29th SAG Awards Winner Predictions

The 29th Screen Actors Guild Awards air this Sunday evening and they are often a reliable preview of what direction the Academy will go. In their races for Actress, Actor, and Supporting Actor – there has been an 8/10 correlation over the past decade for SAG/Oscar matches. With Supporting Actress – it is 9/10.

Let’s walk through each of the six categories with my predicted winner and a runner-up, shall we?

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture


Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Women Talking

Since the SAGs began in 1995, only one winner (1996’s The Birdcage) wasn’t at least nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. That rules out Babylon. I think (like some earlier precursors) this comes down to Everything v Banshees. I’m majorly tempted to say Banshees as the voters could see it as a way to honor the four thespians nominated in the individual races below. However, I’m giving a very slight edge to SAG doing the same for Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, and others for Everything.

Predicted Winner: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: The Banshees of Inisherin

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role


Cate Blanchett (Tár), Viola Davis (The Woman King), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Danielle Deadwyler (Till), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

SAG could bestow Yeoh with the trophy, but Blanchett’s work may simply be undeniable at this juncture. If Banshees ends up taking Ensemble, I do think it increases Yeoh’s chances here.

Predicted Winner: Cate Blanchett, Tár

Runner-Up: Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role


Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Bill Nighy (Living), Adam Sandler (Hustle)

I feel like Farrell really needed that BAFTA last weekend and he didn’t emerge victorious. So it’s a two-person race between Butler and Fraser. And I’m struggling with this one. I could easily envision fellow actors crowning Fraser’s dramatic comeback that includes a Critics Choice award. Yet Butler has seen an impressive run that includes the Golden Globe and BAFTA. This is a coin flip, but I’ll say Butler has a little more momentum.

Predicted Winner: Austin Butler, Elvis

Runner-Up: Brendan Fraser, The Whale

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role


Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Hong Chau (The Whale), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

A quintet that matches the Oscar five, Condon disrupted the possibility of Bassett sweeping when she took the BAFTA. They’re the two likeliest winners. I will say Curtis scoring an upset is feasible. I think the smart money is on Bassett with Condon as the runner-up.

Predicted Winner: Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Runner-Up: Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role


Paul Dano (The Fabelmans), Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin), Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Eddie Redmayne (The Good Nurse)

BAFTA again had a trick up their sleeve when Keoghan surprised over Quan. I think SAG will follow the lead of the Globes and Critics Choice and bring the latter back to the stage.

Predicted Winner: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin

Outstanding by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture


Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Top Gun: Maverick, The Woman King

The only pic that I don’t think has a shot is Avatar because the original in 2009 didn’t even land a nom. 2018’s Black Panther won so Wakanda is certainly viable. Those pilots from Maverick did same amazing stuff though. They’re my pick.

Predicted Winner: Top Gun: Maverick

Runner-Up: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

And there you have it! I’ll have a recap up Sunday evening with my thoughts on what happened compared to my predictions.

95th Academy Awards Predictions: January 16th Edition

It has been two weeks since my last Oscar predictions and a lot has transpired since. The Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards aired. SAG nominations came out. So did the BAFTA shortlists and PGA and DGA contenders.

All of this has made the puzzle a little clearer. Yet the fact remains – Oscar will Oscar when noms are released in a week. This is my penultimate forecast. Final predictions will arrive this weekend. Tonight’s estimates are your last look at rankings. It will simply be the listed picks a few days from now with commentary and a runner-up projection in each feature film category.

Here’s the latest developments as we are almost at the end of the line:

The Whale rises as it is back in my top 10 BP nominees. Women Talking falls out. A similar scenario in Supporting Actress as The Whale‘s Hong Chau is in over Women Talking‘s Claire Foy. After victories at the Globes and Critics Choice, Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) vaults over Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin) for the #1 slot in Supporting Actress.

On the other hand, I’m putting Austin Butler (Elvis) back in first over Brendan Fraser (The Whale). This is essentially a coin flip with Colin Farrell from Banshees as a legit spoiler.

Edward Berger (All Quiet on the Western Front) returns to the directorial quintet and James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water) is out.

In Actress, Viola Davis (The Woman King) at last makes the cut with Margot Robbie (Babylon) dropping. That’s not the only news in this derby. I almost went with Ana de Armas (Blonde) instead of Davis. And there’s the recent development of Andrea Riseborough’s online campaign for the micro budget indie drama To Leslie. Numerous performers, including Cate Blanchett, have boarded the Riseborough bandwagon. Two weeks ago – she was on no one’s radar screen. Now the buzz is enough to put her in 8th.

