Oscar History: 2013

Recapping the Oscar Season of 2013, a few things stick out. The big winners were 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, which cleaned up in the tech races. The big loser was American Hustle, which came away with zero victories despite 10 nominations (tying it for most nods with Gravity, which won 7 of them). Another take: it was a packed year for Best Actor with some deserving gents left out.

As I have done with previous years, let’s take a deeper dive in the 86th Academy Awards in the major races:

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave unsurprisingly came away with the Best Picture prize in a field that yielded eight other films. They were David O. Russell’s American Hustle, Paul Greengrass’s Captain Phillips, Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, Spike Jonze’s Her, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Philomena from Stephen Frears, and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. 

That’s a solid grouping of pictures and there’s probably no obvious omissions from my end in 2013.. That said, many young girls may protest Frozen not making the cut though it did win Best Animated Feature. And certainly Inside Llewyn Davis from the Coen Brothers had its ardent admirers.

There was a Picture/Director split with Cuaron emerging victorious for Gravity. The filmmaker would achieve the same feat five years later when he won for Roma but Green Book took Best Picture. Other nominees were McQueen, Payne, Russell, and Scorsese.I would argue that Greengrass and Jonze could have made the final five.

In the aforementioned crowded Best Actor derby, Matthew McConaughey took gold for his work in Dallas Buyers Club. The four other contenders were Christian Bale for Hustle, Bruce Dern in Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio for Wall Street, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave. Note that all nominees came from Best Picture hopefuls.

Let’s start with Tom Hanks, who I absolutely feel should have gotten in for his remarkable performance in Captain Phillips. The clip I’ve included below proves it and then some. You could say the same for Joaquin Phoenix in Her. Others worth noting: Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis, Hugh Jackman in Prisoners, and Robert Redford for All Is Lost. 

Cate Blanchett was the latest actress to be honored for her work in a Woody Allen picture as she took Best Actress for Blue Jasmine. The other nominees were Amy Adams (American Hustle), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), and the ever present Meryl Streep (August: Osage County).

I’ll mention three others left out worthy of consideration: Brie Larson in Short Term 12, Julia-Louis Dreyfus for Enough Said, and Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks. For the latter, it was a bit unexpected that she was left out.

McConaughey’s Dallas Buyers costar Jared Leto won Supporting Actor over Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), and Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street). Again, all nominees stemmed from Picture contenders.

Some others that didn’t quite make it: Daniel Bruhl in Rush, Steve Coogan for Philomena, Paul Dano in Prisoners, and Will Forte in Nebraska.

Another big 12 Years victory was Lupita Nyong’o in Supporting Actress. She took the prize despite competition from Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), and June Squibb (Nebraska).

Despite it being a voice only performance, I would say Scarlett Johansson in Her deserved a spot and the same could be said for Margot Robbie in Wall Street.

And there you have it, folks! My look back at the Oscar landscape in 2013. I’ll have 2014 up in due time…

Oscar History: 2012

It’s been quite some time since I’ve done an Oscar History post (about two and a half years) and I’m at 2012. It was a year in which Seth MacFarlane hosted the show – fresh off his comedy smash Ted. Here’s what transpired in the major categories with some other pictures and performers I might have considered:

The year saw nine nominees for Best Picture in which Ben Affleck’s Argo took the top prize. Other nominees: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook (my personal favorite of the year), and Zero Dark Thirty. 

Many Wes Anderson fans would contend that Moonrise Kingdom should have made the cut. And I could certainly argue that The Avengers (perhaps the greatest comic book flick and the year’s biggest grosser) was worth a nod.

The nominations in Best Director were a huge surprise at the time. While Argo won the top prize of all, Affleck was not nominated for his behind the camera efforts. It was the first time since Driving Miss Daisy‘s Bruce Beresford where an Oscar-winning Picture didn’t see its filmmaker nominated.

Instead it was Ang Lee who was victorious for Life of Pi over Michael Haneke (Amour), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

In addition to Affleck, it was surprising that Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) was not included. And I certainly would have put in Tarantino for Django.

The race for Best Actor seemed over when the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln was announced. And that’s exactly how it played out as he won his third Oscar over a strong slate of Bradley Cooper (Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), and Denzel Washington (Flight).

