Bones and All Box Office Prediction

MGM/UA hopes younger viewers are hungry for some cannibal love when Bones and All opens wide on Wednesday, November 23rd. Based on a 2015 novel by Camille DeAngelis, Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet headline the road flick from director Luca Guadagnino. Costars include Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, Andre Holland, Chloe Sevigny, David Gordon Green, and Jessica Harper.

The subject matter could be a challenging one for holiday crowds though Chalamet has a rabid fanbase that could turn up. The Thanksgiving release (it’s out five screens November 18 before the expansion) is also the only holiday newbie geared toward teens and young adults. Strange World is for the kids while Devotion and The Fabelmans skew older. Reviews are pretty appetizing with an 89% Rotten Tomatoes score following its September debut at the Venice Film Festival.

With a reported count of around 2500 venues, I’ll say Bones gets to mid single digits for the three-day and for the five.

Bones and All opening weekend prediction: $3.5 million (Friday to Sunday); $5.3 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Strange World prediction, click here:

For my Devotion prediction, click here:

For my The Fabelmans prediction, click here:

Oscar Predictions: Bones and All

Love and cannibalism collide in Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All, which has premiered at Venice before its November 23rd stateside theatrical release. The mix of gore and romance reunites the filmmaker with his Call Me by Your Name star Timothee Chalamet (I will refrain from making any Armie Hammer references from now on). Taylor Russell, who drew raves for the little seen Waves, is co-lead with a supporting cast including Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, Andre Holland, Chloe Sevigny, and Jessica Harper.

The road movie, based on a 2015 YA novel from Camille DeAngelis, is drawing mostly positive early reaction in Italy. The Rotten Tomatoes meter is a strong 92%. Praise is plentiful for Chalamet (he scored an Oscar nod for Name), but Russell is being called the highlight.

Despite the encouraging buzz, I’m not sure voters will bite for this late 80s set horror tale. Five years ago, Guadagnino’s Name called up four Academy nods including Picture and winning Adapted Screenplay. His 2018 follow-up Suspiria didn’t make a dent with the awards crowd.

MGM/UA would need to mount a major campaign for Russell or Chalamet for them to be viable in my view. I would say Bones‘s best shot could be Adapted Screenplay or perhaps the score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Oscar Predictions: June 6th Edition

My first Oscar predictions in the six major categories for the month of June sees Top Gun: Maverick rising 3 spots to #17 in the BP derby. My ten predicted nominees remain the same as do the five estimated individuals in Director, Actor, and Supporting Actor. There are changes in Actress with Cate Blanchett (Tar) in my five over Danielle Deadwyler (Till) and in Supporting Actress with Hong Chau (The Whale) being elevated over Vanessa Kirby in The Son. You can peruse all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (E)

5. Women Talking (PR: 6) (+1)

6. The Son (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Bardo (PR: 7) (E)

8. She Said (PR: 9)

9. The Whale (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Empire of Light (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Rustin (PR: 11) (E)

12. Broker (PR: 12) (E)

13. Poor Things (PR: 18) (+5)

14. Amsterdam (PR: 14) (E)

15. Decision to Leave (PR: 13) (-2)

16. Tar (PR: 24) (+8)

17. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 20) (+3)

18. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 19) (+1)

19. Thirteen Lives (PR: 16) (-3)

20. White Noise (PR: 15) (-5)

21. Elvis (PR: 17) (-4)

22. Next Goal Wins (PR: 23) (+1)

23. Aftersun (PR: 25( +2)

24. Till (PR: 22) (-2)

25. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Armageddon Time 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 6) (E)

7. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 11) (+4)

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Broker (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: 12) (E)

13. Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things (PR: 15) (+2)

14. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 14) (E)

15. George C. Wolfe, Rustin (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

David O. Russell, Amsterdam 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (E)

9. Emma Stone, Poor Things (PR: 9) (E)

10. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 10) (E)

