2019 SAG Award Predictions

In a week filled with Oscar precursor activity, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award nominees will be announced tomorrow morning. This comes just two days following the reveal of the Golden Globe nods.

As you’re likely aware, this particular ceremony is made up of voters from the card carrying acting community. The top race is not honoring the Best Picture of the year. Instead, it’s bestowing the trophy for the favorite ensemble cast. This explains why, in this decade, the Oscar winner for BP and the winner here have matched only 4 of 9 times.

Let’s break it down in each category as I reveal my anticipated nominees with a first and second alternate. I’ll have a post up tomorrow recounting how I did and how the nominations could impact the Academy’s thought process.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture

The SAG voters are a tricky bunch to predict and the Ensemble race presents at least a dozen pictures that I feel could make the cut. When predicting the nominees, I’ll divide into three tiers that relate to the impending Oscar nods:

Our first tier consists of movies that are widely expected to be Best Picture nominees and contenders that might potentially win. That list would be The Irishman, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Parasite. I believe the first three here are close to guarantees for attention here. If any of them miss out, it’ll be widely reported as a surprising snub.

Our second tier consists of movies that are legitimate players for Best Picture nominations, but are unlikely to win. This list includes Bombshell, The Farewell, Jojo Rabbit, and Little Women. An argument could be made that Women would be most obvious to get in. Yet I think this could give Jojo the boost it needs for greater Academy attention.

Our third tier consists of movies that are long shot contenders for Oscar attention. We usually see one of these get a SAG nod. This list includes Dolemite Is My Name, Downton Abbey, Hustlers, Knives Out, and Waves. The trendy pick here is Knives as it should be quite fresh on the minds of voters. Waves would be the largest beneficiary since it’s received scant awards chatter lately. I have a hunch that Dolemite could register with the actors branch here.

Predicted Nominees

Dolemite Is My Name

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

First Alternate – Little Women

Second Alternate – Knives Out

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture

The last five years of nominees have shown one 5 for 5 match with Oscar in 2016. The other four years gave us 4 out of the 5 eventual Academy nominees. In other words, this race is a massive indication of where voters may go.

2019 presents a challenge as there are nearly dozen legit contenders in the mix. Adam Driver and Joaquin Phoenix feel safe. The rest is a free for all.

Keeping with my Dolemite theme, the SAG branch may feel tempted to name the legendary Eddie Murphy here. I feel more confident about his inclusion than Adam Sandler, despite his early precursor attention.

Then I’m picking two spots between Christian Bale, Antonio Banderas, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Taron Egerton, Paul Walter Hauser, and Jonathan Pryce. Not an easy task. The Globes notably snubbed De Niro. If that occurs here, expect lots of talk about his dwindling Oscar chances. I’ll say he makes it in along with Leo.

Predicted Nominees

Robert De Niro, The Irishman

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

First Alternate – Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Second Alternate – Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture

Renee Zellweger and Scarlett Johansson feel like shoo-ins. The rest is uncertain. While Charlize Theron in Bombshell looks good for Oscar, I don’t think it’s a slam dunk she’s named here. My feeling that Little Women gets snubbed in Ensemble could filter down to Saoirse Ronan and her chances. Awkwafina, Cynthia Erivo, and Lupita Nyong’o are all in the mix.

SAG has given us surprise contenders before, like Sarah Silverman in 2015’s I Smile Back. Could we see something in that order with Mary Kay Place (Diane) or Elisabeth Moss (Her Smell)?

Predicted Nominees

Awkwafina, The Farewell

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Renee Zellweger, Judy

First Alternate – Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Second Alternate – Lupita Nyong’o, Us

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Brad Pitt and The Irishman double play of Al Pacino and Joe Pesci should see their names called. Here’s a category where a non Oscar nominee can get in – think Hugh Grant in 2016’s Florence Foster Jenkins or Steve Carell in 2017’s Battle of the Sexes. That spot could go to someone like Wesley Snipes if my Dolemite love turns out real. There’s also Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy, Song Kang-Ho in Parasite, or Sterling K. Brown for Waves. 

Yet I suspect the final two slots will be between Willem Dafoe, Tom Hanks, and Anthony Hopkins. I’ll readily admit it feels awfully strange to predict actors will leave Hanks out, but I’ll go there with trepidation.

Predicted Nominees

Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse

Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

Al Pacino, The Irishman

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

First Alternate – Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Second Alternate – Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

SAG threw everyone for a loop last year when they didn’t nominate Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk. She ended up taking home the Globe and Oscar. Prior to that, the previous nine SAG winners here also were victorious with the Academy.

