A Marvel Cinematic Oscar History: Best Actor

I was rewatching Avengers: Endgame over the weekend and it once again struck me how many famous actors are in that thing. I mean… seriously. It’s rather amazing. This got me thinking and yes, current world events may have given me an opportunity to do so:

Just how many performers that have been in Marvel Cinematic Universe entries have won Oscars or been nominated for Oscars? I knew the number would be high, but the answer still astonished me. In fact, you have to back to 1981 for a year where no actor that eventually appeared in the MCU didn’t receive a nomination.

If you count Marvel’s next two pictures (Black Widow, The Eternals) and then count the 23 movies prior that started in 2008 with Iron Man, it encapsulates 110 acting nominations and 20 wins! I am not yet putting Christian Bale in there though he’s rumored to be playing the villain in the fourth Thor flick. I’ll wait for confirmation on that. If you did count Bale, the numbers go to 114 nods and 21 Academy victories.

Due to this research, I’m writing 4 blog posts dedicated to each acting race and we begin with Best Actor:

The leading man category makes up 33 out of the 110 nominations with 6 wins. The victorious gentlemen are as follows:

Jeff Bridges, the main baddie in Iron Man, won in 2009 for Crazy Heart

William Hurt, who appeared in The Incredible Hulk and other MCU titles, took Best Actor in 1985 for Kiss of the Spider Woman

Anthony Hopkins, aka Thor’s Dad, was stage bound in 1991 for his iconic role as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs

Ben Kingsley, who sparred with Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, is a 1982 recipient in the title role of Gandhi

Michael Douglas, who appeared in both Ant-Man pics, was Best Actor in 1987 for Wall Street

Forest Whitaker, who costarred in Black Panther, took gold in 2006 for The Last King of Scotland

Aside from the winners, here are the other 27 Actor nods:

Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., for 1992’s Chaplin

Terrence Howard, who was in the first Iron Man, for 2005’s Hustle & Flow

Jeff Bridges scored two additional nominations for 1984’s Starman and 2010’s True Grit

Edward Norton, who was Hulk before Mark Ruffalo, for 1998’s American History X

William Hurt, like fellow winner Bridges, also landed two other nods for 1986’s Children of a Lesser God and 1987’s Broadcast News

Don Cheadle, who replaced Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2 and more, for 2004’s Hotel Rwanda

Mickey Rourke, the villain in Iron Man 2, for 2008’s The Wrestler

Anthony Hopkins, following his Lambs victory, was nominated twice more for 1993’s The Remains of the Day and 1995’s Nixon

Tommy Lee Jones, from Captain America: First Avenger, for 2007’s In the Valley of Elah

Jeremy Renner, aka Hawkeye, for his breakthrough role in 2009’s The Hurt Locker

Robert Redford, who was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, surprisingly only has one acting nod for 1973’s The Sting. He is, however, a twice nominated director and won in 1980 for Ordinary People 

Bradley Cooper, Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy, has been nominated thrice with no wins: 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook, 2014’s American Sniper, and 2018’s A Star Is Born

Benedict Cumberbatch, aka Doctor Strange, for 2014’s The Imitation Game

Chiwetel Ejiofor, also in Doctor Strange, for 2013’s 12 Years a Slave

Sylvester Stallone, who popped up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, for his signature role in 1976’s Rocky

Michael Keaton, the villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming, for 2014’s Birdman

Matt Damon, who had a memorable cameo in Thor: Ragnarok, is twice nominated for 1997’s Good Will Hunting and 2015’s The Martian

Daniel Kaluuya, Black Panther costar, for 2017’s Get Out

Laurence Fishburne, supporting player in Ant-Man and the Wasp, as Ike Turner in 1993’s What’s Love Got to Do With It

Jude Law, from Captain Marvel, for 2003’s Cold Mountain 

Whew. And there you have it. I’ll be back at it shortly with the Best Actress nominees who got their Marvel on!

