September 30-October 2 Box Office Predictions

Horror pic Smile and Bros, the first gay rom com from a major studio, look to lead the end of September/early October box office. Both are getting solid notices with respective Rotten Tomatoes scores of 79% and 95%. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newbies here:

Smile Box Office Prediction

Bros Box Office Prediction

Smile has had a shrewd marketing campaign with a creepy teaser trailer that played in front Top Gun: Maverick all summer (so a lot of moviegoers saw it). My mid to high teens projection should put it in first place.

That’s unless Bros with Billy Eichner exceeds forecasts. However, my low teens estimate would give it runner-up status. I would not be surprised if it legs out well in subsequent weekends (I suspect word-of-mouth will be strong). **Speaking of forecasts, as of this writing, it remains to be seen if Hurricane Ian could negatively impact the weekend ahead.

With a B- Cinemascore, current champ Don’t Worry Darling could be headed towards a hefty sophomore drop after its solid premiere (more on that below). A mid to high 50s fall is possible. It should hold the 3 spot though The Woman King could give it a run for its money.

King and the Avatar re-release should fill out the rest of the top five and here’s how I envision it panning out:

1. Smile

Predicted Gross: $18.7 million

2. Bros

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million

3. Don’t Worry Darling

Predicted Gross: $8 million

4. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $7.4 million

5. Avatar

Predicted Gross: $6.6 million

Box Office Results (September 23-25)

Don’t Worry Darling, the much publicized thriller from Olivia Wilde and starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, started out strong and diminished throughout the weekend. Taking in $19.3 million, it just outdid my $18.9 million projection. It looked like $20 million plus was likely with a $3 million Thursday night start until it dwindled. With a reported $35 million budget, it’s a pleasing debut regardless.

The Woman King fell to second with $11 million, under my $13.2 million take. The acclaimed historical epic with Viola Davis has made $36 million in its first ten days.

Three months ahead of its long in development sequel, James Cameron’s Avatar was re-released and earned $10.5 million for third (surging beyond my $8.5 million projection). The fourth highest grossing domestic earner of all time is now at $771 million with that extra coin.

Barbarian continued its meager declines with a fourth place showing of $4.8 million. I was right on target with $4.9 million as the critically appreciated horror flick has made $28 million.

See How They Run was fifth in its sophomore outing and I incorrectly had it outside of the quintet. With $1.9 million, the weak two-week tally is $6 million.

Pearl was sixth as it also made $1.9 million. My guess? $1.9 million! Like Run, $6 million is its the total.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 21st Edition

So I wasn’t planning to do a new predictions post just five days after the last one, but a lot can change in five days! When I made those previous picks, I was sitting in my hotel room in Toronto getting ready to return to United States. On this inaugural trip to the festival, I saw awards hopefuls including The Fabelmans, Women Talking, The Whale, The Banshees of Inisherin, Empire of Light, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and The Son. 

The headline this afternoon is a shocker that’s resulted in universal confusion. Michelle Williams, considered to be a lock for Supporting Actress, will be campaigned for in lead Actress by Universal Pictures. I am doubly surprised because, having seen the film, there would be zero controversy with her in the supporting field. In fact, I would say it is more of a supporting performance than lead. Furthermore, a Williams victory seemed likely in the race she won’t be in. Best Actress is an entirely different ball game with Cate Blanchett (Tar), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Margot Robbie (Babylon), and Olivia Colman (Empire of Light). Nevertheless I’ll slot Williams in third place and she knocks out Danielle Deadwyler for the as yet unseen Till. There’s another dynamic potentially at play. Two years ago, Lakeith Stanfield was being touted in Best Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah. The Academy went ahead and nominated him in Supporting Actor. Don’t discount the idea that this could happen with Williams though I won’t predict that.

This Williams news isn’t the only unexpected developments of the week. RRR, RMN, and Godland were all ignored by their native countries as their submissions to the International Feature Film derby. There’s reporting that India’s RRR, in particular, will get a spirited campaign for Best Picture and tech races. Yet IFF was probably its strongest chance to show up on Oscar night.

