2022 Oscar Predictions: September 16th Edition

As the Toronto Film Festival draws to a close, we have some significant updates since I did my last predictions 11 days ago!

And you may notice that, for the first time, I’m including all categories covering feature films. It’s the initial peek at what pics I believe will lead the nominations. The answer is Babylon (11) followed closely by The Fabelmans (10) followed closely by Everything Everywhere All at Once (9).

I’ve also made the shift of whittling 25 BP picks down to 15 possibilities and the other big races from 15 to 10.

I will point out that some categories (particularly Original Song) are in their infancy as far as knowing the contenders.

One year ago, my projections in mid-September yielded eight of the eventual 10 BP nominees and 3 of the 5 Directing hopefuls. For Best Actress – it was 4 of 5 and 3 of 5 for Actor. For Supporting Actress – 2/5, but Supporting Actor (somehow) was 0 for 5.

Let’s talk changes:

    • In Best Picture, I’m putting Empire of Light back in and removing The Son. You’ll send a trend there as The Son drew divided reactions in Venice and Toronto. It could still contend in more races than just Hugh Jackman in Actor, but for now, I’ve got it nabbing that sole nod.
    • Todd Field (Tar) is in the directing quintet over Ruben Ostlund for Triangle of Sadness.
    • Surprisingly enough, Actress and Actor remain the same.
    • Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin) crashes the Supporting Actress party with Vanessa Kirby (The Son) dropping.
    • I’ve put Micheal Ward back in Supporting Actor (I elevated him to lead recently). He’s in the final five along with a bit of an upset selection in Barry Keoghan for The Banshees of Inisherin. Zen McGrath (The Son) and Woody Harrelson (Triangle of Sadness) fall out.
    • Original Screenplay remains the same but Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is in Adapted Screenplay over (you guessed it) The Son.

You can peruse all the movement below and my inaugural take on the other derbies!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Whale (PR: 7) (+2)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Tar (PR: 8) (E)

9. Empire of Light (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (+1)

12. She Said (PR: 13) (+1)

13. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 20) (+6)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Son

Avatar: The Way of Water

White Noise

Bones and All

Armageddon Time

Till

Broker

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Living

Bardo

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Florian Zeller, The Son

James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water

Sam Mendes, Empire of Light

Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick

Noah Baumbach, White Noise

Baz Luhrmann, Elvis 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 12) (+5)

8. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 8) (E)

9. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Carey Mulligan, She Said 

Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Taylor Russell, Bones and All

Tang Wei, Decision to Leave

Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 2) (-2)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Song King-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (moved to Supporting)

Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All

Paul Mescal, Aftersun

Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans

Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier

Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 4) (+2)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+5)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 3) (-4)

8. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 15) (+5)

Dropped Out:

Laura Dern, The Son

Jean Smart, Babylon

Samantha Morton, She Said

Zoe Kazan, She Said

Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth

Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked – moved from Best Actor)

5. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

8. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Zen McGrath, The Son

Tom Hanks, Elvis

Anthony Hopkins, The Son

Mark Strong, Tar

Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans

Ralph Fiennes, The Menu

Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Babylon (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Armageddon Time (PR: 9) (E)

10. Bros (PR: 11) (+1)

Dropped Out:

Broker

Aftersun

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Bardo

The Menu

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Whale (PR: 3) (+1)

3. She Said (PR: 4) (+1)

4. White Noise (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (+4)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Son (PR: 1) (-5)

7. Living (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Bones and All (PR: 7) (-2)

10. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Till

The Lost King

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

The Wonder

Elvis

The Good Nurse 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

2. Turning Red

3. Strange World

4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

5. The Sea Beast

Other Possibilities:

