Summer 2000: The Top 10 Hits and More

As I do every summer on the blog, I am looking back at the cinematic seasons of 30, 20, and 10 years ago and recounting the top ten hits, other notable pics, and some misfires. A week ago, I covered the summer of 1990 (when we all were “ghosted”). If you missed it, you can peruse it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/07/18/summer-1990-the-top-10-hits-and-more/

Today brings us to the dawn of the new century. What struck me is that there weren’t a whole lot of outright flops, but the ones that were are rather significant bombs. Let’s take a trip down memory lane of 2000 and were we not entertained?!?!

10. The Patriot

Domestic Gross: $113 million

Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger teamed up with disaster flick specialist Roland Emmerich for this Revolutionary War era drama that managed to just achieve blockbuster status and barely top its reported $110 million budget stateside.

9. Big Momma’s House

Domestic Gross: $117 million

Negative reviews couldn’t prevent this Martin Lawrence comedy from nearly quadrupling its $30 million budget and spawning two eventual sequels. 30% also happens to be its Rotten Tomatoes score.

8. Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Domestic Gross: $123 million

Eddie Murphy’s sequel to his 1996 hit certainly didn’t get the reviews of its predecessor, but it fell only $5 million short of the domestic gross of part 1 and introduced superstar Janet Jackson as his new love interest. Part 2 also greatly expanded Eddie’s work as other members of the Klump brood. As you can see from numbers 8 and 9, it was a big summer for comedians in fat suits.

7. Dinosaur

Domestic Gross: $137 million

The prehistoric Disney animated adventure is not one of their most talked about titles in recent decades, but it was still a profitable venture that grossed nearly $350 million worldwide.

6. What Lies Beneath

Domestic Gross: $155 million

Despite mixed reviews, Robert Zemeckis’s Hitchcockian thriller starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer landed big with audiences. Its filming schedule is a memorable one. Zemeckis was shooting Cast Away with Tom Hanks and there was a long break in filming so its star could shed weight and grow his long beard. It was enough time for the director to fit in Beneath. 

5. Scary Movie

Domestic Gross: $157 million

The summer’s biggest comedy was a Scream spoof from filmmaker Keenan Ivory Wayans. Shot for less than $20 million, it spawned four sequels and became its own franchise.

4. X-Men

Domestic Gross: $157 million

I recently wrote about the 20th anniversary of X-Men here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/07/14/x-men-at-20-a-look-back/

That post talks about its significant impact on the comic book genre that has dominated the 21st century.

3. The Perfect Storm

Domestic Gross: $182 million

Wolfgang Peterson’s fact based disaster drama with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg was not much of a hit with critics, but crowds were swept up in the waves.

2. Gladiator

Domestic Gross: $187 million

Ridley Scott’s historical action drama kicked off summer 2000 and made a global superstar out of Russell Crowe and provided a juicy supporting part for Joaquin Phoenix. The film became an Oscar darling – winning Best Picture and Crowe taking Best Actor. This is the rare summer popcorn pic that achieved awards glory.

1. Mission: Impossible 2

Domestic Gross: $215 million

This sequel cruised to the top spot of earners for the season. Now that there’s been six editions in the franchise, this John Woo directed experience is generally (and rightfully) considered the weakest of the bunch. Yet that didn’t prevent huge grosses.

And now for some other notable features:

Chicken Run

Domestic Gross: $106 million

This still stands as the highest grossing stop-motion animated feature of all time and it doubled its budget domestically. A sequel is in development, but it was recently announced that lead voice Mel Gibson will not be part of the proceedings.

Gone in 60 Seconds

Domestic Gross: $101 million

Despite poor reviews, Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie’s remake of the 1970s heist pic still zoomed (barely) past $100 million and was a solid performer overseas.

Me, Myself & Irene

Domestic Gross: $90 million

The Farrelly Brothers reunited with their Dumb and Dumber star Jim Carrey for this comedy that earned mixed reaction. This was nowhere near the hit that the brothers had two years earlier with their runaway success There’s Something About Mary, but it still made money.

Space Cowboys

Domestic Gross: $90 million

Clint Eastwood guided this “old guys in space” tale alongside Tommy Lee Jones to a very respectable gross and decent critical reaction.

Hollow Man

Domestic Gross: $73 million

Paul Verhoeven’s take on the H.G. Wells novel starred Kevin Bacon and earned a Visual Effects Oscar nomination (losing to Gladiator). While it didn’t make its budget back stateside, it ended up doubling its price tag when factoring in foreign markets. A direct to video sequel followed.

