Summer 2011: The Top 10 Hits and More

We have arrived at part III of my recaps of the summer seasons that came 30, 20, and 10 years ago. That means 2011 is upon us. If you missed my sizzling throwbacks to 1991 and 2001, you can find them here:

Summer 1991: The Top 10 Hits and More

Summer 2001: The Top 10 Hits and More

As is tradition, I will recount the top 10 hits as well as other notable features and some flops in a season where moviegoers bid a fond farewell to their iconic wizard:

Let’s get to it, yes?

10. Bridesmaids

Domestic Gross: $169 million

Kristin Wiig made one of the most successful jumps from SNL to movie stardom in this critically hailed pic that also earned Melissa McCarthy her silver screen breakout and even an Oscar nomination. It might not be the highest grossing comedy on here, but it’s definitely still the most talked about.

9. The Help

Domestic Gross: $169 million

Based on Kathryn Stockett’s bestseller, the 1960s set period piece from Tate Taylor brought the book’s readers and many others to the multiplex. Four Oscar nods followed including Best Picture and a Supporting Actress victory for Octavia Spencer.

8. Captain America: The First Avenger

Domestic Gross: $176 million

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first big branch out occurred during this summer where we would get our first glimpse at this OG avenger in the form of Chris Evans and another one who sits at the throne of spot #6. The sequels actually improved on what we see here, but the Captain gets rolling with this.

7. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Domestic Gross: $176 million

Rupert Wyatt’s reboot of the franchise is deservedly better regarded than Tim Burton’s re-imagining that transpired in 2001. Debuting the fantastic motion capture work of Andy Serkis, this would spawn two follow-ups that also pleased audiences and critics and did considerable monkey business.

6. Thor

Domestic Gross: $181 million

Chris Hemsworth’s Asgardian heartthrob hammered into the public consciousness alongside Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins and managed $5 million more box office bucks than the Captain. The third sequel is currently in production.

5. Cars 2

Domestic Gross: $191 million

Despite grossing nearly $200 million, this Pixar sequel is not one of the studio’s most fondly remembered vehicles with just a 40% Rotten Tomatoes rating. A third Cars did zoom into theaters six years later.

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Domestic Gross: $241 million

With a reported budget of $379 million, Johnny Depp’s fourth headlining of the franchise still sports the largest price tag of all time. The actor’s final participation in the series would come in 2017 with Disney still looking to reboot it without their signature player.

3. The Hangover Part II

Domestic Gross: $254 million

Crowds were still clamoring for the drunken exploits of Bradley Copper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis. Critics weren’t near as kind to part II, but audiences didn’t begin to tire of the hijinks until part III two years later.

2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Domestic Gross: $352 million

Michael Bay’s third saga of the Autobots and Decepticons marks Shia LaBeouf’s last appearance in the franchise and includes drop-ins from acting heavyweights John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. Mark Wahlberg would take over starring duties three years later.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Domestic Gross: $381 million

After nearly a decade of enchanting kids and their parents alike, the franchise stemming from J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels received a fittingly massive send-off with this billion dollar plus worldwide earner.

Now for other noteworthy titles from the summer:

X-Men: First Class

Domestic Gross: $146 million

Bryan Singer’s handed over directorial reigns to Matthew Vaughn for this reinvigorating reboot of the series that introduced the younger versions of Charles Xavier, Magneto, and Mystique in the bodies of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence. Numerous sequels of varying quality followed.

The Smurfs

Domestic Gross: $142 million

Sony Pictures wasn’t blue about the financial returns for this half live-action/half animated adaptation of the popular comics and animated series. A sequel came in 2013.

Super 8

Domestic Gross: $127 million

In between Star Trek pics and before rebooting Star Wars, J.J. Abrams helmed this sci-fi original which paid tribute to the Spielberg efforts of the 1980s. Critics gave it their stamp of approval and it’s notable for one heckuva train crash sequence.

