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:

For my Black Christmas prediction, click here:

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.


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 


Just Mercy 

A Hidden Life 


The Report 


The Good Liar 

Dark Waters 

Ad Astra 


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


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 


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


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 


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 


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 


Toy Story 4



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 



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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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