February 10-12 Box Office Predictions

Channing Tatum sashays back into multiplexes in his star making role with threequel Magic Mike’s Last Dance while Titanic re-releases on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

In what could be considered an upset, I have Titanic edging Mike for the top spot. Here’s why. There are reports that the latter is only releasing on approximately 1500 screens. If that holds true, it would significantly impact its earning power. When I assumed Mr. Tatum would arrive in the typical 3000 venues, I had it making just under $18 million. I now have it notably under that projection.

That may clear the way for the Titanic re-release to be #1 (giving James Cameron the first place picture in eight out of the past nine weekends). Valentine’s Day audiences and the nostalgia factor could get it there.

As for holdovers, M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin definitely came in at the lower end of its anticipated range (more on that below). I believe it could plummet from first to fifth with 80 for Brady and Avatar: The Way of Water each slipping only one spot. Cabin might even fall outside of the high five depending on the eighth frame dip for Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.

Here’s how I see the top 6 playing out:

1. Titanic 25th Anniversary

Predicted Gross: $11.6 million

2. Magic Mike’s Last Dance

Predicted Gross: $10.7 million

3. 80 for Brady

Predicted Gross: $8.1 million

4. Avatar: The Way of Water

Predicted Gross: $7.5 million

5. Knock at the Cabin

Predicted Gross: $5.9 million

6. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Predicted Gross: $5.6 million

Box Office Results (February 3-5)

As mentioned, Knock at the Cabin had a fairly soft entry on the charts with $14.1 million. While it managed to knock Avatar from its seven-week reign on the throne, it fell far under my $23.6 million forecast. The glass half full? It cost a meager $20 million to make. The glass half empty? With a C Cinemascore grade, I foresee a sophomore plummet close to 60%. In the summer of 2021, Shyamalan’s predecessor Old managed to top Cabin with just under $17 million. Simply put, this should’ve done more considering it had less competition and better reviews.

80 for Brady had a respectable start in second with $12.7 million. Released a day after Tom Brady announced his retirement (again), the legend packed octogenarian comedy couldn’t match my $15.5 million take. It will hope for smallish declines in the weekends ahead.

Avatar: The Way of Water was third with $11.3 million, in line with my $11.8 million prediction. After its eighth outing, the gargantuan tally grew to $636 million.

Fourth place belonged to Puss in Boots: The Last Wish with $7.8 million (I said $8.9 million) for an impressive $151 million after seven weeks.

I incorrectly had the concert pic BTS: Yet to Come in Cinemas outside of the top five with no projection. It was fifth with $5.1 million.

A Man Called Otto was sixth with $4.3 million compared to my $4.8 million. The gross is a solid $53 million.

Finally, while I’m in predictin’ mode – Eagles 38, Chiefs 24. That’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

Titanic 25th Anniversary Box Office Prediction

On February 10th, we will see if audiences are ready to go back to Titanic. The James Cameron romance pic/disaster flick is being re-released on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. This is just as Avatar: The Way of Water wraps up its seven-week #1 domestic stand with $2 billion+ worldwide run at multiplexes.

The movie that made Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet icons currently stands as the 8th largest stateside earner in history. At the time of its release, it vaulted to first place. With $659 million overall (and that includes some previous re-releases), it could jump a spot over Avengers: Infinity War ($678 million). Worldwide it is #3 ($2.2 billion) with Water ($2.1 billion) hot on its heels. And, yes, Cameron does now have three of the four all-time global grossers with Avatar ($2.8 billion) atop that chart.

Speaking of the original Avatar, it was put back in theaters last September a few months before the sequel was unleashed. It made $10.5 million in its first frame of re-issuance. I could see Titanic matching or maybe slightly exceeding that figure.