Ranking The MCU

**(09/18/19): Updated with all MCU movies ranked through Spider-Man: Far From Home

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 23 MCU titles thus far! Let the debating begin…

23. AntMan (2015)

22.  Iron Man 2 (2010)

21. Thor (2011)

20. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

19. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

18. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011

17. AntMan and the Wasp (2018)

16. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

15. Captain Marvel (2019)


14. SpiderMan: Far From Home (2019)

13. SpiderMan: Homecoming (2017)

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

11. Doctor Strange (2016)

10. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

9. Iron Man 3 (2013)

8. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

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 Box Office Prediction

The 20th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe crawls into theaters next weekend with AntMan and the Wasp. The sequel to the 2015 original, Paul Rudd is back in the title role along with Evangeline Lilly  as his partner in heroics (aka Wasp). Peyton Reed returns is back directing along with returning cast members Michael Pena, T.I., Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, and Michael Douglas. New faces joining the MCU include Walton Goggins, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Laurence Fishburne.

This has been a banner year for Disney’s multi-billion franchise as Black Panther just hit $700 million domestically and Avengers: Infinity War not far behind. While AntMan was certainly a hit, its numbers three years ago weren’t quite on pace with numerous other MCU titles. It opened to $57 million (18th of the 19 series pics) with an eventual stateside gross of $180 million (17 out of 19).

That said, the MCU is on a roll and early word-of-mouth for this follow-up is encouraging. In the past decade, we’ve seen three examples of a direct MCU sequel making $20-$30 million more than the first during opening weekend. They are:

Iron Man 2 ($128 million), Iron Man ($98 million)

Thor: The Dark World ($85 million), Thor ($65 million)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million), Captain America: The First Avenger ($65 million)

I feel there is a very strong chance AntMan and the Wasp will do the same and possibly hit that mark of close to $30 million higher than part 1. That would put it at #14 out of the 20 MCU movies between Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: The Dark World.

AntMan and the Wasp opening weekend prediction: $86.4 million

For my The First Purge prediction, click here:


A Marvel Cinematic Universe Box Office History

As we await the potentially historic debut of Avengers: Infinity War this weekend, we also mark a decade of the vaunted Marvel Cinematic Universe that began in 2008 with Iron Man. Ten years later, Infinity is the 19th feature in a franchise that has grossed nearly $6 billion stateside and almost $15 billion worldwide. With Friday’s release of Infinity, I’m estimating it will have the second highest domestic debut of all time (behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens).


My blog didn’t begin until the fall of 2012, shortly after the release of the first Avengers feature. That means I have done 12 opening weekend box office predictions for MCU releases prior to Infinity. I thought this might be a good time to take a trip down that lane on how I’ve done with their pictures of the past:

Iron Man 3 (2013)

My Prediction: $172.4 million

Opening: $174.1 million

I started off well with my prediction for Tony Stark’s third franchise entry, which had the benefit of coming right on the heels of The Avengers.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

My Prediction: $85.6 million

Opening: $85.7 million

My high mark in MCU estimates came here – only $100k off!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

My Prediction: $86.3 million

Opening: $95 million

I underestimated Cap a bit here, but not too shabby.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

My Prediction: $74.6 million

Opening: $94.3 million

Yeah… the sizzling buzz for Guardians in summer 2014 caused anticipation to rise and rise. It’s hard to remember now, but this was actually considered a risk for Marvel at the time. The buzz exceeded my take by nearly $20 million bucks.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

My Prediction: $212.7 million

Opening: $191.2 million

The question with this first Avengers sequel is whether it would top the $207 million achieved by its 2012 predecessor. If so, it would have had the largest domestic opening at the time. I predicted it would and it fell short. Strangely enough, it would be Jurassic World one month later that would earn $208 million and set the debut record until The Force Awakens came along.

Ant-Man (2015)

My Prediction: $73.3 million

Opening: $57.2 million

I gave Paul Rudd and company too much credit here. The Ant-Man is the second lowest MCU debut (only The Incredible Hulk is below it at $55 million). Nevertheless a sequel is on its way this summer.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

My Prediction: $205.6 million

Opening: $179.1 million

My streak of going over on these predictions continues for the third feature…

Doctor Strange (2016)

My Prediction: $77.3 million

Opening: $85 million

A little low, but at least I got to within $10 million here.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

My Prediction: $166.4 million

Opening: $146.5 million

AND we’re back to going high…

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

My Prediction: $117.8 million

Opening: $117 million

After some whiffs, finally got back to solid estimating with Spidey’s well-received reiteration.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

My Prediction: $107.6 million

Opening: $122.7 million

Positive WOM pushed Thor’s third feature $15 million better than my projection.

