Oscar Predictions: The Tragedy of Macbeth

The veil has lifted for a major awards hopeful with Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. This version of the Shakespearian tragedy casts Denzel Washington as Lord Macbeth and Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth and it is kicking off the New York Film Festival. Between the two leads, they have five Oscars between them. Do they need to find more room on their shelves?

With Denzel, news from the Big Apple indicates yes. Some early reviews are calling it among his career best work. In the Best Actor derby, it’s likely that Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) and Will Smith (King Richard) have already punched their tickets to the dance. I believe we can add a third today with Mr. Washington.

With McDormand, it’s a bit more complicated. The answer may come down to whether distributor A24 elects for a campaign in lead or supporting. Based on the buzz, it sounds like a case could be made for either. My hunch is that Supporting Actress (which appears fairly wide open at the moment) will be the play. If so, McDormand probably stands a better chance for inclusion. I question whether her recent Best Actress victories (in 2017 for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and last year’s Nomadland) make her vulnerable to newcomers. Yet in Supporting Actress, I could easily see the Academy making room for her.

As for the rest of the cast, both Corey Hawkins and Kathryn Hunter are generating solid notices. However, their screen time could be a hindrance to make the cut (for Hunter, this definitely holds true if McDormand goes supporting).

Beyond Denzel, the cinematography is being heralded and it’s a safe bet Macbeth gets recognized there. Other techs like Production Design and Sound are feasible. Adapted Screenplay from Mr. Coen (making his first pic without brother Ethan) is in the cards. On the other hand, it’s said to deviate very little from the Shakespeare text and that may leave it off some ballots in that particular category.

Moving to the largest race of all, I’ve included Macbeth in my top ten for Best Picture all along. I don’t think it’s guaranteed a slot, but I don’t see myself moving it out based on the current buzz. Coen’s placement in Best Director is questionable but possible.

Bottom line: The Tragedy of Macbeth has elevated its lead actor and put itself in position for numerous other races. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

2021 Oscar Predictions: August 12th Edition

Film festival season is approaching with Toronto, Venice, Telluride, and more. The early days of September will assist in answering plenty of questions as to the Oscar viability of several pictures.

As for this mid August timeframe, we mostly wait. However, one contender’s chances are clearer than last week. The Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, as I suspected, will not play in Best Picture. Yet the raves for Jennifer Hudson keep me believing she could make the final five in what looks to be a crowded field. Hudson remains in the four spot. The many performances left to witness will eventually answer whether she remains.

There is some movement in the other categories:

    • CODA was one of the acclaimed titles at Sundance and it releases on Apple TV tomorrow. Widely regarded as a crowdpleaser, I’m feeling more hopeful that it makes the top ten in BP. To make room, I’ve removed another buzzed about Sundance effort – Mass. I’ll confess that Mass is a head scratcher for me at press time. The four main leads (Jason Isaacs, Ann Dowd, Reed Birney, Martha Plimpton) will apparently all be campaigned for in the supporting fields. Dowd seems the most assured to make it, but they all could. However, both Isaacs and Plimpton are being taken out of my predicted five.
    • That means Toni Collette for Nightmare Alley is in over Plimpton in Supporting Actress. It felt strange not to have at least one actor from Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming pic in the mix. That could also be Rooney Mara in the same race.
    • In Supporting Actor, taking out Isaacs puts Corey Hawkins (The Tragedy of Macbeth) in. I’ve also made a switch in the #1 position. Bradley Cooper has had it the first two weeks for Soggy Bottom and now it’s Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog. 
    • The lead actor and screenplay derbies reflect the same five as last week.