Titanic 25th Anniversary opening weekend prediction: $11.6 million

For my Magic Mike’s Last Dance prediction, click here:

Best Picture 2019: The Final Five

We have reached 2019 in my posts speculating on a specific piece of Oscar history. As awards followers are aware, 2009 saw the Academy expand the Best Picture category from five movies to ten. That lasted for two years and in 2011, it switched to anywhere from 5-10 with 8 or 9 as the magic numbers for several years. In 2021, the number reverted back to a set ten.

What if that hadn’t happened? What if the BP derby had stayed at a quintet? What pictures would have made the cut?

In 2019, there were nine films vying for the prize. We know one thing for sure. Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is in since it made history and became the first non-English language title to take Best Picture. It had a big night as it also won Director, Original Screenplay, and International Feature Film.

There’s 8 others to consider. Only half make cut. Let’s get into it!

Ford v Ferrari

James Mangold’s 1960s set sports drama starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale had four total nominations and won 2 of them (Sound Editing and Film Editing). It wasn’t as fortunate in Picture or Sound Mixing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. I say this knowing the Film Editing victor usually lands a BP nod (though not the case with 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum and 2011’s The Girl with Dragon Tattoo). However, Ford achieved the least number of overall mentions among the 9 contenders and missed key races including Director, any acting derbies, and screenplay.

The Irishman

Martin Scorsese’s return to the Mob genre was Netflix’s highest profile Oscar player yet. It earned ten overall nods including for Scorsese, two Supporting Actor bids for Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, and Adapted Screenplay. Going 0 for 10, Robert De Niro was a somewhat surprising omission for his lead work.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. Despite the lack of wins, the sheer number of inclusions indicate the legendary filmmaker and cast would vie for the top award.

Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi’s unique take on WWII was up for 6 races including Scarlett Johansson for Supporting Actress and Film Editing. The sole victory (a major one) was Adapted Screenplay where it beat out three other BP nominees.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No, but this was easily the hardest to leave off. The Screenplay win suggests it certainly could have. A miss in Director was a deciding factor and the fact that I couldn’t omit any of the final five I ended up going with.

Joker

Warner Bros. had unexpected bragging rights as this Scorsese inspired take on the DC Comics villain had the best haul with 11 nods. This includes Todd Phillips in Director and key precursors like Editing and Adapted Screenplay. The two wins came courtesy of Joaquin Phoenix in the title role and in Original Score.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. Usually the leader of the pack does and this popped up in categories it originally wasn’t anticipated to.

Little Women

Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed version of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel was also up for Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Supporting Actress (Florence Pugh), Adapted Screenplay, Score, and Costume Design (which was its only victory).

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Simple math here. If I didn’t put Jojo in (which won Adapted Screenplay), I can’t justify vaulting this over it.

Marriage Story

Just like Little Women, Noah Baumbach’s drama was up for six and managed one. The win was Laura Dern (who was also in Women) in Supporting Actress while it also vied for Actor (Adam Driver), Actress (double nominee Scarlett Johansson), Original Screenplay, and Original Score.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Just like Little Women – no. Like Women, not making the Director race and not winning screenplay make this a fairly easy forecast.

1917

The World War I epic from Sam Mendes boasted 10 nominations with 3 statues for Sound Mixing, Cinematography, and Visual Effects. The Editing miss was obvious since the picture famously used few cuts.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. In fact, this was likely the runner-up to Parasite. It went into the evening as the favorite for BP and Director until Joon-ho’s film made its history.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth feature was slotted for 10 categories including QT for director, Leonardo DiCaprio in Actor, and Original Screenplay where its two-time winning scribe lost to Joon-ho. The two victories were Brad Pitt in Supporting Actor and Production Design.

Does It the Final Five?

Yes though I admit the Editing snub had me questioning it. An argument can be made for Jojo, but I ultimately think Quentin and company get in.

So that means your 2019 Final Five is:

The Irishman

Joker

1917

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

I will note that this quintet mirrors the individuals who were up for Best Director. That is typically not a 5/5 match. It happened occasionally when there were 5 BP nominees and I feel this is a time where it would’ve.

