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2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: November 8th Edition

My weekly Oscar predictions have arrived once again! Some important developments from last week to this one:

  • Green Book rises and First Man falls. While I still have the latter receiving a Picture nomination, I’ve put in Peter Farrelly (Green Book) over Man maker Damien Chazelle in Director. In Best Actor, Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) gets the nod over Ryan Gosling’s work. In Adapted Screenplay, it’s Widows in and First Man out. With Green Book, it now rises to the #1 spot in Original Screenplay over Roma.
  • The AFI Fest premieres tonight with the world debut of On the Basis of Sex. We’ll have a lot more info on its Oscar viability in just hours. The same festival will bring us the first screening and buzz for Mary Queen of Scots next week.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

1. A Star Is Born (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. Green Book (PR: 5)

4. The Favourite (PR: 3)

5. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 4)

6. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

7. First Man (PR: 6)

8. Black Panther (PR: 8)

9. Vice (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Widows (PR: 12)

11. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 10)

12. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 14)

13. The Mule (PR: 13)

14. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 11)

15. Boy Erased (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Mary Queen of Scots

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 3)

4. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 7)

5. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 6)

7. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 5)

8. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 9)

9. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 8)

10. Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 10)

Best Actor

1. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 3)

3. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 2)

4. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 7)

5. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 5)

7. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 6)

8. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: 8)

9. Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Hugh Jackman, The Front Runner (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy

Best Actress

1. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 1)

2. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: 6)

7. Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 7)

8. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 8)

9. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back (PR: 9)

10. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots

Best Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 1)

2. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 4)

3. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 2)

4. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 3)

5. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Daniel Kaluuya, Widows (PR: 8)

7. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 7)

8. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 6)

9. Russell Crowe, Boy Erased (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Robert Forster, What They Had

Best Supporting Actress

1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

2. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 2)

3. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 5)

4. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 4)

5. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 8)

7. Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (PR: 7)

8. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 9)

9. Marina de Tavira, Roma (PR: 6)

10. Linda Cardellini, Green Book (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 1)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 3)

4. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Widows (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. First Man (PR: 5)

7. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 7)

8. Boy Erased (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Hate U Give (PR: 8)

10. Black Panther (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Leave No Trace

Best Original Screenplay

1. Green Book (PR: 3)

2. Roma (PR: 1)

3. The Favourite (PR: 2)

4. Eighth Grade (PR: 4)

5. Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 6)

7. First Reformed (PR: 7)

8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 9)

9. A Quiet Place (PR: 8)

10. The Mule (PR: 10)

Best Foreign Language Film

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. Cold War (PR: 2)

3. Shoplifters (PR: 3)

4. Girl (PR: 4)

5. Capernaum (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Burning (PR: 6)

7. Never Look Away (PR: 9)

8. Border (PR: 10)

9. Birds of Passage (PR: 7)

10. Dogman (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Guility

Best Animated Feature

1. Incredibles 2 (PR: 1)

2. Isle of Dogs (PR: 2)

3. Ralph Breaks the Internet (PR: 3)

4. Mirai (PR: 4)

5. Early Man (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ruben Brandt, Collector (PR: 5)

7. Smallfoot (PR: 10)

8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Grinch (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Lu Over the Wall (PR: 6)

Dropped Out:

Night is Short, Walk on Girl

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

Best Documentary Feature

1. Free Solo (PR: 1)

2. Three Identical Strangers (PR: 2)

3. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (PR: 3)

4. RBG (PR: 4)

5. Minding the Gap (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Crime + Punishment (PR: 8)

7. Dark Money (PR: 7)

8. Science Fair (PR: 5)

9. Quincy (PR: 10)

10. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Price of Everything

Best Film Editing

1. Roma (PR: 2)

2. First Man (PR: 3)

3. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

4. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

5. The Favourite (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows (PR: 6)

7. Vice (PR: 5)

8. Black Panther (PR: 8)

9. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 9)

10. Green Book (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

July 22

Best Cinematography

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. First Man (PR: 2)

3. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 4)