11. Helen Mirren, Golda (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Michelle Williams, Showing Up (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Saoirse Ronan, See How They Run (PR: 15) (E)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Colman Domingo, Rustin (PR: 4) (E)

5. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Song King-Ho, Broker (PR: 6) (E)

7. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Christian Bale, Amsterdam (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 9) (E)

10. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 8) (-2)

11. Michael Fassbender, Next Goal Wins (PR: 11) (E)

12. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Michael Ward, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives

Paul Mescal, Aftersun 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Audra McDonald, Rustin (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Patricia Clarkson, She Said (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 14) (E)

15. Margot Robbie, Amsterdam (PR: 12) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Whoopi Goldberg, Till

Anne Hathaway, Armageddon Time 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-2)

5. Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Willem Dafoe, Poor Things (PR: 6) (E)

7. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Glynn Turman, Rustin (PR: 9) (E)

10. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (+3)

11. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 14) (+2)

13. John David Washington, Amsterdam (PR: 8) (-5)

14. Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Andre Holland, Shirley

2022 Oscar Predictions: May 29th Edition

As May comes to a close and the Cannes Film Festival wraps up, I’m giving you a fresh update in the six major Oscar categories!

In Best Picture, I’m elevating Empire of Light from Sam Mendes into the top ten and that takes Rustin out. The Daniels from Everything Everywhere All at Once vault into Director to the detriment of Sarah Polley for Women Talking. 

Empire of Light also benefits in Best Actress with Olivia Colman in over Carey Mulligan from She Said. While Actor and Supporting Actress remain unchanged, there’s two alterations in Supporting Actor with Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere…) and Jesse Plemons (Killers of the Flower Moon) in over John David Washington (Amsterdam) and Tom Hanks (Elvis).

You can peruse all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Son (PR: 5) (E)

6. Women Talking (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Bardo (PR: 8) (+1)

8. She Said (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Empire of Light (PR: 16) (+7)

10. The Whale (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Rustin (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Amsterdam (PR: 11) (-3)

15. White Noise (PR: 13) (-2)

16. Thirteen Lives (PR: 21) (+5)

17. Elvis (PR: 20) (+3)

18. Poor Things (PR: 14) (-4)

19. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 15) (-4)

20. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

21. Armageddon Time (PR: 19) (-2)

22. Till (PR: 18) (-4)

23. Next Goal Wins (PR: 25) (+2)

24. Tar (PR: 17) (-7)

25. Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King

Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

    1. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 7) (E)

8. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 15) (+6)

10. Hirokazu Kore’eda, Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: 8) (-4)

13. David O. Russell, Amsterdam (PR: 13) (E)

14. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

George C. Wolfe, Rustin 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 2) (E)

3. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 9) (+5)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (E)

9. Emma Stone, Poor Things (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Michelle Williams, Showing Up (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Helen Mirren, Golda (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 14) (E)

15. Saoirse Ronan, See How They Run (PR: 13) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling

Tilda Swinton, Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Colman Domingo, Rustin (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Song Kang-Ho, Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Christian Bale, Amsterdam (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 7 (-3)

11. Michael Fassbender, Next Goal Wins (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 8) (-5)

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

15. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 13) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Joaquin Phoenix, Disappointment Blvd.

Idris Elba, Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 7) (E)

8. Audra McDonald, Rustin (PR: 13) (+5)

9. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Patricia Clarkson, She Said (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Whoopi Goldberg, Till (PR: 8) (-3)

12. Margot Robbie, Amsterdam (PR: 9) (-3)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Anne Hathaway, Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Rooney Mara, Women Talking 

Margaret Qualley, Poor Things

Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 9) (+4)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Willem Dafoe, Poor Things (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 15) (+8)

8. John David Washington, Amsterdam (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Glynn Turman, Rustin (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Andre Holland, Shirley (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 12) (E)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 4) (-10)

15. Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things (PR: 10) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Frankie Faison, Till 

2022 Oscar Predictions: April Edition (Best Supporting Actor)

Well, folks, I just can’t help myself. A mere two weeks after the 94th Academy Awards, I’m getting into speculation for the 95th ceremony honoring the best of 2022.