In other developments:

    • An alteration in BP as I’m putting Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave in over Empire of Light. I’ll be honest – this was basically a coin flip between Decision to Leave or All Quiet on the Western Front. This also results in Chan-wook making the director cut over Todd Field for Tar. 
    • Due to the Williams news, Claire Foy is the new #1 in Supporting Actress for Women Talking. Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere) also joins the quintet.
    • In Supporting Actor, Brad Pitt (Babylon) is back in the mix due to the removal of Micheal Ward for Empire of Light. 

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (+2)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Whale (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Tar (PR: 8) (E)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 13) (+2)

12. She Said (PR: 12) (E)

13. Empire of Light (PR: 9) (-4)

14. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 14) (E)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 8) (E)

9. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Supporting Actress

4. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Florence Pugh, The Wonder

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 4) (E)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (moved to Best Actress)

Nina Hoss, Tar

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (-4)

9. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Babylon (PR: 4) (E)

5. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (E)

8. Bros (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Empire of Light (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Armageddon Time 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. She Said (PR: 3) (E)

4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 5) (+1)

5. White Noise (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Living (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Son (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Till (PR: Not Ranked)

10. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Bones and All 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 1) (E)

2. Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. Wendell and Wild (PR: 6) (+3)

4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (PR: 4) (E)

5. Strange World (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Sea Beast (PR: 5) (-1)

7. My Father’s Dragon (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Bad Guys (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Lightyear (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Minions: The Rise of Gru (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Decision to Leave (PR: 1) (E)

2. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 2) (E)

3. Close (PR: 3) (E)

4. Saint Omer (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Eight Mountains (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo (PR: 6) (E)

7. Argentina, 1985 (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Holy Spider (PR: 5) (-3)

9. EO (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Plan 75 (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

RMN

RRR

Best Documentary Feature:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (PR: 1) (E)

2. Descendant (PR: 2) (E)

3. Navalny (PR: 3) (E)

4. Fire of Love (PR: 4) (E)

5. Last Flight Home (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory (PR: 6) (E)

7. Black Ice (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Moonage Daydream (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Good Night Oppy (PR: 9) (E)

10. Riotsville, U.S.A. (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

All That Breathes 

Best Cinematography 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Empire of Light (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo (PR: 6) (E)

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 4) (-3)

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 10) (+2)

9. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Tar (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Whale

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Woman King (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Corsage (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Northman 

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (E)

5. Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Elvis (PR: 6) (E)

7. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 8) (E)

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Tar (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Triangle of Sadness

Decision to Leave 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Batman (PR: 4) (E)

5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Woman King (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: Not Ranked)

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (+1)

10. (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Blonde

The Fabelmans

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Babylon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Empire of Light (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 8) (+2)

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Tar (PR: 5) (-3)

9. The Batman (PR: 9) (E)

10. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (-3)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. “Nobody Like U” from Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman (PR: 5) (+2)

4. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing (PR: 4) (E)

5. “On My Way” from Marry Me (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (-3)

7. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR (PR: 7) (E)

8. “New Body Rhuma” from White Noise (PR: 8) (E)

9. “Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys (PR: 9) (E)

10. “Paper Airplanes” from A Jazzman’s Blues (PR: 10) (E)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 4) (E)

5. Empire of Light (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (E)

7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (+2)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Batman (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Bardo (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Everything Everywhere All at Once 

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 2) (E)

3. Elvis (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Batman (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Nope (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (E)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The Batman (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (E)

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Nope (PR: 10) (+2)

9. RRR (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 9) (-1)

And this equates to these pictures garnering the following numbers of nominations:

12 Nominations

Babylon

9 Nominations

The Fabelmans 

8 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

7 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Women Talking 

6 Nominations

Top Gun: Maverick

5 Nominations

Elvis, The Whale 

4 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water, Empire of Light

3 Nominations

Decision to Leave

2 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Tar, Triangle of Sadness, Turning Red