Check out all the movement below! I’ll be back at it next week…

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

5. Soggy Bottom (PR: 6)

6. Dune (PR: 5)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7)

8. CODA (PR: 11)

9. West Side Story (PR: 9)

10. A Hero (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

11. Mass (PR: 8)

12. The French Dispatch (PR: 13)

13. Belfast (PR: 12)

14. King Richard (PR: 16)

15. Spencer (PR: 14)

16. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 17)

17. Parallel Mothers (PR: Not Ranked)

18. Cyrano (PR: 15)

19. Flee (PR: 18)

20. Passing (PR: Not Ranked)

21. The Humans (PR: 19)

22. Last Night in Soho (PR: Not Ranked)

23. Blue Bayou (PR: 20)

24. Being the Ricardos (PR: 23)

25. In the Heights (PR: 24)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

The Worst Person in the World

Annette

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 1)

2. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

3. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

4. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5)

5. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Thomas Anderson, Soggy Bottom (PR: 6)

7. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: 8)

8. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero (PR: 7)

9. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 9)

10. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 12)

11. Sian Heder, CODA (PR: 13)

12. Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch (PR: 11)

13. Fran Kranz, Mass (PR: 10)

14. Pedro Almodovar, Parallel Mothers (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Joe Wright, Cyrano

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3)

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

4. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 4)

5. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 6)

7. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 9)

8. Emilia Jones, CODA (PR: 7)

9. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10)

10. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 8)

11. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 12)

12. Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World (PR: 11)

13. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 13)

14. Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up (PR: 15)

15. Halle Berry, Bruised (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 1)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

3. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 3)

4. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 4)

5. Amir Jadidi, A Hero (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 7)

7. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 9)

8. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 6)

9. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 10)

10. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 8)

11. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 11)

12. Steven Yeun, The Humans (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Adam Driver, Annette (PR: 12)

14. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 13)

15. Cooper Hoffman, Soggy Bottom (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Michael B. Jordan, A Journal for Jordan

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 1)

2. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 2)

3. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 4)

4. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 3)

5. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Martha Plimpton, Mass (PR: 5)

7. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 11)

8. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 7)

9. Thomasin McKenzie, The Power of the Dog (PR: 10)

10. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 13)

11. Olga Merediz, In the Heights (PR: 9)

12. Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley (PR: 8)

13. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 12)

14. Nina Arianda, Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Anya Taylor-Joy, Last Night in Soho (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Audra McDonald, Respect

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

2. Bradley Cooper, Soggy Bottom (PR: 1)

3. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 4)

4. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5)

5. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 3)

7. Richard E. Grant, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (PR: 7)

8. Reed Birney, Mass (PR: 10)

9. Mark Rylance, Don’t Look Up (PR: 9)

10. Willem Dafoe, Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Idris Elba, The Harder They Fall (PR: 8)

12. Bradley Whitford, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 11)

13. Ben Mendelsohn, Cyrano (PR: 12)

14. Adam Driver, The Last Duel (PR: 13)

15. Simon Helberg, Annette (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Brendan Gleeson, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soggy Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3)

3. Mass (PR: 2)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4)

5. A Hero (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parallel Mothers (PR: 13)

7. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6)

8. Last Night in Soho (PR: 10)

9. Being the Ricardos (PR: 7)

10. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 9)

11. Spencer (PR: 8)

12. Belfast (PR: 12)

13. King Richard (PR: 14)

14. Blue Bayou (PR: 11)

15. Annette (PR: 15)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1)

2. House of Gucci (PR: 2)

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

5. CODA (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Humans (PR: 6)

7. Dune (PR: 7)

8. Passing (PR: 12)

9. Cyrano (PR: 8)

10. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 11)

11. West Side Story (PR: 9)

12. The Last Duel (PR: 10)

13. The Lost Daughter (PR: 13)

14. Dear Evan Hansen (PR: 15)

15. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

A Journal for Jordan

2021 Oscar Predictions: August 5th Edition

As we await film festivals that will shed light on many of the pictures mentioned below, today brings us my second weekly outlook on the major Oscar categories.

So what’s happened since last Thursday? That House of Gucci trailer came out and it didn’t do anything to dissuade my feeling that it’s a contender. In fact, while I shouldn’t use trailers to judge, it was enough for me to put Jared Leto in my final five (taking out Idris Elba for The Harder They Fall).

In other developments:

    • A Hero is in my top 10 for Best Picture over Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. The film also is in my projections for Original Screenplay to the detriment of Blue Bayou.
    • CODA (which I was very tempted this week to put in BP) makes the Adapted Screenplay cut over Dune. 
    • The Director, Actress, Actor, and Supporting Actress fields remain the same – with some movement in the rankings.

