Hustlers Movie Review

Designer clothes and designer drugs fill the screen in Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers, inspired by a true story adapted from a New York magazine article. Focusing on a group of strippers who must figure out creative ways to make money after the 2008 financial crisis, this is a crime saga that often feels like a Mob movie trading tailored suits for Juicy Couture  and exotic heels. There are dramatic drawbacks and a lack of character depth in the director’s screenplay. It also features a dynamite performance from Jennifer Lopez and a pounding music score that renders this mostly gratifying.

Constance Wu is Destiny, who’s just nabbed a gig at NYC strip club Moves. She’s a novice in her new trade, but life perks up when she falls under the mentorship of fellow dancer Ramona (Lopez). They form a strong bond (Ramona is a mother figure that Destiny never had) and are a financial force among the Wall Street types that frequent the establishment. This turns out short-lived as the bottom drops out of the economy within a few months.

Destiny leaves the business and has a child from an unhealthy relationship. A lack of income brings her back to Ramona. However, the dollars aren’t rolling in like they used and Ramona is singularly focused on ways to keep the coffers filled. That’s when the duo enlist fellow employees Mercedes (Keke Palmer) and the weak stomached Annabelle (Lili Reinhart). The quartet takes on scores away from Moves and it involves drugging deep pocketed gentlemen and running up those black cards.

Hustlers is told in flashback as a journalist (Julia Stiles) interviews Destiny, who’s conflicted and guilt ridden about her actions. That trait does not apply to Ramona as she feels little sympathy for their marks. The picture is filled with energy when Lopez is onscreen, even if the script shies away from what motivates her (beyond the obvious monetary considerations). Destiny’s story and Wu’s portrayal is less captivating.

It is rather refreshing to watch something that has a Scorsese influence, but filled with much different looking glamorous law breakers. There’s no traditional score in Hustlers as the soundtrack is turned up loudly with primarily pop and hip hip hits from 2007 to 2014. A woozy sequence set to Scott Walker’s late 60s track “Next” turns out to be the musical highlight. We also hear a lot of Janet Jackson, who Lopez herself used to dance for. Other than some occasionally effective bits extolling the virtues of this odd family, don’t look for too much substance here other than the ones up a patron’s nose or mixed in their drink. Yet this is undeniably a pleasurable experience while it lasts.

*** (out of four)

2019 Golden Globe Nominations Reaction

Perhaps the most preeminent Oscar precursor announced their nominations this morning and that means it’s both time for my analysis and a report on how yours truly did with the predictions!

Some quick takes before breaking down each race… Joker and The Two Popes had good mornings and did better than anticipated. Marriage Story led the way with 6 nominations followed by The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with five apiece. As for Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic, it did miss in one key category.

Let’s take it race by race, shall we?

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Nominees: 1917, The Irishman, Joker, Marriage Story, The Two Popes

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: As mentioned, it was indeed a solid morning for Joker and Popes. Those were the two entries I didn’t predict and they got in over Ford v Ferrari and Little Women (which had a rather subpar day). They were my two picks for alternates at least. This appears to be a race between the pictures with the most nods – Irishman and Marriage Story with the former having the edge (see Director).

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Dolemite Is My Name, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Rocketman

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: It was my first alternate Dolemite getting in over Cats, which did screen for Hollywood Foreign Press voters even though its review embargo hasn’t yet lapsed. This is Hollywood‘s category to lose and it’s the strong front-runner.

Best Director

Nominees: Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Todd Phillips (Joker), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: The surprise here is certainly Phillips, who I didn’t have listed as an alternate. He gets in over Noah Baumbach, which could mean a Best Drama victory for the film itself got tougher. I’m thinking Scorsese vs. Tarantino here with Joon-Ho as a very serious spoiler.

Best Actor – Drama

Nominees: Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: That key category that The Irishman missed is here with Robert De Niro not getting in the mix in favor of my first alternate Christian Bale. Another miss here is Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems as he’s won some precursors from the critical community. Just like the Oscars could be, this may come down to Driver or Phoenix.

Best Actress – Drama

Nominees: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Renee Zellweger (Judy)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: No surprises here! It is worth mentioning that, despite some early critical precursor love, the work of Lupita Nyong’o in Us didn’t factor in. Zellweger may have the edge here, followed by Johansson or Theron. This could also match what the Academy does.