1 Nomination

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Close, Descendant, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Eight Mountains, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Last Flight Home, Living, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Marry Me, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Navalny, Saint Omer, She Said, The Son, Strange World, Tell It Like a Woman, Wendell and Wild, Where the Crawdads Sing, White Noise, The Woman King

September 23-25 Box Office Predictions

Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling with Florence Pugh and Harry Styles will test the “all publicity is good publicity” theory when it opens this weekend. We also have the re-release of James Cameron’s 2009 phenomenon Avatar ahead of the December debut of sequel Avatar: The Way of Water. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both here:

Don’t Worry Darling Box Office Prediction

Avatar Box Office Prediction

Darling, with my projected high teens start, should manage a first place showing. Yet it may need to worry a little about the sophomore hold of The Woman King (more on its opening below). I still think the former should edge the latter fairly easily.

Avatar is a little tricky to project (the reported 1800 screen count is lower than I would’ve thought). $10 million could be a reach and my estimate is in higher single digits. Either way, it’s looking at 3rd place.

As for the rest of the top 5, it should be filled with horror holdovers Barbarian and Pearl. 

Here’s how I see it:

1. Don’t Worry Darling

Predicted Gross: $18.9 million

2. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $12.4 million

3. Avatar

Predicted Gross: $8.5 million

4. Barbarian

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million

5. Pearl

Predicted Gross: $1.9 million

Box Office Results (September 16-18)

Viola Davis and company were crowned box office champions as The Woman King made $19 million. That’s better than my $14.7 million prediction as the historical action tale opened on the north end of its anticipated range. There’s better news still as it’s only the second 2022 release to nab an A+ Cinemascore grade (the other is Top Gun: Maverick). That should mean minimal drops in coming weekends and I only have it falling about 15% in weekend #2.

Barbarian held up well in its follow-up frame (especially for a horror pic) with $6.5 million (I was lower at $5 million). The critically heralded scary movie has made $21 million in ten days.

The fright fest competition may have hurt Pearl, which opened in third with $3.1 million (in line with my $3.4 million take). That’s more than a million under what its spring predecessor did out of the gate.

Audiences weren’t into solving the mystery of See How They Run as the Saoirse Ronan/Sam Rockwell caper posted a fourth place debut with $3 million (I was close with $3.2 million).

Finally, Bullet Train rounded out the top five with $2.5 million. This is on track with my $2.3 million estimate and the total is $96 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 16th Edition

As the Toronto Film Festival draws to a close, we have some significant updates since I did my last predictions 11 days ago!

And you may notice that, for the first time, I’m including all categories covering feature films. It’s the initial peek at what pics I believe will lead the nominations. The answer is Babylon (11) followed closely by The Fabelmans (10) followed closely by Everything Everywhere All at Once (9).

I’ve also made the shift of whittling 25 BP picks down to 15 possibilities and the other big races from 15 to 10.

I will point out that some categories (particularly Original Song) are in their infancy as far as knowing the contenders.

One year ago, my projections in mid-September yielded eight of the eventual 10 BP nominees and 3 of the 5 Directing hopefuls. For Best Actress – it was 4 of 5 and 3 of 5 for Actor. For Supporting Actress – 2/5, but Supporting Actor (somehow) was 0 for 5.

Let’s talk changes:

    • In Best Picture, I’m putting Empire of Light back in and removing The Son. You’ll send a trend there as The Son drew divided reactions in Venice and Toronto. It could still contend in more races than just Hugh Jackman in Actor, but for now, I’ve got it nabbing that sole nod.
    • Todd Field (Tar) is in the directing quintet over Ruben Ostlund for Triangle of Sadness.
    • Surprisingly enough, Actress and Actor remain the same.
    • Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin) crashes the Supporting Actress party with Vanessa Kirby (The Son) dropping.
    • I’ve put Micheal Ward back in Supporting Actor (I elevated him to lead recently). He’s in the final five along with a bit of an upset selection in Barry Keoghan for The Banshees of Inisherin. Zen McGrath (The Son) and Woody Harrelson (Triangle of Sadness) fall out.
    • Original Screenplay remains the same but Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is in Adapted Screenplay over (you guessed it) The Son.

