2021 Oscar Predictions: October 10th Edition

It is a week of fairly minor movement in the major categories for my Oscar predictions. Even the five spot in Best Actor (which seems to change each week) remained intact.

There is a switch in Actress with Jennifer Hudson (Respect) back in over Frances McDormand (The Tragedy of Macbeth).

The biggest happenings occurred in International Feature Film as nations are continuing to announce their submissions or shortlists in that race. We learned that Spain has gone with The Good Boss instead of Parallel Mothers (a surprise) and that France did not shortlist Petite Maman (which I had in the 5 slot). It’s out in favor of Happening. 

You can read all the activity below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (E)

5. Dune (PR: 5) (E)

6. King Richard (PR: 6) (E)

7. West Side Story (PR: 8) (+1)

8. House of Gucci (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 9) (E)

10. Spencer (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. Don’t Look Up (PR: 11) (E)

12. Mass (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Flee (PR: 12) (-1)

14. CODA (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

A Hero

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. Paul Thoms Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 6) (-4)

Dropped Out:

Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2) (E)

3. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 8) (E)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (E)

4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (E)

5. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 2) (E)

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (E)

4. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (E)

5. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 7) (E)

8. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Martha Plimpton, Mass (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Kathryn Hunter, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kodi Smith-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Jon Bernthal, King Richard

Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 3) (E)

4. Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spencer (PR: 6) (E)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (E)

8. A Hero (PR: 8) (E)

9. Parallel Mothers (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Hand of God

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Humans (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Dune (PR: 8) (+1)

8. West Side Story (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Passing (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The Tender Bar (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

CODA

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. Encanto (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Luca (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 4 (E)

5. Belle (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Vivo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Where Is Anne Frank (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Charlotte

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Flee (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Happening (PR: 7) (+3)

5. The Hand of God (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Drive My Car (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 9) (+2)

8. 7 Prisoners (PR: 10) (+2)

9. I’m Your Man (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Good Boss (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Petite Maman

Parallel Mothers

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. Summer of Soul (PR: 3) (E)

4. Attica (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Lost Leonardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. President (PR: 6) (E)

7. Becoming Cousteau (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Julia (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The Velvet Underground (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The First Wave (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (E)

4. Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Power of the Dog (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. Licorice Pizza (PR: 8) (E)

9. Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The French Dispatch (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

No Time to Die

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cruella (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Spencer (PR: 1) (-1)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (E)

4. Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. West Side Story (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. The French Dispatch (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Cyrano (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 3) (+1)

3. West Side Story (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (-2)

5. King Richard (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (-3)

8. Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (E)

9. House of Gucci (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Spencer (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spencer (PR: 4) (+2)

3. Dune (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Cruella (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. The Green Knight (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

10. West Side Story (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Licorice Pizza

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spencer (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (E)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Belfast (PR: 9) (+2)

8. King Richard (PR: 8) (E)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Luca

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Colombia, Mi Encanto” from Encanto (PR: 3) (E)

4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 5) (-1)

7. “Believe” from The Rescue (PR: 8) (+1)

8. “Don’t Look Up” from Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

9. “Every Letter” from Cyrano (PR: 7) (-2)

10. “Anonymous Ones” from Dear Evan Hansen (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

“At the Automat” from The Automat

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 1) (-1)

3. West Side Story (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Cyrano (PR: 9) (+4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spencer (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Belfast (PR: 5) (-3)

9. The Power of the Dog (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Last Duel (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Licorice Pizza

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. No Time to Die (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

8. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 8) (E)

9. King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Cyrano (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Matrix Resurrections

Eternals

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 2) (E)

3. Eternals (PR: 3) (E)

4. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 4) (E)

5. Don’t Look Up (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Free Guy (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Jungle Cruise (PR: 10) (E)

And that equates to the following breakdown in terms of nominations for the pictures:

10 Nominations

Dune

9 Nominations

Belfast

7 Nominations

Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

House of Gucci, King Richard, West Side Story

5 Nominations

Spencer

4 Nominations

Licorice Pizza, The Tragedy of Macbeth

3 Nominations

Flee, Mass

2 Nominations

C’Mon C’Mon, Cruella, Cyrano, Encanto, The French Dispatch, The Humans, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, Respect

