Summer 1988: The Top 10 Hits and More

We are in the midst of the blockbuster summer season of 2018. As I do every year on the blog, I’m recounting the summers of 30, 20, and 10 years ago with the top 10 moneymakers and other notable features and flops. We begin with 1988 and unlike the current 2018 crop that is dominated by big-budget sequels, it was surprising to find that there were a host of follow-up flops three decades ago. Sequels make up just 20% of the top ten here.

The seasons of 1998 and 2008 will be posted shortly, but here’s what what was happening 30 years ago at the cinema:

10. Bull Durham

Domestic Gross: $50 million

Writer/director Ron Shelton’s sports comedy came as Kevin Costner was experiencing a string of hits in the late 80s and early 90s. Considered one of the finest sports films ever made, it also featured showcase roles for Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

9. Rambo III

Domestic Gross: $53 million

The third go-round for Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo earned only a third of what Rambo: First Blood Part II achieved three summers prior and received mostly negative reviews. The star would revise the character 20 years later in Rambo.

8. Willow

Domestic Gross: $57 million

Ron Howard’s fantasy adventure (with a story conceived by George Lucas) was considered only a moderate success at time of its release and critical notices were mixed. It has since gone on to garner cult status.

7. A Fish Called Wanda

Domestic Gross: $62 million

This acclaimed heist comedy was an unexpected critical and audience darling with a screenplay from the legendary John Cleese. Both he and “Monty Python” cohort Michael Palin starred alongside Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline, in a rare comedic role that won an Oscar for Supporting Actor. Nine years later, the cast reunited for the less regarded Fierce Creatures. 

6. Cocktail

Domestic Gross: $78 million

Coming off his iconic role in Top Gun two years earlier, Tom Cruise propelled this bartender tale to major success despite poor reviews (even Cruise admitted it wasn’t so good years later). It did provide The Beach Boys with a big comeback hit in the form of “Kokomo”.

5. Die Hard

Domestic Gross: $83 million

It might be #5 on the list, but Die Hard is easily the most influential film of the summer of ’88. Rightfully considered the quintessential action movie, it served as a springboard for Bruce Willis’s film career and gave us an unforgettable villain in Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber. Four sequels and numerous knock-offs would follow.

4. Crocodile Dundee II

Domestic Gross: $109 million

Paul Hogan’s Aussie creation struck box office gold in 1986 when the first Dundee made $174 million and was an unexpected smash. The sequel didn’t measure up to the first commercially or critically, but it still managed to edge past the $100 million mark.

3. Big

Domestic Gross: $114 million

Tom Hanks earned his first Oscar nomination (several would follow) for Penny Marshall’s classic comedy about a teenager wanting to be an adult. It also earned an Original Screenplay nomination.

2. Coming to America

Domestic Gross: $128 million

Eddie Murphy was about the biggest box office draw in the world circa 1988 and this serves as one of his classics. There’s been long rumored plans for a sequel, but whether or not it ever materializes is a legit question three decades later.

1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Domestic Gross: $156 million

This landmark blending of live-action and animation from director Robert Zemeckis combined beloved characters from the Warner Bros and Disney catalogs, winning three technical Oscars. The title character would appear in some animated shorts in the following years, but a traditional sequel surprisingly never followed.

And now for some other notable features from the summer:

Young Guns

Domestic Gross: $45 million

This Western about Billy the Kid and his gang cast many of the hot young stars of the day, including Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Charlie Sheen. A sequel would follow two years later.

Midnight Run

Domestic Gross: $38 million

Serving as Robert De Niro’s first major foray into comedy (blended with action), Midnight Run found him brilliantly cast alongside Charles Grodin in this effort from Beverly Hills Cop director Martin Brest. Its status has only grown in subsequent years.

And now we arrive at some of the pictures that didn’t fare so well and we have 5 sequels that couldn’t match the potency of what came before them:

The Dead Pool

Domestic Gross: $37 million

Clint Eastwood’s fifth and final appearance as Dirty Harry was met with mixed reviews and lackluster box office. It’s got perhaps the best supporting cast of the lot, however, including Patricia Clarkson, Liam Neeson, and Jim Carrey a few years before he became a phenomenon.

Big Top Pee-Wee

Domestic Gross: $15 million

While Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure earned $40 million and introduced moviegoers to Tim Burton, this sequel underwhelmed. Star Paul Reubens would, um, pick up notoriety three years later for another experience in a movie theater.