4. The Favourite (PR: 6)

5. A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows (PR: 9)

7. Black Panther (PR: 7)

8. Cold War (PR: 5)

9. BlacKkKlansman (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Green Book (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Mary Queen of Scots

Best Production Design

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 4)

4. First Man (PR: 3)

5. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Star Is Born (PR: 6)

7. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 8)

8. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Roma (PR: 7)

10. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Colette

Best Costume Design

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 3)

4. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

5. Colette (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 9)

7. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 6)

9. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 8)

10. A Star Is Born (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

A Wrinkle in Time

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

1. The Favourite (PR: 3)

2. Black Panther (PR: 1)

3. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 2)

Other Possibilities:

4. Vice (PR: 5)

5. Stan & Ollie (PR: 4)

6. A Star Is Born (PR: 7)

7. Colette (PR: 9)

8. A Wrinkle in Time (PR: 10)

9. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 6)

10. Suspiria (PR: 8)

Best Sound Editing

1. First Man (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. A Star Is Born (PR: 4)

4. A Quiet Place (PR: 3)

5. Roma (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (PR: 6)

7. Incredibles 2 (PR: 5)

8. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 9)

9. Avengers: Infinity War (PR: 7)

10. Ready Player One (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Annihilation

Best Sound Mixing

1. A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

2. First Man (PR: 1)

3. Black Panther (PR: 4)

4. A Quiet Place (PR: 3)

5. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Roma (PR: 7)

7. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

8. Incredibles 2 (PR: 8)

9. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Avengers: Infinity War (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Ready Player One

Best Visual Effects

1. First Man (PR: 1)

2. Avengers: Infinity War (PR: 2)

3. Ready Player One (PR: 4)

4. Black Panther (PR: 3)

5. Annihilation (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 6)

7. A Wrinkle in Time (PR: 8)

8. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 9)

9. A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

10. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Best Original Score

1. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 2)

2. First Man (PR: 1)

3. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 6)

4. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 3)

5. Widows (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Roma (PR: 4)

8. Suspiria (PR: 9)

9. The Sisters Brothers (PR: 10)

10. Green Book (PR: 5)

Dropped Out:

Incredibles 2

Colette

Best Original Song

1. “Shallow” from A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. “All the Stars” from Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. “I’ll Never Love Again” from A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

4. “The Places Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 4)

5. “We Won’t Move” from The Hate U Give (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Revelation” from Boy Erased (PR: Not Ranked)

7. “Always Remember Us This Way” from A Star Is Born (PR: 7)

8. “Hearts Beat Loud” from Hearts Beat Loud (PR: 10)

9. “I’ll Fight” from RBG (PR: 9)

10. “Time for Change” from On the Basis of Sex (PR: 6)

And that breaks down the following number of nominations for each film:

12 Nominations

A Star Is Born

11 Nominations

The Favourite

9 Nominations

First Man

8 Nominations

Black Panther, Roma

6 Nominations

If Beale Street Could Talk

5 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman, Green Book

4 Nominations

Mary Queen of Scots, Vice

3 Nominations

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Mary Poppins Returns

2 Nominations

A Quiet Place, Bohemian Rhapsody, Widows

1 Nomination

At Eternity’s Gate, The Wife, Beautiful Boy, Eighth Grade, Colette, Avengers: Infinity War, Ready Player One, Annihilation, The Hate U Give, Cold War, Shoplifters, Girl, Capernaum, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Mirai, Early Man, Free Solo, Three Identical Strangers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, RBG, Minding the Gap

 

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: November 1st Edition

My first Oscar predictions in the month of November come with reductions and expansions. I am slimming the list of 25 Best Picture possibilities to 15 and the other major categories from 15 to 10. As you can see, I am also including all of the other feature-length races for the first time from Documentary to Animated Feature to Foreign Language Feature and the techs.