Horrible Bosses

Domestic Gross: $117 million

This raunchy comedy about workers exacting revenge on their wretched superiors showed us a whole different side to Jennifer Aniston and spawned a 2014 sequel.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Domestic Gross: $84 million

Before their collaboration on La La Land earned lots of Oscar nods five years later, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling teamed up for this rom com with Steve Carell and Julianne Moore that exceeded expectations with audiences and many critics.

Midnight in Paris

Domestic Gross: $56 million

It was a different time 10 years ago for Woody Allen, who scored his last big hit with this fantastical comedy starring Owen Wilson. Woody would win the Oscar for Original Screenplay and it landed three additional nominations including Picture and Director.

The Tree of Life

Domestic Gross: $13 million

Terrence Malick’s epic philosophical drama won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for Best Picture, Director, and Cinematography at the Academy Awards. Not your typical summer fare, but it certainly had reviews on its side.

And now for some titles that didn’t meet expectations commercially, critically, or both:

Green Lantern

Domestic Gross: $116 million

Five years before he entered the comic book flick pantheon with Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds didn’t have as much luck with this critically drubbed flop. Even the star himself has taken to calling it a waste of time for viewers.

Cowboys & Aliens

Domestic Gross: $100 million

Coming off the huge Iron Man pics, Jon Favreau cast James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in this space western that didn’t impress crowds or critics and earned considerably less than its budget domestically.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Domestic Gross: $68 million

Audiences were mostly cool to Jim Carrey’s treatment of the popular late 30s children’s book though it did manage to top its $55 million budget. It probably would have made far more during the star’s box office heyday.

Spy Kids 4-D: All the Time in the World

Domestic Gross: $38 million

A decade after Robert Rodriguez kicked the kiddie franchise off to great results, part 4 marked a low mark for the series.

Larry Crowne

Domestic Gross: $35 million

The star power of Tom Hanks (who also directed) and Julia Roberts couldn’t elevate this rom com from a subpar showing (critics weren’t kind either). This is largely a forgotten entity on both actor’s filmographies.

Conan the Barbarian

Domestic Gross: $21 million

Before becoming known to the masses as Aquaman, Jason Momoa couldn’t fill the shoes of Arnold Schwarzenegger in this bomb that couldn’t swim close to its $90 million budget.

And that does it, folks! I’ll have recaps of the summers of 1992, 2002, and 2012 up for your enjoyment next season!

Oscar Watch: Luca

Two days ahead of its streaming debut on Disney Plus, Pixar’s latest comedic fantasy Luca has seen its review embargo lifted. It marks the feature-length directorial debut of Enrico Casarosa (who’s done story artist work on some of the studio’s pics) and has a cast voice cast that includes Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Maya Rudolph, and Jim Gaffigan.

Set in the Italian Riviera, the coming-of-age tale is taking the same distribution route as last year’s Soul by passing multiplexes for home viewing. In 2020, Soul was seen as the sturdy frontrunner for Best Animated Feature and that narrative never changed. That Pixar effort sported a 95% Rotten Tomatoes score and ended up winning gold at the Oscars. The path for Luca could be trickier.

Its Tomato meter currently sits at 89% and while that’s quite good, many critics are saying Luca is not in the upper echelon of Pixar fare. I would say the question is not whether Luca gets nominated (it will), but whether it wins. The score by Dan Romer also has a shot in that race. Disney already has another entry from this spring that could make the final five in Animated Feature (Raya and the Last Dragon), but Luca would have an edge. However, there’s also The Mitchells vs. the Machines from Netflix and it should serve as major competition for the top prize. This is in addition to films slated for the second half of 2021 (remember the names Flee and the Mouse Factory’s own Encanto).

