Oscar History: 2013

Recapping the Oscar Season of 2013, a few things stick out. The big winners were 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, which cleaned up in the tech races. The big loser was American Hustle, which came away with zero victories despite 10 nominations (tying it for most nods with Gravity, which won 7 of them). Another take: it was a packed year for Best Actor with some deserving gents left out.

As I have done with previous years, let’s take a deeper dive in the 86th Academy Awards in the major races:

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave unsurprisingly came away with the Best Picture prize in a field that yielded eight other films. They were David O. Russell’s American Hustle, Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips, Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, Spike Jonze’s Her, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Philomena from Stephen Frears, and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. 

That’s a solid grouping of pictures and there’s probably no obvious omissions from my end in 2013.. That said, many young girls may protest Frozen not making the cut though it did win Best Animated Feature. And certainly Inside Llewyn Davis from the Coen Brothers had its ardent admirers.

There was a Picture/Director split with Cuaron emerging victorious for Gravity. The filmmaker would achieve the same feat five years later when he won for Roma but Green Book took Best Picture. Other nominees were McQueen, Payne, Russell, and Scorsese.I would argue that Greengrass and Jonze could have made the final five.

In the aforementioned crowded Best Actor derby, Matthew McConaughey took gold for his work in Dallas Buyers Club. The four other contenders were Christian Bale for Hustle, Bruce Dern in Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio for Wall Street, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave. Note that all nominees came from Best Picture hopefuls.

Let’s start with Tom Hanks, who I absolutely feel should have gotten in for his remarkable performance in Captain Phillips. The clip I’ve included below proves it and then some. You could say the same for Joaquin Phoenix in Her. Others worth noting: Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis, Hugh Jackman in Prisoners, and Robert Redford for All Is Lost. 

Cate Blanchett was the latest actress to be honored for her work in a Woody Allen picture as she took Best Actress for Blue Jasmine. The other nominees were Amy Adams (American Hustle), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), and the ever present Meryl Streep (August: Osage County).

I’ll mention three others left out worthy of consideration: Brie Larson in Short Term 12, Julia-Louis Dreyfus for Enough Said, and Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks. For the latter, it was a bit unexpected that she was left out.

McConaughey’s Dallas Buyers costar Jared Leto won Supporting Actor over Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), and Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street). Again, all nominees stemmed from Picture contenders.

Some others that didn’t quite make it: Daniel Bruhl in Rush, Steve Coogan for Philomena, Paul Dano in Prisoners, and Will Forte in Nebraska.

Another big 12 Years victory was Lupita Nyong’o in Supporting Actress. She took the prize despite competition from Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), and June Squibb (Nebraska).

Despite it being a voice only performance, I would say Scarlett Johansson in Her deserved a spot and the same could be said for Margot Robbie in Wall Street.

And there you have it, folks! My look back at the Oscar landscape in 2013. I’ll have 2014 up in due time…

Downsizing Movie Review

Director Alexander Payne and his writing partner Jim Taylor enter new genre territory with Downsizing, but it’s filled with the themes found in their previous efforts. A central character searching for meaning in life, marital strife, and classism are on display. Unlike prior features, science fiction elements and a bigger budget are in the mix. This is a story loaded with intriguing prospects  that doesn’t lead to a totally rewarding whole.

A prologue shows the advent of a monumental discovery by Norwegian scientists – the ability to shrink humans to only five inches tall. The reasoning to do it is to save the Earth by significantly reducing pollution and overpopulation. Not all citizens who choose to go through the procedure are hardcore environmentalists. There’s also the added bonus that downsizing is a financial boon. Every dollar in big world translates to about a grand in the smaller one.

This is the primary reason why occupational therapist Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristin Wiig) choose their new path. The Omaha couple agree to downsize and populate the colony of Leisureland. In Nebraska, they’re scraping by. They will be millionaires post op. A surprise happens on the way to the procedure. Paul goes through with it, but Audrey backs out and leaves him.

Lonely Paul must adjust to his tiny new surroundings and life. His eventual divorce agreement causes him to trade his Leisureland mansion for an apartment (albeit a pretty nice one). Up to this point, Downsizing is pretty nifty. The leadup and explanations of how this new world works are fascinating. There’s some prejudice involved with the full size humans meeting those about to become small. Should they get full voting rights, for instance? We also discover there’s nefarious governments that forcibly shrink their dissidents.

