Best Year’s Ever

As one year turns to the next in short order, it got me thinking. What are some examples of actors and directors who had remarkable calendar frames over the past few decades? The guidelines are pretty simple – the individual must have had two (and in a couple of cases, three or more) pictures that made an impact during 19(fill in the blank) or 20(fill in the blank).

And wouldn’t you know it? My ruminations quickly turned into a lengthy list that I’ve paired down to a top 25. Let’s call this Best Year’s Ever and count down from #25 to #1!

25. Channing Tatum (2012)

It was a busy year for the performer to say the least. Tatum was in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, but three major roles made him the star he is today. There was the hit romance The Vow, hit comedy 21 Jump Street, and his signature and semi-autobiographical title role in the summer sleeper Magic Mike (also from Mr. Soderbergh).

24. John Travolta (1996)

Two years following his major comeback in Pulp Fiction and a year following his Golden Globe nominated lead in Get Shorty, Travolta’s hot streak continued with three hits: John Woo’s action thriller Broken Arrow and fantasy dramas Phenomenon and Michael.

23. Clint Eastwood (1971)

The last two months of 1971 were fruitful for the legend. In November, he made his directorial debut with the well-reviewed psychological thriller Play Misty for Me. This began a career of dozens of behind the camera works, including Best Picture winners Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. In December, Eastwood starred as Dirty Harry which spawned his lucky cop franchise.

22. Sigourney Weaver (1988)

Weaver won two Golden Globes 30 years ago – Best Actress (Drama) for Gorillas in the Mist and Supporting Actress for Working Girl. She would be nominated for two Oscars as well, but come up short. All part of a remarkable decade that included Ghostbusters and Aliens.

21. Joe Pesci (1990)

Pesci won an Oscar for his unforgettable supporting work in Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas. That same fall, he was a burglar terrorizing Macaulay Culkin in the holiday classic Home Alone.

20. Kevin Spacey (1995)

Current scandals aside, there’s no denying Spacey was the movie villain of 1995. He won an Academy Award as (spoiler alert!) Keyser Soze in The Usual Suspects and as a demented serial killer in Seven. Earlier in the year, he costarred with Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman in  Outbreak and headlined the critically approved indie comedy Swimming with Sharks.

19. Nicolas Cage (1997)

Leaving Las Vegas awarded Cage his Oscar two years prior. By the summer of 1997, he was a full-fledged action hero with two blockbusters in the same month: Con Air and Face/Off.

18. Will Ferrell (2003)

Ferrell’s transformation from SNL favorite to movie star happened here with the spring’s Old School as Frank the Tank and in the winter as Buddy in Elf.

17. Morgan Freeman (1989)

The nation’s Narrator-in-Chief had a trio of significant roles nearly three decades ago – his Oscar nominated chauffeur in the Best Picture winner Driving Miss Daisy, a dedicated and stern principal in Lean on Me, and a Civil War officer in Glory.

16. Steven Soderbergh (2000)

The prolific filmmaker made two Best Picture nominees with Erin Brockovich and Traffic (he would win Best Director for the latter). Both surpassed the century mark at the box office and Julia Roberts won Best Actress for Brockovich and Benicio del Toro took Supporting Actor in Traffic.

15. Halle Berry (2001)

Ms. Berry had a revealing role in the summer action fest Swordfish. She then became the first (and thus far only) African-American to win Best Actress for Monster’s Ball. This was all sandwiched between XMen hits.

14. Hugh Jackman (2017)

Berry’s XMen cast mate Jackman retired his Wolverine character to critical and audience admiration with Logan in the spring. At the end of the year, his musical The Greatest Showman was an unexpected smash.

13. Leonardo DiCaprio (2002)

Five years after Titanic, the jury was still out as to whether DiCaprio’s leading man status would hold up. His roles in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can left little doubt. He’s been one of Hollywood’s most dependable stars since.

12. Francis Ford Coppola (1974)

In 1972, Coppola made perhaps the greatest American film of all time with The Godfather. Two years later, its sequel came with enormous expectations and exceeded them. Like part one, it won Best Picture. As if that weren’t enough, he made another Picture nominee in ‘74 with the Gene Hackman surveillance thriller The Conversation.