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Daniel Craig (Knives Out), Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: Another sweep here as this list was as anticipated. DiCaprio is the favorite, but don’t sleep on Murphy or Egerton as spoilers.

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Awkwafina (The Farewell), Cate Blanchett (Where’d You Go Bernadette), Ana de Armas (Knives Out), Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Emma Thompson (Late Night)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: It’s first alternate Blanchett in for over Constance Wu from Hustlers. As I do believe Awkwafina is the only actress here with Oscar viability, look for her to win here.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: Today could have given a boost to Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse or other outliers such as Wesley Snipes (Dolemite) or Song Kang-Ho (Parasite), but it wasn’t to be as this very star studded list materialized as predicted. With Pacino and Pesci potentially splitting votes, Pitt is in the driver’s seat.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell), Annette Bening (The Report), Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: I was a little shakier here as my first alternate Bening and unlisted Bates get in over Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit) and Florence Pugh (Little Women). Expect Dern vs. Lopez in this one.

Best Screenplay

Nominees: The Irishman, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite, The Two Popes

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Another feather in the cap for Popes, which could in over Jojo (which had a rather subpar morning). Hollywood could have a very slight edge over Marriage. 

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

Nominees: The Farewell, Les Miserables, Pain and Glory, Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Nothing unexpected as Les Miserables (my first alternate) was named over Atlantics. No doubt that Parasite is the massive favorite.

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Nominees: Frozen II, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, The Lion King, Missing Link, Toy Story 4

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Perhaps the shocker of the day is The Lion King nabbing a nod here. I said I Lost My Body instead. With Disney holding now three of the five slots, they’ve got 60% chance to win. Dragon could upset, but Toy Story is the probable recipient.

Best Original Score

Nominees: 1917, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, Motherless Brooklyn

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Brooklyn got a surprise nod. I had Ford v Ferrari instead. 1917 looks to take the trophy.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman, “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II, “Spirit” from The Lion King, “Stand Up” from Harriet

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Second alternate “Stand Up” is in over my “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn. The Globe voters could be tempted to go with Elton John here, though Frozen II is probably a soft favorite.

So, al in all, I went 54 for 70 on my overall estimates. The Golden Globes airs January 5th on NBC with Ricky Gervais hosting.

2019 Golden Globe Predictions

On Monday, one of the most significant Oscar precursors announces their nominations. Yes, we have the Golden Globe nods coming out with the SAG Awards following on Wednesday (except my predictions on them early this week).

While I’ve been updating my Oscar projections on a near weekly basis, I don’t do the same with the Globes. This will serve as my first and last batch of predictions for the ceremony airing in January with Ricky Gervais hosting.

As you’re likely aware, this show does it a bit different than the Oscars by splitting their film and lead actor categories into separate Drama and Musical/Comedy categories. For each race, I’m making my five predicted features or performers that I believe will make the cut as well as a first and second alternate.

Let’s get to it!

Best Motion Picture – Drama

1917

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Little Women

Marriage Story

1st Alternate – Joker

2nd Alternate – The Two Popes

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Cats

Jojo Rabbit

Knives Out

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Rocketman

1st Alternate – Dolemite Is My Name

2nd Alternate – Hustlers

Best Director

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story

Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite

Sam Mendes, 1917

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

1st Alternate – Greta Gerwig, Little Women

2nd Alternate – James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari

Best Actress – Drama

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Renee Zellweger, Judy

1st Alternate – Lupita Nyong’o, Us

2nd Alternate – Alfre Woodard, Clemency

Best Actor – Drama

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Robert De Niro, The Irishman

Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

1st Alternate – Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari

2nd Alternate – Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

Best Actress – Comedy or Musical

Awkwafina, The Farewell

Ana de Armas, Knives Out

Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart

Emma Thompson, Late Night

Constance Wu, Hustlers

1st Alternate – Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go, Bernadette