So what are the developments worth discussing? Well…

  • In these initial projections for all races, A Star Is Born and First Man tie for most nominations with 12 apiece. Truth be told, I’m skeptical that First Man will get there. Its poor box office performance could hinder its possibilities in some races. While I’m relatively confident it will score multiples nods in the technical categories, both director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling are questionable, even though I currently have them both getting honored.
  • In Best Picture, BlacKkKlansman rises from 6th to 4th in the list of predicted nominees. It’s a good week in general for the Spike Lee pic as I’m including Adam Driver for the first time in the list of predicted Supporting Actor nominees, replacing Sam Rockwell in Vice.
  • We got a surprise announcement this week as Kenneth Branagh’s All Is True will open in late December for a qualifying run. The director stars as William Shakespeare in the late stages of his life with a supporting cast including Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. I will likely wait for some buzz before possibly listing it as a predicted nominee. In addition to Picture, Director, acting slots, and screenplay – it has the potential in down the line races such as Costume Design and Production Design. It will certainly be one to keep an eye on.
  • For Foreign Language Feature, Roma is tops in my first predictions while it maintains its #2 spot in Best Picture. Pixar finds itself in familiar territory with Incredibles 2 leading Animated Feature. In what should be a competitive Documentary Feature race, Free Solo starts out at #1 with Three Identical Strangers close behind.

And with that, here’s what November brings as far as Oscar predictions!

Best Picture

1. A Star Is Born (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

5. Green Book (PR: 4)

6. First Man (PR: 5)

7. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

8. Black Panther (PR: 8)

9. Vice (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 11)

11. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 13)

12. Widows (PR: 10)

13. The Mule (PR: 12)

14. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 15)

15. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

A Quiet Place

Eighth Grade

Boy Erased

Leave No Trace

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Mary Poppins Returns

The Hate U Give

Cold War

Ben Is Back

Hereditary

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 4)

4. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (PR: 3)

5. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 6)

7. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 7)

8. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 9)

9. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 8)

10. Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Steve McQueen, Widows

Clint Eastwood, The Mule

Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots

John Krasinski, A Quiet Place

Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians

Best Actor

1. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 2)

3. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 5)

5. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 8)

7. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

8. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: 7)

9. Hugh Jackman, The Front Runner (PR: 9)

10. Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Lucas Hedges, Ben Is Back

Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Ben Foster, Leave No Trace

John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

John C. Reilly, Stan and Ollie

Best Actress

1. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 1)

2. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: 6)

7. Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 8)

8. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 10)

9. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back (PR: 7)

10. Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Toni Collette, Hereditary

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns 

Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Kindergarten Teacher

Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk

Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade

Best Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 1)

2. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

3. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 3)

4. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

5. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 5)

7. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 8)

8. Daniel Kaluuya, Widows (PR: 6)

9. Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give (PR: 14)

10. Robert Forster, What They Had (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Steve Carell, Vice

Armie Hammer, On the Basis of Sex

Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite 

Russell Crowe, Boy Erased

Tim Blake Nelson, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Best Supporting Actress

1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

2. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 2)

3. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite (PR: 4)

4. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 3)

5. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Marina de Tavira, Roma (PR: 7)

7. Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (PR: 6)

8. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 8)

9. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 9)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots 

Rachel McAdams, Disobedience

Sissy Spacek, The Old Man & The Gun

Kathy Bates, On the Basis of Sex

Dianne Wiest, The Mule

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 1)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 3)

4. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. First Man (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows (PR: 7)

7. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 6)

8. The Hate U Give (PR: 11)

9. Leave No Trace (PR: 8)

10. Black Panther (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Mary Queen of Scots

Boy Erased

Disobedience

The Sisters Brothers

The Wife

Best Original Screenplay

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. The Favourite (PR: 2)

3. Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Eighth Grade (PR: 4)

5. Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 10)

7. First Reformed (PR: 6)

8. A Quiet Place (PR: 9)

9. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 7)

10. The Mule (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Ben Is Back

Private Life

Hereditary

Stan and Ollie

Sorry to Bother You

Best Foreign Language Film

1. Roma

2. Cold War

3. Shoplifters

4. Girl

5. Capernaum

Other Possibilities:

6. Burning

7. Birds of Passage

8. The Guilty

9. Never Look Away

10. Border

Best Animated Feature

1. Incredibles 2

2. Isle of Dogs

3. Ralph Breaks the Internet

4. Mirai

5. Ruben Brandt, Collector

Other Possibilities:

6. Lu Over the Wall

7. Early Man

8. Night is Short, Walk on Girl

9. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

10. Smallfoot

Best Documentary Feature

1. Free Solo

2. Three Identical Strangers

3. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

4. RBG

5. Science Fair

Other Possibilities:

6. Minding the Gap

7. Dark Money

8. Crime + Punishment

9. The Price of Everything

10. Quincy

Best Film Editing

1. A Star Is Born

2. Roma

3. First Man

4. The Favourite

5. Vice

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows

7. If Beale Street Could Talk

8. Black Panther

9. BlacKkKlansman

10. July 22

Best Cinematography

1. Roma

2. First Man

3. A Star Is Born

4. If Beale Street Could Talk

5. Cold War

Other Possibilities:

6. The Favourite

7. Black Panther

8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

9. Widows

10. Mary Queen of Scots

Best Production Design

1. The Favourite

2. Black Panther

3. First Man

4. Mary Poppins Returns

5. Mary Queen of Scots

Other Possibilities:

6. A Star Is Born

7. Roma

8. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

9. Colette

10. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Best Costume Design

1. The Favourite

2. Black Panther

3. Mary Queen of Scots

4. Colette

5. Mary Poppins Returns

Other Possibilities:

6. Crazy Rich Asians

7. A Star Is Born

8. If Beale Street Could Talk

9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

10. A Wrinkle in Time

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

1. Black Panther

2. Mary Queen of Scots

3. The Favourite

Other Possibilities:

4. Stan and Ollie

5. Vice

6. Mary Poppins Returns

7. A Star Is Born

8. Suspiria

9. Colette

10. A Wrinkle in Time

Best Sound Editing

1. First Man

2. Black Panther

3. A Quiet Place

4. A Star Is Born

5. Incredibles 2

Other Possibilities:

6. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

7. Avengers: Infinity War

8. Roma

9. Mary Poppins Returns

10. Annihilation

Best Sound Mixing

1. First Man

2. A Star Is Born

3. A Quiet Place

4. Black Panther

5. Mary Poppins Returns

Other Possibilities:

6. Bohemian Rhapsody

7. Roma

8. Incredibles 2

9. Avengers: Infinity War

10. Ready Player One

Best Visual Effects

1. First Man

2. Avengers: Infinity War

3. Black Panther

4. Ready Player One

5. Annihilation

Other Possibilities

6. Mary Poppins Returns

7. A Quiet Place

8. A Wrinkle in Time

9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

10. Ant-Man and the Wasp

Best Original Score

1. First Man

2. If Beale Street Could Talk

3. BlacKkKlansman

4. Roma

5. Green Book

Other Possibilities:

6. Mary Queen of Scots

7. Incredibles 2

8. Colette

9. Suspiria

10. The Sisters Brothers

Best Original Song

1. “Shallow” from A Star Is Born

2. “All the Stars” from Black Panther

3. “I’ll Never Love Again” from A Star Is Born

4. “The Place Where Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns

5. “We Won’t Move” from The Hate U Give

Other Possibilities:

6. “Time for Change” from On the Basis of Sex

7. “Always Remember Us This Way” from A Star Is Born

8. “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” from Mary Poppins Returns

9. “I’ll Fight” from RBG

10. “Hearts Beat Loud” from Hearts Beat Loud

And that breaks down to the following number of nominations for each feature:

12 Nominations

A Star Is Born, First Man

10 Nominations

The Favourite

8 Nominations

Black Panther, Roma

5 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Vice

3 Nominations

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Mary Queen of Scots, Mary Poppins Returns

2 Nominations

A Quiet Place, Cold War, Incredibles 2

1 Nomination

Annihilation, At Eternity’s Gate, Avengers: Infinity War, Beautiful Boy, Colette, Eighth Grade, Ready Player One, The Hate U Give, The Wife, Capernaum, Free Solo, Girl, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, RBG, Ruben Brandt, Collector, Science Fair. Shoplifters, Three Identical Strangers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Ranking The MCU

As of today with AntMan and the Wasp, I’ve now seen all 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe titles that began just over a decade ago with Iron Man. That seemed like a nice round number to do my initial rankings of them. I will plan to update the list as time goes on, beginning next spring with Captain Marvel.

