French director Olivier Assayas has flirted with Oscar attention before in titles such as CloudsofSilsMaria and PersonalShopper. Some of that awards chatter for both of them focused on the work of Kristen Stewart, but it never came to fruition.
His latest is the Stewart free WaspNetwork which follows a group of Cuban spies in 1990s Miami. The cast includes Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Ana de Armas. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival over the weekend to mixed results with IndieWire deeming it a misfire.
Assayas is certainly a filmmaker with a critical following, but it appears Wasp will not fly onto the radar screen of Academy voters. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Chilean director Pablo Larrain has history with Oscar voters and at the Venice Film Festival, he’s returned to his home country and unveiled his latest feature Ema. A marital drama starring Mariana Di Girolamo and Gael Garcia Bernal set in the reggaeton dance community, this is bound to be Chile’s selection in the newly coined Best International Feature race.
in 2012, Larrain saw his acclaimed No land a nod for what was then called Best Foreign Language Film. Five years later, AFantasticWoman won the gold statue. The director made his stateside debut with Jackie in 2016, in which Natalie Portman received an Actress nomination for her portrayal of the former First Lady.
Early reviews for Ema suggest it’s a vibrant winner. I suspect the Academy is highly likely to include it in their final five selections of honored pictures from across the globe. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
The Kindergarten Teacher premiered way back in January at the Sundance Film Festival and Maggie Gyllenhaal received raves for her role. Netflix snatched it up and it premiered on the streaming service October 12th. Sara Colangelo directs with a supporting cast including Parker Sevak, Anna Baryshnikov, and Gael Garcia Bernal. Any awards focus, however, will solely be on its star.
With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 89%, the film is garnering greater exposure now with its release. Could Gyllenhaal be a nominee in the Best Actress race? Despite heralded performances in Secretary and Sherrybaby, she has yet to be nominated in the lead category. Gyllenhaal did receive a Supporting Actress nod in 2009 for Crazy Heart. Coupled with her acclaimed work in HBO’s “The Deuce”, it’s been a good year for the actress. Yet I still suspect she’ll be on the outside looking in considering competition.
That said, Gyllenhaal is likely to appear in the bottom portions of my top 15 projections in my weekly Oscar predictions on Thursday. It would mark her first appearance thus far.
Bottom line: despite high marks, it would be a surprise to see Gyllenhaal score her first nomination in Best Actress. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Blogger’s Note (11/21): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my estimate up a bit from $50.5 million in the three-day to $54.1 million and $74.6 million for the five-day.
Disney/Pixar looks to brings hordes of family audiences in over the Thanksgiving holiday once again when Coco debuts next Wednesday. The musical fantasy centers around the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead and features the voices of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, and Edward James Olmos. It’s directed by Lee Unkrich, who last made Toy Story 3 for the studio.
The animated flick is already setting box office records in Mexico, which should be no major surprise given its setting. Reviews (as they typically are for Pixar) are solid with a current 96% Rotten Tomatoes score.
So how well will Coco perform stateside? Looking over the history of Disney’s Thanksgiving releases, there are several models to choose from. On the high-end, 2013’s Frozen took in $67.3 million for the three-day traditional Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend and $93.9 million for the five-day Wednesday to Sunday gross. On the low-end, 2015’s The Good Dinosaur only managed $39.1 million from Friday to Sunday and $55.4 million for the five-day. I don’t believe Coco will achieve the Frozen peak or the Dinosaur low.
Going back to just last year, Moana earned $56.6 million for the three-day and $82 million from Wednesday-Sunday. That would be on the higher end of expectations here, but it’s certainly feasible. Like Moana, our 2017 Disney offering has good buzz and looks to be the front-runner for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.
Yet I believe it may fall a bit below that and the best model I see goes back seven years to Tangled, which took in $48.7 million for the three-day and $68.7 million for the five-day. I’ll estimate Coco gets just above that.
Coco opening weekend prediction: $54.1 million (Friday to Sunday), $74.6 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
For my RomanJ. Israel, Esq. prediction, click here:
Ahead of its Thanksgiving weekend stateside debut, Pixar’s Coco has screened for critics and as is par for the course for the studio, reviews are exceedingly positive. The concept of the latest creation is centered around Mexico’s Day of the Dead holiday. Early critical reaction suggests it brings Pixar’s typical blend of heart and humor. Lee Unkrich, who co-directed MonstersInc. and FindingNemo and branched out solo with ToyStory3 is behind the camera. Voices included Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, and Edward James Olmos.
Since 2001 when the Academy created the Best Animated Feature category, Pixar has won eight times. The most recent was two years ago for InsideOut. So let’s get this out of the way right now – Coco is unquestionably the major front runner not just for a nomination in that race, but to win.
The real question is whether or not it stands a chance at sneaking into the Best Picture race. Only two of the studio’s works have – Up in 2009 and ToyStory3 the following year. The answer is probably not. While notices out this weekend are strong, it will likely follow the normal path of contending only in the animated portion of the evening’s festivities.