I know… it’s only April. And there’s certainly a great chance that these impossibly early predictions will look foolish a few months down the road. It’s all part of the fun though!

Here’s how it works. I’m going to do monthly forecasts for the six biggest races (Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies). For Picture, I’ll project the ten BP nominees along with 15 other possibilities. In the other races, I’ll name my five with ten other hopefuls.

Starting in August, the monthly predictions will shift to weekly ones. In October, it branches out to all feature film competitions and the list of possibilities dwindles from 25 to 15 in BP and ten in all others. Got all that? Good!

Some quick caveats – when you’re this early in the projecting game, it’s basically guesswork. For instance, I’m saying Leonardo DiCaprio will compete in Supporting Actor for Killers of the Flower Moon. It could be lead. The same logic applies to Leo’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood costar Brad Pitt for Babylon. Some movies named here will be pushed back. Some roles with familiar faces will not be the Oscar bait that seems plausible at the moment.

I’m starting with Supporting Actor and I’ll have Supporting Actress up next!

TODD’S APRIL 2022 OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Paul Dano, The Fabelmans

Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon

Brad Pitt, Babylon

Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things

Glynn Turman, Rustin

Other Possibilities:

Don Cheadle, White Noise

Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon

Frankie Faison, Till

Colin Firth, Empire of Light

Tom Hanks, Elvis

Andre Holland, Shirley

Anthony Hopkins, The Son

Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans

John David Washington, Canterbury Glass

Ben Whishaw, Women Talking

Passing Review

Much of the drama in Rebecca Hall’s debut feature, based on a 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, is elevated by passing glances and comments overheard at gatherings. The term Passing refers to light skinned African-Americans who are deemed white to unsuspecting individuals. It’s a disguise that Clare Bellew (Ruth Negga) is living in and during the early moments of the picture, she has a chance encounter with Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson). They are childhood friends who’ve lost touch and their reconnection leaves Irene bewildered. She’s never left Harlem and has married successful but weary doctor Brian (Andre Holland). Irene fills her days with civic duties and some nights entertaining an author (Bill Camp) who’s endeared himself to the black community (though perhaps not for purely endearing reasons).

While Irene seems to have a nice upper class life going in a 1920s era filled with despair, a closer look is warranted. Her marriage is bordering on loveless. The couple struggle with proper child rearing to their two boys in a subplot that’s barely there (it should have been either explored in greater detail or dropped altogether).

Clare’s sudden presence reminds Irene of some chinks in the armor of her perceived blissful existence. That goes both ways. Clare is married to a vocal racist (Alexander Skarsgard) who has no clue what lies beneath. She’s a free spirit whose wings appear to grow when placed back in familiar territory. One of the strengths with this screenplay is that Clare’s reaction to her bonds rekindling is unexpected. Instead of substantiating her choice to pass as Caucasian, it fills her with a longing to return to her roots. In doing so, a strange and often unclear romantic dynamic emerges between Clare, Irene, and Brian. Jealousies and frailties come to the forefront. And those passing glances and comments take on deeper meaning as time goes by. Irene’s perception of Clare soon turns as cold as the wintry night air while Brian’s has blown in a warmer and cozier direction.

This is a picture that sneaks up on you with how powerful it ultimately becomes. Hall, a fine actress recently seen in The Night House, has her own complicated and for years unknown racial history that surely influenced her delicate handling of the subject matter. The performances are terrific across the board. This is not a story that over explains character motivation and it’s sometimes up to Thompson and Negga in particular to convey what’s really cooking in this tinderbox of a stew. They achieve that mission and Hall’s filmmaking prowess (shot in black and white with an aspect ratio of its era) accentuates that. By the climax, we are presented potential outcomes that occur in a flash and you may find yourself pondering them far longer. It all passes for a richly rewarding experience.