You can read all the movement below and look for those FINAL predictions this weekend!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (E)

4. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 4) (E)

5. Tár (PR: 5) (E)

6. Elvis (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 6) (-1)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (+2)

9. The Whale (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Babylon (PR: 11) (E)

12. RRR (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Women Talking (PR: 8) (-5)

14. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 14) (E)

15. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (E)

4. Todd Field, Tár (PR: 4) (E)

5. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+3)

8. S.S. Rajamouli, RRR (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Sarah Polley, Women Talking

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tár (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 4) (E)

5. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Naomi Ackie, Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway

Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 4) (E)

5. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: 6) (E)

7. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 7) (E)

8. Adam Sandler, Hustle (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Tom Hanks, A Man Called Otto (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 4) (+3)

2. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 9) (+5)

5. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Janelle Monáe, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 5) (-4)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (E)

4. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (E)

5. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Eddie Redmayne, The Good Nurse (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Tár (PR: 4) (E)

5. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Aftersun (PR: 6) (E)

7. Babylon (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The Menu (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Whale (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 2) (-1)

4. She Said (PR: 4) (E)

5. Living (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities

6. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. White Noise (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 9) (E)

10. Bones and All (PR: 10) (E)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 1) (E)

2. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (PR: 2) (E)

3. Turning Red (PR: 3) (E)

4. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (PR: 4) (E)

5. Wendell and Wild (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Bad Guys (PR: 6) (E)

7. My Father’s Dragon (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Strange World (PR: 8) (E)

9. Inu-Oh (PR: 9) (E)

10. Lightyear (PR: 10) (E)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 1) (E)

2. Decision to Leave (PR: 2) (E)

3. Close (PR: 6) (+3)

4. Argentina, 1985 (PR: 4) (E)

5. EO (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Saint Omer (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Bardo (PR: 5) (-2)

8. The Quiet Girl (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Joyland (PR: 9) (E)

10. Holy Spider (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (PR: 1) (E)

2. All That Breathes (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Fire of Love (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Navalny (PR: 2) (-2)

5. The Territory (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Descendant (PR: 6) (E)

7. Moonage Daydream (PR: 7) (E)

8. Retrograde (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Bad Axe (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Last Flight Home (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Janes

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 4) (E)

5. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Babylon (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

8. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Batman (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Nope (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


Everything Everywhere All at Once


Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Elvis (PR: 1) (E)

2. Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Woman King (PR: 4) (E)

5. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Fabelmans (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Living (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (E)

9. Corsage (PR: 9) (E)

10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. Elvis (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 9) (+3)

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Babylon (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Tár (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Women Talking

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Elvis (PR: 2 (+1)

2. The Whale (PR: 1) (-1)

3. The Batman (PR: 3) (E)

4. Babylon (PR: 4) (E)

5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 6) (E)

7. Amsterdam (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Blonde (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Emancipation (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Crimes of the Future (PR: 10) (E)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nomnees:

1. The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Babylon (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Women Talking (PR: 2) (-2)

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (-2)

7. The Woman King (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 6) (-3)

10. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR (PR: 2) (+1)

2. “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (-1)

3. “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 3) (E)

4. “Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 4) (E)

5. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 5) (-1)

7. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing (PR: 7) (E)

8. “New Body Rhumba” from White Noise (PR: 8) (E)

9. “Good Afternoon” from Spirited (PR: Not Ranked)

10. “Stand Up” from Till (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

“Nothing is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from Avatar: The Way of Water

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 2) (-2)

5. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Fabelmans (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Batman (PR: 10) (E)

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 2) (E)

3. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Elvis (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The Batman (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (E)

7. Babylon (PR: 7) (E)

8. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 8) (E)

9. Moonage Daydream (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Batman (PR: 3) (E)

4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PR: 4) (E)

5. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (E)

7. Nope (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Thirteen Lives (PR: 8) (E)

9. Jurassic World: Dominion (PR: 9) (E)

10. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (PR: 10) (E)

That equates to these movies garnering these numbers in terms of nominations:

9 Nominations

The Fabelmans

8 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

7 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick

6 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water

5 Nominations

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, The Whale

4 Nominations

Babylon, Tár

3 Nominations

The Batman, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Triangle of Sadness

2 Nominations

Living, The Woman King, Women Talking

1 Nominations

All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Argentina, 1985, Close, Decision to Leave, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Empire of Light, EO, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Navalny, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, RRR, She Said, Tell It Like a Woman, The Territory, Till, Turning Red, Wendell and Wild

29th SAG Awards Nominations Reaction

The morning after The Banshees of Inisherin beat Everything Everywhere All at Once for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) at the Golden Globes, the two BP Oscar hopefuls tied for most nominations from the Screen Actors Guild voters. The Globes Drama winner The Fabelmans, meanwhile, had a more disappointing showing including one particular unexpected omission.