Arthur 2: On the Rocks

Domestic Gross: $14 million

The 1981 original earned Academy Award nominations and a fantastic $95 million domestic haul. By the time the sequel followed seven years later, audiences weren’t interested in the comedy starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli.

Poltergeist III

Domestic Gross: $14 million

The franchise began in 1982 with acclaim and huge dollars. A sequel diminished those returns and by the time part 3 hit screens, crowds were tuned out. Tragically, Heather O’Rourke (who famously played Carol Anne) died months before its release at the age of 12.

Caddyshack II

Domestic Gross: $11 million

Part 1 was a comedy classic. Part 2 was anything but. Chevy Chase was the only returning cast member to return and there was no repeating the magic with Jackie Mason, Robert Stack, Randy Quaid, and Dan Aykroyd.

And finally…

Mac and Me

Domestic Gross: $6 million

A notorious bomb, this E.T. rip-off received plenty of ink on account of its awfulness. There is a silver lining, however, as Paul Rudd has hilariously incorporated it into segments on Conan O’Brien’s show over the years.

And there you have the summer of 1988 in a nutshell! I’ll be back with 1998 soon…

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Gavin Hood’s Eye in the Sky succeeds as a tense and strongly acted thriller which presents a moral test to the audience without being preachy. That’s a compliment to screenwriter Guy Hibbert for not feeling the need to bash us over the head with whatever his personal politics might be. We don’t know and don’t really need to.

The subject of drone warfare and its prevalence in recent conflicts is one that audiences will bring their own leanings to. This film presents a scenario in a matter of fact manner with characters on different sides of the fence. That situation is in the country of Kenya where a trio of high value targets are in the same location. The British government is in charge of deciding how to kill or capture them and many of the shots are being called by iron willed Colonel Powell (Helen Mirren). Her chain of command is superseded by fellow soldier General Benson (Alan Rickman in his second to last role). Their experience on the ground makes them simpatico when it comes to decisions, but they’re in a constant morass of government officials kicking the can up the chain.

It isn’t long before the capture order becomes a kill order and it’s an American Air Force pilot (Aaron Paul) tasked with dropping the drone from his base in Nevada. There’s one significant complication: a little girl is selling bread right outside the target zone. The question of her being likely collateral damage weigh on the conscience of our characters to varying degrees.

There are moments in the Sky that can’t help but be somewhat humorous even considering the potentially tragic circumstances, as many of the people shown can’t bring themselves to make any final decision. You may not feel like you should be amused by it, but there are times where it feels like the intent. This also extends to small moments where real life gets in the way of those making these massive judgment calls, from children’s toy shopping for one to a bout of food poisoning for another.

The acting is all first-rate with special credit to the always dependable Mirren and Rickman, whose characters disdain for their higher-ups indecisiveness is barely bubbling under the surface. When Eye concludes, it has managed to take the time to lay out the pros and cons of each momentous decision. Yet it invites us to make our judgment call on whether it was all worth it. In this case, that’s the sign of some filmmakers respecting their audience and successfully keeping us enthralled throughout.

***1/2 (out of four)

Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: November 10th Edition

Hey all – it’s Thursday and that means time to update Oscar predictions in the eight major categories. Since last Thursday, Denzel Washington’s eagerly awaited Fences held its first industry screenings and solidified itself as a major player this awards season. Beyond that, we’re still in a holding pattern with various titles yet to unveil themselves. That will change soon with such titles as Rules Don’t Apply, Miss Sloane, and Allied… so stay tuned as those pictures reveal themselves to be true contenders or not.

And with that, the November 10th rankings!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Fences (PR: 3)

3. Silence (PR: 2)

4. Moonlight (PR: 4)

5. Lion (PR: 5)

6. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

7. Loving (PR: 8)

8. Jackie (PR: 7)

9. Arrival (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities

10. Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

11. Hell or High Water (PR: 11)

12. 20th Century Women (PR: 12)

13. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 13)

14. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 15)

15. Live by Night (PR: 14)

16. Sully (PR: 16)

17. The Jungle Book (PR: 17)

18. Nocturnal Animals (PR: Not Ranked)

19. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 18)

20. Allied (PR: 19)

Dropped Out:

Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Director

Predicted Nominees

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 2)

3. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 3)

4. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 5)

5. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Denis Villeneueve, Arrival (PR: 6)

7. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 7)

8. Pablo Larrain, Jackie (PR: 8)

9. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 9)

10. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 3)

4. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 4)

5. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 7)

7. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 6)

8. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 9)

9. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic (PR: 10)

10. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 8)

Best Actress

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 3)

3. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

4. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 4)

5. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 5)

7. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 7)

8. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 8)

9. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Rebecca Hall, Christine (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Marion Cotillard, Allied

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 1)

2. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 3)

3. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 4)

4. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 2)

5. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities

6. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 8)

7. Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie (PR: 6)

8. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 7)

9. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 5)

10. Aaron Eckhart, Sully (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Alan Rickman, Eye in the Sky

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

3. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 3)

4. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 4)

5. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

7. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 8)

8. Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures (PR: 7)

9. Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls (PR: 9)

10. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Margo Martindale, The Hollars

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Moonlight (PR: 1)

2. La La Land (PR: 2)

3. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 3)

4. Loving (PR: 4)

5. Jackie (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Hell or High Water (PR: 7)

7. 20th Century Women (PR: 6)

8. The Lobster (PR: 8)

9. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Captain Fantastic (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Miss Sloane

I, Daniel Blake

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Fences (PR: 1)

2. Lion (PR: 3)

3. Silence (PR: 2)

4. Arrival (PR: 4)

5. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

7. Live by Night (PR: 8)

8. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 7)

9. Elle (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Love & Friendship (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Certain Women

And that will do it for today! Until next week…

Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: November 3rd Edition

Well – we’ve reached November, loyal blog readers and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m paring down the list of Oscar hopefuls in the eight major categories. Over the past two months, I’ve listed 25 possibilities for Best Picture and 15 for the Directing, Acting, and Screenplay races. Today, it gets whittled down to 20 in BP and 10 in the others. One development of note this week: it appears Dev Patel will be competing in Supporting Actor for Lion instead of Lead. That enters him in the derby for that race, which looks more unpredictable than any other at this moment.

There are still a number of Oscar hopefuls left to screen: Silence, Fences, Live by Night, Rules Don’t Apply, Passengers, The Founder, Hidden Figures, Miss Sloane, Gold among them. In other words, look for shifts in placement as these movies start receiving reviews and buzz in the near future.

Here’s how I have the respective competitions shaping up in this early November period:

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 2)

3. Fences (PR: 3)

4. Moonlight (PR: 4)

5. Lion (PR: 5)

6. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 7)

7. Jackie (PR: 6)

8. Loving (PR: 8)

9. Arrival (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities

10. Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

11. Hell or High Water (PR: 12)

12. 20th Century Women (PR: 11)

13. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 13)

14. Live by Night (PR: 15)

15. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 24)

16. Sully (PR: 14)

17. The Jungle Book (PR: 17)

18. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 16)

19. Allied (PR: 20)

20. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 18)

Dropped Out:

Nocturnal Animals, Miss Sloane, Passengers, Gold, 13th

Best Director

Predicted Nominees

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 2)

3. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 4)

4. Kenneth Longergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 3)

5. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Denis Villeneuve, Arrival (PR: 7)

7. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 8)

8. Pablo Larrain, Jackie (PR: 5)

9. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 9)

10. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Mike Mills (20th Century Women), Ang Lee (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Ben Affleck (Live by Night), Clint Eastwood (Sully)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 4)

4. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 3)

5. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 6)

7. Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 9)

8. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 8)

9. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 13)

10. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Dev Patel (Lion – moved to Supporting), Michael Keaton (The Founder), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals), Will Smith (Collateral Beauty), Miles Teller (Bleed for This)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

3. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 3)

4. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 5)

5. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 6)

7. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 7)

8. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 8)

9. Marion Cotillard, Allied (PR: 10)

10. Rebecca Hall, Christine (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures), Rachel Weisz (Denial), Jennifer Lawrence (Passengers), Amy Adams (Nocturnal Animals), Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 1)

2. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 2)

3. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 3)

4. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: Not Ranked; considered to be Lead)

5. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie (PR: 6)

7. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 7)

8. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 4)

9. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: 10)

10. Alan Rickman, Eye in the Sky (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Aaron Eckhart (Sully), Sunny Pawar (Lion), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Timothy Spall (Denial), Aaron Eckhart (Bleed for This), Kevin Costner (Hidden Figures)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 3)

3. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

4. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 4)

5. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

7. Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures (PR: 7)

8. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 8)

9. Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls (PR: 9)

