Summer 2012: The Top 10 Hits and More

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

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

Summer 1992: The Top 10 Hits and More

Summer 2002: The Top 10 Hits and More

10. Prometheus

Domestic Gross: $126 million

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

9. Snow White and the Huntsman 

Domestic Gross: $155 million

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

8. Ice Age: Continental Drift 

Domestic Gross: $161 million

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

7. Men in Black 3

Domestic Gross: $179 million

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

6. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

Domestic Gross: $216 million

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

5. Ted

Domestic Gross: $218 million

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

4. Brave

Domestic Gross: $237 million

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

3. The Amazing Spider-Man

Domestic Gross: $262 million

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

2. The Dark Knight Rises

Domestic Gross: $448 million

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

1. The Avengers

Domestic Gross: $623 million

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

And now for some other pics worthy of discussion:

Magic Mike

Domestic Gross: $113 million

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

The Bourne Legacy

Domestic Gross: $113 million

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

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Domestic Gross: $46 million

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

Moonrise Kingdom 

Domestic Gross: $45 million

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

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Domestic Gross: $12 million

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

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

Dark Shadows

Domestic Gross: $79 million

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

Battleship

Domestic Gross: $65 million

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

Total Recall

Domestic Gross: $58 million

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

Rock of Ages

Domestic Gross: $38 million

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

That’s My Boy

Domestic Gross: $36 million

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

The Watch

Domestic Gross: $35 million

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

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

Oscar Predictions – Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

John Mulaney and Andy Samberg lend their vocal and comedic talents to Disney’s Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, based on the animated series that started in 1989. Akiva Schaffer (Samberg’s partner in their group The Lonely Island) directs. Other familiar faces behind the pic’s creatures include KiKi Layne, Will Arnett, Eric Bana, Keegan-Michael Key, Tim Robinson, Seth Rogen, J.K. Simmons, and Dennis Haysbert.

Rangers is foregoing the theatrical experience with a Disney+ rollout this Friday. Could the Mouse Factory make a play for a Best Animated Feature nod? With the review embargo lapsing, that seems at least feasible. Sitting at 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, some critics are heaping praise with some comparisons to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. 

On the other hand, the studio will surely push the upcoming Lightyear and this spring’s Turning Red in the category. It remains to be seen whether there’s a significant push for the chipmunks. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2020 Golden Globe Winner Predictions

Awards watching season kicks into (later than usual) gear this Sunday with the 78th Annual Golden Globes hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler! While I have not spent time doing weekly posts on this ceremony like I do with the Oscars, it’s certainly a potential sign of things to come from the Academy (and sometimes not so much).

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a notoriously tricky bunch to predict as they often call up out of nowhere nominees in their major categories. This year is no exception and that will be discussed below. The pandemic uncertainty that was 2020 and some races that truly feel wild open gives us some real drama as to the pictures and actors who will win on Sunday.

Simply put, I’ll feel good if I get half my predictions right and that’s a lower bar than usual. Let’s walk through each category with my estimated victor and runner-up, shall we?

Best Motion Picture (Drama)

Nominees: The Father, Mank, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Despite a better than anticipated showing for Promising Young Woman, this is likely a showdown between Nomadland and Trial (as I suspect it will be for the Oscars). Quite frankly, this is a tough call and basically a coin flip. However, I lean ever so slightly with HFPA going with the more traditional pick and that means Trial.

Predicted Winner: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up: Nomadland

Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Hamilton, Music, Palm Springs, The Prom

The inclusion of Sia’s critically drubbed Music stands as one of the more bizarre nods in recent Globes history and that’s saying a lot. Palm Springs certainly has its fervent fans while The Prom once seemed like a potential winner until its mixed reviews. Meryl Streep’s exclusion in the Actress field for it says something as well. So it’s Borat vs. Hamilton in my view. 14 years ago, the original Borat lost out to Dreamgirls. Certainly the overall pedigree and acclaim for Hamilton makes it a possibility, but the attention garnered by Sacha Baron Cohen’s sequel might be too hard to resist.

