2021 SAG Awards Winner Predictions

The SAG Awards air this Sunday night and I’m here to give you my take. For some context, I went 4/5 in my projections from 2017-2019 and 3/5 last year. The winners here will certainly help themselves if they’re nominated for Oscars (as you’ll see – not all are).

Let’s get to it!

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

House of Gucci

King Richard

Commentary:

I could offer an argument for anything but Gucci (partly because The Birdcage from 1996 is the only winner that wasn’t nominated for BP at the Oscars). The rest of the pics are BP players with the Academy. Belfast is the most likely to win (notice frontrunner The Power of the Dog isn’t here). Even though I’m not projecting its lone nominee (Balfe) to take the SAG and it was a surprise that Ciaran Hinds didn’t make it, I’ll say the cast is ultimately honored as a whole. CODA is right on its heels.

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Runner-Up: CODA

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Jennifer Hudson, Respect

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Commentary: 

Welcome to the confounding world of Best Actress in the 2021 awards season and this is easily the trickiest race to figure out. The Oscar/SAG match is 3/5. Gaga and Hudson didn’t make the Acadeny’s cut in favor of Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) and Kristen Stewart (Spencer).

Let’s start with Gaga. The SAG winner in this race has never not been nominated for an Oscar so the superstar would certainly make history if she takes this. That stat discourages me from calling her name, but who knows? All hopefuls here would be first-time winners in this category (Hudson took Supporting Actress 15 years back in Dreamgirls). She seems least likely to win. So we’re down to Chastain, Colman, and Kidman. All could prevail. Kidman took the Golden Globe and a podium trip could solidify her status as the Oscar frontrunner. Chastain’s showy role could be honored and it’s a bit of a coin flip for me. I’ll give Kidman an ever so slight edge.

Predicted Winner: Nicole Kidman

Runner-Up: Jessica Chastain

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Commentary:

Not complicated like Actress as there’s a 5 for 5 lineup with the Academy’s nominees. Unlike the Oscars, I do buy into the theory that Garfield might be more of a spoiler than Cumberbatch to Smith. The SAG folks could reward Garfield’s showy role. That said, I’m not betting against Smith.

Predicted Winner: Will Smith

Runner-Up: Andrew Garfield

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Ruth Negga, Passing

Commentary: 

There’s only a 2 for 5 symmetry with the big show and that’s DeBose and Dunst. Balfe, Blanchett, and Negga are in over Academy picks Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter), Judi Dench (Belfast), and Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard). I do think it’s between the Oscar contestants. Dunst is a threat though I’m going with DeBose sweeping until I see different.

Predicted Winner: Ariana DeBose

Runner-Up: Kirsten Dunst

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar

Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Commentary:

Like Supporting Actress, just a 2 for 5 (Kotsur, Smit-McPhee) match. Affleck, Cooper, and Leto got SAG love instead of Oscar selections Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog), and J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos). And I’ll also say it’s between the two Academy players. This is difficult because I could easily see Smit-McPhee sweeping (he won the Globe). Yet I have a sneaking suspicion the thespians may go for Kotsur. With little confidence, I’ll pick that.

Predicted Winner: Troy Kotsur

Runner-Up: Kodi Smit-McPhee

I’ll have reaction up on the ceremony Sunday night!

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actress Race

The Oscar race for Best Actress takes center stage in my latest rundown of where the major competitions stand in early November. If you missed my posts covering lead actor and the supporting categories, they can accessed right here:

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actor Race

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actress Race

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actor Race

As I have with the others, let’s start with my track record during the same time period from 2019 and 2020. Two years ago, I somehow had all five nominated actresses forecasted correctly with two months to go: winner Renee Zellweger as Judy in addition to Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), and Charlize Theron (Bombshell). For 2020, it was three: gold recipient Frances McDormand for Nomadland and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman). Both Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) were listed in Other Possibilities.

In 2021, we already have a strong frontrunner and that’s Kristin Stewart in Spencer. Playing the high profile role of Princess Diana, Ms. Stewart is practically guaranteed to nab her first nod after plenty of critically appreciated post Twilight turns. She’s a serious threat to win and Stewart has been atop my chart ever since the picture screened back in September at the Venice Film Festival.