You can peruse all the movement below and my inaugural take on the other derbies!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Whale (PR: 7) (+2)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Tar (PR: 8) (E)

9. Empire of Light (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (+1)

12. She Said (PR: 13) (+1)

13. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 20) (+6)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Son

Avatar: The Way of Water

White Noise

Bones and All

Armageddon Time

Till

Broker

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Living

Bardo

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Florian Zeller, The Son

James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water

Sam Mendes, Empire of Light

Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick

Noah Baumbach, White Noise

Baz Luhrmann, Elvis 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 12) (+5)

8. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 8) (E)

9. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Carey Mulligan, She Said 

Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Taylor Russell, Bones and All

Tang Wei, Decision to Leave

Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 2) (-2)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Song King-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (moved to Supporting)

Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All

Paul Mescal, Aftersun

Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans

Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier

Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 4) (+2)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+5)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 3) (-4)

8. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 15) (+5)

Dropped Out:

Laura Dern, The Son

Jean Smart, Babylon

Samantha Morton, She Said

Zoe Kazan, She Said

Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth

Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked – moved from Best Actor)

5. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

8. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Zen McGrath, The Son

Tom Hanks, Elvis

Anthony Hopkins, The Son

Mark Strong, Tar

Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans

Ralph Fiennes, The Menu

Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Babylon (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Armageddon Time (PR: 9) (E)

10. Bros (PR: 11) (+1)

Dropped Out:

Broker

Aftersun

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Bardo

The Menu

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Whale (PR: 3) (+1)

3. She Said (PR: 4) (+1)

4. White Noise (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (+4)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Son (PR: 1) (-5)

7. Living (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Bones and All (PR: 7) (-2)

10. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Till

The Lost King

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

The Wonder

Elvis

The Good Nurse 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

2. Turning Red

3. Strange World

4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

5. The Sea Beast

Other Possibilities:

6. Wendell and Wild

7. The Bad Guys

8. Lightyear

9. My Father’s Dragon

10. Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Decision to Leave

2. All Quiet on the Western Front

3. Close

4. Saint Omer

5. Holy Spider

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo

7. RMN

8. RRR

9. Plan 75

10. Argentina, 1985

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

2. Descendant

3. Navalny

4. Fire of Love

5. Last Flight Home

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory

7. Moonage Daydream

8. Riotsville, U.S.A.

9. Good Night Oppy

10. All That Breathes

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. Empire of Light

3. The Fabelmans

4. All Quiet on the Western Front

5. Top Gun: Maverick

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo

7. Avatar: The Way of Water

8. The Banshees of Inisherin

9. The Whale

10. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. Elvis

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

4. The Fabelmans

5. The Woman King

Other Possibilities:

6. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once

8. Three Thousand Years of Longing

9. The Northman

10. Corsage

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

2. Babylon

3. Top Gun: Maverick

4. The Fabelmans

5. Women Talking

Other Possibilities:

6. Elvis

7. Tar

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

9. Triangle of Sadness

10. Decision to Leave

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale

2. Babylon

3. Elvis

4. The Batman

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. Blonde

8. The Woman King

9. The Fabelmans

10. All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. The Fabelmans

3. Empire of Light

4. Women Talking

5. Tar

Other Possibilities:

6. The Banshees of Inisherin

7. Top Gun: Maverick

8. Avatar: The Way of Water

9. The Batman

10. All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Song

1. “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick

2. “Nobody Like U” from Turning Red

3. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

4. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing

5. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman

Other Possibilities:

6. “On My Way” from Marry Me

7. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR

8. “New Body Rhuma” from White Noise

9. “Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys

10. “Paper Airplanes” from A Jazzman’s Blues

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. The Fabelmans

3. Elvis

4. Avatar: The Way of Water

5. Empire of Light

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once

8. Bardo

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

10. The Batman

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick

2. Avatar: The Way of Water

3. Babylon

4. Elvis

5. The Batman

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. All Quiet on the Western Front

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once

9. Nope

10. The Fabelmans

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water

2. Top Gun: Maverick

3. The Batman

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once

5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Other Possibilities: 

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. RRR

8. All Quiet on the Western Front

9. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

10. Nope 

And that equates to this very first rundown of how many nominations I am projecting for each picture:

11 Nominations

Babylon

10 Nominations

The Fabelmans’

9 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

7 Nominations

Women Talking

6 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Empire of Light, Top Gun: Maverick

5 Nominations

Elvis, The Whale

4 Nominations

Tar

3 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman

2 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, Triangle of Sadness, Turning Red

1 Nomination

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Close, Decision to Leave, Descendant, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Holy Spider, Last Flight Home, Living, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Navalny, Saint Omer, The Sea Beast, She Said, The Son, Strange World, Tell It Like a Woman, Till, Where the Crawdads Sing, White Noise, The Woman King

Don’t Worry Darling Box Office Prediction

Much has been written about the behind the scenes happenings with Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling over the past several weeks. Her follow-up to 2019’s Booksmart, it has been a favorite of gossip pages. This involves everything from whether or not Shia LaBeouf was fired or quit before filming began or whether Wilde and Florence Pugh are on speaking terms. There was also SpitGate which focused on whether Harry Styles spat on costar Chris Pine at the Venice Film Festival. Spoiler alert: probably not. Will this ink mean pleasing returns when Darling debuts on September 23rd?

Wilde’s sophomore effort stars Pugh and Styles with costars including Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, and Pine. Said to be a Stepford Wives like psychological thriller, early reviews have been rather lackluster. Its Rotten Tomatoes meter is 40%.

Pugh is a rising star and, obviously, Styles has his legions of super fans. Yet that translates to music for the latter and we’ve yet to see if his pop star status can translate to big box office numbers. If you subscribe to the “all publicity is good publicity” theory, Darling could manage to top expectations and gross over $20 million for its start. I’m not so sure. I think the current projections of mid to high teens sounds about right.

Don’t Worry Darling opening weekend prediction: $18.9 million

For my Avatar prediction, click here:

Avatar Box Office Prediction

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 5th Edition

As I always say at the beginning of September on this blog – what a difference a few days makes as Venice is at its midpoint and Telluride occurred over the holiday weekend. The Toronto Film Festival begins Thursday. For the first time, I am thrilled to announce that I will be in attendance and have screenings scheduled for several potential heavy hitters! They include The Fabelmans, The Son, The Whale, Women Talking, The Banshees of Inisherin, Triangle of Sadness, Empire of Light, The Menu, The Wonder, Bros, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, and The Good Nurse. 

The fall festivals always cause the fortunes of certain pictures to rise and fall. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Bardo received mixed reviews out of Lido and it has dropped out of my predictions in Picture, Director, Actor (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), and Supporting Actress (Griselda Sicillani). On the other hand, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking looks to have solidified its position as a BP hopeful while Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley appear to be the two likeliest nominees from its ensemble. Cate Blanchett (Tar) and Brendan Fraser (The Whale) have positioned themselves as surefire nominees and potential winners in the lead acting derbies. Tar itself improved its standing in Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay. Empire of Light is no slam dunk for BP, but it’s in the mix and Olivia Colman seems solid in Actress. The Banshees of Inisherin may be Fox Searchlight’s better hope over Empire. It drew a rapturous Venice reaction today and has vaulted into Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Original Screenplay on my chart. Bones and All, despite some gushing reviews, could face challenges to fit into the BP race. Don’t Worry Darling, due to some middling write-ups, is probably toast.