2nd Alternate – Kaitlyn Dever, Booksmart

Best Actor – Comedy or Musical

Daniel Craig, Knives Out

Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Taron Egerton, Rocketman

Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

1st Alternate – Shia LaBeouf, The Peanut Butter Falcon

2nd Alternate – Himesh Patel, Yesterday 

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers

Florence Pugh, Little Women

Margot Robbie, Bombshell

1st Alternate – Annette Bening, The Report

2nd Alternate – Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

Al Pacino, The Irishman

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

1st Alternate – Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse

2nd Alternate – Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Best Screenplay

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

1st Alternate – The Two Popes

2nd Alternate – Knives Out

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Frozen II

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Missing Link

Toy Story 4

1st Alternate – Weathering with You

2nd Alternate – Abominable

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

Atlantics

The Farewell

Pain and Glory

Parasite

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

1st Alternate – Les Miserables

2nd Alternate – Monos

Best Original Score

1917

Ford v Ferrari

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

1st Alternate – The Aeronauts

2nd Alternate – Us

Best Original Song

“Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats

“Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman

“Into the Unknown” from Frozen II

“Spirit” from The Lion King

1st Alternate – “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4

2nd Alternate – “Stand Up” from Harriet

And that equates to the following features nabbing these numbers when it comes to nominations:

7 Nominations

Marriage Story

6 Nominations

The Irishman

5 Nominations

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

4 Nominations

Jojo Rabbit, Little Women

3 Nominations

1917, Knives Out, Parasite, Rocketman

2 Nominations

Bombshell, Cats, The Farewell, Ford v Ferrari, Frozen II, Hustlers, Joker, Pain and Glory, The Two Popes

1 Nomination

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Atlantics, Booksmart, Dolemite Is My Name, Harriet, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, I Lost My Body, Judy, Late Night, The Lion King, Missing Link, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Toy Story 4

Rest assured that I will have a post up with reaction to the Monday announcements with a recap on how I did! Until then…

Oscar Watch: Hustlers

I didn’t assume I’d be writing an Oscar Watch post for Hustlers, but it’s emerged out of Toronto with that distinct possibility in one category. Based on a 2015 New York magazine piece about a group of strippers who embezzle money from Wall Street types, the dramedy from director Lorene Scafaria is being called a wildly entertaining crowd pleaser.

Hustlers debuts next weekend and the critical reaction points to potent box office returns. Constance Wu of Crazy Rich Asians gets top billing, but it’s Jennifer Lopez who’s said to steal the show. I wouldn’t be surprised to see STXfilms mount a serious campaign for her in Supporting Actress.

The actress and singer has never been nominated for an Academy Award. Early in her career, she received raves for Selena and Out of Sight. Hollywood loves a big comeback role and Hustlers could fit the bill for voters to solidify it. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Hustlers Box Office Prediction

A group of actresses, many also known for their musical talents, play exotic dancers who take on wealthy Wall Street men in the dramedy Hustlers next weekend. Lorene Scafaria directs a cast led by Constance Wu (in his first big film role since breakout Crazy Rich Asians), Jennifer Lopez, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, and Lizzo.

Based on a 2015 New York magazine article, Hustlers looks to tap into an often undeserved audience of minorities and women. It could be well positioned to do so. Wu and Lopez have their followers and I certainly wouldn’t underestimate the participation of Cardi B and Lizzo, who have consistently been producing Top 40 hits over the past few months.

The budget for the pic is reported to be between $20-$30 million and I believe that’s where the opening weekend should fall. If Hustlers tops $23 million, it would give Lopez her largest life action start ever (ahead of 2005’s MonsterinLaw). I’ll say it does and that would give it an impressive #2 debut behind the second frame of It Chapter Two.

Hustlers opening weekend prediction: $31.5 million

For my The Goldfinch prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/09/05/the-goldfinch-box-office-prediction/

2018 Golden Globe Winner Predictions

The highest profile Oscar precursor airs this Sunday with Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh sharing hosting duties. That means it’s time to roll out my predictions on who and what will win in the film categories. Truth be told, some of these races are fairly easy to pick. Others… not so much. Let’s break each category down with my final picks on the victors.

Best Drama

The Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born

It was an interesting decision for Warner Bros. to place Star here instead of in Musical/Comedy. Even with that, I believe anything else winning would be an upset (BlacKkKlansman may have the best remote shot). Star is looked at as a soft front-runner at the big show down the line. I feel a win here will help solidify that.