By this time next week, we should have a good idea of where Jennifer Hudson’s performance in Respect stands since it releases next week. It remains in my five at spot four.

Finally, I didn’t have Matt Damon in Stillwater listed in my top 15 possibilities last week. Based on the film’s subpar box office performance and some comments that landed Damon in hot water, I don’t anticipate him surfacing at any point.

Check out all the activity below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

5. Dune (PR: 5)

6. Soggy Bottom (PR: 6)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 10)

8. Mass (PR: 7)

9. West Side Story (PR: 8)

10. A Hero (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities:

11. CODA (PR: 12)

12. Belfast (PR: 9)

13. The French Dispatch (PR: 14)

14. Spencer (PR: 15)

15. Cyrano (PR: 17)

16. King Richard (PR: 20)

17. Tick Tick… Boom! (PR: 16)

18. Flee (PR: 13)

19. The Humans (PR: 18)

20. Blue Bayou (PR: 19)

21. The Last Duel (PR: 21)

22. The Worst Person in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

23. Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

24. In the Heights (PR: 23)

25. Annette (PR: 25)

Dropped Out:

Dear Evan Hansen

Last Night in Soho

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 1)

2. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3)

3. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 2)

4. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

5. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Thomas Anderson, Soggy Bottom (PR: 6)

7. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero (PR: 7)

8. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10)

9. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 9)

10. Fran Kranz, Mass (PR: 11)

11. Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch (PR: 14)

12. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 8)

13. Sian Heder, CODA (PR: 12)

14. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 15)

15. Joe Wright, Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 1)

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3)

3. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 2)

4. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 4)

5. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 7)

7. Emilia Jones, CODA (PR: 8)

8. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 10)

9. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 6)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 12)

11. Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World (PR: 11)

12. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 13)

13. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 9)

14. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 15)

15. Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up (PR: 14)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 1)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

3. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 3)

4. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 4)

5. Amir Jadidi, A Hero (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10)

7. Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom! (PR: 6)

8. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 8)

9. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 9)

10. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 11)

11. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 7)

12. Adam Driver, Annette (PR: 13)

13. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 15)

14. Michael B. Jordan, A Journal for Jordan (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Cooper Hoffman, Soggy Bottom (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 1)

2. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 2)

3. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 4)

4. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 5)

5. Martha Plimpton, Mass (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley (PR: 10)

7. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 6)

8. Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Olga Merediz, In the Heights (PR: 7)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, The Power of the Dog (PR: 9)

11. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 13)

12. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 11)

13. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Audra McDonald, Respect (PR: 14)

15. Anya Taylor-Joy, Last Night in Soho (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Regina King, The Harder They Fall

Sally Hawkins, Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Soggy Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

3. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 3)

4. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 4)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6)

7. Richard E. Grant, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (PR: 7)

8. Idris Elba, The Harder They Fall (PR: 5)

9. Mark Rylance, Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Reed Birney, Mass (PR: 9)

11. Bradley Whitford, Tick Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Ben Mendelsohn, Cyrano (PR: 10)

13. Adam Driver, The Last Duel (PR: 12)

14. Simon Helberg, Annette (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Brendan Gleeson, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Al Pacino, House of Gucci

David Alvarez, West Side Story

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soggy Bottom (PR: 2)

2. Mass (PR: 1)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4)

5. A Hero (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 8)

7. Being the Ricardos (PR: 10)

8. Spencer (PR: 7)

9. The Worst Person in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Last Night in Soho (PR: 9)

11. Blue Bayou (PR: 5)

12. Belfast (PR: 6)

13. Parallel Mothers (PR: Not Ranked)

14. King Richard (PR: Not Ranked – moved from Adapted Screenplay)

15. Annette (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

The Harder They Fall

After Yang

Nine Days

Red Rocket

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2)

2. House of Gucci (PR: 1)

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

5. CODA (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Humans (PR: 7)

7. Dune (PR: 5)

8. Cyrano (PR: 9)

9. West Side Story (PR: 8)

10. The Last Duel (PR: 12)

11. Tick Tick… Boom! (PR: 10)

12. Passing (PR: Not Ranked)

13. The Lost Daughter (PR: 13)

14. A Journal for Jordan (PR: 15)

15. Dear Evan Hansen (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

King Richard (moved to Original Screenplay)

Back at it next week!