The exclusion of John Hawkes in The Sessions could have been welcomed, but I’ll admit that’s a solid group.

Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for Silver Linings over Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts), and Naomi Watts (The Impossible).

Again, no major qualms here. I did enjoy the work of Helen Mirren in Hitchcock (for which she did get a Golden Globe nod).

Supporting Actor was competitive as Christoph Waltz won his second statue for Django (three years after Inglourious Basterds). He was a bit of a surprise winner over Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln. Other nominees: Alan Arkin (Argo), Robert De Niro (Playbook), and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master).

Here’s a year where there’s a lot of others I thought of. Waltz won, but I think the work of Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson in Django was equally impressive. There’s Javier Bardem as one of the greatest Bond villains ever in Skyfall. Or John Goodman’s showy role in Flight. As for some other blockbusters that year, how about Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers or Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike? And my favorite comedic scene of that year was due to Giovanni Ribisi in Ted…

In Supporting Actress, Anne Hathaway was a front-runner for Les Miserables and there was no upset. Other nominees: Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), and Jacki Weaver (Playbook).

Judi Dench had more heft to her part as M in Skyfall that year and I’ll also give a shout-out to Salma Hayek’s performance in Oliver Stone’s Savages.

And there’s your Oscar history for 2012! I’ll have 2013 up… hopefully in less than two and a half years!

Joy Movie Review

“Joy and pain. Like sunshine and rain.” – Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock

David O. Russell’s latest tells a fable grounded in reality of Joy Mangano, who invented a new way to clean floors in the early 90s with the Miracle Mop. It continues his habit during this decade of taking ordinary people and telling their extraordinary situations.

Our title character is portrayed by Russell’s muse Jennifer Lawrence. As a little girl, we see that she loves making inventions with her hands. This leads to the aforementioned mop, though selling it is no easy feat. Her quirky family includes her father Rudy (Robert De Niro, thankfully doing his best work nowadays with this director), who is restless in his love life and in a burgeoning relationship with a wealthy widow (Isabella Rossellini). That widow provides a pipeline to funding the Miracle operation, though not without serious reservations and Joy mortgaging her home twice. Joy’s mother (Virginia Madsen) is essentially an anti-social shut in who exists vicariously through the soap opera characters she watches all day. This allows for some interesting cameos. There’s Joy’s aspiring singer ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez), who still lives with her and serves as a trusted advisor. And Diane Ladd is her constantly supportive grandmother, who narrates these proceedings.

Joy is about the many pains that she must face to convince her family and the consuming public that she’s onto something. The journey eventually leads her to the upstart QVC, headed by a sturdy executive (Bradley Cooper) who conducts the network’s infomercials like an orchestra (her first segment is directed with the energy and enthusiasm we expect from this filmmaker). This allows for the fascinating of seeing Melissa Rivers play her late mother Joan. She soon learns the gloomy side of business, even when success comes. The picture is divided into two halves. The first is mostly about the pain of getting her venture started. The second has more joy and a little more sunshine, but pain is always around the corner. Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock couldn’t have known these lyrics would apply here, but they do.

More than anything, Joy gives Lawrence another platform to shine and she takes advantage. The film never does reach the emotional, comedic, or dramatic heights of previous efforts like The Fighter and, in particular, Silver Linings Playbook. By the movie’s end, we are dealing with a central character who’s gone from sketching her designs in crayon to a multi-million dollar empire. Yet her saga never feels as fraught with nervous excitement as that regional Pennsylvania dance contest in Playbook. Still, Joy’s strange odyssey is one worth taking due to Russell’s exuberance and Lawrence’s talent.

*** (out of four)


Joy Box Office Prediction

For the third time, director David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence team up for comedy/drama Joy and it hopes to replicate the success from their two previous outings, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. 

The pic tells the true-ish story of Miracle Mop founder Joy Mangano (Lawrence) and features Russell regulars Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper, as well as Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Virginia Madsen, and Diane Ladd.

This will need to clear some considerable hurdles in order to match previous successes. For starters, Joy is opening on Christmas in an ultra competitive frame where competition for adult moviegoers includes Concussion and The Big Short (and the second weekend of Star Wars). Secondly, unlike Playbook and Hustle, the awards buzz for this is muted at best. While Lawrence is likely to receive a Best Actress nod for her well regarded work, critics have been mixed and it stands at 62% on Rotten Tomatoes (well under Russell and Lawrence’s first two outings). The so-so buzz means it probably won’t be a player in any other Academy categories other than for its lead actress.