Predicted Winner: A Star Is Born

Best Musical/Comedy

The Nominees: Crazy Rich Asians, The Favourite, Green Book, Mary Poppins Returns, Vice

Unlike Drama, this race is considerably tougher to project. Vice received the most nominations of any picture and that could mean something. However, critical reaction has been more mixed than originally anticipated. Mary Poppins Returns now seems to be a legitimate question mark as to Oscar inclusion for Picture and the competition is steep. The reward for Crazy Rich Asians is its nomination.

So, for me, this comes down to Green Book and The Favourite and it’s seriously a coin flip. I am giving a tiny edge to Green Book since it received a directing nomination, unlike The Favourite. 

Predicted Winner: Green Book

Best Director

The Nominees: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice)

A win for Cooper or Lee is not out of the question, but Cuaron is the odds on favorite (as he is for the Academy). Roma was not eligible for inclusion in Drama since it’s a foreign pic. It will (spoiler alert for below!) be honored there and here.

Predicted Winner: Cuaron

Best Actor (Drama)

The Nominees: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

The Best Actor drama race comes down to two performers who used their musical skills to dramatic effect: Cooper and Malek. I would not at all be surprised to see Malek’s Freddie Mercury pick up the trophy, but I’ll say the Star love extends here.

Predicted Winner: Cooper

Best Actress (Drama)

The Nominees: Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Nicole Kidman (Destroyer), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Rosamund Pike (A Private War)

Not long ago, the Globes bestowed Lady Gaga with an unexpected win for her TV work in “American Horror Story”. If they did that, I’ll say they honor her here for her breakthrough film role. Close is the only actress that provides potential competition.

Predicted Winner: Gaga

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

The Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book), Robert Redford (The Old Man & The Gun), John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)

If the Hollywood Foreign Press goes crazy for Green Book, Mortensen could be a benefactor. Yet I suspect this is the most obvious category to give Vice a win for Bale’s acclaimed performance.

Predicted Winner: Bale

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Charlize Theron (Tully), Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)

This is Blunt v. Colman. With Poppins not quite getting all the box office/critics love that was expected, I lean Colman.

Predicted Winner: Colman

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Rockwell (Vice)

The HFPA has had shockers in this race… Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals being a recent example. This is a tricky one. Other than Rockwell, I could see any name being called. I’m tempted to pick Grant, but I’ll go with Ali for a more safe choice (especially since it was Taylor-Johnson that unexpectedly beat him in 2016 for his Oscar-winning part in Moonlight).

Predicted Winner: Ali

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Claire Foy (First Man), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

These are the five women I currently have down for Oscar nods. I suspect The Favourite ladies will cancel themselves out. Foy would be an upset. Could the several Vice nods mean Adams is a factor? It certainly could, but I believe King’s performance in Beale (not withstanding her SAG snub) will emerge.

Predicted Winner: King

Best Screenplay

The Nominees: The Favourite, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Roma, Vice

Unlike the Oscar, the Globes do not divide this race between adapted and original screenplays. A Roma or Book win is feasible, but I’ll say The Favourite is the choice in this case.

Predicted Winner: The Favourite

Best Foreign Language Film

The Nominees: Capernaum, Girl, Never Look Away, Roma, Shoplifters

As already discussed, this is going to be Roma. Not much left to say.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Animated Feature Film

The Nominees: Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

It’s generally not wise to bet against Pixar and Incredibles 2 stands an excellent shot. I’m thinking the Globes may go against the grain though as Spidey is peaking at the right time with its very recent raves.

Predicted Winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Original Score

The Nominees: Black Panther, First Man, Isle of Dogs, Mary Poppins Returns, A Quiet Place

Once again, I’m tempted to go with Disney and their iconic nanny as this is the only musical on here. However, I’ll say Justin Hurwitz’s acclaimed score for First Man lands the win.

Predicted Winner: First Man

Best Original Song

The Nominees: “All the Stars” from Black Panther, “Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin, “Requiem for a Private War” from A Private War, “Revelation” from Boy Erased, “Shallow” from A Star Is Born

It was unexpected that Poppins made no showing here (part of the reason I’m picking against it in Score). Regardless, there is an extremely obvious front-runner here and it’s Cooper and Gaga’s duet.