6. Wendell and Wild

7. The Bad Guys

8. Lightyear

9. My Father’s Dragon

10. Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Decision to Leave

2. All Quiet on the Western Front

3. Close

4. Saint Omer

5. Holy Spider

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo

7. RMN

8. RRR

9. Plan 75

10. Argentina, 1985

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

2. Descendant

3. Navalny

4. Fire of Love

5. Last Flight Home

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory

7. Moonage Daydream

8. Riotsville, U.S.A.

9. Good Night Oppy

10. All That Breathes

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. Empire of Light

3. The Fabelmans

4. All Quiet on the Western Front

5. Top Gun: Maverick

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo

7. Avatar: The Way of Water

8. The Banshees of Inisherin

9. The Whale

10. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. Elvis

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

4. The Fabelmans

5. The Woman King

Other Possibilities:

6. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once

8. Three Thousand Years of Longing

9. The Northman

10. Corsage

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

2. Babylon

3. Top Gun: Maverick

4. The Fabelmans

5. Women Talking

Other Possibilities:

6. Elvis

7. Tar

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

9. Triangle of Sadness

10. Decision to Leave

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale

2. Babylon

3. Elvis

4. The Batman

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. Blonde

8. The Woman King

9. The Fabelmans

10. All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. The Fabelmans

3. Empire of Light

4. Women Talking

5. Tar

Other Possibilities:

6. The Banshees of Inisherin

7. Top Gun: Maverick

8. Avatar: The Way of Water

9. The Batman

10. All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Song

1. “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick

2. “Nobody Like U” from Turning Red

3. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

4. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing

5. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman

Other Possibilities:

6. “On My Way” from Marry Me

7. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR

8. “New Body Rhuma” from White Noise

9. “Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys

10. “Paper Airplanes” from A Jazzman’s Blues

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon

2. The Fabelmans

3. Elvis

4. Avatar: The Way of Water

5. Empire of Light

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once

8. Bardo

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

10. The Batman

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick

2. Avatar: The Way of Water

3. Babylon

4. Elvis

5. The Batman

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. All Quiet on the Western Front

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once

9. Nope

10. The Fabelmans

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water

2. Top Gun: Maverick

3. The Batman

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once

5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Other Possibilities: 

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

7. RRR

8. All Quiet on the Western Front

9. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

10. Nope 

And that equates to this very first rundown of how many nominations I am projecting for each picture:

11 Nominations

Babylon

10 Nominations

The Fabelmans’

9 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

7 Nominations

Women Talking

6 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Empire of Light, Top Gun: Maverick

5 Nominations

Elvis, The Whale

4 Nominations

Tar

3 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman

2 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, Triangle of Sadness, Turning Red

1 Nomination

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Close, Decision to Leave, Descendant, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Holy Spider, Last Flight Home, Living, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Navalny, Saint Omer, The Sea Beast, She Said, The Son, Strange World, Tell It Like a Woman, Till, Where the Crawdads Sing, White Noise, The Woman King

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 5th Edition

As I always say at the beginning of September on this blog – what a difference a few days makes as Venice is at its midpoint and Telluride occurred over the holiday weekend. The Toronto Film Festival begins Thursday. For the first time, I am thrilled to announce that I will be in attendance and have screenings scheduled for several potential heavy hitters! They include The Fabelmans, The Son, The Whale, Women Talking, The Banshees of Inisherin, Triangle of Sadness, Empire of Light, The Menu, The Wonder, Bros, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, and The Good Nurse. 

The fall festivals always cause the fortunes of certain pictures to rise and fall. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Bardo received mixed reviews out of Lido and it has dropped out of my predictions in Picture, Director, Actor (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), and Supporting Actress (Griselda Sicillani). On the other hand, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking looks to have solidified its position as a BP hopeful while Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley appear to be the two likeliest nominees from its ensemble. Cate Blanchett (Tar) and Brendan Fraser (The Whale) have positioned themselves as surefire nominees and potential winners in the lead acting derbies. Tar itself improved its standing in Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay. Empire of Light is no slam dunk for BP, but it’s in the mix and Olivia Colman seems solid in Actress. The Banshees of Inisherin may be Fox Searchlight’s better hope over Empire. It drew a rapturous Venice reaction today and has vaulted into Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Original Screenplay on my chart. Bones and All, despite some gushing reviews, could face challenges to fit into the BP race. Don’t Worry Darling, due to some middling write-ups, is probably toast.