2020 will be up soon and if you missed the posts covering 2009-18, they can be accessed here:

Oscar Predictions: Babylon

One of the last significant pieces of the 2022 Oscar puzzle has come into sharper focus with Damien Chazelle’s Babylon. The 188 minute epic set in late 1920s Hollywood has screened for industry and critics and reaction is wildly divergent. Some posts are calling it a triumph while others proclaim it a grotesque mess. One thing seems certain – this one will get a whole lotta chatter leading up to its December 23rd release. One other thing – the buzz below could change with more screenings as we get closer to the premiere.

Newcomer Diego Calva headlines a cast that includes Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, Jean Smart, and Tobey Maguire. While the review embargo won’t lift for a bit, the all over the map chatter raises some questions for its awards viability.

Chazelle has a sterling track record with voters. His first two features – 2014’s Whiplash and 2016’s La La Land – were both Best Picture nominees (the latter rather famously losing to Moonlight). Chazelle did take the Director prize for La La. On the other hand, 2018’s First Man underperformed at the box office and with the Academy (its four nods were all in tech categories).

So it’s a given that Babylon has (sight unseen) sat high on the projections of prognosticators for months. First things first. This won’t end the streak of Chazelle’s movies getting nominations. It’s a major possibility in numerous below the line competitions like Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Score, and Sound. Film Editing is one that could be contingent on a BP nod.

Will it get there for the biggest race? I think it still probably makes the cut. Yet Paramount might be feeling that Top Gun: Maverick is now their ace contender. The studio has had such a solid year that both could get in. There’s been some comparisons to The Wolf of Wall Street with the running time and frequent debauchery. That was a BP hopeful in 2013. For another Leo pic reference, Don’t Look Up was up last year and it too garnered severely mixed reviews.

I suspect I’ll still have Babylon in my top 10 when I updated my projections this weekend. I’ve had it listed 3rd for weeks and I would anticipate that ranking will drop. Chazelle is unlikely to be my #2 where he’s sat behind Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans) for awhile. I’m not completely sure he’ll be in my estimated quintet.

As for the actors – Robbie is getting a lot of praise thus far as is Calva. Best Actress, as I’ve noted a lot on here, is packed this year. I believe Cate Blanchett (Tár), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), and Danielle Deadwyler (Till) are currently top 3 in the race and there’s a handful of others vying for spots 4-5. That includes Robbie and I still believe she stands a realistic shot. So does Calva and that may be due to Actor being pretty weak this year. His inclusion is far from guaranteed, but he could nab a fourth or fifth slot like his costar. While Pitt is getting decent notices, I’m less convinced he’s in for Supporting Actor.

Bottom line: Babylon doesn’t seem like a threat to win Best Picture and it’s questionable whether it even gets in. Acting nods are feasible but not assured. Tech noms are inevitable. My Oscar prediction posts will continue…

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actor Race

My detailed look at six of the top Oscar categories – Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies – arrives at Best Actor. If you missed the posts covering the supporting races, you can find them here:

At this late October/early November stage of forecasting in the previous three years, my picks in the lead acting competitions have been more accurate than the supporting ones.

In 2019 at this juncture, I managed to correctly identify four of the five eventual nominees: winner Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes). The fifth was Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory and he was listed in Other Possibilities.

Three of five was the story in 2020 and 2021. Two years ago, I had The Father‘s Anthony Hopkins (who won), Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Gary Oldman (Mank) pegged with Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) and Steven Yeun (Minari) as possibles.

You may remember that Will Smith took gold last year for King Richard. I had him correctly called with two months remaining on the calendar. Same with Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog and Denzel Washington for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!) was mentioned in Other Possibilities. Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) had yet to enter my top ten.

Had a certain slap heard around the world not occurred, it’s totally possible that Will Smith (Emancipation) might be listed in my top 5. However, with his current ban from attending the ceremony, I question whether he could make a return to the ballot so quickly after the controversy. Therefore he’s not in my top 10. We’ll see if the reviews (coming soon) change the dynamic.