Of course, we know that festivals are not the end all and be all for final verdicts. For example, Armageddon Time from James Gray seemed DOA after a so-so Cannes bow in the summer. Yet when it played Telluride over the weekend, the buzz was stronger. It’s awards heart is beating again – even if faintly.

This will probably be my last update for two weeks as I’ll be a Canadian for a few days. You can bet you’ll see lots of other individual Oscar prediction posts as well as reviews of the aforementioned pictures. When I update in a couple of weeks, I’m anticipating branching out to all races covering feature films. Until then, you can peruse all the movement (and there is definitely a lot of it) below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Son (PR: 5) (E)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+4)

7. The Whale (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Tar (PR: 11) (+3)

9. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 18) (+9)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (E)

13. She Said (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 16) (+2)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

16. White Noise (PR: 13) (-3)

17. Bones and All (PR: 22) (+5)

18. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

19. Till (PR: 20) (+1)

20. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 23) (+3)

21. Broker (PR: 17) (-4)

22. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 19) (-3)

23. Living (PR: 25) (+2)

24. Bardo (PR: 4) (-20)

25. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 24) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Menu

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 11) (+5)

7. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 9) (+1)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo

Maria Schrader, She Said 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (E)

7. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 10) (E)

11. Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Taylor Russell, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Regina King, Shirley (moved to 2023)

Frances McDormand, Women Talking (role not large enough)

Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 10) (+6)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (E)

8. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 14) (+10)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 6) (E)

7. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (-3)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (-3)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (-4)

15. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Griselda Sicillani, Bardo

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR 2) (E)

3. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 3) (E)

4. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (+4)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

8. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 9) (E)

10. Anthony Hopkins, The Son (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Mark Strong, Tar (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (E)

14. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 14) (E)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Colin Firth, Empire of Light

Toby Jones, Empire of Light

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (+4)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Babylon (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Broker (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Bros (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Bardo (PR: 5) (-9)

15. The Menu (PR: 10) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Don’t Worry Darling

Chevalier

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. She Said (PR: 4) (E)

5. White Noise (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Bones and All (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Living (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (E)

10. Till (PR: 10) (E)

11. The Lost King (PR: 11) (E)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 12) (E)

13. The Wonder (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Elvis (PR: 13) (-1)

15. The Good Nurse (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King 

Oscar Predictions: Don’t Worry Darling

For weeks, there’s been loads of gossip pieces focused on Olivia Wilde’s sophomore effort Don’t Worry Darling (her follow-up to her glowingly received 2019 teen comedy Booksmart). They have everything to do with the director’s romance with costar and pop superstar Harry Styles, Florence Pugh’s decision not to participate in promotion for the picture, and confusion over whether original cast mate Shia LaBeouf quit the project or was fired. Even today, the Venice press conference is generating memes of Chris Pine looking like he’d rather be fighting Thanos somewhere.

None of this chatter has anything to do with the quality of the movie. That’s finally part of the discussion today as it has screened at Lido prior to its September 23rd release. The verdict? I don’t think Warner Bros needs to worry much about its awards campaign spending. They could cut that budget as Darling is posting mostly mediocre reviews (39% on RT at press time). Don’t get me wrong – they’re not all terrible, but none are strong enough to warrant any thought of Oscar nods.

Said to be a so-so Stepford Wives knockoff, Pugh is the beneficiary of the best ink. However, I’d say her performance in December’s The Wonder (which screened at Telluride over the weekend) gives her a better chance at a nomination. We’ll know soon if Darling is a financial success based on the “all press is good press” theory. It’s safe to say that won’t translate to the awards season. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: The Wonder

Florence Pugh’s turn in the forthcoming Don’t Worry Darling (which is readying its Venice debut) might be her highest profile autumn project. Yet the actress (a Supporting Actress nominee for Little Women in 2019) is generating kudos for The Wonder, which has premiered at Telluride. A November theatrical release is planned prior to a December Netflix bow.