Of course, we know that festivals are not the end all and be all for final verdicts. For example, Armageddon Time from James Gray seemed DOA after a so-so Cannes bow in the summer. Yet when it played Telluride over the weekend, the buzz was stronger. It’s awards heart is beating again – even if faintly.

This will probably be my last update for two weeks as I’ll be a Canadian for a few days. You can bet you’ll see lots of other individual Oscar prediction posts as well as reviews of the aforementioned pictures. When I update in a couple of weeks, I’m anticipating branching out to all races covering feature films. Until then, you can peruse all the movement (and there is definitely a lot of it) below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Son (PR: 5) (E)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+4)

7. The Whale (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Tar (PR: 11) (+3)

9. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 18) (+9)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (E)

13. She Said (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 16) (+2)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

16. White Noise (PR: 13) (-3)

17. Bones and All (PR: 22) (+5)

18. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

19. Till (PR: 20) (+1)

20. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 23) (+3)

21. Broker (PR: 17) (-4)

22. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 19) (-3)

23. Living (PR: 25) (+2)

24. Bardo (PR: 4) (-20)

25. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 24) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Menu

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 11) (+5)

7. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 9) (+1)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo

Maria Schrader, She Said 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (E)

7. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 10) (E)

11. Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Taylor Russell, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Regina King, Shirley (moved to 2023)

Frances McDormand, Women Talking (role not large enough)

Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 10) (+6)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (E)

8. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 14) (+10)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 6) (E)

7. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (-3)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (-3)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (-4)

15. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Griselda Sicillani, Bardo

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR 2) (E)

3. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 3) (E)

4. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (+4)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

8. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 9) (E)

10. Anthony Hopkins, The Son (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Mark Strong, Tar (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (E)

14. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 14) (E)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Colin Firth, Empire of Light

Toby Jones, Empire of Light

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (+4)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Babylon (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Broker (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Bros (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Bardo (PR: 5) (-9)

15. The Menu (PR: 10) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Don’t Worry Darling

Chevalier

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. She Said (PR: 4) (E)

5. White Noise (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Bones and All (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Living (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (E)

10. Till (PR: 10) (E)

11. The Lost King (PR: 11) (E)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 12) (E)

13. The Wonder (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Elvis (PR: 13) (-1)

15. The Good Nurse (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King 

2022 Oscar Predictions: August 26th Edition

My final Oscar predictions for the month of August could rightfully be called the calm before the storm. That’s because Venice, Telluride, and Toronto are about to blow in screenings for several legitimate contenders. And there’s no doubt it will change the forecasts below.

My plan is to do the next update on Labor Day (ten days from now). By that point, there should be reviews and awards buzz out for Venice pics like White Noise, Tar, Bardo, Bones and All, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Don’t Worry Darling, among others. There’s also anything that plays Telluride over the holiday weekend (expect that to potentially include The Son and Women Talking). My next update should be about a week later.

Those next updates will incorporate the lengthy list of Toronto screenings and late Venice leftovers. That list includes Blonde, The Fabelmans, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, Empire of Light, The Good Nurse, The Menu, The Lost King, The Woman King, Bros, Chevalier, and more. In other words… buckle up because the Oscar picture is going to be in much sharper focus over the next three weeks!

My Best Picture ten remains the same, but I’ve made a change in Director with Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness) in over Sarah Polley for Women Talking. 

In Best Actress, there’s a new #1 as I’ve vaulted Cate Blanchett (Tar) to the top spot over Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once). Yeoh spent only a week in first after she replaced Babylon‘s Margot Robbie, who’s now in third position. We will know in a matter of days whether Blanchett’s promotion is warranted courtesy of Venice.