We do have a frontrunner and that’s Brendan Fraser in The Whale. Since its Venice and Toronto fest bows, he’s drawn raves. This is also a comeback narrative that the Academy should fall for. I’ve had Fraser listed in 1st for several weeks and I see no reason to change that.

There are two viable runners-up in Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Austin Butler (Elvis). I’ve been switching them in 2nd and 3rd place over the past few posts. Farrell is 2nd because I think Banshees stands a better shot at a BP nod. You have to go back to 2009 and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) where the Best Actor recipient’s movie didn’t achieve BP inclusion. If Elvis makes the big dance – an argument could be made that Butler is Fraser’s most serious competition to shake the race up.

After those three names, it could be a free for all for the final two slots. The only other performer I had listed in 1st place other than Fraser was Hugh Jackman for The Son. This was before it premiered at the festivals and garnered middling reviews. Now the question is whether Jackman gets in at all.

Someone who has fared well on the fest circuit is Bill Nighy for Living. Sony Pictures will need to mount a spirited campaign, but they’re good at that kinda thing. I’m starting to feel better about Nighy than Jackman.

Diego Calva is the biggest remaining question mark for Babylon. Screenings coming up in two weeks should help answer his viability. There’s a pair of indie performances that could bubble up if critics groups assist – Paul Mescal for Aftersun and Jeremy Pope in The Inspection. One possible hindrance for both of them is their movies are both A24 and that studio could be distracted with crowning Fraser. We could see foreign film leads Song Kang-ho (Broker) and Park Hae-il (Decision to Leave) make a play.

Netflix is apparently going in on a spirited campaign for Adam Sandler in Hustle. I have a hard time seeing that pan out (especially since he couldn’t get in for Uncut Gems). The streamer could also focus on Christian Bale (The Pale Blue Eye) or Adam Driver (White Noise). Bale also has Amsterdam, but it failed with critics and audiences.

Finally… there’s Tom Cruise. A three-time nominee, it’s been 23 years since he was in the mix. And a little pic called Top Gun: Maverick was easily the largest blockbuster of his career and the runaway hit of 2022. I’m not ready to put him in my five. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up there.

Here’s my current state of this race:

1 . Brendan Fraser, The Whale (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)

2. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 4) (E)

5. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: 8) (E)

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

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

Dropped Out:

Song Kang-ho, Broker

Best Actress is up next!

Best Picture 2015: The Final Five

We have reached 2015 in my posts speculating on a specific piece of Oscar history. As awards followers are aware, 2009 saw the Academy expand the Best Picture category from five movies to ten. That lasted for two years and in 2011, it switched to anywhere from 5-10 with 8 or 9 as the magic numbers for several years. In 2021, the number reverted back to a set ten.

What if that hadn’t happened? What if the BP derby had stayed at a quintet? What pictures would have made the cut? If you missed my write-ups centered on 2009-14, you can peruse them here:

Best Picture 2009: The Final Five

Best Picture 2010: The Final Five

Best Picture 2011: The Final Five

Best Picture 2012: The Final Five

Best Picture 2013: The Final Five

Best Picture 2014: The Final Five

There is one certainty when it comes to 2015 and that’s Spotlight earning a spot in the final five. After all, it won the big prize. It was also the rare BP recipient that emerged victorious in only one other category (Original Screenplay).

For 2015, eight movies were nominated. Time to put a spotlight on which ones get in and which ones are left on the cutting room floor:

The Big Short

Adam McKay’s satirical take on the 2008 financial crisis is the first of 3 Best Picture nominees in a row for the filmmaker. It earned a total of five nods with a win for its Adapted Screenplay.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. With nods for the director, the win for the script, and an editing nom – a quintet inclusion is highly likely.

