The Venice Film Festival is where filmmaker Darren Aronofsky debuted 2008’s The Wrestler, which was a career resurgent role for Mickey Rourke that resulted in a Best Actor nomination (he was probably runner-up after Sean Penn as Milk). In 2010, his follow-up Black Swan‘s premiere in Lido began Natalie Portman’s eventual trip to the Academy’s stage in Best Actress.
Prognosticators have been expecting the same from Aronofsky with The Whale as it seeks to bring Brendan Fraser into the Oscar fold. Based on Samuel D. Hunter’s 2012 play, the pic takes place in one apartment with Fraser as 600 pound teacher attempting to reconnect with his daughter (Sadie Sink of Stranger Things). Costars include Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, and Samantha Morton.
Reviews are just starting to surface and they are of the mixed variety. Some are claiming it’s an effective tearjerker while others say it misses the mark. However, Fraser’s work is being lauded to the extent that his first Best Actor nomination seems assured. Any other nods are iffy (with the likely exception of Makeup and Hairstyling due to the prosthetics work involved). In Supporting Actress, Chau is being singled out more than Sink and she appears to have a fair shot. As for Picture and Adapted Screenplay, let’s see how the coming days (it will hit Toronto as well) play out with the buzz. With the critical reaction varying widely, Fraser can at least plan his trip to the red carpet. Other races are up in the air. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
How important is the Venice Film Festival when it comes to premiering Oscar hopefuls? In the past decade, nearly half of the Best Picture winners got their rollout in Italy. That would be Birdman, Spotlight, The Shape of Water, and Nomadland. It’s tough to find a recent Venice fest where there’s not at least 2 eventual nominees for the Academy’s biggest race.
This year’s competition kicks off tomorrow and you can anticipate plenty of individualized Oscar prediction posts coming your way. Telluride follows this weekend (with the lineup announcement on Thursday) and Toronto starts next Thursday (I’ll be there!).
Let’s take a look at ten Venice entries looking to create their Oscar buzz over the next few days…
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Laura Poitras, who won an Academy Award for her 2014 Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, turns her eye to activist Nan Goldin and her fight against the opioid epidemic. This could certainly be a player in the Doc competition.
The Banshees of Inisherin
The last time filmmaker Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell, and Brendan Gleeson collaborated, the result was the acclaimed 2008 black comedy In Bruges. They’re playing in the same genre here with McDonagh’s follow-up to 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which earned acting Oscars for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.
3 out of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s last four films were nominated for Best Picture. Birdman took gold with Babel and The Revenant contending. Expectations are that his latest drama (available on Netflix in December) could be the streamer’s most serious contender and it could immediately become a frontrunner for International Feature Film.
Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana de Armas (another Netflix offering) comes with an NC-17 rating and lots of prognosticators wondering if it’s too risqué to get awards attention. We’ll know soon.
Bones & All
Luca Guadagnino had a pic in the BP derby five years ago with Call Me by Your Name and then followed with the confounding Suspiria remake. This horror romance with cannibalistic themes stars Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell. I have’t really had this as much of a threat for the Oscar race so let’s see if that narrative shifts.
Don’t Worry Darling
Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to Booksmart is a tale of marital and suburban strife headlined by Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. The thriller has been generating headlines for some wrong reasons lately, but great reviews could turn that buzz around.
Florian Zeller took home a Screenplay Oscar for 2020’s The Father while Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor. The Father is next and Hugh Jackman is seeking his first statue. The supporting cast includes Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, and Hopkins. Any and all could be in the mix for acting honors.
Cate Blanchett could be lined up for a third Oscar win in Todd Field’s latest in which the acclaimed actress plays a composer. It’s the director’s first feature in over 15 years after both In the Bedroom and Little Children received Academy nods.
Darren Aronofsky directed Natalie Portman to the podium in 2010’s Black Swan. There’s chatter he could do the same and assist in mounting a significant career comeback for Brendan Fraser (something he did for Mickey Rourke with 2008’s The Wrestler). The Mummy star plays a 600 pound man reconnecting with his daughter (Sadie Sink).