Truth be told, this is the category I fear I could go 2 for 5 in. Laura Dern and Jennifer Lopez seem relatively safe. And then it’s picking three slots among Kathy Bates, Annette Bening, Scarlett Johansson (I do believe this is her best opportunity for a double nod), Florence Pugh, Margot Robbie, Zhao Shuzhen, and Maggie Smith. Good luck cracking this one!

Predicted Nominees

Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers

Florence Pugh, Little Women

Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell 

First Alternate – Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Second Alternate – Annette Bening, The Report

That does it for now! Expect a recap coming your way at some juncture tomorrow…

December 13-15 Box Office Predictions

The holiday titles begin to roll in this weekend as family adventure sequel Jumanji: The Next Level, horror remake Black Christmas, and Clint Eastwood’s true life drama Richard Jewell debut. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on that trio here:




There’s no doubt that Jumanji will end the three-week reign of Frozen II atop the charts. The 2017 predecessor became a phenomenon for Sony and eventually legged out to become the studio’s highest domestic earner of all time. Estimates have the inevitable sequel making between $40-$50 million out of the gate and I have it on the higher end of that range. Level hopes to earn a nice chunk of cash right away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on deck next weekend.

As for the other newbies, Christmas and Jewell could be in a close race for #3. Horror titles always have the opportunity to exceed expectations, but I’ll give Christmas low teens and Eastwood’s latest just under that.

With a mid 40s dip, Frozen II should fall to second with Knives Out rounding out the top five.

And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:

1. Jumanji: The Next Level

Predicted Gross: $48.7 million

2. Frozen II

Predicted Gross: $18.9 million

3. Black Christmas

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million

4. Richard Jewell

Predicted Gross: $11 million

5. Knives Out

Predicted Gross: $8.8 million

Box Office Results (December 6-8)

Per usual, it was a rather quiet post Thanksgiving frame as Frozen II easily held the top spot for the third time. The Disney sequel took in $35.1 million, falling a bit more than my $41.3 million projection. Its tally is up to $338 million.

Knives Out stayed put in second with $14.2 million, not matching my $16.4 million estimate for a two-week take of $63 million.

Ford v Ferrari was third with $6.6 million (I said $7.5 million) as it nears the century mark with $91 million.

Queen & Slim also made $6.6 million (I said $6.7 million) in its sophomore frame for a $27 million total.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was fifth and it’s not experiencing the minor declines that many (myself included) anticipated. It made $5.2 million compared to my $7.2 million forecast for an unimpressive $43 million.

The Mark Ruffalo drama Dark Waters expanded wide and was sixth with $3.9 million, on pace with my $3.7 million prediction. Total is $5 million.

Last and most certainly least, critically drubbed animated effort Playmobil: The Movie was an absolute disaster. Opening in 14th place, it made $656,000. I was far more generous at $2.8 million. For those keeping score, that’s a $281 per theater average.

And that’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

2019 Oscar Predictions: December 9th Edition

It’s been two weeks since I’ve prognosticated Oscar picks on the blog and a lot has happened since then. The precursors are coming out in full force with the Golden Globe nominations out this morning and numerous critics bestowing their awards or nods.

The Globes potentially provided a needed boost to The Two Popes and displayed a better than anticipated showing for Joker. 

So how have my estimates changed in the last 14 days? There’s been one change in all major categories with the exception of Director and Adapted Screenplay. They are:

  • In Best Picture, I’ve put Ford v Ferrari back in and taken out Bombshell. The official review embargo for Bombshell lapsed and the current Rotten Tomatoes score is 60%. It could still sneak in, but with that rating and a lack of precursor love, it’s certainly fallen.
  • My ongoing struggle with picking Best Actor candidates continues. Whittling it down to five is a challenge and that’s an understatement. As has been discussed previously, I truly believe all 10 listed performers could get in. For that matter, so could Paul Walter Hauser for Richard Jewell if that film does better with Academy voters than expected. This is the first time I have Leonardo DiCaprio on the outside looking in with Antonio Banderas (recipient of some precursors) getting in. Look for this saga to continue until nominations morning.
  • In Best Actress, I’ve got Awkwafina in over Cynthia Erivo. This is basically a coin flip for the five spot and there’s also Lupita Nyong’o (another precursor favorite) as a spoiler.
  • Joe Pesci has done quite well in the precursors. He’s in over Willem Dafoe for Supporting Actor.
  • Annette Bening is back in the fold over Zhao Shuzhen in Supporting Actress.
  • I’m putting Knives Out in Original Screenplay and that takes out Pain and Glory.

You can read the rest of the happenings below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

4. Parasite (PR: 5)

5. 1917 (PR: 3)

6. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

7. Little Women (PR: 7)

8. Joker (PR: 8)

9. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 11)

10. The Two Popes (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

11. The Farewell (PR: 12)

12. Knives Out (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Uncut Gems (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Richard Jewell (PR: 13)

15. Bombshell (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

3. Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite (PR: 3)

4. Sam Mendes, 1917 (PR: 2)

5. Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Greta Gerwig, Little Women (PR: 6)

7. James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (PR: 9)

8. Todd Phillips, Joker (PR: 7)

9. Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

10. Ben and Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Adam Driver, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (PR: 2)

3. Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (PR: 6)

4. Robert De Niro, The Irishman (PR: 3)

5. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 4)

7. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (PR: 10)

8. Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 7)

9. Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Taron Egerton, Rocketman (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Renee Zellweger, Judy (PR: 1)

2. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story (PR: 2)

3. Charlize Theron, Bombshell (PR: 3)

4. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women (PR: 5)

5. Awkwafina, The Farewell (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Cynthia Erivo, Harriet (PR: 5)

7. Lupita Nyong’o, Us (PR: 8)

8. Alfre Woodard, Clemency (PR: 7)

9. Mary Kay Place, Diane (PR: 10)

10. Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell (PR: 9)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. Al Pacino, The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Joe Pesci, The Irishman (PR: 6)

4. Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 5)

5. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse (PR: 4)

7. Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy (PR: 7)

8. Song Kang-Ho, Parasite (PR: 9)

9. Sam Rockwell, Richard Jewell (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Wesley Snipes, Dolemite Is My Name (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Sterling K. Brown, Waves

John Lithgow, Bombshell

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story (PR: 1)

2. Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, Bombshell (PR: 3)

4. Florence Pugh, Little Women (PR: 5)

5. Annette Bening, The Report (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell (PR: 4)

7. Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell (PR: 8)

8. Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit (PR: 6)

9. Nicole Kidman, Bombshell (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Taylor Russell, Waves (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 2)

3. The Two Popes (PR: 3)

4. Joker (PR: 5)

5. Little Women (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hustlers (PR: 7)

7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PR: 6)

8. Richard Jewell (PR: 8)

9. Just Mercy (PR: 9)

10. Dark Waters (PR: 10)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Marriage Story (PR: 2)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

3. Parasite (PR: 3)

4. The Farewell (PR: 4)

5. Knives Out (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Pain and Glory (PR: 5)

7. Uncut Gems (PR: Not Ranked)

8. 1917 (PR: 7)

9. Bombshell (PR: 6)

10. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Honey Boy

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Parasite (PR: 1)

2. Pain and Glory (PR: 2)

3. Les Miserables (PR: 3)

4. Monos (PR: 4)

5. Invisible Life (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Atlantics (PR: 7)

7. A White, White Day (PR: 10)

8. Beanpole (PR: 8)

9. And Then We Danced (PR: 5)

10. Those Who Remained (PR: 9)

Best Animated Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Toy Story 4 (PR: 1)

2. Frozen II (PR: 2)

3. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PR: 3)

4. I Lost My Body (PR: 4)

5. Missing Link (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Klaus (PR: 6)

7. Abominable (PR: 7)

8. Weathering with You (PR: 5)

9. Bunuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (PR: 9)

10. Funan (PR: 10)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. American Factory (PR: 1)

2. Apollo 11 (PR: 4)

3. One Child Nation (PR: 2)

4. For Sama (PR: 5)

5. Sea of Shadows (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Cave (PR: 6)

7. Honeyland (PR: 8)

8. The Biggest Little Farm (PR: 7)

9. The Edge of Democracy (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Maiden (PR: 3)

Dropped Out:

The Kingmaker 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Joker (PR: 5)

4. The Irishman (PR: 3)

5. The Lighthouse (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Parasite (PR: 6)

8. The Two Popes (PR: Not Ranked)

9. A Hidden Life (PR: 7)

10. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 8)

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Little Women (PR: 1)

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

3. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 3)

4. Rocketman (PR: 4)

5. Downton Abbey (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jojo Rabbit (PR: Not Ranked)

7. The Irishman (PR: 6)

8. Aladdin (PR: 10)

9. The Aeronauts (PR: 8)

10. Cats (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:


Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. 1917 (PR: 3)

3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 2)

4. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 4)

5. Marriage Story (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parasite (PR: 5)

7. Joker (PR: 7)

8. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Two Popes (PR: 10)

10. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Bomshell (PR: 1)

