Oscar Watch: Doctor Sleep

When it was released nearly 40 years ago in theaters, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining was not considered the landmark horror classic that it is today. In fact, the film received zero Oscar nominations. It did score two Razzie nods. That ceremony celebrates the worst in moviemaking each year. Both Kubrick and Shelley Duvall as the terrified wife of Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance were singled out for their (apparently) subpar work.

That seems hard to fathom these days with its standing as one of the genre’s best. This weekend comes Doctor Sleep, the sequel to both Stephen King’s 1977 novel and Kubrick’s picture. Reviews are mostly solid, but not across the board and the Rotten Tomatoes score is at 78%.

Truth be told, Sleep was never expected to be an awards player and reaction so far hasn’t done anything to alter that. There is one potential, if unlikely, exception. Critical buzz has heaped praise on the supporting work of Rebecca Ferguson, who’s said to steal the show as a cult leader with psychic powers.

A performance being recognized in the horror space is quite rare. Just last year, there were numerous calls for Toni Collette to get Best Actress attention in Hereditary. It never happened. Ferguson absolutely needs critics groups to bestow her with wins in order to get anywhere on Academy voters radar. If that occurs, she may have a small shot. If so, she would be the sixth performer Oscar nominated from a King adaptation: Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie in Carrie, Kathy Bates (who won for Misery), Morgan Freeman for The Shawshank Redemption, and Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile.

Bottom line: Ferguson needs a whole lot of outside help to be a factor in the Supporting Actress derby and I wouldn’t count on it. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Doctor Sleep Box Office Prediction

Doctor Sleep hopes to shine at the box office next weekend. The horror pic is not just an adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 novel, which is the legendary author’s sequel to his 1977 work The Shining. It also serves as a follow-up to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic. Mike Flanagan, who’s adapted King before with Netflix’s Gerald’s Game, is behind the camera. Ewan McGregor stars as Dan Torrance, the adult version of the child that Jack Nicholson tormented almost 40 years ago. Costars include Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Carl Lumbly, Bruce Greenwood, and Cliff Curtis.

There’s no doubt that the cinematic version of The Shining has cemented its status as a genre landmark (even though King himself is famously not a big fan). The author has praised this and early word of mouth based off screenings is positive.

That said, 39 years is a long time ago. Interestingly, there’s a comp to be considered with 2017’s Blade Runner 2049. That sequel was also following an early 80s picture with a sterling reputation. Yet it came in well below expectations with a $31.5 million domestic premiere. Horror viewers tend to skew young, so it’s a legitimate question as to their affinity for the 1980 predecessor.

With all that considered, I’ll predict the Doctor is good for a mid 20s showing. This might be appointment viewing for some, but I’m skeptical it reaches over $30 million.

Doctor Sleep opening weekend prediction: $24.8 million

For my Last Christmas prediction, click here:


For my Midway prediction, click here:


For my Playing with Fire prediction, click here:


Christopher Robin Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (08/02/18): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my estimate down a tad from $34 million to $29.6 million

Disney’s Christopher Robin hopes to make a pot of money when it’s released next weekend. The mix of live-action and CG brings back Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and other notable creatures that originated from the 1926 novel. Ewan McGregor plays an adult Christopher with Hayley Atwell as his wife. Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Nick Mohammed, Peter Capaldi, and Sophie Okonedo provide voiceover work. Marc Forster directs. I’m guessing this is more in tone with his 2003 pic Finding Neverland and not Quantum of Solace and World War Z.

This is not to be confused with last year’s Goodbye Christopher Robin with Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie. That biopic about Pooh’s author went nowhere at the box office.

That shouldn’t be the case here. The Mouse Factory is certainly astute at marketing their product and the familiarity with Winnie and friends won’t hurt. It may even succeed at tapping into adult moviegoers hungry for a nostalgic fix. Depending on how high Mission: ImpossibleFallout flies this coming weekend, a low to possibly mid 30s gross from Robin could put it in contention for the top spot. That seems reasonable for where this begins.