With those factors in mind, I anticipate Joy not reaching the $19.1 million accomplished by American Hustle over the holidays in 2013. A debut in the low to mid teens seems more probable.

Joy opening weekend prediction: $14.9 million

For my Concussion prediction, click here:


For my Daddy’s Home prediction, click here:


For my Point Break prediction, click here:


For my The Big Short prediction, click here:


Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: December 11 Edition

And now we’ve arrived at my weekly Oscar predictions for the eight biggest categories and yes, things have changed in one week. Most notably, many critics precursor awards have been announced and just in the last 48 hours, nominations for the SAG and Golden Globe awards have been revealed. The past week’s activity has given a huge boost to Mad Max: Fury Road‘s inclusion into the Best Picture race and I’m including it for the first time. Other pics that have received some momentum: Carol, Trumbo (in acting races), and possibly The Big Short.

For the first time, I’m ceasing to list my predicted nominees and other possibilities alphabetically. We are now switching to where I’m listing according to my thoughts on their probability of being nominated.

And here we go, my friends:

Best Picture

  1. Spotlight
  2. The Revenant
  3. Room
  4. Carol
  5. Mad Max: Fury Road
  6. The Martian
  7. Brooklyn
  8. Bridge of Spies
  9. The Hateful Eight

Other Possibilities:

10. Inside Out

11. The Big Short

12. Creed

13. Steve Jobs

14. Beasts of No Nation

15. Straight Outta Compton

16. The Danish Girl

17. Son of Saul

18. Anomalisa

19. Trumbo

20. Joy

21. Sicario

22. Love and Mercy

23. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What’s Changed Since Last Week – In: Mad Max: Fury Road, Out: Inside Out

Best Director

  1. Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  2. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
  3. George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
  4. Ridley Scott, The Martian
  5. Todd Haynes, Carol

Other Possibilities:

6. Lenny Abrahamson, Room

7. Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies

8. Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

9. John Crowley, Brooklyn

10. Ryan Coogler, Creed

11. Cary Fukanaga, Beasts of No Nation

12. Adam McKay, The Big Short

13. Laszlo Nemes, Son of Saul

14. Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs

15. David O. Russell, Joy

16. Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl

17. J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What’s Changed Since Last Week – In: Todd Haynes. Out: Lenny Abrahamson

Best Actor

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  2. Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
  3. Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  4. Johnny Depp, Black Mass
  5. Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Other Possibilities:

6. Matt Damon, The Martian

7. Will Smith, Concussion

8. Michael B. Jordan, Creed

9. Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes

10. Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies

11. Michael Caine, Youth

12. Steve Carell, The Big Short

13. Geza Rohrig, Son of Saul

What’s Changed Since Last Week – In: Bryan Cranston. Out: Matt Damon

Best Actress

  1. Brie Larson, Room
  2. Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
  3. Cate Blanchett, Carol
  4. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  5. Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Other Possibilities:

6. Blythe Danner, I’ll See You in My Dreams

7. Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road

8. Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back

9. Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold

10. Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van

11. Lily Tomlin, Grandma

12. Carey Mulligan, Suffragette

What’s Changed Since Last Week – NO CHANGES

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  2. Sylvester Stallone, Creed
  3. Michael Keaton, Spotlight
  4. Paul Dano, Love and Mercy
  5. Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

Other Possibilities:

6. Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

7. Christian Bale, The Big Short

8. Tom Hardy, The Revenant

9. Benicio del Toro, Sicario

10. Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

11. Jacob Tremblay, Room

What’s Changed Since Last Week – In: Paul Dano and Idris Elba. Out: Tom Hardy and Mark Ruffalo

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  2. Rooney Mara, Carol
  3. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  4. Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
  5. Jane Fonda, Youth

Other Possibilities:

6. Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria

7. Helen Mirren, Trumbo

8. Joan Allen, Room

9. Elizabeth Banks, Love and Mercy

10. Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

11. Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

What’s Changed Since Last Week: NO CHANGES

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Spotlight
  2. The Hateful Eight
  3. Inside Out
  4. Bridge of Spies
  5. Son of Saul

