Best Supporting Actress: A Look Back

Today begins a new blog series where I’m looking back at five of the major Oscar categories from 1990 to the present: the four acting races and Best Picture. This is essentially the time period where I’ve closely watched and analyzed. My charge? Picking the three largest upsets in each said category and the three least surprising winners… a film or performer where it truly would have been a shock if they didn’t emerge victorious.

We begin with Best Supporting Actress and this is one in which there have been some genuine upsets over the past quarter century plus. Unlike some other races we’ll get to later, it was not a challenge to pick three unexpected winners.

The other agenda item here is I’m picking my personal selections for strongest and weakest overall field among the five nominees in the acting derby’s and five-ten for Best Picture.

For starters, here’s the list of women that won gold statues in the supporting race from 1990 to now:

1990 – Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost

1991 – Mercedes Ruehl, The Fisher King

1992 – Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny

1993 – Anna Paquin, The Piano

1994 – Dianne Wiest, Bullets Over Broadway

1995 – Mira Sorvino, Mighty Aphrodite

1996 – Juliette Binoche, The English Patient

1997 – Kim Basinger, L.A. Confidential

1998 – Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love

1999 – Angelina Jolie, Girl, Interrupted

2000 – Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock

2001 – Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind

2002 – Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago

2003 – Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain

2004 – Cate Blanchett, The Aviator

2005 – Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardner

2006 – Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

2007 – Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

2008 – Penelope Cruz, Vicky Christina Barcelona

2009 – Mo’Nique, Precious

2010 – Melissa Leo, The Fighter

2011 – Octavia Spencer, The Help

2012 – Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

2013 – Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

2014 – Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

2015 – Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

2016 – Viola Davis, Fences

2017 – Allison Janney, I, Tonya

I’ll begin with the least surprising winners. Truthfully, there are plenty of selections (and will be in each race) to pick from here. It’s normal procedure for the front runner to actually win. Here’s three that did just that:

3. Dianne Wiest, Bullets Over Broadway

Of the 28 recipients to choose from, note that 3 of them were under the direction of Woody Allen. None were surprise winners. That’s most evident with Wiest’s showcase work as an aging diva here. Her win here came just eight years following her Oscar winning role in another Allen pic, Hannah and Her Sisters.

2. Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

Fans of the Broadway play this is based upon knew Ms. Hudson could have a legitimate breakthrough part here. She nailed it and her win was never in much doubt.

1. Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Similar to Hudson’s victory, Hathaway’s casting as Fantine and her “I Dreamed a Dream” dramatic solo made her the odds-on favorite from the moment the project was announced. That never changed.

Now we get to the upsets and there were four to choose from. I could easily include Anna Paquin in The Piano, who became the second youngest winner when she beat out favorite Winona Ryder for The Age of Innocence. Here’s 3 I rank as even more surprising:

3. Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock

Harden had won no significant precursors and Kate Hudson was expected to have her name called for Almost Famous. She wasn’t even nominated for a Golden Globe or SAG.

2. Juliette Binoche, The English Patient

While the film itself was the anticipated winner for Picture (which it did), the Oscars were expected to select the legendary Lauren Bacall for her work in Barbra Streisand’s The Mirror Has Two Faces. Yet it was Binoche’s performance that was unexpectedly honored.

1. Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny

For starters, comedic roles are rarely nominated and wins are even more unheard of. Tomei was a newcomer in a picture that wasn’t a factor in any other category. Her competition was a list of venerable actresses: Judy Davis (Husbands and Wives), Joan Plowright (Enchanted April), Vanessa Redgrave (Howards End), and Miranda Richardson (Damages). The victory here was so shocking that conspiracy theories emerged that presenter Jack Palance had accidentally read the wrong name. That’s been debunked, but Tomei’s trip to the stage remains one of Oscar’s largest jaw droppers.

As for the fields, I’m going with 1991 for the weakest link in the chain. I probably would have given the award to Juliette Lewis in Cape Fear. However, the group was not particularly strong:

Mercedes Ruehl, The Fisher King (Winner)

Diane Ladd, Rambling Rose

Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear

Kate Nelligan, The Prince of Tides

Jessica Tandy, Fried Green Tomatoes

For the strongest field overall, I went with 2004 when Cate Blanchett won for her portrayal of Katherine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator. The other nominees:

Laura Linney, Kinsey

Virginia Madsen, Sideways

Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda

Natalie Portman, Closer

And there you have it! I’ll have Supporting Actor up soon…

Marshall Box Office Prediction

Chadwick Boseman is back in biopic form next weekend when Marshall debuts. The courtroom drama finds the actor playing a young Thurgood Marshall, who would eventually becomes the nation’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Reginald Hudlin directs with a supporting cast that includes Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, and James Cromwell.

This is Boseman’s third go-round playing a high-profile real figure. In 2013, he starred as Jackie Robinson in 42, which opened to $27 million. The following year, he was the Godfather of Soul James Brown in Get On Up, which debuted with $13 million.

In my view, Marshall would need some Oscar buzz and great reviews to make an impact with audiences. It doesn’t appear that will be the case. My verdict is a mid single digits premiere for the Open Roads feature.