2021 Oscar Predictions: July 29th Edition

I can’t help myself. I keep doing my Oscar predictions earlier and earlier each year. Today marks the first edition of my ranked forecasts in the 8 biggest races: Picture, Director, the four acting competitions, and the two screenplay contests.

It probably stands to reason that the sooner you do projections – the more inaccurate they might be. Oh but it’s so very fun to speculate! I do like to put my initial rankings up before the Toronto, Venice, and Telluride Film Festivals make the picture more clear and we are only about a month from that. Those events will bring us early buzz on The Power of the Dog, Dune, Spencer, The Last Duel, The Humans, Parallel Mothers, Belfast, Dear Evan Hansen, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Last Night in Soho, and more.

This post comes about three weeks ahead of when I did this in 2020. That year, to say the least, was hard to figure out. In fact, many of the pictures and performers I had in my 2020 inaugural rankings were moved back to 2021 due to COVID delays. Think Dune, The French Dispatch, West Side Story, Respect, C’Mon C’Mon, Annette, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

So how did my first ranked predictions from 2020 pan out? My Best Picture guesstimates yielded three of the eventual nominees: winner Nomadland, Mank, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Nomadland started out of the gate at #2 (behind Mank). Three other contenders were listed under Other Possibilities – The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, and Minari. Promising Young Woman and Sound of Metal were not mentioned.

2 of the 5 director nominees were correctly identified: winner Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) and David Fincher (Mank). None of the other hopefuls (Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman, or Another Round‘s Thomas Vinterberg) were even in Other Possibilities.

In Best Actress, I initially identified 2 – winner Frances McDormand (Nomadland) and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) were Other Possibilities while Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman didn’t score a listing.

As for Actor, winner Anthony Hopkins (The Father) and Gary Oldman (Mank) made my first cut. I incorrectly had Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) projected here instead of Supporting Actor (which he won). **This is a good time to remind you all that some of the acting contenders thought to be in lead right now will switch to supporting and vice versa. As further evidence, I had Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey) predicted in supporting, but he contended here. I did not yet have Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) or Steven Yeun (Minari) on my radar.

Two Supporting Actress players were correctly called: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy) and Olivia Colman (The Father) with Amanda Seyfried (Mank) in Other Possibilities. No mention for the winner Youn Yun-jung in Minari or Maria Bakalova for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Per above, Daniel Kaluuya’s work in Judas was slotted in lead, but he emerged victorious here. My Supporting Actor picks did get 2 of 5: Lakeith Stanfield in Judas and Sacha Baron Cohen for Chicago 7. The two others (Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night in Miami and Paul Raci in Sound of Metal) went unnoticed at the early stage.

Just one nominee in Original Screenplay got the initial mention – Chicago 7. I did have 3 others (winner Promising Young Woman, Judas, Minari) down for Other Possibilities while Sound of Metal wasn’t mentioned. And in Adapted Screenplay, I only rightly projected Nomadland. Winner The Father, One Night in Miami, and The White Tiger were other possibilities with no mention for Borat.

Whew. OK. I’m not going through all for 2019. However, I will say my results were better two years ago with my first picks (evidence of the uncertainty of last year). The quick rundown: I got 6 of the 9 nominees in Best Picture and identified the remaining three in other possibilities. In Director, it was 4 out of 5. For Actress – 4 for 5 with the other nominee listed sixth. Actor – 3 for 5 with the two others as possibilities. The weak spot was Supporting Actress – just 1 out of 5 with 2 others as possibilities. 2 for 5 in Supporting Actor with 2 others as possibilities. 3 for 5 initially in both screenplay races.