Further exploration of themes like these could have made a potentially rich experience. Downsizing goes a different direction. Paul’s upstairs neighbor is a party animal played with expected gusto by Christoph Waltz. It’s through this freewheeling character that Paul meets Ngoc Lan (Hong Chau), a Vietnamese political activist who was punished by that government. She’s an amputee and cleaning lady with a heart of gold. Ngoc Lan takes Paul to the slums of Leisureland where he begins to medically assist its poor residents. He also begins to fall for his companion.

The picture, at this juncture, largely abandons its sci fi leanings and concentrates on issues of self-worth, love, and political themes. Of course, all these things have been present in many great science fiction efforts. However, the tone of Downsizing is a shifty one. There’s moments of satire that aren’t biting enough and an earnestness that can come off cloying. That latter description could sometimes apply to Damon’s work. Payne has directed a number of actors to Oscar nominations. His lead here displays the same syrupy conviction in which he once bought a zoo. Chau is a different story. She creates a character whose backstory might have been really rewarding if shown onscreen. Unfortunately, Ngoc Lan eventually becomes just the love interest to the blander protagonist.

Payne and Taylor deserve a degree of credit for crafting this odd concoction. There’s some original thoughts here and some sequences are truly impressive, especially the downsizing procedure itself. That said, the emotional payoff the filmmakers are reaching for never quite reached me. There are moments in About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants and Nebraska that did so more often and with an appreciated higher level of subtlety. So while I admire Downsizing for some big ideas, the overall impact is smaller.

**1/2 (out of four)

Downsizing Box Office Prediction

Director Alexander Payne’s latest Downsizing hits screens next Friday for a holiday release. The science fiction dramedy features Matt Damon, Kristin Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Christoph Waltz, and Hong Chau.

Payne has seen his last three films – Sideways, The Descendants, Nebraska – all nab Best Picture nominations. Downsizing was once seen as an Oscar contender until it premiered at the Venice Film Festival months ago to mixed reviews (it stands at a muted 64% on Rotten Tomatoes). In fact, its only Academy chatter is focused on costar Chau, who could manage a Supporting Actress nod.

The near complete lack of awards chatter has muted the buzz for this project. The pic also has plenty of competition for its intended adult audience, including The Greatest Showman and various other genuine Oscar hopefuls.

Add that up and I feel Downsizing will experience a debut in the low double digits or teens. That would a bit under another Damon flick from an acclaimed director released over Christmas from six years ago, Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo. 

Downsizing opening weekend prediction: $11.7 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/11/jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle-box-office-prediction/

For my The Greatest Showman prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/the-greatest-showman-box-office-prediction/

For my Pitch Perfect 3 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/pitch-perfect-3-box-office-prediction/

For my Father Figures prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/14/father-figures-box-office-prediction/

Todd’s 2017 Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 19th Edition

My weekly round of Thursday Oscar predictions in the eight major categories brings a couple of updates from the past week:

Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel premiered at the New York Film Festival and the mixed reaction has caused it to roll all the way out of the top 25 possibilities for Best Picture. Kate Winslet still stands a decent shot at Best Actress in a very crowded race, but her nomination seems a bit less assured to me now. The film also takes a hit in the Original Screenplay derby.

It’s looking like The Leisure Seeker with Donald Sutherland will not be released until 2018. I’ve had the actor on the lower rungs of possibility for Best Actor, but until I see confirmation of an awards qualifying end of year release date, he’s out for now.