Shaft

Domestic Gross: $70 million

Samuel L. Jackson took over the iconic private dick role from Richard Roundtree (who costarred here) in this sequel from the late John Singleton. Christian Bale memorably plays a villain here. Another sequel followed in 2019 and it was an outright flop.

Bring It On

Domestic Gross: $68 million

Made for only $11 million, this teen cheerleading comedy was an unexpected hit that gave Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union a boost in their careers. Five direct to video sequels followed as well as a stage musical.

The Cell

Domestic Gross: $61 million

Despite so-so reviews, this twisty supernatural thriller with Jennifer Lopez easily topped its $33 million budget. It has continued to have ardent admirers including the late Roger Ebert, who awarded it four stars.

Coyote Ugly

Domestic Gross: $60 million

This tale about saloon life with Piper Perabo and John Goodman managed to take in over $100 million worldwide against a $45 million budget and has become a cult favorite since.

The Original Kings of Comedy

Domestic Gross: $38 million

A stand-up comedy pic grossing this much in theaters is notable. Spike Lee directed Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, and Cedric the Entertainer and audiences turned out.

As I mentioned, the total bombs aren’t plentiful here. However, they’re notable:

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

Domestic Gross: $26 million

A pet project of Robert De Niro, this loose take on the 1960s animated series grossed a third of its budget domestically and was quickly forgotten.

Titan A.E.

Domestic Gross: $22 million

20th Century Fox had a big failure here at the start of the 21st century with this animated sci-fi tale with Matt Damon as a leading voice. The price tag was reportedly around $90 million and it made just $36 million worldwide.

Battlefield Earth

Domestic Gross: $21 million

Based on a work from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, audiences and critics savaged this sci-fi tale with John Travolta. It won a then record 7 Golden Raspberry Awards and was mocked relentlessly for its poor quality.

And that does it, folks! I’ll have 2010 recounted on the blog in the coming days…

Richard Jewell Movie Review

Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell continues his late career spate of no-frills dramas focused on recent events. This is a mostly successful and effective one which recounts the title character’s accusations of being responsible for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park Bombing in Atlanta. Eastwood and screenwriter Billy Ray spare no anger (sometimes subtle, sometimes above the surface) at the U.S. Government and the media for their contribution to his suffering. That is where Jewell has generated some controversy due its depiction of one reporter played by Olivia Wilde. Some of that material is indeed problematic, but the film overall is buoyed by a trio of terrific performances.

One of them is Paul Walter Hauser as Jewell. Working as a low-level security guard with deep reverence for law enforcement (he longs to be in that club), Jewell works the event that results in pipe bombs being detonated and he saves lives by discovering the knapsack that the devices are kept in. However, he also becomes the tragedy’s prime suspect. His two biggest investigators depicted here are Jon Hamm’s FBI agent and Wilde’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter. Richard’s support system include his lawyer Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) and his beloved mama Bobi (Kathy Bates).

Jewell’s credit as a hero is short-lived as the government and media hone in on him as the potential bomber. Hauser’s performance (he’s been memorable in smaller roles in I, Tonya and BlacKkKlansman) is first-rate as he captures Jewell’s vulnerability and unwillingness to fight the system until it’s almost too late. Credit also goes to Rockwell and Bates. The scenes between this trio give the picture its greatest dramatic heft.

As mentioned, the treatment of Wilde and the FBI as a whole is a bit more complicated. Their story here has been called more fictionalized than the reality. I can only say that Wilde’s reporter in particular is written as more of a caricature. Yet the unfair treatment of Jewell is one that resonates with Hauser’s superb work assisting in a major way.

*** (out of four)

Oscars 2019: The Case of Adam Driver

My Case of posts for the acting contenders at this year’s Oscar brings us to the third performer in Best Actor… Adam Driver in Marriage Story. Here’s his story:

The Case for Adam Driver

2019 capped off an amazing decade for Driver. In addition to his high-profile role in the HBO series Girls, his filmography over the past few years has been remarkable. To give you an idea, here’s some of the directors he worked with in the 2010s: Clint Eastwood, the Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Steven Soderbergh, Jim Jarmusch, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson, Terry Gilliam, and Spike Lee. The latter filmmaker helped Driver get his first Oscar nod last year in Supporting Actor for BlacKkKlansman. 2019 saw his best year yet with his final portrayal as Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and critical praise for the political drama The Report. Yet it’s his role as the divorcing husband to Scarlett Johansson in frequent collaborator Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story that garnered his greatest reviews thus far.