Bridge of Spies

Steven Spielberg’s Cold War set drama starred Tom Hanks and his costar Mark Rylance won a surprise Supporting Actor trophy over the favored Sylvester Stallone for Creed. There were six nominations total.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Despite the considerable pedigree, the misses in directing and editing are significant.

Brooklyn

John Crowley’s 50s set period drama was the first of three eventual Best Actress mentions for Saoirse Ronan. With an Adapted Screenplay nod, its own. three tries at gold are the least among the 8 BP hopefuls.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No – primarily for the last sentence above. Brooklyn probably just snuck in the top 8.

Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller’s long in development fourth entry in his wild action franchise received 10 nominations and took home 6 (all technical in nature). That’s easily the most victories of the evening.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. With Miller in Director and a Film Editing win, I don’t see how it would have missed.

The Martian

Ridley Scott’s outer space tale with Matt Damon garnered 7 mentions but came up empty-handed on the night.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No, but I’d rank it sixth. I couldn’t make the call, however, since Scott was omitted in Director and it failed to make the Editing group.

The Revenant

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu made it two directing wins in a row after Birdman for his survival pic. Leonardo DiCaprio, after several close but no cigar tries, was finally crowned Best Actor. Overall, this was the most nominated film at 12 with 3 wins.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes and I suspect it was the runner-up to Spotlight.

Room

Brie Larson was the Best Actress for the abduction drama where Lenny Abrahamson was also an unexpected directing contender. With an Adapted Screenplay nom, it managed 4 mentions.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes though I’d put in fifth and in a close race with The Martian. Abrahamson getting in made the difference.

And that means my five BP contenders match the Best Director contestants. That’s a rare thing before the race expanded in 2009. Yet it seems appropriate for this particular year.

The whittled down five would be:

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

I’ll cover 2016 in short order!

Oscar Predictions: Bardo

If you had asked me to guess the Rotten Tomatoes score for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths before its Venice debut today, I probably would’ve needed 55 guesses before I said 45%. Yet that’s where the acclaimed filmmaker’s seventh feature currently stands.

Simply put, that is shocking. Beginning with his debut Amores perros and its nomination for best foreign language pic in 2000, every Inarritu effort has attracted the attention of the Academy. His 2003 English debut 21 Grams landed acting nods for Naomi Watts and Benicio del Toro. 2006’s Babel received seven nominations including Picture and Director. 2010’s Biutiful got mentions in the foreign race and for Javier Bardem in Best Actor. 2014’s Birdman was the biggest breakthrough with nine nods and wins for Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay among others. One year later, Inarritu would win Best Director again for The Revenant, which also finally brought Leonardo DiCaprio to the podium in its total of 12 nominations.

So… to put it mildly, anything Inarritu makes is subject to massive awards speculation. Bardo is a return to his native Mexico for a three hour Fellini inspired dramedy. A November 18th theatrical run is planned before a Netflix streaming start on December 16th. It’s said to be based on the auteur’s real life experiences and initial reaction (as evidenced by the early RT rating) is troubling. Indulgent is a common word thus far.

The festival season beginning in Venice and with Telluride and Toronto on deck is just two days old. Bardo buzz is guaranteed to be one of the biggest surprises. In my predictions last week, I had the movie, Inarritu’s direction, and Daniel Gimenez Cacho in Best Actor all ranked 4th. Griselda Sicillani was fifth in Supporting Actress and there’s where I had this for Original Screenplay. It is very possible that it could fall out of contention altogether in each race mentioned when I publish my next update on Labor Day. I am confident I won’t be predicting nominations for any of the above. The largest benefactor to a Bardo collapse could be Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave. The heralded Japanese mystery could find itself as the international frontrunner now and more of an option in the BP derby.