And with that, let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Post (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

5. Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 5)

7. Mudbound (PR: 7)

8. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 10)

9. The Florida Project (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Detroit (PR: 12)

11. Last Flag Flying (PR: 11)

12. Phantom Thread (PR: 15)

13. The 15:17 to Paris (PR: 14)

14. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 13)

15. I, Tonya (PR: 17)

16. Downsizing (PR: 18)

17. The Greatest Showman (PR: 16)

18. Lady Bird (PR: 22)

19. All the Money in the World (PR: 20)

20. Get Out (PR: 19)

21. Wonderstruck (PR: 21)

22. The Big Sick (PR: 23)

23. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 25)

24. Wind River (PR: 24)

25. Molly’s Game (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Wonder Wheel 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6uefZOL41x4

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

5. Joe Wright, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 7)

7. Dee Rees, Mudbound (PR: 5)

8. Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 8)

9. Sean Baker, The Florida Project (PR: 10)

10. Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit (PR: 11)

11. Clint Eastwood, The 15:17 to Paris (PR: 12)

12. Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying (PR: 14)

13. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread (PR: 13)

14. Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel

Jordan Peele, Get Out

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

3. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman (PR: 3)

5. Tom Hanks, The Post (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger (PR: 6)

7. Steve Carell, Last Flag Flying (PR: 7)

8. Andrew Garfield, Breathe (PR: 9)

9. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (PR: 8)

10. James Franco, The Disaster Artist (PR: 10)

11. Jeremy Renner, Wind River (PR: 11)

12. Matt Damon, Downsizing (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Christian Bale, Hostiles (PR: 13)

14. Jason Clarke, Chappaquiddick (PR: 15)

15. Algee Smith, Detroit (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Donald Sutherland, The Leisure Seeker 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Meryl Streep, The Post (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (PR: 3)

4. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 5)

5. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

7. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (PR: 7)

8. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird (PR: 9)

10. Brooklyn Prince, The Florida Project (PR: 11)

11. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman (PR: 10)

12. Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (PR: 12)

13. Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World (PR: 15)

14. Diane Kruger, In the Fade (PR: 13)

15. Jennifer Lawrence, mother! (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Carey Mulligan, Mudbound

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project (PR: 1)

2. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 2)

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk (PR: 5)

5. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 4)

7. Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour (PR: 7)

8. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound (PR: 6)

9. Kevin Spacey, All the Money in the World (PR: 10)

10. Will Poulter, Detroit (PR: 9)

11. Christoph Waltz, Downsizing (PR: 11)

12. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 12)

13. Bryan Cranston, Last Flag Flying (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Patrick Stewart, Logan (PR: 13)

15. Garrett Hedlund, Mudbound (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Colin Farrell, The Beguiled

Jim Belushi, Wonder Wheel

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B_8S5Ze8q48

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Allison Janney, I, Tonya (PR: 1)

2. Melissa Leo, Novitiate (PR: 3)

3. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird (PR: 2)

4. Hong Chau, Downsizing (PR: 4)

5. Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water (PR: 8)

7. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick (PR: 5)

8. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound (PR: 7)

9. Claire Foy, Breathe (PR: 10)

10. Julianne Moore, Wonderstruck (PR: 11)

11. Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled (PR: 9)

12. Tatiana Maslany, Stronger (PR: 13)

13. Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck (PR: 12)

14. Sarah Paulson, The Post (PR: 15)

15. Michelle Pfeiffer, mother! (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 1)

2. Mudbound (PR: 2)

3. Last Flag Flying (PR: 4)

4. Molly’s Game (PR: 3)

5. Wonderstruck (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 7)

7. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 8)

8. The 15:17 to Paris (PR: 9)

9. The Beguiled (PR: 6)

10. All the Money in the World (PR: 10)

11. Stronger (PR: 12)

12. The Disaster Artist (PR: 11)

13. The Death of Stalin (PR: 13)

14. Wonder (PR: 15)

15. First, They Killed My Father (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Thank You for Your Service

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 1)

2. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

3. The Post (PR: 2)

4. The Florida Project (PR: 6)

5. The Big Sick (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Darkest Hour (PR: 5)

7. Dunkirk (PR: 10)

8. Get Out (PR: 8)

9. Lady Bird (PR: 9)

10. I, Tonya (PR: 11)

11. Downsizing (PR: 12)

12. Phantom Thread (PR: 13)

13. Wind River (PR: 14)

14. Detroit (PR: 15)

15. Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

I’ll be back next Thursday with a fresh round of predictions!

Todd’s 2017 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 22nd Edition

My weekly Thursday Oscar predictions are coming to you on a Friday this week (sorry for the delay) as the festival season shed some light on potential nominees. That said, there’s still lots of uncertainty with plenty left to be seen.