Noah Baumbach’s last Netflix film was the BP contending Marriage Story from 2019. His Marriage star Adam Driver is back in this adaptation of a 1980s sci-fi dark comedy. It will open Venice tomorrow and it will be my first Oscar Predictions post. Stay tuned!
It’s been an entire week since The Slap… check that, the 94th Academy Awards where CODA parlayed its Sundance buzz from January 2021 all the way to a Best Picture victory.
That also means I’ve managed to wait a whole week without speculation for the next Academy Awards which will hopefully be a slap free zone. So what are some titles that could be vying for attention?
On May 27th and after numerous delays, Top Gun: Maverick will find Tom Cruise returning to his iconic role some 36 years after the original. There’s a decent chance it could be up for similar prizes that its predecessor landed like Sound, Film Editing, and Song (courtesy of Lady Gaga apparently). Visual Effects is a possibility as well.
My weekly Oscar prediction posts won’t begin until mid to late August. In the meantime, you’ll get individualized write-ups for pics that open or screen at festivals.
Yet for today – I feel the need. The need to identify 21 other 2022 titles that might end up on the Academy’s radar. Enjoy!
Despite acclaimed movies like The Lost City of Z and Ad Astra, James Gray has yet to connect with awards voters. This drama, rumored to be centered on his Queens upbringing, is the next hopeful and features a stellar cast including Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, and Jeremy Strong. Release Date: TBD
The 2009 original amassed nine nominations and won took home three. The first sequel (there’s three more on the way) arrives in December from James Cameron. Will it capture the critical and box office magic of part one? That’s impossible to know at this juncture, but one can safely assume it’ll be up for some tech categories like Sound and Visual Effects. Release Date: December 16th
Damien Chazelle is no stranger to the big dance. Whiplash was a BP nominee and J.K. Simmons won Supporting Actor. Chazelle took Director for his follow-up La La Land along with Emma Stone’s Actress victory and it almost famously took BP. First Man nabbed four nominations, but missed the top of the line races. Babylon is a period drama focused on Hollywood’s Golden Age and should be right up the Academy’s alley. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Tobey Maguire. Release Date: December 25th
Robbie also turns up in David O. Russell’s latest ensemble piece. Anytime he’s behind the camera, Oscar nods typically follow (think The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle). Slated for November, the dramedy also features Christian Bale, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, and… Chris Rock. Release Date: November 4th
Arriving in June but with a Cannes unveiling in May, Baz Luhrmann’s musical bio of The King stars Austin Butler in the title role and Tom Hanks as The Colonel. If this doesn’t contend for the major awards, I would still anticipate potential tech recognition (Production Design, Sound, etc…). Release Date: June 24th
Empire of Light
Sam Mendes was likely in the runner-up position in 2019 for Picture and Director (behind Parasite) with 1917. His follow-up is an English set romance starring Olivia Colman (who would be going for her fourth nomination in five years), Michael Ward, and Colin Firth. Release Date: TBD
Everything Everywhere All at Once
From two filmmakers known collectively as Daniels, Once is already out in limited release with spectacular reviews (97% on RT). The sci-fi action comedy might be too bizarre for the Academy, but I wouldn’t count it out as its admirers are vocal. Picture, Director, Actress (Michelle Yeoh), and Original Screenplay are all on the table. Release Date: out in limited release, opens wide April 8th
Steven Spielberg directs a semi-autobiographical tale and cowrites with his Lincoln and West Side Story scribe Tony Kushner. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, and Paul Dano. Needless to say, this is a major contender on paper. Release Date: November 23rd
Killers of the Flower Moon
Alongside The Fabelmans, this might be the most obvious nominee from a personnel standpoint. Martin Scorsese helms this western crime drama featuring Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, and his two frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Apple TV just became the first streamer to get a BP victory with CODA. This could be the second in a row. Release Date: November
In 2018, The Favourite scored a whopping ten nominations. Based on an acclaimed 1992 novel, Poor Things is Yorgos Lanthimos’s follow-up and it reunites him with Emma Stone along with Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, and Mark Ruffalo. The plot sounds bizarre but it could also be an Oscar bait role for Stone and others. Release Date: TBD
One of Netflix’s contenders is George C. Wolfe’s profile of gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (played by Colman Domingo). In 2020, Wolfe directed Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman to nods for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Look for Domingo to be a competitor and the supporting cast includes Chris Rock (maybe he will be back at the show), Glynn Turman, and Audra McDonald. Release Date: TBD
See How They Run
The 1950s set murder mystery could provide 27-year-old Saoirse Ronan with an opportunity to land her fifth nomination. Sam Rockwell, David Oyelowo, Adrien Brody, and Ruth Wilson are among the supporting players. Tom George directs. Release Date: TBD
Five years after the scandal rocked Hollywood, She Said from Maria Schrader recounts the New York Times sexual misconduct investigation into Harvey Weinstein. Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, and Patricia Clarkson lead the cast. Release Date: November 18th
Florian Zeller won Best Adapted Screenplay in 2020 for The Father along with Anthony Hopkins taking Best Actor. This follow-up (based on the director’s play) finds Hopkins reprising his Oscar-winning part in supporting fashion. Other cast members seeking awards attention include Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, and Vanessa Kirby. Release Date: TBD
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Todd Field behind the camera. Previous efforts In the Bedroom and Little Children received 8 nominations between them. A decade and a half following Children comes this Berlin set drama with Cate Blanchett, Noemie Merlant, and Mark Strong. Release Date: October 7th
Three Thousand Years of Longing
Scheduled for a Cannes bow in May, Longing is a fantasy romance from the legendary mind of George Miller (who last made Mad Max: Fury Road which won six tech Oscars). Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton star. Release Date: TBD
Darren Aronofsky directed Mickey Rourke to a comeback narrative nod for 2008’s The Wrestler. Two years later, his follow-up Black Swan earned Natalie Portman a statue. Brendan Fraser is hoping for the same treatment with The Whale as he plays a 600 pound man attempting to reconnect with his daughter. Costars include Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Samantha Morton. I’d expect Makeup and Hairstyling could also be in play with this. Release Date: TBD
Not a remake of the Michael Keaton supernatural thriller from 2005, this is Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to Marriage Story. Based on a 1985 novel, it’s the filmmaker’s first picture based on other source material. Marriage landed three acting nods (with Laura Dern winning Supporting Actress). The cast here includes frequent Baumbach collaborator Adam Driver, real-life partner Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Andre Benjamin, Alessandro Nivola, and Don Cheadle. This could be Netflix’s strongest contender. Release Date: TBD
The Woman King
Expect this West Afrian set historical epic from Gina Prince-Bythewood to be heavily touted by Sony with awards bait roles for leads Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu. The supporting cast includes John Boyega and Lashana Lynch. Release Date: September 16th
Based on a 2018 novel, Sarah Polley writes and directs this drama focused on eight Mennonite women and their story of abuse. The sterling cast includes Frances McDormand, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, Claire Foy, and Rooney Mara. Release Date: TBD
And that’s just a small preview of the features that could materialize for the 95th Academy Awards! As always, the speculation on this site will continue throughout the year and into the next. Stay tuned…
This brings us to 2010 where sequels ruled the top 3 slots and a couple of other significant franchises were born. We also all had our collective minds blown by Christopher Nolan’s brand of time shifting sci-fi action.
As I have with previous entries, I’ll recount the top ten hits, some other notable titles, and the flops of the season. Let’s get at it!
10. The Other Guys
Domestic Gross: $119 million
The buddy cop comedy marked the fourth collaboration in six years between director Adam McKay and his lead Will Ferrell after Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and Step Brothers. It also marks Ferrell’s first teaming with Mark Wahlberg and the pair would go on to make two successful and family friendlier Daddy’s Home pics.
9. The Last Airbender
Domestic Gross: $131 million
Based on the Nickelodeon animated series, the fantasy adventure marked a departure from M. Night Shyamalan’s twisty suspense thrillers. It did, however, maintain the filmmaker’s recent trend of critically savaged titles (arriving two years behind the lambasted The Happening). It couldn’t match its reported $150 million budget stateside.
8. Grown Ups
Domestic Gross: $162 million
Adam Sandler continued to prove himself review proof with this comedy where he recruited buddies Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider for another sizable hit. A sequel followed three years later.
