Avengers: Endgame Movie Review

**There’s really no way to write a review of Avengers: Endgame without some minor spoilers. You may wish to read this post viewing…

The word “epic” can be overused by those who review movies like me, but it unquestionably applies to Avengers: Endgame. It’s epic in its running time (none of the other 21 MCU pics run three hours) and epic in the number of well-known thespians reprising their superhero and villain characters. It doesn’t seem feasible that so many characters could manage to coexist in this vast universe without seeming like a gimmick. If you happen to think predecessor Infinity War was overcrowded, you’ll get whiplash here. Truth be told, there are moments when this borders on playing like a greatest hits reel based on what’s preceded it during the last eleven years.

Yet Endgame figures out a rewarding way to stick the landing and honor the dozens of faces that we’ve spent billions of dollars visiting since 2008. At the conclusion of Infinity War, bad guy Thanos (Josh Brolin) had collected his precious Infinity Stones and decimated half the intergalactic population into dramatic looking dust particles. What’s left is mostly the core of the OG Avengers – Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). There’s others as Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) is the sole surviving Guardian of the Galaxy. And we have the two notable characters that were MIA last summer – Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).

One might think this whole saga might be about the original band and some newer friends taking on Thanos. You would be wrong. Endgame has plenty of time bending tricks up its endless story arch sleeves. The first is an unexpected resolution that comes very early. However, that climax is just a set-up to further complications.

This is indeed a time travel movie in which the screenwriters almost sheepishly concede the contrived nature of such a device. The survivors set upon a course of multiple back in time ways to retrieve the Stones and bring back their loved ones. It doesn’t happen overnight and the lengthy nature of the plan coming together provides funny and poignant moments. Tony is off the grid with his beloved Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) and a new addition. Bruce is in full Hulk mode, but kindler and gentler. Thor is rounder and drunkenly grappling with his losses. Hawkeye is a full-blown vigilante. When the gang revs up their figurative DeLoreans, it gives us a chance to revisit lots of MCU personnel. And it’s a LOT of former players. Some are genuinely surprising. During this lengthy stretch, the film walks a fine line of not devolving into nostalgic sugar shock amidst the action sequences. By the final act, it rises above it.

We know the battle scenes will be well choreographed and well-directed (with the Russo Brothers handling duties once again). The final one is rather jaw dropping with the mixing of so many known quantities. Thanos is one of the stronger villains in MCU history and he remains so here, though there’s nothing fresh to add about his character. His daughter Nebula (Karen Gillan), on the other hand, continues her evolution as a fine addition to the roster.

The comic relief comes more from Thor as opposed to Ant-Man or Rocket and Hemsworth is up to the task. Captain America and Black Widow are given their emotional moments that we’re invested in from their backstories. To this writer, it’s Tony who’s always been the damaged beating heart of this franchise. The Marvel Cinematic Universe simply wouldn’t exist as it is without Downey Jr.’s brilliant work. That’s never changed. The quality of the movies he’s appeared in has. His performance has always been fantastic. If we’re ranking, I would put Endgame as an overall experience just under the first Avengers in 2012 and Infinity War. I can’t promise that thinking about all the shifting time plot points might raise as many questions as answers. I won’t deny that its emotional payoff is real and we have Downey and an amazing group of technicians bringing these comics to life to thank for it.

***1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Watch – Avengers: Endgame

Last year, Marvel’s Black Panther became the first comic book pic to score a Best Picture nomination. While it didn’t win, it took home three gold trophies from its seven nods. This weekend, box office records are highly likely to break with the release of Avengers: Endgame. The 22nd MCU title had its review embargo lift hours ago… try to your best to avoid spoilers.

The verdict? A 98% Rotten Tomatoes score thus far. Some critics are going as far as saying it’s the best overall entry in the massive franchise. Others write ups, while positive, don’t go that far. One thing seems certain as Endgame is classified as an epic experience.

Could lightning strike two years in a row for Marvel with Academy voters? Here’s the advantage: this fourth Avengers saga is seen as the culmination of not just its three predecessors, but also the many other pictures MCU blockbusters over the past 11 years. That lifts its chances for recognition as Oscar could see this as an “atta boy” for the whole series.

That said, I’m doubtful. The first three Avengers flicks garnered a grand total of two nominations. The 2012 original and last year’s Infinity War both received Visual Effects nods. Neither won. The middle child (2015’s Age of Ultron) got no love. Last year, Disney was undoubtedly more focused on getting Black Panther recognition and they succeeded. In 2019, they could put together a more robust campaign for Endgame.

