mother! Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky’s mother! may leave you woozy, bewildered, and exhilarated and sometimes all within the same minute. It’s a film that many will despise for taking its Hollywood stars down this rabbit hole of Biblical allegories and celebrity culture mockery. Yet I’ll be damned if it wasn’t an experience to often behold, albeit not on the level as some of the director’s best works.

mother is Jennifer Lawrence, who lives in a remote sprawling home with her older husband who is known as Him (Javier Bardem). He’s a famous and acclaimed poet suffering from an acute case of writer’s block. She fills her days renovating their dwelling which we learned recently burned to the ground.

Their quiet existence is interrupted when a stranger known as man (Ed Harris) shows up at their door, claiming he thought the house was a bed and breakfast. mother’s natural and understandable instinct is to send him on his way. Him curiously invites him to stay. Shortly after, his wife credited as woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrives. She’s a prying firecracker who rubs mother the wrong away while her husband’s health issues come to light. Their two sons join the joyless party as well and that’s when some tragic results occur. If you’ve noted I’m not saying the names of the characters, it’s for a reason. They don’t have them.

It’s a bit of a chore to discuss mother! without venturing into major spoiler territory. I’ll say this – their family drama has an ending. When Him and mother finally get the place to themselves again, she becomes pregnant and we flash forward to her due date approaching. This is when more people turn up. Lots of them.

What transpires after gives us multiple instances of WTF moments that also showcase Aronofsky’s remarkable visual style behind the camera. He’s a filmmaker unafraid to tackle religious themes (Noah was his previous effort) and mother! certainly bludgeons us with them. It also has plenty to say about fame and those who follow famous people, well, religiously.

By the time Him and mother’s “houseguests” number on the scale of innumerable, I found myself staring at the screen in disbelief at some of what’s onscreen. Part of this may be because a major studio clearly let their writer/director do whatever he wanted here. Another reason is Aronofsky’s technical skill at shooting what occurs within the home’s walls.

Lawrence often represents the audience here. She’s as confused as we are with her husband’s eagerness to welcome others in. In a typical horror flick (especially those of the haunted house variety), you’d be screaming for her to just get the hell out. You may do that here, but credit Aronofsky for going out of his way to explain why she doesn’t.

Black Swan, which stands at the director’s best along with Requiem for a Dream, shares certain themes. A drive for artistic perfection no matter the cost is a trait shared by Natalie Portman in her Oscar winning role and the character of Him. It takes us to even darker places here, but it didn’t leave me as satisfied as Swan. That one got Aronofsky awfully close to cinematic perfection. mother! doesn’t leave that kind of impression overall, but its scenes of expertly made depravity should leave his fans enthralled while it’s happening.

*** (out of four)

 

Todd’s 2017 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 22nd Edition

My weekly Thursday Oscar predictions are coming to you on a Friday this week (sorry for the delay) as the festival season shed some light on potential nominees. That said, there’s still lots of uncertainty with plenty left to be seen.

Per usual, I’m listing my predicted nominees in the eight major categories with 25 potentials for Best Picture and 15 in the others. Once again, note that just because I rank something first doesn’t mean I think it will win. These rankings are more geared toward what I think will definitely be nominated at this juncture. For instance, even though Dunkirk is placed 1st, I wouldn’t say it’s the front runner to take home Best Picture at all.

Let’s get to it and I’ll get the weekly post back to Thursdays next week!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Post (PR: 2)

3. Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

4. The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

5. Mudbound (PR: 5)

6. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 7)

7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 17)

8. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 6)

9. Last Flag Flying (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

10. The Greatest Showman (PR: 9)

11. Phantom Thread (PR: 10)

12. Wonder Wheel (PR: 13)

13. Downsizing (PR: 11)

14. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 16)

15. Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 12)

16. Detroit (PR: 14)

17. All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

18. Coco (PR: 19)

19. The Florida Project (PR: 23)

20. I, Tonya (PR: 24)

21. The Big Sick (PR: Not Ranked)

22. Wonderstruck (PR: 18)

23. mother! (PR: 15)

24. Get Out (PR: 20)

25. Lady Bird (PR: 21)

Dropped Out:

Wind River

Wonder Woman

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Joe Wright, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Dee Rees, Mudbound (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

7. Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying (PR: 10)

9. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 7)

10. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread (PR: 9)

11. Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 8)

12. Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel (PR: 15)

13. Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit (PR: 11)

15. Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Alexander Payne, Downsizing

Darren Aronofsky, mother!