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, Eternals, Don’t Look Up, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, Happening, A Hero, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, The Rescue, The Suicide Squad, Summer of Soul, The Worst Person in the World 

2021 Oscar Predictions: October 3rd Edition

My weekly Oscar predictions enters the month of October with no changes in my forecasted Picture and Director nominees. However, we do have movement in the acting derbies:

    • The five spot in Best Actor seems to change every Sunday. This time I’m swapping out Bradley Cooper (Nightmare Alley) for Joaquin Phoenix (C’Mon C’Mon) once again.
    • In Actress, Jennifer Hudson (Respect) falls out in favor of Olivia Colman for The Lost Daughter. 
    • Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) makes my Supporting Actress five for the first time at the expense of Jayne Houdyshell (The Humans).

My #1’s in the biggest competitions stay put with Belfast (Picture), Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog (Director), Kristen Stewart in Spencer (Actress), Will Smith in King Richard (Actor), Caitriona Balfe for Belfast (Supporting Actress), and Bradley Cooper in Licorice Pizza (Supporting Actor).

You can peruse all the activity for all the races below as I now have Belfast and Dune tied for garnering the most nods.

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (E)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (+3)

5. Dune (PR: 4) (-1)

6. King Richard (PR: 9) (+3)

7. House of Gucci (PR: 5) (-2)

8. West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Spencer (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. Don’t Look Up (PR: 11) (E)

12. Flee (PR: 12) (E)

13. CODA (PR: 13) (E)

14. Mass (PR: 14) (E)

15. A Hero (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Humans

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 7) (+3)

5. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 10) (E)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (E)

4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (E)

5. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 7) (E)

8. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 8) (E)

9. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (E)

5. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 7) (E)

8. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 8) (E)

9. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Kathryn Hunter, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley

Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (E)

7. Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Mass (PR: 3) (-1)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spencer (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 6) (-1)

8. A Hero (PR: 8) (E)

9. The Hand of God (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 10) (E)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Humans (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. West Side Story (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Dune (PR: 7) (-1)

9. CODA (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Passing (PR: 10) (E)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. Luca (PR: 2) (E)

3. Encanto (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 4) (E)

5. Belle (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Vivo (PR: 6) (E)

7. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 7) (E)

8. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Where Is Anne Frank (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Charlotte (PR: 8) (-2)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 5) (+2)

4. The Hand of God (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Petite Maman (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parallel Mothers (PR: 6) (E)

7. Happening (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Drive My Car (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 8) (-1)

10. 7 Prisoners (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

I’m Your Man

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. Summer of Soul (PR: 6) (+3)

4. Attica (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The Lost Leonardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. President (PR: 4) (-2)

7. The First Wave (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Becoming Cousteau (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Julia (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Sparks Brothers

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Dune (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (E)

4. Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Power of the Dog (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. Licorice Pizza (PR: 8) (E)

9. No Time to Die (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The French Dispatch (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Hand of God

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Cruella (PR: 4) (+2)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Dune (PR: 3) (-1)

5. West Side Story (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (-2)

9. The French Dispatch (PR: 9) (E)

10. Cyrano (PR: 10) (E)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Belfast (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (E)

5. West Side Story (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. King Richard (PR: 9) (+3)

7. The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Spencer (PR: 10) (+1)

10. House of Gucci (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Spencer (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Cruella (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: Not Ranked)

8. West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Green Knight (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cyrano

The French Dispatch 

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spencer (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (E)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (+1)

7. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (-3)

8. King Richard (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Belfast (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Luca (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cyrano

Don’t Look Up

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Colombia, Mi Encanto” from Encanto (PR: 4) (+1)

4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 3) (-1)

5. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 5) (-1)

7. “Every Letter” from Cyrano (PR: 7) (E)

8. “Believe” from The Rescue (PR: 8) (E)

9. “Anonymous Ones” from Dear Evan Hansen (PR: Not Ranked)

10. “At the Automat” from The Automat (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