Predicted Winner: “Shallow” from A Star Is Born

My projections give Star a bright evening with four victories, with The Favourite, Green Book, and Roma all picking up two. I’ll have analysis up shortly after the ceremony as to how I did. Stay tuned!

 

2018: The Year of Crazy Rich Asians

Over 16 years ago, My Big Fat Greek Wedding unexpectedly became the highest grossing romantic comedy of all time with its focus on culture and love. That chord was struck once again in the summer of 2018 with Crazy Rich Asians. Based on the bestseller by Kevin Kwan and directed by Jon M. Chu, Asians received rave reviews and audiences turned out to the tune of a $174 million domestic haul.

The film made a little history along the way by becoming the first major Hollywood studio production to feature a predominantly Asian-American cast since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club. This allowed for star making roles for leads Henry Golding and Constance Wu, as well as actress/rapper Awkwafina. For veteran Michelle Yeoh, best known to stateside moviegoers for Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, her potential mother-in-law role garnered awards chatter.

Asians certainly achieved its status as the summer’s giant sleeper and is the largest earning rom com since 2005’s Hitch. It also changed the faces we normally see in the genre (like Greek Wedding) and that earns it a place atop the year’s major cinematic stories.

2018 Golden Globe Nominations Reaction

The most known precursor to the Oscars unveiled their nominations today. Per usual, there were surprises as some films hopes potentially dim for the big prize with others rising.

As far as my predictions, I went 51/70 overall while going 5/5 in four of the fourteen races. Today I will also make my first predictions for winners with final picks coming a couple of days before the ceremony in January.

Let’s break them all down with a little analysis, shall we?

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

The Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born

A bit surprisingly, Bohemian Rhapsody managed to score a nod over my prediction of First Man. I would say that at this juncture, Man is truly a question mark as to whether it garners an Oscar slot for Picture, while its inclusion in tech races still seems assured. Additionally, I think Black Panther helped its cause today to be the first comic book flick to get a Best Picture nomination from the Academy.

Predicted Winner: A Star Is Born

Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy

Todd’s Performance: 5/5

The Nominees: Crazy Rich Asians, The Favourite, Green Book, Mary Poppins Returns, Vice

No surprises here! Picking a winner is far more tough as I believe The Favourite, Green Book, and Vice all have legitimate shots. Both Peter Farrelly (Green Book) and Adam McKay (Vice) received Directing nods while Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite) did not. That could give those two pictures a slight edge and I’ll put it as a coin toss at the moment.

Predicted Winner: Green Book

Best Director

Todd’s Performance: 3/5

The Nominees: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice), Peter Farrelly (Green Book)

The aforementioned McKay and Farrelly were the ones I didn’t predict. I instead had Lanthimos and Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk). This would seem to be between Cuaron and Cooper and I’ll give the former a tiny edge.

Predicted Winner: Cuaron

Best Actor (Drama)

Todd’s Performance: 3/5

The Nominees: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

Hedges and Washington (a rather genuine surprise) got in over Ryan Gosling (First Man) and Ethan Hawke (First Reformed). Mr. Hawke had been on a roll with critics precursors and this is the first interruption of that. Gosling’s snub continues the troubling trend for First Man. With Christian Bale and Viggo Mortensen in the Musical/Comedy race, this appears to be a clear victory for Cooper.

Predicted Winner: Cooper

Best Actress (Drama)

Todd’s Performance: 3/5

The Nominees: Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Nicole Kidman (Destroyer), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Rosamund Pike (A Private War)

Both Kidman and Pike helped their cases for Oscar attention here while my predicted nominees of Viola Davis (Widows) and Yalitza Aparicio (Roma) did not. This category appears to be Close vs. Gaga (as it may also be for the Academy). This prediction could and likely will fluctuate.

Predicted Winner: Close

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

The Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book), Robert Redford (The Old Man & The Gun), John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)

No big surprise with Reilly getting in over Nick Robinson (Love, Simon), which was a bit of a wild card pick. Bale and Mortensen are the two winner possibilities and I’m going with the former right now.