Her biggest competition could come from an as yet unseen performance – Lady Gaga in House of Gucci. Judging from the trailers alone, her part seems like the kind of bait that would cause Academy voters to bite. If so, the pop superstar would receive her second nomination three years after her breakout cinematic role with A Star Is Born. 

After that, there’s a lengthy list of hopefuls for the three remaining slots. When The Eyes of Tammy Faye premiered on the festival circuit, it was a given that Jessica Chastain would make the cut. I still think she will, but the pic’s barely existent box office numbers are reason for some uncertainty.

Screenings were also kind to Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter and that momentum could result in her third inclusion in the last four years after a 2018 Actress victory for The Favourite and a supporting nod for last year’s The Father. 

Colman isn’t the only actress from a Netflix offering eyeing the prize. There’s Tessa Thompson in Passing, Jennifer Lawrence in Don’t Look Up, Sandra Bullock for The Unforgivable, and Halle Berry with Bruised. All could factor in. Other than Thompson (her costar Ruth Negga stands a greater chance in supporting), the three others have yet to be unveiled. The streamer may have to pick and choose whose campaigns they go all in with.

There’s other possibilities in the unseen column where the buzz will shortly materialize: Cate Blanchett for Nightmare Alley, Alana Haim in Licorice Pizza, Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball with Being the Ricardos, and Rachel Zegler (West Side Story). At press time, I only have Kidman in the top ten but that could change as soon as reviews start posting.

As for pictures that have been available for awhile, I feel Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur’s supporting parts in CODA are more likely to be recognized than lead Emilia Jones. Renate Reinsve will have her share of supporters for The Worst Person in the World, but its best chance lies with an International Feature Film nomination. Bad financial returns could negatively impact Jodie Comer for The Last Duel, though I will note that a number of prognosticators have her in.

For the fifth spot, I currently see three performances with roughly equal chances. Frances McDormand took the prize last year and that might make the Academy think twice about putting her up again for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Penelope Cruz is just on the outside looking in for Parallel Mothers. That leaves me with Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin in Respect. Even though the film received mixed reviews and so-so box office, praise for the Supporting Actress winner in 2006’s Dreamgirls was universal. Voters may have to think all the way back to summer to include her but I do believe it’s feasible.

And with that, here’s my standings:

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 3)

3. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 7)

7. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6)

8. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 8)

9. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10)

10. Tessa Thompson, Passing (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Now that the acting derbies are wrapped, I’ll have Best Director up next!

Oscar Watch: Respect

When I did my first ranked Oscar predictions in the Best Actress race on August 27, 2020 – I had Jennifer Hudson’s portrayal of Aretha Franklin in Respect ranked fifth. The biopic ended up getting delayed due to COVID. Now it’s out on Friday (August 13). My initial two weeks of Academy rankings for 2021 has had Hudson pegged in fourth while not including the film itself in the 25 possibilities for Best Picture.

The review embargo lifted this evening and… well, I might be onto something. The prevalent theory has been that Respect could be a one race player in the major categories. This is similar to what we saw two years ago when Renee Zellweger took Best Actress as Judy Garland in Judy and last year when Andra Day was nominated for The United States vs. Billie Holiday. 

Early critical reaction is mixed though Hudson is being widely praised. It was 15 years ago that the former American Idol singer won gold in Supporting Actress for her show stopping work in Dreamgirls. She hasn’t been on the Academy’s radar since. Respect, as anticipated, could easily change that. Nothing in the write-ups indicates this will a Picture hopeful. Same goes for the supporting cast. I have had Audra McDonald in the lower rungs of possibilities in supporting for the past two weeks. Don’t expect to see her name when I update my forecast on Thursday.

Costume Design is another possibility, but don’t be surprised at all to see Hudson as the lone representation here. And that’s far from guaranteed. There’s a lot of leading performances yet to be seen that could contend: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Jodie Comer (The Last Duel), Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers), Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog), Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos), Frances McDormand (The Tragedy of Macbeth), Kristen Stewart (Spencer), and Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) are just some. Emilia Jones (CODA) and Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person in the World) represent two turns already seen that could find themselves in the mix.

Bottom line: Hudson is absolutely more than just a little bit of a factor in this race, but we have to see what transpires over festival season and the rest of the year. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Respect Box Office Prediction

15 years after her Oscar winning supporting turn in Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson is Aretha Franklin in the biopic Respect. Out August 13, the film marks the directorial debut of Liesl Tommy. The supporting cast includes Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, and Mary J. Blige.