11. Michael Douglas (1987)

His signature role as greedy tycoon Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street won him an Oscar and gave him one of the most famous cinematic speeches ever. He also lit up the screen in the blockbuster thriller Fatal Attraction, which was the year’s second largest grosser.

10. Julia Roberts (1999)

She started the decade with a smash star making turn in Pretty Woman. Julia Roberts ended it with two romantic comedy summer $100 million plus earners: Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Runaway Bride (which reunited her with Pretty costar Richard Gere). She’d win her Oscar the next year for Erin Brockovich.

9. Tom Cruise (1996)

1986 wasn’t too shabby either with Top Gun and The Color of Money. Yet it’s a decade later that serves as Cruise’s year with the franchise starter Mission: Impossible in the summer and Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire, which earned Cruise a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nod. They were the third and fourth biggest hits of the year, respectively.

8. Sandra Bullock (2013)

Nearly two decades after her breakout role in Speed, Bullock had a banner 2013 alongside Melissa McCarthy in the summer comedy The Heat and her Oscar nominated turn as a stranded astronaut in the fall’s Gravity.

7. Sylvester Stallone (1985)

Sly was the undisputed champion of the box office (not to mention sequels and Roman numerals) in 1985, notching the second and third top hits of the year behind Back to the Future. They were for his two signature characters with Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV.

6. Robert Downey Jr. (2008)

A decade after all the wrong kind of headlines for his drug addiction, Downey Jr. pulled off perhaps the most impressive comeback in movie history. 2008 saw him as Tony Stark in Iron Man, the film that kicked off the MCU in grand fashion. Later that summer came Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder, which earned Downey a rare Oscar nod for a comedic performance.

5. Tom Hanks (1993)

There’s more than one year to consider for Hanks… 1995 (Apollo 13, Toy Story) comes to mind. Yet 1993 saw him with Meg Ryan in the now classic Sleepless in Seattle and winning an Oscar in Philadelphia as a lawyer diagnosed with AIDS. His status as a romantic and dramatic lead was solidified in a matter of months. A consecutive Academy Award followed in 1994 for Forrest Gump.

4. Mel Brooks (1974)

The director managed to make two of the most beloved comedies of all time in one year… Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. The two features combined contain some of the funniest scenes ever filmed.

3. Jennifer Lawrence (2012)

Already an Oscar nominee two years prior for Winter’s Bone, Lawrence’s road to superstardom was paved in 2012. In March came The Hunger Games, the year’s third top earner that spawned three sequels. In December came Silver Linings Playbook, where she won Best Actress.

2. Jim Carrey (1994)

In 1993, Carrey was known as a great cast member of Fox’s groundbreaking sketch show “In Living Color”. By the end of 1994, he was the most bankable comedic star in America as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber all hit screens.

1. Steven Spielberg (1993)

In a list filled with lots of choices, the #1 selection was rather easy. The highest grossing filmmaker of all time’s 1993 was astonishing. Dino tale Jurassic Park in the summer was a marvel technical achievement that began a franchise. At the time of its release, it became the largest grosser in history with the top opening weekend yet seen. Six months later, Holocaust epic Schindler’s List won seven Academy Awards (including Picture and for Spielberg’s direction).

I hope your New Year is your best yet, readers! Have a happy one…

Best Actor: A Look Back

My look back at the major Oscar categories from 1990 to the present arrives at Best Actor today! If you missed my posts covering Actress and the Supporting races, you can find them here:

As with those previous entries, I am picking the three least surprising winners of the last 28 years, along with the three biggest upsets. Additionally, you’ll see my personal picks for strongest and weakest fields overall.

As a primer, here are the winners from 1990 to now:

1990 – Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune

1991 – Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs

1992 – Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman

1993 – Tom Hanks, Philadelphia

1994 – Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump

1995 – Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas

1996 – Geoffrey Rush, Shine

1997 – Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets

1998 – Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful

1999 – Kevin Spacey, American Beauty

2000 – Russell Crowe, Gladiator

2001 – Denzel Washington, Training Day

2002 – Adrien Brody, The Pianist

2003 – Sean Penn, Mystic River

2004 – Jamie Foxx, Ray

2005 – Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote

2006 – Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

2007 – Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

2008 – Sean Penn, Milk

2009 – Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

2010 – Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

2011 – Jean Dujardin, The Artist

2012 – Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

2013 – Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

2014 – Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

2015 – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

2016 – Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

2017 – Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Let’s begin with the three that I’m deeming as the non-surprise winners. Whittling this down to that number was a challenge. The double wins by Hanks and Penn and even last year’s winner Oldman could’ve easily been named here, too. Here goes…

3. Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman

The legendary thespian was 0 for 6 when it came to nominations and wins entering 1992. He picked up his 7th and 8th nods that year with his supporting role in Glengarry Glen Ross and lead role as a blind former colonel in this Martin Brest directed drama. By Oscar night, it was clear he was finally going to make that trip to the podium.

2. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Like Pacino, DiCaprio had been an Academy bridesmaid before… four times. His fifth nod for The Revenant guaranteed he’d finally be a winner against weak competition (more on that below).

1. Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

I could have named the Method actor’s victory in 2007 for There Will Be Blood as well, but his win five years later as the nation’s 16th President edges it out. From the moment the Steven Spielberg project was announced, Day-Lewis was the odds on favorite and it never changed.

Now – my selections for the upsets:

3. Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs

While it might seem an obvious win nearly 30 years later, Nick Nolte’s work in The Prince of Tides had nabbed him the Golden Globe. Additionally, there was some controversy about Sir Anthony’s inclusion in the lead race due to his approximate 16 minutes of screen time. This is truly evidence of a performance so towering that it couldn’t be ignored.

2. Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful

The Italian director/writer/actor was an underdog against competition that included Nick Nolte (once again) for Affliction and Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters. Mr. Benigni seemed a bit shocked himself when his name was called, as he famously bounded exuberantly to the stage.

1. Adrien Brody, The Pianist

The smart money in 2002 was with Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt or Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York. Brody’s win was pretty shocking, as was the giant smooch he planted on presenter Halle Berry.

When it comes to overall fields, I’m going recent history with both. For strongest, I’ll give it to 2012. That’s the year Day-Lewis won for Lincoln. All other nominees were rock solid as well with Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), and Denzel Washington (Flight).

For weakest, I’m picking 2015. This is the aforementioned year of DiCaprio’s overdue win. The rest of the field, however, was a bit lacking. It consisted of Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl).

And there’s your Actor look back, folks! Keep an eye out for Best Picture soon as the final post in this series…

Best Supporting Actor: A Look Back

Continuing on with my look back at the major categories from 1990 to the present at the Oscars, we arrive at Best Supporting Actor! If you missed my post regarding Supporting Actress, you can find it right here:

As I did with that blog entry, I’m picking the top 3 least surprising winners (performers who essentially sailed right through awards season) and the 3 biggest upsets in each race. I am also selecting the strongest and weakest fields overall.

As a primer, here are the 28 actors whose support earned them a golden statue:

1990 – Joe Pesci, GoodFellas

1991 – Jack Palance, City Slickers

1992 – Gene Hackman, Unforgiven

1993 – Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive

1994 – Martin Landau, Ed Wood

1995 – Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects

1996 – Cuba Gooding Jr., Jerry Maguire

1997 – Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting

1998 – James Coburn, Affliction

1999 – Michael Caine, The Cider House Rules

2000 – Benicio del Toro, Traffic

2001 – Jim Broadbent, Iris

2002 – Chris Cooper, Adaptation

2003 – Tim Robbins, Mystic River

2004 – Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby

2005 – George Clooney, Syriana

2006 – Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine

2007 – Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

2008 – Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

2009 – Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

2010 – Christian Bale, The Fighter

2011 – Christopher Plummer, Beginners

2012 – Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

2013 – Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

2014 – J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

2015 – Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

2016 – Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

2017 – Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

There are plenty to choose from as far least surprising winners, but here’s my top ones:

3. Gene Hackman, Unforgiven

Clint Eastwood’s Western picked up a slew of awards on Oscar night and Hackman’s inclusion in that race was never really in doubt. It was his second statue after winning Best Actor 21 years previously for The French Connection.

2. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

It was director Christopher Nolan giving numerous awards speeches on behalf of the late Ledger, as his work playing the iconic villain swept all precursors as well. This remains not only the only win in the omnipresent superhero genre in the 21st century, but the only nomination.

1. Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Like Ledger, Bardem created a bad guy for the ages in the Coen Brothers Oscar-winning picture. He picked up all the precursors as well for his role.

And now the upsets!

3. James Coburn, Affliction

There was clearly no front-runner in 1998 as a different actor was honored in each preceding awards show. Ed Harris took the Golden Globe for The Truman Show, Billy Bob Thornton (A Simple Plan) was victorious at the Critics Choice Awards, Robert Duvall’s role in A Civil Action was honored at SAG, and Geoffrey Rush (Elizabeth) was the BAFTA recipient. Surely one of them would win the Oscar, but it instead went to Mr. Coburn.

2. Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

In 2015, the general consensus was that Sylvester Stallone would punch out the competition in his signature role for Creed. That would have been quite a feat after Rocky took Best Picture in 1976 – nearly four decades prior. Yet it didn’t materialize when Rylance made the trip to the podium.

1. Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine

Along the same lines, Eddie Murphy was the strong favorite for his rare dramatic work in Dreamgirls. With Jennifer Hudson as a sure thing for Supporting Actress (which did happen), the musical looked safe for a supporting sweep. The Academy surprisingly went another route by honoring Arkin.

And now to the fields overall and choosing a strongest and weakest. For the least impressive of the bunch, I’m going with 2011. Here were the nominees:

Christopher Plummer, Beginners (winner)

Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Nick Nolte, Warrior

Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

When it comes to best overall field, I chose 1993. This is the year that Tommy Lee Jones got the gold in The Fugitive. That’s a rare acting win for an action flick. It was deserved in my view and the other four nominees were very strong as well. They were:

Leonardo DiCaprio, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List

John Malkovich, In the Line of Fire

Pete Postlethwaite, In the Name of the Father

Furthermore, I could keep going with other deserving actors that year, including Val Kilmer in Tombstone and Sean Penn for Carlito’s Way. 

The next trip down memory lane will be Best Actress and it will be up soon!

All the Money in the World Movie Review

Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World is made with all the competence in the world you would imagine from this filmmaker retelling one of the most famous kidnappings in modern history. It’s a story built for a cinematic rendering that’s moderately successful in its execution. The screenplay from David Scarpa takes liberties with what really happened on occasion, but sticks to many of the bizarre facts surrounding the taking of John Paul Getty III.

In 1973, 16-year-old Getty (Charlie Plummer) was living a carefree life in Rome when he was abducted.  The demands for ransom were based on good cause. Getty’s grandfather is J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer, no relation to the actor playing his grandson). Not only is the elder Getty currently the wealthiest man on Earth, the oil tycoon is the wealthiest man to ever walk it. There’s one significant issue: he’s also notoriously stingy and his potential heirs are not enjoying his riches.

That means young Paul’s mother Gail (Michelle Williams) must ask her former father-in-law for the $17 million demanded for his safe return. Paul’s father (Andrew Buchan) is essentially out of the picture both literally and figuratively – off somewhere in a drug induced haze. Mr. Getty has no interest in paying. Some of his reasons seem valid as he figures it will be open season on all his grandkids if he acquieses. Most of his actions re-enforce his reputation as a persnickety cheapskate.

Mr. Getty does direct one of his advisers, former CIA man Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg), to investigate. He believes at first that Paul may have set up the snatching himself for a generous payday. When that wrongheaded theory proves false, a lengthy negotiation develops between Gail, Mr. Getty, and a rather large group of crime figures involved in Paul’s capture.

All the Money in the World, of course, has its own notable backstory as Kevin Spacey filmed the entire role portraying Mr. Getty. When numerous sordid allegations came forth about him, director Scott made the unheard of decision to recast the role with Plummer just weeks before its release. You wouldn’t know of the behind the scenes drama upon viewership. The 88-year-old gives a strong performance as the unlikable billionaire who never seems to recognize normal human emotion or find a dollar he doesn’t attempt to stretch as far as humanly possible. Similar acclaim goes to Williams as the mother desperately trying to come up with solutions when everyone else assumes she can just snap her fingers and cash magically appears. Another solid performance worthy of mention is Romain Duris as Cinquanta, one of the kidnappers who develops a bond with Paul and is far more sympathetic to the situation than his grandpa is. The weak spot is Wahlberg. He’s an actor capable of fine work, but I never managed to fully buy him here as the hardened CIA man.

