2021 Oscars: A Mid-Year Report

We have somehow reached the midpoint of 2021 and that means it is time to take stock in the Oscar contenders that have been released or screened so far. In short, we are talking about fairly slim pickings.

That is not rare. The bulk of the Best Picture nominees are typically unveiled between September-December of a given year (or in the case of 2020 – January or February of 2021 as well). For the previous Academy Awards, not one of the 8 BP contenders were distributed in the first half of the year. However, 3 of them (The Father, Sound of Metal, Promising Young Woman) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020. Another (Sound of Metal) was screened all the way back in September 2019 during Toronto’s festival.

As a reminder, Oscar rules were altered moving forward starting with next year’s ceremony. There will be a fixed number of 10 BP nominees (thank goodness). As I see it, the 2021 Sundance Fest gave us three potential hopefuls in the big race: Sian Heder’s Coda, Rebecca Hall’s Passing, and Fran Kranz’s Mass. 

Coda and Mass, in particular, seem like real possibilities. The former, in addition to a Picture nod, could see itself as a contender for Emilia Jones in Actress and Marlee Matlin in Supporting Actress. The latter sports a quarter of performers (Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton, Ann Dowd, Reed Birney) that could find themselves in the mix. Passing, while more of a long shot for BP, features Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga and they will likely be campaigning.

How about movies that didn’t go the Sundance route? The obvious one is In the Heights from Jon M. Chu. The musical garnered glowing reviews when it premiered in theaters and on HBO Max last month. However, its surprisingly lackluster box office grosses may hinder its chances. Time will tell.

There are already three released animated features that could make the final five: The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Luca, and Raya and the Last Dragon. I think the first two have strong chances while Raya is more of a question mark. Flee, which screened at Sundance, was critically hailed and it could find itself competing here and in Documentary Feature.

As for other docs, keep an eye out for Summer of Saul (which actually releases tomorrow) and Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

And when we look at below the line categories, there’s Cruella. Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling are two derbies where it could not only be nominated, but prevail. I also wouldn’t completely count out Coming 2 America for the same categories. The Sound race is open for A Quiet Place Part II. Godzilla vs. Kong is a hopeful in Visual Effects.

Bottom line: expect nearly all of 2021’s Best Picture players to see their release dates in the next six months. At least two could come from Sundance with Heights hoping its box office fall doesn’t sink its chances.

Is In the Heights Out of Oscar Contention?

Ten days ago, Jon M. Chu’s In the Heights went into its premiere weekend as the first bonafide Best Picture contender of 2021. Sporting a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 96%, the musical (adapted from a play co-created by Lin-Manuel Miranda) was projected to gross around $20 million in its opening frame. And then reality happened.

The pic was a major box office disappointment and earned just $11.5 million out of the gate (landing at #2 behind the third weekend of A Quiet Place Part II). Even then not all hope was lost. With solid word-of-mouth and awards buzz, perhaps Heights would hold well in subsequent weekends.

And then reality happened again. Heights appears to have dropped to sixth place in its sophomore outing with a drop of over 60%. What a difference a week and a half can make. There’s really no positive spin for its box office performance. It’s simply very underwhelming. Furthermore, the bulk of publicity received for Heights in recent days was either for its disappointing numbers or controversy emerging from its casting choices (something for which Miranda issued an apology for).

At this juncture, it’s a legitimate question whether Heights is still a viable contender at the Oscars. Much of that could depend on if Warner Bros makes a robust effort to campaign for it. I would say its inclusion in the big categories is now iffy at best. This applies to Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Anthony Ramos in Actor (which was probably always a long shot), and Olga Merediz in Supporting Actress. Down the line categories such as Sound and Original Song are more questionable as well.

The studio could shift its focus to fall contenders including Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, and King Richard with Will Smith. Bottom line: Heights isn’t finished in the Oscar derby, but it is hard to say that it’s not wounded.

In the Heights Box Office Prediction

With a rousing 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the musical In the Heights reaches theaters and HBO Max on June 11 and expectations have risen. After being pushed back nearly a full year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jon M. Chu directs a large cast including Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV, and Jimmy Smith. It is based on the stage production created by Quiara Alegria Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda (who also appears).