And now we come to 2021. Will I look back next year and be happy with the accuracy or shake my head? Hopefully a mix (that’s probably the best case scenario). In about two months, I will start predictions for all categories covering feature films and whittle BP from 25 to 15 hopefuls with all others going from a projected 15 to 10.

There already was some news from when I penned my early and unranked predictions last week. David O. Russell’s Canterbury Glass, with an all star cast led by Christian Bale and Margot Robbie, has reportedly moved to 2022. It was mentioned in numerous categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor – John David Washington) and it now waits its turn until next year. Same story for Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins and Blonde from Andrew Dominik.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci

2. The Power of the Dog

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth

4. Nightmare Alley

5. Dune

6. Soggy Bottom

7. Mass

8. West Side Story

9. Belfast

10. Don’t Look Up

Other Possibilities:

11. A Hero

12. CODA

13. Flee

14. The French Dispatch

15. Spencer

16. Tick Tick… Boom!

17. Cyrano

18. The Humans

19. Blue Bayou

20. King Richard

21. The Last Duel

22. Dear Evan Hansen

23. In the Heights

24. Last Night in Soho

25. Annette

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune

3. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

4. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

5. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Thomas Anderson, Soggy Bottom

7. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

8. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

9. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

10. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

11. Fran Kranz, Mass

12. Sian Heder, CODA

13. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee

14. Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch

15. Pablo Larrain, Spencer

Best Actress

1. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

2. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

4. Jennifer Hudson, Respect 

5. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

7. Kristen Stewart, Spencer

8. Emilia Jones, CODA

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

10. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

11. Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

12. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

13. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

14. Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up

15. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

3. Will Smith, King Richard

4. Adam Driver, House of Gucci

5. Amir Jadidi, A Hero

Other Possibilities:

6. Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

7. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey

8. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

9. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley

10. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

11. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon

12. Cooper Hoffman, Soggy Bottom

13. Adam Driver, Annette

14. Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

15. Nicolas Cage, Pig

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ann Dowd, Mass

2. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

3. Martha Plimpton, Mass

4. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans

5. Marlee Matlin, CODA

Other Possibilities:

6. Ruth Negga, Passing

7. Olga Merediz, In the Heights

8. Regina King, The Harder They Fall

9. Thomasin McKenzie, The Power of the Dog

10. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley

11. Judi Dench, Belfast

12. Anya Taylor-Joy, Last Night in Soho

13. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up

14. Audra McDonald, Respect

15. Sally Hawkins, Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Soggy Bottom

2. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

3. Jason Isaacs, Mass

4. Richard Jenkins, The Humans

5. Idris Elba, The Harder They Fall

Other Possibilities:

6. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth

7. Richard E. Grant, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

8. Jared Leto, House of Gucci

9. Reed Birney, Mass

10. Ben Mendelsohn, Cyrano

11. Jamie Dornan, Belfast

12. Adam Driver, The Last Duel

13. Al Pacino, House of Gucci

14. Brendan Gleeson, The Tragedy of Macbeth

15. David Alvarez, West Side Story

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mass

2. Soggy Bottom

3. Don’t Look Up

4. The French Dispatch

5. Blue Bayou

Other Possibilities:

6. Belfast

7. Spencer

8. C’Mon C’Mon

9. Last Night in Soho

10. Being the Ricardos

11. Annette

12. The Harder They Fall

13. After Yang

14. Nine Days

15. Red Rocket

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci

2. The Power of the Dog

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth

4. Nightmare Alley

5. Dune

Other Possibilities:

6. CODA

7. The Humans

8. West Side Story

9. Cyrano

10. Tick Tick… Boom!

11. Dear Evan Hansen

12. The Last Duel

13. The Lost Daughter

14. King Richard

15. A Journal for Jordan

Back at it next week, ladies and gents!

Oscar Watch: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Just over a decade ago, Joel and Ethan Coen finally broke through with Academy voters via No Country for Old Men. Premiering in Venice today is their latest effort The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Originally conceived as a six-part Netflix series, the brothers Coen chose to combine this tale of violent Western vignettes into a feature film. Its cast includes Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson, James Franco, Zoe Kazan, Tom Waits, Tyne Daly, and Brendan Gleeson.