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

3. Tom Hanks, The Post (PR: 4)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman (PR: 3)

5. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 10)

7. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (PR: 7)

8. Domhnall Gleeson, Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 9)

9. Steve Carell, Last Flag Flying (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Donald Sutherland, The Leisure Seeker (PR: 11)

11. Andrew Garfield, Breathe (PR: 12)

12. Bryan Cranston, Last Flag Flying (PR: 13)

13. Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 8)

14. Liam Neeson, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (PR: 15)

15. Matt Damon, Downsizing (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here (picture reportedly moved to 2018)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 1)

2. Meryl Streep, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 3)

4. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

5. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 5)

7. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (PR: 6)

8. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman (PR: 11)

10. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird (PR: 9)

11. Diane Kruger, In the Fade (PR: 13)

12. Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (PR: 10)

13. Jennifer Lawrence, mother! (PR: 12)

14. Carey Mulligan, Mudbound (PR: 15)

15. Jane Fonda, Our Souls at Night (PR: 14)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project (PR: 1)

2. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 2)

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound (PR: 6)

7. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water (PR: 5)

8. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk (PR: 7)

9. Laurence Fishburne, Last Flag Flying (PR: 9)

10. Kevin Spacey, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Patrick Stewart, Logan (PR: 12)

12. Will Poulter, Detroit (PR: 13)

13. Garrett Hedlund, Mudbound (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Christoph Waltz, Downsizing (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

James Franco, The Disaster Artist

Jamie Bell, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Harrison Ford, Blade Runner 2049

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Melissa Leo, Novitiate (PR: 1)

2. Allison Janney, I, Tonya (PR: 3)

3. Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour (PR: 5)

4. Hong Chau, Downsizing (PR: 2)

5. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird (PR: 9)

7. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound (PR: 7)

8. Margot Robbie, Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 6)

9. Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled (PR: 13)

10. Julianne Moore, Suburbicon (PR: 10)

11. Tatiana Maslany, Stronger (PR: 14)

12. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick (PR: 11)

13. Michelle Pfeiffer, mother! (PR: 8)

14. Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Brooklyn Prince, The Florida Project (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Post (PR: 1)

2. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

3. Mudbound (PR: 2)

4. Last Flag Flying (PR: 4)

5. Wonderstruck (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Molly’s Game (PR: 6)

7. The Beguiled (PR: 9)

8. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. Stronger (PR: 7)

10. All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 12)

12. The Disaster Artist (PR: 11)

13. Wonder (PR: 13)

14. Logan (PR: 15)

15. Thank You for Your Service (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

You Were Never Really Here (reportedly moved to 2018)

My Cousin Rachel

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 4)

2. Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Wonder Wheel (PR: 5)

5. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Big Sick (PR: 12)

7. Get Out (PR: 6)

8. Dunkirk (PR: 8)

9. Downsizing (PR: 9)

10. Lady Bird (PR: 11)

11. The Florida Project (PR: 15)

12. Phantom Thread (PR: 7)

13. Coco (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 10)

15. The Greatest Showman (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

mother!

And there you have it, folks! I’ll be back next week with my latest update…

Todd’s 2017 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 14th Edition

We’ve arrived at my second round of weekly Oscar predictions that will come your way every Thursday on the blog! Since last week, a number of titles have screened at the Toronto Film Festival, in addition to the Venice and Telluride fests that preceded it.