A third calling in Visual Effects is probably inevitable, but anything else from the Academy is questionable and maybe even doubtful. Yet I wouldn’t totally count out some Disney marketing campaign magic. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Avengers: Endgame Box Office Prediction

This current massively successful phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe draws to a close next weekend with the release of Avengers: Endgame. There’s an excellent chance that it achieves the largest opening weekend gross of all time with the grand finale. Endgame follows up directly with last summer’s Avengers: Infinity War, which is the current record holder with $257 million.

Anthony and Joe Russo return in the directors chairs with a core group of familiar heroes battling Josh Brolin’s Thanos. They include Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. That’s just scratching the surface, by the way. The events (spoiler alert if you’ve been in a year-long coma) of Infinity War dissolved numerous other beloved characters into dust including Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange and the majority of the Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista) save for Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket. It’s quite likely you’ll see them again. And also in the roles we’ve seen them in before… there’s Gwyneth Paltrow, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Tessa Thompson, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, and Evangeline Lilly. Oh… and Letitia Wright and Sebastian Stan and Tom Hiddleston.

Whew. Back to the numbers crunching. When early tickets went on sale a couple of weeks ago, Endgame smashed every record in sight. Its YouTube trailer views are off the charts. Audiences know this is the culmination of what we’ve paid billions of dollars for over the past decade plus. Yes, there’s a three-hour runtime which is unprecedented for the MCU.

I have a feeling that won’t matter when it comes to reaching a premiere level we’ve yet to witness. No other movie is daring to compete against it and most holdovers will be earning $10 million and less. In other words, multiplexes will clear a ton of real estate for this.

Initial estimates put Endgame around $250 million, but the buzz has this inching upwards. I believe that’s a correct assumption. While I don’t believe this will hit $300 million (as the rosiest projections suggest), a gross just north of $285 million seems feasible. If it achieves that mark, the endgame here will indeed set records.

Avengers: Endgame opening weekend prediction: $289.6 million

2018: The Year of Ryan Coogler

To kick off my series on the people that made significant contributions in cinema for 2018, the first post is the easiest to choose from. In a year filled with many successful tales, Black Panther is undoubtedly THE story. The Marvel Cinematic Universe saga took a superhero not nearly as known as others and the result was a surprising and smashing record breaker.

The man behind it is Ryan Coogler. A 32-year-old Oakland native, Coogler made his directorial debut with 2013’s acclaimed Fruitvale Station. Two years later, he invigorated another franchise with Creed. And in February of this year, Panther was unleashed worldwide. With Chadwick Boseman in the title role, Michael B. Jordan as one of the MCU’s most memorable villains, and Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright providing dynamic support, the film immediately struck a chord with moviegoers and critics. With a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score, Panther took in $700 million domestically at the box office.

Let us count the records, shall we? That’s the top hit of the year. It’s the third biggest domestic grosser of all time behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avatar. Obviously, that designation means it’s Marvel’s #1 earner. One year ago, if anyone had told you this would make more than Avengers: Infinity War (which followed a few weeks later), you wouldn’t have believed it.

For Coogler, he’s made the biggest comic book adaptation ever in a century filled with them. The sky is the limit for him as he’s likely being offered every tent pole project in sight. He’s already struck a deal to direct the Panther sequel. Additionally, this stands an excellent chance to be the first pic of its genre to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.

In 2018, Coogler made history by making the #1 picture ever directed by an African-American and introduced a hero already beloved by all. He’s an unquestionable entry in the people that mattered onscreen this year.

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 4th Edition

My first Oscar predictions of October are here as the new month has brought in some important scheduling announcements!

First, it has been confirmed that Clint Eastwood’s The Mule will indeed be released in 2018. While some reports suggest it’s more of a commercial play for Warner Bros than an awards one… its release means I’m including it for the first time in a number of categories as a possibility (Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay). You just can’t discount Eastwood from the awards derby.

We also learned that Mike Leigh’s Peterloo and the sci-fi tale Alita: Battle Angel have been moved to 2019. While neither of them were considered players in the major categories, both could have been contenders in down the line tech races. Not anymore.

