2021 Oscar Predictions: October 27th Edition

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune hit box office expectations this past weekend and I’m more confident than ever that it makes the Best Picture ten. Belfast still maintains the #1 slot in Picture and I nearly put its maker Kenneth Branagh in the same spot in Director. Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog) is hanging on by a thread as I also believe Villeneuve could be rewarded for his technical bravura behind the camera.

Per usual, I’ve made a change in the #5 rank in Actor – swapping out Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!) for Joaquin Phoenix (C’Mon C’Mon). It was a good week for the upcoming Phoenix comedic drama as it reenters Original Screenplay over Spencer.

You can read all the latest activity below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Dune (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (-2)

6. Licorice Pizza (PR: 6) (E)

7. West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. House of Gucci (PR: 8) (E)

9. Spencer (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Mass (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Flee (PR: 14) (+1)

14. CODA (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 13) (-2)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 6) (E)

7. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Julia Ducournau, Titane (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out: Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6)

7. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10) (E)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (E)

4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (E)

5. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 9) (E)

10. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 4) (E)

5. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Rooney Mara, Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Martha Plimpton, Mass

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: 9) (E)

10. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 3) (E)

4. Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spencer (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Parallel Mothers (PR: 9) (E)

10. A Hero (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Humans (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. House of Gucci (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Dune (PR: 8) (+1)

8. West Side Story (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Passing (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Last Duel (PR: 10) (E)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. Encanto (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 3) (E)

4. Luca (PR: 2) (E)

5. Belle (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Summit of the Gods (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Where Is Anne Frank (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Vivo (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 2) (E)

3. Flee (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Hand of God (PR: 4) (+2)

5. Titane (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Drive My Car (PR: 5) (-1)

7. I’m Your Man (PR: 7) (E)

8. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Great Freedom (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Memoria (PR: 10) (E)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. Summer of Soul (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Attica (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The Lost Leonardo (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. President (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Becoming Cousteau (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Ascension (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The First Wave (PR: 6) (-3)

10. The Velvet Underground (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Ailey

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Belfast (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The Power of the Dog (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. The French Dispatch (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Last Duel (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cyrano

C’Mon C’Mon

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Cruella (PR: 3) (+1)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Dune (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (E)

8. Cyrano (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (+3)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+1)

5. West Side Story (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (+1)

8. King Richard (PR: 7) (-1)

9. House of Gucci (PR: 9) (E)

10. Spencer (PR: 10) (E)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. Spencer (PR: 3) (E)

4. Cruella (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Green Knight (PR: 8) (E)

9. The Last Duel (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Licorice Pizza (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cyrano

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Spencer (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (-1)

5. The French Dispatch (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Belfast (PR: 7) (E)

8. King Richard (PR: 10) (-2)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Don’t Look Up

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Colombia, Mi Encanto” from Encanto (PR: 3) (E)

4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 8) (+2)

7. “Believe” from The Rescue (PR: 7) (E)

8. “Every Letter” from Cyrano (PR: 5) (-3)

9. “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days (PR: 9) (E)

10. “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“Beyond the Shore” from CODA

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. West Side Story (PR: 3) (E)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (E)

5. Cyrano (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Belfast (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Spencer (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 5) (+1)

5. No Time to Die (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Last Duel (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 7) (-1)

9. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Don’t Look Up

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Eternals (PR: 2) (-4)

7. Free Guy (PR: 7) (E)

8. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 8) (E)

9. The Green Knight (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Suicide Squad (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Finch

This adds up to these pictures nabbing the following numbers in terms of nominations:

10 Nominations

Dune

9 Nominations

Belfast

8 Nominations

The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

Nightmare Alley

5 Nominations

House of Gucci, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Spencer, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

3 Nominations

Flee, The French Dispatch, Mass

2 Nominations

C’Mon C’Mon, Cruella, Cyrano, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The Humans, No Time to Die, Respect

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, Don’t Look Up, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, A Hero, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, The Rescue  Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Summer of Soul, Titane, The Worst Person in the World

October 29-31 Box Office Predictions

Halloween weekend brings five (yes five) pictures either debuting or expanding nationally. Some of them may not treat theirselves to a top 5 finish. The contenders are Edgar Wright’s 60s set psychological horror pic Last Night in Soho, Scott Cooper’s creature feature Antlers, Wes Anderson’s latest comedy The French Dispatch, Japanese animated sequel My Heroes Academia: World Heroes’ Mission, and Amanda Seyfried in the drama A Mouthful of Air. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the quintet at these links:

Last Night in Soho Box Office Prediction

Antlers Box Office Prediction

My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission Box Office Prediction

The French Dispatch Box Office Prediction

A Mouthful of Air Box Office Prediction

I’ll begin with the low hanging fruit. Mouthful is only opening in 800 theaters and has barely been advertised. My tiny $846,000 estimate leaves it outside of the top ten.

Of all the premieres, I suspect Academia could actually make the most and it might be the only one in the top 5. This is based on the assumption that Soho and Antlers will both struggle.

The French Dispatch is more of a question mark. It debuted in 52 venues this weekend and its $1.3 million take (good for ninth place) represents the highest per screen average in the COVID era. However, that could be misleading as it expands across the nation and non-Anderson fanatics may not turn out.

As for holdovers, Dune met expectations in its start (more on that below) and seemed to garner the audience stamp of approval with an A- Cinemascore. It should easily maintain the top spot and I’ll say a 50-55% dip is most feasible. Halloween Kills, No Time to Die, Academia, and maybe even Venom (or Soho or Antlers or Dispatch if they exceed my forecasts) could battle it out for the runner-up position.

With all the new product, my typical top 5 expands to a top 10 as we close out October. Here’s how I see it:

1. Dune

Predicted Gross: $18.5 million

2. No Time to Die

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million

3. Halloween Kills

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million

4. My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million

5. Venom: Let There Be Carnage 

Predicted Gross: $5.6 million

6. Last Night in Soho

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

7. The French Dispatch

Predicted Gross: $4.3 million

8. Ron’s Gone Wrong

Predicted Gross: $4.2 million

9. The Addams Family 2

Predicted Gross: $3.3 million

10. Antlers

Predicted Gross: $3.2 million

Box Office Results (October 22-24)

Despite its simultaneous availability on HBO Max, Denis Villeneuve’s long awaited sci-fi epic Dune performed in the range of anticipation with $41 million, just under my $42.8 million prediction. Considering its streaming dollars, that should certainly be enough for the expected part II.

Halloween Kills was slashed steeply in weekend #2 with $14.4 million. I was a tad higher at $15.4 million. The middle pic in the trilogy is up to a solid $73 million.

No Time to Die was third with $12.2 million, right on pace with my $12.1 million take. The 25th Bond adventure sits at $120 million.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage took fourth with $9.3 million (I said $9.5 million) for $182 million overall.

Finally, the animated Ron’s Gone Wrong didn’t connect with family audiences. Despite complimentary critical reaction, it opened in the five spot with $7.3 million (not matching my $8.4 million projection).

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

The French Dispatch Box Office Prediction

Wes Anderson’s latest comedy The French Dispatch is being delivered to 52 theaters on October 22nd before its wide release the following weekend. The anthology pic arrives a year after its COVID delay. It received a premiere at the Cannes Film Festival over the summer.

Like most of his unique tales, Dispatch features a massive cast (many of whom have appeared in multiple previous works from the director). That list includes Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Timothee Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Elisabeth Moss, Liev Schrieber, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Fisher Stevens, Henry Winkler, Bob Balaban, Rupert Friend, Griffin Dunne, and three actors from No Time to Die (Lea Seydoux, Jeffrey Wright, and Christoph Waltz).

There is no question that Anderson has an ardent fanbase. However, there’s some drawbacks. Reviews are not quite up to the level of other features like Moonrise Kingdom or The Grand Budapest Hotel. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 79% and it is not thought to be an awards contender. That’s unlike his previous live-action film Hotel, which was nominated for nine Oscars and won four. It ended up with $59 million domestically after a long and leggy run in multiplexes. This might be fortunate to nab a couple of tech nods from the Academy.

Dispatch‘s wide release on October 29th comes with caveats in terms of my prediction. I have yet to see a theater count and that could easily alter my projection once known. However, I’m leaning towards this being one of Anderson’s lesser earning titles. This is somewhat of a placeholder estimate, but I’ll say $3-5 million seems likeliest.

The French Dispatch opening weekend prediction: $4.3 million

For my Last Night in Soho prediction, click here:

Last Night in Soho Box Office Prediction

For my Antlers prediction, click here:

Antlers Box Office Prediction

For my My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission prediction, click here:

My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission Box Office Prediction

For my A Mouthful of Air prediction, click here:

A Mouthful of Air Box Office Prediction

October 22-24 Box Office Predictions

Arriving a year after its COVID delay is Denis Villeneuve’s version of the sci-fi epic Dune along with the animated Ron’s Gone Wrong. The latter will try to keep the October box office hot streak rolling along with the latter attempting to bring in family audiences. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Dune Box Office Prediction

Ron’s Gone Wrong Box Office Prediction

We have had three weekends in a row with newcomers premiering at over $50 million or darn close. Dune could fall right in that range. A potential drawback could be its simultaneous availability on HBO Max. However, I do believe enough viewers are aware that it should be seen on the biggest screen possible. I have it in the low 40s, but as Venom and Halloween Kills have shown us, the chance of over performing is certainly there for the taking.

As for Ron’s Gone Wrong, it has the disadvantage of not being based on known IP. Reviews are decent yet I have it placing fifth and under $10 million.

Halloween Kills exceeded most estimates (more on that below). Its 2018 predecessor fell 59% in its sophomore frame with a B+ Cinemascore average. The sequel has a B- and I envision it dropping in the high 60s range. No Time to Die could see around 50% decline in its third outing while Venom: Let There Be Carnage may see only a dip in the low 40s to mid 40s.

And with that, my top 5 take on the weekend ahead:

1. Dune

Predicted Gross: $42.8 million

2. Halloween Kills

Predicted Gross: $15.4 million

3. No Time to Die

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million

4. Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Predicted Gross: $9.5 million

5. Ron’s Gone Wrong

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

Box Office Results (October 15-17)

Haddonfield wasn’t the only place where Michael Myers made a killing over the weekend as Halloween Kills premiered at the highest end of projections. The $49.4 million start slashed my $41.2 million prediction. Its simultaneous release on Peacock didn’t appear to make much of a difference. That’s no huge surprise considering the streamer’s membership is minuscule compared to Netflix, HBO Max, and others. While the Kills gross is far under the $76 million achieved by Halloween in 2018, this is still a big win for Universal.

No Time to Die slipped to second with $23.7 million, a bit below my $25.8 million take. The 25th Bond adventure stands at $99 million. While its overseas earnings are pleasing, Daniel Craig’s swan song isn’t quite hitting the anticipated target stateside.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage was third with $16.5 million (I said $14.1 million) and it’s up to $168 million.

The Addams Family 2 had the best hold of all in fourth with $7 million, in range with my $6.6 million projection for $42 million total.

Finally, despite mostly solid reviews, Ridley Scott’s medieval tale The Last Duel with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jodie Comer, and Adam Driver received little good will from moviegoers. It bombed hard with only $4.7 million in fifth. That’s a far cry from my estimate of $10.4 million. Duel is further proof that adult themed product is having a difficult time getting the intended demographic to the multiplex.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

2021 Oscar Predictions: October 17th Edition

We actually had two weeks in a row of my Best Actor predictions staying the same after the five spot seemed to be constantly shifting. Not anymore as Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!) makes his first appearance in the predicted hopefuls at the expense of Joaquin Phoenix in C’Mon C’Mon. That films also drops out of Original Screenplay in favor of Spencer.

The biggest change is in International Feature Film as France somewhat surprisingly picked Julia Ducournau’s Titane as their selection. That drops Happening from the race and vaults Titane to the five. I’m also putting in Drive My Car over The Hand of God. 

A note – the 10 Best Picture nominees has stayed steady as of late. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that a Sundance selection from early this year (Mass, Flee, or CODA) will end up making the cut. I just can’t decide what to take out yet. We will know soon whether Nightmare Alley, West Side Story, Licorice Pizza, or House of Gucci (the unscreened titles) are vulnerable.

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (E)

4. King Richard (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Dune (PR: 5) (E)

6. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (-2)

7. West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. House of Gucci (PR: 8) (E)

9. Spencer (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Mass (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Don’t Look Up (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Flee (PR: 13) (-1)

15. CODA (PR: 14) (-1)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (E)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 6) (E)

7. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Julia Ducournau, Titane (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 10) (E)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (E)

4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (E)

5. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (E)

8. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 2) (E)

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (E)

4. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Martha Plimpton, Mass (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 7) (E)

8. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 3) (E)

4. Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. Spencer (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (E)

8. A Hero (PR: 8) (E)

9. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Parallel Mothers (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Humans (PR: 4) (+1)

4. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. West Side Story (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Dune (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Passing (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Last Duel (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Tender Bar

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. Encanto (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Luca (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Belle (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Where Is Anne Frank (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Vivo (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 9) (-1)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 2) (E)

3. Flee (PR: 3) (E)

4. Titane (PR: Not Ranked)

5. Drive My Car (PR: 5) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Hand of God (PR: 5) (-1)

7. I’m Your Man (PR: 9) (+2)

8. 7 Prisoners (PR: 8) (E)

9. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Memoria (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Happening

The Good Boss

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. Attica (PR: 4) (+1)

4. President (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Summer of Soul (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The First Wave (PR: 10) (+4)

7. The Lost Leonardo (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Becoming Cousteau (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Velvet Underground (PR: 9) (E)

10. Ailey (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Julia

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Dune (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Power of the Dog (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Belfast (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. Cyrano (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 8) (-1)

10. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The French Dispatch

Best Costume Design 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Spencer (PR: 2) (+1)

2. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Cruella (PR: 1) (-2)

4. West Side Story (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The French Dispatch (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Dune (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Cyrano (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Last Duel (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Tragedy of Macbeth 

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (+1)

4. West Side Story (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (E)

7. King Richard (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (E)

9. House of Gucci (PR: 9) (E)

10. Spencer (PR: 10) (E)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Spencer (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Cruella (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (+1)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: 5) (-2)

8. The Green Knight (PR: 8) (E)

9. Cyrano (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Last Duel (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

West Side Story 

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spencer (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (E)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Belfast (PR: 7) (E)

8. Don’t Look Up (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. King Richard (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Colombia, Mi Encanto” from Encanto (PR: 3) (E)

4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. “Every Letter” from Cyrano (PR: 9) (+4)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 5) (-1)

7. “Believe” from The Rescue (PR: 7) (E)

8. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 6) (-2)

9. “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days (PR: Not Ranked)

10. “Beyond the Shore” from CODA (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“Don’t Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

“Anonymous Ones” from Dear Evan Hansen

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. West Side Story (PR: 3) (E)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (E)

5. Spencer (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Cyrano (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Power of the Dog (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Belfast (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Licorice Pizza (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. No Time to Die (PR: 3) (E)

4. Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: Not Ranked)

8. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 8) (E)

9. The Last Duel (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

King Richard

Cyrano

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Eternals (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 4) (E)

5. Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 6) (E)

7. Free Guy (PR: 7) (E)

8. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The Suicide Squad (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Finch (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jungle Cruise

And that equates to the following number of nominations for these films:

9 Nominations

Belfast, Dune

8 Nominations

Nightmare Alley

7 Nominations

The Power of the Dog, Spencer

6 Nominations

House of Gucci, West Side Story

5 Nominations

King Richard, Licorice Pizza

4 Nominations

The Tragedy of Macbeth

3 Nominations

Flee, Mass

2 Nominations

Cruella, Cyrano, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Humans, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, Don’t Look Up, Driver My Car, Eternals, Godzilla vs. Kong, A Hero, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, President, The Rescue, Respect, Summer of Soul, Tick, Tick… Boom!, Titane, The Worst Person in the World

Dune Box Office Prediction

Coming nearly a year after its anticipated arrival, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is out in theaters and HBO Max on October 22. The sci-fi epic, with a budget of at least $165 million, comes with high hopes from Warner Bros (so much so that Part One follows its title). Based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel (beloved by genre fans), this is its second adaptation behind the 1984 version helmed by David Lynch. Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 maker Villeneuve employs a sprawling cast including Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem.

Critical reaction is mostly strong as it stands at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Dune is expected to contend for numerous Oscars including Picture and Director and multiple tech races. It could easily lead next year’s ceremony in terms of nominations. Reviews all seem to agree on one item: that it’s meant to be watched on the big screen. The studio has still stuck to its 2021 strategy of simultaneously premiering their product in multiplexes and HBO’s streaming service.

Sci-fi fans have been breathlessly awaiting Dune for years. This is nothing new to Villeneuve as the same could be said for 2017’s Blade Runner follow-up. However, it debuted to a disappointing $32.7 million and failed to reach $100 million domestically (despite similarly solid reviews).

Could the same fate await Dune? That’s definitely a possibility. Beyond its core audience (which is fairly sizable), this could struggle to find a younger crowd. We have seen this year that they are the driving force for pleasing returns in the COVID era market.

If No Time to Die could manage just $55 million and with the inevitability that some fans will opt for home viewing, I have a tough time envisioning Dune majorly surpassing expectations. That’s about $40 million and I do believe the decent buzz and event picture status should put it right in that range of mid 30s for the floor and high 40s (maybe even $50 million) for the ceiling.

Dune opening weekend prediction: $42.8 million

For my Ron’s Gone Wrong prediction, click here:

Ron’s Gone Wrong Box Office Prediction

October 15-17 Box Office Predictions

Jamie Lee Curtis is back battling Michael Myers in Halloween Kills while Ridley Scott’s medieval drama The Last Duel with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jodie Comer, and Adam Driver also debuts. These are the new offerings in the mid October frame as No Time to Die enters its sophomore frame following a less than expected start. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the fresh offerings here:

Halloween Kills Box Office Prediction

The Last Duel Box Office Prediction

It has been two straight weeks of me either grossly underestimating (Venom) or significantly overestimating (Die) the newbies. So let’s see what happens with Halloween, shall we? I’m going with a low to mid 40s take and that would be well under the $70M+ that its 2018 predecessor made (Kills is curiously available for streaming on Peacock). Of course, given my October track record, watch it make $60 million or more. I gotta get something on the money in October though… right??

As for The Last Duel, the less than anticipated haul for 007 was further evidence that pictures geared toward older viewers continue to struggle. With scant awards buzz, I’m projecting Duel barely gets to double digits and that should mean a fourth place showing.

Back to Bond. 2015’s Spectre dropped 52% in its second frame and I see no reason why Craig’s finale wouldn’t dip about the same. Venom may fall in the mid 50s in weekend 3 with The Addams Family 2 rounding out the top five with the smallest decline (mid to high 30s) of the bunch.

Here’s how I see the top 5 looking:

1. Halloween Kills

Predicted Gross: $41.2 million

2. No Time to Die

Predicted Gross: $25.8 million

3. Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Predicted Gross: $14.1 million

4. The Last Duel

Predicted Gross: $10.4 million

5. The Addams Family 2

Predicted Gross: $6.6 million

Box Office Results (October 8-10)

Well, we all get carried away sometimes. The fantastic premiere for Venom and the hoopla surrounding Craig’s swan song got me thinking No Time to Die was capable of achieving a COVID era best start of $94.1 million. I was dead wrong. Die managed just the fourth best output of its star’s five features. The $55.2 million debut didn’t approach the vicinity of Skyfall ($88 million), Spectre ($70 million), or Quantum of Solace ($67 million). Only Casino Royale‘s $40 million fell under it. Theories will abound. Was six years (COVID delays were abundant) too long a break? Perhaps. As mentioned, it likely didn’t help that older moviegoers are still seemingly reluctant for a multiplex engagement. Die‘s saving grace is overseas grosses in line with expectations. Yet it’s hard to spin the fact that the 25th 007 adventure came in at the absolute lowest range numbers that prognosticators foresaw.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage was second with $31.7 million, not quite hitting my $33.7 million estimate. The $141 million ten-day tally is very impressive as it looks to reach $200 million by the end of its domestic run.

The Addams Family 2 took in $10.1 million in its second weekend, ahead of my $9.2 million projection for $31 million overall.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was fourth with $4.3 million (I said $3.4 million) and it’s up to $212 million.

Finally, The Many Saints of Newark crumbled after its weak beginning. The $1.4 million gross (I went with $1.8 million) brought its puny earnings to $7 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

2021 Oscar Predictions: October 10th Edition

It is a week of fairly minor movement in the major categories for my Oscar predictions. Even the five spot in Best Actor (which seems to change each week) remained intact.

There is a switch in Actress with Jennifer Hudson (Respect) back in over Frances McDormand (The Tragedy of Macbeth).

The biggest happenings occurred in International Feature Film as nations are continuing to announce their submissions or shortlists in that race. We learned that Spain has gone with The Good Boss instead of Parallel Mothers (a surprise) and that France did not shortlist Petite Maman (which I had in the 5 slot). It’s out in favor of Happening. 

You can read all the activity below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (E)

5. Dune (PR: 5) (E)

6. King Richard (PR: 6) (E)

7. West Side Story (PR: 8) (+1)

8. House of Gucci (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 9) (E)

10. Spencer (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. Don’t Look Up (PR: 11) (E)

12. Mass (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Flee (PR: 12) (-1)

14. CODA (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

A Hero

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. Paul Thoms Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: 6) (-4)

Dropped Out:

Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2) (E)

3. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Jodie Comer, The Last Duel (PR: 8) (E)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (E)

4. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (E)

5. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Adam Driver, House of Gucci (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 2) (E)

3. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (E)

4. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (E)

5. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 7) (E)

8. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Martha Plimpton, Mass (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Kathryn Hunter, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kodi Smith-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Jon Bernthal, King Richard

Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy of Macbeth 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 3) (E)

4. Mass (PR: 4) (E)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spencer (PR: 6) (E)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (E)

8. A Hero (PR: 8) (E)

9. Parallel Mothers (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Hand of God

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (E)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Humans (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Lost Daughter (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Dune (PR: 8) (+1)

8. West Side Story (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Passing (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The Tender Bar (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

CODA

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. Encanto (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Luca (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 4 (E)

5. Belle (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Vivo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Where Is Anne Frank (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Charlotte

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. A Hero (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Flee (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Happening (PR: 7) (+3)

5. The Hand of God (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Drive My Car (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 9) (+2)

8. 7 Prisoners (PR: 10) (+2)

9. I’m Your Man (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Good Boss (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Petite Maman

Parallel Mothers

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Rescue (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. Summer of Soul (PR: 3) (E)

4. Attica (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Lost Leonardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. President (PR: 6) (E)

7. Becoming Cousteau (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Julia (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The Velvet Underground (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The First Wave (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (E)

4. Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Power of the Dog (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. Licorice Pizza (PR: 8) (E)

9. Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The French Dispatch (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

No Time to Die

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cruella (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Spencer (PR: 1) (-1)

3. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (E)

4. Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. West Side Story (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. The French Dispatch (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Cyrano (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 3) (+1)

3. West Side Story (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (-2)

5. King Richard (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (-3)

8. Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (E)

9. House of Gucci (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Spencer (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spencer (PR: 4) (+2)

3. Dune (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Cruella (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. The Green Knight (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Cyrano (PR: Not Ranked)

10. West Side Story (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Licorice Pizza

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spencer (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (E)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Belfast (PR: 9) (+2)

8. King Richard (PR: 8) (E)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Luca

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 1) (E)

2. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Colombia, Mi Encanto” from Encanto (PR: 3) (E)

4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 5) (-1)

7. “Believe” from The Rescue (PR: 8) (+1)

8. “Don’t Look Up” from Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

9. “Every Letter” from Cyrano (PR: 7) (-2)

10. “Anonymous Ones” from Dear Evan Hansen (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

“At the Automat” from The Automat

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 1) (-1)

3. West Side Story (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Cyrano (PR: 9) (+4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spencer (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Belfast (PR: 5) (-3)

9. The Power of the Dog (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Last Duel (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Licorice Pizza

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. No Time to Die (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

8. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 8) (E)

9. King Richard (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Cyrano (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Matrix Resurrections

Eternals

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 2) (E)

3. Eternals (PR: 3) (E)

4. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 4) (E)

5. Don’t Look Up (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Free Guy (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Jungle Cruise (PR: 10) (E)

And that equates to the following breakdown in terms of nominations for the pictures:

10 Nominations

Dune

9 Nominations

Belfast

7 Nominations

Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

House of Gucci, King Richard, West Side Story

5 Nominations

Spencer

4 Nominations

Licorice Pizza, The Tragedy of Macbeth

3 Nominations

Flee, Mass

2 Nominations

C’Mon C’Mon, Cruella, Cyrano, Encanto, The French Dispatch, The Humans, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, Respect

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, Eternals, Don’t Look Up, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, Happening, A Hero, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, The Rescue, The Suicide Squad, Summer of Soul, The Worst Person in the World 

No Time to Die Review

The five film run of Daniel Craig as perhaps the world’s most famous cinematic character comes to a close in No Time to Die, the 25th feature in the nearly 60-year-old 007 franchise. It began 15 years ago with Casino Royale, which I list at #2 in the canon behind only From Russia with Love (Sean Connery’s second entry).

For those who think the dedicated team behind the series have no time for surprises, be prepared. Like the midsection poker sequence in Royale that stands as one of the finest in Bond history, there’s times where they go all in. There’s also moments that harken back to the Roger Moore days and, in this case, I mean it as a compliment. By the time we reached Craig’s third and deservedly praised Skyfall in 2012, the pics had achieved a level of seriousness that risked becoming too dour.

Despite its considerable flaws, 2015’s follow-up Spectre thankfully remembered that the action and plots in this cinematic universe can be silly. 007’s 25th adventure isn’t afraid to display that. The threat to the world here involves passing a weaponized virus only through that individual’s DNA and those related to them. It’s a little ridiculous and I once again mean that in a good way.

This is not quite the triumph that Casino Royale was. In fact, I’d also rank this a smidge behind Skyfall. The villain is not particularly memorable. Like all Craig films that followed the first, no romantic entanglement will rival the one he had with Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd. Yet Die achieves the unlikely feat of bringing those fun Moore elements dashed with Timothy Dalton’s more weighty tone. The result is that Craig’s time as the super spy (the longest in terms of actual time but not volume of titles) is easily the most satisfying since Sean Connery’s.

From the jump, we realize Die is going to be a little different. The pre-title sequence begins with a franchise first: an eerie and gorgeously rendered flashback that sheds light on the childhood of Madeleine Swann. As you may recall, she’s Bond’s love interest from Spectre played by Lea Seydoux. Her connections to that criminal enterprise led by Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) is expanded upon. In the present day, James and Madeleine are making a romantic go of it. A visit to Vesper’s tomb disrupts both their safety and Bond’s trust in his current relationship.

This all occurs in the lengthy prologue before we hear Billie Eilish’s title cut. Let’s dispense with that. Ms. Eilish has some quality tunes, but her contribution is forgettable and not the kind of Bond tune you’ll be humming leaving the theater or rushing to download for the ride back.

In the serialized fashion we’ve come to expect from Craig’s tenure (something unique only to his), we jump five years to Bond in retirement. And (gasp) he’s no longer 007. MI6 is still going strong but relations with their U.S. counterparts are strained. It’s not the new 007 (Lashana Lynch) or M (Ralph Fiennes) or even his beloved Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) or Q (Ben Whishaw) that convince Bond to emerge from his Jamaican R&R. Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), along with a new eager associate (Billy Magnussen), recruit him for a mission that involves dismantling SPECTRE. Bond hooks up (not literally as Bond’s libido seems to be catching up with his age) with another agent (Ana de Armas) to do so. This culminates in a wonderfully fabulous and bizarre action set piece in Cuba.

All this activity soon puts James in the same space with Madeline again and with Blofeld. And we soon meet Safin (Rami Malek), the head baddie with his own troubled history with the criminal organization. I won’t wax rhapsodic about Safin as I mentioned he’s a pretty weak villain. On the other hand, No Time to Die is not really focused on his story. This Bond story, more than any other besides Skyfall, is really about Bond. That gives us one more opportunity to soak in Craig’s terrific performance that’s spanned this quintet. One could argue the series goes too far in making it all about him. With Craig in control, you’ll hear few complaints from me (heck even Quantum of Solace had some cool stuff in it).

No Time to Die has Cary Fukunaga taking over directorial duties from Sam Mendes, who helmed the previous two. He presides over some amazing looking chases and battles that rank right at the top of what we’ve seen previously. On a slightly contradictory note, there’s one during the climax that was a little too video game oriented for my taste. The screenwriters (with an assist from Phoebe Waller-Bridge) also remember to bring the humor. As much as Safin isn’t much of a memorable character, he does get a moment with a toddler that left me chuckling for a good minute or two after their interaction. The makers also don’t forget that these pictures can be quite weird in their production design. Safin’s Poison Garden is a glorious example.

Additionally, the team isn’t afraid to bring a rare level of emotion to the proceedings. However, it’s not that out of place for Craig’s service. We witnessed a love story in Casino Royale that went beyond his typical dalliances. His connection to Judi Dench’s M (particularly in Skyfall) went far deeper than the same character giving James his orders in the past. In No Time to Die, Mr. Craig’s mission involves the striking visuals that we’re used to. What’s different is that over the five adventures connected to each other, I felt like these missions developed a familial bond that shook the foundation of a franchise in a stirring fashion.

***1/2 (out of four)

The Last Duel Box Office Prediction

Had The Last Duel come out, say 15 years ago, it probably would be looking at a debut north of $20 million. That’s when director Ridley Scott was not far removed from his Oscar winning Gladiator and at a time when Matt Damon and Ben Affleck had more drawing power. In 2021, I’m not so sure. The 14th century set historical drama features the two Good Will Hunting stars as well as Jodie Comer and Adam Driver.

Originally slated for Christmas 2020 before its COVID delay, this is now the first of two Ridley Scott efforts hitting multiplexes this fall (the next being November’s House of Gucci). Early reviews indicate this will not be much of an awards player. With a 67% Rotten Tomatoes score, the bulk of the praise has come to Killing Eve actress Comer (who was recently widely seen in Free Guy). She could score a Best Actress nod, but don’t look for Duel to compete anywhere else.

The pic is hoping for an adult audience and many of those titles have struggled during this era. Additionally, competition is steep. Halloween Kills opens on the same day with No Time to Die in its sophomore frame. If it was garnering legit Oscar buzz, I might be more optimistic. However, I suspect Duel might arrive at a standstill next weekend. That could mean a premiere that just gets past double digits.

The Last Duel opening weekend prediction: $10.4 million

For my Halloween Kills prediction, click here:

Halloween Kills Box Office Prediction