I’ve switched Micheal Ward’s performance in Empire of Light from supporting to lead. Toronto’s fest should shed light on whether that’s the right call. Due to this, Bill Nighy (Living) falls out of my actor quintet. In Supporting Actor, Babylon‘s Brad Pitt is back in the mix since I’ve taken Ward out. In Original Screenplay, I’m switching in Bardo with The Banshees of Inisherin out.

You can read all the movement below and keep an eye out for lots of individualized prediction posts for the pictures playing in Italy, Colorado, and Canada in the coming weeks!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Son (PR: 6) (+1)

6. Women Talking (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Whale (PR: 8) (E)

9. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Tar (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 14) (+2)

13. White Noise (PR: 12) (-1)

14. She Said (PR: 11) (-3)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

16. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 16) (E)

17. Broker (PR: 20) (+3)

18. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 17) (-1)

19. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 21) (+2)

20. Till (PR: 18) (-2)

21. The Menu (PR: 22) (+1)

22. Bones and All (PR: 19) (-3)

23. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

24. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 25) (+1)

25. Living (PR: 24) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (E)

9. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 9) (E)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 13) (+2)

12. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 14) (E)

15. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: 15) (E)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 3) (+2)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (E)

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 10) (E)

11. Frances McDormand, Women Talking (PR: 11) (E)

12. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Helen Mirren, Golda (moved to 2023)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Supporting

Other Possibilities:

6. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-3)

11. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye

Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All

Harry Styles, My Policeman 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (E)

4. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (E)

5. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 10) (-2)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 14) (-1)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+5)

10. Toby Jones, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Anthony Hopkins, The Son (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (-3)

14. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (moved to Best Actor)

Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

    1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Bardo (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Tar (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Menu (PR: 10) (E)

11. Broker (PR: 11) (E)

12. Bros (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 14) (E)

15. Chevalier (PR: 15) (E)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. She Said (PR: 5) (+1)

5. White Noise (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Living (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Bones and All (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Till (PR: 9) (-1)

11. The Lost King (PR: 14) (+3)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 12) (E)

13. Elvis (PR: 15) (+2)

14. The Good Nurse (PR: Not Ranked)

15. The Woman King (PR: 11) (-4)

Dropped Out:

Blonde 

2022 Oscar Predictions: August 19th Edition

With the Venice Film Festival less than two weeks away and Toronto and Telluride on its heels, the Oscar races are poised to become clearer quite soon. We are mostly in speculation mode at this juncture, but there’s change afoot in the Actor and Supporting Actor with this latest update.

I have vaulted Bill Nighy (Living) into the top 5 for Best Actor and that removes Adam Driver in White Noise. I’ve struggled with Brad Pitt’s placement in Supporting Actor for Babylon. At this point, it’s not certain whether he’ll be campaigned for in lead or supporting. Therefore I have Pitt on the outside looking in for Supporting Actor and that allows The Son‘s Zen McGrath to enter the projected quintet.

While no changes were made in the Picture, Director, the Actress derbies, or screenplay – there’s a new #1 for Best Actress. Since I started my estimates back in April, I’ve had Margot Robbie (Babylon) perched atop the charts. I’m now switching that to Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once. 

Finally, I’ve dropped David O. Russell’s Amsterdam from contention in all races. The studio’s decision to move it up a month from November to October is something I look at as a bad sign. That’s in addition to it getting no festival screenings, a trailer that didn’t impress, and lingering personal issues and bad press for Mr. Russell.

A final note: at this pre-festival juncture in mid-August of 2021, my predictions yielded seven of the eventual 10 BP contenders.