In other developments:

  • Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy) has been ranked #1 since late August in Supporting Actor, but that now changes to Mahershala Ali in Green Book.
  • The first trailer for Vice is out. It maintains its spot at #9 on my Best Picture possibilities, but I’ve now moved Sam Rockwell into the five predicted nominees for Supporting Actor. I’m also vaulting Christian Bale from the 5 spot in Best Actor to second.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

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

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. First Man (PR: 3)

4. The Favourite (PR: 5)

5. Green Book (PR: 4)

6. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

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: 10)

11. Widows (PR: 11)

12. Boy Erased (PR: 12)

13. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 15)

14. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 13)

15. The Mule (PR: Not Ranked)

16. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 14)

17. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 19)

18. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 16)

19. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 20)

20. At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 18)

21. The Sisters Brothers (PR: 17)

22. Beautiful Boy (PR: 23)

23. Leave No Trace (PR: 21)

24. The Front Runner (PR: 24)

25. Eighth Grade (PR: 22)

Dropped Out:

Stan and Ollie

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

3. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 2)

4. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 5)

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

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 7)

8. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 9)

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

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

11. Steve McQueen, Widows (PR: 11)

12. Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 15)

13. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 14)

15. Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Jacques Audiard, The Sisters Brothers 

Best Actor

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

2. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 5)

3. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 3)

4. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 2)

5. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

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

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

8. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased (PR: 8)

10. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (PR: 10)

11. Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy (PR: 9)

12. Ben Foster, Leave No Trace (PR: 11)

13. John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 13)

14. Hugh Jackman, The Front Runner (PR: 14)

15. John C. Reilly, The Sisters Brothers (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther

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. Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 8)

9. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 9)

10. Toni Collette, Hereditary (PR: 11)

11. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back (PR: 10)

12. Keira Knightley, Colette (PR: 15)

13. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 12)

14. Carey Mulligan, Wildlife (PR: 14)

15. Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 13)

Best Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 2)

2. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 1)

3. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 4)

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

5. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Daniel Kaluuya, Widows (PR: 5)

7. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

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

9. Steve Carell, Vice (PR: 14)

10. Russell Crowe, Boy Erased (PR: 11)

11. John C. Reilly, Stan and Ollie (PR: 10)

12. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite (PR: 9)

13. Armie Hammer, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 12)

14. Jason Clarke, First Man (PR: 13)

15. David Tennant, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Oscar Isaac, At Eternity’s Gate

Best Supporting Actress

1. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 1)

2. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 2)

3. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 3)

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

5. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (PR: 7)

7. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 6)

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

9. Sissy Spacek, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 8)

10. Marina de Tavira, Roma (PR: 11)

11. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 10)

12. Rachel McAdams, Disobedience (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace (PR: 13)

14. Kathy Bates, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 14)

15. Dianne Wiest, The Mule (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Elizabeth Debicki, Widows

Linda Cardellini, Green Book

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 1)

2. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 2)

3. A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

4. First Man (PR: 4)

5. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows (PR: 7)

7. Leave No Trace (PR: 6)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

9. Boy Erased (PR: 9)

10. Black Panther (PR: 10)

11. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 11)

12. Disobedience (PR: 13)

13. Beautiful Boy (PR: 15)

14. The Sisters Brothers (PR: 12)

15. The Mule (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Front Runner

Best Original Screenplay

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Roma (PR: 3)

3. Green Book (PR: 2)

4. Vice (PR: 5)

5. Eighth Grade (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

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

7. First Reformed (PR: 6)

8. At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 12)

9. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 7)

10. A Quiet Place (PR: 8)

11. Private Life (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Hereditary (PR: 14)

13. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 13)

14. Ben Is Back (PR: 10)

15. Stan and Ollie (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Sorry to Bother You 

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 27th Edition

As my weekly Oscar predictions roll along, I finally had a week not loaded with festival news and screenings. As you can see, placements in the major categories don’t have quite as much volatility this week.

That said, there was news. Of the few contenders that haven’t screened, it was announced that On the Basis of Sex will open this year’s AFI Fest in November and that Mary Queen of Scots will close it. Their inclusion in the fest bumps their stock up a bit in my rankings this time around. Of course, it won’t be until they screen that we know the real story.

