Oscar Watch: Hope Gap

Alongside Glenn Close and Amy Adams, Annette Bening could be the most high profile and acclaimed actress that has yet to win Oscar gold despite multiple nominations. She is a four time nominee – once for Supporting Actress in 1990’s The Grifters and thrice nominated in the lead race with 1999’s American Beauty, 2004’s Being Julia, and 2010’s The Kids Are All Right. In both 1999 and 2004, Bening was likely the runner-up and lost both awards to Hilary Swank (for Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby, respectively).

There’s a feeling that her time may come, but this year’s Hope Gap is unlikely to get her there. The drama premiered last fall at the Toronto Film Festival. Focusing on her strained marriage with Bill Nighy, Gap is directed by William Nicholson. He’s known most for his screenwriting with credits including the Oscar winning Gladiator as well as Shadowlands, Nell, and Les Miserables (2012 version).

So while the Oscar pedigree is certainly present, reviews are decidedly more mixed. The Rotten Tomatoes rating stands at a so-so 63% after Gap forewent a theatrical release and went straight to VOD. Perhaps Bening will have a bite at the Supporting Actress apple with October’s Death on the Nile, the follow-up to Murder on the Orient Express. As for Gap, there’s scant hope. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Emma

Emma is the latest adaptation of the 1815 Jane Austen novel and it’s out this weekend in limited release and posting solid numbers. This version stars Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role. She’s best known for her work in the horror genre with The Witch, Split, and Glass. Reviews are praising with a current 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film marks the debut of director Autumn de Wilde and arrives at an awfully early frame for awards voters to remember it. One of the last renderings of the book was in 1996 with Gwyneth Paltrow starring. It opened in the summer of that year and nabbed Oscar nods for Costume Design and Score. The former category is certainly a possibility. However, like what came before nearly a quarter century ago, I am skeptical this Emma contends for top of the line races.

On the other hand, it wouldn’t be a surprise for this to be placed in the Musical/Comedy lane at the Golden Globes. We have seen years where the Actress derby there is rather weak (including in 2019 when none of the five nominees managed Academy recognition). That could allow Taylor-Joy to be noticed at the Globes. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Pokemon Detective Pikachu Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Update (05/08): I am downgrading my estimate from $74.8 million to $64.8 million

Ryan Reynolds hangs up the Deadpool costume for a bit in order to lend his voice to another hoped for franchise when Pokemon Detective Pikachu debuts next weekend. Based on a 2016 video game, the Pokémon series has been thriving for nearly a quarter century in various iterations on Nintendo and on the big screen. Rob Letterman, who was behind the camera on Gulliver’s Travels and Goosebumps, directs. A mix of live-action and animation, the supporting cast includes Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Ken Watanabe, and Bill Nighy.

Warner Bros is certainly hoping a slew of follow-up features are in the cards. A sequel has already been commissioned. With Reynolds in the lead and the popularity of the source material, the studio might find itself in luck. Estimates for the opening weekend gross are wide-ranging – everywhere from $50 million to over $100 million. If it falls on the lower end of that spectrum, it may not top the box office due to the third weekend of the record-breaking Avengers: Endgame.

In 1999, Pokemon: The First Movie opened to $31 million and ended up with $85 million. Sequel Pokemon: The Movie 2000 couldn’t replicate that success with a $19 million start and $43 overall gross. By 2001, the series had run out of gas when Pokemon 3: The Movie opened to $8 million and petered out at $17 million.

Expectations are different this time around. I’ll say Pikachu (The Movie) has an opening in the middle of its huge range and that’s about $10-15 million under what the first movie accomplished overall 20 years ago.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu opening weekend prediction: $64.8 million

For my The Hustle prediction, click here:


For my Poms prediction, click here:


For my Tolkien prediction, click here:


Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 22nd Edition

It’s Thursday and that means my weekly Oscar predictions are here in the eight major categories. As with previous weeks, I’m listing the Top 25 possibilities for Best Picture and Top 15 for the other races, while showing the titles and performers I believe will currently be nominated. Plus – you can also track the movement of the rankings from the previous week to now.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Fences (PR: 4)

3. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 2)

4. Silence (PR: 3)

5. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 9)

6. Moonlight (PR: 5)

7. Lion (PR: 8)

8. Loving (PR: 6)

9. Hidden Figures (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities:

10. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 7)

11. Jackie (PR: 12)

12. Arrival (PR: 10)

13. Sully (PR: 14)

14. Live by Night (PR: 19)

15. The Birth of a Nation (PR: 13)

16. Hell or High Water (PR: 15)

17. 20th Century Women (PR: 16)

18. Allied (PR: 17)

19. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: Not Ranked)

20. Collateral Beauty (PR: 22)

21. The Jungle Book (PR: 25)

22. The Founder (PR: 20)

23. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 24)

24. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 23)

25. Passengers (PR: 18)

Dropped Out:

The Girl on the Train

Best Director

Predicted Nominees

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 2)

3. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 3)

4. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 4)

5. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 5)

7. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 7)

8. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 10)

9. Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 8)

10. Denis Villenueve, Arrival (PR: 9)

11. Pablo Larrain, Jackie (PR: 11)

12. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 12)

13. Clint Eastwood, Sully (PR: 14)

14. Ben Affleck, Live by Night (15)

15. Robert Zemeckis, Allied (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

2. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 2)

3. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 6)

4. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 3)

5. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joe Alwyn, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 5)

7. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 7)

8. Will Smith, Collateral Beauty (PR: 12)

9. Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 8)

10. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 14)

11. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Miles Teller, Bleed for This (PR: 15)

13. Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation (PR: 10)

14. Dave Johns, I, Daniel Blake (PR: 13)

15. Ben Affleck, Live by Night (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals

Bryan Cranston, Wakefield

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

3. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 3)

4. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 4)

5. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 9)

7. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 8)

8. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

9. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 7)

10. Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

11. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 11)

12. Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train (PR: 12)

13. Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers (PR: 13)

14. Rooney Mara, Una (PR: 14)

15. Marion Cotillard, Allied (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Sally Hawkins, Maudie

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 2)

2. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 1)

3. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 5)

4. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 3)

5. Steve Martin, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sunny Pawar, Lion (PR: 15)

7. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 7)

8. Aaron Eckhart, Bleed for This (PR: 14)

9. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 8)

10. Aaron Eckhart, Sully (PR: 6)

11. Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 11)

12. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 9)

13. Timothy Spall, Denial (PR: 10)

14. Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight (PR: 12)

15. Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Bill Nighy, Their Finest

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

3. Kristen Stewart, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 3)

4. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 5)

5. Laura Linney, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

7. Margo Martindale, The Hollars (PR: 10)

8. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: 7)

9. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 8)

10. Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold (PR: 9)

11. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 12)

12. Helen Mirren, Collateral Beauty (PR: 15)

13. Haley Bennett, The Girl on the Train (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Aja Naomi King, The Birth of a Nation (PR: 11)

15. Julianne Moore, Maggie’s Plan (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Moonlight (PR: 3)

4. Jackie (PR: 5)

5. Loving (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hell or High Water (PR: 7)

7. 20th Century Women (PR: 6)

8. The Lobster (PR: 8)

9. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 13)

10. The Birth of a Nation (PR: 9)

11. Zootopia (PR: 10)

12. Gold (PR: Not Ranked)

13. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 11)

14. Collateral Beauty (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Allied (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Rules Don’t Apply


Miss Sloane

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. Fences (PR: 1)

2. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 2)

3. Silence (PR: 4)

4. Lion (PR: 5)

5. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hidden Figures (PR: 7)

7. Arrival (PR: 6)

8. Sully (PR: 8)

9. Live by Night (PR: 12)

10. The Girl on the Train (PR: 9)

11. Elle (PR: 10)

12. Love and Friendship (PR: 11)

13. Indignation (PR: 15)

14. Denial (PR: 13)

15. The Jungle Book (PR: 14)

And that’ll do it for my Oscar predictions this week! Until next time…



Todd’s 2016 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 15th Edition

It’s Thursday and that means my weekly Oscar predictions in the eight major categories are here for your reading pleasure!

The Toronto Film Festival has ferreted out some would-be contenders, most notably Ewan McGregor’s American Pastoral which debuted to lackluster reviews. I had it at #9 last week for a Best Picture and it’s nowhere to be seen in the Top 25 now.

As I’ll do every week, I’m listing 25 possibilities for Best Picture along with 15 for Director, the Acting Races, and the Screenplay categories. I’m also noting the movement in the rankings among the contenders and what and who has dropped out.

Let’s go to it:

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1) La Land Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2) Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 2)

3) Silence (PR: 3)

4) Fences (PR: 4)

5) Moonlight (PR: 5)

6) Loving (PR: 6)

7) Nocturnal Animals (PR: 8)

8) Lion (PR: 11)

9) Manchester by the Sea (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

10) Arrival (PR: 13)

11) Hidden Figures (PR: 15)

12) Jackie (PR: 12)

13) The Birth of a Nation (PR: 10)

14) Sully (PR: 16)

15) Hell or High Water (PR: 18)

16) 20th Century Women (PR: 14)

17) Allied (PR: 19)

18) Passengers (PR: 17)

19) Live by Night (PR: 25)

20) The Founder (PR: 21)

21) The Girl on the Train (PR: Not Ranked)

22) Collateral Beauty (PR: 23)

23) Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)

24) I, Daniel Blake (PR: Not Ranked)

25) The Jungle Book (PR: 22)


American Pastoral, Moana, Gold

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1) Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2) Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 2)

3) Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 3)

4) Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 5)

5) Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6) Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 4)

7) Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 7)

8) Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 8)

9) Denis Villenueve, Arrival (PR: 10)

10) Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 11)

11) Pablo Larrain, Jackie (PR: 14)

12) Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 13)

13) Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation (PR: 9)

14) Clint Eastwood, Sully (PR: Not Ranked)