Christopher Robin opening weekend prediction: $29.6 million

For my The Spy Who Dumped Me prediction, click here:


For my The Darkest Minds prediction, click here:


Beauty and the Beast Box Office Prediction

Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast arrives in theaters next weekend and it looks poised for quite a fantastic opening. Bill Condon serves behind the camera (he directed the last two Twilight installments recently) with Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. Costars include Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Emma Thompson.

The Mouse Factory has had tremendous success with their reboots of their classic animated tales. 2014’s Maleficent took in $241 million stateside. The following year, Cinderella cleared $200 million. Last year’s The Jungle Book scored even more impressively with $364 million.

Beauty stands a great shot at outdoing them all. For starters, the 1991 original is beloved (it was the first animated feature to nab a Best Picture nomination). The Disney marketing machine has been in high gear and turnout among youngsters and females in particular should be substantial. Reviews (while not gushing) have been solid and it stands at 73% on Rotten Tomatoes.

There is little doubt that this will post 2017’s largest opening so far. Just how high can it go? I am predicting it will achieve one of the top ten domestic premieres of all time. My estimate puts it at #10, right in between The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight for a truly beast mode roll out.

Beauty and the Beast opening weekend prediction: $158.8 million

For my The Belko Experiment prediction, click here:



Oscar Watch: American Pastoral

The Toronto Film Festival, arriving just days after Venice and Telluride, will continue to shape this year’s Oscar race. Entries of past years have gone onto see numerous nominations. Just last year, half of the eventual Best Picture nominees played up north including the winner Spotlight. And there were a number of films that featured acting nominees.

My Oscar Watch coverage of Toronto begins with American Pastoral, Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut based on Philip Roth’s crime drama novel. It’s been on the radar screen of awards prognosticators for some time. McGregor also stars alongside previous winner Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning.

In my first edition of weekly Academy predictions on Thursday, I listed Pastoral at #9 in the Picture race. The buzz coming from Toronto based on its screenings has changed that dynamic and not for the better. The pic received a number of mediocre reviews and it looks now as if Pastoral will be on the outside looking in for Oscar recognition. Its actors, too, are unlikely to find themselves in contention.

I’ll have the Oscar Watch posts continuing throughout the day… And throughout the festival.

Todd’s 2016 Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 8th Edition

As readers of my blog may have seen last week, I made my first initial round of Oscar predictions last week. Now… we move onto the next phase. Every Thursday, I will be giving my weekly updated Oscar predictions in the following categories: Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay.

When we get into the later part of the year, the list will expand to include other categories. Each Thursday, I will list 25 possibilities for Best Picture and 15 possibilities for the other races and you’ll be able to track whether the picks go up or down on a weekly basis.

Please note that if I rank something #1 in a certain race, it doesn’t mean I think it’ll win. It means I think its nomination is currently the most probable. The film festival season (especially Toronto) can and probably will alter some of these picks even next week.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1) La Land Land

2) Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

3) Silence

4) Fences

5) Moonlight

6) Loving

7) Manchester by the Sea

8) Nocturnal Animals

9) American Pastoral

Other Possibilities:

10) The Birth of a Nation

11) Lion

12) Jackie

13) Arrival

14) 20th Century Women

15) Hidden Figures

16) Sully

17) Passengers

18) Hell or High Water

19) Allied

20) Moana

21) The Founder

22) The Jungle Bok

23) Collateral Beauty

24) Gold

25) Live by Night

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1) Damien Chazelle, La La Land

2) Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

3) Martin Scorsese, Silence

4) Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

5) Denzel Washington, Fences

Other Possibilities:

6) Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

7) Jeff Nichols, Loving

8) Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

9) Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation

10) Denis Villenueve, Arrival

11) Garth Davis, Lion

12) Ewan McGregor, American Pastoral

13) Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures

14) Pablo Larrain, Jackie

15) Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1) Denzel Washington, Fences

2) Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

3) Joel Edgerton, Loving

4) Michael Keaton, The Founder

5) Joe Alwyn, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Other Possibilities:

6) Tom Hanks, Sully

7) Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals

8) Ryan Gosling, La La Land

9) Dev Patel, Lion

10) Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight

11) Bryan Cranston, Wakefield

12) Ewan McGregor, American Pastoral

13) Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation

14) Andrew Garfield, Silence

15) Miles Teller, Bleed for This

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1) Emma Stone, La La Land

2) Viola Davis, Fences

3) Natalie Portman, Jackie

4) Ruth Negga, Loving

5) Annette Bening, 20th Century Women

Other Possibilities:

6) Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals

7) Isabelle Huppert, Elle

8) Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

9) Amy Adams, Arrival

10) Rooney Mara, Una

11) Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures

12) Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers

13) Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train

14) Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane

15) Marion Cotillard, Allied

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1) Steve Martin, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

2) Liam Neeson, Silence

3) Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

4) Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

5) Stephen Henderson, Fences

Other Possibilities:

6) Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

7) Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins

8) Aaron Eckhart, Bleed for This

9) Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply

10) Timothy Spall, Denial

11) Billy Crudup, 20th Century Women

12) Vin Diesel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

13) John Legend, La La Land

14) Aaron Eckhart, Sully

15) Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1) Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

2) Naomie Harris, Moonlight

3) Laura Linney, Nocturnal Animals

4) Kristen Stewart, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

5) Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold

Other Possibilities:

6) Dakota Fanning, American Pastoral

7) Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women

8) Aja Naomi King, The Birth of a Nation

9) Nicole Kidman, Lion

10) Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

11) Julianne Moore, Maggie’s Plan

12) Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women

13) Helen Mirren, Collateral Beauty

14) Margo Martindale, The Hollars

15) Laura Dern, The Founder

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1) Manchester by the Sea

2) Moonlight

3) La La Land

4) Loving

5) Jackie

Other Possibilities:

6) 20th Century Women

7) Hell or High Water

8) The Lobster

9) The Birth of a Nation

10) The Founder

11) Zootopia

12) Gold

13) Passengers

14) Rules Don’t Apply

15) Allied

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1) Fences

2) Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

3) Nocturnal Animals

4) Silence

5) American Pastoral

Other Possibilities:

6) Lion

7) Hidden Figures

8) Arrival

9) Love & Friendship

10) The Girl on the Train

11) Elle

12) Sully

13) Live by Night

14) Denial

15) The Jungle Book

And that’ll do it for now, folks! My weekly updates will be back next Thursday…

2016 Early Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Day 5 of my early 2016 Oscar predictions continues with Best Director and this week has already helped solidify the standings of two: Damien Chazelle for La La Land (who looks like a shoo-in for a nod) and Tom Ford for Nocturnal Animals (not guaranteed; but very good chance).

Then there’s Martin Scorsese for Silence. The legendary director has been nominated 8 times for this award, including for five of his last six pictures (winning for 2006’s The Departed). It’s a safe pick to put him in, but the only uncertainty is whether or not Silence is actually released this year.

Ang Lee has won the award twice (for Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi) and his Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk looks poised for several nominations.

There are many other possibilities: Denzel Washington could land his first directorial attention for Fences. Jeff Nichols’ Loving has already been the subject of much acclaim. Both Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) could find themselves in the mix, as could Denis Villenueve (Arrival) and Morten Tyldum (Passengers) for their science fiction pics.

Also worth noting: Nate Parker for The Birth of a Nation. This is a tricky one as the movie has been a critical hit yet prevalent stories on his past have called into question whether the Academy will make that a factor. We shall see.

Here’s how I have the race right now:


Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Martin Scorsese, Silence

Denzel Washington, Fences

Other Possibilities:

Ben Affleck, Live by Night

Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply

Garth Davis, Lion

Ana DuVernay, The 13th

Clint Eastwood, Sully

Gareth Edwards, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

David Frankel, Collateral Beauty

Stephen Gaghan, Gold

John Lee Hancock, The Founder

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Ken Loach, I, Daniel Blake

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water

John Madden, Miss Sloane

Ewan McGregor, American Pastoral

Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures

Mike Mills, 20th Century Women

Jeff Nichols, Loving

Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation

Rob Reiner, LBJ

Tate Taylor, The Girl on the Train

Morten Tyldum, Passengers

Denis Villenueve, Arrival

Ben Younger, Bleed for This

Robert Zemeckis, Allied

Best Picture tomorrow!