95th Academy Awards Reaction

It was indeed a slap free almost four hours of TV at the Oscars Sunday night. However, half of the Best Picture nominees were smacked down with zero victories: The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, The Fabelmans, Tár, and Triangle of Sadness.

There’s no doubt that Everything Everywhere All at Once was the massive winner of the proceedings, emerging victorious in seven of its 11 nods. It was also a loudly pleasing reception for All Quiet on the Western Front with a better than anticipated four trophies.

As for my numbers, I went 13 for 20. Over the past half decade, I’ve had far stronger showings in the odd numbered years than even numbered ones and my 2022 results were again on the lower end of the spectrum.

Everything took home the most above the line awards (6) of any picture in Academy history: Picture, Director (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), and Original Screenplay (also the Daniels). It also won Film Editing. I correctly called all of those except for Supporting Actress where I went with Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin). This is the first pic in (get this!) 46 years to nab three of the four acting races. That’s since Network in 1976.

When Elvis lost to The Whale for Makeup and Hairstyling (which I got wrong), prognosticators across the Twitterverse and beyond knew that it could be a sign Brendan Fraser may take the gold over Austin Butler. And indeed that’s what happened – meaning I missed two of the four acting derbies. Let it be noted, by the way, that the Academy exactly matched SAG in those four competitions.

All Quiet grabbed International Feature Film and Cinematography as predicted. It additionally took Production Design (over my Babylon call) and Original Score (over my pick of The Fabelmans). I projected Quiet for Sound, but instead it marked the only victory for Top Gun: Maverick.

Animated Feature and Documentary Feature went, as anticipated, to Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio and Navalny. Song was “Naatu Naatu” from RRR and Avatar: The Way of Water in Visual Effects (correct picks) with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in Costume Design over my Elvis pick.

And it was Sarah Polley in Adapted Screenplay for Women Talking. As far as the 95th Academy Awards, we’ll be talking about a historic night for one film in particular. It didn’t win everything, but it did so everywhere it was expected to and beyond. And it was also an evening filled with some genuinely heartfelt speeches and touching wins capped off by Indiana Jones embracing Short Round nearly 40 years later!

FINAL Oscar Predictions: 95th Academy Awards

After nearly a year of speculation on the blog and the new podcast (look up Movies at the Speed of Speculation on your favorite pod platform, folks!), the time has come to make my final picks for the winners at the 95th Academy Awards. The ceremony comes our way Sunday night with Jimmy Kimmel hosting and here’s hoping the presenters are given the correct envelopes and that no one gets slapped.

For some context, here’s how I did in the previous four Oscars (note that there were 21 races through 2019 because the sound competitions were divided into Editing and Mixing until their combination).

2018: 14/21

2019: 18/21

2020: 13/20

2021: 17/20

Note that I seem to do better in the odd numbered years. That could repeat for 2022 as three of the four acting derbies are highly tricky to pick and there are other down-the-line competitions that could go in different directions. As for Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Animated Feature, and International Feature Film… not so much.

Let’s go through them one by one and I’ll give you my winner and runner-up projection!

Best Picture

All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness, Women Talking

The tricky part isn’t picking the victor. It’s picking the runner-up. That’s because Everything has taken, well, nearly everything. PGA. DGA. WGA. SAG Ensemble. Critics Choice.

OK, so All Quiet received the BAFTA and The Fabelmans and The Banshees of Inisherin were your respective Drama and Musical/Comedy recipients at the Golden Globes. Yet the momentum has been with Everything for some time and it is the easy pick for the biggest prize of the night.

Given that a screenplay and acting statue are legitimately in play, Banshees has the strongest argument for a package of trophies that could include BP. It’s a distant runner-up.

Predicted Winner: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Director

Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Todd Field (Tár), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness), Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)

I suppose the voters could go the Globe route and bestow their honor on the legendary Spielberg. Doubtful. Look for the Academy to match the DGA and Critics Choice selections of Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

Predicted Winner: Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Runner-Up: Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett (Tár), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie), Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Now it gets tough. Blanchett’s towering work could be undeniable as it was to BAFTA and Critics Choice (similar to how Anthony Hopkins from The Father managed a win over Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom two years ago). The BP momentum and SAG could push Yeoh over the line. This is a coin flip and I’m siding with the momentum.

Predicted Winner: Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: Cate Blanchett, Tár

Best Actor

Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Paul Mescal (Aftersun), Bill Nighy (Living)

A three-person race dwindled when Farrell lost the BAFTA. It went instead to Butler and he also won the Globe (over Fraser). SAG and Critics Choice went to Fraser. I have gone back and forth on this endlessly. If Fraser won, he would break a precedent of the victorious Actor’s movie being up for Best Picture. You have to go back to 2009 and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) to find the last one whose film wasn’t in the BP lineup. I cannot stress enough that this is 50.5/49.5.

Predicted Winner: Austin Butler, Elvis

Runner-Up: Brendan Fraser, The Whale

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Hong Chau (The Whale), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Unlike Actress and Actor, this is between three nominees. Curtis surprisingly nabbed SAG while Bassett took Critics Choice and the Globe. Both are actresses whose wins could double as career achievement honors. I have a suspicion that the Academy may instead look at BAFTA winner Condon as their best opportunity to throw Banshees a bone.

Predicted Winner: Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin

Runner-Up: Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Best Supporting Actor

Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway), Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans), Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Keoghan is the #2 since he unexpectedly won BAFTA. That said, this is the simplest acting race to project as Quan has won everything everywhere else.

Predicted Winner: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Adapted Screenplay

All Quiet on the Western Front, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Living, Top Gun: Maverick, Women Talking

If All Quiet over performs (and it might), it could emerge here. The smart money is on Sarah Polley and WGA honored script for Talking.

Predicted Winner: Women Talking

Runner-Up: All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Screenplay

The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Triangle of Sadness

Here’s another category where voters could single out Banshees. Still – I’m not going against the strong BP frontrunner.

Predicted Winner: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Animated Feature

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, The Sea Beast, Turning Red

del Toro’s version of the classic tale has taken all precursors that matter. This is one of the uncomplicated calls.

Predicted Winner: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Runner-Up: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Best International Feature Film

All Quiet on the Western Front, Argentina, 1985, Close, EO, The Quiet Girl

This might even be more automatic than Animated Feature. As your lone BP contestant, All Quiet will make noise here.

Predicted Winner: All Quiet on the Western Front

Runner-Up: Argentina, 1985

Best Documentary Feature

All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Fire of Love, A House Made of Splinters, Navalny

Tough pick. Breathes and Beauty are viable. I’ve picked Fire of Love over Navalny twice in Critics Choice and PGA and missed both times. Not again.

Predicted Winner: Navalny

Runner-Up: Fire of Love

Best Cinematography

All Quiet on the Western Front, Bardo, Elvis, Empire of Light, Tár

When perceived favorite Top Gun: Maverick shockingly failed to make this quintet, the race opened up. Elvis could make history and have the first female winner in Mandy Walker. It’s tempting to pick her, but I’ll go with Quiet.

Predicted Winner: All Quiet on the Western Front

Runner-Up: Elvis

Best Costume Design

Babylon, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

On the other hand, here’s one where Elvis could take the gold. I wouldn’t count out Panther or even Everything if its sweep branches into upsets.

Predicted Winner: Elvis

Runner-Up: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Best Film Editing

The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick

Maverick is in the mix, but Everything should extend its haul.

Predicted Winner: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: Top Gun: Maverick

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

All Quiet on the Western Front, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Elvis, The Whale

The Whale and Western are possible. I’m giving this one to The King, however.

Predicted Winner: Elvis

Runner-Up: The Whale

Best Original Score

All Quiet on the Western Front, Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans

This is one of the most open categories. I don’t see Banshees landing this. All 4 others are possible. Babylon or Western might be the smart pick, but this is the one true upset I’m selecting and projecting a Fabelmans/John Williams appreciation victory.

Predicted Winner: The Fabelmans

Runner-Up: Babylon

Best Original Song

“Tell It Like a Woman” from Applause, “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

I don’t believe this is cut and dry. The star power of Gaga and Rihanna or an Everything expansion everywhere could make it interesting. “Naatu Naatu” has dominated the precursors and I’m not going with two upsets in the musical competitions.

Predicted Winner: “Naatu Naatu” from RRR

Runner-Up: “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick

Best Production Design

All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon, Elvis, The Fabelmans

This is where Babylon should be Oscar winner Babylon though Elvis lurks.

Predicted Winner: Babylon

Runner-Up: Elvis

Best Sound

All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick

And this is where Top Gun: Maverick should get its Oscar. Yet I’m going with a minor upset pick with Western. That means I’m projecting Maverick ends up 0 for 6.

Predicted Winner: All Quiet on the Western Front

Runner-Up: Top Gun: Maverick

Best Visual Effects

All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Top Gun: Maverick

No real Maverick shot in VE because Avatar is one of the automatic category picks.

Predicted Winner: Avatar: The Way of Water

Runner-Up: Top Gun: Maverick

That equates to these movies achieving these numbers of wins:

6 Wins

Everything Everywhere All at Once

3 Wins

All Quiet on the Western Front, Elvis

1 Win

Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, The Fabelmans, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Navalny, RRR, Women Talking

I’ll have a recap up Sunday evening or Monday on the blog and the podcast!

Oscar Watch – PAW Patrol: The Movie

Let us begin with what might be the obvious disclaimer: I did not think I would be writing an Oscar Watch post on PAW Patrol: The Movie. Opening Friday, the cinematic rendering of Nickelodeon’s popular kids show was simply not on my radar screen for potential contenders in Best Animated Feature.

I’m not losing my marbles here. You won’t see me pontificating about whether Kim Kardashian gets a Supporting Actress nod for her voice work. Yet the fact of the matter is this… Patrol stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment. Some caveats: this is based on 13 reviews thus far. And a lot of the critical reaction isn’t exactly claiming this is a masterpiece. The general consensus is that fans of the show will lap it up and their attending adults might even be reasonably entertained.

So could this actually land a nomination? Well, it’s possible but still doubtful. As I’ve discussed before in my previous OW posts, this particularly race is already getting crowded. The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Luca, Vivo, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Flee (not out yet but recipient of Sundance raves) are all more likely contenders. And that’s five. Additionally, Encanto and Wendell and Wild are still to come and, on paper, should be serious hopefuls.

Bottom line: Tomatoes meter notwithstanding, don’t count on this getting in. However, it is certainly more of a possibility than anyone could have envisioned just days ago. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

PAW Patrol: The Movie Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (08/18): I am revising my PAW Patrol: The Movie estimate up from $7.9M to $10.8M.

Will young pups across North America be begging their guardian masters for the opportunity to see PAW Patrol: The Movie next weekend? That’s what Paramount is hoping for as the Canadian based Nickelodeon series hits the big screen. The animated show has been on tube since 2013 and the voice regulars (Kingsley Marshall, Keegan Hedley, Shayle Simons, Lilly Bartlam, and Ron Pardo) are heard here. We also have some famous to sorta famous faces lending their vocal talents. They include Iain Armitage, Marsai Martin, Yara Shahidi, Kim Kardashian, Randall Park, Dax Shepard, Tyler Perry, and Jimmy Kimmel. Cal Brunker (maker of Escape from Planet Earth and The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature) directs.

So will the intended crowd be down with PP? Clearly the TV show has a following. However, it certainly skews younger than most animated titles so the kiddie pool is limited. This will also be premiering simultaneously on Paramount+. While it may not have the reach of the streaming big daddies, it could still siphon away some viewers. Perhaps most importantly, mid to late August is a tricky time for this genre as children are heading back to school.

Family entertainment offerings like Space Jam: A New Legacy and Jungle Cruise have slightly exceeded expectations lately. It’s fair to say they didn’t face some of the hurdles PAW does. A slightly better comp might be The Boss Baby: Family Business, which recently debuted with just over $17 million. I’d be surprised if PAW matched it. It might be lucky to earn half of that and that’s what I’m thinking.

PAW Patrol: The Movie opening weekend prediction: $10.8 million

For my Reminiscence prediction, click here:

Reminiscence Box Office Prediction

For my The Protege prediction, click here:

The Protege Box Office Prediction

For my The Night House prediction, click here:

The Night House Box Office Prediction

The Boss Baby: Family Business Box Office Prediction

The Boss Baby: Family Business looks to pacify little ones and their parents over the Independence Day weekend. The DreamWorks animated sequel follows up on the March 2017 pic which greatly over performed with its target audience. Alec Baldwin is back voicing the title character alongside James Marsden, Amy Sedaris, Ariana Greenblatt, Eva Longoria, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, and Jeff Goldblum. Tom McGrath resumes directorial duties.

In the spring of 2017, The Boss Baby was projected to earn around $30 million for its start. However, it blew past those estimates with $50.2 million in its opening frame and eventually took in $175 million domestically. Several factors are likely to complicate that kind of debut for part II.

For one, some of the little viewers who flocked to see it are four years older now. COVID-19 is still somewhat limiting potential. This was originally slated for March before its pandemic related delay. Family Business is also hitting streamer Peacock on the same day and some may simply choose to hold their Baby viewing from the comfort of home. That said, Peacock is not anywhere in the spectator realm of the big boys like Netflix, Amazon, or HBO Max as of yet.

Estimates have this reaching approximately $20 million over the holiday. I’ll give it a slight Baby bump considering its predecessor easily managed to top forecasts.

The Boss Baby: Family Business opening weekend prediction: $21.7 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my The Forever Purge prediction, click here:


Oscar Watch: Teen Titans! Go To the Movies

This Friday, Warner Bros animation is out with Teen Titans! Go To the Movies based on the Cartoon Network series. It’s a superhero spoof blending the characters of the show with notable icons from their catalog, including Nicolas Cage voicing Superman and Jimmy Kimmel as the Caped Crusader.

Early reviews are quite encouraging and it currently stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. It has the potential to be a summer sleeper that could appeal to kids and their parents. Will  Oscar take note?

That could be a reach. Warner Bros has had a critically acclaimed output recently with their Lego series. However, The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie, and The Lego Ninjago Movie all failed to garner recognition in the Best Animated Feature category.

We can pretty safely say that two 2018 releases are already in for nods: Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs and Pixar’s superhero toon Incredibles 2. And there’s plenty more animated material to come. Despite positive buzz, that could mean Academy voters could fail to remember the Titans in a few months.

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies Box Office Prediction

***Blogger’s Note II (07/26): On the eve of its premiere, I’m bumping my estimate back up from $13.4M to $16.4M

**Blogger’s Note (07/20): My estimate for Titans has dwindled from $17.4M to just $13.4M. That could mean a debut in the lower rungs of the top 5.

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies attempts to be the next animated hit of the summer when it debuts next weekend. This is a big screen version of the Cartoon Network’s series that debuted five years ago focusing on some fresh DC Comics superheroes. The cast of the show is here to voice their characters including Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, and Hynden Walch. And we have some familiar faces joining the voice over party including Kristen Bell, Will Arnett, Jimmy Kimmel as Batman, James Corden, Halsey, and Lil Yachty. Nicolas Cage, who was supposed to play the Man of Steel in a scrapped live-action Tim Burton pic nearly two decades ago, finally gets to be Superman.

Fans of the series won’t propel this to the heights of other animated efforts this season like Incredibles 2 or Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. While Mission: Impossible – Fallout will undoubtedly dominate the charts next weekend, Titans will make a go for the #2 spot over holdovers Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and The Equalizer 2. 

A mid to high teens gross might be enough to achieve it and that’s the ballpark where I have this landing.

Teens Titans Go! To The Movies opening weekend prediction: $16.4 million

For my Mission: Impossible – Fallout prediction, click here:


The Shape of Oscar 2017

Well, the 90th Annual Academy Awards have come and – after 220 minutes of ceremony – gone. This is my annual wrap up of the show and (of course most importantly) how I did with my predictions!

In short, not too shabby…

I went 19/21 on my predictions – missing out on just Best Original Song (“Remember Me” from Coco won over my upset pick “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall and A Fantastic Woman took Foreign Film over The Insult). Neither were a surprise.

In fact, the night was rather predictable as far as winners. The Shape of Water was the big victor, taking Picture, Director (Guillermo del Toro), Production Design, and Original Score. The acting winners (Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour, Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Allison Janney in I, Tonya) were the wise ones to have in the pool. Get Out got its recognition via Jordan Peele’s Original Screenplay. Legends like James Ivory (for his Call Me by Your Name Adapted Screenplay) and cinematographer Roger Deakins (for his Blade Runner 2049 work) finally won gold statues.

Some other quick observations:

  • Jimmy Kimmel, as he was last year, is a solid host for the show. I would have no problem with him essentially being the new Billy Crystal and hosting every year or every other year. That said, it sure would be interesting to see what a Tiffany Haddish or Dave Chappelle could do with it.
  • That 90 years in movies Oscar montage could have gone on another half hour and I would have been fine with it.
  • I hope the Phantom Thread costume designer is enjoying his jet ski today.
  • And, of course, no Best Picture screw up! Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway can relax today.

And there you have it, folks! That’s my shape of Oscar 2017.


The Boss Baby Box Office Prediction

Next weekend, Alec Baldwin is The Boss Baby in Dreamworks Animation’s latest feature. Based on a 2010 childrens book, the pic has the SNL hosting record setter voicing a wiser than his years infant. Other voice over work is provided by Tobey Maguire, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, and Lisa Kudrow.

Baby arrives in the midst of a number of titles catering to younger audiences and their families. Beauty and the Beast will be in its third weekend and still posting large earnings. Power Rangers will be in its sophomore frame and Smurfs: The Lost Village will debut the weekend after.

Reviews haven’t been strong so far with just a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That said, Baldwin has surely been visible as of late with his President Trump impression and Dreamworks has a mostly impressive track record in their animated division.

The competition is likely to be a factor keeping this from truly significant grosses, but I’ll still estimate Baby manages a high 20s to possibly low 30s birth.

The Boss Baby opening weekend prediction: $28.6 million

For my Ghost in the Shell prediction, click here:


2016 Oscars Reaction

Well… then! Who expected that ending at the Oscars?? One that involved Bonnie and Clyde, Leonardo DiCaprio, wrong envelopes, and a mild Best Picture upset! Yes, the jokes about that already infamous finale to the 89th Annual Academy Awards deserves the endless tweets about M. Night Shyamalan coming up with it and Steve Harvey being off the hook for his Miss Universe gaffe.

All in all, it was a fairly unpredictable night even up until that wild conclusion. My predictions went 14 for 21. Expect for Picture, I did get all the high-profiles race right: Damien Chazelle (La La Land) for Director, Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) for Actor, Emma Stone (La La) for Actress, Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for Supporting Actor, Viola Davis (Fences) for Supporting Actress, Moonlight for Adapted Screenplay, and Manchester for Original Screenplay. Animated Feature Zootopia and Foreign Language Film The Salesman were also rightly called. Down the line categories that I got right: Original Score and Song (La La and “City of Stars” from that film), Production Design and Cinematography (La La), and Visual Effects (The Jungle Book).

I whiffed on Documentary – O.J.: Made in America was the front runner and won over my upset pick I Am Not Your Negro. Others: Sound Editing (Arrival instead of Hacksaw Ridge), Sound Mixing (Hacksaw instead of La La), Makeup and Hairstyling (Suicide Squad over Star Trek Beyond), Costume Design (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them over Jackie), and Editing (Hacksaw over La La).

And, of course, Best Picture, where La La Land won for about two minutes before the Academy’s producers pointed out a mistake and that Moonlight actually won.

The evening started on a happy note with Justin Timberlake dancing his way into the auditorium to his hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from Trolls. Jimmy Kimmel did a decent job hosting for the most part. Some bits worked better than others. I enjoyed the group of tourists unknowingly being brought to the theater and his endless ribbing of Matt Damon. The candy and cookies falling down to the audience felt a little old hat. The In Memorium package was a little tough with the legends lost this year and props to Jennifer Aniston for mentioning the passing of Bill Paxton as news had just broke that morning.

Did the show feel long? Of course. It always does, but for those that stuck around… yowza! That was an Oscar ending that will not soon be forgotten.