I’ve seen some of them more than others and my opinion for certain ones have risen and fallen over time. For instance, Captain America: Civil War has grown in my appreciation of it. On a lesser scale, my disappointment for Avengers: Age of Ultron has dissipated a bit. And while I’m still in the minority for believing The Dark World is a little better than the original Thor, it’s not too good and has lost some luster in my view.

So we arrive at my listing of the 20 MCU titles thus far! Let the debating begin…

20. AntMan (2015)

19. Iron Man 2 (2010)

18. Thor (2011)

17. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

16. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

15. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

14. AntMan and the Wasp (2018)

13. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

12. SpiderMan: Homecoming (2017)

11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

10. Doctor Strange (2016)

9. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

8. Iron Man 3 (2013)

7. Black Panther (2018)

6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

5. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

4. Iron Man (2008)

3. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

2. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

1. The Avengers (2012)

Ant-Man and the Wasp Movie Review

Size matters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the decade old multi-billion franchise reached its most epic heights in Avengers: Infinity War. The only superhero who’s had their own stand-alone pic not to appear in that gargantuan production was Ant-Man, the character brought to life by Paul Rudd in the summer of 2015. Sequel AntMan and the Wasp follows a traditional Avengers tale like the original did. To say it feels smaller in scope is an understatement. Part one often failed to strike a satisfying mix and surprisingly struggled to make Rudd’s title character a memorable one. Whereas Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord were instantly iconic heroes, it didn’t work that way in AntMan. That’s despite its star’s well-known ability to mix comedy and drama and some nifty visuals that made the third act a treat.

Rarely do we find an MCU effort without parental issues involved and they’re here. Scott Lang/Ant-Man is nearing the end of a two-year house arrest bid based on the events from Captain America: Civil War. His former love interest Hope/heroine Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and science wiz dad Hank (Michael Douglas) are hiding out as well while conducting experiments to find their mom and wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). She’s been stuck for three decades in the quantum realm that Ant-Man briefly visited in the original. His experience there leads Hope and Hank to believe she’s alive and the search is on. The technology that leads to that mystical place is sought by a low life criminal (Walton Goggins) and his crew. The FBI is curious about it, including the main agent (Randall Park in amusing turn) tasked with monitoring Scott. And then there’s Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a molecular challenged young lady who has her own reasons to gain powers. She teams up with a former colleague of Hank’s played by Laurence Fishburne.

If you’re thinking that’s a lot of characters to follow, I haven’t even mentioned Scott’s returning daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson), ex-wife (Judy Greer), and current husband (Bobby Cannavale). There’s also his business partners and occasional fellow crime fighters including Michael Pena and T.I. So while there’s plenty of action to follow, the MCU knows how to make it easy to follow. Compared to Infinity War, the amount of subplots seems practically minuscule.

Wasp finds Rudd settling more comfortably in the role and more humorously. That’s an aspect that was oddly not around much in 2015. Finding Scott with Pfeiffer’s character in his head in one scene provides some genuine laughs. Like in the original, Mr. Douglas appears to be having a ball. He gets his own chance to save the day at one point while his counterparts are engaged in a visually impressive car chase in the streets of San Francisco. Lilly doesn’t just share title credit here. She does have more to do.

AntMan and the Wasp is an improvement over the first. That’s a trait shared by other MCU sequels, especially in the Captain America and Thor series. Peyton Reed returns as director and the whole production feels more confident. It also doesn’t have the burden of being an origin story… something we go through a lot with this constantly growing genre. Like many of its subjects, the importance of what happens in these two hours feels small compared to the grand scale of other stories in this universe. More so than in 2015, however, Ant-Man’s existence in it feels welcome.