As I did last week, I will list my current predicted nominees in the eight biggest races with a total of 25 possibilities for Best Picture and 15 in the others. Beginning today, you’ll be able to see the fluctuation in rankings from last week to the current one and see what and who has joined and dropped out. Once again, rankings reflect who and what I think will be nominated and not necessarily win.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Post (PR: 2)

3. Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

4. The Shape of Water (PR: 7)

5. Mudbound (PR: 4)

6. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 6)

7. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

8. Last Flag Flying (PR: 10)

9. The Greatest Showman (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Phantom Thread (PR: 11)

11. Downsizing (PR: 8)

12. Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 16)

13. Wonder Wheel (PR: 12)

14. Detroit (PR: 14)

15. mother! (PR: 13)

16. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 15)

17. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 18)

18. Wonderstruck (PR: 17)

19. Coco (PR: 19)

20. Get Out (PR: 20)

21. Lady Bird (PR: 22)

22. Wind River (PR: 21)

23. The Florida Project (PR: Not Ranked)

24. I, Tonya (PR: Not Ranked)

25. Wonder Woman (PR: 23)

Dropped Out:

Molly’s Game

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

4. Joe Wright, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Dee Rees, Mudbound (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

7. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 7)

8. Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 8)

9. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread (PR: 10)

10. Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying (PR: 12)

11. Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit (PR: 11)

12. Alexander Payne, Downsizing (PR: 9)

13. Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman (PR: 14)

14. Darren Aronofsky, mother! (PR: 13)

15. Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel (PR: 15)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

3. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman (PR: 3)

4. Tom Hanks, The Post (PR: 4)

5. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here (PR: 5)

7. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (PR: 15)

8. Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 6)

9. Domhnall Gleeson, Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 7)

10. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 9)

11. Donald Sutherland, The Leisure Seeker (PR: 12)

12. Andrew Garfield, Breathe (PR: 11)

13. Bryan Cranston, Last Flag Flying (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Matt Damon, Downsizing (PR: 10)

15. Liam Neeson, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Jeremy Renner, Wind River

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 1)

2. Meryl Streep, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 5)

4. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

5. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (PR: 3)

7. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul (PR: 10)

9. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird (PR: 9)

10. Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (PR: 7)

11. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman (PR: 8)

12. Jennifer Lawrence, mother! (PR: 13)

13. Diane Kruger, In the Fade (PR: 12)

14. Jane Fonda, Our Souls at Night (PR: 15)

15. Carey Mulligan, Mudbound (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Isabelle Huppert, Happy End

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project (PR: 1)

2. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 4)

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour (PR: 2)

5. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound (PR: 8)

7. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk (PR: 5)

8. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

9. Laurence Fishburne, Last Flag Flying (PR: 9)

10. James Franco, The Disaster Artist (PR: 10)

11. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Patrick Stewart, Logan (PR: 12)

13. Will Poulter, Detroit (PR: 14)

14. Jamie Bell, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Harrison Ford, Blade Runner 2049 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Idris Elba, Molly’s Game

Woody Harrelson, The Glass Castle

Christoph Waltz, Downsizing

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Melissa Leo, Novitiate (PR: 1)

2. Hong Chau, Downsizing (PR: 2)

3. Allison Janney, I, Tonya (PR: Not Ranked)

4. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

5. Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Margot Robbie, Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 6)

7. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound (PR: 5)

8. Michelle Pfeiffer, mother! (PR: 7)

9. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird (PR: 11)

10. Julianne Moore, Suburbicon (PR: 13)

11. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick (PR: 14)

12. Brooklyn Prince, The Florida Project (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled (PR: 9)

14. Tatiana Maslany, Stronger (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Michelle Williams, The Greatest Showman

Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Post (PR: 1)

2. Mudbound (PR: 2)

3. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Last Flag Flying (PR: 4)

5. Wonderstruck (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Molly’s Game (PR: 5)

7. Stronger (PR: 12)

8. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. The Beguiled (PR: 9)

10. You Were Never Really Here (PR: 7)

11. The Disaster Artist (PR: 10)

12. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 11)

13. Wonder (PR: 13)

14. My Cousin Rachel (PR: 14)

15. Logan (PR: 15)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 6)

5. Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Get Out (PR: 7)

7. Phantom Thread (PR: 8)

8. Dunkirk (PR: 9)

9. Downsizing (PR: 5)

10. Goodbye Christopher Robin (PR: 15)

11. Lady Bird (PR: 11)

12. The Big Sick (PR: 10)

13. mother! (PR: 13)

14. The Greatest Showman (PR: 14)

15. The Florida Project (PR: 12)

And there you have it, folks! Expect more Oscar Watch posts to come your way and my next full predictions next Thursday…

Todd’s 2017 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 7th Edition

As you may have noticed on the blog over the last few days, there’s been an influx of Oscar Watch posts up due to the Telluride and Venice Film Festivals shedding light on some contenders.