Bottom line: You can never count out Pixar. Luca will likely hear its name included when the Animated Features contenders are named. Its victory presents a more challenging path than Soul experienced. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Spirit Untamed

In 2002, the horse drawn animated adventure Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron managed a Best Animated Feature nomination (ultimately losing to Spirited Away). Nearly two decades ago, the pic received mostly positive reviews with a 70% Rotten Tomatoes rating and decent box office. Since then, a Netflix series focused on the main character led to Spirit Untamed, which opens in theaters today. It features the voices of some familiar faces like Jake Gyllenhaal and Julianne Moore

So how are its odds to race to awards voters ballots? Not good. Untamed has mostly stalled with critics and its Tomato meter is a mere 44%. We already have solid contenders to make the final cut (Raya and the Last Dragon and The Mitchells vs. The Machines) and there’s plenty more on deck for the second half of the year including the soon to be released Luca from Pixar.

Bottom line: I can’t imagine Dreamworks Animation will mount a spirited campaign for this one. Gyllenhaal’s only equestrian related Oscar contender should remain Brokeback Mountain. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

The Producers Roll With Nomadland

In the previous decade, the winner of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) best motion picture ended up matching with the eventual Oscar recipient 70% of the time. So it’s no wonder that all eyes of prognosticators were on tonight’s ceremony. Would the PGA do anything to interrupt the narrative that Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland is a sturdy favorite to take the Academy’s gold?

The answer? No. Nomadland received yet another honor from the PGA to go with its Golden Globe for Best Drama, Critics Choice Award, and numerous regional group best pic designations. Had Minari or Promising Young Woman or The Trial of the Chicago 7 won, it might have created more suspense for the Oscar ceremony happening on April 25th. Yet the PGA victory is another arrow in the quiver for Zhao’s achievement.

If you’re another movie hoping to best Nomadland, the PGA and the Academy have differed three times in the last five years. In 2015, the Guild picked The Big Short over Spotlight. In 2016, it was La La Land instead of Moonlight. Last year – 1917 over Parasite. 

As for other races, Disney/Pixar’s Soul, as expected, took animated feature and it remains a major frontrunner at the big show. The documentary category went to My Octopus Teacher and that certainly puts it in serious contention in one month.

Bottom line: Nomadland is rolling and nothing may be able to stop it.

Oscar Watch: Raya and the Last Dragon

As we await the five nominated pictures in the 2020 Animated Feature race at the Oscars, a legitimate hopeful has already emerged for 2021. This Friday, Disney’s traditionally drawn Raya and the Last Dragon debuts in theaters and on Disney Plus. The action fantasy features a mostly Asian American voice cast including Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Daniel Dae Kim, Gemma Chan, Sandra Oh, and Benedict Wong. Directing duties are handled by Don Hall (whose Big Hero 6 landed an Academy nod in 2014) and Carlos Lopez Estrada.

Reviews are up and they’re very solid at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. Unsurprisingly, Disney has been quite the player since the inception of the animated category back in 2001. As is often the case for the studio, the Mouse Factory may well compete against itself with Pixar’s Luca slated for release this summer. That will probably occur this year with Soul and Onward as likely nominees.

Bottom line: the critical reaction for Raya (even this early in the calendar) establishes it as a sturdy contender for recognition already. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch – The Croods: A New Age

Seven and a half years after DreamWorks Animation had a prehistoric animated comedic hit on their hands with the original, The Croods: A New Age hits theaters this Wednesday. It will surely be a different box office story in these COVID times as part 2 will follow with its PVOD unveiling in time for Christmas. The toon is directed by Joel Crawford and returns the vocal stylings of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, and Cloris Leachman. New faces behind the mics include Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann, and Kelly Marie Tran.

The review embargo ended today and the results are mostly positive with a 75% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s in line with the 72% achieved by its predecessor. In 2013, part 1 managed a Best Animated Feature nod. It was defeated by a massive Pixar front runner by the name of Frozen. 

2020 could see history repeat itself with the caveman family. One could argue that it’s easier to slide into the final five this year and A New Age looks to do so. Yet there is once again a heavy favorite to win the prize and that is Soul from (you guessed it) Pixar. Other acclaimed titles such as Wolfwalkers and Over the Moon appear to be likely nominees and Pixar has another hopeful with Onward (though after the snub of Frozen II from last year, it’s not a guarantee that one makes it in).