*** (out of four)

Todd’s Early 2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Popular Film

My extremely early Oscar predictions for 2018 bring us to something brand new and quite controversial. Yes, I’m talking the category that we will see for the first time at next year’s ceremony: Best Popular Film.

The announcement last month by the Academy of this new race was met with a whole lotta criticism. And even if you weren’t one of the voices on the negative side, the category has caused understandable confusion.

We still don’t know the criteria for a nomination here. Over $100 million at the box office? How wide was its release?

The Academy did clear up one big question. Movies nominated in this category can also be featured in the Best Picture race. It’s a legitimate question as to whether or not that will happen. For instance, A Star Is Born could be primed for the big race. Yet it seems likely to cross the century mark. How about Incredibles 2? It’s a shoo-in for a nod in Best Animated Feature, so will voters acknowledge it in both categories? For now, I’m saying no. Many prognosticators believe this could be the Academy’s way of honoring Black Panther. We shall see.

Bottom line… plenty of uncertainty here, but here’s my first take on the first year of Best Popular Film.

Best Director and then Picture are up next! If you missed my estimates for the four acting races, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/24/todds-early-2018-oscar-predictions-best-actor/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/24/todds-early-2018-oscar-predictions-best-actress/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/23/todds-early-2018-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actor/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/23/todds-early-2018-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actress/

Todd’s Early Oscar Predictions: Best Popular Film

A Quiet Place

Black Panther

Crazy Rich Asians

Mary Poppins Returns

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Other Possibilities:

Aquaman

A Star Is Born

Avengers: Infinity War

Deadpool 2

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Incredibles 2

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Ocean’s 8

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Ready Player One

The Oscars Go “Popular”: An Analysis

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences dropped a rather big bombshell today with some announced changes to their Oscar telecast. First off, they’re claiming the show will now be just three hours (I’ll believe it when I see it). Additionally, some categories (I imagine numerous tech ones) will be announced live during commercial breaks and then edited into the show later. This probably won’t make the individuals in those races happy, but it should speed up the program.

However, the most noticeable and interesting change is the addition of a new category (something the Academy rarely does). The addition is described as “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film”. No other details have been provided, but this would appear to be an attempt by the Academy to include blockbusters that haven’t made the cut in Best Picture.

So what does that mean? What is the criteria? That was not announced today and it will be fascinating to see what such criteria is. Could it be a particular gross… say over $100 million domestically? Could it be the number of the theaters a movie is released in? Time will tell and hopefully these details will be revealed shortly. It isn’t even immediately clear that these changes will all be in effect for the 2019 telecast, but I imagine they will be.

Even though nothing is totally clear at press time, that won’t stop me from speculating and asking, “What if this category had been in effect in previous years?”

Before that, let’s start with this year. If there is a Best Popular Film category in 2018, that greatly increases the chances of Marvel’s Black Panther and horror smash A Quiet Place getting nods. There’s also Mission: Impossible – Fallout (the most acclaimed entry in the franchise) or perhaps Avengers: Infinity War. Pixar will certainly see Incredibles 2 nominated in Best Animated Feature, but it could make a play here as well. And we still have fall releases like Mary Poppins Returns and A Star Is Born out there.

There will be plenty of speculation as to whether Black Panther will be the first superhero pic to nab a Best Picture nomination. There is little doubt it would be recognized in this new category.

It’s been discussed on this blog previously about the 2008 Oscars which omitted The Dark Knight in the Best Picture derby. That development was likely responsible for the Academy changing its rule of five nominated films to anywhere between five and ten. Yet it would appear the Academy still isn’t satisfied with major hits being included.

Let’s consider last year. Of the nine Best Picture nominees, only two grossed over $100 million – Get Out and Dunkirk. If the Popular Film category had existed a year ago, I imagine both features would have achieved double nominations. Assuming this new category contains five nominees (something not revealed yet), what would the other three have been? There’s plenty of blockbusters to choose from: Beauty and the Beast, Wonder Woman, It, Logan, Coco, The Greatest Showman, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder, and Baby Driver. 