Black Panther (2018)

My Prediction: $193.8 million

Opening: $202 million

This was an estimate that kept going up and up. I got pretty close, but still didn’t have it reaching the $200M+ plus number it achieved.

And there you have it! My checkered MCU history. We shall see how that $242.2 million take for Infinity War pans out soon enough…

Top 25 Highest Grossing Actresses of All Time (5-1)

Today we reach the final installment of my listing of the Top 25 Highest Grossing Actresses in box office history with the top five!

Here are the five ladies that have grossed the most stateside:

5. Julia Roberts

Career Earnings: $2.7 billion

Franchises: The Ocean’s pictures

Highest Grossing Picture: Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – $183 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 11 (Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Erin Brockovich, Hook, Notting Hill, Valentine’s Day, Sleeping with the Enemy, The Pelican Brief)

Lowest Grosser: Fireflies in the Garden (2011) – $70,000

Overall Rank: 30

4. Helena Bonham Carter

Career Earnings: $2.7 billion

Franchises: Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland

Highest Grossing Picture: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) – $381 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 9 (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Cinderella, Planet of the Apes, Les Miserables, The King’s Speech)

Lowest Grosser: The Theory of Flight (1998) – $73,000

Overall Rank: 28

3. Cate Blanchett

Career Earnings: $2.8 billion

Franchises: Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit

Highest Grossing Picture: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – $377 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 10 (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Cinderella, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Robin Hood, The Aviator)

Lowest Grosser: Little Fish (2006) – $8,000

Overall Rank: 27

2. Cameron Diaz

Career Earnings: $3 billion

Franchises: Charlie’s Angels, Shrek

Highest Grossing Picture: Shrek 2 (2004) – $441 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 11 (Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Shrek Forever After, There’s Something About Mary, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Charlie’s Angels, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, The Mask, Vanilla Sky, Bad Teacher)

Lowest Grosser: Head Above Water (1997) – $32,000

Overall Rank: 19

  1. Scarlett Johansson

Career Earnings: $3.3 billion

Franchises: Marvel Cinematic Universe

Highest Grossing Picture: The Avengers (2012) – $623 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 7 (The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book, Lucy)

Lowest Grosser: A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004) – $164,000

Overall Rank: 9

And there you have it, my friends! Your 25 highest grossing females in the history of the movies…

2014: The Year of Scarlett Johannson

Scarlett Johannson has been on quite a roll lately with her mix of mega blockbusters and critical indie darlings. It manifested itself best in 2014 and “Scar Jo” had quite the banner year. She is indeed deserving of my third post focusing on six performers who had a merry 2014!

April 2014 gave us a prime example of her deft mix of films both large and small. Johannson made her third appearance as Black Widow (after 2010’s Iron Man 2 and 2012’s The Avengers) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Everyone expected it to be a blockbuster, which it exceeded expectations on the critical and financial level (topping out at $259 million domestic).

That same month she starred in Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer’s hypnotic indie pic that cast her as an alien learning what Earth is all about. Her performance contained little dialogue, yet it may be her strongest work yet.

Her work in acclaimed indie fare continued into May with her supporting part in Chef, Jon Favreau’s unexpected hit that earned $31 million domestically.

By July, she may have had her most impressive showing when she headlined the action pic Lucy. It earned a robust $126 million and much of it was due to her star power alone in shoot-em-up genre pics.

Scar Jo’s dalliances between popcorn flicks and indie hits looks to continue beyond this year. In May, she’ll make her fourth Black Widow turn in The Avengers: Age of Ultron before working with the Coen Brothers (alongside George Clooney and Channing Tatum) in Hail Caesar!