Hudson is hoping for some additional awards respect for this high-profile turn. Originally slated for a Christmas 2020 release, the pic was delayed due to COVID. Sporting a reported $55 million budget, it is now coming out around the same as the Chadwick Boseman led James Brown bio Get On Up. It opened to $13.4 million back in 2014. Will the Queen of Soul movie manage to match The Godfather of Soul’s?

With Delta variant challenges, I’m a little skeptical. My hunch is that Respect falls just a little bit under $10 million as it hopes future positive word-of-mouth keeps it around in subsequent weekends.

Respect opening weekend prediction: $8.5 million

For my Free Guy prediction, click here:

Free Guy Box Office Prediction

For my Don’t Breathe 2 prediction, click here:

Don’t Breathe 2 Box Office Prediction

Shoulda Been Oscar Contenders: Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor

In recent interviews promoting Coming 2 America, Eddie Murphy spoke about how critics went gaga over his dramatic turn in 2006’s Dreamgirls. It earned him his first and only Oscar nomination. He was considered the frontrunner in Supporting Actor but lost in an upset to Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine. Murphy’s remarks indicated that reviewers might have been somewhat misguided in recognizing his performance in Dreamgirls while ignoring his treasure trove of comedic excellence in numerous pictures.

Eddie is right and there’s no better example than his work ten years before his Academy nod in The Nutty Professor. The blockbuster remake of the 1963 Jerry Lewis vehicle found Murphy playing multiple roles and doing it brilliantly. The kitchen table scenes in which he plays almost every member of the Klump clan are worthy of a nomination itself. He did manage to pick up a Golden Globe mention for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy (ultimately losing to Tom Cruise for Jerry Maguire).

There are many example of roles played for laughs that the Academy unjustly ignored, but Murphy’s multifaceted turn here stands near the top.

2020 Golden Globe Winner Predictions

Awards watching season kicks into (later than usual) gear this Sunday with the 78th Annual Golden Globes hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler! While I have not spent time doing weekly posts on this ceremony like I do with the Oscars, it’s certainly a potential sign of things to come from the Academy (and sometimes not so much).

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a notoriously tricky bunch to predict as they often call up out of nowhere nominees in their major categories. This year is no exception and that will be discussed below. The pandemic uncertainty that was 2020 and some races that truly feel wild open gives us some real drama as to the pictures and actors who will win on Sunday.

Simply put, I’ll feel good if I get half my predictions right and that’s a lower bar than usual. Let’s walk through each category with my estimated victor and runner-up, shall we?

Best Motion Picture (Drama)

Nominees: The Father, Mank, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Despite a better than anticipated showing for Promising Young Woman, this is likely a showdown between Nomadland and Trial (as I suspect it will be for the Oscars). Quite frankly, this is a tough call and basically a coin flip. However, I lean ever so slightly with HFPA going with the more traditional pick and that means Trial.

Predicted Winner: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up: Nomadland

Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Hamilton, Music, Palm Springs, The Prom

The inclusion of Sia’s critically drubbed Music stands as one of the more bizarre nods in recent Globes history and that’s saying a lot. Palm Springs certainly has its fervent fans while The Prom once seemed like a potential winner until its mixed reviews. Meryl Streep’s exclusion in the Actress field for it says something as well. So it’s Borat vs. Hamilton in my view. 14 years ago, the original Borat lost out to Dreamgirls. Certainly the overall pedigree and acclaim for Hamilton makes it a possibility, but the attention garnered by Sacha Baron Cohen’s sequel might be too hard to resist.

Predicted Winner: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Runner-Up: Hamilton

Best Director

Nominees: Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), David Fincher (Mank), Regina King (One Night in Miami), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)

Even with my Trial pick in Picture, Chloe Zhao has emerged as a heavy favorite for the duration of awards season and she has the critics trophies already to prove it. Fincher is probably more of a threat to upset than Sorkin here, but Zhao is one of the safer bets of the night.