Here’s my best guess of what a Best Popular Film slate would have looked like in 2017:

Dunkirk, Get Out, Logan, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman

And I’m thinking Get Out would have won.

In 2016, you might have seen Deadpool and The Jungle Book as Popular picks.

In 2015, there could have been room for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Straight Outta Compton.

2014? Perhaps Guardians of the Galaxy and Gone Girl. 

Heck, let’s go way back. Would Jurassic Park have won Best Popular Film in 1993? I don’t think so. I bet it would have gone to The Fugitive, which nabbed an actual Best Picture nomination.

Of course, there would have been years where Best Picture and Best Popular Film match. 1994 with Forrest Gump. 1997’s Titanic. 2000’s Gladiator. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003.

Back to today. I would say this new category seems tailor-made for Black Panther. Does that mean its chances for a Best Picture nod are now diminished because voters figure it runs away with this? Perhaps. And that’s why I’m not too wild about this change at the moment. This has the potential to look like a desperate play by the Academy. At the least, it’s an acknowledgment that audience favorites and Academy favorites don’t often match.

That said, let’s see what the criteria is and I’ll judge from there. It’s a new era at the Oscars… one where Bumblebee stands a shot (however remote) at Oscar glory!

The Dark Knight Legacy: 10 Years Later

Ten years ago tomorrow, The Dark Knight was unleashed into theaters. Looking back at the summer of 2008, you could argue that the two most important superhero pics in recent memory were released in that short time frame. Two months earlier in May of that year, Iron Man kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe which now stands at 20 films strong. Yet it was The Dark Knight that set box office records and brought critical appreciation of the genre to new heights. In a genre that has exploded in the 21st century, many consider this to be the crown jewel. I believe it’s certainly up on the Mount Rushmore.

A decade prior to its release, Batman had run into some trouble at multiplexes with the deservedly derided Batman and Robin. It was a disappointment both commercially and with reviewers. Joel Schumacher’s two run experiment with the iconic character had dissolved into campy non-fun. In the new century, Christopher Nolan was brought in to resurrect the franchise after making Memento and Insomnia. 

2005’s Batman Begins would achieve that goal, but that was not apparent immediately. Despite glowing reviews, Begins started with $48 million at the box office and $206 million overall domestically. Those are solid numbers but some context is needed. That’s nearly $50 million less than 1989’s Batman made 16 years earlier. In other words, it wasn’t obvious that the eventual sequel would turn into a phenomenon.

That’s what happened. The Dark Knight had the advantage of pitting Christian Bale’s Caped Crusader against his most known foe, The Joker. Many questioned whether Heath Ledger (coming off an Oscar nomination for Brokeback Mountain) had the goods to fill Jack Nicholson’s shoes. Early trailers indicated the answer was yes. And he nailed it with an unforgettable performance. As we know, Ledger never got to witness the acclaim. He died six months before the picture’s release and it added a tragic level of publicity leading up to the premiere.

Once Knight was released, expectations were sky-high and it earned $158 million out of the gate. That was an opening weekend record which has since been surpassed by 14 movies including its sequel The Dark Knight Rises and seven other comic book themed experiences.

The Dark Knight still stands as the 10th highest grossing movie of all time and fourth biggest superhero effort behind Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and The Avengers. It received eight Oscar nominations – something previously unheard of for something in its genre. That stands as another portion of its legacy. While Ledger would posthumously win Best Supporting Actor for his work, many figured The Dark Knight should and would nab a Best Picture nomination. It didn’t. And that caused the Academy to expand Best Picture from a finite five nominees to anywhere between five and ten (nine has been the major number most years in the decade following).

While no comic book film has managed a Best Picture nomination since then (Black Panther could change that this year), that rule change has perhaps allowed non-traditional awards material like District 9, Nolan’s own Inception, Gravity, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mad Max: Fury Road, Arrival, and Get Out to garner nods.

And The Dark Knight, for many moviegoers, proved what comic book lovers had known all along. This material, done right, could truly be a work of art.