Other Possibilities:

6. Love and Mercy

7. Straight Outta Compton

8. 99 Homes

9. Joy

10. Sicario

11. Ex Machina

12. Trainwreck

What’s Changed Since Last Week – IN: Son of Saul. Out: Love and Mercy

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Carol
  2. Steve Jobs
  3. Room
  4. Brooklyn
  5. The Big Short

Other Possibilities:

6. The Revenant

7. The Martian

8. Anomalisa

9. Beasts of No Nation

10. Trumbo

11. Creed

12. The Danish Girl

What’s Changed Since Last Week – In: The Big Short. Out: Anomalisa. 

And that’ll do it for this week’s predictions! Stay tuned for next Friday’s picks…

Joy’s Oscar Bubble Bursts

Just one week ago, I wrote a blog post detailing the Oscar prospects for David O. Russell’s latest Joy, which comes out on Christmas. Seven days ago, I believed its prospects for a nomination in Best Picture were still fairly decent. Some of this was due to Mr. Russell’s track record over the decade. His last three pictures – The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle – all were nominated, as was Russell. Those three movies represent an astounding 11 acting nominations with three wins. And the advance word of mouth on Joy was cautiously optimistic enough that I still felt it stood a good shot at Academy attention.

What a difference a week makes. The official embargo on Joy reviews was lifted this morning and a clearer picture has emerged. Bottom line: Joy will not be nominated for Best Picture. David O. Russell will not be nominated for Director. None of the supporting players that includes Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd, and Isabella Rossellini will hear their names called. Reviews have been extremely mixed. While some critics have heaped praised, other prominent reviewers have called it his worst movie. While the number is bound to fluctuate, it currently stands at just 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Fighter? 90%. Silver Linings Playbook? 92%. American Hustle? 93%. You get the idea.

The only bright spot is that Jennifer Lawrence’s inclusion in Best Actress still appears be solid. Writers have singled out her work and the superstar looks to land her third recognition in a row for a Russell directed effort.

The Joy bubble bursting will surely give rise to another film that many prognosticators had under their bubbles for Picture predictions, including my own. This could represent good news for pictures ranging from Mad Max: Fury Road to Creed to Son of Saul to Anomalisa to The Big Short.

One thing is nearly certain: Russell’s joyful Oscar streak looks to be finished.

Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: December 4 Edition

We are a bit over a month away from Oscar nominations coming out (January 14th) and it’s time to ramp up my predictions for what and whom will be nominated in the eight top races. I’m adding the two Screenplay categories (Original and Adapted) for the first time and the plan is to make weekly Oscar predictions each weekend until nominations come out. With each race, I’ll inform you what’s changed since the previous predictions post.

And with that, let’s get to predicting, shall we?

Best Picture

Bridge of Spies



The Hateful Eight

Inside Out

The Martian

The Revenant



Other Possibilities:

Beasts of No Nation

The Big Short


The Danish Girl


Mad Max: Fury Road

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Steve Jobs

Straight Outta Compton

Changes Since Last Predictions: Bridge of Spies, Inside Out (IN), Joy, Steve Jobs (OUT)

Best Director

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Ridley Scott, The Martian

Other Possibilities:

Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs

Ryan Coogler, Creed

John Crowley, Brooklyn

Cary Fukanaga, Beasts of No Nation

Todd Haynes, Carol

Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl

David O. Russell, Joy

Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies

Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Changes Since Last Predictions: George Miller (IN), David O. Russell (OUT)

Best Actor

Matt Damon, The Martian

Johnny Depp, Black Mass

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Other Possibilities:

Michael Caine, Youth

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies

Michael B. Jordan, Creed

Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes

Will Smith, Concussion

Changes Since Last Predictions: NONE

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Other Possibilities:

Emily Blunt, Sicario

Blythe Danner, I’ll See You in My Dreams

Carey Mulligan, Suffragette

Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van

Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road

Lily Tomlin, Grandma

Changes Since Last Predictions: Charlotte Rampling (IN), Blythe Danner (OUT)

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Michael Keaton, Spotlight

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Other Possibilities:

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Paul Dano, Love and Mercy

Benicio del Toro, Sicario

Joel Edgerton, Black Mass

Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

Harvey Keitel, Youth

Jacob Tremblay, Room

Changes Since Last Predictions: Tom Hardy (IN), Idris Elba (OUT)

Best Supporting Actress

Jane Fonda, Youth

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Other Possibilities:

Joan Allen, Room

Elizabeth Banks, Love and Mercy

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Kristin Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria

Julie Walters, Brooklyn

Changes Since Last Predictions: Jane Fonda (IN), Joan Allen (OUT)

Best Original Screenplay (first prediction in category)

Bridge of Spies

The Hateful Eight

Inside Out

Love and Mercy


Other Possibilities:



Straight Outta Compton


Best Adapted Screenplay (first prediction in category)





Steve Jobs

Other Possibilities:

The Big Short


The Martian

The Revenant

And there you have it – folks! The next update will come next weekend…


Oscar Watch: Joy

When it comes to Oscar nominations over the first half of this decade, no director matches the incredible track record of David O. Russell. Let’s do some math, shall we? His last three pictures – 2010’s The Fighter, 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook, 2013’s American Hustle – have scored a combined 25 Academy Award nods. All three were nominated for Best Picture. Russell was in the Directing race for each film. The trio of pics nabbed a total of 11 acting nominations resulting in three victories: Christian Bale (Supporting Actor for The Fighter), Melissa Leo (Supporting Actress for The Fighter), and Jennifer Lawrence (Actress for Silver Linings Playbook).

Therefore, it’s obvious that December’s Joy has been high on the list for potential Oscar attention. Over the weekend, it screened for critics and journalists for the first time. While reviews are officially embargoed until mid December, the word is that Russell likely has his fourth contender in a row. Early buzz makes one thing clear: Lawrence is in line to receive her fourth nomination as the title character in Best Actress. At this point, it’d be a shock if she’s not included. This would mark her third recognition in a row from the Academy working with Russell (winning for Playbook, nominated for Hustle). As for other acting races, it’s murkier. Bradley Cooper would also be going for his third nomination in a row with Russell, but his part is said to be small and he probably won’t be included. Robert De Niro, on the other hand, has potential with his supporting turn. His last nomination was in the same category for Playbook. Diane Ladd is rumored to be the Supporting Actress most in contention over costars Virginia Madsen and Isabella Rossellini.

It would also seem that Joy remains a strong contender for Best Picture recognition and that could extend to Russell’s fourth time in the Director category. As stated, Russell’s films have been an Oscar juggernaut and it’s unlikely to let up here (especially with J Law). A caveat: some of the initial reaction for this isn’t quite as over the moon as the director’s last efforts, so I would write Joy‘s Best Picture nomination and Russell’s down in pencil, not pen until officials reviews are released. Feel free to use a Bic with Lawrence.

Todd’s Oscar Predictions: November Edition

We have arrived at my third round of Oscar predictions for the month of November. Some has changed, some has stayed the same. We’ll go through each of the six major categories one by one…

Let’s go!


This is the one category where I’ve made no changes, though any of the others listed as possibilities could find their way in. Most have Jane Fonda in the mix already, but I’m not quite there yet.


Joan Allen, Room

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Other Possibilities:

Elizabeth Banks, Love and Mercy

Jane Fonda, Youth

Diane Ladd, Joy

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Isabella Rossellini, Joy

Julie Walters, Brooklyn


And here we have the most changes of any category! Coming out of nowhere last week was Sylvester Stallone’s acclaimed performance in Creed and as of now, here appears to be a strong contender for a nod and maybe even the win. I’m also including Mark Ruffalo and re-including Idris Elba. Falling out are Benicio del Toro, Robert De Niro, and Tom Hardy, though they all remain possibles. This category has a whole lot of potential nominees, but only five slots available.


Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

Michael Keaton, Spotlight

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Other Possibilities:

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Bradley Cooper, Joy

Paul Dano, Love and Mercy

Benicio del Toro, Sicario

Robert De Niro, Joy

Joel Edgerton, Black Mass

Harrison Ford, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Samuel L. Jackson, The Hateful Eight

Harvey Keitel, Youth

Jason Mitchell, Straight Outta Compton

Kurt Russell, The Hateful Eight

Jacob Tremblay, Room


Four slots seem to be rather safe and have been for awhile: Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, and Saoirse Ronan. The fifth slot could legitimately be any of the others listed, but for now I’ve removed Carey Mulligan and replaced her with Blythe Danner.