Predicted Winner: Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Runner-Up: David Fincher, Mank

Best Actress (Drama)

Nominees: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

It’s Davis vs. McDormand vs. Mulligan as I see it and there’s a case to be made for all three. That said, I already mentioned that Promising was a major winner on nomination morning as it achieved nods everywhere it really could have been expected to. I feel it’ll win somewhere and this is the most probable. Had Rainey got a Picture nod, I would probably list Davis as the runner-up, but I’ll go with McDormand instead.

Predicted Winner: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Runner-Up: Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Best Actor (Drama)

Nominees: Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank), Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian)

Sunday night could very well be the start of Boseman sweeping his way through the season. I do have a nagging feeling that Hopkins is going to win either here or at SAG. It would not be a shock at all for that to occur yet I’ll stick with Boseman.

Predicted Winner: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Runner-Up: Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Kate Hudson (Music), Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit), Rosamund Pike (I Care a Lot), Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma)

Expect Taylor-Joy to win on Sunday night, but not here. Instead she appears bound to get some hardware on the TV side for the heralded Queen’s Gambit. Like the picture itself, Hudson’s nomination was totally unforeseen. Bakalova was the breakout star of Borat. She’s being campaigned for in Supporting Actress at the Oscars, but the HFPA seems destined to honor her. Pfeiffer and Pike are moderate threats and I’ll give the runner-up edge to the former.

Predicted Winner: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Runner-Up: Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), James Corden (The Prom), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Dev Patel (The Personal History of David Copperfield), Andy Samberg (Palm Springs)

Let’s face it: the Golden Globes this year has an excellent chance at turning into the Sacha Baron Cohen Show. He won this race for the first Borat and he’s the odds-on favorite to make it two for two. Miranda poses the only real threat in my opinion.

Predicted Winner: Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Runner-Up: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton 

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian), Amanda Seyfried (Mank), Helena Zengel (News of the World)

For Foster and Zengel, it’s an honor to be nominated. As for the other three, this feels like a genuine three performer race in which I could easily foresee Close, Colman, or Seyfried’s name being called. I’m calling this (with zero confidence) for Seyfried as I think HFPA could go with the relative newcomer over Close and Colman (who have each won three Globes).

Predicted Winner: Amanda Seyfried, Mank

Runner-Up: Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (just over Colman)

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), Jared Leto (The Little Things), Bill Murray (On the Rocks), Leslie Odom, Jr. (One Night in Miami)

Another really tough one. It would be right up HFPA’s alley to give Leto the surprise win. And Kaluuya and Odom Jr. are strong possibilities. I don’t feel great about saying Sacha will have this big of a night, but I kinda feel that’s the way this goes. Confidence level? Zilch.

Predicted Winner: Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah 

Best Screenplay

Nominees: The Father, Mank, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7

This is an additional race where voters could choose to honor Promising Young Woman, but Trial is the frontrunner and I’m not picking against it.

Predicted Winner: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up: Promising Young Woman

Best Animated Feature Film

Nominees: The Croods: A New Age, Onward, Over the Moon, Soul, Wolfwalkers

Don’t be surprised if this is the same Oscar five with the same result. While Wolfwalkers is a critical darling, it’s risky to bet against Pixar and I won’t do so.

Predicted Winner: Soul

Runner-Up: Wolfwalkers

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Another Round, La Llorona, The Life Ahead, Minari, Two of Us

The smart money is on Minari, which is expected to get a Best Picture nod from the Academy. However, I can’t help but point out that it picked up nominations nowhere else (including Actor, Supporting Actor, and Screenplay where it could have). That opens the door for Another Round which also has ardent supporters. I’m going for the slight upset.

Predicted Winner: Another Round

Runner-Up: Minari

Best Original Score

Nominees: Mank, The Midnight Sky, News of the World, Soul, Tenet

Another category that Oscar could match. And this may come down to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross vs. themselves for Mank and Soul. I’ll give their Pixar work the edge.

Predicted Winner: Soul

Runner-Up: Mank

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Fight for You” (Judas and the Black Messiah), “Hear My Voice” (The Trial of the Chicago 7), “lo si (Seen)” (The Life Ahead), “Speak Now” (One Night in Miami), “Tigress & Tweed” (The United States vs. Billie Holiday)

Anything could happen here, but “Speak Now” is a trendy pick for the Oscar and HFPA could follow suit.