Today begins my weekly column covering the big six races (Picture, Director, the four acting categories, and both screenplay categories). It will be updated every Thursday up until nominations are announced next year (with a final predictions posts the Monday before they are revealed).

Here’s how it works: I’m listing my current predictions in each race, with 25 selections for Best Picture and 15 in the others. When we get a bit further down the road, the predictions will go to 15 Best Picture possibilities and 10 in the rest. I am indeed ranking them, but note that just because I rank something as #1, that doesn’t mean I think it will win. It just means I believe at this time that it has the current best shot at actually getting nominated. Beginning next week, you’ll see how the rankings change and alter from week to week… and change and alter they most certainly will.

So here goes with my first weekly Oscar predictions!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk

2. The Post

3. Darkest Hour

4. Mudbound

5. Call Me by Your Name

6. Battle of the Sexes

7. The Shape of Water

8. Downsizing

9. The Greatest Showman

Other Possibilities:

10. Last Flag Flying

11. Phantom Thread

12. Wonder Wheel

13. mother!

14. Detroit

15. Blade Runner 2049

16. Goodbye Christopher Robin

17. Wonderstruck

18. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

19. Coco

20. Get Out

21. Wind River

22. Lady Bird

23. Wonder Woman

24. Molly’s Game

25. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

2. Steven Spielberg, The Post

3. Dee Rees, Mudbound

4. Joe Wright, Darkest Hour

5. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name

Other Possibilities:

6. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

7. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes

8. Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049

9. Alexander Payne, Downsizing

10. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

11. Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit

12. Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying

13. Darren Aronofsky, mother!

14. Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman

15. Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

3. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman

4. Tom Hanks, The Post

5. Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here

Other Possibilities:

6. Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes

7. Domhnall Gleeson, Goodbye Christopher Robin

8. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger

9. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

10. Matt Damon, Downsizing

11. Andrew Garfield, Breathe

12. Donald Sutherland, The Leisure Seeker

13. Liam Neeson, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House

14. Jeremy Renner, Wind River

15. Denzel Washington, Roman Israel Esq.

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

2. Meryl Streep, The Post

3. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game

4. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel

5. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Other Possibilities:

6. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

7. Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

8. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman

9. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

10. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul

11. Carey Mulligan, Mudbound

12. Diane Kruger, In the Fade

13. Jennifer Lawrence, mother!

14. Isabelle Huppert, Happy End

15. Jane Fonda, Our Souls at Night 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

2. Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name

4. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

5. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk

Other Possibilities:

6. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name

7. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water

8. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound

9. Laurence Fishburne, Last Flag Flying

10. James Franco, The Disaster Artist

11. Idris Elba, Molly’s Game

12. Patrick Stewart, Logan

13. Woody Harrelson, The Glass Castle

14. Will Poulter, Detroit

15. Christoph Waltz, Downsizing 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Melissa Leo, Novitiate

2. Hong Chau, Downsizing

3. Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour

4. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

5. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

Other Possibilities:

6. Margot Robbie, Goodbye Christopher Robin

7. Michelle Pfeiffer, mother!

8. Michelle Williams, The Greatest Showman

9. Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled

10. Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck

11. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

12. Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

13. Julianne Moore, Suburbicon

14. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

15. Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Post

2. Mudbound

3. Call Me by Your Name

4. Last Flag Flying

5. Molly’s Game

Other Possibilities:

6. Wonderstruck

7. You Were Never Really Here

8. Victoria and Abdul

9. The Beguiled

10. The Disaster Artist

11. Blade Runner 2049

12. Stronger

13. Wonder

14. My Cousin Rachel

15. Logan

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Darkest Hour

2. Battle of the Sexes

3. The Shape of Water

4. Wonder Wheel

5. Downsizing

Other Possibilities:

6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

7. Get Out

8. Phantom Thread

9. Dunkirk

10. The Big Sick

11. Lady Bird

12. The Florida Project

13. mother!