The Case Against Adam Driver

He’s still young enough that there’s little overdue for a win sentiment happening. Marriage Story has fallen behind in numerous categories with the exception of Laura Dern in Supporting Actress. Joaquin Phoenix has swept the key precursors.

The Verdict

Driver will likely place second in the voting behind the rising of Phoenix over the past few weeks.

My Case of posts will continue with the third competitor in Best Actress… Saoirse Ronan in Little Women!

Oscars 2019: The Case of Kathy Bates

My Case of posts on the major nominees for the Oscars brings us to our first contender for Supporting Actress – Kathy Bates in Richard Jewell. Let’s see what the verdict is for the veteran thespian:

The Case for Kathy Bates

She’s a critically acclaimed performer who’s excelled in drama, horror (earning an Emmy for TV’s American Horror Story), and comedy (she’s famously Adam Sandler’s Mama in The Waterboy). In 1990, she went from relative obscurity to winning the Best Actress Oscar for her terrifying role in the Stephen King adaptation Misery. Since then, she’s picked up two Supporting Actress nods for 1998’s Primary Colors and 2002’s About Schmidt. For her work in Clint Eastwood’s Jewell playing the title character’s mother, Bates also nabbed a Golden Globe nomination and a win from the National Board of Review.

The Case Against Kathy Bates

Even with the Globes recognition and NBR victory, she didn’t make the SAG cut. Her nomination was a bit of a surprise with most prognosticators assuming it might go to Annette Bening (The Report), Nicole Kidman (Bombshell), and especially Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers. Her nomination represents the only one for Jewell, which had decent reviews but struggled mightily at the box office.

The Verdict

Considering her inclusion wasn’t totally expected, I would rank Bates 5th out of five in terms of likelihood for the win.

My Case of posts will continue with the second Best Actor hopeful… Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood!

Richard Jewell Box Office Prediction

Clint Eastwood continues to churn out film after film and his latest, Richard Jewell, keeps with his recent theme of fact based dramas recounting events of the past quarter century. Paul Walter Hauser (memorable in supporting roles in I, Tonya and BlacKkKlansman) stars in the title role of the security guard falsely accused of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing. Costars include Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, and Olivia Wilde.

Jewell looks to bring in an adult audience amidst Christmas fare geared towards family crowds. With Eastwood at the helm, it could succeed. The director’s previous work, The Mule, debuted over the same mid December weekend last year to $17.5 million. Critics are mostly on his side here with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 88% and some awards chatter.

That said, I don’t believe Jewell will nab Mule numbers right away (it helped that Eastwood starred in the latter). This will hope to leg out as many grownup dramas do over subsequent holiday weekends. For its start, I believe low double digits to possibly low teens sounds about right.

Richard Jewell opening weekend prediction: $11 million

For my Jumanji: The Next Level prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/12/04/jumanji-the-next-level-box-office-prediction/

For my Black Christmas prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/12/05/black-christmas-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Richard Jewell

Few directors have made two Best Picture Oscar winners, but Clint Eastwood did that with 1992’s Unforgiven and 2004’s Million Dollar Baby. The latter came along late in the year and shifted the conversation 15 years ago. So anytime Mr. Eastwood screens a potential contender in time for Academy consideration, it’s time to take notice. The AFI Film Festival premiered Richard Jewell last night and the biographical drama centers on the title character who was falsely accused of the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta.

So what’s the verdict? Jewell is sporting an 89% Rotten Tomatoes score thus far, but critical reaction brings a question mark as to its viability. While some reviews indicate it could very well contend, others are a little more mixed.

Eastwood filmed his last nominee five years back with the massive hit American Sniper. Since then, his filmography of Sully, The 15:17 to Paris, and The Mule has garnered scant awards attention (save for a Sound Editing nod for Sully).

Chatter has focused on three performances. Paul Walter Hauser, memorable in supporting roles in I, Tonya and BlacKkKlansman, is garnering raves. Yet Best Actor is fiercely competitive in 2019. In my weekly predictions, he hasn’t been in the top ten as I’ve waited for reaction to come. I honestly feel all ten of my current possibilities could get in. Hauser will really need to gather momentum for any shot. It’s doable, but I feel it would be more doable in a different year.