For my post on The Year of Shailene Woodley, click here:


For my post on The Year of Kevin Hart, click here:


For my post on The Year of Chris Pratt, click here:


For my post on The Year of Angelina Jolie, click here:


For my post on The Year of Michael Keaton, click here:


Box Office Predictions: May 2-4

This weekend the summer 2014 movie season officially gets underway and it’s mega-sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 leading the charge. You can read my detailed prediction post on its prospects here:


Week after week, we will see huge profile releases after another. As for weekend #1, Spidey should easily out gross the rest of the top five combined and then some. As for spring holdovers, I look for last weekend’s 1-4 (The Other Woman, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Heaven Is for Real, Rio 2) to all drop in the high 30s-mid 40s range.

And with that, my estimates for the weekend’s top five:

1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Predicted Gross: $90.1 million

2. The Other Woman

Predicted Gross: $14.3 million (representing a drop of 42%)

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Predicted Gross: $9 million (representing a drop of 44%)

4. Heaven Is for Real

Predicted Gross: $8.5 million (representing a drop of 41%)

5. Rio 2

Predicted Gross: $8.3 million (representing a drop of 39%)

Box Office Results (April 25-27)

As for the final weekend of spring, The Other Woman with Cameron Diaz debuted very solidly with $24.7 million, outshining my $18.1M estimate. The rom com clearly hit with its female target audience.

Holdovers occupied slots 2-4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier took second with $16.2 in its fourth weekend, above my $14.3M prediction. Heaven Is for Real held up well in its second weekend for third with $14.3 million, topping my $13M projection. Rio 2 was fourth with $13.8 million, just below my $14.5M prediction.

The Paul Walker action pic Brick Mansions opened in fifth with a weak $9.5 million – not reaching my $12.3M estimate. And the horror flick The Quiet Ones absolutely tanked with only $3.8 million for a seventh place showing, well below my generous $9.4M guess.

That’s all for now! I’ll be back soon as we see just how well Spidey does!

Box Office Predictions: April 25-27

This is the final weekend of the movie calendar before the May onslaught of potential summer blockbusters arrive, including The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Maleficent. On Friday, we’ll see a trio of new titles debut: the rom com The Other Woman, action thriller Brick Mansions, and horror flick The Quiet Ones. You can find my detailed prediction posts on each here:




As for holdovers, I’m expecting drops in the mid 30s-40s for last weekend’s champ Captain America: The Winter Soldier and runners-up Heaven Is for Real and Rio 2. If that is indeed the case, it could mean fifth and sixth place debuts for Brick Mansions and The Quiet Ones, unless they perform better than expected. I believe The Other Woman should generate enough business to be #1, though if it disappoints it could open the door for a fourth weekend at the top spot for Captain America or possibly a rise to #1 for Rio 2. And with that, my top six predictions for the weekend:

1. The Other Woman

Predicted Gross: $18.1 million

2. Rio 2

Predicted Gross: $14.5 million (representing a drop of 34%)

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Predicted Gross: $14.3 million (representing a drop of 44%)

4. Heaven Is for Real

Predicted Gross: $13 million (representing a drop of 42%)

5. Brick Mansions

Predicted Gross: $12.3 million

6. The Quiet Ones

Predicted Gross: $9.4 million

Box Office Results (April 18-20)

Well… when you mess up, I guess do it big time and, boy, did I ever with Transcendence, the Johnny Depp sci fi thriller. It absolutely tanked at the box office with a terrible $10.8 million fourth place opening. My prediction? $30.8 million. Ouch. This is yet another flop for Depp after disappointments like Dark Shadows and The Lone Ranger. Poor reviews and a weak marketing campaign hurt it and I mistakenly believed Depp’s name would lead it to a respectable opening. Far from it.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier managed a three-peat at #1 over Easter Weekend with $25.5 million, holding better than my $18.9 million. Another surprise besides the Transcendence disaster was the fantastic start for the faith-based Heaven Is for Real. The pic grossed $22.5 million for the three day weekend and $29.5 million from its five day Wednesday start, trumping my respective predictions of $17.5M and $24.8M. This spring has been a great one for Christian themed pictures, including Son of God, God’s Not Dead, and Noah. #3 went to Rio 2 in its sophomore frame with $22.1 million, a bit under my $25.9M projection.