Predicted Winner: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Runner-Up: Hamilton

Best Director

Nominees: Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), David Fincher (Mank), Regina King (One Night in Miami), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)

Even with my Trial pick in Picture, Chloe Zhao has emerged as a heavy favorite for the duration of awards season and she has the critics trophies already to prove it. Fincher is probably more of a threat to upset than Sorkin here, but Zhao is one of the safer bets of the night.

Predicted Winner: Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Runner-Up: David Fincher, Mank

Best Actress (Drama)

Nominees: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

It’s Davis vs. McDormand vs. Mulligan as I see it and there’s a case to be made for all three. That said, I already mentioned that Promising was a major winner on nomination morning as it achieved nods everywhere it really could have been expected to. I feel it’ll win somewhere and this is the most probable. Had Rainey got a Picture nod, I would probably list Davis as the runner-up, but I’ll go with McDormand instead.

Predicted Winner: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Runner-Up: Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Best Actor (Drama)

Nominees: Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank), Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian)

Sunday night could very well be the start of Boseman sweeping his way through the season. I do have a nagging feeling that Hopkins is going to win either here or at SAG. It would not be a shock at all for that to occur yet I’ll stick with Boseman.

Predicted Winner: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Runner-Up: Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Kate Hudson (Music), Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit), Rosamund Pike (I Care a Lot), Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma)

Expect Taylor-Joy to win on Sunday night, but not here. Instead she appears bound to get some hardware on the TV side for the heralded Queen’s Gambit. Like the picture itself, Hudson’s nomination was totally unforeseen. Bakalova was the breakout star of Borat. She’s being campaigned for in Supporting Actress at the Oscars, but the HFPA seems destined to honor her. Pfeiffer and Pike are moderate threats and I’ll give the runner-up edge to the former.

Predicted Winner: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Runner-Up: Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), James Corden (The Prom), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Dev Patel (The Personal History of David Copperfield), Andy Samberg (Palm Springs)

Let’s face it: the Golden Globes this year has an excellent chance at turning into the Sacha Baron Cohen Show. He won this race for the first Borat and he’s the odds-on favorite to make it two for two. Miranda poses the only real threat in my opinion.

Predicted Winner: Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Runner-Up: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton 

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian), Amanda Seyfried (Mank), Helena Zengel (News of the World)

For Foster and Zengel, it’s an honor to be nominated. As for the other three, this feels like a genuine three performer race in which I could easily foresee Close, Colman, or Seyfried’s name being called. I’m calling this (with zero confidence) for Seyfried as I think HFPA could go with the relative newcomer over Close and Colman (who have each won three Globes).

Predicted Winner: Amanda Seyfried, Mank

Runner-Up: Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (just over Colman)

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), Jared Leto (The Little Things), Bill Murray (On the Rocks), Leslie Odom, Jr. (One Night in Miami)

Another really tough one. It would be right up HFPA’s alley to give Leto the surprise win. And Kaluuya and Odom Jr. are strong possibilities. I don’t feel great about saying Sacha will have this big of a night, but I kinda feel that’s the way this goes. Confidence level? Zilch.

Predicted Winner: Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah 

Best Screenplay

Nominees: The Father, Mank, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7

This is an additional race where voters could choose to honor Promising Young Woman, but Trial is the frontrunner and I’m not picking against it.

Predicted Winner: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up: Promising Young Woman

Best Animated Feature Film

Nominees: The Croods: A New Age, Onward, Over the Moon, Soul, Wolfwalkers

Don’t be surprised if this is the same Oscar five with the same result. While Wolfwalkers is a critical darling, it’s risky to bet against Pixar and I won’t do so.

Predicted Winner: Soul

Runner-Up: Wolfwalkers

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Another Round, La Llorona, The Life Ahead, Minari, Two of Us

The smart money is on Minari, which is expected to get a Best Picture nod from the Academy. However, I can’t help but point out that it picked up nominations nowhere else (including Actor, Supporting Actor, and Screenplay where it could have). That opens the door for Another Round which also has ardent supporters. I’m going for the slight upset.

Predicted Winner: Another Round

Runner-Up: Minari

Best Original Score

Nominees: Mank, The Midnight Sky, News of the World, Soul, Tenet

Another category that Oscar could match. And this may come down to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross vs. themselves for Mank and Soul. I’ll give their Pixar work the edge.