Predicted Winner: Bale

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Todd’s Performance: 5/5

The Nominees: Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Charlize Theron (Tully), Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)

I’m giving Colman the win, but this could easily be changed to Blunt at some point.

Predicted Winner: Colman

Best Supporting Actor

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

The Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Rockwell (Vice)

No Sam Elliot for A Star Is Born was unexpected, with Rockwell continuing the Vice love. Ali should be considered a soft front-runner, but a win for Driver or Grant seems feasible. I’m going for an upset pick, but could revert back to Ali.

Predicted Winner: Grant

Best Supporting Actress

Todd’s Performance: 5/5

The Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Claire Foy (First Man), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Adams is probably going to win… for Sharp Objects in the television race for which she’s also nominated. Stone and Weisz could cancel one another out and Foy represents the lone high-profile nod for First Man. That leaves Ms. King and she seems to be a front-runner.

Predicted Winner: King

Best Screenplay

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

The Nominees: The Favourite, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Roma, Vice

The exclusion of A Star Is Born surprised me with Green Book honored instead. This is a tough one, but I’ll say this ends up being the sole win for The Favourite. Roma and Vice are certainly possible.

Predicted Winner: The Favourite

Best Foreign Language Film

Todd’s Performance: 4/5

The Nominees: Capernaum, Girl, Never Look Away, Roma, Shoplifters

Capernaum in, Cold War out. Roma will win. Enough said.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Animated Feature Film

Todd’s Performance: 5/5

The Nominees: Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Interent, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

This could certainly be the Academy five. The Hollywood Foreign Press loves their Pixar. Dogs and Spider-Man could threaten, but the safe pick is Incredibles 2.

Predicted Winner: Incredibles 2

Best Original Score

Todd’s Performance: 2/5

The Nominees: A Quiet Place, Isle of Dogs, Black Panther, First Man, Mary Poppins Returns

Ouch. Didn’t fare well here as I only predicted First Man and Poppins. A shocking omission was Beale Street, which some see as the Academy favorite in this race. Considering its lackluster reception for Man, it could dangerous to pick it over Poppins, but here goes.

Predicted Winner: First Man

Best Original Song

Todd’s Performance: 3/5

The Nominees: “All the Stars” (Black Panther), “Girl in the Movies” (Dumplin’), “Requiem for a Private War” (A Private War), “Revelation” (Boy Erased), “The Shallow” (A Star Is Born)

I had two Poppins tracks in and not “Revelation” or “Requiem”. This is going Gaga.

Predicted Winner: “The Shallow” (A Star Is Born).

And there you have it folks! I’ll have updated Oscar predictions up later today…

2018 Golden Globe Predictions

The Golden Globes, perhaps the biggest precursor of all to the Oscars, unveils their nominees this Thursday as awards prognosticators like me attempt to read tea leaves. As a reminder, the Globes do it a bit differently than the Academy. For Picture and lead acting races, nominees are divided into Drama and Musical/Comedy. Unlike the Oscars, Screenplay is just one category with five pictures, whether they’re original or adapted works.

It should be strong showings for A Star Is Born and The Favourite in particular. Another difference between Globes and Oscar is that foreign features are only honored in their particular category. That’s significant this year as Roma will only be called for Foreign Language Film.

One item to pay attention to – Clint Eastwood’s The Mule. Despite coming out a week from Friday, it has yet to have reviews come out (perhaps this will change by Thursday). If it makes a showing in any of the dramatic races, that could bode well for Oscar attention.

Here are my predictions for the nominees in each category, along with an alternate and a wild card pick. I’ll have my weekly Oscar predictions updated on Thursday and we’ll see if the Globes alter those picks in any way.

Let’s get to it!