Critics have taken to the adaptation with many claiming it is the feel good picture of the season. Miranda’s name associated with anything is a bonus. A female and Latino audience could turn out in large numbers. Heights is also 2021’s first release that could be a major Oscar contender in multiple categories, including Best Picture. The fact that HBO Max subscribers may opt for home viewing is always a factor, but the streaming arrangement with Warner Bros has already produced satisfying theatrical starts for other titles.

Three years ago, Chu had an unexpected summer smash with Crazy Rich Asians. It opened to $26.5 million and legged out tremendously to a $174 million domestic haul. I could easily see his follow-up earning about the same for its premiere weekend, but I’ll put it just a tad under.

In the Heights opening weekend prediction: $26.8 million

For my Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/06/05/peter-rabbit-2-the-runaway-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: In the Heights

Jon M. Chu’s musical drama In the Heights was originally slated to hit theaters last June, but the COVID-19 pandemic altered the plan. Based on the stage musical created by Quiara Alegria Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the film now dances into multiplexes and HBO Max on June 11. The review embargo lifted today and it appears we have a legitimate Best Picture hopeful before us.

The Rotten Tomatoes meter sits at 97% with many critics imploring audiences to see it on the biggest screen possible. Many reviewers also note that it’s the perfect tonic after a rough year. Heights has a sprawling cast and that ensemble stands a terrific shot at SAG recognition next year. It could perform very well in the Musical/Comedy categories at the Golden Globes… if there is a ceremony next year (and that’s a big if right now).

As for the Oscars, many possibilities exist. Director Chu’s previous effort was the smash hit Crazy Rich Asians, but it was completely ignored by the Academy. That’s unlikely to happen here. Best Original Song (with Miranda proving some new material) and Sound could certainly be in play.

When it comes to the big competitions, the feel good nature of Heights could absolutely lift it to a Best Picture nomination. It might be a bit more of a reach for Chu to make the final five in directing, but it’s at least feasible. Two cast members receiving immediate kudos are Anthony Ramos (in what could be quite a crowded Best Actor derby) and Olga Merediz in Supporting Actress.

Bottom line: expect this anticipated summer hit musical to be on the minds of voters in the forthcoming awards season. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

2018: The Year of Crazy Rich Asians

Over 16 years ago, My Big Fat Greek Wedding unexpectedly became the highest grossing romantic comedy of all time with its focus on culture and love. That chord was struck once again in the summer of 2018 with Crazy Rich Asians. Based on the bestseller by Kevin Kwan and directed by Jon M. Chu, Asians received rave reviews and audiences turned out to the tune of a $174 million domestic haul.

The film made a little history along the way by becoming the first major Hollywood studio production to feature a predominantly Asian-American cast since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club. This allowed for star making roles for leads Henry Golding and Constance Wu, as well as actress/rapper Awkwafina. For veteran Michelle Yeoh, best known to stateside moviegoers for Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, her potential mother-in-law role garnered awards chatter.

Asians certainly achieved its status as the summer’s giant sleeper and is the largest earning rom com since 2005’s Hitch. It also changed the faces we normally see in the genre (like Greek Wedding) and that earns it a place atop the year’s major cinematic stories.

Crazy Rich Asians Movie Review

Crazy Rich Asians is a vibrant and colorful romantic comedy that’s fairly conventional in its genre trappings at times. However, it isn’t so traditional with the world it explores or with the faces populating the love story. It serves as a lovely advertisement for visiting Singapore – albeit with some locales that might require deep pockets to see. This works best by having the most important ingredient in that there’s legit chemistry between the two leads.

That would be Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an economics professor in New York City and her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding). They seem to be living a nice life in the Big Apple when she accepts his invitation to accompany him to Singapore for a wedding. Rachel figures out soon that his family isn’t just wealthy, but they’re basically the Kennedy’s of their country. Or in some ways they’re the Kardashian’s, with plenty of Young’s living that kind of excessively lavish lifestyle.

This isn’t necessarily a Cinderella trajectory Rachel finds herself on. Nick’s mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) quickly decides she isn’t good enough for her beloved son. And there’s plenty of other women around who are jealous of her nabbing the nation’s hottest bachelor, who’s expected to move back home and take over the family business.

