Oscar Watch: The Goldfinch

John Crowley’s The Goldfinch looks like a picture made for Oscar consideration. It’s a prestige drama based on a well known novel (from Donna Tartt). This is the follow up to the filmmaker’s Brooklyn, which did receive a nod in the biggest race four years ago. Nicole Kidman is in it, as is Ansel Elgort in his first headlining role since Baby Driver.

Yet I found it curious that Warner Bros didn’t screen it last weekend in Venice or Telluride. After all, its Toronto screening today is a mere five days ahead of its stateside release. That’s not much time to build awards buzz.

Now we know why. The Goldfinch is being savaged by some critics and the Rotten Tomatoes score is at 22%. So while numerous movies have increased their visibility on the voter circuit in the last few days, this would be a casualty. If anything, perhaps Roger Deakins (who at last won a gold statue two years ago for Blade Runner 2049) could see his cinematography noticed. That would be the extent of it. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

The Goldfinch Box Office Prediction

Based on a 2013 novel by Donna Tartt that elicited mixed reaction, The Goldfinch arrives in theaters next weekend. The drama is director John Crowley’s follow up to his Oscar nominated 2015 effort Brooklyn. Ansel Elgort headlines with a supporting cast that includes Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard (currently also costarring in It Chapter Two), Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, and Nicole Kidman.

The film will have its premiere this weekend at the Toronto Film Festival. Interestingly, it skipped both Telluride and Venice. Those earlier screenings could have provided the opportunity for any awards chatter and I’m curious to see if Warner Bros knew that might not materialize.

For those unfamiliar with the source material, I’ve found the trailers to be a bit too mysterious and a tad lackluster. We’ll see if reviews this weekend could possibly change the dynamic, but I currently see The Goldfinch struggling to reach double digits. That unimpressive result would put it in third place behind the aforementioned It sequel and Hustlers.

The Goldfinch opening weekend prediction: $5.7 million

For my Hustlers prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/09/04/hustlers-box-office-prediction/

The 2019 Oscar Season Cometh

As the summer season winds down, the movie industry and this blog’s attention will soon turn to the Oscar race. And if you think it’s too early to do that, consider that less than a month from now – an avalanche of Academy hopefuls will be unveiled at film festivals. Toronto, Venice, Telluride, and the New York festivals are on deck. The programmers behind those events have already released the names of many of the pictures premiering. Here are some of the pictures wishing for Oscar glory that are hitting the circuit:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Tom Hanks is iconic children’s host Mr. Rogers in director Marielle Heller’s follow-up to last year’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which nabbed nods for Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant. Premiering at Toronto.

Ad Astra

James Gray has made multiple critical darlings, but has yet to pop up on the awards circuit radar screen. Could this sci fi drama with Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones change that? Premiering at Venice.

An Officer and a Spy

It will need serious acclaim to overcome the baggage that comes from its maker Roman Polanski, but this historical thriller will attempt to do so in Venice.

Dolemite Is My Name

Prior to its anticipated Netflix launch, Craig Brewer’s biopic of comedian Rudy Ray Moore portrayed by legendary comic Eddie Murphy will bow at Toronto.

Ema

Pablo Larrain has had his pics No and Jackie attract awards nods and this Chilean drama hopes to follow suit. Premiering at Venice.

Ford v Ferrari

Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in James Mangold’s 1960s set tale of the flashy automotive industry. Premiering at Toronto.

Harriet

Cynthia Erica was a breakout in last year’s Widows. This year she has an Academy baity role as abolitionist Harriet Tubman in this historical epic from Kasi Lemmons. Premiering at Toronto.

Jojo Rabbit

This concoction from Taika Waititi is set during WWII with a dark comedic premise finding a young child with an imaginary friend who happens to be Hitler. The filmmaker himself plays Hitler. Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell are among the cast.

Joker

Heath Ledger won a posthumous gold statue as the comic book villain in The Dark Knight. Joaquin Phoenix will attempt the same here. Premiering at Venice.