10. Margo Martindale, The Hollars (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Helen Mirren (Eye in the Sky), Elle Fanning (20th Century Women), Janelle Monae (Moonlight), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Miss Sloane), Laura Linney (Nocturnal Animals)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Moonlight (PR: 3)

2. La La Land (PR: 1)

3. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

4. Loving (PR: 5)

5. Jackie (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. 20th Century Women (PR: 6)

7. Hell or High Water (PR: 7)

8. The Lobster (PR: 9)

9. Miss Sloane (PR: 8)

10. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Toni Erdmann, Allied, Rules Don’t Apply, Gold, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Fences (PR: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 2)

3. Lion (PR: 3)

4. Arrival (PR: 4)

5. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

7. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 9)

8. Live by Night (PR: 8)

9. Love & Friendship (PR: 7)

10. Certain Women (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Sully, Elle, Indignation, The Jungle Book, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

And that shall do it for now, friends! Until next time…

Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 27th Edition

Thursday has arrived and that means a fresh round of Oscar predictions in the 8 biggest categories! The major development this week? The announcement that Viola Davis will compete in Supporting Actress for Fences instead of lead. I’ve had Davis firmly at #3 for weeks on my Best Actress board, but this news puts her at #1 in the supporting race. I’m also growing more confident that both Moonlight (which had a scorching debut in limited release) and Loving will make it into Best Picture and they both rise up in this week’s rankings.

Please note – this will be the final week of predicting 25 Best Picture possibilities and 15 predictions in the other races. Starting next week as November arrives, it’ll be whittled down to 20 in Picture and 10 in the others.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 2)

3. Fences (PR: 3)

4. Moonlight (PR: 6)

5. Lion (PR: 4)

6. Jackie (PR: 5)

7. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 7)

8. Loving (PR: 10)

9. Arrival (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities

10. Hidden Figures (PR: 9)

11. 20th Century Women (PR: 11)

12. Hell or High Water (PR: 12)

13. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 18)

14. Sully (PR: 14)

15. Live by Night (PR: 13)

16. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 15)

17. The Jungle Book (PR: 19)

18. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 17)

19. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 16)

20. Allied (PR: 21)

21. Miss Sloane (PR: Not Ranked)

22. Passengers (PR: 24)

23. Gold (PR: 22)

24. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 23)

25. 13th (PR: 20)

Dropped Out:

The Founder

Best Director

Predicted Nominees

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 2)

3. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 4)

4. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 3)

5. Pablo Larrain, Jackie (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 8)

7. Denis Villeneuve, Arrival (PR: 6)

8. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 7)

9. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 9)

10. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 13)

11. Mike Mills, 20th Century Women (PR: 11)

12. Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 10)

13. Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Ben Affleck, Live by Night (PR: 12)

15. Clint Eastwood, Sully (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Ana DuVernay, 13th

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 3)

4. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 5)

5. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 6)

7. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 7)

8. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 9)

9. Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 8)

10. Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 10)

11. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 11)

12. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic (PR: 14)

13. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 12)

14. Will Smith, Collateral Beauty (PR: 13)

15. Miles Teller, Bleed for This (PR: 15)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

3. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 4)

4. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 6)

5. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 7)

7. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 9)

8. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 8)

9. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

10. Marion Cotillard, Allied (PR: 12)

11. Rebecca Hall, Christine (PR: 11)

12. Rachel Weisz, Denial (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers (PR: 15)

14. Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 13)

15. Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Viola Davis, Fences (competing in Supporting Actress)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 1)

2. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 2)

3. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 5)

4. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 3)

5. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie (PR: 8)

7. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

8. Aaron Eckhart, Sully (PR: 7)

9. Sunny Pawar, Lion (PR: 9)

10. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: 10)

11. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 11)

12. Timothy Spall, Denial (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Aaron Eckhart, Bleed for This (PR: 13)

14. Alan Rickman, Eye in the Sky (PR: 12)

15. Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Ben Foster, Hell or High Water

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: Not Ranked, listed in Lead Actress)

2. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

3. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

4. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 3)

5. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 5)

7. Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

8. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 6)

9. Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls (PR: 12)

10. Margo Martindale, The Hollars (PR: 8)

11. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: 9)

12. Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women (PR: 7)

13. Janelle Monae, Moonlight (PR: 13)

14. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Miss Sloane (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Laura Linney, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Kristen Stewart, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Moonlight (PR: 4)