Predicted Winner: “Speak Now” (One Night in Miami)

Runner-Up: “lo si (Seen)” from The Life Ahead

That means I’m predicting the following number of wins for these pictures:

3 Wins

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, The Trial of the Chicago 7

2 Wins

Soul

1 Win

Another Round, Mank, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, Promising Young Woman

And there you have it! My picks for the Sacha Baron… err, Golden Globes! Let’s see how it shakes out and I’ll have a post up Sunday night with my thoughts about the show and how I performed….

Oscar Watch: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Sacha Baron Cohen’s most famous and profitable alter ego returns this Friday via Amazon Prime with the release of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Or more specifically… Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (you can see why I abbreviated). The sequel to the surprise 2006 blockbuster was a surprise in itself as it was shot secretly this year.

If you’re asking whether the pic warrants an Oscar Watch post, I’ll remind you what happened 14 years ago. The original Borat scored a nod at the Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay (losing to The Departed). At the Golden Globes, the film itself made final cut in Best Musical/Comedy (losing to Dreamgirls) and Baron Cohen was victorious in Best Actor in that Musical/Comedy race.

The review embargo ended today and the results are mostly, well, very nice. With a current ranking of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, the general consensus is that it doesn’t quite the match the original but that it’s quite funny and often shocking and unexpectedly sweet. The latter description probably won’t be shared by Rudy Giuliani as headlines are suggesting he won’t like what ends up onscreen.

So could the sequel generate awards buzz? I have a hard time seeing part 2 contending in Adapted Screenplay. Yet the Globes could be a different story. Depending on how competitive the Musical/Comedy field is for Actor, Baron Cohen could find himself among the possibilities. It’s also worth mentioning that his costar Maria Bakalova (as the title character’s daughter) is getting some raves. Unfortunately for her, the Globes do not separate Drama and Musical/Comedy in the supporting races. I do think there’s an outside chance she gets some Oscar attention, but I wouldn’t count on it.

While the second Borat pic… or movie… or Moviefilm… may not garner Oscar love, its star still could. He is expected to be in the mix for Supporting Actor in The Trial of the Chicago 7 alongside his costars Mark Rylance and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (how many get in remains to be seen). My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Early 2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

My big announcement today is the selection of my first candidates for Best Actress in the 2020 Oscar field! If you happened to miss my predictions for the supporting categories and Best Actor, you can find them right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/08/10/early-2020-oscar-predictions-best-actor/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/08/09/early-2020-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actress/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/08/09/early-2020-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actor/

Unlike Best Actor, none of my initial top 5 picks here have seen their pictures screened. As discussed in previous posts, 2020 is a mighty speculative year for these early August estimates. The potential contenders are certainly some heavy hitters and it was, frankly, hard to whittle the list to this quintet. 4 of my 5 choices here are past winners. Both Viola Davis and Jennifer Hudson are Supporting Actress victors for 2016’s Fences and 2006’s Dreamgirls respectively. Frances McDormand is a two-time lead Actress winner for 1996’s Fargo and 2017’s Three Billboards Outside, Missouri. Kate Winslet took this prize in 2008 for The Reader. The only non-winner is Michelle Pfeiffer and she’s been nominated three times. If she makes it here, it would mark her first nod in 28 years since 1992’s Love Field. 

This is in addition to acclaimed actresses such as Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, and Julianne Moore as possibilities and up and comers like Jessie Buckley, Liu Yifei, and Rachel Zegler. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s the silver screen return of cinematic legend Sophia Loren. She last won an Oscar for Two Women some 60 years ago. Elisabeth Moss has two already released pics for which she’s received solid reviews. Of the two, Shirley seems more viable than the horror hit The Invisible Man.

In 2019, my original late summer projections yielded a whopping 4 of the 5 eventual nominees: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), and Charlize Theron (Bombshell). In my ten other possibilities, I also identified eventual trophy recipient Renee Zellweger as Judy. 