The same can be said for Sam Rockwell as Jewell’s lawyer. Two years ago, the actor won Supporting Actor for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Last year, he was nominated again as George W. Bush in Vice. It would be a quite a story for him to get nods three years in a row. Like Hauser’s category, Supporting Actor is also chock full of contenders. I’m a bit skeptical he makes it as he might also split his own votes for his work in Jojo Rabbit. 

It could be Kathy Bates that manages to get in playing Jewell’s mother. That’s because Supporting Actress is not quite as packed as the races of her costars. Nearly three decades have passed since she won Best Actress for Misery. Bates has received two Supporting Actress recognitions since in 1998’s Primary Colors and 2002’s About Schmidt. 

So… how about the film itself and Eastwood? It’s certainly feasible that it nabs a Picture nomination, but it’s definitely an on the bubble candidate. Due to that, I’m not sure Eastwood can make the final five. He’ll just have to rest on his already considerable mantelpiece.

Bottom line: Richard Jewell put itself in the mix at AFI, but there’s also a chance it comes up empty handed. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Queen & Slim

The Los Angeles based AFI Fest is the last major calendar year opportunity for Oscar hopefuls to strut their stuff and there’s always a few premieres to go along with it. In 2019, that includes Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell and The Banker with Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie. The opener is Queen & Slim from director Melina Matsoukas, who’s been known for her visionary music videos for Beyonce and Rihanna.

Slim centers on a couple (Daniel Kaluuya of Get Out fame and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith) whose first date becomes intertwined with a police brutality incident. Early critical reaction is strong and it stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Indications are that this could turn into a cult hit and perhaps even a real one, with an insightful and politically charged screenplay from Lena Waithe. She’s known primarily for acclaimed TV projects Master of None and The Chi.

Despite the praise, Oscar attention could be… well, slim. Anything arriving this late in the game would need to be a game changer for Picture visibility and some reviews are positive but with some reservation. Turner-Smith is garnering a lot of chatter, but it could be a leap to think she’ll factor into an already crowded Best Actress race.

Bottom line: look for Queen to become a conversation piece upon its November 27th release. I’m just not confident that will include talk about Academy nods. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

2019 Oscar Predictions: October 17th Edition

My weekly Oscar predictions this Thursday brings a whole lot of changes in that I’m  including every category covering feature films! Additionally, there’s now only 15 listed possibilities in Best Picture and ten in all other races.

For this format, my projections show The Irishman garnering the most nominations with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 1917, and Marriage Story not far behind. Besides the cosmetic changes, here’s what else has transpired in the past seven days:

  • Bombshell, the true life of Fox News and the downfall of Roger Ailes, had its first industry screenings. The film immediately vaulted itself into contention in Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Original Screenplay (as well as Makeup & Hairstyling).
  • My inclusion of Bombshell in Best Picture means The Farewell has been taken out with The Two Popes and Joker as other on the bubble entries.
  • Not only does Charlize Theron’s work in Bombshell enter my Best Actress projections, but she comes in at #2. That drops Cynthia Erivo in Harriet out of the top five for the first time.
  • Margot Robbie’s performance in the picture puts her in and she bumps… Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. 
  • In non Bombshell news, South Korean import Parasite had the best per screen average of 2019 in limited release. It’s the best reviewed movie of the year and its numbers game improves in Picture and Director this week.

BEST PICTURE 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Parasite (PR: 6)

4. Marriage Story (PR: 3)

5. 1917 (PR: 4)

6. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 5)

7. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

8. The Two Popes (PR: 9)

9. Bombshell (PR: 18)

10. Joker (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

11. The Farewell (PR: 8)

12. Little Women (PR: 12)

13. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 11)

14. Waves (PR: 13)

15. Richard Jewell (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Pain and Glory 

Judy

Just Mercy 

A Hidden Life 

Rocketman 

The Report 

Booksmart 

The Good Liar 

Dark Waters 

Ad Astra 

BEST DIRECTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 4)

3. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

4. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 3)

5. Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

7. James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

8. Lulu Wang, The Farewell (PR: 7)

9. Pedro Almodovar, Pain and Glory (PR: 13)

10. Jay Roach, Bombshell (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes 

Greta Gerwig, Little Women 

Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 

Terrence Malick, A Hidden Life

Todd Phillips, Joker

Clint Eastwood, Richard Jewell

BEST ACTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Adam Driver, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

3. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 3)

4. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 5)

5. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (PR: 6)

7. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 8)

8. Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 7)

9. Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell (PR: 9)

10. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Michael B. Jordan, Just Mercy 

Ian McKellen, The Good Liar 

Mark Ruffalo, Dark Waters 

Brad Pitt, Ad Astra 

Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse 

BEST ACTRESS

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

2. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 7)

3. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story (PR: 2)

4. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women (PR: 4)

5. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 6)

7. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 3)

8. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 8)

9. Helen Mirren, The Good Liar (PR: 9)

10. Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen and Slim (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Isabelle Huppert, Frankie

Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart 

Felicity Jones, The Aeronauts 

Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell

Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

4. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (PR: 3)

5. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (PR: 6)

7. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 7)

8. Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy (PR: 9)

9. John Lithgow, Bombshell (PR: 13)

10. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Sterling K. Brown, Waves

Alan Alda, Marriage Story 

Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy 

Sam Rockwell, Jojo Rabbit 

Zack Gottsagen, The Peanut Butter Falcon 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 12)

4. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 3)

5. Shuzhen Zhou, The Farewell (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PR: 6)

7. Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

8. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 9)

9. Meryl Streep, Little Women (PR: 8)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit 

Jennifer Hudson, Cats

Nicole Kidman, Bombshell 

Penelope Cruz, Pain and Glory 

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dolemite Is My Name 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. The Two Popes (PR: 3)

4. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

5. Joker (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Little Women (PR: 6)

7. Just Mercy (PR: 8)

8. Judy (PR: 7)

9. Downton Abbey (PR: 9)

10. Richard Jewell (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

The Good Liar 

Dark Waters 

Hustlers

Toy Story 4

Luce 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 4)

5. Bombshell (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. Waves (PR: 6)

7. 1917 (PR: 8)

8. Pain and Glory (PR: 5)

9. Booksmart (PR: 9)

10. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

The Report

Honey Boy 

Dolemite Is My Name 

Knives Out 

Rocketman

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

Predicted Nominees:

1. Parasite 

2. Pain and Glory 

3. Atlantics 

4. Les Miserables 

5. Monos

Other Possibilities:

6. Those Who Remained 

7. Beanpole

8. And Then We Danced 

9. Papicha

10. The Traitor 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Predicted Nominees:

1. Toy Story 4

2. Frozen II

3. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 

4. Missing Link

5. Weathering with You

Other Possibilities:

6. I Lost My Body

7. Abominable 

8. Klaus

9. Funan 

10. Okko’s Inn 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Predicted Nominees:

1. Apollo 11

2. American Factory 

3. Maiden

4. One Child Nation

5. The Cave

Other Possibilities:

6. The Biggest Little Farm

7. The Edge of Democracy 

8. Aquarela

9. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese 

10. Knock Down the House 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY 

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917

2. The Irishman 

3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

4. Parasite 

5. The Lighthouse 

Other Possibilities:

6. Ad Astra

7. Ford v Ferrari

8. Marriage Story 

9. Joker

10. Jojo Rabbit 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Downton Abbey 

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

3. Little Women

4. Dolemite Is My Name 

5. Rocketman 

Other Possibilities:

6. Judy

7. The Irishman 

8. Aladdin 

9. 1917

10. Jojo Rabbit 

BEST EDITING

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

3. 1917

4. Ford v Ferrari

5. Marriage Story 

Other Possibilities:

6. Parasite 

7. Jojo Rabbit 

8. Joker

9. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

10. Ad Astra 

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman 

2. Bombshell

3. Judy

4. Dolemite Is My Name 

5. Little Women 

Other Possibilities:

6. Joker

7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

8. The Aeronauts 

9. Rocketman 

10. Cats

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE 

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

3. Little Women 

4. Marriage Story 

5. Jojo Rabbit 

Other Possibilities:

6. The Aeronauts 

7. Ford v Ferrari 

8. A Hidden Life 

9. Joker

10. Waves 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II

2. “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from Rocketman 

3. “Stand Up” from Harriet 

4. “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” from Toy Story 4

5. “Speechless” from Aladdin 

Other Possibilities:

6. “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4

7. “Spirit” from The Lion King 

8. “One Little Soldier” from Bombshell 

9. “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn 

10. “Together From Afar” from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

2. 1917

3. Jojo Rabbit 

4. The Irishman 

5. Little Women

Other Possibilities:

6. Cats

7. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

8. Ford v Ferrari

9. Aladdin

10. Downton Abbey 

BEST SOUND EDITING 

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917

2. Ford v Ferrari

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

4. Rocketman

5. Avengers: Endgame 

Other Possibilities:

6. Ad Astra

7. The Irishman 

8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

9. Cats

10. The Lion King 

BEST SOUND MIXING 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ford v Ferrari

2. 1917

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

4. Rocketman 

5. Ad Astra 

Other Possibilities:

6. Avengers: Endgame 

7. Cats

8. The Irishman 

9. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

10. The Lion King 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman 

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

3. Avengers: Endgame 

4. The Lion King 

5. Alita: Battle Angel 

Other Possibilities:

6. The Aeronauts 

7. Gemini Man 

8. Ad Astra 

9. 1917

10. Godzilla: King of the Monsters 

So here’s I have the nominations playing out as far as numbers with each film:

10 Nominations 

The Irishman 

9 Nominations 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

8 Nominations 

1917, Marriage Story 

5 Nominations 

Bombshell, Ford v Ferrari, Little Women, Parasite

4 Nominations 

Jojo Rabbit, Rocketman, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Two Popes 

3 Nominations 

The Farewell, Joker

2 Nominations 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Avengers: Endgame, Dolemite Is My Name, Frozen II, Judy, Toy Story 4

1 Nomination

Ad Astra, Aladdin, Alita: Battle Angel, American Factory, Apollo 11, Atlantics, The Cave, Downton Abbey, Harriet, Hustlers, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Les Miserables, The Lighthouse, The Lion King, Maiden, Missing Link, Monos, One Child Nation, Pain and Glory, The Report, Weathering with You

2019 Oscar Predictions: October 10th Edition

The Joker went wild at the box office over the weekend, easily setting the all-time October opening record. Let’s see how the rest of awards season plays out, but the film has now entered back into my predictions for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay. In the big race, that knocks out A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which made its inaugural appearance in the top ten last Thursday. In other developments:

  • In Actress, the five spot continues to change back and forth. For this week, Awkwafina is in with Alfre Woodard just outside.
  • In Supporting Actress, Laura Dern goes back to the #1 slot over Jennifer Lopez.

The other races remain the same with some positions jockeying around. So here’s the big announcement…

Next Thursday, I will be including all categories covering feature length films for the first time. The list of Picture possibilities will dwindle from 25 to 15 with all other races going down to ten. Stay tuned!!

BEST PICTURE 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Marriage Story (PR: 3)

4. 1917 (PR: 7)

5. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 4)

6. Parasite (PR: 5

7. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 6)

8. The Farewell (PR: 9)

9. The Two Popes (PR: 8)

10. Joker (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities:

11. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 10)

12. Little Women (PR: 12)

13. Waves (PR: 13)

14. Pain and Glory (PR: 15)

15. Richard Jewell (PR: 19)

16. Judy (PR: 17)

17. Just Mercy (PR: 14)

18. Bombshell (PR: 20)

19. A Hidden Life (PR: 16)

20. Rocketman (PR: 24)

21. The Report (PR: 21)

22. Booksmart (PR: 18)

23. The Good Liar (PR: Not Ranked)

24. Dark Waters (PR: 22)

25. Ad Astra (PR: 25)

Dropped Out:

Downton Abbey 

BEST DIRECTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 5)

4. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 4)

5. Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

7. Lulu Wang, The Farewell (PR: 12)

8. James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

9. Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes (PR: 10)

10. Greta Gerwig, Little Women (PR: 8)

11. Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 13)

12. Terrence Malick, A Hidden Life (PR: 11)

13. Pedro Almodovar, Pain and Glory (PR: 9)

14. Todd Phillips, Joker (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Clint Eastwood, Richard Jewell (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Trey Edward Shults, Waves

BEST ACTRESS 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

2. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story (PR: 2)

3. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 3)

4. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women (PR: 4)

5. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 5)

7. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 7)

8. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 8)

9. Helen Mirren, The Good Liar (PR: 9)

10. Isabelle Huppert, Frankie (PR: 11)

11. Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen and Slim (PR: 10)

12. Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Felicity Jones, The Aeronauts (PR: 14)

14. Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell (PR: 12)

15. Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Kristin Stewart, Seberg 

BEST ACTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Adam Driver, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

3. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 4)

4. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 3)

5. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (PR: 6)

7. Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 7)

8. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 8)

9. Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell (PR: 10)

10. Michael B. Jordan, Just Mercy (PR: 11)

11. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 12)

12. Ian McKellen, The Good Liar (PR: 13)

13. Mark Ruffalo, Dark Waters (PR: 14)

14. Brad Pitt, Ad Astra (PR: 9)

15. Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Matt Damon, Ford v Ferrari

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 2)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 1)

3. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 3)

4. Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

5. Shuzhen Zhou, The Farewell (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PR: 8)

7. Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

8. Meryl Streep, Little Women (PR: 7)

9. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 9)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 11)

11. Jennifer Hudson, Cats (PR: 12)

12. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 13)

13. Nicole Kidman, Bombshell (PR: 10)

14. Penelope Cruz, Pain and Glory (PR: 14)

15. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 3)

3. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (PR: 4)

4. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 2)

5. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (PR: 8)

7. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 6)

8. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 9)

9. Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy (PR: 7)

10. Sterling K. Brown, Waves (PR: 10)

11. Alan Alda, Marriage Story (PR: 11)

12. Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy (PR: 13)

13. John Lithgow, Bombshell (PR: 12)

14. Sam Rockwell, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 14)

15. Zack Gottsagen, The Peanut Butter Falcon (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Sam Rockwell, Richard Jewell

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 5)

5. Pain and Glory (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Waves (PR: 6)

7. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 7)

8. 1917 (PR: 11)

9. Booksmart (PR: 8)

10. Bombshell (PR: 9)

11. The Report (PR: 10)

12. Honey Boy (PR: 12)

13. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 14)

14. Knives Out (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Rocketman (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ad Astra 

The Lighthouse 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. The Two Popes (PR: 3)

4. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 4)

5. Joker (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Little Women (PR: 5)

7. Judy (PR: 9)

8. Just Mercy (PR: 8)

9. Downton Abbey (PR: 7)

10. Richard Jewell (PR: 10)

11. The Good Liar (PR: 12)

12. Dark Waters (PR: 11)

13. Hustlers (PR: 14)

14. Toy Story 4 (PR: 15)

15. Luce (PR: 13)

The Mule Movie Review

If fish out of water tales with Mexican drug cartels is your desired viewing option, you can’t go wrong with “Breaking Bad”. Clint Eastwood’s The Mule is a considerably more mixed bag. Let’s call it Walter Whiter as our octogenarian subject makes a curious late career choice that is actually based (loosely) on true events. We have seen Eastwood go down the “I’m too old for this…” bit a few times in the past few years. This might rank as the strangest.

The first half of The Mule is engaging in its amiable way. Our star and director plays Earl, whose horticulture business is on its last legs thanks to that darn internet. He’s a man who makes fast friends and loves life on the road and has ignored his family along the way. That includes an ex-wife (Dianne Wiest), a child who won’t speak to him (real-life daughter Alison Eastwood), and granddaughter (Taissa Farmiga) who still wishes to connect.

A job opportunity arises for Earl to spend most of his time driving. It happens to be crossing state lines to transport larges volumes of cocaine. He’s pretty decent at the gig, earning the nickname “El Tata” (grandfather) from his heavily armed coworkers. Andy Garcia is head of the cartel. The new job leaves Earl flush with money and women. If you thought Clint Eastwood and threesome action isn’t something you’d ever see in a movie, think again. And again. Tata also garners the attention of the DEA, led by Bradley Cooper’s agent, Michael Pena as his partner, and Laurence Fishburne as their boss.

When The Mule enters its second phase, Earl is trying to make amends with numerous poor choices (a frequent theme in the filmmaker’s work). This is when the carefree tone shifts rather uncomfortably. None of the supporting characters are really developed at all. You get the feeling most of these accomplished actors just wanted to work with Clint. The dramatic exchanges with family members feels stilted.

I can’t deny there’s some joy in watching Eastwood for a while. If you loved Gran Torino, you’ll probably at least like this. There’s also no denying that he’s tackled similar themes with far superior results. As Earl attempts to get his act together, he goes off grid from his day job. I doubt one of the true elements in this fact based tale involved his bosses not being able to locate him for days. Don’t they track his cell phone? Or have his vehicle bugged? I found myself pondering this in the final act. Despite a game showcase performance, perhaps resenting the screenplay’s disregard for the intelligence of drug lords means the picture isn’t clicking on all cylinders.

**1/2 (out of four)