4. Jackie (PR: 3)

5. Loving (PR: 6)

Other Possibilties

6. 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

7. Hell or High Water (PR: 7)

8. Miss Sloane (PR: 9)

9. The Lobster (PR: 12)

10. Toni Erdmann (PR: 8)

11. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 10)

12. Allied (PR: 13)

13. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 15)

14. Gold (PR: 14)

15. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 11)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Fences (PR: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 2)

3. Lion (PR: 3)

4. Arrival (PR: 5)

5. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Hidden Figures (PR: 4)

7. Love & Friendship (PR: 7)

8. Live by Night (PR: 8)

9. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 15)

10. Certain Women (PR: 14)

11. Sully (PR: 10)

12. Elle (PR: 9)

13. Indignation (PR: 13)

14. The Jungle Book (PR: 12)

15. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 11)

Until next week…!

Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 20th Edition

It’s Thursday, ladies and gents, and that means my weely Oscar predictions are in! There’s been some serious changes to the predictions, a new film that’s qualified itself for consideration, and some category shifting that’s occurred within the past week.

So – perhaps some explanation on where I see the state of the races in each of the eight major categories is required this week. My synopsis of said races are for your enjoyment below…

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 2)

3. Fences (PR: 3)

4. Lion (PR: 6)

5. Jackie (PR: 5)

6. Moonlight (PR: 7)

7. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

8. Arrival (PR: 9)

9. Hidden Figures (PR: 12)

Other Possibilities

10. Loving (PR: 10)

11. 20th Century Women (PR: 11)

12. Hell or High Water (PR: 14)

13. Live by Night (PR: 13)

14. Sully (PR: 15)

15. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 4)

16. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 17)

17. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 18)

18. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)

19. The Jungle Book (PR: 20)

20. 13th (PR: 16)

21. Allied (PR: 21)

22. Gold (PR: 22)

23. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: Not Ranked)

24. Passengers (PR: 23)

25. The Founder (PR: 24)

Dropped Out:

Miss Sloane

I, Daniel Blake

Where The Race Stands…

With La La Land as the current front runner and there’s no doubt about it. The conventional wisdom for the last several weeks is that there were three fall entries that could potentially give it a run for its money: Martin Scorsese’s Silence, Denzel Washington’s Fences, and Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. That dynamic shifted dramatically when Halftime opened to middling reviews when it screened at the New York Film Festival this weekend. The film has now dropped 11 spots and out of my predicted nominees and it’s unlikely to make its way back in. Silence and Fences now seem the only likely pictures to stand in the way of La La. Meanwhile, Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge makes a serious jump into the possibilities – from not ranked a week ago to #18.  I’ve also found room for the Warren Beatty pic Rules Don’t Apply, which has yet to screen. Others on the list of possibilities that have yet to be reviewed (meaning they could jump up when they do or fall out completely): Hidden Figures (which I have in the ninth spot at the moment for a nod), Live by Night, Passengers, Allied, Gold, The Founder and others not currently in the top 25 such as Miss Sloane and Collateral Beauty. 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 3)

3. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 4)

4. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

5. Pablo Larrain, Jackie (PR: 5)

Other Possibilties

6. Denis Villeneuve, Arrival (PR: 7)

7. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 8)

8. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 9)

9. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 10)

10. Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 2)

11. Mike Mills, 20th Century Women (PR: 12)

12. Ben Affleck, Live by Night (PR: 11)

13. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Clint Eastwood, Sully (PR: 13)

15. Ana DuVernay, 13th (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Where the Race Stands…

With two-time Oscar winner Ang Lee falling 8 spots after the NYFF Halftime reaction. Chazelle remains at #1 as he’s been for weeks as we await Scorsese and Washington’s films. I’m growing more confident that Lonergan manages to squeeze into the top five.

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 3)

4. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 4)

5. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 8)

7. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 6)

8. Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (PR: Not Ranked in Lead Actor)

9. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 9)

11. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 10)

12. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 11)

13. Will Smith, Collateral Beauty (PR: 12)

14. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic (PR: 15)

15. Miles Teller, Bleed for This (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Joe Alwyn, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Ben Affleck, Live by Night

Where the Race Stands…

Up in the air until we see Denzel’s work in Fences, which could potentially become the immediate front runner as I’m currently estimating. Casey Affleck is getting raves, too and has held steady at #2 for weeks. Andrew Garfield is on the outside looking in for now, but could get in for either Silence or Hacksaw Ridge. There’s also late breaking news that Taylor Hackford’s The Comedian was given a December release for Oscar consideration and perhaps that’ll bode well for its star, Robert De Niro (though I’m not prepared to include him in the mix quite yet). And there’s last week’s reveal that Warren Beatty will compete in this category instead of Supporting, as was previously thought.