Some of the events depicted here are accentuated for dramatic effect, including an ending for Mr. Getty that didn’t follow until years later. Most of the time, the picture glides by on Scott’s sturdy direction and its inherently compelling tale of inheritors with a bad benefactor.

2017 Oscar Nominations Reaction

And they’re out!

The nominations for this February’s Academy Awards were revealed this morning by Andy Serkis and Tiffany Haddish. As always, there were some surprises and my months long quest for prediction perfection fell short. Of the 109 nominations, I correctly guessed 78 of them and that works out to 71% (a bit lower than previous years, but oh well).

Here I’ll break down every category and tell you how I did with a bit of analysis:

Best Picture

Nominees: Call Me by Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I Did: 7/9

Analysis: OK, lesson learned. When in doubt, predict NINE. The Best Picture category can fluctuate between 5 and 10 nominees, but that seems to be the magic number. I had The Florida Project in, but it was 8th out of my 8 predictions in likelihood so no big surprise there. Also not surprising is Darkest Hour getting in. A bit more so is the inclusion of Phantom Thread, which did far better this morning than I or almost anyone else figured.

Best Director

Nominees: Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Jordan Peele (Get Out)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: As mentioned above, the surprise here is Anderson’s nod for Phantom. Hard to believe but this is Nolan’s first nomination for direction. I had Martin McDonagh’s work in Three Billboards included. Worth noting: it’s happened, but it’s rare for a movie to win Best Picture without their maker being recognized. This could fuel even more talk that The Shape of Water is the front-runner in the big race.

Best Actor

Nominees: Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: One of the major questions going into this morning is whether recent allegations could prevent James Franco’s nod for The Disaster Artist. We may never know the answer to that fully, but it was expected he’d be a safe inclusion until then and he missed out. In his place – Mr. Washington, nominated for the second year in a row. In short: this is Oldman’s race to lose and it’s highly doubtful he will.

Best Actress

Nominees: Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Meryl Streep (The Post)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: For quite some time, this has seemed like the five for Actress and it panned out that way.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Plummer got in for his highly publicized role after taking over for Kevin Spacey at very short notice over my prediction of Armie Hammer in Call Me by Your Name.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: The Phantom love continued with Manville’s inclusion over my prediction for Hong Chau in Downsizing.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Call Me by Your Name, The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game, Mudbound

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: In a bit of a surprise to me, Logan became the first superhero flick to get a writing nomination. I had Wonder in instead.

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: I went with I, Tonya over The Big Sick, but this certainly was no shocker. Unlike several prognosticators, I did correctly leave Sick out of the Best Picture race and this marks its sole nod.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: People love that Boss Baby apparently. It got in over my projected The Girl Without Hands. This is an easy winner to predict – Pixar’s Coco. 

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: A Fantastic Woman, The Insult, Loveless, On Body and Soul, The Square

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: Golden Globe winner In the Fade and Foxtrot (which some saw as a potential winner) missed the cut. In their place: Soul and Square.

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Faces Places, Icarus, Last Men in Aleppo, Strong Island

How I Did: 2/5

Analysis: Welp… there always seem to be that category where I whiff and get 2 out of 5 (last year it was Production Design). This year it’s the docs, where Jane (which many saw as a front-runner), City of Ghosts, and Long Strange Trip missed out in favor of Abacus, Aleppo, and Island. 

Best Film Editing

Nominees: Baby Driver, Dunkirk, I, Tonya, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: Besides Actress, this is my only other perfect category.

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Mudbound, The Shape of Water

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Rachel Morrison made some Oscar history by becoming the first female nominated in this category for Mudbound. I predicted The Post over Darkest Hour.

Best Production Design

Nominees: Beauty and the Beast, Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Wouldn’t you know it? Here’s one race where I had Phantom Thread in and it didn’t make it. Beauty got in instead.

Best Costume Design

Nominees: Beauty and the Beast, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, Victoria and Abdul

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: I went with Murder on the Orient Express, but Darkest Hour prevailed. This should be a rather easy victory for Phantom (and perhaps its only).