We are in the thick of awards season and I’m pretty pleased to report I went 25/30 on my SAG picks! Let’s walk through the six competitions with how I did and some general analysis. Final predictions for this ceremony will come closer to the February 26th airdate.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The Nominees: Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Women Talking

How I Did: 4/5

I went with The Woman King over the sprawling cast of Babylon. I’ll admit I was feeling a bit bold picking Women Talking after a subpar season, but it managed to make the cut while none of its performers garnered individual noms.

It doesn’t turn out this way in most years at SAG, but this prize may well come down to the three movies mostly likely to take the Oscar BP: Banshees, EEAAO, and Fabelmans.

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

The Nominees: Cate Blanchett (Tár), Viola Davis (The Woman King), Danielle Deadwyler (Till), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

How I Did: 4/5

There are two headlines here in my opinion. The first is that Michelle Williams did not get in for The Fabelmans. Most prognosticators, including this one, have her sitting in 3rd for the Academy rankings.

Another is that Ana de Armas has made it for the Globes and SAG. A few weeks ago, her work as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde had fallen out of my top 10 possibilities. Now she is a serious threat for the Oscar quintet. I had Williams over de Armas projected.

As for the winner – this should come down to Blanchett v. Yeoh (both freshly minted Globe recipients).

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

The Nominees: Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Bill Nighy (Living), Adam Sandler (Hustle)

How I Did: 4/5

SAG news other the nominees themselves was made today when it was announced that Netflix will livestream the show starting next year. It was also an unexpectedly solid morning for the streamer. In this race, the surprise inclusion was Adam Sandler for Hustle (which premiered on the subscription service). I had Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick) forecasted instead.

It’s worth noting that Cruise has now missed Globe and SAG. For the former, it was easy to explain considering he had a highly publicized break with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. No such explanation is found with SAG. His chances for Oscar are shaky.

The dynamics of this derby are intact. Butler, Farrell, Fraser, and Nighy appear to be safe bets for Academy attention. The fifth spot is wide open and Sandler got some exposure this morning. As for a winner at SAG, it’s a three-person fight between Butler, Farrell, and Fraser.

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

The Nominees: Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Hong Chau (The Whale), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

How I Did: 4/5

Bassett, Condon, and Curtis are the trio who’ve landed in all major precursors thus far. Jamie Lee’s costar Hsu makes it in over my pick of Jessie Buckley (Women Talking).

The Golden Globes honored Bassett last night and she could absolutely snag this trophy. However, I’m less convinced she sweeps than the chances of a sweep in Supporting Actor (more on that below). Let’s see if Condon or Curtis, especially, make it interesting.

A quick Women Talking comment. Even though Buckley or Claire Foy (who’s received nothing so far) are mostly or totally MIA, I still could see the Academy putting one of them up. We saw that they can throw a curveball in this race (Judi Dench in Belfast last year).

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

The Nominees: Paul Dano (The Fabelmans), Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin), Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Eddie Redmayne (The Good Nurse)

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

After viewing Quan’s heartfelt remarks at Globes, it seems like a sweep is in the cards. My one perfect category means Redmayne has landed Globe and SAG love. The Academy could still leave him out and same goes for Dano. We’ll see if alternates like Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans), Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway), or Globe nominee Brad Pitt (Babylon) can sneak in.

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

The Nominees: Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Top Gun: Maverick, The Woman King

How I Did: 4/5

Avatar got in over my call of Everything Everywhere All at Once (YOU try being a stuntman waving those hot dog fingers!). The original Black Panther won in 2018 so perhaps the sequel will follow suit. Another sequel (Maverick) may prevent that.

That works out to the following number of SAG mentions for these pics:

5 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once

2 Nominations

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, The Fabelmans, The Whale, The Woman King

1 Nomination

Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon, The Batman, Blonde, Elvis, The Good Nurse, Hustle, Living, Tár, Till, Top Gun: Maverick

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actor Race

My detailed look at six of the top Oscar categories – Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies – arrives at Best Actor. If you missed the posts covering the supporting races, you can find them here:

At this late October/early November stage of forecasting in the previous three years, my picks in the lead acting competitions have been more accurate than the supporting ones.

In 2019 at this juncture, I managed to correctly identify four of the five eventual nominees: winner Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes). The fifth was Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory and he was listed in Other Possibilities.