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

3. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 3)

4. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 4)

5. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 7)

7. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 6)

8. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 9)

9. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 8)

10. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 12)

11. Rebecca Hall, Christine (PR: 10)

12. Marion Cotillard, Allied (PR: 14)

13. Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 11)

14. Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train (PR: 13)

15. Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers (PR: 15)

Where the Race Stands…

As one of the most competitive Best Actress races in history. Both Stone and Portman are serious contenders for the win and we haven’t even seen heard the word on Davis’s work in Fences. They appear to be the trio that could win. In any other year, Bening’s acclaimed performance in Women might earn her some overdue recognition, but probably not this year. The fifth slot is much trickier and I almost picked Adams (for Arrival and not Nocturnal Animals) over Negga. Just to show you the competitiveness, Streep in most years would be a shoo-in for her 20th (!) nomination for Jenkins, but could be left out. Others to keep an eye on: Chastain and a dark horse nominee like Hall.

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 1)

2. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 2)

3. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 3)

4. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 4)

5. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 10)

7. Aaron Eckhart, Sully (PR: 6)

8. Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie (PR: 8)

9. Sunny Pawar, Lion (PR: 9)

10. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: 11)

11. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 12)

12. Alan Rickman, Eye in the Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Aaron Eckhart, Bleed for This (PR: 13)

14. Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Ben Foster, Hell or High Water (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (moved to Lead Actor list)

Steve Martin, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Timothy Spall, Denial

Where the Race Stands…

Absolutely and 100% percent wide open… so much so that I’m not confident any of my current picks make the final cut. Some would argue Grant is in, but I’m not totally convinced. Shannon is such a well-respected actor that he’s probably in, but reaction has been very mixed on Nocturnal Animals. Neeson and Henderson’s work has yet to be seen. Bottom line: this particular category could change a lot over the next few weeks.

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

3. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 3)

4. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 4)

5. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities

6. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 7)

7. Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

8. Margo Martindale, The Hollars (PR: 8)

9. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: 9)

10. Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Kristen Stewart, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 6)

12. Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Janelle Monae, Moonlight (PR: 13)

14. Laura Linney, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 11)

15. Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Sienna Miller, Live by Night

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Miss Sloane

Where The Race Stands…

Seemingly with Williams and Harris as the two front runners and it’s been that way for a while after Manchester and Moonlight, respectively, hit the festival circuit. Perhaps one of the two actresses from the not yet screened Hidden Figures (Spencer and Monae, who also got positive notices for Moonlight) could make a play. Otherwise, this looks like a two-way competition at the moment.

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Jackie (PR: 3)

4. Moonlight (PR: 4)

5. 20th Century Women (PR: 6)

Other Possibilties

6. Loving (PR: 7)

7. Hell or High Water (PR: 5)

8. Toni Erdmann (PR: 9)

9. Miss Sloane (PR: 8)

10. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 14)

11. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 11)

12. The Lobster (PR: 12)

13. Allied (PR: 10)

14. Gold (PR: 13)

15. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Captain Fantastic

Where the Race Stands…

As a race that La La Land may not automatically win over Manchester by the Sea. Jackie and Moonlight are also looking solid for nominations with a fifth slot that I keep changing up between 20th Century Women, Loving, and Hell or High Water.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Fences (PR: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 2)

3. Lion (PR: 3)

4. Hidden Figures (PR: 7)

5. Arrival (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

7. Love & Friendship (PR: 11)

8. Live by Night (PR: 8)

9. Elle (PR: 10)

10. Sully (PR: 9)

11. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 4)

12. The Jungle Book (PR: 14)

13. Indignation (PR: 12)

14. Certain Women (PR: 13)

15. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Denial

Where the Race Stands…

In a waiting pattern as Fences and Silence have yet to screen. They could both be heavy hitters. If they both falter, look to Lion. 

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

Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 13th Edition

It’s Thursday and that means my weekly Oscar predictions are in! As with previous weeks, I’m ranking the top 25 most likely Best Picture nominees along with top 15 in seven other big races. Come November – those numbers will dwindle to 20 and 10, respectively. You can see where each nominee has risen or fallen or stayed the same from one week ago.

