… with an expected Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness looks to accomplish some records after previous franchise entry Spider-Man: No Way Home set plenty of its own. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on Benedict Cumberbatch’s return as the mystical doc here:

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Box Office Prediction

My estimate would give Multiverse the 7th largest domestic premiere of all time and the highest ever for the month of May (topping The Avengers). It would be #4 in terms of MCU entries – behind Avengers: Endgame, No Way Home, and Avengers: Infinity War. 

No other film is daring to open against this and family friendly entries The Bad Guys (after two weeks on top) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 should slide a spot. Everything Everywhere All at Once is holding extremely well from week to week and it could rise to fourth over Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. 

Here’s how I think the top 5 will look:

1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $208.5 million

2. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $10 million

3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Predicted Gross: $4.4 million

5. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore 

Predicted Gross: $4.3 million

Box Office Results (April 29-May 1)

Before Marvel begins its domination, it was a pretty quiet weekend with The Bad Guys repeating in first. The DreamWorks Animation effort made $16.2 million, topping my $14.4 million projection for $44 million in 10 days.

Most holdovers managed to slightly exceed my expectations. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 stayed in second at $11.5 million compared to my $10.8 million call. Total is $161 million.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore continued its ho-hum run in third with $8.3 million, just above my $7.7 million take. The three-week tally is a disappointing $79 million.

The Northman was fourth in its sophomore outing with $6.3 million. I went with $5.6 million and it’s at $22 million.

Everything Everywhere All at Once actually had a 2% increase with $5.5 million to round out the top five (I said $4.2 million). The A24 Oscar hopeful has made an impressive $35 million.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was sixth with $3.8 million (I predicted $3.5 million) for $13 million in two weeks.

Finally, Liam Neeson’s streak of low grosses stayed intact as Memory opened in 8th with $3.1 million. That’s in line with his recent (non) earners and just below my $3.3 million projection.

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

22 for ’22: Oscars Early Look

It’s been an entire week since The Slap… check that, the 94th Academy Awards where CODA parlayed its Sundance buzz from January 2021 all the way to a Best Picture victory.

That also means I’ve managed to wait a whole week without speculation for the next Academy Awards which will hopefully be a slap free zone. So what are some titles that could be vying for attention?

On May 27th and after numerous delays, Top Gun: Maverick will find Tom Cruise returning to his iconic role some 36 years after the original. There’s a decent chance it could be up for similar prizes that its predecessor landed like Sound, Film Editing, and Song (courtesy of Lady Gaga apparently). Visual Effects is a possibility as well.

My weekly Oscar prediction posts won’t begin until mid to late August. In the meantime, you’ll get individualized write-ups for pics that open or screen at festivals.

Yet for today – I feel the need. The need to identify 21 other 2022 titles that might end up on the Academy’s radar. Enjoy!

Armageddon Time

Despite acclaimed movies like The Lost City of Z and Ad Astra, James Gray has yet to connect with awards voters. This drama, rumored to be centered on his Queens upbringing, is the next hopeful and features a stellar cast including Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, and Jeremy Strong. Release Date: TBD

Avatar 2

The 2009 original amassed nine nominations and won took home three. The first sequel (there’s three more on the way) arrives in December from James Cameron. Will it capture the critical and box office magic of part one? That’s impossible to know at this juncture, but one can safely assume it’ll be up for some tech categories like Sound and Visual Effects. Release Date: December 16th

Babylon

Damien Chazelle is no stranger to the big dance. Whiplash was a BP nominee and J.K. Simmons won Supporting Actor. Chazelle took Director for his follow-up La La Land along with Emma Stone’s Actress victory and it almost famously took BP. First Man nabbed four nominations, but missed the top of the line races. Babylon is a period drama focused on Hollywood’s Golden Age and should be right up the Academy’s alley. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Tobey Maguire. Release Date: December 25th

Canterbury Glass

Robbie also turns up in David O. Russell’s latest ensemble piece. Anytime he’s behind the camera, Oscar nods typically follow (think The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle). Slated for November, the dramedy also features Christian Bale, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, and… Chris Rock. Release Date: November 4th