Predicted Winner: Soul

Runner-Up: Mank

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Fight for You” (Judas and the Black Messiah), “Hear My Voice” (The Trial of the Chicago 7), “lo si (Seen)” (The Life Ahead), “Speak Now” (One Night in Miami), “Tigress & Tweed” (The United States vs. Billie Holiday)

Anything could happen here, but “Speak Now” is a trendy pick for the Oscar and HFPA could follow suit.

Predicted Winner: “Speak Now” (One Night in Miami)

Runner-Up: “lo si (Seen)” from The Life Ahead

That means I’m predicting the following number of wins for these pictures:

3 Wins

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, The Trial of the Chicago 7

2 Wins

Soul

1 Win

Another Round, Mank, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, Promising Young Woman

And there you have it! My picks for the Sacha Baron… err, Golden Globes! Let’s see how it shakes out and I’ll have a post up Sunday night with my thoughts about the show and how I performed….

2020 Golden Globes Nominations Reaction

If you had told me yesterday that the Kate Hudson’s Music, which is directed by pop star Sia and hasn’t been released yet domestically, would achieve two Golden Globe nominations and that Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods would get zero, I might have said you’re crazy. Yet welcome to Awards Season 2020 as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association weighed in with their nods this morning and provided some genuine shockers (as they normally do).

There’s no doubt that the big loser today was Da 5 Bloods which was shut out while Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman performed better than expected. Much more to discuss so let’s break it down by each category, shall we?

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Nominees: The Father, Mank, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7

How I Did: 3/5

It must be said that The Father had a good morning as well along with Promising. Those two pictures made it in over my predictions of Da 5 Bloods and One Night in Miami. I will note that some pundits had Mank missing the cut, but I’ve never fully bought that it won’t perform well during this awards season.

Best Director

Nominees: Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), David Fincher (Mank), Regina King (One Night in Miami), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)

How I Did: 4/5

Fennell’s inclusion here is the surest indication of HFPA’s love for her film. She makes it in over Spike Lee for Bloods. The HFPA did make some history in this race with 3 women nominated out of the five.

Best Actress – Drama

Nominees: Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

How I Did: 4/5

This pushes forward the narrative that Davis/Kirby/McDormand/Mulligan are a quartet likely to see SAG and Oscar nods. It’s been the fifth slot up for grabs and Andra Day got there over my prediction for Sophia Loren in The Life Ahead. A GG nod could have helped Loren’s Oscar viability (let’s see if SAG mentions her tomorrow).

Best Actor – Drama

Nominees: Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank), Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian)

How I Did: 4/5

The 5 Bloods shutout produced the largest shocker in this particular category with Delroy Lindo being snubbed in favor of Tahar Rahim. Lindo should bounce back at SAG and we’ll know soon enough.

Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy

Nominees: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Hamilton, Music, Palm Springs, The Prom

How I Did: 4/5

As previously stated, this Music pic came out of nowhere and stands as one of the enormous surprises. It got in over Emma. Others had On the Rocks in that spot and it whiffed too.

Best Actress – Musical/Comedy

Nominees: Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Kate Hudson (Music), Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit), Rosamund Pike (I Care a Lot), Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma)

How I Did: 3/5

Once again, Hudson’s name was certainly not expected. Pike’s inclusion is less surprising as I had her as my first alternate. They make the cut over Cristin Milioti (Palm Springs) and another unforeseen development… Meryl Streep (The Prom) not getting her expected nod. That doesn’t happen often.

Best Actor – Musical/Comedy

Nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), James Corden (The Prom), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Dev Patel (The Personal History of David Copperfield), Andy Samberg (Palm Springs)

How I Did: 4/5

Not many pundits were guessing James Corden’s work in The Prom would be nominated and not his costar Meryl Streep. I had him off in favor of Leslie Odom, Jr. for Hamilton.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian), Amanda Seyfried (Mank), Helena Zengel (News of the World)

How I Did: 4/5

Zengel’s inclusion here increases her visibility and if she gets a SAG nomination, her Oscar chances become quite real. The young performer made it in over the legendary Ellen Burstyn in Pieces of a Woman.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), Jared Leto (The Little Things), Bill Murray (On the Rocks), Leslie Odom, Jr. (One Night in Miami)

How I Did: 4/5

With the exception of that Kate Hudson movie, another morning jaw dropper was Jared Leto being recognized for The Little Things. Per another storyline of the day, he replaces Chadwick Boseman in the blanked Da 5 Bloods.