***1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Watch: Passing

Rebecca Hall is known for her many performances including Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Town, Iron Man 3, and The Gift, among others. At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, she’s made her directorial debut with Passing. Based on a 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, the drama pairs Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga as mixed race friends navigating the tensions of the times. Costars include Andre Holland, Alexander Skarsgard, and Bill Camp.

Early critical reaction includes some raves with particular attention to the work of its leads. The Rotten Tomatoes score currently sits at 79%. Based on the buzz, there’s little question that Passing will score a streaming or studio pickup in short order. It’s also likely that whoever distributes this will mount an awards campaign.

What that will look like is in question. Some reviews have singled out Negga’s performance, who nabbed a Best Actress nomination in 2016 for Loving. It is feasible that both Thompson and Negga could both be campaigned for in the lead race, but a shift to Negga in Supporting Actress could increase the chance for exposure.

The current reviews indicate this could be a long shot for Best Picture or Director consideration. However, a well constructed push by its distributor may change that dynamic. Bottom line: Passing is worth keeping an eye on in 2021 and especially with Negga. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

 

Moonlight Movie Review

One not need to live in Chiron’s world in Moonlight to understand his struggles. We all have moments where we feel isolated. We all have had family drama. We all have moments where we strive to figure out who we are. The central character in this Barry Jenkins picture may experience it at an elevated level and in a universe where his identity is shunned. However, we manage to identify with him and that’s a tribute to an often subtle and smart script.

The film is told in three chapters as it follows various stages in Chiron’s life in Miami and eventually Atlanta. It begins under the heading “Little”, where we find him as a shy young boy. His mother Paula (Naomie Harris) is an absentee one and Little is soon befriended by drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monae). They serve as his de facto parents.

Second chapter “Chiron” finds him as a teenager who’s frequently targeted at school. Paula is now a drug addict, Teresa still cares for him, and Juan is no longer in the picture. He also has a complicated relationship with longtime friend Kevin that alters between romantic and antagonistic.

Chapter three “Black” finds Chiron as a twenty something whose life has veered into territory much like Juan’s. It would probably be something his father figure would despise. The years gone by have also gotten him out of touch with Kevin, but their paths coincide once again.

Moonlight finds three actors playing Chiron (and Kevin) in these stages. Alex Hibbert is the youngster in part one, Ashton Sanders is the teen, and Trevante Rhodes is the young man. All of them shine. Same goes for the supporting players, with note deserved to Ali for putting a fresh spin on a character who could’ve been far more stereotypical.

There are events key to Chiron’s story that aren’t shown here and while I understand the structural decision not to belabor them, it does occasionally take away from its overall dramatic impact.

Yet its staying power is still significant. The film is about someone discovering their sexuality and we finds ourselves for rooting for Chiron to get there. No matter your identity, you’ll recognize and sympathize with moments of family struggle, bullying, and loneliness. Jenkins (who wrote and directed) assuredly keeps the audience wondering where his subject’s journey turns next.

***1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Watch: Moonlight

The Telluride Film Festival, as expected, has given us another serious contender in the Oscar race as Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight has just had its premiere. Based on a play, the drama centers on the story of Chiron, an African American gay male growing up in Florida.

The pic debuted to rave reviews and its chances at Academy attention extends to numerous races. My initial round of early predictions has it nabbing a Best Picture nod and today’s buzz solidified that pick. I currently have director Jenkins on the outside looking in, but he’s certainly in the mix (he’s likely to get a nom for his Adapted Screenplay).

As for performers, Trevante Rhodes is among three actors who play Chiron at various stages of his life and he should be campaigned for in Best Actor. He’s got a real shot, as does Mahershala Ali in Supporting Actor as a drug dealer who warms to Chiron. Naomie Harris looks to be a player in Supporting Actress as the lead character’s drug addicted mother and she probably has an edge over singer Janelle Monae as Ali’s girlfriend.

Another day. Another contender in this busy week for Oscar hopefuls.