Three of five was the story in 2020 and 2021. Two years ago, I had The Father‘s Anthony Hopkins (who won), Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Gary Oldman (Mank) pegged with Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) and Steven Yeun (Minari) as possibles.

You may remember that Will Smith took gold last year for King Richard. I had him correctly called with two months remaining on the calendar. Same with Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog and Denzel Washington for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!) was mentioned in Other Possibilities. Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) had yet to enter my top ten.

Had a certain slap heard around the world not occurred, it’s totally possible that Will Smith (Emancipation) might be listed in my top 5. However, with his current ban from attending the ceremony, I question whether he could make a return to the ballot so quickly after the controversy. Therefore he’s not in my top 10. We’ll see if the reviews (coming soon) change the dynamic.

We do have a frontrunner and that’s Brendan Fraser in The Whale. Since its Venice and Toronto fest bows, he’s drawn raves. This is also a comeback narrative that the Academy should fall for. I’ve had Fraser listed in 1st for several weeks and I see no reason to change that.

There are two viable runners-up in Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Austin Butler (Elvis). I’ve been switching them in 2nd and 3rd place over the past few posts. Farrell is 2nd because I think Banshees stands a better shot at a BP nod. You have to go back to 2009 and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) where the Best Actor recipient’s movie didn’t achieve BP inclusion. If Elvis makes the big dance – an argument could be made that Butler is Fraser’s most serious competition to shake the race up.

After those three names, it could be a free for all for the final two slots. The only other performer I had listed in 1st place other than Fraser was Hugh Jackman for The Son. This was before it premiered at the festivals and garnered middling reviews. Now the question is whether Jackman gets in at all.

Someone who has fared well on the fest circuit is Bill Nighy for Living. Sony Pictures will need to mount a spirited campaign, but they’re good at that kinda thing. I’m starting to feel better about Nighy than Jackman.

Diego Calva is the biggest remaining question mark for Babylon. Screenings coming up in two weeks should help answer his viability. There’s a pair of indie performances that could bubble up if critics groups assist – Paul Mescal for Aftersun and Jeremy Pope in The Inspection. One possible hindrance for both of them is their movies are both A24 and that studio could be distracted with crowning Fraser. We could see foreign film leads Song Kang-ho (Broker) and Park Hae-il (Decision to Leave) make a play.

Netflix is apparently going in on a spirited campaign for Adam Sandler in Hustle. I have a hard time seeing that pan out (especially since he couldn’t get in for Uncut Gems). The streamer could also focus on Christian Bale (The Pale Blue Eye) or Adam Driver (White Noise). Bale also has Amsterdam, but it failed with critics and audiences.

Finally… there’s Tom Cruise. A three-time nominee, it’s been 23 years since he was in the mix. And a little pic called Top Gun: Maverick was easily the largest blockbuster of his career and the runaway hit of 2022. I’m not ready to put him in my five. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up there.

Here’s my current state of this race:

1 . Brendan Fraser, The Whale (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)

2. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 4) (E)

5. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Song Kang-ho, Broker

Best Actress is up next!

The Curse of Bridge Hollow Review

Marlon Wayans is a frequent presence in comedic horror mashups and they’ve been of the R rated variety with Scary Movie and its first sequel and A Haunted House and its follow-up. On the Netflix circuit, The Curse of Bridge Hollow ditches the scatological humor for a family friendly concoction about a Halloween obsessed town where the decorations come to life. It’s not hard to envision Adam Sandler or Eddie Murphy in the Dad role that Wayans fills. In fact, Sandler mined similar territory recently with Hubie Halloween. This one isn’t exactly a treat, but I found it more tolerable than that one.

Howard Gordon (Wayans) is a science teacher transported from Brooklyn to Bridge Hollow, a small New England town that looks quaint but is far from it. The residents wear their Patriots jerseys loudly and talk even more thunderously about the town’s spooky history. It involves the tale of Stingy Jack, whose mythology gave us the Jack-o’-lantern. You don’t want to wake him and that’s precisely what Howard’s teenage daughter Sydney does when they settle into their haunted house. She’s played by Priah Ferguson, a consistent bright spot on Netflix’s Stranger Things. The father/daughter relationship is a cliched one with Howard as the overbearing holiday skeptic who just needs to listen more. Mom (Kelly Rowland) really gets the short shrift. Her defining character trait is that she bakes inedible vegan desserts. The screenplay could’ve done better than “the wife can’t cook” material for the former Destiny’s Child and Freddy vs. Jason star.