Based on a bestseller from Kevin Kwan and directed with energy by Jon M. Chu, Asians shows us a culture rarely seen in an American produced studio effort. In that way, it’s fair to make comparisons with 2002’s unexpected smash hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This also takes some time to show the culinary delights of the land, as well as gorgeous visual ones.

Similar to plenty of complicated love stories, there are elements of classism at the forefront. One subplot involves a cousin (Gemma Chan), a kindly socialite who’s “married under” what her elders anticipated. Her marriage serves as a preview for the problems that may lie ahead for Rachel and Nick.

Crazy Rich Asians gets a lot of mileage out of its far off destination. Wu and Golding make it gel. I expect both to get their own mileage career wise from their solid performances here. Yeoh, who stateside audiences know best for 007 flick Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is strong in a tricky part. She’s a bit of a villain with genuine intentions. The screenplay and her performance make it work. Rapper Awkwafina gets the zany best friend role to Rachel and does have some amusing moments.

The dazzling sights of Singapore are joyous to behold, but this is worth watching for the reason many in this genre are. I liked Rachel and Nick a lot and wanted to see them make it through the time-tested rom com challenges that come their way.

*** (out of four)

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: November 1st Edition

My first Oscar predictions in the month of November come with reductions and expansions. I am slimming the list of 25 Best Picture possibilities to 15 and the other major categories from 15 to 10. As you can see, I am also including all of the other feature-length races for the first time from Documentary to Animated Feature to Foreign Language Feature and the techs.

So what are the developments worth discussing? Well…

  • In these initial projections for all races, A Star Is Born and First Man tie for most nominations with 12 apiece. Truth be told, I’m skeptical that First Man will get there. Its poor box office performance could hinder its possibilities in some races. While I’m relatively confident it will score multiples nods in the technical categories, both director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling are questionable, even though I currently have them both getting honored.
  • In Best Picture, BlacKkKlansman rises from 6th to 4th in the list of predicted nominees. It’s a good week in general for the Spike Lee pic as I’m including Adam Driver for the first time in the list of predicted Supporting Actor nominees, replacing Sam Rockwell in Vice.
  • We got a surprise announcement this week as Kenneth Branagh’s All Is True will open in late December for a qualifying run. The director stars as William Shakespeare in the late stages of his life with a supporting cast including Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. I will likely wait for some buzz before possibly listing it as a predicted nominee. In addition to Picture, Director, acting slots, and screenplay – it has the potential in down the line races such as Costume Design and Production Design. It will certainly be one to keep an eye on.
  • For Foreign Language Feature, Roma is tops in my first predictions while it maintains its #2 spot in Best Picture. Pixar finds itself in familiar territory with Incredibles 2 leading Animated Feature. In what should be a competitive Documentary Feature race, Free Solo starts out at #1 with Three Identical Strangers close behind.

And with that, here’s what November brings as far as Oscar predictions!

Best Picture

1. A Star Is Born (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

5. Green Book (PR: 4)

6. First Man (PR: 5)

7. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

8. Black Panther (PR: 8)

9. Vice (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 11)

11. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 13)

12. Widows (PR: 10)

13. The Mule (PR: 12)

14. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 15)

15. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

A Quiet Place

Eighth Grade

Boy Erased

Leave No Trace

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Mary Poppins Returns

The Hate U Give

Cold War

Ben Is Back

Hereditary

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 4)

4. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (PR: 3)

5. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 6)

7. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 7)

8. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 9)

9. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 8)

10. Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Steve McQueen, Widows

Clint Eastwood, The Mule

Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots

John Krasinski, A Quiet Place

Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians

Best Actor

1. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 2)

3. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 5)

5. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 8)

7. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

8. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: 7)

9. Hugh Jackman, The Front Runner (PR: 9)

10. Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Lucas Hedges, Ben Is Back

Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Ben Foster, Leave No Trace

John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

John C. Reilly, Stan and Ollie

Best Actress

1. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 1)

2. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: 6)

7. Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 8)

8. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 10)

9. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back (PR: 7)

10. Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Toni Collette, Hereditary

Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns 

Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Kindergarten Teacher

Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk

Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade

Best Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 1)

2. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

3. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 3)

4. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

5. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 5)

7. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 8)