7. The Karate Kid
Domestic Gross: $176 million
Produced by his parents Will and Jada, this retooling of the 1984 blockbuster starred Jaden Smith with Jackie Chan as his mentor. Shot for just about $40 million, it grossed over $300 million worldwide. Surprisingly, a planned sequel never materialized.
6. Shrek Forever After
Domestic Gross: $238 million
Typically a gross of $238 million is quite an achievement, but not necessarily in this case for the Dreamworks animated franchise. Forever grossed less than its three predecessors and generated mixed critical reaction.
5. Despicable Me
Domestic Gross: $251 million
At the start of summer 2010, not many would have have projected this original Illumination Entertainment animated tale would outdo Shrek. Yet that’s exactly what occurred and two sequels and the Minions spin-off franchise have followed.
Domestic Gross: $292 million
Coming hot off the heels of 2008’s The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan had another huge earner in his collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio. It might have been a challenge to follow the plot, but audiences gave it their best and a worldwide take over $800 million occurred. Multiple Oscar nominations, including Best Picture (though not Nolan’s direction), resulted.
3. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Domestic Gross: $300 million
2010 found audiences still enraptured by the Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner vampire romance. The third entry in the series set a midnight earnings ($30 million) opening record that stood for a year before Harry Potter swept it away.
2. Iron Man 2
Domestic Gross: $312 million
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was still in its infancy a decade ago as this was the third pic of the bunch. Part 2 posted fine numbers, but was considered a bit of a letdown compared to the first edition. It did mark the first appearance of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and a buff and whip cracking Mickey Rourke as the main villain.
1. Toy Story 3
Domestic Gross: $415 million
Pixar easily ruled the season with the third flick in the studio’s startup series. Arriving 15 years after the original, the return of Woody and Buzz was a critical darling that earned a Best Picture nomination and lots of love from all ages. Part 4 would follow in 2019.
And now for some other noteworthy pictures from the time frame:
Domestic Gross: $118 million
Arriving two years after her action hit Wanted, this spy thriller hovered just outside the top 10 and managed to just outgross its $110 million budget in North America.
Domestic Gross: $105 million
Sylvester Stallone led a band of action heroes in this early August title that tapped the nostalgia of moviegoers. A pair of sequels followed that would bring in more genre heavy hitters like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Wesley Snipes, Chuck Norris, and Harrison Ford.
Eat Pray Love
Domestic Gross: $80 million
This adaptation of a 2006 bestseller starring Julia Roberts brought in a sizable female audience and hit just over $200 million worldwide against a $60 million budget.
Dinner for Schmucks
Domestic Gross: $73 million
Steve Carell and Paul Rudd headlined this midsize hit that got mixed reviews. It has since turned into a bit of a cult favorite in subsequent years.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Domestic Gross: $31 million
There’s no question that I could have put this teen action romance in the misfires column as it made just a fraction of its $85 million price tag. However, the Edgar Wright title has since achieved significant status as an impressive original work with a major following.
The Kids Are All Right
Domestic Gross: $20 million
This domestic dramedy became a major awards player and was nominated for Best Picture with acting nods going to Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo.
Domestic Gross: $8 million
Just as with Pilgrim, this SNL spin-off with Will Forte was a financial bomb. Yet it has also turned into a cult classic and there’s a rumored sequel or TV spin-off in the making.
Domestic Gross: $6 million
This indie mystery is notable for introducing Jennifer Lawrence to critics, if not a wide audience. Bone would earn the star her first Oscar nomination in addition to a Best Picture nod. Of course, Ms. Lawrence would break out in the next two years with the X-Men and Hunger Games series and her Oscar victory happened in 2012 with Silver Linings Playbook.
And now for some movies that didn’t match their expectations:
Domestic Gross: $105 million
With a budget that may have been as high as $200 million, Robin Hood reunited Russell Crowe with Ridley Scott. A decade earlier, they made Gladiator which was a giant hit that won Best Picture. As for this version of the oft told saga, it’s largely forgotten.
Sex and the City 2
Domestic Gross: $95 million
The second installment cinematically of the beloved HBO series, part 2 made more than $50 million below its predecessor from 2008. Critics also savaged it.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Domestic Gross: $90 million
A hoped for franchise for Disney, the $150 million fantasy pic couldn’t hit the century mark in North America. Lead Jake Gyllenhaal has since expressed his regret for doing it.