Priah and Dad must get over their differences as they battle a slew of creatures of the crawly and skeletal variety. The special effects aren’t half bad. Hollow is aimed squarely at delighting kids and placating the adult supervision. It’s an easy and breezy watch and Wayans seems committed to the part. That’s more than I could say for Murphy, who appeared downright bored in The Haunted Mansion. Ferguson, on the other hand, doesn’t quite get to display the personality that’s so winning on her smash hit role as Erica Sinclair. A few chuckles come from a supporting cast including Rob Riggle, John Michael Higgins, and Lauren Lapkus as Bridge Hollow’s very New England accented Mayor.

Jeff Wadlow, whose traditional scary movies Truth or Dare and Fantasy Island were subpar, directs. Bridge Hollow is better than either of them. I realize all of my compliments likely sound hollow. That’s not inaccurate, but youngsters could do worse than dialing this up and the more seasoned viewer shouldn’t curse themselves for having to watch it.

**1/2 (out of four)

Summer 2012: The Top 10 Hits and More

My look back at the cinematic summers of 30, 20, and 10 years ago culminates with 2012. A decade ago, the Marvel Cinematic Universe went from a successful franchise to the phenomenal juggernaut that it remains today. That’s due to the release of a little something called The Avengers. On a side note, it’s worth mentioning that the biggest grosser 30 years ago (Batman Returns), two decades ago (Spider-Man), and in this post all share comic book roots.

Before we get to Iron Man and company, I’ll recount the other features in the top ten moneymakers before covering additional notable titles and some flops. If you missed my write-ups about the seasons of 1992 and 2002, you can find them here:

Summer 1992: The Top 10 Hits and More

Summer 2002: The Top 10 Hits and More

10. Prometheus

Domestic Gross: $126 million

Some three decades after Alien terrified audiences, Ridley Scott returned to the franchise. However, this was more of a mixed bag in terms of critical and audience reaction. The production design and Michael Fassbender’s performance were praised while the script drew its share of critics. Nevertheless Scott would be back in the mix five years later with Alien: Covenant. 

9. Snow White and the Huntsman 

Domestic Gross: $155 million

Hot off the Twilight franchise and hot off playing Thor in The Avengers, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth battled Prometheus costar Charlize Theron’s evil stepmom in this fantasy adventure. Reviews were so-so but it performed well enough to warrant a less appreciated prequel The Huntsman: Winter’s War in 2016.

8. Ice Age: Continental Drift 

Domestic Gross: $161 million

The fourth entry in the animated franchise featuring the vocal stylings of Ray Romano and John Leguizamo kept the grosses hot. Sequel Collision Course would follow four years later.

7. Men in Black 3

Domestic Gross: $179 million

The third teaming of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (with Josh Brolin playing a convincing younger version of him) earned $11 million less than 2002’s part II. That sequel made less than the 1997 original. The series was revamped in 2019 with Men in Black: International with none other than Chris Hemsworth, but audiences tuned out.

6. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

Domestic Gross: $216 million

Ben Stiller and Chris Rock returned for the third time voicing their respective lion and zebra. Spin-off Penguins of Madagascar came out two years later while a proper fourth entry never materialized from DreamWorks.

5. Ted

Domestic Gross: $218 million

Moving from Fox’s hugely successful animated sitcom Family Guy the big screen, Seth MacFarlane’s story of Mark Wahlberg and his crude talking bear Ted was the breakout comedy of the season. Follow-ups A Million Ways to Die in the West and the Ted sequel were not as well received.

4. Brave

Domestic Gross: $237 million

The first Pixar film led by a female hero is also the inaugural studio entry (co)directed by a woman. It would go on to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man

Domestic Gross: $262 million

After not moving forward with a fourth title directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire, the Spidey franchise was rebooted with Marc Webb behind the camera and Andrew Garfield donning the red. The dollars followed although reviews were mixed and a 2014 sequel was widely considered a disappointment.

2. The Dark Knight Rises

Domestic Gross: $448 million

While perhaps not quite reaching the heights of 2008’s The Dark Knight, the culmination to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy sent Christian Bale’s Caped Crusader off in stirring fashion and with hugely profitable earnings.

1. The Avengers

Domestic Gross: $623 million

Setting record after record upon release, the melding of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye transfixed filmgoers. It’s been Marvel’s world and we’ve been living in it ever since.

And now for some other pics worthy of discussion:

Magic Mike

Domestic Gross: $113 million

Steven Soderbergh’s saga of male exotic dancers was based loosely on Channing Tatum’s real life experiences. It turned him into a superstar while giving Matthew McConaughey a memorable showcase. The micro budgeted pic (a reported $7 million) spawned a 2015 sequel and there’s a third scheduled to hit HBO Max next year.

The Bourne Legacy

Domestic Gross: $113 million

Audiences weren’t clamoring for Jeremy Renner to replace Matt Damon in this franchise, but the stateside and overseas grosses were still pretty acceptable. That said, Renner’s tenure lasted this pic and this pic only.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Domestic Gross: $46 million

While it performed even better overseas, this British import with Judi Dench  was a sleeper hit stateside that begat a 2015 sequel.

Moonrise Kingdom 

Domestic Gross: $45 million

Wes Anderson scored with critics and crowds with this coming-of-age dramedy that premiered at Cannes and then found an audience in the weeks that followed.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Domestic Gross: $12 million

This indie drama from Benh Zeitlin was truly a little movie that could. Shot for under $2 million, it eventually nabbed Oscar nods for Picture, Director, Actress (Quvanzhane Wallis at age 9), and Adapted Screenplay.

They’re not all winners so let’s get into some critical and/or commercial failures from the period:

Dark Shadows

Domestic Gross: $79 million

Johnny Depp’s box office happy days were beginning to fade as his 8th collaboration with Tim Burton was perhaps the least memorable. This horror comedy failed to enlighten viewers.


Domestic Gross: $65 million

Action fans weren’t taken with this Peter Berg directed board game adaptation starring Liam Neeson and Rihanna with a bloated budget of over $200 million.

Total Recall

Domestic Gross: $58 million

And your action sci-fi fans weren’t signing up for Colin Farrell taking over for Arnold Schwarzenegger in this unneeded remake.

Rock of Ages

Domestic Gross: $38 million

Based on the Broadway musical, there was a deaf ear turned to this adaptation despite Tom Cruise getting solid notices for his performance. Lucky for him, he’d rule this current summer with Top Gun: Maverick. 

That’s My Boy

Domestic Gross: $36 million

Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg’s comedic partnership drew a 20% Tomatoes meter and ambivalence from usually devoted Sandler fans.

The Watch

Domestic Gross: $35 million

That wasn’t the only high-profile comedic flop as this sci-fi mashup with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill fared even worse in numbers and rotten reviews (17% RT).

And that’ll close it out, ladies and gents! It’s been a pleasure revising these cinematic seasons of days past.

Summer 2002: The Top 10 Hits and More

In the turbulent months that followed the terrorist attacks of 9/11, domestic audiences needed some escapism at the box office. In the Christmas season of 2001, they found it with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. 

By summer 2002, moviegoers turned out in record-setting droves for the first big screen treatment of an iconic superhero.

20 years later, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed as Spidey continues to dominate the charts. It all started with a memorable upside down kiss. Before we go there, there’s plenty more to discuss for the cinematic summer of two decades past.

As I do every season on the blog, I’m recounting the top 10 hits, other notable features, and flops from 30, 20, and 10 years ago. If you missed my post covering 1992, it’s right here:

Summer 1992: The Top 10 Hits and More

Let’s begin with that top 10!

10. Mr. Deeds

Domestic Gross: $126 million

When Adam Sandler remade Frank Capra, the result was another blockbuster for the star and a needed one after his previous pic Little Nicky was a rare commercial flop.

9. Minority Report

Domestic Gross: $132 million

The first and still only collaboration between Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg is a prescient sci-fi tale and its reputation has grown since its release. It’s my personal favorite film of 2002.

8. xXx

Domestic Gross: 142 million

Riding high off the success of the previous summer’s The Fast and the Furious, Rob Cohen and Vin Diesel reunited for this over the top action flick. A sequel would follow three years later without Diesel’s involvement (Ice Cube starred instead), but Vin would return to the role in 2017.

7. Lilo & Stitch

Domestic Gross: $145 million

This Disney animated effort performed just fine (if not in the stratosphere of some 90s gems) and spawned numerous direct-to-video follow-ups. A live-action version is being planned.

6. Scooby-Doo

Domestic Gross: $153 million

Critics might have thought it was a dog, but crowds lapped up this live-action/animated hybrid based on the very 1970s cartoon. Scoob and the gang would return two years later for part 2. Fun fact: James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy fame wrote the script.

5. Men in Black II

Domestic Gross: $190 million

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones teamed up again for the sci-fi comedic spectacle from Barry Sonnenfeld. This fell short of the original’s $250 million domestic haul and the reviewers weren’t impressed, but that didn’t prevent a third offering that will be discussed in my summer of 2012 post.

4. Austin Powers in Goldmember

Domestic Gross: $213 million

Mike Myers continued to flex his box office mojo alongside Beyonce, Michael Caine, and Mini-Me in this threequel that I believe surpassed the quality of predecessor The Spy Who Shagged Me. 