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees: Darkest Hour, Victoria and Abdul, Wonder

How I Did: 2/3

Analysis: Victoria over I, Tonya. Look for Gary Oldman’s transformation to Churchill in Darkest Hour to be the victor.

Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Kong: Skull Island, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, War for the Planet of the Apes

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: Dunkirk and The Shape of Water were my misses with Guardians and Kong filling in.

Best Sound Editing

Nominees: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Turns out I should have predicted The Shape of Water in both sound categories. I had War for the Planet of the Apes instead here.

Best Sound Mixing

Nominees: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: The sound races matched this year with Star Wars in over my predicted The Greatest Showman.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: I expected John Williams to be recognized, but for The Post instead of Star Wars. Also had Darkest Hour here and not Three Billboards.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Mighty River” from Mudbound, “The Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name, “Remember Me” from Coco, “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall, “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: “The Mystery of Love” got in over “It Ain’t Fair” from Detroit. 

And that leaves the final official breakdown of films and number of nominations to this:

13 Nominations

The Shape of Water

8 Nominations


7 Nominations

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

6 Nominations

Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread

5 Nominations

Blade Runner 2049, Lady Bird

4 Nominations

Call Me by Your Name, Get Out, Mudbound, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

3 Nominations

Baby Driver, I, Tonya

2 Nominations

Beauty and the Beast, Coco, The Post, Victoria and Abdul

1 Nomination

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, All the Money in the World, The Big Sick, The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, The Disaster Artist, Faces Places, A Fantastic Woman, Ferdinand, The Florida Project, The Greatest Showman, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Icarus, The Insult, Kong: Skull Island, Last Men in Aleppo, Logan, Loveless, Loving Vincent, Marshall, Molly’s Game, On Body and Soul, Roman J. Israel, Esq., The Square, Strong Island, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder

I’ll have a post up either later tonight or tomorrow with my initial round of predicted winners! Until then…

Oscar Watch: All the Money in the World

When the Golden Globe nominations were announced early last week, there were three rather significant surprises. All the Money in the World, which is out Christmas Day, garnered a trio of nominations that no one really saw coming: Ridley Scott for his direction (even though the film itself failed to get a Picture nod), Michelle Williams for Actress, and Christopher Plummer for Supporting Actor.

This begged the question: could the Globes love translate to Oscar affection? The true-life kidnapping thriller had its review embargo lifted today and answers have become (somewhat) more clear. Early critical reaction is positive and it stands at 89% at the moment on Rotten Tomatoes.

Much of the praise is indeed focused on the direction and the two performers listed above (Mark Wahlberg will not factor into Best Actor). Yet we all know the picture has generated unexpected publicity in the last few weeks. Mr. Plummer took over the role of J. Paul Getty when Kevin Spacey became embroiled in scandal. The latter had already shot his entire supporting part and even a trailer was released with Spacey prominently featured.

Amazingly, it was a month and half ago that Plummer was brought in to replace him and director Scott has delivered the finished product in time for release. This unprecedented move has certainly brought Money a lot of attention. It’s certainly possible that the Hollywood Foreign Press (who bestows Globe nominations) were rewarding Scott for his quick turnaround and Plummer for his rapid filming of the role.

Will Oscar follow? Probably not. Many of the overall positive reviews have quibbled with script aspects and delivery. I do not see a Best Picture nomination as likely and that should put Scott out of the running. However, if Money somehow manages to be nominated in the biggest category, Scott would probably follow suit. I would not bet on it (even though many thought Scott was snubbed two years ago for The Martian).

As for the two actors nominated for Globes, Best Actress is incredibly crowded in 2017. It’s hard to dispute Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Meryl Streep (The Post), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), and Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) as the five front-runners for the five spots with performers like Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game) and Judi Dench (Victoria and Abdul) waiting in the wings. I simply don’t see room for Williams at this point.

Plummer could be a different story. Supporting Actor is fairly busy, but I see only Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) and Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards) as absolute sure things for nominations. My weekly Monday predictions will still probably leave Plummer on the outside looking in, but he’s definitely got a chance.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…


Todd’s Weekly 2017 Oscar Predictions: December 11th Edition

Back at it again with my weekly Oscar predictions. There’s been a host of precursor activity in the past week with the biggest coming this morning as the Golden Globe nominations were announced.