Reviews overseas indicate that Ballad contains great moments and some uneven ones. I wouldn’t expect this to be a contender in Picture or Director. As for its actors, Neeson and Waits have been singled out. Yet again, their inclusion is Supporting Actor could be a reach.

Ballad does stand a better chance at possible recognition for Original Screenplay (depending on strength of competition) and its cinematography.

Bottom line: Ballad could factor into down the line races, but don’t expect this to play in the largest prize pool.

Following an expected theatrical release, Scruggs debuts on Netflix on November 16. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Paddington 2 Box Office Prediction

Apologies in advance for the pun, but Warner Bros is hoping for a “beary” pleasing result when Paddington 2 debuts next weekend. It arrives three years after the original posted stellar results stateside during the MLK four-day frame. The family pic brings back Ben Whishaw as the voice of the title bear made famous by a series of childrens stories. Paul King returns in the director’s chair, as do cast returnees Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, and Peter Capaldi. New but familiar faces to the series include Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson.

The sequel received a bit of unexpected publicity this fall as it was originally to be distributed by the Weinstein Company. When controversy swirled around Harvey Weinstein, Warner swooped in and picked up distribution rights. The well-reviewed predecessor premiered in January 2015 to a $25 million long weekend opening with a $76 million eventual haul. Part 2 has already taken in nearly $100 million overseas and has critics on its side, with a 100% currently on Rotten Tomatoes.

There is still competition out there for family audiences as Jumanji should still be posting solid grosses. The sequel may not quite match the earnings of the first, but I’ll predict it manages to top $20 million out of the gate.

Paddington 2 opening weekend prediction: $22.4 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my The Post prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/01/04/the-post-box-office-prediction/

For my The Commuter prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/01/03/the-commuter-box-office-prediction/

For my Proud Mary prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/01/03/proud-mary-box-office-prediction/

Live by Night Box Office Prediction

Live by Night marks Ben Affleck’s fourth time behind the camera in a directorial career that has been quite impressive thus far. The crime drama, in which he also stars, is his first effort since 2012’s Oscar winning Argo. Costars include Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, and Chris Cooper. Based on his filmography, Night was once seen as a potential awards contender around the Hollywood town. Yet since its critical screenings, that notion appears to be gone, baby, gone. The pic has not garnered praise by reviewers and it currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 35%.

Will that hurt its box office potency? My feeling is that it will. Like his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone (mentioned in the aforementioned bad pun), this is based on a novel by Dennis Lehane and comes with a reported $65 million budget. The chances of Night coming in below expectations could be due to more factors than mediocre reviews. It opens on a packed weekend where Patriots Day will going for a similar audience (as will Sleepless with Jamie Foxx). On the other hand, Affleck’s latest starring vehicle The Accountant exceeded expectations three months ago with an opening weekend of nearly $25 million.

So where will this land? I believe it’ll debut over the four-day MLK weekend with far less than Patriots Day (which I’ve got pegged at $23M) and in the low double digits to mid teens neighborhood.

Live by Night opening weekend prediction: $13.2 million

For my Patriots Day prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/04/patriots-day-box-office-prediction/

For my Sleepless prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/04/sleepless-box-office-prediction/

For my Silence prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/05/silence-box-office-prediction/

For my Monster Trucks prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/05/monster-trucks-box-office-prediction/

For my The Bye Bye Man prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/05/the-bye-bye-man-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Live by Night

In the near decade that Ben Affleck has become a director, he’s had quite an impressive showing at both the box office and in the awards derby. His debut feature, 2007’s Gone Baby Gone (based on a Dennis Lehane novel), nabbed Amy Ryan a nod for Supporting Actress. His follow-up, 2010’s The Town, earned Jeremy Renner a Supporting Actor nomination. His third feature, 2012’s Argo, really hit the Oscar jackpot. It garnered seven nominations and won three – Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Editing. Argo also had the curious and rare distinction of winning the biggest prize without Mr. Affleck receiving a nomination for his direction (the first time that had happened since 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy).