3. Signs

Domestic Gross: $227 million

After the more mixed reaction that Unbreakable garnered, M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs with Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix was more of a return to crowd favorite status. What followed was several pics from him that drew considerably more ambivalent to negative vibes.

2. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Domestic Gross: $302 million

$302 million is just dandy for nearly any movie, but this second prequel from George Lucas fell well short of the $431 million achieved by The Phantom Menace three summers prior. Many consider this the worst of the nine officials episodes. I’m one of them.

    1. Spider-Man

Domestic Gross: $403 million

When Sam Raimi’s spin on the webslinger kicked off the summer, it did so with the largest opening weekend of all time at $114 million (breaking a record that had just been set by the first Potter). Two sequels followed for the Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst trilogy and, as we all know, the character has never left us. Spider-Man: No Way Home recently brought all 3 Spideys (Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland) into its MCU Multiverse.

Now let’s move to some other notable titles from the season:

The Bourne Identity 

Domestic Gross: $121 million

While outside the top ten, Paul Greengrass’s action thriller with Matt Damon as an amnesiac spy is more influential than the bulk of the flicks above it. Damon would return to the role three times.

The Sum of All Fears

Domestic Gross: $118 million

Right behind Damon is his buddy Ben Affleck who took over the role of Jack Ryan (previously played by Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford) in the Tom Clancy adapted hit.

Road to Perdition

Domestic Gross: $104 million

His follow-up to Best Picture winner American Beauty, the Depression era crime drama from Sam Mendes cast Tom Hanks against type as a hitman with Paul Newman as his underworld boss. This only nabbed a Cinematography Oscar, but reviews were mostly strong. It also provides a juicy role for pre-007 Daniel Craig.


Domestic Gross: $67 million

Hanks wasn’t the only legend stretching in a villainous turn. Robin Williams memorably did the same as he was pitted against Al Pacino’s detective in this chilly thriller from Christopher Nolan (three years before Batman Begins).


Domestic Gross: $52 million

Adrian Lyne made a movie about another fatal attraction and Unfaithful earned Diane Lane an Oscar nomination as the cheating wife of Richard Gere.

And now for some movies that didn’t perform so well…

Reign of Fire

Domestic Gross: $43 million

This dragon centered fantasy arrived before Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale would be Oscar winners a few years later. Critics weren’t kind and the box office failed to generate much fire.


Domestic Gross: $40 million

John Woo’s financial win streak blew over with this World War II action drama headlined by Nicolas Cage that only managed 32% on Rotten Tomatoes.

K-19: The Widowmaker 

Domestic Gross: $35 million

Seven years before her Oscar winning The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow’s 1960s set submarine thriller with Harrison Ford was a pricey disappointment.

Halloween: Resurrection

Domestic Gross: $30 million

Michael Myers and Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode are about to team up for the final (?) time in Halloween Ends in October. In 2002, this was the sequel to the successful Halloween H20 from 1998. This one was not so successful and it’s considered by many aficionados as the weakest of the whole franchise.

Bad Company

Domestic Gross: $30 million

One is a double Oscar winner and the other is one of greatest stand-ups of all time, but this cinematic pairing of Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock in Joel Schumacher’s action comedy was met with a shrug.

Blood Work 

Domestic Gross: $26 million

Ten years after Unforgiven won Best Picture after its summer release, Clint Eastwood’s mystery didn’t work for critics or crowds.

The Adventures of Pluto Nash

Domestic Gross: $4 million

Speaking of legendary stand-ups, Eddie Murphy reached a career low point as sci-fi comedy Nash stands as one of cinema’s most notorious flops. Its budget was a reported $100 million and that’s not a misprint above… it made an embarrassing $4 million.

2012 is up next!

Hustle Review

There are so many cameos in the Adam Sandler hoops drama Hustle that it would’ve seemed appropriate for the funksters of the group Cameo to appear and belt out “Word Up!” during a scrimmage. That would’ve been kind of awesome. Not much activity of the awesome variety occurs in this Netflix offering beyond some sweet athletic moves, but it’s hard to dislike this love and basketball tale.

Sandler’s Stanley Sugerman spends much of his life overseas as an international scout for the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s a grind of an existence constantly searching for that diamond in the rough that could put the team into championship contention. He’d like to see his wife (Queen Latifah) and about to depart for college daughter (Jordan Hull) more often. That opportunity presents itself when Robert Duvall’s team owner offers him an assistant coaching position. The promotion is short-lived when a bald capped Ben Foster (as Duvall’s son) interferes with it.