15) Ben Affleck, Live by Night (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ewan McGregor, American Pastoral

Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1) Casey Affleck, Manchster by the Sea (PR: 2)

2) Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)

3) Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 3)

4) Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 6)

5) Joe Alwyn, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6) Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 8)

7) Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 9)

8) Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 4)

9) Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 7)

10) Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation (PR: 13)

11) Bryan Cranston, Wakefield (PR: 11)

12) Will Smith, Collateral Beauty (PR: Not Ranked)

13) Dave Johns, I, Daniel Blake (PR: Not Ranked)

14) Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 14)

15) Miles Teller, Bleed for This (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight

Ewan McGregor, American Pastoral

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1) Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2) Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 3)

3) Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 2)

4) Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 4)

5) Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6) Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

7) Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 7)

8) Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 8)

9) Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 9)

10) Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 11)

11) Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 14)

12) Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train (PR: 13)

13) Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers (PR: 12)

14) Rooney Mara, Una (PR: 10)

15) Sally Hawkins, Maudie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Marion Cotillard, Allied

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1) Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 4)

2) Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 2)

3) Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 3)

4) Steve Martin, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 1)

5) Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6) Aaron Eckhart, Sully (PR: 14)

7) Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 7)

8) Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

9) Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 15)

10) Timothy Spall, Denial (PR: 10)

11) Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 9)

12) Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight (PR: Not Ranked in Supporting)

13) Billy Nighy, Their Finest (PR: Not Ranked)

14) Aaron Eckhart, Bleed for This (PR: 8)

15) Sunny Pawar, Lion (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Billy Crudup, 20th Century Women

Vin Diesel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

John Legend, La La Land

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1) Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

2) Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

3) Kristen Stewart, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 4)

4) Laura Linney, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 3)

5) Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6) Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

7) Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

8) Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 7)

9) Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold (PR: 5)

10) Margo Martindale, The Hollars (PR: 14)

11) Aja Naomi King, The Birth of a Nation (PR: 8)

12) Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: Not Ranked)

13) Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women (PR: 12)

14) Julianne Moore, Maggie’s Plan (PR: 11)

15) Helen Mirren, Collateral Beauty (13)

Dropped Out:

Dakota Fanning, American Pastoral

Laura Dern, The Founder

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1) La La Land (PR: 3)

2) Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

3) Moonlight (PR: 2)

4) Loving (PR: 4)

5) Jackie (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6) 20th Century Women (PR: 6)

7) Hell or High Water (PR: 7)

8) The Lobster (PR: 8)

9) The Birth of a Nation (PR: 9)

10) Zootopia (PR: 11)

11) I, Daniel Blake (PR: Not Ranked)

12) Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 14)

13) Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: Not Ranked)

14) Passengers (PR: 13)

15) Miss Sloane (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Founder



Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1) Fences (PR: 1)

2) Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 2)

3) Nocturnal Animals (PR: 3)

4) Silence (PR: 4)

5) Lion (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6) Arrival (PR: 8)

7) Hidden Figures (PR: 7)

8) Sully (PR: 12)

9) The Girl on the Train (PR: 10)

10) Elle (PR: 11)

11) Love & Friendship (PR: 9)

12) Live by Night (PR: 13)

13) Denial (PR: 14)

14) The Jungle Book (PR: 15)

15) Indignation (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

American Pastoral

And there you have it, Oscar watchers! I’ll be back with my weekly predictions on September 22nd…



Norm of the North Box Office Prediction

Lionsgate tries to get in on the animation action with Norm of the North, opening next Friday. The 3D computer animated pic features the voices of Rob Schneider, Heather Graham, and Ken Jeong (pulling double duty over the weekend with Ride Along 2).

On MLK weekend over the past couple of years, kiddie entertainment has performed quite nicely. Last year, Paddington debuted to $18.9 million and in 2013, The Nut Job opened with $19.4 million. This Arctic set tale seems be flying a bit more south of the radar. It could possibly benefit from a dearth of family entertainment now that Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip is winding down (though Star Wars is still out there), but I believe Norm may be lucky to reach double digits for its start.

Norm of the North opening weekend prediction: $9.3 million

For my Ride Along 2 prediction, click here:


For my 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi prediction, click here:


The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Box Office Prediction

Three years ago, we saw a sleeper hit with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the British comedy/drama which earned an unanticipated $46 million domestically. That was enough to warrant a sequel which opens wide Friday. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel features returning cast members Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, and Dev Patel (who’s pulling double duty this weekend with Chappie). Richard Gere and David Strathairn also join the mix.

Reviews have been mostly positive so far as it stands at 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, just under the 78% earned by its predecessor. John Madden (the director not the sports dude) is back behind the camera. It would seem likely that this second helping may not quite match the numbers of the 2012 original stateside, but I still envision a fairly decent opening. I have this debuting a little higher than Unfinished Business, the Vince Vaughn comedy that opens against it. That’s bad news for Business, considering it premieres on roughly twice as many screens.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opening weekend prediction: $8.6 million

For my Chappie prediction, click here:


For my Unfinished Business prediction, click here: