2021 Oscar Predictions: July 29th Edition

I can’t help myself. I keep doing my Oscar predictions earlier and earlier each year. Today marks the first edition of my ranked forecasts in the 8 biggest races: Picture, Director, the four acting competitions, and the two screenplay contests.

It probably stands to reason that the sooner you do projections – the more inaccurate they might be. Oh but it’s so very fun to speculate! I do like to put my initial rankings up before the Toronto, Venice, and Telluride Film Festivals make the picture more clear and we are only about a month from that. Those events will bring us early buzz on The Power of the Dog, Dune, Spencer, The Last Duel, The Humans, Parallel Mothers, Belfast, Dear Evan Hansen, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Last Night in Soho, and more.

This post comes about three weeks ahead of when I did this in 2020. That year, to say the least, was hard to figure out. In fact, many of the pictures and performers I had in my 2020 inaugural rankings were moved back to 2021 due to COVID delays. Think Dune, The French Dispatch, West Side Story, Respect, C’Mon C’Mon, Annette, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

So how did my first ranked predictions from 2020 pan out? My Best Picture guesstimates yielded three of the eventual nominees: winner Nomadland, Mank, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Nomadland started out of the gate at #2 (behind Mank). Three other contenders were listed under Other Possibilities – The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, and Minari. Promising Young Woman and Sound of Metal were not mentioned.

2 of the 5 director nominees were correctly identified: winner Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) and David Fincher (Mank). None of the other hopefuls (Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman, or Another Round‘s Thomas Vinterberg) were even in Other Possibilities.

In Best Actress, I initially identified 2 – winner Frances McDormand (Nomadland) and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) were Other Possibilities while Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman didn’t score a listing.

As for Actor, winner Anthony Hopkins (The Father) and Gary Oldman (Mank) made my first cut. I incorrectly had Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) projected here instead of Supporting Actor (which he won). **This is a good time to remind you all that some of the acting contenders thought to be in lead right now will switch to supporting and vice versa. As further evidence, I had Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey) predicted in supporting, but he contended here. I did not yet have Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) or Steven Yeun (Minari) on my radar.

Two Supporting Actress players were correctly called: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy) and Olivia Colman (The Father) with Amanda Seyfried (Mank) in Other Possibilities. No mention for the winner Youn Yun-jung in Minari or Maria Bakalova for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Per above, Daniel Kaluuya’s work in Judas was slotted in lead, but he emerged victorious here. My Supporting Actor picks did get 2 of 5: Lakeith Stanfield in Judas and Sacha Baron Cohen for Chicago 7. The two others (Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night in Miami and Paul Raci in Sound of Metal) went unnoticed at the early stage.

Just one nominee in Original Screenplay got the initial mention – Chicago 7. I did have 3 others (winner Promising Young Woman, Judas, Minari) down for Other Possibilities while Sound of Metal wasn’t mentioned. And in Adapted Screenplay, I only rightly projected Nomadland. Winner The Father, One Night in Miami, and The White Tiger were other possibilities with no mention for Borat.

Whew. OK. I’m not going through all for 2019. However, I will say my results were better two years ago with my first picks (evidence of the uncertainty of last year). The quick rundown: I got 6 of the 9 nominees in Best Picture and identified the remaining three in other possibilities. In Director, it was 4 out of 5. For Actress – 4 for 5 with the other nominee listed sixth. Actor – 3 for 5 with the two others as possibilities. The weak spot was Supporting Actress – just 1 out of 5 with 2 others as possibilities. 2 for 5 in Supporting Actor with 2 others as possibilities. 3 for 5 initially in both screenplay races.

And now we come to 2021. Will I look back next year and be happy with the accuracy or shake my head? Hopefully a mix (that’s probably the best case scenario). In about two months, I will start predictions for all categories covering feature films and whittle BP from 25 to 15 hopefuls with all others going from a projected 15 to 10.

There already was some news from when I penned my early and unranked predictions last week. David O. Russell’s Canterbury Glass, with an all star cast led by Christian Bale and Margot Robbie, has reportedly moved to 2022. It was mentioned in numerous categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor – John David Washington) and it now waits its turn until next year. Same story for Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins and Blonde from Andrew Dominik.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci

2. The Power of the Dog

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth

4. Nightmare Alley

5. Dune

6. Soggy Bottom

7. Mass

8. West Side Story

9. Belfast

10. Don’t Look Up

Other Possibilities:

11. A Hero

12. CODA

13. Flee

14. The French Dispatch

15. Spencer

16. Tick Tick… Boom!

17. Cyrano

18. The Humans

19. Blue Bayou

20. King Richard

21. The Last Duel

22. Dear Evan Hansen

23. In the Heights

24. Last Night in Soho

25. Annette

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune

3. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

4. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

5. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Thomas Anderson, Soggy Bottom

7. Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

8. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

9. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

10. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

11. Fran Kranz, Mass

12. Sian Heder, CODA

13. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee

14. Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch

15. Pablo Larrain, Spencer

Best Actress

1. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

2. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

4. Jennifer Hudson, Respect 

5. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

7. Kristen Stewart, Spencer

8. Emilia Jones, CODA

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

10. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

11. Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

12. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

13. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

14. Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up

15. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

3. Will Smith, King Richard

4. Adam Driver, House of Gucci

5. Amir Jadidi, A Hero

Other Possibilities:

6. Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

7. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey

8. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

9. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley

10. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

11. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon

12. Cooper Hoffman, Soggy Bottom

13. Adam Driver, Annette

14. Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

15. Nicolas Cage, Pig

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ann Dowd, Mass

2. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

3. Martha Plimpton, Mass

4. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans

5. Marlee Matlin, CODA

Other Possibilities:

6. Ruth Negga, Passing

7. Olga Merediz, In the Heights

8. Regina King, The Harder They Fall

9. Thomasin McKenzie, The Power of the Dog

10. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley

11. Judi Dench, Belfast

12. Anya Taylor-Joy, Last Night in Soho

13. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up

14. Audra McDonald, Respect

15. Sally Hawkins, Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Soggy Bottom

2. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

3. Jason Isaacs, Mass

4. Richard Jenkins, The Humans

5. Idris Elba, The Harder They Fall

Other Possibilities:

6. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth

7. Richard E. Grant, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

8. Jared Leto, House of Gucci

9. Reed Birney, Mass

10. Ben Mendelsohn, Cyrano

11. Jamie Dornan, Belfast

12. Adam Driver, The Last Duel

13. Al Pacino, House of Gucci

14. Brendan Gleeson, The Tragedy of Macbeth

15. David Alvarez, West Side Story

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mass

2. Soggy Bottom

3. Don’t Look Up

4. The French Dispatch

5. Blue Bayou

Other Possibilities:

6. Belfast

7. Spencer

8. C’Mon C’Mon

9. Last Night in Soho

10. Being the Ricardos

11. Annette

12. The Harder They Fall

13. After Yang

14. Nine Days

15. Red Rocket

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci

2. The Power of the Dog

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth

4. Nightmare Alley

5. Dune

Other Possibilities:

6. CODA

7. The Humans

8. West Side Story

9. Cyrano

10. Tick Tick… Boom!

11. Dear Evan Hansen

12. The Last Duel

13. The Lost Daughter

14. King Richard

15. A Journal for Jordan

Back at it next week, ladies and gents!

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

On this here blog starting right now, my 2021 Oscar predictions officially begin! I seem to start this earlier and earlier in the calendar each year. Why? Well, it’s just about my favorite thing to write about and the Cannes Film Festival and recent announcements for the Venice and Toronto line-ups fueled the flame.

As is tradition, I would like to throw out the annual caveats and a general rundown of how this works. I begin with the early predictions in the six major categories: Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies. For Picture, I will list my ten early forecasted nominees and 15 other possibilities. In the other five races, you will see my five predicted players and 10 other hopefuls. In these initial posts, my nominees will be unranked.

Beginning next week, I’ll have a weekly write-up where I’ll begin ranked predictions in these competitions in addition to Adapted and Original Screenplay.

In late September or early October, my weekly posts will shift to all categories covering feature films. The Picture predictions and possibilities will be whittled down from 25 to 15. All others will be reduced to 10.

Got all that? Good! Now for the caveats. First off, it’s July. So when I say these are early projections – I mean it. Release dates will change. Some movies will be moved out of contention to 2022 (that certainly happened a lot last year due to the pandemic). Some of the actors that appear to be supporting will be moved to lead and vice versa.

You need look no further than the Supporting Actor derby from 2020. In my initial round of early picks, I had Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) listed here. He was eventually moved to Best Actor. Conversely, I had Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) down for Actor, but he was campaigned for in supporting and won.

Part of that category confusion led to yours truly only naming one of the five eventual nominees from 2020 (Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7). I did mention Lakeith Stanfield (Judas) as a possibility. Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) and Leslie Odom, Jr. (One Night in Miami) were not named initially.

Additionally, you will see the titles Canterbury Glass and Soggy Bottom as contenders here and elsewhere in the coming days. These are the next pictures, respectively, from David O. Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson. It is not confirmed yet whether these are working titles or the actual ones, but I prefer a name rather than saying Untitled over and over.

With all that out of the way, let’s get rolling with the speculation that will last for months (and I’ll enjoy every second of it)!

EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Bradley Cooper, Soggy Bottom

Richard E. Grant, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Idris Elba, The Harder They Fall

Jason Isaacs, Mass

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

Other Possibilities:

David Alvarez, West Side Story

Reed Birney, Mass

Willem Dafoe, Nightmare Alley

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Adam Driver, The Last Duel

Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Richard Jenkins, The Humans

Ben Mendelsohn, Cyrano

John David Washington, Canterbury Glass

And we’re off! I’ll have my inaugural choices for Supporting Actress up shortly…

2020 Oscar Predictions: February 7th Edition

It was a major week in terms of Oscar forecasting as the Golden Globe and SAG nominations were unveiled this week. You can read all about my reactions to both of those announcements right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/02/03/2020-golden-globes-nominations-reaction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/02/04/2020-sag-awards-nominations-reaction/

So… what’s changed? We start in Best Picture with Minari getting back into my estimated nine nominees with Judas and the Black Messiah dropping out. Truth be told, spots 6-11 in the BP derby seem to be constantly moving. Other prognosticators have taken Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods out of the mix after its Globes shutout, but I’m not there yet (especially after its SAG Ensemble nod).

However, I am replacing Spike Lee with Regina King in the Best Director race. In Best Actress, Sophia Loren (The Life Ahead) gets the wide open 5 spot over Zendaya (Malcolm & Marie).

The other acting races remain the same as I’ve kept Ellen Burstyn (Pieces of a Woman) in Supporting Actress despite her snubs from the Globes and SAG. I definitely toyed with including Helena Zengel (News of the World) over her (she was nominated for both) and that still could happen, but not this week.

Even more surprising was the Globe & SAG omissions of Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods) in Best Actor. He’s still clinging to #5 in my predicted nominees. In Supporting Actor, everyone was rather shocked to see Jared Leto (The Little Things) make the list in this week’s nominations. He vaults up to #6 in my possibilities in his first initial ranking, but I still can’t pull the trigger on the Academy naming him.

This Tuesday marks another significant date as we march towards the March 15th nominations. The shortlists will be announced for the following races: Best Documentary Feature Film, International Feature Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Original Song, and Visual Effects. You can count on those lists altering my estimates next weekend, as they always do.

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

5. One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

6. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

7. The Father (PR: 9)

8. Minari (PR: 10)

9. News of the World (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

10. Promising Young Woman (PR: 11)

11. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 8)

12. Sound of Metal (PR: 12)

13. Soul (PR: 13)

14. First Cow (PR: 14)

15. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Malcolm & Marie

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 2)

3. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

4. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

5. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 3)

7. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 7)

8. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: 8)

9. Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Paul Greengrass, News of the World (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 4)

4. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 3)

5. Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

7. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 10)

8. Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie (PR: 5)

9. Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 8)

10. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 9)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 4)

4. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 5)

5. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 7)

7. Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

9. Tahar Rahim, The Mauritanian (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Tom Hanks, News of the World (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Ben Affleck, The Way Back

John David Washington, Malcolm & Marie

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 2)

2. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 1)

3. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 3)

4. Youn Yuh-jung, Minari (PR: 5)

5. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 9)

7. Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 6)

8. Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian (PR: 8)

9. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 7)

10. Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 10)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

3. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 3)

4. Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jared Leto, The Little Things (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 7)

8. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal (PR: 6)

9. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 9)

10. Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Promising Young Woman (PR: 3)

4. Minari (PR: 5)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 6)

7. Soul (PR: 7)

8. Sound of Metal (PR: 8)

9. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: 9)

10. Palm Springs (PR: 10)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 2)

2. One Night in Miami (PR: 1)

3. The Father (PR: 4)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 3)

5. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 7)

7. First Cow (PR: 5)

8. The White Tiger (PR: 8)

9. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Emma (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

French Exit

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Wolfwalkers (PR: 2)

3. Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. Onward (PR: 4)

5. The Croods: A New Age (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Willoughbys (PR: 6)

7. Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (PR: 7)

8. Earwig and the Witch (PR: 8)

9. Bombay Rose (PR: 10)

10. Demon Slayer (PR: 9)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Time (PR: 1)

2. The Dissident (PR: 2)

3. Dick Johnson Is Dead (PR: 3)

4. All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

5. Crip Camp (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Totally Under Control (PR: 4)

7. Boys State (PR: 6)

8. The Truffle Hunters (PR: 9)

9. Collective (PR: 7)

10. The Mole Agent (PR: 10)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Another Round (PR: 1)

2. Quo Vadis, Aida? (PR: 2)

3. Night of the Kings (PR: 4)

4. Two of Us (PR: 8)

5. A Sun (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Collective (PR: 5)

7. I’m No Longer Here (PR: 7)

8. Dear Comrades! (PR: 6)

9. La Llorona (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Notturno (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

My Little Sister

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 2)

2. Mank (PR: 1)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 6)

7. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

8. The Midnight Sky (PR: 8)

9. Minari (PR: 10)

10. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Emma (PR: 3)

4. Mulan (PR: 4)

5. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 6)

7. News of the World (PR: 7)

8. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

9. The Glorias (PR: 10)

10. Ammonite (PR: 8)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. The Father (PR: 4)

4. Nomadland (PR: 3)

5. News of the World (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

7. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 8)

8. Tenet (PR: 7)

9. One Night in Miami (PR: 10)

10. Minari (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Judas and the Black Messiah 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 6)

5. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Birds of Prey (PR: 5)

7. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

8. News of the World (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Mulan (PR: 7)

10. The Little Things (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Pinocchio

The Prom

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. The Midnight Sky (PR: 4)

5. Tenet (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 5)

7. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 8)

8. Minari (PR: 7)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

10. The Little Things (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Ammonite

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami (PR: 1)

2. “Seen” from The Life Ahead (PR: 2)

3. “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon (PR: 4)

5. “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

7. “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (PR: 7)

8. “Only the Young” from Miss Americana (PR: 6)

9. “Free” from The One and Only Ivan (PR: 10)

10. “Tigress & Tweed” from The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“The Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

3. Emma (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 4)

5. Mulan (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 9)

7. The Midnight Sky (PR: 6)

8. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

9. The Father (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Tenet (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sound of Metal (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 3)

3. Tenet (PR: 2)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 6)

5. The Midnight Sky (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Soul (PR: 7)

7. News of the World (PR: 5)

8. Greyhound (PR: 8)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

10. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 10)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 1)

2. The Midnight Sky (PR: 2)

3. The Invisible Man (PR: 3)

4. Greyhound (PR: 4)

5. Mulan (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Birds of Prey (PR: 5)

7. Wonder Woman 1984 (PR: 6)

8. Sonic the Hedgehog (PR: 8)

9. Mank (PR: 9)

10. The Call of the Wild (PR: 10)

And that equates to the following pictures garnering these numbers in nominations:

12 Nominations

Mank

8 Nominations

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

7 Nominations

The Trial of the Chicago 7

6 Nominations

The Father, Nomadland

5 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods, News of the World, One Night in Miami

3 Nominations

Judas and the Black Messiah, The Midnight Sky, Minari, Mulan, Tenet

2 Nominations

Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, The Life Ahead, Over the Moon, Pieces of a Woman, Promising Young Woman, Soul, Sound of Metal, The United States vs. Billie Holiday

1 Nomination

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Another Round, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Crip Camp, The Croods: A New Age, Dick Johnson Is Dead, The Dissident, Greyhound, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, The Invisible Man, Night of the Kings, Onward, Quo Vadis, Aida?, A Sun, Time, Two of Us, Wolfwalkers

2020 Oscar Predictions: January 31st Edition

My weekly Oscar predictions brings us to an important frame ahead as the Golden Globe nominations will be revealed on Wednesday with the SAG nods coming Thursday! When I update my estimates next weekend, don’t be surprised if those unveilings change the narrative of the overall picture here. If you missed my predictions for the Globes and SAG, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/01/30/2020-golden-globe-nomination-predictions/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/01/31/2020-sag-award-nominations-predictions/

As for now, I’m dwindling the list back down from 10 to 9 in the Best Picture derby and just on the outside looking in is Minari. For some context, I feel pretty confident that the top 6 films in my BP guesstimates make the cut. Anything between 7-12… not so much and I expect these titles to likely shift around as we get closer to nomination time.

In Supporting Actor, the fifth slot goes back to Mark Rylance for The Trial of the Chicago 7 over Paul Raci in Sound of Metal. In Adapted Screenplay, Nomadland has now lost the top spot to One Night in Miami.

You can peruse all the movement below and I’ll have reaction to the Globe and SAG picks up this week!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

6. One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

7. News of the World (PR: 10)

8. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

9. The Father (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

10. Minari (PR: 9)

11. Promising Young Woman (PR: 11)

12. Sound of Metal (PR: 12)

13. Soul (PR: 13)

14. First Cow (PR: 14)

15. Malcolm & Marie (PR: 15)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 2)

3. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

4. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

5. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 7)

7. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 8)

8. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: 6)

9. Paul Greengrass, News of the World (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 3)

4. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 4)

5. Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 7)

7. Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead (PR: 6)

8. Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 8)

9. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 10)

10. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 9)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 3)

4. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 4)

5. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

7. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 7)

8. Tom Hanks, News of the World (PR: 8)

9. Ben Affleck, The Way Back (PR: 10)

10. John David Washington, Malcolm & Marie (PR: 9)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 1)

2. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 2)

3. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 3)

4. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

5. Youn Yuh-jung, Minari (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 6)

7. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 8)

8. Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian (PR: 9)

9. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 7)

10. Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 10)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

3. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 3)

4. Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal (PR: 5)

7. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 7)

8. Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 9)

9. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 8)

10. Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Promising Young Woman (PR: 3)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

5. Minari (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 6)

7. Soul (PR: 7)

8. Sound of Metal (PR: 8)

9. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: 10)

10. Palm Springs (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Malcolm & Marie

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

2. Nomadland (PR: 1)

3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

4. The Father (PR: 3)

5. First Cow (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 7)

7. News of the World (PR: 6)

8. The White Tiger (PR: 8)

9. French Exit (PR: 10)

10. Emma (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Hillbilly Elegy

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Wolfwalkers (PR: 2)

3. Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. Onward (PR: 4)

5. The Croods: A New Age (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Willoughbys (PR: 7)

7. Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (PR: 8)

8. Earwig and the Witch (PR: 5)

9. Demon Slayer (PR: 9)

10. Bombay Rose (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Trolls World Tour

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Time (PR: 2)

2. The Dissident (PR: 4)

3. Dick Johnson Is Dead (PR: 3)

4. Totally Under Control (PR: 1)

5. All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Boys State (PR: 6)

7. Collective (PR: 7)

8. Crip Camp (PR: 8)

9. The Truffle Hunters (PR: 10)

10. The Mole Agent (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Welcome to Chechnya

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Another Round (PR: 1)

2. Quo Vadis, Aida? (PR: 2)

3. A Sun (PR: 4)

4. Night of the Kings (PR: 3)

5. Collective (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Dear Comrades! (PR: 6)

7. I’m No Longer Here (PR: 5)

8. Two of Us (PR: 9)

9. My Little Sister (PR: 8)

10. Notturno (PR: 10)

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 6)

7. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 7)

8. The Midnight Sky (PR: 9)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

10. Minari (PR: 8)

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Emma (PR: 3)

4. Mulan (PR: 4)

5. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 5)

7. News of the World (PR: 6)

8. Ammonite (PR: 10)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 8)

10. The Glorias (PR: 9)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Nomadland (PR: 3)

4. The Father (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 6)

7. Tenet (PR: 7)

8. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 8)

9. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 10)

10. One Night in Miami (PR: 9)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 4)

4. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 3)

5. Birds of Prey (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 9)

7. Mulan (PR: 6)

8. Pinocchio (PR: 8)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 7)

10. The Prom (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Emma

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. The Midnight Sky (PR: 4)

5. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 6)

7. Minari (PR: 5)

8. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

10. Ammonite (PR: 10)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami (PR: 1)

2. “Seen” from The Life Ahead (PR: 2)

3. “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon (PR: 4)

5. “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Only the Young” from Miss Americana (PR: 6)

7. “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (PR: 8)

8. “The Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 9)

9. “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

10. “Free” from The One and Only Ivan (PR: 10)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

3. Emma (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 4)

5. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Midnight Sky (PR: 8)

7. Tenet (PR: 5)

8. Mulan (PR: 6)

9. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 9)

10. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Judas and the Black Messiah 

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sound of Metal (PR: 1)

2. Tenet (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. The Midnight Sky (PR: 5)

5. News of the World (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 6)

7. Soul (PR: 7)

8. Greyhound (PR: 10)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 8)

10. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 9)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 1)

2. The Midnight Sky (PR: 2)

3. The Invisible Man (PR: 3)

4. Greyhound (PR: 4)

5. Birds of Prey (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Wonder Woman 1984 (PR: 5)

7. Mulan (PR: 6)

8. Sonic the Hedgehog (PR: 8)

9. Mank (PR: 9)

10. The Call of the Wild (PR: 10)

This equates to these films garnering these numbers for nods:

12 Nominations

Mank

8 Nominations

The Trial of the Chicago 7

7 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

6 Nominations

The Father, Nomadland

5 Nominations

News of the World

4 Nominations

One Night in Miami

3 Nominations

Hillbilly Elegy, Judas and the Black Messiah, The Midnight Sky

2 Nominations

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Birds of Prey, Emma, Minari, Over the Moon, Pieces of a Woman, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, Soul, Tenet

1 Nomination

Another Round, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Collective, The Croods: A New Age, Dick Johnson Is Dead, The Dissident, First Cow, Greyhound, The Invisible Man, The Life Ahead, Malcolm & Marie, Mulan, Night of the Kings, Onward, Quo Vadis, Aida?, A Sun, Time, Totally Under Control, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Wolfwalkers

2020 Oscar Predictions: January 24th Edition

My latest round of Oscar estimates keeps my predicted number of Best Picture nominees at the full 10 – with a change. It’s News of the World back in and Promising Young Woman on the outside looking in.

In the other major categories, my picks remain the same with some movement in the rankings. Most notably, in the Supporting Actress field, I am putting Amanda Seyfried’s work in Mank back at #1 over Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy.

You can read all the developments below and I’ll be back at it next weekend!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

6. One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 9)

8. The Father (PR: 8)

9. Minari (PR: 7)

10. News of the World (PR: 11)

Other Possibilities:

11. Promising Young Woman (PR: 10)

12. Sound of Metal (PR: 13)

13. Soul (PR: 12)

14. First Cow (PR: 14)

15. Malcolm & Marie (PR: 15)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 2)

3. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: 7)

7. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

8. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 6)

9. Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 9)

10. Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman (PR: 10)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

4. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 3)

5. Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead (PR: 9)

7. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

8. Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 7)

9. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 8)

10. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 10)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

4. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 3)

5. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

7. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 7)

8. Tom Hanks, News of the World (PR: Not Ranked)

9. John David Washington, Malcolm & Marie (PR: 10)

10. Ben Affleck, The Way Back (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 2)

2. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 1)

3. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 3)

4. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 5)

5. Youn Yuh-jung, Minari (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 6)

7. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 9)

8. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 7)

9. Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Olivia Cooke, Sound of Metal

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 3)

3. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 2)

4. Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 6)

7. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 8)

8. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 7)

9. Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 9)

10. Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 4)

3. Promising Young Woman (PR: 2)

4. Minari (PR: 3)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

7. Soul (PR: 6)

8. Sound of Metal (PR: 9)

9. Malcolm & Marie (PR: 8)

10. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: 10)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

3. The Father (PR: 4)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 3)

5. First Cow (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 7)

7. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 6)

8. The White Tiger (PR: 8)

9. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 9)

10. French Exit (PR: 10)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Wolfwalkers (PR: 2)

3. Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. Onward (PR: 4)

5. Earwig and the Witch (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Croods: A New Age (PR: 7)

7. The Willoughbys (PR: 6)

8. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (PR: 8)

9. Demon Slayer (PR: 10)

10. Trolls World Tour (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (formerly Connected)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Totally Under Control (PR: 3)

2. Time (PR: 1)

3. Dick Johnson Is Dead (PR: 4)

4. The Dissident (PR: 2)

5. All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Boys State (PR: 6)

7. Collective (PR: 7)

8. Crip Camp (PR: 8)

9. Welcome to Chechnya (PR: 9)

10. The Truffle Hunters (PR: 10)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Another Round (PR: 1)

2. Quo Vadis, Aida? (PR: 2)

3. Night of the Kings (PR: 3)

4. A Sun (PR: 6)

5. I’m No Longer Here (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Dear Comrades! (PR: 5)

7. Collective (PR: 4)

8. My Little Sister (PR: 8)

9. Two of Us (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Notturno (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Never Gonna Snow Again 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 2)

2. Nomadland (PR: 1)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 6)

7. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 9)

8. Minari (PR: 7)

9. The Midnight Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Malcolm & Marie

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Emma (PR: 4)

4. Mulan (PR: 3)

5. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 5)

7. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 7)

8. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

9. The Glorias (PR: 9)

10. Ammonite (PR: 8)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Nomadland (PR: 3)

4. The Father (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 7)

7. Tenet (PR: 9)

8. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 10)

9. One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

10. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 6)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 2)

3. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 6)

4. Mank (PR: 3)

5. Birds of Prey (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mulan (PR: 8)

7. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

8. Pinocchio (PR: 5)

9. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 7)

10. Emma (PR: 9)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. The Midnight Sky (PR: 5)

5. Minari (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 8)

7. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 6)

8. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 7)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

10. Ammonite (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

One Night in Miami

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami (PR: 1)

2. “Seen” from The Life Ahead (PR: 2)

3. “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

4. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon (PR: 3)

5. “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Only the Young” from Miss Americana (PR: 6)

7. “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 10)

8. “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (PR: 8)

9. “The Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 9)

10. “Free” from The One and Only Ivan (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“Wear Your Crown” from The Prom

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

3. Emma (PR: 5)

4. News of the World (PR: 4)

5. Tenet (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mulan (PR: 3)

7. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

8. The Midnight Sky (PR: 6)

9. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 8)

10. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sound of Metal (PR: 1)

2. Tenet (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 6)

5. The Midnight Sky (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

7. Soul (PR: 5)

8. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

9. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

10. Greyhound (PR: 10)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 1)

2. The Midnight Sky (PR: 2)

3. The Invisible Man (PR: 4)

4. Greyhound (PR: 5)

5. Wonder Woman 1984 (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mulan (PR: 3)

7. Birds of Prey (PR: 6)

8. Sonic the Hedgehog (PR: 7)

9. Mank (PR: 8)

10. The Call of the Wild (PR: 9)

And that equates to the following films garnering these numbers for nominations:

12 Nominations

Mank

7 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

6 Nominations

The Father, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7

5 Nominations

News of the World

4 Nominations

Minari, One Night in Miami

3 Nominations

Judas and the Black Messiah, The Midnight Sky, Sound of Metal, Tenet

2 Nominations

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, Over the Moon, Pieces of a Woman, Promising Young Woman, Soul

1 Nomination

Another Round, Birds of Prey, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Dick Johnson Is Dead, The Dissident, Earwig and the Witch, First Cow, Greyhound, I’m No Longer Here, The Invisible Man, The Life Ahead, Malcolm & Marie, Mulan, Night of the Kings, Onward, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Quo Vadis, Aida?, A Sun, Time, Totally Under Control, Wolfwalkers, Wonder Woman 1984

2020 Oscar Predictions: January 14th Edition

For the past several years, the magic number has traditionally been nine when it comes to Best Picture nominees. It can fluctuate anywhere between 5 and 10 according to the rules, unlike every other category. This changes to a finite 10 starting in 2022. And since August when I began these (mostly) weekly estimates, I’ve kept it at 9.

However, I am expanding it to ten this week as I believe Judas and the Black Messiah could easily make the cut and I just couldn’t take any of the other nine films out. Obviously this may change as we move closer to nomination morning, but that’s where I stand today.

In the major categories, other changes are Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods) entering the Best Director mix for the first time and that takes out George C. Wolfe for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In Supporting Actor, I have yet again switched the 5 spot with Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) in and Mark Rylance (The Trial of the Chicago 7) out.

Zendaya’s work in Malcolm & Marie goes from unranked status all the way to #5 and this displaces Andra Day for The United States vs. Billie Holiday. 

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 6)

6. One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

7. Minari (PR: 5)

8. The Father (PR: 7)

9. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 12)

10. Promising Young Woman (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

11. News of the World (PR: 11)

12. Soul (PR: 13)

13. Sound of Metal (PR: 12)

14. First Cow (PR: 14)

15. Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 2)

3. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

5. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

7. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: 6)

8. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

9. Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Darius Marder, Sound of Metal

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 3)

4. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

5. Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

7. Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 7)

8. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 5)

9. Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead (PR: 8)

10. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Robin Wright, Land

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 4)

4. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 3)

5. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

7. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 8)

8. Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

9. Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round (PR: 9)

10. John David Washington, Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Tom Hanks, News of the World

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 1)

2. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 2)

3. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 3)

4. Youn Yuh-jung, Minari (PR: 5)

5. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 7)

7. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 8)

8. Olivia Cooke, Sound of Metal (PR: 9)

9. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 6)

10. Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 3)

3. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

4. Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

7. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 8)

8. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 7)

9. Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 9)

10. Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Stanley Tucci, Supernova

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Promising Young Woman (PR: 3)

3. Minari (PR: 4)

4. Mank (PR: 2)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Soul (PR: 6)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

8. Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Sound of Metal (PR: 8)

10. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

The Forty-Year-Old Version

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. One Night in Miami (PR: 3)

3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

4. The Father (PR: 2)

5. First Cow (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 6)

7. News of the World (PR: 7)

8. The White Tiger (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 9)

10. French Exit (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Emma

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Wolfwalkers (PR: 2)

3. Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. Onward (PR: 4)

5. Earwig and the Witch (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Willoughbys (PR: 6)

7. The Croods: A New Age (PR: 7)

8. Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (PR: 8)

9. Connected (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Demon Slayer (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Bombay Rose

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Time (PR: 2)

2. The Dissident (PR: 4)

3. Totally Under Control (PR: 1)

4. Dick Johnson Is Dead (PR: 3)

5. All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Boys State (PR: 5)

7. Collective (PR: 9)

8. Crip Camp (PR: 7)

9. Welcome to Chechnya (PR: 8)

10. The Truffle Hunters (PR: 10)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Another Round (PR: 1)

2. Quo Vadis, Aida? (PR: 2)

3. Night of the Kings (PR: 3)

4. Collective (PR: 7)

5. Dear Comrades! (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Sun (PR: 5)

7. I’m No Longer Here (PR: 4)

8. My Little Sister (PR: 6)

9. Never Gonna Snow Again (PR: 9)

10. Notturno (PR: 10)

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees

1. Nomadland (PR: 2)

2. Mank (PR: 1)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 6)

7. Minari (PR: 7)

8. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 8)

10. Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Trial of the Chicago 7

The United States vs. Billie Holiday 

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

2. Mank (PR: 1)

3. Mulan (PR: 5)

4. Emma (PR: 3)

5. News of the World (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 6)

7. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 4)

8. Ammonite (PR: 10)

9. The Glorias (PR: 9)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 8)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Nomadland (PR: 3)

4. The Father (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

7. News of the World (PR: 5)

8. One Night in Miami (PR: 9)

9. Tenet (PR: 10)

10. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

Minari

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 6)

4. Birds of Prey (PR: 3)

5. Pinocchio (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 4)

7. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 7)

8. Mulan (PR: 8)

9. Emma (PR: 10)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

News of the World

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Minari (PR: 4)

5. The Midnight Sky (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 8)

7. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 5)

8. Tenet (PR: 6)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

10. One Night in Miami (PR: 10)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami (PR: 1)

2. “Seen” from The Life Ahead (PR: 2)

3. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

5. “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Only the Young” from Miss Americana (PR: 6)

7. “Wear Your Crown” from The Prom (PR: 7)

8. “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (PR: 9)

9. “The Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 10)

10. “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“Poverty Porn” from The Forty-Year-Old Version

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

3. Mulan (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 7)

5. Emma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Midnight Sky (PR: 6)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

8. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 4)

9. Tenet (PR: 8)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sound of Metal (PR: 1)

2. Tenet (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 5)

5. Soul (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 7)

7. Da 5 Bloods (PR: Not Ranked)

8. The Midnight Sky (PR: 6)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

10. Greyhound (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

The Prom

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 1)

2. The Midnight Sky (PR: 2)

3. Mulan (PR: 4)

4. The Invisible Man (PR: 5)

5. Greyhound (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Birds of Prey (PR: 3)

7. Sonic the Hedgehog (PR: 7)

8. Mank (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Call of the Wild (PR: 10)

10. Wonder Woman 1984 (PR: 6)

Dropped Out:

Dolittle

And that equates to the following pictures garnering these numbers in terms of nominations:

12 Nominations

Mank

8 Nominations

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

7 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods

6 Nominations

The Father, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7

4 Nominations

Minari, News of the World, One Night in Miami

3 Nominations

Judas and the Black Messiah, Mulan, Promising Young Woman, Soul, Sound of Metal

2 Nominations

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, The Midnight Sky, Over the Moon, Pieces of a Woman, Tenet

1 Nomination

Another Round, Birds of Prey, Collective, Dear Comrades!, Dick Johnson Is Dead, The Dissident, Earwig and the Witch, First Cow, Greyhound, The Invisible Man, The Life Ahead, Malcolm & Marie, Night of the Kings, Onward, Pinocchio, Quo Vadis, Aida?, Time, Totally Under Control, Wolfwalkers

Oscar Watch: Malcolm & Marie

As if Netflix doesn’t have enough competitors this Oscar season, a new one comes into the fold in the form of Malcolm & Marie. The drama comes from director Sam Levinson, who’s best known for creating the acclaimed HBO series Euphoria. Shot this year in COVID-19 times and hitting Netflix on February 5, the title characters are played by John David Washington and Euphoria star Zendaya (who earned a surprise Emmy last year for the series).

While the official review embargo is not up, social media reactions are out and they’re encouraging. Most of all, the buzz suggests a first Oscar nod could be coming for Zendaya. The general feeling (and one I concur with at press time) is that four slots could be filled already: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman). We now have another strong contender in the mix. I had yet to list her even in my top ten thus far and that will certainly change when my new estimates hit on Monday.

As for Washington, I’m far less certain. It all depends on just how hard Academy voters fall for the picture as a whole. If they do, Picture, Director, and especially Original Screenplay could be possibilities. If they don’t, the attention could focus solely on Zendaya. And there’s time for the chatter to increase with the extra two months before nominations are revealed.

Bottom line: Malcolm & Marie has immediately established itself as a player in Best Actress and maybe more. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Tenet Review

What time is it?

It’s an often asked question that usually elicits a clear and simple answer. Not in Christopher Nolan’s movies. The answers in his movies are complicated, often maddening, and frequently grandly entertaining. We’ve seen it in Memento, Inception, and Interstellar with the latter being a mixed bag and the first two being pretty great. His latest is Tenet and it definitely falls more into the maddening territory with big and loud moments of thrills. You may wish you had a physics degree during it, but this is mostly an excuse for Nolan to play in the super spy genre with a bunch of quantum related gobbledygook thrown in. The director’s most ardent admirers may study it endlessly for Easter eggs and clues as to its true meaning. Upon first watch, I’m not so sure Tenet is worth the scrutiny. Yet there’s some car chases and battle scenes played to Nigel Tufnel levels of volume that land pleasingly on screens big and small. Weird science and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of action set pieces… this is Nolan’s rap and he frequently goes to eleven in this one.

John David Washington is (rather annoyingly) known only as The Protagonist. Let’s call him “Pro” for the duration of this review. A government agent who proves his bonafides to his superiors, he’s allowed into a secret organization known as the picture’s title. Pro’s new assignment tasks him with preventing something “worse” than nuclear holocaust in one example of some clunky dialogue. This is where the physics lessons are useful. You see, Russian oligarch Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) is hellbent on destroying the past and future through the concept of “inversion”. Essentially this means playing with time travel concepts that can wipe out what occurred before or after. I’m not sure Doc Brown could properly provide sufficient exposition without multiple viewings and neither can Pro or his partner Neil (Robert Pattinson). You may want to look up “temporal pincer movements” before you watch.

In addition to Pro’s teaming with Neil, his mission to stop Sator also involves the villain’s estranged wife Kat (Elizabeth Debicki). She’s quite good here and she’s really the only heroic figure that’s written with any layers. Washington and Pattinson are just fine, though their characters are quite dull on the page and screen. For Branagh, this is his chance to ham it up in true Bond baddie style and he relishes it. We have also get a bit of Michael Caine (common for a Nolan experience) and internationally known Hindi actress Dimple Kapadia as an arms trafficker.

Tenet does feature the aforementioned action set pieces that are impressive in scope and tech wizardry. The director doesn’t handle these sequences with half measures. If the scene calls for a 747 to be demolished, you best believe that plane was actually destroyed. The inversion concept lends to eye candy moments with backwards cars screeching on the highway and seagulls (!) even flying in reverse.

Very early on, a scientist is explaining the science behind Tenet to Pro with the following dialogue: “Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.” I wrote that piece of advice down immediately. I had a notion these words might aptly describe the next two hours plus. And they do. I certainly felt the decibel levels of Nolan and his crew choreographing expensive battles. They take place all over the globe in Norway, Italy, and Siberia. I did not, on the other hand, feel too invested in the complicated narrative mechanics that cause them. In fact, I wrote down something else I didn’t expect to while watching – “Austin Powers”. In that super spy’s second outing, The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin attempts to understand the highly confusing time travel plot in a conversation with his colleague Basil. After twisting his brain into a knot discussing it, Basil smartly replies “I suggest you don’t worry about those things and just enjoy yourself.” He then turns to the camera and says to us – “That goes for all of you, too.” It’s a funnier way of asking us to feel it whether we understand it or not. That request succeeds only intermittently with Tenet.

**1/2 (out of four)

Tenet Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (09/02): On the eve of its premiere, I am upping my estimate from $31.9 million to $36.9 million. Those adjustments are reflected in the numbers below.

Let’s start here – Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is maybe the most challenging box office prediction I’ve ever had to write. This is, of course, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet this isn’t the only reason.

After a series of coronavirus related delays that altered its planned July premiere, the epic spy thriller is set for an extended Labor Day weekend premiere. It marks the latest mega budget (north of $200 million) feature from one of the few directors whose name is the main attraction. The recognizable actors in front of the camera include John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh.

Tenet is out tomorrow (August 26) in numerous territories including Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. The international rollout could provide clues as to how it will perform stateside. That occurs on Thursday, September 3rd and runs through the holiday weekend. Speaking of Labor Day, this is traditionally considered a slow weekend at the box office as the summer season draws to a close. Like everything else this year, 2020 is far different.

While Unhinged and this weekend’s The New Mutants are the first two wide releases post COVID, Tenet is by far the most eagerly awaited and high profile. There was never any doubt that this would open theatrically and on some IMAX venues. The VOD route was never explored. While a screen count is not yet available, I’m currently assuming it’ll be around 2500. If that changes, my prediction might too.

Reviews are mostly solid with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 82%. That said, some critical reaction is a bit on the mixed side. Unlike 2017’s Dunkirk, this follow-up is not generating immediate awards buzz. As mentioned, Nolan is a bankable commodity with or without Oscar chatter. You have to go back to 2006’s The Prestige to find the last entry in his filmography to gross under $100 million domestically. Both Dunkirk and its predecessor Interstellar grossed close to $200 million overall in the States. His Batman trilogy and Inception all took in north of $200 million or far more.

So where does that leaves us? Looking at Interstellar and Dunkirk, both titles achieved per theater averages of just over $13,000 for respective starts of $47 million and $50 million. The difference is that Interstellar began on 3500+ plus screens and Dunkirk at 3700+.

Due to the lower availability of venues (especially in major markets like NYC and LA) and the ongoing uncertainty of major audience turnout, giving Tenet a $10,000 per screen average would equate to around $25 million for the traditional Friday to Sunday portion of its five-day start. I’m choosing to ratchet that up to $25.7 million. Adding Thursday and Labor Day in, I’ll kick in another $11.2 million.

Let’s end here – I am still in severe guesstimating mode and Tenet is undoubtedly the first giant test case in this new cinematic reality. Over the next few days, it’s certainly feasible that I will update this estimate. We shall see, but here’s where I stand as of now.

Tenet opening weekend prediction (Thursday, September 3-Monday, September 7): $36.9 million

Oscar Watch: Tenet

If there’s something that could be called a breathlessly awaited review embargo, it lapsed today with Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. The filmmaker’s latest time bending thriller is out in various foreign territories over the next few days with a launch (in somewhat limited fashion) planned for the United States during Labor Day weekend.

Tenet was already one of the year’s most anticipated titles as Nolan is one of the few directors that can guarantee an audience and potential awards attention. It was originally planned for a mid July global launch before the COVID-19 pandemic altered the strategy. The pic is being rightfully looked at as the first major test for theaters post COVID.

So what’s the verdict? Tenet, with just over 30 reviews in, stands at a solid 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, that number doesn’t tell the whole story. While some critics are hailing it as another visionary work from Nolan, there are others more measured and middle of the road in their write-ups. There is some negativity peppered in.

When Dunkirk was released three years ago, the WWII epic was an immediate Oscar contender and it ended up with 8 nominations. Same goes for Nolan’s 2010 summer smash Inception as it also scored 8 nods. With Tenet, my gut feeling based on early reaction is that it’s far from a shoo-in for the biggest categories.

In that sense, this could more closely follow the trajectory of 2014’s Interstellar. That Matthew McConaughey space tearjerker wound up with 4 nominations: Hans Zimmer’s Original Score, the two Sound races, and Production Design. Tenet could certainly be a player in those categories (Zimmer is scoring here too). Additionally, Visual Effects and Cinematography are definite possibilities.

However, Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay appear far more questionable. As for the cast, it’s worth noting that only one performance in any Nolan feature has been nominated. That would, of course, be Heath Ledger’s Supporting Actor win for the The Dark Knight in 2008. Critical reaction doesn’t indicate that the cast of John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh are likely to be in the mix.

Bottom line: Tenet did not establish itself as an immediate player in the top of the line races today, though technical nods seem assured. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…