Best Film Screenplay

Nominees: The Father, Mank, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7

How I Did: 3/5

The Father and Promising Young Woman continued their encouraging runs here to the detriment of One Night in Miami and (again) Da 5 Bloods.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: The Croods: A New Age, Onward, Over the Moon, Soul, Wolfwalkers

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

Behold the only race where I called it perfectly! Don’t be surprised if this is Oscar’s quintet as well.

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Another Round, La Llorona, The Life Ahead, Minari, Two of Us

How I Did: 3/5

Llorona and Two were named over Martin Eden and Quo Vadis, Aida? in a lineup that should come down to Round or (more likely) Minari.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Mank, The Midnight Sky, News of the World, Soul, Tenet

How I Did: 4/5

No big surprise that Midnight Sky got in over Minari. This could well by the Oscar lineup.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah, “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7, “Seen” from The Life Ahead, “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami, “Tigress & Tweed” from The United State vs. Billie Holiday

How I Did: 2/5

An unpredictable group of songs for awards consideration proved to be just that with my worst performance of the day. It was “Fight”, “Voice” and “Tigress” in over “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest, “Only the Young” from Miss Americana, and “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon. 

How I Did Overall: 51/70

That shakes out to the following number of nods for these pictures:

6 Nominations

Mank

5 Nominations

The Trial of the Chicago 7

4 Nominations

The Father, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman

3 Nominations

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, One Night in Miami

2 Nominations

Hamilton, Judas and the Black Messiah, The Life Ahead, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Mauritanian, Music, News of the World, Palm Springs, The Prom, Soul, The United States vs. Billie Holiday

1 Nomination

Another Round, The Croods: A New Age, Emma, French Exit, Hillbilly Elegy, I Care a Lot, La Llorona, The Little Things, The Midnight Sky, Minari, On the Rocks, Onward, Over the Moon, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Pieces of a Woman, Sound of Metal, Tenet, Two of Us, Wolfwalkers

You can expect predictions in all these races a couple of days before showtime on February 28th!

2020 Golden Globe Nomination Predictions

The biggest Oscar precursor thus far drops their nominations this Wednesday (with SAG following the next day) in a week where the awards picture should become a bit clearer.

Of course, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has a habit of making some left field picks from time to time. And unlike the Academy, they split their film and lead acting races into Drama and Comedy/Musical.

Every week on the blog, I have been forecasting each Oscar race. However, for the Globes, it’s just one post with my final predictions for what I feel will happen on Wednesday. In every category, I’m also selecting a first and second alternate. We shall see how I do shortly!

P.S. – SAG Predictions are up tomorrow! Let’s get to it…

Best Film Drama

Predicted Nominees:

Da 5 Bloods

Mank

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

The Trial of the Chicago 7

First Alternate – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Second Alternate – The Father

Best Film Director

Predicted Nominees:

David Fincher, Mank

Regina King, One Night in Miami

Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods

Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

First Alternate – Florian Zeller, The Father

Second Alternate – Paul Greengrass, News of the World

Best Actress – Drama

Predicted Nominees:

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman

Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead

Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

First Alternate – Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie

Second Alternate – Kate Winslet, Ammonite

Best Actor – Drama

Predicted Nominees:

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods

Gary Oldman, Mank

First Alternate – Steven Yeun, Minari

Second Alternate – Tom Hanks, News of the World

Best Film Comedy/Musical

Predicted Nominees:

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Emma

Hamilton

Palm Springs

The Prom

First Alternate – On the Rocks

Second Alternate – The Personal History of David Copperfield

Best Actress – Comedy/Musical

Predicted Nominees:

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Cristin Milioti, Palm Springs

Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit

Meryl Streep, The Prom

Anya Taylor-Joy, Emma

First Alternate – Rosamund Pike, I Care a Lot

Second Alternate – Rashida Jones, On the Rocks

Best Actor – Comedy/Musical

Predicted Nominees:

Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton

Dev Patel, The Personal History of David Copperfield

Andy Samberg, Palm Springs

First Alternate – Pete Davidson, The King of Staten Island

Second Alternate – James Corden, The Prom

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman

Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman, The Father

Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian 

Amanda Seyfried, Mank

First Alternate – Youn Yuh-jung, Minari

Second Alternate – Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods

Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Bill Murray, On the Rocks

Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami

First Alternate – Paul Raci, Sound of Metal

Second Alternate – Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Film Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

Mank

Minari

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

The Trial of the Chicago 7

First Alternate – The Father

Second Alternate – Promising Young Woman

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

The Croods: A New Age

Onward

Over the Moon

Soul

Wolfwalkers

First Alternate – The Willoughbys

Second Alternate – Earwig and the Witch

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Nominees:

Another Round

The Life Ahead

Martin Eden

Minari

Quo Vadis, Aida?

First Alternate – Dear Comrades!

Second Alternate – Beanpole

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Soul

Tenet

First Alternate – Hillbilly Elegy

Second Alternate – The Midnight Sky

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

“Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

“Only the Young” from Miss Americana

“Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon

“Seen” from The Life Ahead

“Speak Now” from One Night in Miami

First Alternate – “Wear Your Crown” from The Prom

Second Alternate – “The Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

And that breaks out to the following pictures receiving these numbers for nominations:

6 Nominations

Mank

5 Nominations

One Night in Miami

4 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7

3 Nominations

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Hamilton, The Life Ahead, Minari, Palm Springs

2 Nominations

Emma, The Father, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Over the Moon, Pieces of a Woman, The Prom, Soul

1 Nomination

Another Round, The Croods: A New Age, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, French Exit, Hillbilly Elegy, Judas and the Black Messiah, Martin Eden, The Mauritanian, Miss Americana, News of the World, Onward, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Promising Young Woman, Quo Vadis, Aida?, Sound of Metal, Tenet, Wolfwalkers

I’ll have reaction to the Globe nods up on Wednesday!

 

Oscar Watch: An American Pickle

In another case of a comedic release going the streaming route due to the COVID-19 pandemic, An American Pickle starring Seth Rogen hits HBO Max tomorrow. The pic finds its lead as immigrant Herschel Greenbaum in 1920, who falls into a vat of pickle juice that perfectly preserves him until he snaps out of his slumber in 2020. Rogen also plays the dual role of Greenbaum’s great grandson in the fish out of water flick.

Some of these Oscar Watch posts over the summer could better be termed as Golden Globe Watch. Pickle currently sports a 72% Rotten Tomatoes score. That’s not bad, but a number of the reviews are lukewarm with others downright non-complimentary. In other words, any Oscar consideration for this is wishful thinking. Yet the 2020 experience could open up the door for unexpected comedies to contend at the Globes in their separate Musical/Comedy categorization.

The odds are long for that as well. Based on the critical reaction, I would list the film and Rogen’s performance as behind that of two other streaming comedies released this year: The King of Staten Island with Pete Davidson and Palm Springs starring Andy Samberg.

Bottom line: it would be quite a jarring development to see An American Pickle in any sort of awards contention. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Palm Springs

Hulu gave us a nice surprise this weekend with the release of Palm Springs, a refreshingly clever take on the Groundhog Day concept from director Max Barbakow and screenwriter Andy Saria. I wrote my review of it yesterday and you can find it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/07/10/palm-springs-movie-review/

The sci-fi comedy originally debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and reviews have been impressive (to the tune of a 95% Rotten Tomatoes rating). Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, the RT score for Springs easily eclipses that of The King of Staten Island at 72%. The latter has been mentioned for potential awards attention – albeit in a long shot fashion.

So could this even more acclaimed pic be a contender? Unlikely, but you never know in this highly unusual 2020. If Springs were to vie for any prize, I feel Original Screenplay would be its best hope. The story could be different when it comes to the Golden Globes. That’s where the genres of Drama and Musical/Comedy are divided. Depending on the competition coming in the last half of this long year, both Samberg and especially Milioti (in a breakout role) could at least be on the minds of Globes voters.