Elvis

Arriving in June but with a Cannes unveiling in May, Baz Luhrmann’s musical bio of The King stars Austin Butler in the title role and Tom Hanks as The Colonel. If this doesn’t contend for the major awards, I would still anticipate potential tech recognition (Production Design, Sound, etc…). Release Date: June 24th

Empire of Light

Sam Mendes was likely in the runner-up position in 2019 for Picture and Director (behind Parasite) with 1917. His follow-up is an English set romance starring Olivia Colman (who would be going for her fourth nomination in five years), Michael Ward, and Colin Firth. Release Date: TBD

Everything Everywhere All at Once

From two filmmakers known collectively as Daniels, Once is already out in limited release with spectacular reviews (97% on RT). The sci-fi action comedy might be too bizarre for the Academy, but I wouldn’t count it out as its admirers are vocal. Picture, Director, Actress (Michelle Yeoh), and Original Screenplay are all on the table. Release Date: out in limited release, opens wide April 8th

The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg directs a semi-autobiographical tale and cowrites with his Lincoln and West Side Story scribe Tony Kushner. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, and Paul Dano. Needless to say, this is a major contender on paper. Release Date: November 23rd

Killers of the Flower Moon

Alongside The Fabelmans, this might be the most obvious nominee from a personnel standpoint. Martin Scorsese helms this western crime drama featuring Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, and his two frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Apple TV just became the first streamer to get a BP victory with CODA. This could be the second in a row. Release Date: November

Poor Things

In 2018, The Favourite scored a whopping ten nominations. Based on an acclaimed 1992 novel, Poor Things is Yorgos Lanthimos’s follow-up and it reunites him with Emma Stone along with Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, and Mark Ruffalo. The plot sounds bizarre but it could also be an Oscar bait role for Stone and others. Release Date: TBD

Rustin

One of Netflix’s contenders is George C. Wolfe’s profile of gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (played by Colman Domingo). In 2020, Wolfe directed Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman to nods for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Look for Domingo to be a competitor and the supporting cast includes Chris Rock (maybe he will be back at the show), Glynn Turman, and Audra McDonald. Release Date: TBD

See How They Run

The 1950s set murder mystery could provide 27-year-old Saoirse Ronan with an opportunity to land her fifth nomination. Sam Rockwell, David Oyelowo, Adrien Brody, and Ruth Wilson are among the supporting players. Tom George directs. Release Date: TBD

She Said

Five years after the scandal rocked Hollywood, She Said from Maria Schrader recounts the New York Times sexual misconduct investigation into Harvey Weinstein. Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, and Patricia Clarkson lead the cast. Release Date: November 18th

The Son

Florian Zeller won Best Adapted Screenplay in 2020 for The Father along with Anthony Hopkins taking Best Actor. This follow-up (based on the director’s play) finds Hopkins reprising his Oscar-winning part in supporting fashion. Other cast members seeking awards attention include Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, and Vanessa Kirby. Release Date: TBD

TAR

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Todd Field behind the camera. Previous efforts In the Bedroom and Little Children received 8 nominations between them. A decade and a half following Children comes this Berlin set drama with Cate Blanchett, Noemie Merlant, and Mark Strong. Release Date: October 7th

Three Thousand Years of Longing

Scheduled for a Cannes bow in May, Longing is a fantasy romance from the legendary mind of George Miller (who last made Mad Max: Fury Road which won six tech Oscars). Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton star. Release Date: TBD

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky directed Mickey Rourke to a comeback narrative nod for 2008’s The Wrestler. Two years later, his follow-up Black Swan earned Natalie Portman a statue. Brendan Fraser is hoping for the same treatment with The Whale as he plays a 600 pound man attempting to reconnect with his daughter. Costars include Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Samantha Morton. I’d expect Makeup and Hairstyling could also be in play with this. Release Date: TBD

White Noise

Not a remake of the Michael Keaton supernatural thriller from 2005, this is Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to Marriage Story. Based on a 1985 novel, it’s the filmmaker’s first picture based on other source material. Marriage landed three acting nods (with Laura Dern winning Supporting Actress). The cast here includes frequent Baumbach collaborator Adam Driver, real-life partner Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Andre Benjamin, Alessandro Nivola, and Don Cheadle. This could be Netflix’s strongest contender. Release Date: TBD