Per usual, I’m listing my predicted nominees in the eight major categories with 25 potentials for Best Picture and 15 in the others. Once again, note that just because I rank something first doesn’t mean I think it will win. These rankings are more geared toward what I think will definitely be nominated at this juncture. For instance, even though Dunkirk is placed 1st, I wouldn’t say it’s the front runner to take home Best Picture at all.

Let’s get to it and I’ll get the weekly post back to Thursdays next week!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Post (PR: 2)

3. Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

4. The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

5. Mudbound (PR: 5)

6. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 7)

7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 17)

8. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 6)

9. Last Flag Flying (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

10. The Greatest Showman (PR: 9)

11. Phantom Thread (PR: 10)

12. Wonder Wheel (PR: 13)

13. Downsizing (PR: 11)

14. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 16)

15. Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 12)

16. Detroit (PR: 14)

17. All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

18. Coco (PR: 19)

19. The Florida Project (PR: 23)

20. I, Tonya (PR: 24)

21. The Big Sick (PR: Not Ranked)

22. Wonderstruck (PR: 18)

23. mother! (PR: 15)

24. Get Out (PR: 20)

25. Lady Bird (PR: 21)

Dropped Out:

Wind River

Wonder Woman

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Joe Wright, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Dee Rees, Mudbound (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

7. Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying (PR: 10)

9. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 7)

10. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread (PR: 9)

11. Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 8)

12. Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel (PR: 15)

13. Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit (PR: 11)

15. Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Alexander Payne, Downsizing

Darren Aronofsky, mother!

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

3. Tom Hanks, The Post (PR: 4)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman (PR: 3)

5. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 10)

7. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (PR: 7)

8. Domhnall Gleeson, Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 9)

9. Steve Carell, Last Flag Flying (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Donald Sutherland, The Leisure Seeker (PR: 11)

11. Andrew Garfield, Breathe (PR: 12)

12. Bryan Cranston, Last Flag Flying (PR: 13)

13. Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 8)

14. Liam Neeson, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (PR: 15)

15. Matt Damon, Downsizing (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here (picture reportedly moved to 2018)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 1)

2. Meryl Streep, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 3)

4. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

5. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 5)

7. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (PR: 6)

8. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman (PR: 11)

10. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird (PR: 9)

11. Diane Kruger, In the Fade (PR: 13)

12. Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (PR: 10)

13. Jennifer Lawrence, mother! (PR: 12)

14. Carey Mulligan, Mudbound (PR: 15)

15. Jane Fonda, Our Souls at Night (PR: 14)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project (PR: 1)

2. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 2)

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound (PR: 6)

7. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water (PR: 5)

8. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk (PR: 7)

9. Laurence Fishburne, Last Flag Flying (PR: 9)

10. Kevin Spacey, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Patrick Stewart, Logan (PR: 12)

12. Will Poulter, Detroit (PR: 13)

13. Garrett Hedlund, Mudbound (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Christoph Waltz, Downsizing (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

James Franco, The Disaster Artist

Jamie Bell, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Harrison Ford, Blade Runner 2049

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Melissa Leo, Novitiate (PR: 1)

2. Allison Janney, I, Tonya (PR: 3)

3. Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour (PR: 5)

4. Hong Chau, Downsizing (PR: 2)

5. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird (PR: 9)

7. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound (PR: 7)

8. Margot Robbie, Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 6)

9. Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled (PR: 13)

10. Julianne Moore, Suburbicon (PR: 10)

11. Tatiana Maslany, Stronger (PR: 14)

12. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick (PR: 11)

13. Michelle Pfeiffer, mother! (PR: 8)

14. Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Brooklyn Prince, The Florida Project (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Post (PR: 1)

2. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

3. Mudbound (PR: 2)

4. Last Flag Flying (PR: 4)

5. Wonderstruck (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Molly’s Game (PR: 6)

7. The Beguiled (PR: 9)

8. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. Stronger (PR: 7)

10. All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 12)

12. The Disaster Artist (PR: 11)

13. Wonder (PR: 13)

14. Logan (PR: 15)

15. Thank You for Your Service (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

You Were Never Really Here (reportedly moved to 2018)

My Cousin Rachel

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 4)

2. Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Wonder Wheel (PR: 5)

5. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Big Sick (PR: 12)

7. Get Out (PR: 6)

8. Dunkirk (PR: 8)

9. Downsizing (PR: 9)

10. Lady Bird (PR: 11)

11. The Florida Project (PR: 15)

12. Phantom Thread (PR: 7)

13. Coco (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 10)

15. The Greatest Showman (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

mother!