A slight word of caution: this is just one festival. Bardo screens in Telluride this weekend and maybe the negative chatter will turn to the positive and it won’t be the non-factor that I suspect it’s become. Even the disappointed critics are singling out Darius Khondji’s cinematography so it could continue Inarritu’s streak of every picture getting some Oscar love. Let there be no doubt, however, as that streak is in serious danger. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Best Picture 2013: The Final Five

My blog series continues with speculation on what a Best Picture lineup of five would have looked like in the years since the format changed to up to 10 nominees. That began in 2009 and if you missed my previous posts covering 2009-2012, you can peruse them here:

Best Picture 2009: The Final Five

Best Picture 2010: The Final Five

Best Picture 2011: The Final Five

Best Picture 2012: The Final Five

In our year of 2013, the magic number was 9 contenders. We know that Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave would have been included since a win in Best Picture was among its nine nominations. It also took Director, Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o), and Adapted Screenplay. So what else would’ve made the cut? Let’s speculate, shall we?

American Hustle

David O. Russell’s disco era crime pic tied for the most nods with 10, including Director and four acting mentions for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence. Despite the double digit nomination haul, it ended the night with zero victories.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. Even with the goose egg, the sheer number of nods indicates making the quintet.

Captain Phillips

With Tom Hanks as the title character in the true life Somali pirate drama, Paul Greengrass’s tense thriller scored 6 overall nods. In addition to Pic, Supporting Actor (Barkhad Abdi), Adapted Screenplay, both Sound races, and Film Editing were in the mix. Like Hustle, there were no wins.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. With no nods for directing or Hanks’s performance (which was a huge snub), I think this would’ve been on the outside looking in.

Dallas Buyers Club

While our first two selections went 0 for 16, this mid 80s set AIDS drama won half of its six nominations – Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Supporting Actor (Jared Leto), and Makeup and Hairstyling. The other two mentions were Original Screenplay and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes, but it’s a close call. The three gold statues put it over the edge in my opinion despite not landing a directing slot for the late Jean-Marc Vallee.

Gravity

Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller tied Hustle with 10 nominations. Unlike Hustle, it won 70% of its possibilities: Director, Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Film Editing, and Visual Effects. Sandra Bullock was nominated for Best Actress and it got a Production Design nod.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. Even without a screenplay nom, this would’ve been in contention and it was probably the runner-up to Slave considering the Cuaron win.

Her

Spike Jonze’s quirky romantic drama won Original Screenplay and was up for Score, Song, and Production Design.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No because it missed out on key precursors including Director, Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), and Film Editing.

Nebraska

Alexander Payne’s B&W road dramedy nabbed five other nods for direction, Actor (Bruce Dern), Supporting Actress (June Squibb), Original Screenplay, and Cinematography. It didn’t emerge victorious for any.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No, but I struggled with this one (it’s sixth). Film Editing is often the biggest indicator of a BP nom and that’s part of the reason I gave Dallas Buyers Club a slight edge.

Philomena

Judi Dench received a Best Actress nod for this adoption drama. Adapted Screenplay and Score were the other mentions as its four overall are the least of the BP hopefuls.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. The Academy loves Dench. However, that wouldn’t have been enough for this to survive a cut to five.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese’s raunchy tale of 80s excess landed Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill acting spots. The direction and Adapted Screenplay were up as well. It won none.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes though I will say I don’t think it’s automatic. Wolf‘s complete lack of nominations in the tech categories is a bit of a surprise, but ultimately I don’t think the voters would’ve ignored this.

So my quintet for 2013 would be:

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

The Wolf of Wall Street

2014 is up next and will be on the blog soon!

2022 Oscar Predictions: July 31st Edition

As July comes to a close, Oscar prognosticators received several bits of fascinating news this past week. The first was the lineup of the Venice Film Festival as well as the bulk of titles that will play in Toronto. That wild season (which also includes Telluride) is a mere month away. We will see a huge number of awards hopefuls being screened with long awaited buzz finally becoming clear.