Back across the pond, Stanley stumbles upon Spanish prospect Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez) at a neighborhood pickup game. He clearly has incredible skills though his family circumstances (including having a young daughter) prevented his shot at professional glory.

In Philly, Stanley preps Bo for a potential draft selection through running up hills early in the morning and various other montages involving athletic drills. Considering the town this takes place in, you’d figure there needs to be a Rocky reference and there is.

Whether Bo’s viability in the big league is gonna fly now is complicated by a checkered past and how he responds to intense pressure. Anthony Edwards (star guard in real life for the Minnesota Timberwolves) plays the consensus #2 pick whose trash talk gets under Bo’s thin skin.

Naming all the actual NBA figures cycling in and out of Hustle would be quite an undertaking. Sandler is a die-hard fan and he had no trouble enlisting authentic figures to this fictional teacher-student story. I’ll point out an amusing one as Kenny Smith portrays a super agent who owes Stanley a favor due to their playing time together in college. His performance is perfectly adequate though any fan of the game might chuckle when we see the rest of the Inside the NBA crew (Ernie Johnson, Shaq, Sir Charles Barkley) minus their fourth member.

We have seen that Sandler can nail dramatic roles especially when high quality material accompanies it (Punch-Drunk Love and Uncut Gems for example). Hustle is nowhere in the league of those pictures. I must admit seeing Adam Sandler as a coach on the sidelines never seems like anything other than Adam Sandler as a coach on the sidelines. Hernangomez (currently playing for the Utah Jazz) has a breezy rapport with his costar who clearly loves this source material. It’s so earnestly presented that it’s easy to admire even if it’s never a slam dunk.

**1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Predictions: Hustle

Adam Sandler likely came close to a Best Actor nod in 2019 with Uncut Gems. Anytime the comedian makes a dramatic turn, it’s worth checking into whether that kind of buzz materializes again. Hustle hits select theaters tomorrow before streaming on Netflix June 8th (coinciding with the NBA Finals). Jeremiah Zagar directs with a supporting cast including Queen Latifah, Ben Foster, Robert Duvall, Heidi Gardner, and Juancho Hernangomez. Newly minted billionaire LeBron James coproduces and there’s appearances by numerous NBA players such as Anthony Edwards, Trae Young, and Kyle Lowry.

Playing a basketball scout bringing a troubled player over to the big leagues,  early reviews indicate this is an effective and often rousing crowdpleaser. Sandler is getting good notices, but not to the level that placed Gems on many a top ten list of its year’s best.

From the sounds of it, Hustle should find plenty of fans. However, I doubt it will compete for any trophies at awards ceremonies. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Hubie Halloween Movie Review

Adam Sandler doesn’t have many new tricks up his sleeve with his latest Netflix “treat” in Hubie Halloween. Here he employs his Waterboy voice as a self professed holiday monitor in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. Hubie is a constantly bullied and goodhearted mama’s boy (also Waterboy shades) who is easily scared and easily grates on one’s nerves within moments. This is the typical streaming mediocrity we have come to expect from its star, but it’s slightly more of a letdown after the career best work we just saw from him in Uncut Gems. 

Collaborating with his frequent director Steven Brill, Hubie is squarely aimed at teens and Sandler diehards. There’s familiar faces galore and many of their characters are marked not by funny dialogue, but “funny” appearances. Kevin James (the town law enforcement) has funny facial hair! Tim Meadows has funny hair! Steve Buscemi has funny arm hair because he might be a werewolf! June Squibb (as his dear mama) wears funny t-shirts! Shaquille O’Neal has a funny voice in a bit that pays homage to John Carpenter’s The Fog (one of the few that I actually chuckled at).

As for plot, Sandler’s latest weird title character has to deal with an overstuffed amount of it. There’s his romantic subplot with his Happy Gilmore love interest Julie Bowen. We have a recently escaped patient from a mental institution. There are multiple tormentors of Hubie who get plenty of screen time, including Ray Liotta and Michael Chiklis. And it all happens on one long (and 102 minutes is too long here) Halloween day and night where Hubie’s constant sidekick is an all purpose thermos which serves soup, is a megaphone, and serves every other function imaginable.

Hubie Halloween isn’t awful (some other Sandler Netflix experiences are) as much as totally disposable. It’s as childish as the central character. Sometimes that works for this comedic performer with the right screenplay. This one, with a smattering of decent jokes, is mostly stuck in its own unfocused fog.

The main issue here is a familiar one. Sandler is either playing someone obnoxious or a buffoon. It’s the latter in this case and too often this latest buffoon just isn’t that funny. Even with all that supposedly hilarious hair everywhere.

** (out of four)