You can read all the movement below and I’ll likely have one more update prior to August 30th before the festival season is upon us!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

6. The Son (PR: 6) (E)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Whale (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. She Said (PR: 12) (+1)

12. White Noise (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Tar (PR: 13) (E)

14. Decision to Leave (PR: 16) (+2)

15. Elvis (PR: 14) (-1)

16. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 15) (-1)

17. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 17) (E)

18. Till (PR: 19) (+1)

19. Bones and All (PR: 18) (-1)

20. Broker (PR: 20) (E)

21. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 21) (E)

22. The Menu (PR: 23) (+1)

23. The Woman King (PR: 24) (+1)

24. Living (PR: Not Ranked)

25. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 22) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Amsterdam

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 6) (E)

7. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 9) (-1)

11. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 11) (E)

12. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 12) (E)

13. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 13) (E)

14. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Maris Schrader, She Said (PR: 14) (-1)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (E)

8. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (E)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 10) (E)

11. Frances McDormand, Women Talking (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 15) (+3)

13. Helen Mirren, Golda (PR: 11) (-2)

14. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 12) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (E)

11. Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All (PR: 12) (E)

13. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 11) (-2)

14. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Harry Styles, My Policeman (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Paul Mescal, Aftersun 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (E)

4. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (E)

5. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (E)

7. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 7) (E)

8. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 8) (-2)

11. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 11) (-3)

15. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Michael Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 7) (+3)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (E)

11. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 13) (E)

14. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Don Cheadle, White Noise

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (E)

7. Bardo (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Tar (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Menu (PR: 10) (E)

11. Broker (PR: 11) (E)

12. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 12) (E)

13. Bros (PR: 13) (E)

14. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Chevalier (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Amsterdam

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. White Noise (PR: 4) (E)

5. She Said (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bones and All (PR: 6) (E)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Living (PR: 11) (+3)

9. Till (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 8) (-2)

11. The Woman King (PR: 13) (+2)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 10) (-2)

13. Blonde (PR: 14) (+1)

14. The Lost King (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Good Nurse 

Elvis Review

Bad Luhrmann’s Elvis succeeds much in the same way that Bohemian Rhapsody did. Which is to say that it doesn’t always succeed, but it frequently captures the musical spirit of its subject impressively. Or maybe the magnetism of Elvis Presley or Freddie Mercury and lively performances from the actors portraying them is simply overpowering.

From Moulin Rouge! to The Great Gatsby and more, Luhrmann’s stylized productions have always flashed a bigger than life vibe. Mr. Presley is a sensible icon for him to cover. Austin Butler plays The King. Before he inhabits the role (and he does), we see the poor Mississippi youth who catches musical inspiration in two ways. One is the sacred in the gospel church. The other is more profane in the sweat drenched blues sessions nearby.

The melding of each eventually makes him the best selling solo artist of all time. Narrating that four decade long journey is Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), his corrupt and crafty manager. Their union is the rocky constant in a triumphant and turbulent career that includes the popularization of rock and roll to the masses. The two and a half hour plus biopic is told in a sometimes Forrest Gump style journey through history that somewhat clumsily brings the MLK and RFK Jr. assassinations into the fold. Of course, it also includes the known greatest hits and misses. Iconic wiggles. The close knit and cut short relationship with his mother (Helen Thomson). A hoped for James Dean style film career stalled. The marriage to younger Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge). Pills and guns.

Much of this is familiar territory for this genre. In fact, one could say Elvis’s trajectory is perfectly suited for it. A star is born. And the star’s light goes out too soon. Unlike the aforementioned Gump, Hanks is not among the strongest aspects. Buried in makeup that doesn’t make you forget it’s Hanks buried in makeup, his acting borders on cartoonish parody. If their relationship is meant to be the emotional core, the screenplay falters in that regard.

Where Elvis builds its momentum is in Butler’s dynamism. To offer that he’s  utterly convincing even in the live hip shaking portions says it all. Those sequences are rhapsodic and a wise use of Luhrmann’s overwhelming brand of storytelling.

*** (out of four)

Elvis Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Update (06/23): On the eve of its premiere, I am revising my Elvis prediction from $42.6M to $35.6M. That still gives it the #1 slot over Top Gun: Maverick… barely.