Some developments… Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is expected to screen this weekend so the buzz will be out (meaning its Oscar picture will become more clear soon). Loving took a hit this week and is out of my Best Picture predictions for the first time (enter Arrival). And the poor debut of The Birth of a Nation has knocked it out of the top 25 altogether.

**I’ll note again that just because I rank a picture, director, or actor at #1 doesn’t mean I’m predicting them to win. It just means their first on chances of a nomination. I won’t get into predicting winners until after the nominations are released.

And with that… let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 3)

3. Fences (PR: 2)

4. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 5)

5. Jackie (PR: 9)

6. Lion (PR: 4)

7. Moonlight (PR: 7)

8. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

9. Arrival (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities

10. Loving (PR: 8)

11. 20th Century Women (PR: 19)

12. Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

13. Live by Night (PR: 13)

14. Hell or High Water (PR: 15)

15. Sully (PR: 12)

16. 13th (PR: 16)

17. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 14)

18. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 20)

19. Miss Sloane (PR: 24)

20. The Jungle Book (PR: 18)

21. Allied (PR: 23)

22. Gold (PR: 22)

23. Passengers (PR: Not Ranked)

24. The Founder (PR: 21)

25. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 25)

Dropped Out:

The Birth of a Nation

Best Director

Predicted Nominees

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 3)

3. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 2)

4. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 4)

5. Pablo Larrain, Jackie (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 5)

7. Denis Villeneuve, Arrival (PR: 9)

8. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 7)

9. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 8)

10. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 10)

11. Ben Affleck, Live by Night (PR: 13)

12. Mike Mills, 20th Century Women (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Clint Eastwood, Sully (PR: 12)

14. Ana DuVernay, 13th (PR: 11)

15. Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 4)

4. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 3)

5. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 7)

7. Joe Alwyn, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 6)

8. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 10)

9. Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 8)

10. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 9)

11. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 11)

12. Will Smith, Collateral Beauty (PR: 14)

13. Miles Teller, Bleed for This (PR: 12)

14. Ben Affleck, Live by Night (PR: 13)

15. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

3. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 3)

4. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 4)

5. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 6)

7. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 7)

8. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 8)

9. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 9)

10. Rebecca Hall, Christine (PR: 14)

11. Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 11)

12. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

13. Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train (PR: 13)

14. Marion Cotillard, Allied (PR: 12)

15. Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers (PR: 15)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 2)

2. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 1)

3. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 4)

4. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 3)

5. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Aaron Eckhart, Sully (PR: 5)

7. Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 8)

8. Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie (PR: 9)

9. Sunny Pawar, Lion (PR: 7)

10. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 13)

11. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: 10)

12. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 14)

13. Aaron Eckhart, Bleed for This (PR: 12)

14. Steve Martin, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 11)

15. Timothy Spall, Denial (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Alan Rickman, Eye in the Sky

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Michelle Williams, Manchster by the Sea (PR: 1)

2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

3. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 3)

4. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 4)

5. Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities

6. Kristen Stewart, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 6)

7. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 11)

8. Margo Martindale, The Hollars (PR: 7)

9. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: 8)

10. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 9)

11. Laura Linney, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

12. Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold (PR: 12)

13. Janelle Monae, Moonlight (PR: 13)

14. Sienna Miller, Live by Night (Not Ranked)

15. Guga Mbatha Raw, Miss Sloane (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Jackie (PR: 4)

4. Moonlight (PR: 3)

5. Hell or High Water (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. 20th Century Women (PR: 7)

7. Loving (PR: 5)

8. Miss Sloane (PR: 11)

9. Toni Erdmann (PR: 15)

10. Allied (PR: 14)

11. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 9)

12. The Lobster (PR: 10)

13. Gold (PR: 13)

14. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 8)

15. Captain Fantastic (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Zootopia

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Fences (PR: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 2)

3. Lion (PR: 3)

4. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 5)

5. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Arrival (PR: 8)

7. Hidden Figures (PR: 7)

8. Live by Night (PR: 9)

9. Sully (PR: 6)

10. Elle (PR: 11)

11. Love & Friendship (PR: 12)

12. Indignation (PR: 10)

13. Certain Women (PR: Not Ranked)

14. The Jungle Book (PR: 13)

15. Denial (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

A Monster Calls

Whew! And there you have it… I’ll be back at it next Thursday!