The verdict? The five nominated Best Drama contenders are all very likely Oscar competitors – Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, The Post, Three Billboards, Call Me by Your Name. In the Comedy category, both Lady Bird and Get Out got in as expected.

Speaking of Get Out, this week marks its first inclusion in my estimated nine contenders. In fact, it vaults four spots up to #7. Something had to come out and it was Darkest Hour, whose luster seems to be fading.

Another Globe surprise: the strong showing for All the Money in the World. Reviews have yet to come, but it was nominated for Director (Ridley Scott), Actress in Drama (Michelle Williams), and Supporting Actor (Christopher Plummer, who famously took over the role from the embattled Kevin Spacey). All three debut on the lower rung on my predictions.

In other developments:

  • Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water) is in for Supporting Actor over Mark Rylance (Dunkirk)
  • Two changes in Supporting Actress with Melissa Leo (Novitiate) and Hong Chau (Downsizing) in over Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water) and Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread)
  • In the Screenplay races, Wonder is in for Adapted over Wonderstruck while in the crowded Original Screenplay category, The Shape of Water is back in over Phantom Thread

Read on!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Lady Bird (PR: 3)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

4. The Post (PR: 2)

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 5)

6. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

7. Get Out (PR: 11)

8. The Florida Project (PR: 9)

9. Phantom Thread (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

10. Darkest Hour (PR: 8)

11. Mudbound (PR: 10)

12. I, Tonya (PR: 12)

13. Detroit (PR: 13)

14. All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

The Disaster Artist

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (PR: 2)

3. Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird (PR: 3)

4. Steven Spielberg, The Post (PR: 4)

5. Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 6)

7. Jordan Peele, Get Out (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread (PR: 7)

9. Dee Rees, Mudbound (PR: 8)

10. Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Sean Baker, The Florida Project

Joe Wright, Darkest Hour

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

3. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. James Franco, The Disaster Artist (PR: 4)

5. Tom Hanks, The Post (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman (PR: 7)

7. Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger (PR: 6)

9. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (PR: 9)

10. Andrew Garfield, Breathe (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Robert Pattinson, Good Time

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird (PR: 1)

2. Meryl Streep, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 3)

4. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (PR: 4)

5. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (PR: 6)

7. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 7)

8. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul (PR: 9)

9. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (PR: 8)

10. Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project (PR: 1)

2. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 2)

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 4)

5. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk (PR: 5)

7. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

8. Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 8)

9. Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird (PR: 2)

2. Allison Janney, I, Tonya (PR: 1)

3. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound (PR: 4)

4. Melissa Leo, Novitiate (PR: 6)

5. Hong Chau, Downsizing (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water (PR: 5)

7. Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread (PR: 3)

8. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick (PR: 9)

9. Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip (PR: 10)

10. Lois Smith, Marjorie Prime (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 1)

2. The Disaster Artist (PR: 2)

3. Mudbound (PR: 3)

4. Molly’s Game (PR: 4)

5. Wonder (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Wonderstruck (PR: 5)

7. All the Money in the World (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Last Flag Flying (PR: 6)

9. The Beguiled (PR: 9)

10. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Victoria and Abdul 

First, They Killed My Father

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Lady Bird (PR: 2)

2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 1)

3. Get Out (PR: 5)

4. The Post (PR: 4)

5. The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Phantom Thread (PR: 3)

7. The Florida Project (PR: 7)

8. I, Tonya (PR: 8)

9. The Big Sick (PR: 9)

10. Dunkirk (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Darkest Hour 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Coco (PR: 1)

2. The Breadwinner (PR: 3)

3. Loving Vincent (PR: 2)

4. Cars 3 (PR: 5)

5. The Girl Without Hands (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. The LEGO Batman Movie (PR: 6)

7. Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (PR: 4)

8. Despicable Me 3 (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Boss Baby (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:


Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

In this Corner of the World

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Foxtrot (PR: 2)

2. BPM (Beats Per Minute) (PR: 1)

3. The Square (PR: 7)

4. First, They Killed My Father (PR: 3)

5. Loveless (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Fantastic Woman (PR: 6)

7. In the Fade (PR: 4)

8. The Insult (PR: 5)

9. Thelma (PR: 9)

10. The Divine Order (PR: 10)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane (PR: 1)

2. Faces Places (PR: 5)

3. City of Ghosts (PR: 3)

4. Long Strange Trip (PR: 7)

5. Strong Island (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (PR: Not Ranked)

7. One of Us (PR: 9)

8. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Chasing Coral (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cries from Syria




Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. The Post (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Lady Bird (PR: 5)

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. I, Tonya (PR: 6)

7. Get Out (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Darkest Hour (PR: 8)

9. Call Me by Your Name (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Detroit (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Phantom Thread

Blade Runner 2049 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. The Post (PR: 4)

5. Wonderstruck (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Darkest Hour (PR: 5)

7. Mudbound (PR: 8)

8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 7)

9. Lady Bird (PR: 9)

10. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 10)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. The Shape of Water (PR: 2)

3. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 3)

4. Beauty and the Beast (PR: 5)

5. Phantom Thread (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Post (PR: 7)

7. The Greatest Showman (PR: 9)

8. Wonderstruck (PR: 8)

9. Darkest Hour (PR: 6)

10. Murder on the Orient Express (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Phantom Thread (PR: 1)

2. Beauty and the Beast (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. The Post (PR: 4)

5. The Greatest Showman (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Darkest Hour (PR: 5)

7. The Beguiled (PR: 7)

8. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. Wonderstruck (PR: 10)

10. Murder on the Orient Express (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Wonder Wheel

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Phantom Thread (PR: 5)

3. Beauty and the Beast (PR: 2)

Other Possibilities:

4. Wonder (PR: 9)

5. I, Tonya (PR: 6)

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (PR: 3)

7. The Shape of Water (PR: 4)

8. The Greatest Showman (PR: 7)

9. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 8)

10. It (PR: 10)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 1)

2. The Shape of Water (PR: 2)

3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 4)

4. War for the Planet of the Apes (PR: 3)

5. Dunkirk (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Beauty and the Beast (PR: 6)

7. Spider-Man: Homecoming (PR: 7)

8. Wonder Woman (PR: 9)

9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (PR: 8)

10. Thor: Ragnarok (PR: 10)

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 5)

4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 3)

5. War for the Planet of the Apes (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Baby Driver (PR: 6)

7. Wonder Woman (PR: 7)

8. Detroit (PR: 10)

9. The Post (PR: 8)

10. The Greatest Showman (PR: 9)

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 7)

4. Baby Driver (PR: 3)

5. The Greatest Showman (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 6)

7. War for the Planet of the Apes (PR: 8)

8. Beauty and the Beast (PR: 10)

9. Detroit (PR: 5)

10. Transformers: The Last Knight (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Post

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

2. The Shape of Water (PR: 1)

3. Dunkirk (PR: 3)

4. The Post (PR: 4)

5. Darkest Hour (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 10)

7. Wonderstruck (PR: 6)

8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: 7)

9. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 9)

10. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Remember Me” from Coco (PR: 1)

2. “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall (PR: 2)

3. “Mighty River” from Mudbound (PR: Not Ranked)

4. “Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast (PR: 4)

5. “The Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Prayers for this World” from Cries from Syria (PR: 3)

7. “It Ain’t Fair” from Detroit (PR: 7)

8. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from Fifty Shades Darker (PR: 6)

9. “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman (PR: Not Ranked)

10. “Truth to Power” from An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

“Come Alive” from The Greatest Showman

“The Promise” from The Promise

And that break down for the following number of nominations for each picture:

13 Nominations

The Shape of Water

9 Nominations

Dunkirk, The Post

6 Nominations

Phantom Thread, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Call Me by Your Name

5 Nominations

Blade Runner 2049

4 Nominations

Beauty and the Beast

3 Nominations

Darkest Hour, Mudbound

2 Nominations

Get Out, The Florida Project, The Disaster Artist, I, Tonya, Coco, The Greatest Showman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, War for the Planet of the Apes

1 Nomination

Novitiate, Downsizing, Molly’s Game, Wonder, Wonderstruck, Baby Driver, Marshall, The Breadwinner, Loving Vincent, Cars 3, The Girl Without Hands, Foxtrot, BPM (Beats Per Minute), The Square, First, They Killed My Father, Loveless, Jane, Faces Places, City of Ghosts, Long Strange Trip, Strong Island