Marshall opening weekend prediction: $4 million

For my Happy Death Day prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/10/04/happy-death-day-box-office-prediction/

For my The Foreigner prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/10/05/the-foreigner-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Marshall

Early reviews are out for Marshall, which casts Chadwick Boseman as a young Thurgood Marshall in this courtroom drama set decades before he became the first African-American to sit on the Supreme Court. The film comes from director Reginald Hudlin, known mostly for 90s comedies like House Party and Boomerang. Costars include Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, and James Cromwell.

With a Best Actor race that’s looking somewhat thin thus far, Boseman seemed like a decent possibility for inclusion. He’s had an impressive career playing real-life figures Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get On Up. The actor has also increased his visibility with a larger audience as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War and in his own spin-off next year. Yet he hasn’t received attention from the Academy.

Marshall is getting decent critical notices so far, but not to the level where Best Picture seems feasible. I also find it likely that Boseman will be 0 for 3 in Best Actor portraying his third high-profile person, unless the picture manages to really break out with audiences.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

 

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Recounting the BP Oil Spill disaster of 2010 that was both a human and environmental tragedy, Deepwater Horizon spends a good deal of its running time concentrating on the competence of those workers on the enormous rig. Peter Berg’s dramatization of the events off the Southern coast of Louisiana finds Mark Wahlberg’s engineer Mike and Kurt Russell’s supervisor Jimmy trying their best at their positions while dealing with cost cutting corporate elements. It’s something many in the audience are likely to relate to and the pic coasts for a bit on simply being a story about people working.

Yet it’s the elements that arrive later during that massive explosion that give Deepwater its disaster flick cred. Had this not been a true story, I’m not so certain the visual spectacle that pervades the third act would’ve been as meaningful. The action sequences are well rendered if not particularly anything new from a run of the mill summer blockbuster.

We get to know more than just Mike and Jimmy. There’s John Malkovich’s BP “company man”. He’s the guy cutting corners and the actor himself is given a pretty decent monologue about it. There’s Kate Hudson as Wahlberg’s wife, watching the drama unfold from afar and Gina Rodriguez as a fellow crew member.

Horizon also features a lot of technical jargon that those without an engineering degree or knowledge of the industry could be lost with. It doesn’t really matter. The script does a perfectly serviceable if unspectacular job letting us meet some people whose everyday occupations put them in previously unseen peril.

*** (out of four)

 

Deepwater Horizon Box Office Prediction

The last time that director Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg hooked up, their war drama Lone Survivor grossed a terrific $125 million domestically in early 2014. Nearly three years later, the pair have collaborated on Deepwater Horizon. This is another true-life tale focused on the 2010 BP oil rig explosion and the people who had to battle it. Costars include Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, and Dylan O’Brien.

With a reported budget of $156 million, Summit Entertainment better hope moviegoers flock to see the disaster pic… or they may have their own financial disaster on their hands. Early reviews have been mostly strong. It stands at 82% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics particularly praising its technical aspects.

Lone Survivor earned $37 million in its first weekend of wide release. That is probably the highest of bars for Horizon. One difference is that Survivor benefited from strong military interest that simply won’t come into play here. Still, the combination of Wahlberg with this well-known story could be enough to get this to mid 20s, in range with the opening of Captain Phillips from three years back or Fury from two years ago.

Deepwater Horizon opening weekend prediction: $24.7 million

For my Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/09/21/miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-box-office-prediction/

For my Masterminds prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/09/21/masterminds-box-office-prediction/

For my Queen of Katwe prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/09/23/queen-of-katwe-box-office-prediction/

 

Oscar Watch: Deepwater Horizon

In just over two weeks, Peter Berg’s action packed retelling of the BP drilling rig explosion Deepwater Horizon hits theaters. Festival audiences in Toronto got their sneak peek at it yesterday and early reviews suggest it’s an audience pleaser that is likely to be a big hit.

Horizon teams director Berg with his Lone Survivor star Mark Wahlberg. The supporting cast includes Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, and Dylan O’Brien. Even with its positive critical notices, Horizon is not expected to be any sort of player in the major categories. Mr. Russell was singled out by a couple of writers, but a Supporting Actor nod would be a major surprise.

Where the pic could make an impact is in the two Sound races (Editing and Mixing), just like Lone Survivor did with its nominations. Visual effects is a possibility, but it’ll have a lot more competition in that particular category. The film’s large $156 million budget is said to contribute to it sounding and looking pretty amazing and voters could reward it in these technical competitions.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Mother’s Day Box Office Prediction

Director Garry Marshall is back in holiday themed comedy mode as Mother’s Day hits screens next weekend. This follows 2010’s Valentine’s Day, which took in an amazing $52 million out of the gate. The following year’s New Year’s Eve couldn’t keep up and its toxic reviews helped lead to a muted $13 million debut.

Mother’s Day doesn’t have the cavalcade of stars that the previous entries did, but it does feature Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, and Jason Sudeikis. Open Road Films is hopeful this can attract a female crowd while the males could be tempted by Key and Peele’s Keanu, premiering on the same day.

I’ll predict Mother’s Day does manage to outpace New Year’s Eve by a bit, but it won’t come near the love audiences showed for Valentine’s Day.

Mother’s Day opening weekend prediction: $14.7 million

For my Keanu prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/04/22/keanu-box-office-prediction/

For my Ratchet & Clank prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/04/23/ratchet-clank-box-office-prediction/