“Don’t Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nightmare Alley (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (+1)

4. West Side Story (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Belfast (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spencer (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Power of the Dog (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Licorice Pizza (PR: 8) (E)

9. Cyrano (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

House of Gucci 

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Belfast (PR: 6) (+2)

5. No Time to Die (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-2)

7. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 3) (-4)

8. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Eternals (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 2) (E)

3. Eternals (PR: 3) (E)

4. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 4) (E)

5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Free Guy (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jungle Cruise (PR: 10) (E)

And that equates to these pictures gathering these numbers in terms of nominations:

10 Nominations

Belfast, Dune

7 Nominations

Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

House of Gucci, West Side Story

5 Nominations

King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Spencer, The Tragedy of Macbeth

3 Nominations

Flee, Mass

2 Nominations

C’Mon C’Mon, Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Humans, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die

1 Nomination

Annette, Attica, Belle, Cyrano, Eternals, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, A Hero, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Petite Maman, The Rescue, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Summer of Soul, The Worst Person in the World

The Many Saints of Newark Review

The Sopranos richly earned its reputation as a game changer that kickstarted a golden era of TV drama over two decades ago. James Gandolfini’s portrayal of Tony Soprano certainly deserves all the praise it got. The late actor’s work influenced so many antiheroes that followed on the small screen. You loved to hate him and kind of hated to love him, but he was a fully realized character that played out over six celebrated HBO seasons.

The main problem with The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel set in the late 1960s and early 70s, is that it’s difficult to fully realize those that populate it in just two hours. The hook drawing fans in is viewing Tony in his formative years. I couldn’t help but think of Star Wars episodes I-III (particularly The Phantom Menace). Did we really need to see Darth Vader as a precocious youngster? We catch glimpses of Tony’s journey to the dark side as he begins to abandon thoughts of a pro football career in favor of a Mafioso life. Yet the players around him don’t have time to breathe and that makes for a disappointing watch.

Many Saints (which translates to Moltisanti in Italian) begins in the tumultuous year of 1967 when Newark is in the midst of race riots. For the DiMeo crime family, they’re hoping for business as usual but the political strife keeps interfering. Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) welcomes his gregarious father (Ray Liotta) and his gorgeous Italian bride (Michela De Rossi) back to the mainland. The organization’s enforcers include some familiar names from the show with more youthful faces: Junior (Corey Stoll), Sil (John Magaro), Paulie (Billy Magnussen) and Pussy (Samson Moeakiola). And there’s Johnny Soprano (Jon Bernthal), who’s nefarious activities are about to land him behind bars for a chunk of son Tony’s upbringing.

Played by William Ludwig in the ’67 portion and Michael Gandolfini (James’s real-life offspring) in the 70s, Tony is drawn to Dickie’s magnetism. With his father away and his deeply troubled mother Livia (Vera Farmiga, impressively adopting Nancy Marchand’s voice and mannerisms) not making life easy, we witness the seeds sown for Tony entering that thing of theirs.

Well… we kind of do. The screenplay (from show creator David Chase and Lawrence Konner) often focuses on Harold (Leslie Odom Jr.). He’s a low-level African-American employee of Dickie’s. The racial upheaval of the era causes him to develop his own little empire and that puts him at odds with the boss. Harold’s subplot is a fine example of one that could be fascinating given more time and context. Here it seems rushed and that includes an out of nowhere love triangle that seems forced to move plot points along.

Just as the older Tony housed multiple contradictions, so does Dickie. He fancies himself a good person, but his actions keep getting in the way. If Tony had mom issues, Dickie is chockfull of stepmom ones. And daddy ones. His most confessional relationship is with his dad’s identical brother Sally (also Liotta) who’s been locked up for years. Sally, in many ways, serves in the Dr. Melfi role from The Sopranos. He gets to hear the angst ridden thoughts of a crime leader who struggles with virtuous ideas while also being a madman.

Nivola gives an impressive performance as a character I ultimately didn’t care much about. As for Gandolfini, he’s the spitting image of his father and there are moments of wistful recognition in that (as well as short peeks at the rage). The script is littered with winking nods to the series past (or future I guess). Some are mildly fun while others come off as unneeded. The latter includes a surprise narrative structure that I won’t spoil. I left Newark appreciative of the rich experience that The Sopranos provided in its six course meal. The power dynamic of Dickie Moltisanti and Harold would be familiar in any Mafia tale. It’s just not as appetizing and it wasn’t enough to pull this viewer back in.

** (out of four)

2021 Oscar Predictions: September 26th Edition

My weekly Oscar predictions has at last expanded to all categories covering feature films! That means we have counts on how each picture will fare and I have Dune and Nightmare Alley leading the way to 10 nods apiece.

There are changes to ponder as Don’t Look Up takes the biggest fall. I have been toying with removing the Netflix disaster drama from Best Picture contention for a couple of weeks. A clip from the pic circulated yesterday and drew some criticism, but I wouldn’t judge it from that brief glimpse. This is more of a hunch that Up might not going for a BP vibe. So it’s out with Up and in with Spencer. Additionally, C’Mon C’Mon rises in Original Screenplay over Adam McKay’s latest.

In other developments:

    • The Tragedy of Macbeth premiered at the New York Film Festival Friday and solidified its BP viability. Same goes for Denzel Washington. There’s still a question mark as to whether Frances McDormand will be placed in lead or supporting (sounds like a case could be made for both). For now, I’m putting her back in Best Actress and saying she gets in. Same goes for Jennifer Hudson in Respect. Their inclusion knocks out Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) and Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter).
    • I’m back to projecting Bradley Cooper as a double nominee. His placement in Actor for Nightmare Alley removes Joaquin Phoenix (C’Mon C’Mon).
    • The Supporting Actress derby seems to be getting a new #1 each week. This time it’s Caitriona Balfe for Belfast. 

Lots more to peruse in the inaugural expanded listings below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 6) (-1)

8. West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. King Richard (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Spencer (PR: 12) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

11. Don’t Look Up (PR: 9) (-2)

12. Flee (PR: 16) (+4)

13. CODA (PR: 13) (E)

14. Mass (PR: 14) (E)

15. The Humans (PR: 11) (-4)

Dropped Out:

The Hand of God

The French Dispatch

Tick, Tick… Boom!

A Hero

The Lost Daughter

C’Mon C’Mon

Being the Ricardos

Cyrano

Passing 

Parallel Mothers

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 8) (E)

9. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: 12)

10. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

Paolo Sorrentino, The Hand of God

Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard

Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

Stephen Karam, The Humans

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from supporting

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 8)

9. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 13) (+4)

10. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up

Emilia Jones, CODA

Halle Berry, Bruised

Tessa Thompson, Passing

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (E)

4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (E)

5. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 7) (E)

8. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 11( (+3)

9. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!

Ben Foster, The Survivor

Jude Hill, Belfast

Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza

Amir Jadidi, A Hero

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 1) (-2)

4. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 11) (+4)

8. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 14) (+6)

9. Toni Collette, Nightmare Alley (PR: 9) (E)

10. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (+2)

Dropped Out:

Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth – moved to lead

Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley

Judi Dench, Belfast

Martha Plimpton, Mass

Dakota Johnson, The Lost Daughter

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 14) (+4)

Dropped Out:

Mark Rylance, Don’t Look Up

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Willem Dafoe, Nightmare Alley

David Alvarez, West Side Story

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Reed Birney, Mass

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. Mass (PR: 4) (+1))

4. King Richard (PR: 5) (+1)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. A Hero (PR: 10) (+2)

9. The Hand of God (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 12) (+2)

Dropped Out:

The French Dispatch

Parallel Mothers

Being the Ricardos

Last Night in Soho

Annette

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The Humans (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Dune (PR: 7) (E)

8. CODA (PR: 8) (E)

9. West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)

10. Passing (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Cyrano

Tick, Tick… Boom!