On Christmas Day, Affleck’s fourth feature Live by Night opens in limited release for Oscar consideration prior to its wide release in January. It also finds its source material from a book by Dennis Lehane. Based on Affleck’s track record, it stood to reason that the pic could be a potential Academy contender. Yet reviews out today strongly suggest otherwise. Night stands at only 33% at press time on Rotten Tomatoes and none of the precursors (SAG Awards, Golden Globes) have bestowed it with any recognition.

The Prohibition era gangster drama looks like a non-factor in any of the larger races, including Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, or any acting slots for Affleck and his costars which include Sienna Miller, Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Saldana, and Chris Cooper. Night could be a factor in some down the line races including Production Design and Costume Design, though even those could be a long shot.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Assassin’s Creed Box Office Prediction

Based on the video game franchise that’s been going strong for nearly a decade, Assassin’s Creed hits theaters over the long Christmas weekend. The action adventure pic, with its reported budget of at least $130 million, will hope to bring in gamers who’ve been plying its many iterations over the past few years. Michael Fassbender headlines with a supporting cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling. Justin Kurzel, who directed Fassbender in last year’s Macbeth, is behind the camera.

20th Century Fox is hoping that weak numbers from video adaptations (Warcraft is a recent example) doesn’t apply here. Audiences looking for some action do have more choices over the holiday frame as Rogue One will be in its second weekend (and very likely still atop the charts) and Passengers with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt also debuts. Still, Creed should have enough of a built-in following for it to reach high teens to low 20s over the four-day portion of the weekend and high 20s from its Wednesday bow.

Assassin’s Creed opening weekend prediction: $19.8 million (Friday to Monday), $28.1 million (Wednesday to Monday)

For my Passengers prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/12/14/passengers-box-office-prediction/

For my Sing prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/12/14/sing-box-office-prediction/

For my Why Him? prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/12/14/why-him-box-office-prediction/

For my Fences prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/12/14/fences-box-office-prediction/

In the Heart of the Sea Movie Review

Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea is a periodically engrossing yet often curiously flat rendering of the true story that inspired Herman Melville’s famed novel Moby Dick. It begins in 1850 as the author (Ben Whishaw) visits Thomas (Brendan Gleeson), the last survivor of the Essex, a ship that was destroyed by a great white whale and leaving its crew stranded at sea. Thomas isn’t anxious to regale Melville of the survival tactics used 30 years prior. Yet he relents and he’s soon playing Gloria Stuart to Melville’s Bill Paxton.

We move to Nantucket circa 1820 as the whale oil trade is at its height and Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) is under the impression that he’ll get his first plum assignment as captain of the vessel. Politics thwarts this plan as that job goes to the more inexperienced George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), whose family are titans in the business. Speaking of politics, the screenplay occasionally (and rather needlessly) pouns the point home that the practice of slaughtering whales was a necessity 200 years ago.

Chase isn’t happy about being first mate and leaving his pregnant wife (of course she is) but he soon sets sail with Pollard and a crew that includes young Thomas (Tom Holland). There’s also a second mate portrayed by the talented Cillian Murphy, who is given incredibly little to do.

After several weeks of no luck on the mission, the Essex crew soon find themselves eye to whale eye with its pesky nemesis. Let the torment begin. In the Heart of the Sea doesn’t bother to flesh out its characters to any real degree. Hemsworth certainly looks the leading man part here and throws spears with the grace of his Thor hammer skills. His New England accent leaves much to be desired and he’s not the only one. Walker is rather dull. The best work belongs to the always solid Gleeson, who gets the most emotional material to work with.

Compliments are owed to the makeup crew and actors themselves that convincingly convey the wear and tear of the men stranded for months at sea. Howard has clearly set out to make an old fashioned story with new style CG effects. His old school sensibilities are actually more in tune with the mid-1970s than a century plus earlier. We actually don’t see the great white whale too often here… kind of like another great white dweller in Jaws. In the Heart of the Sea may be true and may have inspired a masterpiece work of art. However, that doesn’t mean that today it doesn’t feel pretty familiar and a bit like Jaws with less interesting people in the water.

**1/2 (out of four)