Domestic Gross: $77 million
A year after his breakthrough in The Hangover, this action pic based on the 1980s TV series didn’t quite turn Bradley Cooper (alongside Liam Neeson) into an action star. Audience mostly found it, well, expendable.
Knight and Day
Domestic Gross: $76 million
Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz couldn’t provide enough star power for this action comedy to get near its budget north of $100 million.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Domestic Gross: $43 million
Perhaps nine years was too long a break between sequels. The original family tale was an unexpected hit at $93 million in 2001, but the long gestating sequel didn’t gross half that number.
Domestic Gross: $10 million
This DC Comics based title with Josh Brolin in the title role and Megan Fox was an instant flop, barely making eight figures against a $47 million budget. It also held a sad 12% Rotten Tomatoes rating.
And that wraps up my looks at the summers of decades past, folks! I’ll have 1991, 2001, and 2011 recaps up in a year’s time…
I was rewatching Avengers: Endgame over the weekend and it once again struck me how many famous actors are in that thing. I mean… seriously. It’s rather amazing. This got me thinking and yes, current world events may have given me an opportunity to do so:
Just how many performers that have been in Marvel Cinematic Universe entries have won Oscars or been nominated for Oscars? I knew the number would be high, but the answer still astonished me. In fact, you have to back to 1981 for a year where no actor that eventually appeared in the MCU didn’t receive a nomination.
If you count Marvel’s next two pictures (Black Widow, The Eternals) and then count the 23 movies prior that started in 2008 with Iron Man, it encapsulates 110 acting nominations and 20 wins! I am not yet putting Christian Bale in there though he’s rumored to be playing the villain in the fourth Thor flick. I’ll wait for confirmation on that. If you did count Bale, the numbers go to 114 nods and 21 Academy victories.
Due to this research, I’m writing 4 blog posts dedicated to each acting race and we begin with Best Actor:
The leading man category makes up 33 out of the 110 nominations with 6 wins. The victorious gentlemen are as follows:
Jeff Bridges, the main baddie in Iron Man, won in 2009 for Crazy Heart
William Hurt, who appeared in The Incredible Hulk and other MCU titles, took Best Actor in 1985 for Kiss of the Spider Woman
Anthony Hopkins, aka Thor’s Dad, was stage bound in 1991 for his iconic role as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs
Ben Kingsley, who sparred with Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, is a 1982 recipient in the title role of Gandhi
Michael Douglas, who appeared in both Ant-Man pics, was Best Actor in 1987 for Wall Street
Forest Whitaker, who costarred in Black Panther, took gold in 2006 for The Last King of Scotland
Aside from the winners, here are the other 27 Actor nods:
Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., for 1992’s Chaplin
Terrence Howard, who was in the first Iron Man, for 2005’s Hustle & Flow
Jeff Bridges scored two additional nominations for 1984’s Starman and 2010’s True Grit
Edward Norton, who was Hulk before Mark Ruffalo, for 1998’s American History X
William Hurt, like fellow winner Bridges, also landed two other nods for 1986’s Children of a Lesser God and 1987’s Broadcast News
Don Cheadle, who replaced Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2 and more, for 2004’s Hotel Rwanda
Mickey Rourke, the villain in Iron Man 2, for 2008’s The Wrestler
Anthony Hopkins, following his Lambs victory, was nominated twice more for 1993’s The Remains of the Day and 1995’s Nixon
Tommy Lee Jones, from Captain America: First Avenger, for 2007’s In the Valley of Elah
Jeremy Renner, aka Hawkeye, for his breakthrough role in 2009’s The Hurt Locker
Robert Redford, who was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, surprisingly only has one acting nod for 1973’s The Sting. He is, however, a twice nominated director and won in 1980 for Ordinary People
Bradley Cooper, Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy, has been nominated thrice with no wins: 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook, 2014’s American Sniper, and 2018’s A Star Is Born
Benedict Cumberbatch, aka Doctor Strange, for 2014’s The Imitation Game
Chiwetel Ejiofor, also in Doctor Strange, for 2013’s 12 Years a Slave
Sylvester Stallone, who popped up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, for his signature role in 1976’s Rocky
Michael Keaton, the villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming, for 2014’s Birdman
Matt Damon, who had a memorable cameo in Thor: Ragnarok, is twice nominated for 1997’s Good Will Hunting and 2015’s The Martian
Daniel Kaluuya, Black Panther costar, for 2017’s Get Out
Laurence Fishburne, supporting player in Ant-Man and the Wasp, as Ike Turner in 1993’s What’s Love Got to Do With It
Jude Law, from Captain Marvel, for 2003’s Cold Mountain
Whew. And there you have it. I’ll be back at it shortly with the Best Actress nominees who got their Marvel on!
