This Is Oscar

Since 2016, the NBC drama This Is Us has kept viewers in a perpetual state of tears and it’s been a massive hit for the network. As the show’s popularity has continued, the various leads on the family affair have seen their movie offers increase.

When looking at how Oscar voters could reward the work of these actors that have garnered plenty of Emmy nods, there’s some we can quickly discount. Don’t look for Milo Ventimiglia to contend for The Art of Racing in the Rain. His onscreen wife Mandy Moore won’t get supporting actress attention for next weekend’s Midway. Justin Hartley will not be feted for Little or Jexi. And while A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood could see Tom Hanks receive another nomination, the same won’t hold true for Susan Kelechi Watson.

That brings us to Watson’s TV hubby Sterling K. Brown. His big screen family drama Waves has gotten raves on the film festival circuit. It would appear his performance is most likely to appear on the radar of the awards crowd. Yet there’s a problem. 2019’s crop of supporting actor possibilities is packed. The list includes the aforementioned Hanks in Neighborhood, Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, both Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for The Irishman, Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes, Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse, and Jamie Foxx for Just Mercy. The race simply might be too crowded for Brown.

Surprisingly, the best chance for an Us thespian to get into the Academy derby might come in an unexpected category.  This spring’s faith based release Breakthrough featured Chrissy Metz in the cast. Her acting will not be honored. However, Metz did cut an original song for the soundtrack titled “I’m Standing With You”. The songwriter is Diane Warren and she’s no stranger to Oscar. Warren has landed ten nods for her work, including songs from the last two years – “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall and “I’ll Fight” from RBG. The Best Original Song race is still uncertain, but Disney appears bound to get in with expected selections from Toy Story 4, Frozen II, Aladdin, and The Lion King. There’s also tracks from Rocketman and Cats that could factor in. Still, Metz’s pipes probably have the highest chance for recognition over the acting skills of her fellow cast members.

Breakthrough Box Office Prediction

Disney is putting their faith over the Easter weekend in Breakthrough, a Christian drama based on the 2017 novel The Impossible. Based on true events, the pic tells the story of a teenager who slips into a frozen lake and his miraculous recovery. Directed by Roxann Dawson in her feature debut, Breakthrough stars Chrissy Metz (of TV’s “This Is Us” fame), Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Marcel Ruiz, and Dennis Haysbert. NBA champion Stephen Curry has an exec producer credit.

This is actually the first 20th Century Fox production that its new owner Disney is distributing. That well publicized partnership could get off to a solid start if faith-based audiences turn out. The holiday timing should certainly work to its advantage.

An obvious comp is Heaven Is for Real from five Easter’s ago. Like Breakthrough, it also premiered on Wednesday. Taking in $22.5 million over the traditional weekend and $29.5 million over the five-day span, Heaven eventually soared to $91 million overall.

I’ll say this falls a bit lower with the caveat that it could achieve similar numbers. My five-day projection puts it a touch below the three-day of Heaven. That could put this at #2 behind The Curse of La Llorona, which deals with religious themes in a drastically different manner.

Breakthrough opening weekend prediction: $16.9 million (Friday to Sunday), $22 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my The Curse of La Llorona prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/09/the-curse-of-la-llorona-box-office-prediction/

For my Penguins prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/10/penguins-box-office-prediction/