Sebastian Lelio directs the drama set in 1860s Ireland. He’s known for critically appreciated efforts like Disobedience and Gloria Bell and five years ago, his Chilean pic A Fantastic Woman won the international feature prize from the Academy. Pugh stars as a nurse tasked with monitoring a young girl said to have survived without food for months. Tom Burke, Niamh Algar, Toby Jones, and Ciaran Hinds costar. The screenplay comes from Emma Donoghue and it’s based on her own novel. She is best known for the book and script for Room, which won Brie Larson a Best Actress Oscar.

The smattering of reviews out are mostly positive though they don’t have me thinking The Wonder is a Best Picture contender. I could see Netflix pushing Pugh in lead actress. And with that… get used to this refrain. I believe 60% of the Actress field might be set already. That would be Michelle Yeah in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Cate Blanchett for Tar, and Olivia Colman for Empire of Light (my post for that is about to be published so consider this a spoiler alert). Pugh and anyone else could be competing for two slots and there’s plenty of performances left unseen.

Bottom line: I wouldn’t count Pugh out based on initial reaction for The Wonder but competition is already severe. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Venice Film Festival Preview

How important is the Venice Film Festival when it comes to premiering Oscar hopefuls? In the past decade, nearly half of the Best Picture winners got their rollout in Italy. That would be Birdman, Spotlight, The Shape of Water, and Nomadland. It’s tough to find a recent Venice fest where there’s not at least 2 eventual nominees for the Academy’s biggest race.

This year’s competition kicks off tomorrow and you can anticipate plenty of individualized Oscar prediction posts coming your way. Telluride follows this weekend (with the lineup announcement on Thursday) and Toronto starts next Thursday (I’ll be there!).

Let’s take a look at ten Venice entries looking to create their Oscar buzz over the next few days…

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed 

Laura Poitras, who won an Academy Award for her 2014 Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, turns her eye to activist Nan Goldin and her fight against the opioid epidemic. This could certainly be a player in the Doc competition.

The Banshees of Inisherin 

The last time filmmaker Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell, and Brendan Gleeson collaborated, the result was the acclaimed 2008 black comedy In Bruges. They’re playing in the same genre here with McDonagh’s follow-up to 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which earned acting Oscars for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.

Bardo

3 out of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s last four films were nominated for Best Picture. Birdman took gold with Babel and The Revenant contending. Expectations are that his latest drama (available on Netflix in December) could be the streamer’s most serious contender and it could immediately become a frontrunner for International Feature Film.

Blonde

Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana de Armas (another Netflix offering) comes with an NC-17 rating and lots of prognosticators wondering if it’s too risqué to get awards attention. We’ll know soon.

Bones & All

Luca Guadagnino had a pic in the BP derby five years ago with Call Me by Your Name and then followed with the confounding Suspiria remake. This horror romance with cannibalistic themes stars Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell. I have’t really had this as much of a threat for the Oscar race so let’s see if that narrative shifts.

Don’t Worry Darling

Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to Booksmart is a tale of marital and suburban strife headlined by Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. The thriller  has been generating headlines for some wrong reasons lately, but great reviews could turn that buzz around.

The Son

Florian Zeller took home a Screenplay Oscar for 2020’s The Father while Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor. The Father is next and Hugh Jackman is seeking his first statue. The supporting cast includes Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, and Hopkins. Any and all could be in the mix for acting honors.

Tar

Cate Blanchett could be lined up for a third Oscar win in Todd Field’s latest in which the acclaimed actress plays a composer. It’s the director’s first feature in over 15 years after both In the Bedroom and Little Children received Academy nods.

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky directed Natalie Portman to the podium in 2010’s Black Swan. There’s chatter he could do the same and assist in mounting a significant career comeback for Brendan Fraser (something he did for Mickey Rourke with 2008’s The Wrestler). The Mummy star plays a 600 pound man reconnecting with his daughter (Sadie Sink).