The Woman King

Expect this West Afrian set historical epic from Gina Prince-Bythewood to be heavily touted by Sony with awards bait roles for leads Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu. The supporting cast includes John Boyega and Lashana Lynch. Release Date: September 16th

Women Talking

Based on a 2018 novel, Sarah Polley writes and directs this drama focused on eight Mennonite women and their story of abuse. The sterling cast includes Frances McDormand, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, Claire Foy, and Rooney Mara. Release Date: TBD

And that’s just a small preview of the features that could materialize for the 95th Academy Awards! As always, the speculation on this site will continue throughout the year and into the next. Stay tuned…

Everything Everywhere All at Once Box Office Prediction

Coming off terrific reviews and a sizzling limited rollout, Everything Everywhere All at Once debuts in wide release on April 8th. The sci-fi action comedy comes from Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known as Daniels) with an acclaimed leading performance from Michelle Yeoh. The supporting cast includes Ke Huy Quan (Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data from The Goonies!), Stephanie Hsu, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr., James Hong, and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Sporting a 97% Rotten Tomatoes rating, Everything grossed just over half a million bucks on only 10 screens last weekend (that’s a $50k average). It’s fair to assume that the A24 tale will play stronger on the coasts than in between.

That said, the buzz that began at South by Southwest should result in this earning its reported $25 million budget back domestically. I’ll project $7-10 million for the expansion.

Everything Everywhere All at Once opening weekend prediction: $8.4 million

For my Sonic the Hedgehog 2 prediction, click here:

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Box Office Prediction

For my Ambulance prediction, click here:

Ambulance Box Office Prediction

March 25-27 Box Office Predictions

**Blogger’s Update (03/24): The Indian period adventure RRR is slated for a release on over 1100 screens and it could be a sleeper hit for the weekend based on buzz and pre-sales. I’m adding it in the mix for a third place debut.

Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, and Daniel Radcliffe will try to dislodge The Batman from its three-week perch atop the charts when The Lost City debuts this Friday. It’s the only newcomer this weekend and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on the comedic adventure here:

The Lost City Box Office Prediction

My mid to high 20s estimate for the well reviewed City gets it to first place as long as The Batman sees a drop in the high 30s to low 40s range. It could end up being a close race, but I’m giving Bullock and company the benefit of the doubt.

As for the rest of the top 5, current #2 Jujutsu Kaisen 0 easily surpassed expectations in its debut (more on that below), but the sophomore drop should be steep (similar to the 70% fall of animated manga tale Demon Slayer). That would leave Uncharted in third with Kaisen fourth. In the five spot, Dog (also with Channing Tatum) may have a slighter dip than in what might be a tight race for that position.

And with that, here’s my take on this Oscar frame’s top 7 performers:

1. The Lost City

Predicted Gross: $28.4 million

2. The Batman 

Predicted Gross: $21.6 million

3. RRR

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million

4. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million

5. Jujutsu Kaisen 0

Predicted Gross: $5 million

6. Dog

Predicted Gross: $2.9 million

7. X

Predicted Gross: $2.7 million

 

Box Office Results (March 18-20)

While there were newbies to view, The Batman ruled the roost while Jujutsu had a terrific premiere. Robert Pattinson’s debut as the DCEU Crusader took in $36.7 million, below my projection of $42.1 million. The three-week tally sits at an impressive $300 million.

Jujutsu blew away prognostications with $17.6 million. The FUNimation entry (which was already a hit overseas) easily toppled my meager $9.8 million take. Like other genre fare, its opening frame should represent a large portion of the overall domestic gross.

Uncharted was third with $7.8 million. I was right on target at $7.7 million. Total earnings are $125 million.

Horror pic from A24 capitalized on solid reviews and came in fourth with a decent $4.4 million. That’s ahead of my $2.9 million estimate and it will hope for solid holds in coming weekends.

Dog rounded out the top five with $3.9 million, a touch below my $4.6 million prediction. It’s up to $54 million.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was sixth with $3.1 million (I said $3.7 million) and the massive haul is $797 million.

Finally, crime drama The Outfit with Mark Rylance started in 8th place with a muted $1.4 million. That is better than my $1 million forecast, however.

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