8. Daniel Kaluuya, Widows (PR: 6)

9. Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give (PR: 14)

10. Robert Forster, What They Had (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Steve Carell, Vice

Armie Hammer, On the Basis of Sex

Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite 

Russell Crowe, Boy Erased

Tim Blake Nelson, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Best Supporting Actress

1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

2. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 2)

3. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite (PR: 4)

4. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 3)

5. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Marina de Tavira, Roma (PR: 7)

7. Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (PR: 6)

8. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 8)

9. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 9)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots 

Rachel McAdams, Disobedience

Sissy Spacek, The Old Man & The Gun

Kathy Bates, On the Basis of Sex

Dianne Wiest, The Mule

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 1)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 3)

4. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. First Man (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows (PR: 7)

7. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 6)

8. The Hate U Give (PR: 11)

9. Leave No Trace (PR: 8)

10. Black Panther (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Mary Queen of Scots

Boy Erased

Disobedience

The Sisters Brothers

The Wife

Best Original Screenplay

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. The Favourite (PR: 2)

3. Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Eighth Grade (PR: 4)

5. Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 10)

7. First Reformed (PR: 6)

8. A Quiet Place (PR: 9)

9. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 7)

10. The Mule (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Ben Is Back

Private Life

Hereditary

Stan and Ollie

Sorry to Bother You

Best Foreign Language Film

1. Roma

2. Cold War

3. Shoplifters

4. Girl

5. Capernaum

Other Possibilities:

6. Burning

7. Birds of Passage

8. The Guilty

9. Never Look Away

10. Border

Best Animated Feature

1. Incredibles 2

2. Isle of Dogs

3. Ralph Breaks the Internet

4. Mirai

5. Ruben Brandt, Collector

Other Possibilities:

6. Lu Over the Wall

7. Early Man

8. Night is Short, Walk on Girl

9. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

10. Smallfoot

Best Documentary Feature

1. Free Solo

2. Three Identical Strangers

3. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

4. RBG

5. Science Fair

Other Possibilities:

6. Minding the Gap

7. Dark Money

8. Crime + Punishment

9. The Price of Everything

10. Quincy

Best Film Editing

1. A Star Is Born

2. Roma

3. First Man

4. The Favourite

5. Vice

Other Possibilities:

6. Widows

7. If Beale Street Could Talk

8. Black Panther

9. BlacKkKlansman

10. July 22

Best Cinematography

1. Roma

2. First Man

3. A Star Is Born

4. If Beale Street Could Talk

5. Cold War

Other Possibilities:

6. The Favourite

7. Black Panther

8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

9. Widows

10. Mary Queen of Scots

Best Production Design

1. The Favourite

2. Black Panther

3. First Man

4. Mary Poppins Returns

5. Mary Queen of Scots

Other Possibilities:

6. A Star Is Born

7. Roma

8. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

9. Colette

10. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Best Costume Design

1. The Favourite

2. Black Panther

3. Mary Queen of Scots

4. Colette

5. Mary Poppins Returns

Other Possibilities:

6. Crazy Rich Asians

7. A Star Is Born

8. If Beale Street Could Talk

9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

10. A Wrinkle in Time

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

1. Black Panther

2. Mary Queen of Scots

3. The Favourite

Other Possibilities:

4. Stan and Ollie

5. Vice

6. Mary Poppins Returns

7. A Star Is Born

8. Suspiria

9. Colette

10. A Wrinkle in Time

Best Sound Editing

1. First Man

2. Black Panther

3. A Quiet Place

4. A Star Is Born

5. Incredibles 2

Other Possibilities:

6. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

7. Avengers: Infinity War

8. Roma

9. Mary Poppins Returns

10. Annihilation

Best Sound Mixing

1. First Man

2. A Star Is Born

3. A Quiet Place

4. Black Panther

5. Mary Poppins Returns

Other Possibilities:

6. Bohemian Rhapsody

7. Roma

8. Incredibles 2

9. Avengers: Infinity War

10. Ready Player One

Best Visual Effects

1. First Man

2. Avengers: Infinity War

3. Black Panther

4. Ready Player One

5. Annihilation

Other Possibilities

6. Mary Poppins Returns

7. A Quiet Place

8. A Wrinkle in Time

9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

10. Ant-Man and the Wasp

Best Original Score

1. First Man

2. If Beale Street Could Talk

3. BlacKkKlansman

4. Roma

5. Green Book

Other Possibilities:

6. Mary Queen of Scots

7. Incredibles 2

8. Colette

9. Suspiria

10. The Sisters Brothers

Best Original Song

1. “Shallow” from A Star Is Born

2. “All the Stars” from Black Panther

3. “I’ll Never Love Again” from A Star Is Born

4. “The Place Where Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns

5. “We Won’t Move” from The Hate U Give

Other Possibilities:

6. “Time for Change” from On the Basis of Sex

7. “Always Remember Us This Way” from A Star Is Born

8. “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” from Mary Poppins Returns

9. “I’ll Fight” from RBG

10. “Hearts Beat Loud” from Hearts Beat Loud

And that breaks down to the following number of nominations for each feature:

12 Nominations

A Star Is Born, First Man

10 Nominations

The Favourite

8 Nominations

Black Panther, Roma

5 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Vice

3 Nominations

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Mary Queen of Scots, Mary Poppins Returns

2 Nominations

A Quiet Place, Cold War, Incredibles 2

1 Nomination

Annihilation, At Eternity’s Gate, Avengers: Infinity War, Beautiful Boy, Colette, Eighth Grade, Ready Player One, The Hate U Give, The Wife, Capernaum, Free Solo, Girl, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, RBG, Ruben Brandt, Collector, Science Fair. Shoplifters, Three Identical Strangers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 25th Edition

We have reached my last weekly Oscar predictions posts in the major categories for the month of October. Next week, we will see some big changes in my estimates! For starters, the listing of Best Picture possibilities will be whittled from 25 to 15. All other categories will be slimmed down from 15 possible nominees to just 10. Additionally, beginning next Thursday, I will be listing all races dealing with feature-length films. That means all tech races, Documentary Feature, Foreign Language Film, and Animated Feature are coming your way for the first time next week.

In the meantime, here’s some developments from last week to this one:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody, Beautiful Boy, and The Front Runner all fall out the top 25, making room at the bottom of the list for Cold War, Ben Is Back, and Hereditary. My nine predicted Best Picture nominees remain the same. A Quiet Place and Eighth Grade move to their highest rankings yet in 16th and 17th.
  • In Best Director, John Krasinski has his debut on the listings at #14 for A Quiet Place. The Coen Brothers work in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs falls out.
  • The mediocre critical reaction for Bohemian Rhapsody has me greatly questioning whether Rami Malek makes it in Best Actor after all. He drops from 4th to 6th with Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate) now back in the fold.
  • John C. Reilly returns at #15 for his role in Stan & Ollie in Best Actor, knocking out Lucas Hedges for Boy Erased.
  • The continued switching between Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born) and Glenn Close (The Wife) goes on with the latter reclaiming the top spot.
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal makes her first appearance at #13 in Actress for her role as The Kindergarten Teacher, replacing Carey Mulligan (Wildlife).
  • Mahershala Ali is back at #1 in Supporting Actor over Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), who falls to third behind Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born). Robert Forster (What They Had) also notches his highest chart placement at #9.
  • Emma Stone (The Favourite) and Claire Foy (First Man) switch the 2-3 spots in Supporting Actress, with Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) remaining #1.
  • First Man is back in the top 5 for Adapted Screenplay over Widows.

Best Picture

1. A Star Is Born (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Green Book (PR: 4)

5. First Man (PR: 5)

6. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

7. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

8. Black Panther (PR: 8)

9. Vice (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Widows (PR: 11)

11. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 10)

12. The Mule (PR: 12)

13. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 13)

14. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 14)

15. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 15)

16. A Quiet Place (PR: 24)

17. Eighth Grade (PR: 20)

18. Boy Erased (PR: 16)

19. Leave No Trace (PR: 19)

20. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 17)

21. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 18)

22. The Hate U Give (PR: 23)

23. Cold War (PR: Not Ranked)

24. Ben Is Back (PR: Not Ranked)

25. Hereditary (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Bohemian Rhapsody

Beautiful Boy

The Front Runner

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 5)

5. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 6)

7. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 7)

8. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 8)

9. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 9)

10. Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 10)

11. Steve McQueen, Widows (PR: 11)

12. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: 12)

13. Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 13)

14. John Krasinski, A Quiet Place (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Best Actor

1. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 2)

3. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 5)

5. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 4)

7. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: 9)

8. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 7)

9. Hugh Jackman, The Front Runner (PR: 10)

10. Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy (PR: 8)

11. Lucas Hedges, Ben Is Back (PR: 12)

12. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (PR: 11)

13. Ben Foster, Leave No Trace (PR: 13)

14. John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 14)

15. John C. Reilly, Stan & Ollie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased

Best Actress

1. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 2)

2. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: 6)

7. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back (PR: 9)

8. Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 8)

9. Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 7)

10. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 10)

11. Toni Collette, Hereditary (PR: 12)

12. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 11)

13. Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Kindergarten Teacher (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 13)

15. Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Carey Mulligan, Wildlife 

Best Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 2)

2. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

3. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 1)

4. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Daniel Kaluuya, Widows (PR: 6)

7. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 8)

8. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 7)

9. Robert Forster, What They Had (PR: 14)

10. Steve Carell, Vice (PR: 9)

11. Armie Hammer, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 11)

12. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite (PR: 10)

13. Russell Crowe, Boy Erased (PR: 12)

14. Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give (PR: 13)

15. Tim Blake Nelson, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 15)

Best Supporting Actress

1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

2. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 3)

3. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 2)

4. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite (PR: 4)

5. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (PR: 6)

7. Marina de Tavira, Roma (PR: 7)

8. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 9)

9. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

10. Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace (PR: 11)

11. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 10)

12. Rachel McAdams, Disobedience (PR: 13)

13. Sissy Spacek, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 12)

14. Kathy Bates, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 14)

15. Dianne Wiest, The Mule (PR: 15)

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 1)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

3. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 2)

4. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. First Man (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

7. Widows (PR: 5)

8. Leave No Trace (PR: 7)

9. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 10)

10. Black Panther (PR: 12)

11. The Hate U Give (PR: 13)

12. Boy Erased (PR: 9)

13. Disobedience (PR: 15)

14. The Sisters Brothers (PR: Not Ranked)

15. The Wife (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Beautiful Boy

The Front Runner

Best Original Screenplay

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. The Favourite (PR: 2)

3. Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Eighth Grade (PR: 4)

5. Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. First Reformed (PR: 7)

7. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 6)

8. The Mule (PR: 10)

9. A Quiet Place (PR: 9)

10. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 8)

11. Ben Is Back (PR: 12)

12. Private Life (PR: 11)

13. Hereditary (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Stan & Ollie (PR: 13)

15. Sorry to Bother You (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

At Eternity’s Gate

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 18th Edition

Back at it again with my weekly Thursday predictions in the major categories for this year’s Oscars! Here’s some tidbits about developments over the past week:

  • Damien Chazelle’s First Man experienced a lackluster liftoff at the box office this past weekend with just $16 million (about $5 million or so below expectations). Will this alter its course for numerous nominations? Short answer: probably not. However, I do have it dropping spots in Picture, Director, and Actor while still predicting nods for all three. Claire Foy remains at #2 behind Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) for Supporting Actress.
  • Speaking of that category, it will finally confirmed this week regarding placement of performers for The Favourite. Olivia Colman will compete in lead Actress with Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz in Supporting. As I have projected for weeks, I think that bodes well for all three actresses in garnering nods.
  • Beautiful Boy performed very well in limited release last week and I have vaulted Timothee Chalamet back to the #1 spot in the fluid Supporting Actor race.