I know one thing. Based on my very positive reaction to it, I think it should at least be considered. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Palm Springs Movie Review

Maybe it’s possible that the idea of living the same day over and over again is just something that resonates during these strange COVID-19 times. Or maybe Palm Springs really is a fresh and highly satisfying take on the Groundhog Day concept. I think it’s the latter and what a pleasant surprise.

You cannot have this plot without thinking of the incomparable Bill Murray comedy. The concept has repeated itself in the action and horror genres with Edge of Tomorrow and Happy Death Day. Springs plays with the formula in unexpected ways. Another SNL alum headlines with Andy Samberg as Nyles. He’s the aimless boyfriend to younger Misty (Meredith Hagner) and he’s tagging along to her friend’s wedding in the title town. We realize quickly that something is really off with his behavior. It turns out that he’s already well along the way into his time loop and has been living this day repeatedly. This is the first realization that the screenplay from Andy Siara is playing by a different set of rules by dispensing with the origin story of Nyles’s Groundhog Day. This is a welcome change.

Sarah (Cristin Milioti, tough and sometimes vulnerable and terrific in this role) is the sister of the bride. She’s got character flaws equal to Nyles that aren’t because of the time loop. Yet that quickly changes when she joins him on the endless day. What follows is the duo attempting to figure out just what the heck is happening (the science fiction elements involve a mysterious cave and a goat).

They are occasionally joined in their adventure by another wedding guest Roy (J.K. Simmons, engaging as always) who got sucked into the vortex. It’s also possible that Nyles and Sarah are slowly – very slowly – falling in love. Or is it just that they only have each other in this untenable scenario?

The less said about how the plot rolls along the better. There are genuine revelations that I didn’t see coming, but it all fits into this clever version of a well-worn tale. This is the best Samberg has been on film and Milioti easily equals his work. We see this budding romance develop over many days, albeit the same one. As a credit to the whole team involved, it’s a lot of time well spent.

***1/2 (out of four)

2018 Golden Globe Winner Predictions

The highest profile Oscar precursor airs this Sunday with Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh sharing hosting duties. That means it’s time to roll out my predictions on who and what will win in the film categories. Truth be told, some of these races are fairly easy to pick. Others… not so much. Let’s break each category down with my final picks on the victors.

Best Drama

The Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born

It was an interesting decision for Warner Bros. to place Star here instead of in Musical/Comedy. Even with that, I believe anything else winning would be an upset (BlacKkKlansman may have the best remote shot). Star is looked at as a soft front-runner at the big show down the line. I feel a win here will help solidify that.

Predicted Winner: A Star Is Born

Best Musical/Comedy

The Nominees: Crazy Rich Asians, The Favourite, Green Book, Mary Poppins Returns, Vice

Unlike Drama, this race is considerably tougher to project. Vice received the most nominations of any picture and that could mean something. However, critical reaction has been more mixed than originally anticipated. Mary Poppins Returns now seems to be a legitimate question mark as to Oscar inclusion for Picture and the competition is steep. The reward for Crazy Rich Asians is its nomination.

So, for me, this comes down to Green Book and The Favourite and it’s seriously a coin flip. I am giving a tiny edge to Green Book since it received a directing nomination, unlike The Favourite. 

Predicted Winner: Green Book

Best Director

The Nominees: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice)

A win for Cooper or Lee is not out of the question, but Cuaron is the odds on favorite (as he is for the Academy). Roma was not eligible for inclusion in Drama since it’s a foreign pic. It will (spoiler alert for below!) be honored there and here.

Predicted Winner: Cuaron

Best Actor (Drama)

The Nominees: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

The Best Actor drama race comes down to two performers who used their musical skills to dramatic effect: Cooper and Malek. I would not at all be surprised to see Malek’s Freddie Mercury pick up the trophy, but I’ll say the Star love extends here.

Predicted Winner: Cooper

Best Actress (Drama)

The Nominees: Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Nicole Kidman (Destroyer), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Rosamund Pike (A Private War)

Not long ago, the Globes bestowed Lady Gaga with an unexpected win for her TV work in “American Horror Story”. If they did that, I’ll say they honor her here for her breakthrough film role. Close is the only actress that provides potential competition.