White Noise

Noah Baumbach’s last Netflix film was the BP contending Marriage Story from 2019. His Marriage star Adam Driver is back in this adaptation of a 1980s sci-fi dark comedy. It will open Venice tomorrow and it will be my first Oscar Predictions post. Stay tuned!

2022 Oscar Predictions: August 26th Edition

My final Oscar predictions for the month of August could rightfully be called the calm before the storm. That’s because Venice, Telluride, and Toronto are about to blow in screenings for several legitimate contenders. And there’s no doubt it will change the forecasts below.

My plan is to do the next update on Labor Day (ten days from now). By that point, there should be reviews and awards buzz out for Venice pics like White Noise, Tar, Bardo, Bones and All, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Don’t Worry Darling, among others. There’s also anything that plays Telluride over the holiday weekend (expect that to potentially include The Son and Women Talking). My next update should be about a week later.

Those next updates will incorporate the lengthy list of Toronto screenings and late Venice leftovers. That list includes Blonde, The Fabelmans, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, Empire of Light, The Good Nurse, The Menu, The Lost King, The Woman King, Bros, Chevalier, and more. In other words… buckle up because the Oscar picture is going to be in much sharper focus over the next three weeks!

My Best Picture ten remains the same, but I’ve made a change in Director with Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness) in over Sarah Polley for Women Talking. 

In Best Actress, there’s a new #1 as I’ve vaulted Cate Blanchett (Tar) to the top spot over Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once). Yeoh spent only a week in first after she replaced Babylon‘s Margot Robbie, who’s now in third position. We will know in a matter of days whether Blanchett’s promotion is warranted courtesy of Venice.

I’ve switched Micheal Ward’s performance in Empire of Light from supporting to lead. Toronto’s fest should shed light on whether that’s the right call. Due to this, Bill Nighy (Living) falls out of my actor quintet. In Supporting Actor, Babylon‘s Brad Pitt is back in the mix since I’ve taken Ward out. In Original Screenplay, I’m switching in Bardo with The Banshees of Inisherin out.

You can read all the movement below and keep an eye out for lots of individualized prediction posts for the pictures playing in Italy, Colorado, and Canada in the coming weeks!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Son (PR: 6) (+1)

6. Women Talking (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Whale (PR: 8) (E)

9. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Tar (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 14) (+2)

13. White Noise (PR: 12) (-1)

14. She Said (PR: 11) (-3)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

16. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 16) (E)

17. Broker (PR: 20) (+3)

18. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 17) (-1)

19. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 21) (+2)

20. Till (PR: 18) (-2)

21. The Menu (PR: 22) (+1)

22. Bones and All (PR: 19) (-3)

23. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

24. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 25) (+1)

25. Living (PR: 24) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (E)

9. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 9) (E)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 13) (+2)

12. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 14) (E)

15. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: 15) (E)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 3) (+2)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (E)

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 10) (E)

11. Frances McDormand, Women Talking (PR: 11) (E)

12. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Helen Mirren, Golda (moved to 2023)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Supporting

Other Possibilities:

6. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-3)

11. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye

Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All

Harry Styles, My Policeman 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (E)

4. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (E)

5. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 10) (-2)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 14) (-1)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+5)

10. Toby Jones, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Anthony Hopkins, The Son (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (-3)

14. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (moved to Best Actor)

Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

    1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Bardo (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Tar (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Menu (PR: 10) (E)

11. Broker (PR: 11) (E)

12. Bros (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 14) (E)

15. Chevalier (PR: 15) (E)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. She Said (PR: 5) (+1)

5. White Noise (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Living (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Bones and All (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Till (PR: 9) (-1)

11. The Lost King (PR: 14) (+3)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 12) (E)

13. Elvis (PR: 15) (+2)

14. The Good Nurse (PR: Not Ranked)

15. The Woman King (PR: 11) (-4)

Dropped Out:

Blonde