And with that – here’s where I think Oscar standings are at this moment in time…

Best Picture

1. A Star Is Born (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Roma (PR: 2)

3. The Favourite (PR: 4)

4. Green Book (PR: 5)

5. First Man (PR: 3)

6. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

7. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

8. Black Panther (PR: 8)

9. Vice (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 11)

11. Widows (PR: 10)

12. The Mule (PR: 12)

13. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 15)

14. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 16)

15. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 17)

16. Boy Erased (PR: 14)

17. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 13)

18. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 18)

19. Leave No Trace (PR: 19)

20. Eighth Grade (PR: 22)

21. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 25)

22. Beautiful Boy (PR: 23)

23. The Hate U Give (PR: Not Ranked)

24. A Quiet Place (PR: Not Ranked)

25. The Front Runner (PR: 24)

Dropped Out:

At Eternity’s Gate

The Sisters Brothers

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (PR: 5)

4. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 3)

5. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 6)

7. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 7)

8. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 8)

9. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 10)

10. Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 11)

11. Steve McQueen, Widows (PR: 13)

12. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: 12)

13. Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 14)

14. Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 9)

15. Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased

Best Actor

1. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 2)

3. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 5)

5. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 6)

7. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 7)

8. Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy (PR: 9)

9. Clint Eastwood, The Mule (PR: 8)

10. Hugh Jackman, The Front Runner (PR: 11)

11. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (PR: 10)

12. Lucas Hedges, Ben Is Back (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Ben Foster, Leave No Trace (PR: 15)

14. John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 14)

15. Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased (PR: 12)

Dropped Out:

Stephan James, If Beale Street Could Talk 

Best Actress

1. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 2)

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: 6)

7. Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 7)

8. Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 8)

9. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back (PR: 9)

10. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 11)

11. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 12)

12. Toni Collette, Hereditary (PR: 10)

13. Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 14)

14. Carey Mulligan, Wildlife (PR: 13)

15. Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Keira Knightley, Colette

Best Supporting Actor

1. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 3)

2. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 1)

3. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

4. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Daniel Kaluuya, Widows (PR: 6)

7. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 8)

8. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 7)

9. Steve Carell, Vice (PR: 9)

10. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite (PR: 12)

11. Armie Hammer, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 10)

12. Russell Crowe, Boy Erased (PR: 11)

13. Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Robert Forster, What They Had (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Tim Blake Nelson, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Brian Tyree Henry, If Beale Street Could Talk

Bradley Cooper, The Mule

Best Supporting Actress

1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

2. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 2)

3. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 3)

4. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite (PR: 4)

5. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Natalie Portman, Vox Lux (PR: 6)

7. Marina de Tavira, Roma (PR: 8)

8. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 7)

9. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 9)

10. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 11)

11. Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace (PR: 13)

12. Sissy Spacek, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 10)

13. Rachel McAdams, Disobedience (PR: 14)

14. Kathy Bates, On the Basis of Sex (PR: 15)

15. Dianne Wiest, The Mule (PR: 12)

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 1)

2. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 2)

3. A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

4. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Widows (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. First Man (PR: 6)

7. Leave No Trace (PR: 7)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

9. Boy Erased (PR: 9)

10. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 10)

11. Beautiful Boy (PR: 14)

12. Black Panther (PR: 11)

13. The Hate U Give (PR: 12)

14. The Front Runner (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Disobedience (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Wildlife

Best Original Screenplay

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. The Favourite (PR: 2)

3. Green Book (PR: 3)

4. Eighth Grade (PR: 5)

5. Vice (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 6)

7. First Reformed (PR: 7)

8. On the Basis of Sex (PR: 10)

9. A Quiet Place (PR: 9)

10. The Mule (PR: 8)

11. Private Life (PR: 11)

12. Ben Is Back (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Stan and Ollie (PR: 14)

14. At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 12)

15. Sorry to Bother You (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Mid90s

Capernaum

Oscar Watch: Crazy Rich Asians

Opening next week, Crazy Rich Asians has the potential to be a late summer sleeper hit. Based on a bestseller by Kevin Kwan, the romantic comedy is said to be a crowd pleaser. Critics have taken notice. The film stands at 100% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s a far cry from previous directorial efforts from Jon M. Chu, who made G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Jem and the Holograms.

If this picture manages to be a success, could Oscar voters take notice of the first Asian-American led studio effort in a quarter century (since The Joy Luck Club)? That will depend on competition. The only race I see where this could possibly be included is Best Adapted Screenplay.

Last year, the competition in that particular race was lighter than usual. That may not be the case this year with potential contenders like BlacKkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk, Widows, First Man, A Star is Born, Beautiful Boy, and Boy, Erased. However, if some of those titles don’t match expectations (which is often the case), Crazy Rich Asians could make a play.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…