Warner Bros is betting that Elvis will get moviegoers all shook up when it hits theaters on June 24th. The extravagant musical comes from Baz Luhrmann, maker of Moulin Rouge! and 2013’s The Great Gatsby. Austin Butler, in a performance garnering some awards chatter, plays The King with Tom Hanks as The Colonel. Costars include Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Olivia DeJonge, Luke Bracey, Natasha Bassett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

While Butler’s work has been lauded across the board, reviews for the film are a bit more mixed. It received a warm welcome at the Cannes Film Festival and it could certainly be an audience pleaser. The Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 77%.

The studio would love for Elvis to approach the earnings of Bohemian Rhapsody from 2018 (and maybe win some of the same Oscars). The Freddie Mercury biopic took in $51 million for its start with an overall domestic haul of $216 million. Coincidentally that’s the same figure that Gatsby made for Luhrmann’s personal best. WB is  hoping for a better beginning than 2019’s Rocketman, the Elton John tale which debuted with $25 million (with a $96 million eventual tally).

Obviously Elvis Presley is one of music’s biggest sensations ever and that could propel this to a premiere on pace with Rhapsody. Older moviegoers have recently proven they’re willing to venture out thanks to Top Gun: Maverick. 

I’m tempted to project this hits $45-50 million, but I’ll hedge a bit and say it fall a little shy of that.

Elvis opening weekend prediction: $35.6 million

For my The Black Phone prediction, click here:

The Black Phone Box Office Prediction

Oscar Predictions: Elvis

Will Elvis be in the building when the Oscars air next year? The eagerly anticipated Baz Luhrmann biopic has debuted at Cannes prior to its June 24th stateside bow. The splashy musical casts Austin Butler as The King with Tom Hanks (in some apparently memorable makeup) as Colonel Parker. Costars include Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Olivia DeJonge, and Kelvin Harrison, Jr.

Luhrmann’s movies can attract wildly divergent opinions. Elvis is currently at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet it’s worth noting that the negative reviews are quite negative and the positive ones point out plenty of flaws. It’s not often you’ll read this, but Hanks’s work is drawing mixed buzz. He’ll need some coattail action to be a factor in Supporting Actor.

On the flip side, Luhrmann’s pictures also generate Academy mentions. His last four have done so. 1996’s Romeo + Juliet was nominated for Art Direction. 2001’s Moulin Rouge! was his most acclaimed title with 8 nods including Picture (though not Director). It was victorious in Art Direction and Costume Design. His less regarded 2008 follow-up Australia received a Costume Design nod while 2013’s The Great Gatsby landed wins for Costume Design and Production Design.

We are talking about Elvis so you have to assume Costume Design is easily in play. So are Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Sound. And, yes, Best Picture is a possibility. Whether or not it hits at the box office could move the needle one way or the other on the big race. If he couldn’t do so for Rouge!, I doubt Luhrmann gets his first behind the camera recognition.

One consistent thread in most of the reaction thus far compliments the performance of Butler. He is absolutely in the mix for Best Actor. Butler’s best hope is to follow in the footsteps of Rami Malek, who took home the gold stature for 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody as rock legend Freddie Mercury. Or he could end up like Taron Egerton, who surprisingly was left off the final five in 2019 as Elton John in Rocketman. 

Bottom line: despite some grumbling, Elvis has at least established itself as a mover and shaker for the awards season. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Cyrano Box Office Prediction

After premiering at Telluride nearly six months ago, Cyrano has experienced a bumpy ride to multiplexes. From Joe Wright, the latest version of Cyrano de Bergerac features Peter Dinklage in the title role and Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison, Jr., and Ben Mendelsohn among the supporting cast.

Festival reviews indicated this could have been an Oscar player and the Rotten Tomatoes score is 87%. However, the musical romance was delayed by MGM from Christmas to the February 25th release. It still managed a brief qualifying run in 2021, but that resulted in a lone Costume Design nod with Dinklage (once thought to a sturdy contender) left out.

With zero awards buzz and a reported screen count of only 750, it seems like the studio is not confident in their product. A gross of approximately $1.5-$2.5 million could mean it won’t even translate to the top five.