Best Motion Picture (Drama)

A Star Is Born

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Alternate – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Wild Card – The Mule

Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Crazy Rich Asians

The Favourite

Green Book

Mary Poppins Returns

Vice

Alternate – Eighth Grade

Wild Card – Private Life

Best Director

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk

Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Alternate – Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Wild Card – Damien Chazelle, First Man

Best Actor (Drama)

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

Ryan Gosling, First Man

Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Alternate – Clint Eastwood, The Mule

Wild Card – Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased

Best Actress (Drama)

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma

Glenn Close, The Wife

Viola Davis, Widows

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Alternate – Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back

Wild Card – Toni Collette, Hereditary

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Christian Bale, Vice

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun

Nick Robinson, Love, Simon

Alternate – John C. Reilly, Stan & Ollie

Wild Card – Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool 2

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade

Charlize Theron, Tully

Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians

Alternate – Regina Hall, Support the Girls

Wild Card – Kathryn Hahn, Private Life

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Alternate – Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite

Wild Card – Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Vice

Claire Foy, First Man

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Alternate – Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased

Wild Card – Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians

Best Animated Feature Film

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Alternate – Smallfoot

Wild Card – The Grinch

Best Foreign Language Film

Cold War

Girl

Never Look Away

Roma

Shoplifters

Alternate – Capernaum

Wild Card – I Am Not a Witch

Best Screenplay

A Star Is Born

The Favourite

If Beale Street Could Talk

Roma

Vice

Alternate – Green Book

Wild Card – First Reformed

Best Original Score

BlacKkKlansman

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Queen of Scots

Alternate – Widows

Wild Card – Suspiria

Best Original Song

“All the Stars” from Black Panther

“Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin’

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns

“The Shallow” from A Star Is Born

“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” from Mary Poppins Returns

Alternate – “I’ll Never Love Again” from A Star Is Born

Wild Card – “A Place Called Slaughter Race” from Ralph Breaks the Internet

And that equates to the following number of nominations for each picture:

6 Nominations

The Favourite

5 Nominations

A Star Is Born, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns

4 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman, First Man, Roma, Vice

3 Nominations

Green Book

2 Nominations

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Crazy Rich Asians

1 Nomination

Black Panther, At Eternity’s Gate, First Reformed, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Wife, Widows, The Old Man & The Gun, Love, Simon, Eighth Grade, Tully, Beautiful Boy, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Cold War, Never Look Away, Shoplifters, Mary Queen of Scots

I’ll have reaction up on Thursday with updated Oscar picks later that day!

Crazy Rich Asians Movie Review

Crazy Rich Asians is a vibrant and colorful romantic comedy that’s fairly conventional in its genre trappings at times. However, it isn’t so traditional with the world it explores or with the faces populating the love story. It serves as a lovely advertisement for visiting Singapore – albeit with some locales that might require deep pockets to see. This works best by having the most important ingredient in that there’s legit chemistry between the two leads.

That would be Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an economics professor in New York City and her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding). They seem to be living a nice life in the Big Apple when she accepts his invitation to accompany him to Singapore for a wedding. Rachel figures out soon that his family isn’t just wealthy, but they’re basically the Kennedy’s of their country. Or in some ways they’re the Kardashian’s, with plenty of Young’s living that kind of excessively lavish lifestyle.

This isn’t necessarily a Cinderella trajectory Rachel finds herself on. Nick’s mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) quickly decides she isn’t good enough for her beloved son. And there’s plenty of other women around who are jealous of her nabbing the nation’s hottest bachelor, who’s expected to move back home and take over the family business.

Based on a bestseller from Kevin Kwan and directed with energy by Jon M. Chu, Asians shows us a culture rarely seen in an American produced studio effort. In that way, it’s fair to make comparisons with 2002’s unexpected smash hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This also takes some time to show the culinary delights of the land, as well as gorgeous visual ones.

Similar to plenty of complicated love stories, there are elements of classism at the forefront. One subplot involves a cousin (Gemma Chan), a kindly socialite who’s “married under” what her elders anticipated. Her marriage serves as a preview for the problems that may lie ahead for Rachel and Nick.

Crazy Rich Asians gets a lot of mileage out of its far off destination. Wu and Golding make it gel. I expect both to get their own mileage career wise from their solid performances here. Yeoh, who stateside audiences know best for 007 flick Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is strong in a tricky part. She’s a bit of a villain with genuine intentions. The screenplay and her performance make it work. Rapper Awkwafina gets the zany best friend role to Rachel and does have some amusing moments.

The dazzling sights of Singapore are joyous to behold, but this is worth watching for the reason many in this genre are. I liked Rachel and Nick a lot and wanted to see them make it through the time-tested rom com challenges that come their way.

*** (out of four)