Yet the biggest news is the (as yet unconfirmed) rumor that Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon will not come out until 2023. Variety and Deadline essentially reported it as fact. I struggled all day with whether to include Killers in my updated predictions (I faced the same choices a couple of weeks ago with Rustin). My final decision was to drop it. If Killers ends up back on the 2022 calendar, Variety and Deadline have some explaining to do…

Another development is that Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives was released. While reviews were certainly decent, I don’t think they’re strong enough that it will be a true BP contender. It’s at #25 on my list.

The Killers announcement obviously means major changes in most of my lineups. Cannes fest winner Triangle of Sadness replaces it in my 10 BP picks while Sarah Polley (Women Talking) is in for Scorsese in Director. Adam Driver in the Venice opener White Noise replaces Leonardo DiCaprio in Actor. Hong Chau (The Whale) is now in Supporting Actress with Lily Gladstone out. And with Jesse Plemons dropping in Supporting Actor, that leaves room for Triangle‘s Woody Harrelson. Finally, She Said rises in Adapted Screenplay.

That’s not all, folks! There’s a new #1 in Best Picture! I’ve had Damien Chazelle’s Babylon ranked #1 from the beginning… until now. In order to find a BP winner that didn’t play at either Venice or Telluride or Toronto or Sundance or Cannes, you have to go all the way back to (ironically) Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. That was 16 years ago. Babylon could still sneak into Telluride. Yet I’m skeptical it will. This factoid alone is enough for me to vault Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans (premiering at Toronto) to the top spot.

I’m not finished yet with the #1 changes. The Son is now first in Adapted Screenplay since Killers has moved. And Ke Huy Quan rises to the pole position in Supporting Actor over Paul Dano from The Fabelmans. 

Another alteration – Empire of Light falls out of Original Screenplay with The Banshees of Inisherin in as my likely lone screenplay nominee.

That’s a lot of movement in one week and you can peruse it all below!

Best Picture 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 2) (+1)

2. Babylon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Bardo (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

6. The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Whale (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 15) (+5)

Other Possibilities:

11. She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. White Noise (PR: 12) (E)

13. Tar (PR: 13) (E)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 14) (E)

15. Elvis (PR: 16) (+1)

16. Decision to Leave (PR: 19) (+3)

17. Broker (PR: 18) (+1)

18. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 20) (+2)

19. Till (PR: 17) (-2)

20. Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

21. Amsterdam (PR: 23) (+2)

22. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 24) (+2)

23. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 25) (+2)

24. The Woman King (PR: 21) (-3)

25. Thirteen Lives (PR: 22) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Killers of the Flower Moon 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 5) (+2)

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

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

Other Possibilities: 

6. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 11) (+4)

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 8) (E)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 10) (+1)

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

11. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (+1)

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

13. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon

Chinoye Chukwu, Till

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 3) (E)

4. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 9) (+2)

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

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

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

11. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Helen Mirren, Golda (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 14) (E)

15. Emma Corrin, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Frances McDormand, Women Talking 

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: 4) (+1)

4. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 5) (+1)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 10) (+1)

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

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

12. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 12) (E)

13. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye (PR: 14) (E)

15. Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives (PR: 13) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 4) (+2)

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

4. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: 13) (+5)

9. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 9) (E)

10. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Patricia Clarkson, She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 12) (E)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon

Whoopi Goldberg, Till 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (+2)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 12) (+4)

9. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 13) (+4)

10. Michael Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Don Cheadle, White Noise (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (+2)

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

15. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon

Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon

Colin Farrell, Thirteen Lives 

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: 5) (+1)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Empire of Light (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Bardo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Tar (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (E)

10. Broker (PR: 10) (E)

11. The Menu (PR: 11) (E)

12. Amsterdam (PR: 12) (E)

13. Bros (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 15) (E)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Women Talking (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Whale (PR: 4) (+1)

4. White Noise (PR: 5) (+1)

5. She Said (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bones and All (PR: 13) (+7)

7. Till (PR: 7) (E)

8 .The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 11) (+3)

9. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Thirteen Lives (PR: 9) (-2)

12. The Good Nurse (PR: 14) (+2)

13. The Woman King (PR: 8) (-5)

14. Living (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Blonde (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Killers of the Flower Moon

Elvis 

2022 Oscar Predictions: July 24th Edition

The release schedule for 2022 is always shifting (though thankfully not as much as in 2020 and 2021). This week, there were reports that Netflix’s Rustin will be pushed to 2023. While this isn’t 100% confirmed, it’s enough that I’ve moved it out of contention and that’s significant. I had it pegged for a Best Picture nomination as well as Actor (Colman Domingo) and Supporting Actress (Audra McDonald) in my post from 7 days ago.

The beneficiary of Rustin falling out of contention? None other than Top Gun: Maverick. Let me be clear – I’m very skeptical that it receives a nod in the biggest race of all. Yet it’s hard to ignore the potency of its box office supremacy over the summer. Oscar voters will know that audiences will root for its inclusion. And that could be enough to push it past the finish line.

In Actor, Bardo‘s Daniel Gimenez Cacho replaces Domingo while Zoe Kazan (She Said) rises to the final five in Supporting Actress. There’s another change in Actress as I’m putting Cate Blanchett (Tar) in the mix over Regina King (Shirley). The latter is another Netflix effort where the release date seems uncertain. If they verify 2022 in the near future, she could (and probably would) get back in the mix.

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (E)

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

5. Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

6. Bardo (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Son (PR: 7) (E)

8. Empire of Light (PR: 8) (E)

9. The Whale (PR: 9) (E)

10. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 12) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

11. She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. White Noise (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Tar (PR: 13) (E)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 18) (+3)

16. Elvis (PR: 16) (E)

17. Till (PR: 21) (+4)

18. Broker (PR: 19) (+1)

19. Decision to Leave (PR: 22) (+3)

20. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 20) (E)

21. The Woman King (PR: Not Ranked)

22. Thirteen Lives (PR: 17) (-5)

23. Amsterdam (PR: 23) (E)

24. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: Not Ranked)

25. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Rustin

The Killer

Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (E)

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

5. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 6) (E)

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

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 8) (E)

9. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 9) (E)

10. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 10) (E)

11. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 11) (E)

12. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 14) (+2)

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

14. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Chinoye Chukwu, Till (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Hirokazu Kore-ada, Broker 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 3) (E)

4. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 4) (-2)

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

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (E)

9. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Helen Mirren, Golda (PR: 11) (E)

12. Frances McDormand, Women Talking (PR: 12) (E)

13. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 13) (E)

14. Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 15) (+1)

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

Dropped Out:

Annette Bening, Nyad 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 6) (E)

7. Song-Kang Ho, Broker (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 13) (+3)

11. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 11) (E)

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

13. Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye (PR: 15) (+1)

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

Dropped Out:

Colman Domingo, Rustin 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 2) (E)

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

4. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (E)

7. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (E)

9. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Patricia Clarkson, She Said (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Whoopi Goldberg, Till (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Audra McDonald, Rustin

Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth

Jodie Foster, Nyad 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 4) (+2)

3. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 9) (E)

10. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Michael Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 8) (-3)

12. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Colin Farrell, Thirteen Lives (PR: 11) (-3)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Glynn Turman, Rustin 

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. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

5. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Bardo (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tar (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (E)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Broker (PR: 10) (E)

11. The Menu (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Amsterdam (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Bros (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 12) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Rustin 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Son (PR: 2) (E)

3. Women Talking (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Whale (PR: 4) (E)

5. White Noise (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. She Said (PR: 6) (E)

7. Till (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Woman King (PR: 12) (+4)

9. Thirteen Lives (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 11) (+1)

11. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 9) (-2)

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

13. Bones and All (PR: 13) (E)

14. The Good Nurse (PR: 10) (-4)

15. Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Close

The Killer