And there you have it, folks! I’ll be back next week with my latest update…

Todd’s 2017 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 14th Edition

We’ve arrived at my second round of weekly Oscar predictions that will come your way every Thursday on the blog! Since last week, a number of titles have screened at the Toronto Film Festival, in addition to the Venice and Telluride fests that preceded it.

As I did last week, I will list my current predicted nominees in the eight biggest races with a total of 25 possibilities for Best Picture and 15 in the others. Beginning today, you’ll be able to see the fluctuation in rankings from last week to the current one and see what and who has joined and dropped out. Once again, rankings reflect who and what I think will be nominated and not necessarily win.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Post (PR: 2)

3. Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

4. The Shape of Water (PR: 7)

5. Mudbound (PR: 4)

6. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 6)

7. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

8. Last Flag Flying (PR: 10)

9. The Greatest Showman (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Phantom Thread (PR: 11)

11. Downsizing (PR: 8)

12. Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 16)

13. Wonder Wheel (PR: 12)

14. Detroit (PR: 14)

15. mother! (PR: 13)

16. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 15)

17. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 18)

18. Wonderstruck (PR: 17)

19. Coco (PR: 19)

20. Get Out (PR: 20)

21. Lady Bird (PR: 22)

22. Wind River (PR: 21)

23. The Florida Project (PR: Not Ranked)

24. I, Tonya (PR: Not Ranked)

25. Wonder Woman (PR: 23)

Dropped Out:

Molly’s Game

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

4. Joe Wright, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Dee Rees, Mudbound (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

7. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 7)

8. Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 8)

9. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread (PR: 10)

10. Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying (PR: 12)

11. Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit (PR: 11)

12. Alexander Payne, Downsizing (PR: 9)

13. Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman (PR: 14)

14. Darren Aronofsky, mother! (PR: 13)

15. Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel (PR: 15)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

3. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman (PR: 3)

4. Tom Hanks, The Post (PR: 4)

5. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here (PR: 5)

7. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (PR: 15)

8. Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 6)

9. Domhnall Gleeson, Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 7)

10. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 9)

11. Donald Sutherland, The Leisure Seeker (PR: 12)

12. Andrew Garfield, Breathe (PR: 11)

13. Bryan Cranston, Last Flag Flying (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Matt Damon, Downsizing (PR: 10)

15. Liam Neeson, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Jeremy Renner, Wind River

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 1)

2. Meryl Streep, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 5)

4. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

5. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (PR: 3)

7. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul (PR: 10)

9. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird (PR: 9)

10. Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (PR: 7)

11. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman (PR: 8)

12. Jennifer Lawrence, mother! (PR: 13)

13. Diane Kruger, In the Fade (PR: 12)

14. Jane Fonda, Our Souls at Night (PR: 15)

15. Carey Mulligan, Mudbound (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Isabelle Huppert, Happy End

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project (PR: 1)

2. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 4)

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour (PR: 2)

5. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound (PR: 8)

7. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk (PR: 5)

8. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

9. Laurence Fishburne, Last Flag Flying (PR: 9)

10. James Franco, The Disaster Artist (PR: 10)

11. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Patrick Stewart, Logan (PR: 12)

13. Will Poulter, Detroit (PR: 14)

14. Jamie Bell, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Harrison Ford, Blade Runner 2049 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Idris Elba, Molly’s Game

Woody Harrelson, The Glass Castle

Christoph Waltz, Downsizing

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Melissa Leo, Novitiate (PR: 1)

2. Hong Chau, Downsizing (PR: 2)

3. Allison Janney, I, Tonya (PR: Not Ranked)

4. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

5. Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Margot Robbie, Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 6)

7. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound (PR: 5)

8. Michelle Pfeiffer, mother! (PR: 7)

9. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird (PR: 11)

10. Julianne Moore, Suburbicon (PR: 13)

11. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick (PR: 14)

12. Brooklyn Prince, The Florida Project (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled (PR: 9)

14. Tatiana Maslany, Stronger (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Michelle Williams, The Greatest Showman

Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Post (PR: 1)

2. Mudbound (PR: 2)

3. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Last Flag Flying (PR: 4)

5. Wonderstruck (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Molly’s Game (PR: 5)

7. Stronger (PR: 12)

8. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. The Beguiled (PR: 9)

10. You Were Never Really Here (PR: 7)

11. The Disaster Artist (PR: 10)

12. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 11)

13. Wonder (PR: 13)

14. My Cousin Rachel (PR: 14)

15. Logan (PR: 15)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 6)

5. Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Get Out (PR: 7)

7. Phantom Thread (PR: 8)

8. Dunkirk (PR: 9)

9. Downsizing (PR: 5)

10. Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 15)

11. Lady Bird (PR: 11)

12. The Big Sick (PR: 10)

13. mother! (PR: 13)

14. The Greatest Showman (PR: 14)

15. The Florida Project (PR: 12)

And there you have it, folks! Expect more Oscar Watch posts to come your way and my next full predictions next Thursday…

Todd’s 2017 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 7th Edition

As you may have noticed on the blog over the last few days, there’s been an influx of Oscar Watch posts up due to the Telluride and Venice Film Festivals shedding light on some contenders.

Today begins my weekly column covering the big six races (Picture, Director, the four acting categories, and both screenplay categories). It will be updated every Thursday up until nominations are announced next year (with a final predictions posts the Monday before they are revealed).

Here’s how it works: I’m listing my current predictions in each race, with 25 selections for Best Picture and 15 in the others. When we get a bit further down the road, the predictions will go to 15 Best Picture possibilities and 10 in the rest. I am indeed ranking them, but note that just because I rank something as #1, that doesn’t mean I think it will win. It just means I believe at this time that it has the current best shot at actually getting nominated. Beginning next week, you’ll see how the rankings change and alter from week to week… and change and alter they most certainly will.

So here goes with my first weekly Oscar predictions!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk

2. The Post

3. Darkest Hour

4. Mudbound

5. Call Me by Your Name

6. Battle of the Sexes

7. The Shape of Water

8. Downsizing

9. The Greatest Showman

Other Possibilities:

10. Last Flag Flying

11. Phantom Thread

12. Wonder Wheel

13. mother!

14. Detroit

15. Blade Runner 2049

16. Goodbye Christopher Robin

17. Wonderstruck

18. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

19. Coco

20. Get Out

21. Wind River

22. Lady Bird

23. Wonder Woman

24. Molly’s Game

25. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

2. Steven Spielberg, The Post

3. Dee Rees, Mudbound

4. Joe Wright, Darkest Hour

5. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name

Other Possibilities:

6. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

7. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes

8. Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049

9. Alexander Payne, Downsizing

10. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

11. Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit

12. Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying

13. Darren Aronofsky, mother!

14. Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman

15. Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

3. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman

4. Tom Hanks, The Post

5. Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here

Other Possibilities:

6. Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes

7. Domhnall Gleeson, Goodbye Christopher Robin

8. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger

9. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

10. Matt Damon, Downsizing

11. Andrew Garfield, Breathe

12. Donald Sutherland, The Leisure Seeker

13. Liam Neeson, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House

14. Jeremy Renner, Wind River

15. Denzel Washington, Roman Israel Esq.

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

2. Meryl Streep, The Post

3. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game

4. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel

5. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Other Possibilities:

6. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

7. Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

8. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman

9. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

10. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul

11. Carey Mulligan, Mudbound

12. Diane Kruger, In the Fade

13. Jennifer Lawrence, mother!

14. Isabelle Huppert, Happy End

15. Jane Fonda, Our Souls at Night 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

2. Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name

4. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

5. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk

Other Possibilities:

6. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name

7. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water

8. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound

9. Laurence Fishburne, Last Flag Flying

10. James Franco, The Disaster Artist

11. Idris Elba, Molly’s Game

12. Patrick Stewart, Logan

13. Woody Harrelson, The Glass Castle

14. Will Poulter, Detroit

15. Christoph Waltz, Downsizing 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Melissa Leo, Novitiate

2. Hong Chau, Downsizing

3. Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour

4. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

5. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Other Possibilities:

6. Margot Robbie, Goodbye Christopher Robin

7. Michelle Pfeiffer, mother!

8. Michelle Williams, The Greatest Showman

9. Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled

10. Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck

11. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

12. Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

13. Julianne Moore, Suburbicon

14. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

15. Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Post

2. Mudbound

3. Call Me by Your Name

4. Last Flag Flying

5. Molly’s Game

Other Possibilities:

6. Wonderstruck

7. You Were Never Really Here

8. Victoria and Abdul

9. The Beguiled

10. The Disaster Artist

11. Blade Runner 2049

12. Stronger

13. Wonder

14. My Cousin Rachel

15. Logan

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Darkest Hour

2. Battle of the Sexes

3. The Shape of Water

4. Wonder Wheel

5. Downsizing

Other Possibilities:

6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

7. Get Out

8. Phantom Thread

9. Dunkirk

10. The Big Sick

11. Lady Bird

12. The Florida Project

13. mother!

14. The Greatest Showman

15. Goodbye Christopher Robin

And there you have it! My first ranked predictions for the Oscar race. Next Thursday, I’ll have the updated projections…

Todd’s Early 2017 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Continuing on with my earliest Oscar predictions, we are at Best Director before my initial Best Picture estimates. At this juncture, it’s safe to assume that the five directors I’ve selected will all see their movies on my list for Picture when that’s posted.

Obviously we are early in the Oscar predictin’ game, but here goes with the directors!

Here’s my quick tale – the Telluride and Venice Festivals over the weekend increased the chances for several directors, including Joe Wright (Darkest Hour), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Battle of the Sexes), and Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water). Same goes for Alexander Payne in Downsizing, but the reaction for it has been slightly more split.

I’m reserving a predicted spot for Steven Spielberg for his Nixon era tale The Post (formerly known as The Papers). The rest of my predicted nominees are from films already out or screened. As always, lots could change but here goes for now!

TODD’S EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS – BEST DIRECTOR

Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Dee Rees, Mudbound

Steven Spielberg, The Post

Joe Wright, Darkest Hour

Other Possibilities:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Darren Aronofsky, mother!

Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman

Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman

Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying

Alexander Payne, Downsizing

Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049

Best Picture is next, my friends!

Oscar Watch: Downsizing

Blogger’s Update (09/19/17) – What Venice giveth, Toronto and Telluride taketh away. Since my original writing of this post on 08/30, Oscar prospects for Downsizing have dimmed due to mixed reaction from the aforementioned festivals.

A major piece of the 2017 Oscar puzzle has come into focus today with the debut of Alexander Payne’s Downsizing at the Venice Film Festival. This picture has been circled on the calendar of Academy Awards prognosticators since it was announced. Why? For starters, this is Payne’s seventh directorial feature and his previous five efforts have all received Oscar attention. For 1999’s Election, Payne received a nod for Adapted Screenplay. 2002’s About Schmidt landed two nominations in the acting races for Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates. 2004’s Sideways nabbed five nominations, including Picture, Director, and a win for Payne and writing partner Jim Taylor for Adapted Screenplay. 2011’s The Descendants also received five nominations, with Payne winning once again for Adapted Screenplay. His last film, 2013’s Nebraska, garnered six nominations including Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay. His last five movies have resulted in a total of seven acting nods.

So yeah… pretty much anything Payne puts out is an automatic Oscar contender. That does not look to end with Downsizing, his science fiction comedic drama that has drawn rave reviews out of the gate. It’s not out until December 22, but trade reviews are up and they’re glowing with praise. The Hollywood Reporter: “Big and beautiful” and arguably his best film. Variety: “playful, spectacular, mischievous, and audacious”. Interestingly, both reviews reference it as like as a live-action Pixar feature.