Lots of intrigue in this race and here’s the first take:

EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST ACTRESS

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Jennifer Hudson, Respect

Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit

Kate Winslet, Ammonite 

Other Possibilities: 

Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy

Jessie Buckley, I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Rashida Jones, On the Rocks 

Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead

Julianne Moore, The Glorias

Elisabeth Moss, Shirley

Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Liu Yifei, Mulan 

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

That completes the acting portions of the early predictions and Best Director is up next! Until then…

Top 25 SNL Alumni Performances: Numbers 5-1

The list of my personal top 25 cinematic performances from the many alumni at Saturday Night Live reaches the top 5 today! If you missed my previous entries covering numbers 25-6, you can find them all at the following links:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/06/21/top-25-snl-alumni-movie-performances-numbers-25-21/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/06/22/top-25-snl-alumni-movie-performances-numbers-20-16/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/06/24/top-25-snl-alumni-performances-numbers-15-11/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/06/25/top-25-snl-alumni-performances-numbers-10-6/

Let’s get to my overall favorites, shall we?

5. Chevy Chase, National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Chase’s finest and funniest work belongs to his doofus dad role as Clark Griswold in this classic that spawned three sequels, including the cherished Christmas Vacation. This is one of the pictures that can be rewatched endlessly and much of that is due to Chase’s signature performance.

4. Mike Myers, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Myers successfully translated his SNL character Wayne Campbell to the silver screen in 1992’s blockbuster Wayne’s World alongside his costar Dana Carvey (who nearly made the list for his work in that film). Yet the most hilarious work from Myers comes here as both the title character and (especially) nemesis Dr. Evil. Two sequels would give Myers an opportunity to play even more deliriously over the top parts.

3. Will Ferrell, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

After the back to back hits of Old School and Elf, Ferrell developed his most iconic character with his arrogant and clueless news anchor. Anchorman has deservedly became an all-time comedy classic.

2. Eddie Murphy, Coming to America (1988)

Let’s face it – this list could have been dominated by Eddie. I had Trading Places and The Nutty Professor in the top 25, but could have included 48 Hrs., Beverly Hills Cop, Bowfinger, Shrek, Dreamgirls, or Dolemite Is My Name as well. However, my personal favorite is this 1988 humorous fairy tale when Murphy was at the peak of his power. This is the first pic that gave him the opportunity to portray multiple characters and he certainly makes the most of it.

1. Bill Murray, Groundhog Day (1993)

Just as with Murphy, many movies from Murray could have made the cut. You already saw Ghostbusters and Lost in Translation on here and other contenders included Caddyshack, Scrooged, What About Bob?, Kingpin, Rushmore, and Zombieland. Overall, I go with Groundhog Day as his finest hour and #1 on the whole list. Simply put, I find Groundhog Day to be perfection and the quintessential vehicle for its versatile star.

And there you have it, folks! It’s been fun putting together the list and I hope you enjoyed reading it…

2019: The Year of Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler

One of the welcome cinematic storylines of 2019 involves two beloved Saturday Night Live vets who accomplished some of their finest film work, have garnered Oscar attention, and both returned to the show that made them after many years away.

I’m referring to Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler and they both get spots in my Year of 2019 posts. Murphy had been absent from the silver screen since 2016’s drama Mr. Church. Over the past several years, he was known more for his family comedies then the raunchy comedian that sold out stadiums in the 1980s. 2019 saw a return to form with Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name, his critically hailed recounting of Rudy Ray Moore’s contributions to movies. The pic has given Murphy his best reviews since 2006’s Dreamgirls and gotten him back into the Oscar conversation. We also witnessed the legendary performer host SNL for the first time in 35 years. 2020 will showcase Murphy returning to stand-up (something he hasn’t done since the late 1980s) and reprising his Prince Akeem character and others in Coming 2 America, which again teams him with Netflix and Dolemite director Craig Brewer.

Mr. Sandler also hit the 30 Rock building to headline SNL. He hadn’t been back in that role since being fired from the show in the mid 90s and embarking on his own wildly successful film career. The SNL gig saw him perform a humorous and touching tribute to cast mate Chris Farley. His partnership with Netflix includes this year’s Murder Mystery with Jennifer Aniston. There’s already a sequel planned for it. And the critical kudos came with crime thriller Uncut Gems, which opens wide on Christmas. That pic, from directors Ben and Josh Safdie, has Sandler picking up awards precursors and, like Murphy, in the mix for Academy attention. He’ll return to his preferred streaming service next year with Hubie Halloween.

For SNL, 2019 will be remembered as a time when two of their most famous alumni returned. For Murphy and Sandler, it’s a time when they gave us some of the most memorable onscreen work.