The 2008 Oscars will likely go down as the final year when only five films would compete in the granddaddy category of them all, Best Picture. The following year, the Academy would change it to ten and a couple years after that, developed a formula where anywhere from 5-10 movies could be recognized.
Many believe the reason is 2008’s exclusion of the critically lauded superhero sequel The Dark Knight, which had become the year’s highest grossing feature and was considered a major milestone in the burgeoning genre. Yet with the exception of its acclaimed Joker, Knight was shut out in the major categories.
Best Picture instead went to a true “little movie that could” – Danny Boyle’s out of nowhere critical and audience pleaser Slumdog Millionaire.
It would win out over David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon, Gus Van Sant’s Milk, and Stephen Daldry’s The Reader. It is a bit surprising that Oscar voters left out Knight and I would put forth that a decent argument could also be made for Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, which also stands as a creative high point in the comic book canon of movies.
In the Best Director category, it was a rare example of the five nominated auteurs matching the Picture nominees and Boyle would take home the gold over Fincher, Daldry, Van Sant, and Howard. Once again, Christopher Nolan would be on the outside looking in for his Knight direction.
Sean Penn would win his second Best Actor statue (2003’s Mystic River being the first) for playing gay activist Harvey Milk in Milk.
Other nominees: Richard Jenkins in The Visitor, Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon, Brad Pitt in Benjamin Button, and Mickey Rourke in a career comeback role as The Wrestler.
Certainly Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man could have been considered along with Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road, Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, and the Slumdog Millionaire himself Dev Patel.
After a number of nominations with no victories, Kate Winslet would win Best Actress for The Reader, beating out Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married). Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Melissa Leo (Frozen River), and the omnipresent Meryl Streep (Doubt).
It was a bit surprising to see Cate Blanchett’s work in Benjamin Button go unrecognized.
The Dark Knight would win its Oscar with the late Heath Ledger taking Supporting Actor as the Joker. Other nominees: Josh Brolin (Milk), Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt), and Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road).
While it was refreshing to see the Academy nominate a comedic performance like Downey’s in Tropic Thunder, an equally good argument could have been made for Tom Cruise’s role in that picture. Same goes for James Franco’s exemplary work as a stoner in Pineapple Express.
Woody Allen has directed several actresses to Supporting Actress wins and he did it again with Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona.
She would be victorious over Amy Adams in Doubt, Viola Davis – also for Doubt, Taraji P. Henson in Benjamin Button, and Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler.
I might’ve found room for Frances McDormand in the Coen Brothers Burn After Reading.
And that’s all for now on the Oscar History front! I’ll be back with 2009 in the near future…
Nearly ten years after its predecessor performed solidly at the box office, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For makes it theatrical debut Friday. Original directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller are back behind the camera, based on Miller’s work from his acclaimed graphic novel. Several stars of the 2005 pic return – including Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, Powers Boothe and Jaime King. Newcomers to the sequel include Joseph Gordon Levitt, Josh Brolin, Lady Gaga, Dennis Haysbert, Christopher Lloyd, Ray Liotta, and Jeremy Piven.
It was the spring of 2005 when Sin City did great business of the gate domestically with $29 million. However, it would suffer large declines in subsequent weekends and its final gross was a respectable $74 million. The big question is whether too much time has passed for audiences to really be clamoring for a sequel?
I have my doubts. The original was mostly well-received and there will be some who are excited to see it (myself included). However, the near decade long wait makes it unlikely that Dame will approach the performance of the first. I would be surprised if it exceeds $25 million in its debut and believe a high teens to low 20s debut is more likely.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For opening weekend prediction: $20.8 million