Cyrano opening weekend prediction: $1.8 million

For my Studio 666 prediction, click here:

Studio 666 Box Office Prediction

Oscar Predictions: Cyrano

The Telluride Film Festival unveiled Joe Wright’s musical version of the nearly 125-year-old play Cyrano de Bergerac with Games of Thrones Emmy winner Peter Dinklage in the title role. The director is no stranger to awards attention as both Atonement and Darkest Hour nabbed Best Picture nods.

Early critical reaction for Cyrano in Colorado has thus far yielded an 83% Rotten Tomatoes. Much of the praise is devoted to Dinklage, who has likely put himself in position for his first Best Actor recognition. I doubt the same holds true for his costars including Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., and Ben Mendelsohn. If Dinklage makes final cut, he will follow Jose Ferrer (who Cyrano take won lead in 1950) and Gerard Depardieu (whose 1990 version garnered him a nod).

Dinklage’s wife Erica Schmidt serves as screenwriter. Adapted Screenplay is a possibility, but initial reaction tells me this is probably the Dinklage show with Production Design and Cinematography possible as well. My Oscar Prediction posts for the film of 2021 will continue…

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Movie Review

A common (and sometimes warranted) complaint about Aaron Sorkin is that he needs a good editor for his dialogue. He absolutely has one in the presence of Alan Baumgarten in The Trial of the Chicago 7, his true life based drama that recounts a riveting and devastatingly unfair courtroom proceeding. With its sprawling ensemble cast, we see sequences from scene one where the principals are finishing each other’s sentences. Most of the players are on the same page in theory as they seek to disrupt the 1968 Democratic National Convention while the Vietnam War roils on. How they achieve their point is where they diverge and Sorkin’s screenplay expertly shows that not all forms of protest seek to follow the same playbook. They may be using similar words, but their calls to action are often with different actions in mind.

Months after the convention, the newly sworn in Nixon administration wants to establish a law and order attitude that its leader was elected on in those turbulent times. The new Attorney General charges his prosecutors (led by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Richard Schultz) to try a group of defendants who led unconnected factions in the summer of ’68. Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong) are the Yippies with their colorful outfits and outright disregard for authority. Eddie Redmayne’s Tom Hayden heads up a more organized antiwar effort that looks to change politics via the ballot box. David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch) is a pacifist whose non-aggression stances included even World War II. And somehow Black Panther leader Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is among the arrested group even though he was in Chicago briefly and has never met the other men.

The trial is presided by Judge Julius Hoffman (Frank Langella), whose scorn for the accused is laid bare in his comments and rulings. There is a sequence, taken from history, where Seale is literally bound and gagged before the jurors and the American public. That was a shock to the collective system a half century ago and it plays that way today onscreen. His silencing is due to his lawyer not being present as he tries to represent himself. The rest of the group is defended by William Kunstler (Mark Rylance), a true believer in the cause who must navigate his way through his clients personalities and the judge who truly believes the opposite of his views.

For a director and writer who pens long passages of dialogue, Sorkin’s Trial is engrossing as we realize what’s not allowed to be said during it. Langella sinks his teeth into the part and you may find yourself verbally objecting to him. The cast’s standouts are the beleaguered Rylance and Baron Cohen. The latter is an inspired choice as he’s the most edgy actor of the bunch portraying the edgiest defendant in the mix (and perhaps the wisest overall). An interplay between his Hoffman and Hayden about the future of liberalism and how to make significant change could be an argument had in 2020. The real star of this movie might be the aforementioned Baumgarten, who cuts the flashbacks to what’s being talked about in court with engrossing efficiency.

There’s a lot of history (some of it altered for dramatic effect) to be unpacked in the 130 minute runtime. This is weighty enough subject matter that Sorkin’s patented righteous indignation doesn’t feel forced. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is right in his wheelhouse and my verdict is that it’s well worth experiencing this fascinating chapter.

***1/2 (out of four)