14. The Greatest Showman

15. Goodbye Christopher Robin

And there you have it! My first ranked predictions for the Oscar race. Next Thursday, I’ll have the updated projections…

mother! Box Office Prediction

Darren Aronofsky’s mother! received quite the splashy debut at the Venice Film Festival over the weekend and stateside audiences will render their verdict on September 15th. Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem headline the psychological horror thriller with a supporting cast including Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kristin Wiig, and Domhnall Gleeson.

Critical reaction from mother! has been something to witness, with some reviews labeling it a masterwork from the Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan auteur. Other notices haven’t gone that far, but all seem to agree it will push the audience’s buttons with its out there approach. The pic stands at 82% on Rotten Tomatoes currently.

Here are the pluses as I see them when it comes to potential box office performance. First, it’s headlined by Jennifer Lawrence and that should be a draw for some. Second, the buzz surrounding it could create a “you have to witness this thing” for yourself type of vibe.

One minus is a considerable one. The It factor. The Stephen King adaptation is riding its own higher decibel wave of chatter and should still be garnering big grosses in its sophomore weekend. It could easily divert some moviegoers away from this.

I’ll predict mother! begins with a low to mid teens output and it’ll be fascinating to see how it progresses or regresses from there (its Cinemascore rating could be an interesting indicator).

mother! opening weekend prediction: $14.7 million

For my American Assassin prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/09/06/american-assassin-box-office-prediction/

Todd’s Early 2017 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Continuing on with my earliest Oscar predictions, we are at Best Director before my initial Best Picture estimates. At this juncture, it’s safe to assume that the five directors I’ve selected will all see their movies on my list for Picture when that’s posted.

Obviously we are early in the Oscar predictin’ game, but here goes with the directors!

Here’s my quick tale – the Telluride and Venice Festivals over the weekend increased the chances for several directors, including Joe Wright (Darkest Hour), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Battle of the Sexes), and Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water). Same goes for Alexander Payne in Downsizing, but the reaction for it has been slightly more split.

I’m reserving a predicted spot for Steven Spielberg for his Nixon era tale The Post (formerly known as The Papers). The rest of my predicted nominees are from films already out or screened. As always, lots could change but here goes for now!

TODD’S EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS – BEST DIRECTOR

Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Dee Rees, Mudbound

Steven Spielberg, The Post

Joe Wright, Darkest Hour

Other Possibilities:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Darren Aronofsky, mother!

Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman

Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman

Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying

Alexander Payne, Downsizing

Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049

Best Picture is next, my friends!

Oscar Watch: mother!

One of the more eagerly awaited titles has screened at the Venice Film Festival as Darren Aronofsky’s mother! has seen its first reactions. The psychological horror pic debuts stateside next weekend and early word-of-mouth indicates it’s quite a head trip.

One could see from the effective trailers that mother! looks bizarre and pretty out there. It’s a tale of a couple (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) whose remote home is visited by various strangers, including Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. The Venice reaction was reportedly all over the map – a mix of wild cheering and boos. This could indicate how audiences may feel about it. mother! is said to be in the vein of the director’s earlier Black Swan (which received multiple nominations and a Best Actress win for Natalie Portman) and Rosemary’s Baby. 

While mother! currently stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, its apparent divisiveness could stand as a hindrance for a Best Picture or Director nomination. That said, it could also benefit from some voters ranking it as their #1 or #2 picture on the ballot.

As for the performers, Jennifer Lawrence would be gunning for her fifth nomination. She won in 2012 for Silver Linings Playbook, got lead nominations for Winter’s Bone (2010) and Joy (2015), and was nominated for Supporting Actress for American Hustle (2013). It’s been discussed a lot on this blog recently, but the Actress category is looking very strong right now and her inclusion could be a long shot. The best chance at recognition could belong to Michelle Pfeiffer, a three-time nominees whose last nod came 25 years ago. It should depend on the strength of that category, which is yet undetermined.

Bottom line: mother! has rather unsurprisingly garnered acclaim, but how it plays with audiences remains to be seen. We shall know soon enough and that may be a determining factor as to its Oscar viability.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…