Croods could easily fill the fourth or fifth slot come nomination time, but I wouldn’t chisel its inclusion in pen just yet. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Soul

Disney/Pixar’s second 2020 release Soul has long been seen as their most viable Oscar contender over this spring’s Onward. Today’s buzz after it held the first screening at the London Film Festival confirms that. The jazz infused tale from Pete Docter and Kemp Powers is being called two familiar adjectives in the studio’s lexicon – heartfelt and crowd pleasing. Soul, after experiencing delays due to the COVID pandemic, is slated for a Disney+ debut on Christmas Day.

Featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, and Angela Bassett, several reviews are already claiming it’s in the upper echelon of Pixar pics. Docter is no stranger to Academy love. All three of his directorial efforts – Monsters Inc., Up, Inside Out – were nominated for Best Animated Feature. The latter two emerged victorious and Up is one of three animated flicks to achieve a Best Picture nomination.

The question is not whether Soul will make the final cut in Animated Feature. It absolutely will and it’s absolutely the strong front runner to win. A better debate is whether this is the fourth animated effort to contend for the big prize. I don’t believe that’s automatic. Inside Out also garnered sterling critical reaction in 2015 and fell short of that achievement. However, Soul has solidified its position as a legit hopeful.

Additionally, expect Best Sound and the Original Score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to be in the mix. Bottom line: Soul helped it cause to play beyond Animated Feature. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Over the Moon

Glen Keane is a bit of a Disney legend having served as a character animator for classic titles including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. He’s also no stranger to Academy attention. Three years ago, he won an Oscar alongside collaborator Kobe Bryant for the short film Dear Basketball. On October 23, Netflix debuts his feature length directorial debut Over the Moon. The computer drawn musical features the voices of Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeong, John Cho, and Sandra Oh.

Early reviews are pretty encouraging. That said, Keane’s most notable competition comes from his former employer. Disney/Pixar’s Soul (which just announced a Disney+ streaming bow on Christmas Day) is rumored to be special and it’s been the strong front runner for Animated Feature for some time. That hasn’t changed and the real question is what’s the current runner-up.

Over the Moon could be it, but I’m beginning to believe Wolfwalkers might be in second position based on its fantastic critical reaction. Bottom line: expect Moon to be in the final five for animated fare. A win is far less likely. Also look for its Original Song titled “Rocket to the Moon” to get some attention in that category. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

2020 Oscar Predictions: October 1st Edition

As October begins, my weekly Oscar predictions get a major expansion as I am now including all categories covering feature length films! Additionally, I’m dwindling the listed prospects in all the top races. For Best Picture, it goes from 25 to 15. The directing, acting, and screenplay contests drop from 15 to 10. This is why you’ll see so many movies dropping out of contention.

Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch is rumored to be moving from the 2020 window. While this has yet to be confirmed, I have taken it out of the running at this time. Obviously once its release date is announced, I’ll adjust accordingly.

For the tech races and Animated Feature, International Film, and Documentary Feature – I’ve definitely learned that these estimates will be fluid over the next months. This is just a first glimpse at where my head’s at.

As for developments in the significant categories:

  • Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari makes it debut in my nine predicted Picture nominees and that takes out Pixar’s Soul (which is listed #1 in Animated Feature). The directing players remain the same.
  • I have switched Kingsley Ben-Adir’s performance in One Night in Miami from Supporting Actor to lead. He makes the five and that drops Tom Hanks in News of the World. The Best Actress estimates remain.
  • The Supporting Actress nominees also stay intact. However, Ben-Adir’s shift in Supporting Actor means I am now including three actors from The Trial of the Chicago 7: Mark Rylance, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Sacha Baron Cohen. I’m not at all confident this happens, but it’s where I am at the moment. I now have Leslie Odom, Jr. as the representative from One Night in Miami in the race. Lakeith Stanfield moves away from the top five.
  • There are no changes in the screenplay predictions.

As a bonus, I am including how many nominees from my initial full predictions in 2019 ended up getting nominated in each race to give you an idea of historical accuracy. I will note that I didn’t expand my estimates last year until October 17th, so I did have a bit more to go on.

And with all that, let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 4)

5. One Night in Miami (PR: 5)

6. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 8)

7. The Father (PR: 6)

8. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

9. Minari (PR: 12)

Other Possibilities:

10. Soul (PR: 9)

11. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 11)

12. Dune (PR: 10)

13. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 13)

14. Ammonite (PR: 16)

15. The White Tiger (PR: 14)


Dropped Out:

The French Dispatch


The United States vs. Billie Holiday


The Midnight Sky


Next Goal Wins

Red, White and Water

C’Mon C’Mon

French Exit 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 1)

2. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Paul Greengrass, News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 5)

5. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 6)

7. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 8)

8. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: 11)

9. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

10. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah

Ron Howard, Hillbilly Elegy 

Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch

Ramin Bahrani, The White Tiger

Tom McCarthy, Stillwater


Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

2. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 1)

3. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 3)

4. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 4)

5. Michele Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

7. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 7)

8. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 8)

9. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 11)

10. Meryl Streep, The Prom (PR: 9)


Dropped Out:

Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead

Jennifer Lawrence, Red, White and Water

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Rachel Brosnahan, I’m Your Woman

Marion Cotillard, Annette

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 1)

2. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR 2)

3. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 3)

4. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: Not Ranked)

5. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tom Hanks, News of the World (PR: 5)

7. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 8)

8. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 12)

9. Matt Damon, Stillwater (PR: 6)

10. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 7)


Dropped Out:

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Courier

Michael Fassbender, Next Goal Wins

Adam Driver, Annette

Trevante Rhodes, The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Ben Affleck, The Way Back

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 1)

2. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 3)

4. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 5)

5. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 6)

7. Audra McDonald, Respect (PR: 7)

8. Lily Collins, Mank (PR: 14)

9. Natasha Lyonne, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 9)

10. Abigail Breslin, Stillwater (PR: 8)


Dropped Out:

Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans

Mary J. Blige, Respect

Toni Collette, I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Gaby Hoffman, C’Mon C’Mon

Kristin Scott Thomas, Rebecca

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

3. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 7)

4. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 6)

5. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 8)

7. Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

8. Tom Pelphrey, Mank (PR: 9)

9. Jonathan Majors, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 12)

10. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 11)


Dropped Out:

Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (moved to Lead Actor)

Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Richard Jenkins, The Humans

Tom Burke, Mank

Charles Dance, Mank 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 2)

3. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

4. Soul (PR: 3)

5. Minari (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. On the Rocks (PR: 11)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 6)

8. Ammonite (PR: 9)

9. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 10)

10. Stillwater (PR: 8)


Dropped Out:

The French Dispatch


Pieces of a Woman

Red, White and Water

Never Rarely Sometimes Always 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

3. The Father (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 5)

5. News of the World (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

7. Dune (PR: 8)

8. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 7)

9. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 9)

10. French Exit (PR: 10)


Dropped Out:

The White Tiger

Next Goal Wins

The Humans

First Cow

The Midnight Sky

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul 

2. Over the Moon

3. Wolfwalkers

4. Onward

5. The Croods: A New Age

Other Possibilities:

6. The Willoughbys

7. Connected

8. Rumble

9. Trolls World Tour

10. Ride Your Wave


Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Crip Camp

2. Boys State

3. All In: The Fight for Democracy

4. Dick Johnson is Dead

5. Spaceship Earth

Other Possibilities:

6. John Lewis: Good Trouble


8. The Truffle Hunters

9. Miss Americana

10. On the Record


Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Quo Vadis, Aida?