In other developments related to my rankings:

  • Yalitza Aparicio (Roma) overtakes Viola Davis (Widows) for the five-spot in Best Actress.
  • Additionally in Best Actress, Glenn Close (The Wife) now holds the #1 predicted slot over Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born).
  • In Best Adapted Screenplay, the five predicted pictures remain the same. However, BlackKlansman and If Beale Street Could Talk now hold the 1-2 spots over A Star Is Born and First Man.
  • Ben Foster (Leave No Trace) will apparently be campaigned for in lead Actor and not Supporting so that change has been reflected in my estimates.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

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

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. First Man (PR: 3)

4. Green Book (PR: 5)

5. The Favourite (PR: 4)

6. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 7)

7. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 6)

8. Black Panther (PR: 8)

9. Vice (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 10)

11. Widows (PR: 12)

12. Boy Erased (PR: 11)

13. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 18)

14. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 13)

15. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 14)

16. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 17)

17. The Sisters Brothers (PR: 15)

18. At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 19)

19. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 23)

20. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 21)

21. Leave No Trace (PR: 25)

22. Eighth Grade (PR: 24)

23. Beautiful Boy (PR: 20)

24. The Front Runner (PR: 16)

25. Stan and Ollie (PR: 22)

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 3)

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

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

5. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (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: 8)

9. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 9)

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

11. Steve McQueen, Widows (PR: 12)

12. Jacques Audiard, The Sisters Brothers (PR: 11)

13. Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased (PR: 14)

14. Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 13)

15. Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 15)

Best Actor

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

2. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 2)

3. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 3)

4. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 4)

5. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 8)

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

8. Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased (PR: 10)

9. Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy (PR: 7)

10. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (PR: 11)

11. Ben Foster, Leave No Trace (PR: Not Ranked – moved from Supporting Actor)

12. John C. Reilly, The Sisters Brothers (PR: 13)

13. John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 12)

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

15. Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here

Best Actress

1. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 2)

2. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

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

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

5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: 5)

7. Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 10)

8. Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 11)

9. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 7)

10. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back (PR: 9)

11. Toni Collette, Hereditary (PR: 8)

12. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 13)

13. Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 12)

14. Carey Mulligan, Wildlife (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Keira Knightley, Colette (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade

Best Supporting Actor

1. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 1)

2. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 2)

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

4. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

5. Daniel Kaluuya, Widows (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 7)

7. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 9)

8. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 8)

9. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite (PR: 6)

10. John C. Reilly, Stan and Ollie (PR: 11)

11. Russell Crowe, Boy Erased (PR: 10)

12. Armie Hammer, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 12)

13. Jason Clarke, First Man (PR: 14)

14. Steve Carell, Vice (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Oscar Isaac, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Ben Foster, Leave No Trace (moved to Lead Actor)

Best Supporting Actress

1. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 1)

2. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 2)

3. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 3)

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

5. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 6)

7. Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (PR: 8)

8. Sissy Spacek, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 9)

9. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 7)

10. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 13)

11. Marina de Tavira, Roma (PR: 11)

12. Elizabeth Debicki, Widows (PR: 10)

13. Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace (PR: 14)

14. Kathy Bates, On the Basis of Sex (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Linda Cardellini, Green Book (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Maura Tierney, Beautiful Boy

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 3)

2. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 4)

3. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

4. First Man (PR: 2)

5. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Leave No Trace (PR: 15)

7. Widows (PR: 6)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

9. Boy Erased (PR: 7)

10. Black Panther (PR: 9)

11. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 14)

12. The Sisters Brothers (PR: 12)

13. Disobedience (PR: 13)

14. The Front Runner (PR: 10)

15. Beautiful Boy (PR: 11)

Best Original Screenplay

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Green Book (PR: 3)

3. Roma (PR: 2)

4. Eighth Grade (PR: 5)

5. Vice (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. First Reformed (PR: 6)

7. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 14)

8. A Quiet Place (PR: 8)

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

10. Ben Is Back (PR: 12)

11. Stan and Ollie (PR: 9)

12. At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 10)

13. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 11)

14. Hereditary (PR: 13)

15. Sorry to Bother You (PR: 15)

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 20th Edition

My weekly Oscar predictions are below for your perusal! The whirlwind festival season of Venice/Telluride/Toronto has come to an end and there’s precious few Academy contenders left to screen as the races come into more focus.

Here are some significant developments over the week:

  • The rise of Green Book after it won the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival. The Peter Farrelly directed race relations drama has vaulted into the Best Picture contest as it rises from #10 on last week’s list to #5. It replaces Boy Erased in my listing of the nine predicted Picture nominees. We are not entirely sure yet that it’s Viggo Mortensen for lead Actor and Mahershala Ali for Supporting Actor, though that appears to be the case. Mortensen is now a predicted nominee (going from #8 to #4) and that means I took Robert Redford’s performance in The Old Man & The Gun out. Ali rises from #5 to #2 in Supporting Actor.
  • In Best Director, I’ve gone back to Spike Lee being nominated for BlacKkKlansman over Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk.
  • The Best Actress five remains the same, but I’ll note that Yalitza Aparicio’s work in Roma is sneaking up there as far a predicted nominee.
  • Word is out that Natalie Portman in Vox Lux will be campaigned for in Supporting Actress and not lead. My rankings reflect that change.
  • Speaking of Supporting Actress, I now have both Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz in for The Favourite. Weisz replaces Nicole Kidman in Boy Erased (that film has taken a big hit as of late in my rankings and we’ll see if it recovers).
  • Stan and Ollie released its first trailer and while I don’t have it predicted for actual nominations, the film makes its first appearance as far as possible nods in Picture, Supporting Actor (John C. Reilly), and Original Screenplay.
  • The critically acclaimed Leave No Trace from earlier this year makes its inaugural showing for possible nominations in Picture, Supporting Actress (Thomasin McKenzie), and Adapted Screenplay.

Best Picture

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

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. First Man (PR: 3)

4. The Favourite (PR: 4)

5. Green Book (PR: 10)

6. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 5)

7. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

8. Black Panther (PR: 9)

9. Vice (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

10. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 11)

11. Boy Erased (PR: 7)

12. Widows (PR: 12)

13. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 14)

14. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 16)

15. The Sisters Brothers (PR: 15)

16. The Front Runner (PR: 13)

17. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 23)

18. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 19)

19. At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 17)

20. Beautiful Boy (PR: 21)

21. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 18)

22. Stan and Ollie (PR: Not Ranked)

23. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 24)

24. Eighth Grade (PR: Not Ranked)

25. Leave No Trace (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ben Is  Back

Cold War

Peterloo

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

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

3. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 3)

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

5. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 4)

7. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 12)

8. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 10)

9. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 7)

10. Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 9)

11. Jacques Audiard, The Sisters Brothers (PR: 13)

12. Steve McQueen, Widows (PR: 11)

13. Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 14)

14. Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased (PR: 8)

15. Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jason Reitman, The Front Runner

Best Actor

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

2. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 3)

3. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 2)

4. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 8)

5. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 5)

7. Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy (PR: 7)

8. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 12)

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

10. Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased (PR: 6)

11. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (PR: 13)

12. John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 11)

13. John C. Reilly, The Sisters Brothers (PR: 10)

14. Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Stephan James, If Beale Street Could Talk 

Best Actress

1. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 2)

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

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

5. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 6)

7. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 9)

8. Toni Collette, Hereditary (PR: 7)

9. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back (PR: 10)

10. Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 13)

11. Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 12)

12. Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 11)

13. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 14)

14. Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (PR: 15)

15. Keira Knightley, Colette (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (moved to Supporting Actress)

Best Supporting Actor

1. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 1)

2. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 5)

3. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

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

5. Daniel Kaluuya, Widows (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite (PR: 13)

7. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 8)

8. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 6)

9. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 9)

10. Russell Crowe, Boy Erased (PR: 7)

11. John C. Reilly, Stan and Ollie (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Armie Hammer, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 11)

13. Ben Foster, Leave No Trace (PR: 12)

14. Jason Clarke, First Man (PR: 14)

15. Oscar Isaac, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased

Best Supporting Actress

1. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 1)

2. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 2)

3. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite (PR: 7)

5. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 5)

7. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 10)

8. Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (PR: Not Ranked – moved from Lead Actress)

9. Sissy Spacek, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 6)

10. Elizabeth Debicki, Widows (PR: 8)

11. Marina de Tavira, Roma (PR: 11)

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

13. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 14)

14. Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Maura Tierney, Beautiful Boy (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Vera Farmiga, The Front Runner

Kathy Bates, On the Basis of Sex

Meryl Streep, Mary Poppins Returns

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. First Man (PR: 2)

3. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 4)

4. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 3)

5. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows (PR: 7)

7. Boy Erased (PR: 6)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 10)

9. Black Panther (PR: 8)

10. The Front Runner (PR: 9)

11. Beautiful Boy (PR: 12)

12. The Sisters Brothers (PR 11)

13. Disobedience (PR: 14)

14. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 13)

15. Leave No Trace (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Wildlife

Best Original Screenplay

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. Green Book (PR: 4)

4. Vice (PR: 3)

5. Eighth Grade (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. First Reformed (PR: 11)

7. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 6)

8. A Quiet Place (PR: 8)

9. Stan and Ollie (PR: Not Ranked)

10. At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 9)

11. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Ben Is Back (PR: 7)

13. Hereditary (PR: 14)

14. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 12)

15. Sorry to Bother You (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Vox Lux

Mid90s