The Last Duel

The Green Knight

In the Heights

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee 

2. Luca

3. Encanto

4. The Mitchells vs. the Machines

5. Belle

Other Possibilities:

6. Vivo

7. Raya and the Last Dragon

8. Charlotte

9. Ron’s Gone Wrong

10. Where Is Anne Frank 

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero

2. Flee

3. The Hand of God

4. Petite Maman

5. The Worst Person in the World

Other Possibilities:

6. Parallel Mothers

7. Drive My Car

8. Compartment No. 6

9. 7 Prisoners

10. I’m Your Man

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue 

2. Flee

3. Attica

4. President

5. The Lost Leonardo

Other Possibilities:

6. Summer of Soul

7. Julia

8. The Sparks Brothers

9. The First Wave

10. Becoming Cousteau 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. The Tragedy of Macbeth

3. Nightmare Alley

4. Belfast

5. The Power of the Dog

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story

7. Spencer

8. Licorice Pizza

9. The French Dispatch

10. The Hand of God

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Spencer

2. House of Gucci

3. Dune

4. Cruella

5. Nightmare Alley

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth

7. West Side Story

8. Licorice Pizza

9. The French Dispatch

10. Cyrano

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. Belfast

3. Nightmare Alley

4. Licorice Pizza

5. West Side Story

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog

7. Don’t Look Up

8. House of Gucci

9. King Richard

10. Spencer

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci

2. Dune

3. Spencer

4. The Eyes of Tammy Faye

5. Nightmare Alley

Other Possibilities:

6. Cruella

7. Cyrano

8. West Side Story

9. Licorice Pizza

10. The French Dispatch

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. Spencer

3. The Power of the Dog

4. The Tragedy of Macbeth

5. The French Dispatch

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley

7. Licorice Pizza

8. Cyrano

9. Don’t Look Up

10. King Richard

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard

2. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

3. “Down to Joy” from Belfast

4. “Colombia, Mi Encanto” from Encanto

5. “Here I Am” from Respect

Other Possibilities:

6. “So May We Start” from Annette

7. “Every Letter” from Cyrano

8. “Believe” from The Rescue

9. “Don’t Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

10. “At the Automat” from The Automat

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nightmare Alley

2. Dune

3. West Side Story

4. The French Dispatch

5. Spencer

Other Possibilities:

6. House of Gucci

7. Belfast

8. Licorice Pizza

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth

10. Cyrano

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. West Side Story

3. The Matrix Resurrections

4. Nightmare Alley

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth

Other Possibilities:

6. Belfast

7. Don’t Look Up

8. No Time to Die

9. A Quiet Place Part II

10. King Richard

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. The Matrix Resurrections

3. Eternals

4. Godzilla vs. Kong

5. Don’t Look Up

Other Possibilities:

6. Spider-Man: No Way Home

7. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

8. The Suicide Squad

9. Free Guy

10. Jungle Cruise

And that gives us the first take on how many nominations the various pictures will receive:

10 Nominations

Dune, Nightmare Alley

8 Nominations

Belfast

7 Nominations

The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

House of Gucci, Spencer, The Tragedy of Macbeth

5 Nominations

Licorice Pizza, West Side Story

4 Nominations

King Richard

3 Nominations

Flee, The Humans, Mass

2 Nominations

Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Matrix Resurrections, Respect

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, C’Mon C’Mon, Cruella, Cyrano, Don’t Look Up, Eternals, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, A Hero, The Lost Daughter, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, No Time to Die, Petite Maman, President, The Rescue, The Worst Person in the World

The Many Saints of Newark Box Office Prediction

Making its way to theaters and HBO Max on October 1 is The Many Saints of Newark, which follows the teen years of Tony Soprano in the 1960s and 70s. Series vet Alan Taylor directs with show creator David Chase cowriting. In a bit of bittersweet casting, the late James Gandolfini’s son Michael is Tony. The cast also features Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom, Jr., Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, John Magaro, Ray Liotta, and Vera Farmiga.

The crime drama arrives 14 years after the celebrated HBO program faded to black. Early reviews are decent as it stands at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Devotees of the series will no doubt be curious. However, the big question for me is whether many of them will wake up on the morning of the 1st and realize they’ve got themself the opportunity to view it on HBO Max.

I suspect many will. It stands to reason that plenty of Sopranos fans may have a subscription to the streamer. This could limit its potential at multiplexes. My gut says the number on Max could be impressive, but Newark could struggle to reach double digits in its theatrical premiere.

The Many Saints of Newark opening weekend prediction: $8.5 million

For my Venom: Let There Be Carnage prediction, click here:

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Box Office Prediction

For my The Addams Family 2 prediction, click here:

The Addams Family 2 Box Office Prediction

Oscar Predictions: The Many Saints of Newark

During its acclaimed eight year run on HBO, The Sopranos picked up 21 Emmys, 5 Golden Globe honors, and was named by Rolling Stone in 2016 as the greatest TV series of all time (a designation I wouldn’t argue with).

It has been 14 years since the show abruptly faded to black, but The Many Saints of Newark (out October 1 in theaters and HBO Max) serves as a prequel to the action. Set three decades before the New Jersey crime family made their way to the airwaves, Newark casts the late James Gandolini’s son Michael as Tony Soprano. Alan Taylor (a series vet) directs with creator David Chase cowriting. Costars include Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr., Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, John Magaro, Ray Liotta, and Vera Farmiga as Tony’s complicated mother Livia.

The film has screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and the review embargo is lifted. Based on its small number of write-ups, Newark stands at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some critics are highlighting the performances of Nivola (as Tony’s mentor Dickie Moltisanti) and Gandolfini. However, I don’t believe what I’ve seen reaction wise indicates this will be an Oscar player in any category.

Bottom line: The Sopranos awards love will continue to rest with the TV branches of the Emmys and Globes. Don’t expect the Academy to make Newark a factor. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Oscar Predictions: King Richard

My previous Oscar Predictions post was for the Princess Diana biopic Spencer. I explained that it’s risky to make bold pronouncements at this juncture of the awards season. Yet the buzz from Venice strongly suggests that Kristen Stewart is going to nab a Best Actress nod for her work.

At Telluride, the same feeling holds true for King Richard from director Reinaldo Marcus Green. Hitting theaters and HBO Max on November 19, the title character is Richard Williams. He’s best known as the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena. Portraying him is Will Smith and he’s going for nomination #3 after 2001’s Ali and 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness. 

So here we go again. The early reaction for Richard makes me comfortable enough to declare that Smith will get that third recognition. And he could win. Reviews also single out Aunjanue Ellis as Richard’s wife Brandy. An Emmy winner for When They See Us, I will likely include her in Supporting Actress when my estimates are updated on Monday.

As for the movie itself, it could certainly follow in the sports drama footsteps of previous Best Picture nominees like The Blind Side and Moneyball. I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s certainly a possibility as this sounds like a major crowdpleaser. There’s also an original song that plays over the credits from Beyonce (“Be Alive”) and I wouldn’t bet against her.

Bottom line: Will Smith has put himself in position to be the Fresh Prince of the Best Actor derby. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Those Who Wish Me Dead Review

Taylor Sheridan’s Those Who Wish Me Dead is the second recent Warner Bros/HBO Max venture that would have felt more common as a mid 90s release. Take an Oscar winner/nominee and put them in a generic thriller where you’re saving a kid from generic assassins or solving the crimes of a demented mass murderer. Let the guilty pleasures commerce. In the serial killer genre, we saw it early this year with Denzel Washington and The Little Things. This one reminds me of titles like The Client with Susan Sarandon or The River Wild with Meryl Streep (the latter especially since it deals with forces of nature).

I’ll confess that I’ve developed a soft spot for material like this. It takes me back to a simpler time a quarter century ago where blockbusters didn’t primarily involve CG spectacles. And, yes, when movies like this took up whole shelves at Blockbuster and were rated R for non-gimmicky reasons.

Hannah (Angelina Jolie) is a smokejumper in Montana assigned to desk duty due to a wildfire that ended in tragedy. That demotion places her in a lookout tower with gorgeous natural settings that clash with her unnatural hair extensions. The monotony of her assignment takes a turn when she comes across Connor (Finn Little). The preteen is on the run from assassins (Nicholas Hoult and Aiden Gillen) who offed his forensic accountant dad. Why did his father meet his demise? The screenplay doesn’t much delve into that, but you might be interested to know that Tyler Perry has something to do with the dirty deed.

As Hannah attempts to bond with Connor, the killers frantically try to find them. Jon Bernthal is Ethan, a local sheriff with ties to the boy and he happens to be Hannah’s ex-boyfriend. He helps run a survivalist school with his expectant wife Allison (Medina Senghore) and they make it tricky for the bad guys to complete their business. This is an example of where Sheridan’s screenplay (with Michael Kortya and Charles Leavitt) hints at more compelling directions it might have gone in. When Allison gets to show her abilities while in danger and quite pregnant and on horseback, I couldn’t help but think a script about her handling these thugs would have been more rewarding.

With Jolie, she doesn’t have much of a character to work with. Her backstory involving past career missteps is thin. Her rapport with Little (in a solid performance) does have some highlights. Sheridan has created far more memorable moments in his previous written and directed works like Sicario and Hell or High Water. He’s continually shown an ability to make his scouted locations a gripping participant. That holds true with the Montana wilderness and the fire that eventually rips through it.

With Those Who Wish Me Dead, this is where words like serviceable get overused. It is, however, accurate. I found myself reasonably entertained during its brisk 100 minutes and the 90s throwback feeling makes it easier to forgive lapses in logic. This is hardly a towering achievement, but the inferno didn’t bore.

*** (out of four)

Those Who Wish Me Dead Box Office Prediction

Bloggers Update: Prediction downgraded to $3.8 million

Angelina Jolie tries to heat up the box office on May 14 with the simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max release of Those Who Wish Me Dead. The thriller casts Jolie as a fire warden attempting to protect a young boy whose father was murdered by assassins. Taylor Sheridan, director of Wind River and co-creator of the hit series Yellowstone, serves behind the camera. Costars include Finn Little, Nicholas Hoult, Jon Bernthal, and Tyler Perry.

Warner Bros. has had successes recently with their strategy of putting their product on the big screen and thru HBO’s streaming platform. This resulted in impressive openings for Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat over the past two months. This one could be a tougher sell due to it not being part of a known franchise.

Dead will need to rely on an adult crowd turning out and Jolie’s star power. One recent comp is The Little Things with Denzel Washington. Also a Warner/HBO venture, the thriller opened domestically with $4.8 million. More theaters have opened their doors since and capacity has increased. That leads me to think that Jolie’s latest could exceed that gross, but perhaps not by much. If my estimate holds, Dead should place second next weekend behind Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

Those Who Wish Me Dead opening weekend prediction: $3.8 million

For my Spiral: From the Book of Saw prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/05/spiral-box-office-prediction/

For my Army of the Dead prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/army-of-the-dead-box-office-prediction/

For my Profile prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/profile-box-office-prediction/

Ford v Ferrari Box Office Prediction

Zooming into theaters next weekend is Ford v Ferrari, which recounts the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in the mid 1960s. James Mangold, taking a break from Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine spinoffs, directs. Matt Damon and Christian Bale lead the cast that includes Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, and Noah Jupe.

Ford hit the film festival circuit a couple months back to solid reviews (88% on Rotten Tomatoes) and buzz that it could nab a Best Picture nod. It’s said to be an audience pleaser and it should have an edge over Charlie’s Angels, another high profile pic opening against it.

That said, I do believe some of the $30 million plus forecasts out there are a bit rosy. I keep thinking of Ron Howard’s 2013 Rush, which covered similar subject matter. It also had fine reviews, but sputtered with just a $10 million wide premiere. Make no mistake – this has more star power and looks destined to at least double that gross.

I’ll say mid 20s is where this lands as it hopes to keep adult audiences coming in later weekends (especially if the awards talk comes to fruition).

Ford v Ferrari opening weekend prediction: $24.4 million

For my Charlie’s Angels prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/11/06/charlies-angels-box-office-prediction/

For my The Good Liar prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/11/07/the-good-liar-box-office-prediction/