2. The Disciple

3. Night of the Kings

4. Ema

5. Atlantis

Other Possibilities:

6. Another Round

7. The Life Ahead

8. Young Ahmed

9. A Sun

10. Memory House 


Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank

2. Nomadland

3. News of the World

4. Dune

5. The Trial of the Chicago 7

Other Possibilities:

6. Da 5 Bloods

7. One Night in Miami

8. Judas and the Black Messiah

9. Ammonite

10. Tenet


Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank 

2. The Trial of the Chicago 7

3. Emma

4. Dune

5. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Other Possibilities:

6. Coming 2 America

7. Ammonite

8. News of the World

9. Mulan

10. The Personal History of David Copperfield


Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7

2. Mank

3. News of the World

4. Nomadland

5. Dune

Other Possibilities:

6. Da 5 Bloods

7. One Night in Miami

8. Tenet

9. Judas and the Black Messiah

10. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank

2. Dune

3. Birds of Prey

4. Coming 2 America

5. Mulan

Other Possibilities:

6. The Trial of the Chicago 7

7. No Time to Die

8. Emma

9. Wonder Woman 1984

10. Ammonite


Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank

2. Soul

3. Da 5 Bloods

4. The Trial of the Chicago 7

5. Dune

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World

7. The Midnight Sky

8. One Night in Miami

9. Over the Moon

10. Tenet


Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

2. “Free” from The One and Only Ivan

3. “Only the Young” from Miss Americana

4. “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7

5. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami

Other Possibilities:

6. “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

7. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon

8. “Carried Me with You” from Onward

9. “Never Break” from Giving Voice

10. “See What You’ve Done” from Belly of the Beast


Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank

2. Dune

3. News of the World

4. Mulan

5. The Trial of the Chicago 7

Other Possibilities:

6. Ammonite

7. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

8. One Night in Miami

9. Tenet

10. Judas and the Black Messiah


Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet

2. Dune

3. Soul

4. Sound of Metal

5. Respect

Other Possibilities:

6. The Invisible Man

7. News of the World

8. No Time to Die

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7

10. Wonder Woman 1984



Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune

2. Tenet

3. Greyhound

4. Wonder Woman 1984

5. The Invisible Man

Other Possibilities:

6. Mulan

7. The Call of the Wild

8. No Time to Die

9. Free Guy

10. Birds of Prey


And that gives us our first breakdown of how many nominations I believe we will see for each picture:

12 Nominations

The Trial of the Chicago 7

10 Nominations


8 Nominations


7 Nominations

News of the World

6 Nominations

Nomadland, One Night in Miami

5 Nominations

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

4 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods, The Father, Soul

2 Nominations

Ammonite, Minari, Mulan, Pieces of a Woman, Tenet

1 Nomination

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Atlantis, Birds of Prey, Boys State, Coming 2 America, Crip Camp, The Croods: A New Age, Dick Johnson is Dead, The Disciple, Ema, Emma, French Exit, Greyhound, Hillbilly Elegy, The Invisible Man, Judas and the Black Messiah, Miss Americana, Night of the Kings, No Time to Die, The One and Only Ivan, Onward, Over the Moon, Quo Vadis, Aida?, Respect, Sound of Metal, Spaceship Earth, Wolfwalkers, Wonder Woman 1984

Back at it next week, folks!

Oscar Watch: Wolfwalkers

Disney/Pixar isn’t the only entity with a sterling track record in the Best Animated Feature race at the Oscars. Irish outlet Cartoon Saloon has seen all three of their features nominated in the category. In all these instances, their product lost to a film with Disney and Pixar stamped on the credits.

Saloon’s fourth title is the environmentally conscious adventure Wolfwalkers, which screened at the Toronto Film Festival over the weekend. It is Saloon’s third collaboration with filmmaker Tomm Moore (who co-directs alongside Ross Stewart). His 2009 effort The Secret of Kelis scored a nod and lost to Up. Follow-up Song of the Sea fell short to Big Hero 6. The studio’s third feature – 2017’s The Breadwinner – made the final five with Coco emerging as the victor.

Early reviews from Toronto indicate that Wolfwalkers is another winner and it seems bound for nomination #4 for the Saloon. The pic is slated for stateside distribution later this year via Apple TV. Yet Pixar awaits with the impending release of Soul, which is currently seen as the favorite to take the gold.

Bottom line: Cartoon Saloon should make it 4 for 4 in Best Animated Feature. Beating the Mouse Factory looks to be its ongoing challenge. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…