Predicted Winner: Gaga

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

The Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book), Robert Redford (The Old Man & The Gun), John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)

If the Hollywood Foreign Press goes crazy for Green Book, Mortensen could be a benefactor. Yet I suspect this is the most obvious category to give Vice a win for Bale’s acclaimed performance.

Predicted Winner: Bale

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Charlize Theron (Tully), Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)

This is Blunt v. Colman. With Poppins not quite getting all the box office/critics love that was expected, I lean Colman.

Predicted Winner: Colman

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Rockwell (Vice)

The HFPA has had shockers in this race… Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals being a recent example. This is a tricky one. Other than Rockwell, I could see any name being called. I’m tempted to pick Grant, but I’ll go with Ali for a more safe choice (especially since it was Taylor-Johnson that unexpectedly beat him in 2016 for his Oscar-winning part in Moonlight).

Predicted Winner: Ali

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Claire Foy (First Man), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

These are the five women I currently have down for Oscar nods. I suspect The Favourite ladies will cancel themselves out. Foy would be an upset. Could the several Vice nods mean Adams is a factor? It certainly could, but I believe King’s performance in Beale (not withstanding her SAG snub) will emerge.

Predicted Winner: King

Best Screenplay

The Nominees: The Favourite, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Roma, Vice

Unlike the Oscar, the Globes do not divide this race between adapted and original screenplays. A Roma or Book win is feasible, but I’ll say The Favourite is the choice in this case.

Predicted Winner: The Favourite

Best Foreign Language Film

The Nominees: Capernaum, Girl, Never Look Away, Roma, Shoplifters

As already discussed, this is going to be Roma. Not much left to say.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Animated Feature Film

The Nominees: Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

It’s generally not wise to bet against Pixar and Incredibles 2 stands an excellent shot. I’m thinking the Globes may go against the grain though as Spidey is peaking at the right time with its very recent raves.

Predicted Winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Original Score

The Nominees: Black Panther, First Man, Isle of Dogs, Mary Poppins Returns, A Quiet Place

Once again, I’m tempted to go with Disney and their iconic nanny as this is the only musical on here. However, I’ll say Justin Hurwitz’s acclaimed score for First Man lands the win.

Predicted Winner: First Man

Best Original Song

The Nominees: “All the Stars” from Black Panther, “Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin, “Requiem for a Private War” from A Private War, “Revelation” from Boy Erased, “Shallow” from A Star Is Born

It was unexpected that Poppins made no showing here (part of the reason I’m picking against it in Score). Regardless, there is an extremely obvious front-runner here and it’s Cooper and Gaga’s duet.

Predicted Winner: “Shallow” from A Star Is Born

My projections give Star a bright evening with four victories, with The Favourite, Green Book, and Roma all picking up two. I’ll have analysis up shortly after the ceremony as to how I did. Stay tuned!

 

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Box Office Prediction

Adam Sandler’s animated franchise is back in theaters next weekend when Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation debuts. The Sony Pictures series moves to the summer season after its first two entries managed to set records in the month of September. While its star’s live-action efforts have gone the Netflix route, part 3 looks to score with family audiences in a more crowded marketplace than the parts I and II went up against.

Genndy Tartakovsky is back in the director’s chair. Besides Sandler, returning voices include Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Mel Brooks and newcomers Kathryn Hahn and Jim Gaffigan.

As mentioned, kids and their parents have been receptive to this 3D monster mash on two occasions. In September 2012, the original premiered to $42.5 million with eventual domestic earnings of $148 million. That set the all-time largest debut for that month. Three years later, Hotel Transylvania 2 opened in September 2015 and made $48.4 out of the gate to break the month’s record held by its predecessor. It ended up at $169 million. The series held the 1-2 September spot until last year when It obliterated the record.

When it comes to competition for eyeballs, Incredibles 2 should be winding down though still grossing in the mid to possibly high teens. Marvel’s AntMan and the Wasp will only be in its second weekend and likely going strong. That said, Transylvania has proven itself before and I imagine it too will manage a low to mid 40s start even with the change of seasons. By doing so, that should put it in line for the #1 spot over AntMan and the debut of Dwayne Johnson’s Skyscraper.

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation opening weekend prediction: $43.6 million

For my Skyscraper prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/07/03/skyscraper-box-office-prediction/