Judy

It’s been awhile since Renee Zellweger had a role receiving awards buzz. This biopic of Judy Garland could alter that. Premiering at Toronto.

Just Mercy

This drama about a falsely accused prisoner features Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson. Premiering at Toronto.

Knives Out

Rian Johnson’s murder mystery has a sprawling cast of hopefuls including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, and Michael Shannon. Premiering at Toronto.

Marriage Story

Noah Baumbach is a favorite of the critical community. This drama is headlined by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver and hits Venice and other fests before its Netflix premiere.

The Goldfinch

Brooklyn director John Crowley adapts this drama based on a well-known 2013 novel. The cast includes Nicole Kidman and Oakes Fegley. Premiering at Toronto.

The Irishman

Rightly kicking off the New York Festival, Martin Scorsese directs this gangster saga starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.

The Laundromat

Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh directs this dramatic thriller with Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas. Premiering at Venice.

The Personal History of David Copperfield

Lion nominee Dev Patel is the Charles Dickens character with a supporting cast including Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie. Premiering at Toronto.

The Two Popes

Jonathan Pryce is Pope Francis and Anthony Hopkins is Pope Benedict in this Netflix effort from director Fernando Meirelles. Premiering at Toronto.

Followers of this blog know that I’ll do Oscar Watch posts on each of these and many others as they screen in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

 

2017 Golden Globe Predictions

The most high-profile Oscar precursor arrives Sunday night when Seth Meyers hosts the Golden Globe awards. Of course, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association operates a bit differently by divvying its major categories (Picture, Actor, Actress) into Drama and Musical/Comedy.

As has been a common theme lately, one of the “Musical/Comedy” entries is a bit questionable – Jordan Peele’s Get Out. To be fair, it is a difficult picture to classify. The Golden Globes can often shed some light on Oscar contenders or solidify front runners. Here are my predictions, race by race, on who and what will emerge victorious and my runner-up picks:

Best Picture (Drama)

Nominees: Call Me by Your Name, Dunkirk, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Winner: The Shape of Water

Runner-Up: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: The Disaster Artist, Get Out, The Greatest Showman, I, Tonya, Lady Bird

Predicted Winner: Lady Bird

Runner-Up: The Disaster Artist

Best Director

Nominees: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World), Steven Spielberg (The Post)

Predicted Winner: del Toro

Runner-Up: Nolan

Best Actor (Drama)

Nominees: Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Tom Hanks (The Post), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)

Predicted Winner: Oldman

Runner-Up: Chalamet

Best Actress (Drama)

Nominees: Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Meryl Streep (The Post), Michelle Williams (All the Money in the World)

Predicted Winner: Hawkins

Runner-Up: McDormand

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Steve Carell (Battle of the Sexes), Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Hugh Jackman (The Greatest Showman), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)

Predicted Winner: Franco

Runner-Up: Jackman

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Judi Dench (Victoria and Abdul), Helen Mirren (The Leisure Seeker), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes)

Predicted Winner: Ronan

Runner-Up: Robbie

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Predicted Winner: Plummer

Runner-Up: Rockwell

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Hong Chau (Downsizing), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Predicted Winner: Janney

Runner-Up: Metcalf

Best Screenplay

Nominees: Lady Bird, Molly’s Game, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Runner-Up: Lady Bird

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent

Predicted Winner: Coco

Runner-Up: Loving Vincent

Best Foreign Language Film 

Nominees: A Fantastic Woman, First, They Killed My Father, In the Fade, Loveless, The Square

Predicted Winner: First, They Killed My Father

Runner-Up: A Fantastic Woman

Best Score

Nominees: Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Winner: Dunkirk

Runner-Up: The Shape of Water

Best Song

Nominees: “Home” from Ferdinand, “Mighty River” from Mudbound, “Remember Me” from Coco, “The Star” from The Star, “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman

Predicted Winner: “This is Me”

Runner-Up: “Remember Me”

I’ll have a recap up Sunday night with how I did! Until then…

Baby Driver Movie Review

In his filmography which includes Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright has shown a flair for infusing a vast music catalogue to mix with inventive action. It’s on display at the highest gear in Baby Driver. Only Quentin Tarantino rivals and probably tops this director at it. For the majority of its running time, Driver merrily coasts in its own reality (like Quentin’s projects do) and it’s often a thrill.