Downsizing has a highly recognizable cast that includes Matt Damon, Kristin Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris, Laura Dern, and Jason Sudeikis. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Damon in the mix for Best Actor, based on early word. Yet it’s a name you probably haven’t heard that you’ll soon become familiar with. Playing a Vietnamese refugee, Hong Chau has been singled out for her work and I’d venture to say she will be receiving a Supporting Actress nomination here.

Before today, Dunkirk was the only picture that I feel confident saying will receive a Best Picture nomination. Downsizing is now the second and it will probably land Payne directing and original screenplay (along with Jim Taylor) recognition. Beyond that – Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, and even Visual Effects categories are all feasible.

Bottom line: Downsizing just announced itself as a potential force this awards season. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Todd’s Top 10 Most Awaited Fall 2017 Movies

Well folks – summer is winding down and on the movie calendar, that means fall ushers in Oscar contenders, film festivals, and all kinds of other eagerly awaited releases! Today on the blog, I bring you my 10 most awaited pictures of the season. Getting the list down to that number wasn’t exactly easy, so I’ll cheat a bit and mention some that just “missed the cut”. They include sequels (Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Thor: Ragnarok), star vehicles like American Made with Tom Cruise and Roman Israel, Esq. with Denzel Washington, and Academy contenders like Battle of the Sexes, The Greatest Showman, Suburbicon, Darkest Hour, All the Money in the World, and The Disaster Artist.

Yet here are the ten that my personal movie calendar is most looking forward to (listed alphabetically):

Blade Runner 2049

Release Date: October 6

35 years after Ridley Scott made his landmark sci-fi pic, Sicario and Arrival director Denis Villeneuve enters this visually stunning world with Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, and Robin Wright and Harrison Ford returning as Deckard.

Downsizing

Release Date: December 22

It may not be out until Christmas, but buzz will be out soon for this Oscar hopeful as it screens in Venice in just days. Alexander Payne’s fantastic filmography includes Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants, and Nebraska. His latest is a sci-fi comedy/drama starring Matt Damon, Kristin Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Sudeikis, and (get used to hearing this name) Hong Chau, who’s already garnering Supporting Actress talk.

NO TRAILER AT PRESS TIME

It

Release Date: September 8

Fall essentially kicks off with this adaptation of one of Stephen King’s greatest works. Trailers for It looks scary as hell and it could compete for both biggest September debut ever and highest horror opening of all time.

Justice League

Release Date: November 17

DC’s version of The Avengers has been the subject of shaky buzz, but I’m curious to see how Batman, Aquaman, The Flash, and others meld together. Oh… there’s another one in the form of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, who just happened to headline the summer’s unexpected largest domestic hit (beating out other superheroes like the Guardians and Spidey).

mother!

Release Date: September 15

Darren Aronofsky’s latest looks to be in the vein of his Oscar nominated Black Swan and that’s a very good thing. Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer star and if this trailer is any indication, we’re in for something very intriguing.

Murder on the Orient Express

Release Date: November 10

Michelle Pfeiffer makes another appearance on this list as she’s part of an impressive ensemble embroiled in this adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famed novel. Kenneth Branagh directs himself in the lead as Hercule Poirot. Other familiar faces include Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, and Josh Gad.

The Papers

Release Date: December 22

As in the Pentagon Papers and the Washington Post‘s battle with the Nixon administration to release them. You think this one has Oscar bait potential? It’s directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

NO TRAILER AT PRESS TIME

Phantom Thread

Release Date: December 27

Here’s how little is really known about this project… we’re not even sure Phantom Thread is its title. What do we know? It’s master filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest and reunites him with his There Will Be Blood star Daniel Day-Lewis.

NO TRAILER AT PRESS TIME

The Shape of Water

Release Date: December 8

Visionary director Guillermo del Toro’s latest looks to be a visual and potentially dramatic winner judging from its trailer. Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon star in this 1960s set tale of a woman’s friendship with a strange creature.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Release Date: December 15

Last, but oh so far from the least. Rian Johnson takes over directorial duties for the year’s most anticipated release with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) gaining significantly more screen time and Carrie Fisher making her final bow as Princess Leia.

And there you have it, folks! Let us look forward to a hopefully glorious autumn season…