Cate Blanchett, Carol

Blythe Danner, I’ll See You in My Dreams

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Other Possibilities:

Emily Blunt, Sicario

Carey Mulligan, Suffragette

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van

Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road

Lily Tomlin, Grandma


Only one change here as I currently feel the massive box office success of The Martian will get Matt Damon in. That takes Michael Caine out. Watch out for Will Smith, though, even though I don’t yet have him in the final  cut.


Matt Damon, The Martian

Johnny Depp, Black Mass

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Other Possibilities:

Michael Caine, Youth

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies

Michael B. Jordan, Creed

Will Smith, Concussion


Two changes here as I believe Danny Boyle may miss out and George Miller won’t be the wild card pick I predicted in October. This puts David O. Russell and Ridley Scott in.


Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

David O. Russell, Joy

Ridley Scott, The Martian

Other Possibilities:

Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs

Ryan Coogler, Creed

John Crowley, Brooklyn

Cary Fukanaga, Beasts of No Nation

Todd Haynes, Carol

Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies

Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight


I am still predicting nine nominees out of the possible five-ten and I’ve made two changes. I’m putting Carol back in the mix and The Martian in for the first time. That leaves out Bridge of Spies and The Danish Girl, though both remain major contenders. It’s worth noting that Steve Jobs, due to its disastrous box office performance, is not even close to a shoo in  and it could fall off.




The Hateful Eight


The Martian

The Revenant



Steve Jobs

Other Possibilities:

Beasts of No Nation

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies


The Danish Girl

Inside Out

In the Heart of the Sea

Mad Max: Fury Road


Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Straight Outta Comption

And that does it for my November Oscar predictions, folks! I’ll have the December predictions up shortly before Christmas…

Oscar History: 2010

In my ongoing series of Oscar History posts, we arrive at what happened during the year 2010. This was quite a strong year for movies and, unlike other years, I can’t really quibble with the ten pictures that were nominated.

I can, however, differ with what won: Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech. While this was a very solid and entertaining picture, I would have definitely put at least three of the other nominees above it: Black Swan, Inception, and my favorite of the year, The Social Network. Other nominees were 127 Hours, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. 

Picture/Director matched up as Tom Hooper’s work in King’s Speech would win over Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit), David Fincher (The Social Network), and David O. Russell (The Fighter). I may have found a spot for Christopher Nolan’s visually striking work in Inception. 

The love for The King’s Speech continued in Best Actor as Colin Firth was honored for his portrayal as King George VI. He triumphed over Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), and James Franco (127 Hours). It’s worth noting that Franco co-hosted the Oscars that year with Anne Hathaway. It wasn’t too memorable.

While his supporting players were showered with love, Mark Wahlberg was snubbed for his anchoring performance in The Fighter. Others worthy of mention: Leonardo DiCaprio in either Inception or Shutter Island and Robert Duvall for Get Low.

Natalie Portman was a bit of a no-brainer pick for her tour de force work in Black Swan in the Actress race, beating out Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), and Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine).

I was a little surprised to see Bening’s Kids lead costar Julianne Moore left out. Franco’s co-host Anne Hathaway would’ve been a solid choice for her fine work in Love and Other Drugs. The Oscar voters rarely honor comedy, but they could have here with Emma Stone in her hit Easy A, as well.

Supporting Actor honored Christian Bale as Mark Wahlberg’s drug addicted brother in The Fighter. The other nominees were John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), and Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech).

I might have found room for either Andrew Garfield or Justin Timberlake in The Social Network. And keeping the snubbed comedy theme going, here’s an outside the box mention: Rob Corddry for his hilarious work in Hot Tub Time Machine.

The Fighter also won in Supporting Actress with Melissa Leo, who edged out her co-star Amy Adams. The other nominees: Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech, Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit, and Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom. The voters could have certainly nominated either Mila Kunis or Barbara Hershey for their roles in Black Swan.

And that’s your Oscar History of 2010, my friends. We’ll get to 2011 soon…