Two more weak debuts marked the weekend – the horror sequel A Haunted House 2 flopped with $8.8 million for fifth place, below my $10.6M projection. Disney’s nature doc Bears failed to bring in an audience with a meager $4.7 million for tenth place. I predicted $8.8 million.

I’ll try to do better next time, my blog reading friends!

Box Office Predictions: April 18-20

On this coming Easter weekend, four new titles make their debut at multiplexes: the Johnny Depp sci-fi thriller Transcendence, the Christian themed drama Heaven Is for Real, the horror parody sequel A Haunted House 2, and the Disney nature doc Bears. You can find my individual prediction posts on each right here:





My predictions reflect a belief that Transcendence should open first, though it may face competition from Rio 2 in its second weekend. That animated sequel should suffer a rather small decline that isn’t as steep as last weekend’s returning champ Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Heaven Is for Real could be poised for a solid opening with its shrewd Easter debut while I see fairly disappointing results for A Haunted House 2 and Bears.

And with that – my top six predictions for the holiday weekend:

1. Transcendence

Predicted Gross: $30.8 million

2. Rio 2

Predicted Gross: $25.9 million (representing a drop of 34%)

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Predicted Gross: $18.9 million (representing a drop of 54%)

4. Heaven Is for Real

Predicted Gross: $17.5 million (predicted five-day opening of $24.8 million)

5. A Haunted House 2

Predicted Gross: $10.6 million

6. Bears

Predicted Gross: $8.9 million

Box Office Results (April 11-13)

As predicted, Captain America: The Winter Soldier held onto the top spot in its sophomore weekend with $41.2 million, a bit below my $45.3M prediction. The animated Rio 2 opened right on pace with its predecessor with $39.3 million (the first did $39.2M out of the gate), slightly below my $41.7M estimate. The horror flick Oculus had a middling start with $12 million for third place, just above my $11M projection while Kevin Costner’s Draft Day had a weak fourth place debut with only $9.7 million, under my $13.2M estimate. Noah rounded out the top five with $7.5 million, on target with my $7.4M prediction.

That’s all for now, folks! Until next time.

Box Office Predictions: April 11-13

A trio of new films open this weekend against the second weekend of the massive Marvel hit Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They are the animated sequel Rio 2, horror pic Oculus, and sports themed comedy/drama Draft Day. You can find my detailed individual prediction posts on each of them here:




There is no question that Rio 2 stands the greatest chance at taking the top spot over Captain. However, while I believe it should be a close race, I think Steve Rogers and company will maintain their #1 ranking. As for Draft Day and Oculus, there are some box office prognosticators who have each opening higher than my estimates, but I’m predicting they’ll both post lackluster results. Darren Aronofksy’s Noah should round out the top five in weekend #3.

And with that, my predictions for the weekend’s top five:

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Predicted Gross: $45.3 million (representing a drop of 52%)

2. Rio 2

Predicted Gross: $41.7 million

3. Draft Day

Predicted Gross: $13.2 million

4. Oculus

Predicted Gross: $11 million

5. Noah

Predicted Gross: $7.4 million (representing a drop of 56%)

Box Office Results (April 4-6)

As mentioned, Captain America: The Winter Soldier got off to a fantastic debut with $95 million, surpassing my $86.3M projection. This represents the best April opening of all time, beating out Fast Five from three years back. The opening continues the trend of Marvel Studios entries opening higher than their predecessors post Avengers.

In weekend number two, Noah fell a bit further than I figured with $17 million, below my $19.6M estimate. With a precipitous 61% fall, the mediocre word of mouth clearly affected the epic in its sophomore frame. Taking third in weekend #3 was Divergent with $12.9 million, right on track with my $12.8M prediction. I incorrectly had the Christian themed hit God’s Not Dead out of the top six, but it dipped only 12% for a fourth place showing at $7.7 million. Muppets Most Wanted was fifth with $6.2 million, slightly below my $7.1M estimate. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was sixth with $6.1 million. My prediction? $6.1 million! Gold star! Finally, Mr. Peabody and Sherman was seventh with $5.1 million, under my $6.3M projection.

That’s all for now, readers! Be sure to check back Monday to see how smart or not smart I am!