Despite sounding like a Dreamworks animated project where a precocious infant gets an Uber license, the title refers to Ansel Elgort’s name and profession. His job is to ferry bank robbers around and make grand escapes upon completion. This is done at the direction of criminal mastermind Doc (Kevin Spacey, oozing sarcasm and smarminess as only he can do). Baby is rarely disconnected from his ear buds. A childhood tragedy that took the life of his musician mom has left him with tinnitus or a “hum in the drum” as Doc calls it. This means he is constantly blaring a seriously cool playlist that permeates the car chases that are his occupational hazard.

It turns out Baby is not involved in his line of work on a voluntary basis. He’s ready to move on, especially after meeting lovely waitress Debora (Lily James) who’s ready to ride off into the sunset with him. Yet there’s always that last job and it involves working with thieves Bats (Jamie Foxx, who’s having a grand time) and hot and heavy and psychotic couple Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza Gonzalez). Baby has a moral compass when it comes to his work. His coworkers don’t always share that view.

Baby Driver takes little time getting the audience accustomed to its style. Between the chases (of which are expertly handled), we get plenty of tuneful fun. Some of the tracks are meant to get Baby motivated to do his assignments. Others are meant to further the courtship of him and Debora. Elgort and James have a winning chemistry here. You want them to hit that open road into happily ever after.

Only in the last few minutes does Driver somewhat stall when it becomes less enamored with its own hyper universe and becomes a more traditional action thriller. Thankfully there’s plenty of joyful noise that precedes it.

***1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Watch: Baby Driver

Over this holiday weekend, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver has become quite the little engine that could box office success story. The critically lauded mash-up action thriller musical comedy has taken in $30 million since its Wednesday debut, standing out as original programming in a season filled with sequels and reboots.

So the question is: could Oscar notice? While Driver is not normally the type of flick that Academy voters celebrate, there is bound to be a significant contingent of admirers that will push for its inclusion in Best Picture and Director.

It probably won’t happen, but it’s feasible. I’ll also throw out the possibility that it could contend in both Sound races: Mixing and Editing, as well as maybe Editing itself. Of course, the sound races will likely feature heavyweights such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Greatest Showman, Transformers: The Last Knight, Blade Runner 2049 and others. However, much of Driver’s praise has focused on its pulsating soundtrack throughout.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Baby Driver Box Office Prediction

A mashup of all kinds of genres which has already garnered significant critical praise, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver cruises into multiplexes a week from today. The musical action crime comedy stars Ansel Elgort (most known for The Fault in Our Stars) as the title character with a supporting cast that includes Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, and Elza Gonzalez.

When Baby was birthed at the South by Southwest Festival this spring, it did so to great acclaim. The pic stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and marks another well-regarded flick from the maker of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. 

The question is how will this hot buzz translate to box office dollars? There’s plenty of competition around, but audiences could be ready for something original (especially in the midst of many sequels and reboots).

That said, Baby Driver also could perform just decently out of the gate before maintaining a seemingly inevitable cult status. Taking its Wednesday premiere into account, I’ll say a low double digits three-day roll out with a five-day in the mid teens is most likely.

Baby Driver opening weekend prediction: $10.9 million (Friday to Sunday), $15.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Despicable Me 3 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/21/despicable-me-3-box-office-prediction/

For my The House prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/21/the-house-box-office-prediction/

For my The Beguiled prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/26/the-beguiled-box-office-prediction/