2. The Irishman (PR: 2)

3. Judy (PR: 3)

4. Dolemite Is My Name (PR: 4)

5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joker (PR: 7)

7. Us (PR: 5)

8. Rocketman (PR: 8)

9. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 9)

10. Cats (PR: 10)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 1)

2. 1917 (PR: 3)

3. The Irishman (PR: 4)

4. Little Women (PR: 2)

5. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parasite (PR: 6)

7. Joker (PR: 7)

8. Downton Abbey (PR: 10)

9. The Two Popes (PR: 8)

10. Ford v Ferrari (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

3. Marriage Story (PR: 4)

4. Little Women (PR: 2)

5. Joker (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 6)

7. Jojo Rabbit (PR: 8)

8. Us (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Aeronauts (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Waves (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

A Hidden Life

Ad Astra 

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II (PR: 1)

2. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman (PR: 2)

3. “Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats (PR: 4)

4. “Stand Up” from Harriet (PR: 3)

5. “Spirit” from The Lion King (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4 (PR: 7)

7. “Speechless” from Aladdin (PR: 5)

8. “I’m Standing with You” from Breakthrough (PR: Not Ranked)

9. “Glasgow” from Wild Rose (PR: 9)

10. “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

“Together From Afar” from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

4. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 4)

5. Ad Astra (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Rocketman (PR: 6)

7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 9)

8. Joker (PR: 8)

9. The Irishman (PR: 7)

10. Cats (PR: 10)

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees:

1. 1917 (PR: 1)

2. Ford v Ferrari (PR: 2)

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 3)

4. Rocketman (PR: 5)

5. Joker (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

6. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 4)

7. Cats (PR: 8)

8. Ad Astra (PR: 6)

9. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (PR: 7)

10. The Irishman (PR: 9)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Irishman (PR: 1)

2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (PR: 2)

3. The Lion King (PR: 4)

4. Avengers: Endgame (PR: 3)

5. The Aeronauts (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. 1917 (PR: 7)

7. Ad Astra (PR: 6)

8. Alita: Battle Angel (PR: 8)

9. Gemini Man (PR: 9)

10. Aladdin (PR: 10)

And that equates to these pictures getting the following number of nominations:

11 Nominations

The Irishman

9 Nominations

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

8 Nominations

1917, Marriage Story

7 Nominations

Little Women

6 Nominations


4 Nominations

Ford v Ferrari, Parasite, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Two Popes

3 Nominations

Bombshell, Jojo Rabbit, Rocketman

2 Nominations

Avengers: Endgame, Dolemite Is My Name, The Farewell, Frozen II, Judy, The Lion King, Pain and Glory

1 Nomination

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Ad Astra, The Aeronauts, American Factory, Apollo 11, Cats, Downton Abbey, For Sama, Harriet, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Hustlers, I Lost My Body, Invisible Life, Knives Out, Les Miserables, The Lighthouse, Missing Link, Monos, One Child Nation, The Report, Sea of Shadows, Toy Story 4

2019 Golden Globe Nominations Reaction

Perhaps the most preeminent Oscar precursor announced their nominations this morning and that means it’s both time for my analysis and a report on how yours truly did with the predictions!

Some quick takes before breaking down each race… Joker and The Two Popes had good mornings and did better than anticipated. Marriage Story led the way with 6 nominations followed by The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with five apiece. As for Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic, it did miss in one key category.

Let’s take it race by race, shall we?

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Nominees: 1917, The Irishman, Joker, Marriage Story, The Two Popes

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: As mentioned, it was indeed a solid morning for Joker and Popes. Those were the two entries I didn’t predict and they got in over Ford v Ferrari and Little Women (which had a rather subpar day). They were my two picks for alternates at least. This appears to be a race between the pictures with the most nods – Irishman and Marriage Story with the former having the edge (see Director).

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Dolemite Is My Name, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Rocketman

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: It was my first alternate Dolemite getting in over Cats, which did screen for Hollywood Foreign Press voters even though its review embargo hasn’t yet lapsed. This is Hollywood‘s category to lose and it’s the strong front-runner.

Best Director

Nominees: Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Todd Phillips (Joker), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: The surprise here is certainly Phillips, who I didn’t have listed as an alternate. He gets in over Noah Baumbach, which could mean a Best Drama victory for the film itself got tougher. I’m thinking Scorsese vs. Tarantino here with Joon-Ho as a very serious spoiler.

Best Actor – Drama

Nominees: Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: That key category that The Irishman missed is here with Robert De Niro not getting in the mix in favor of my first alternate Christian Bale. Another miss here is Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems as he’s won some precursors from the critical community. Just like the Oscars could be, this may come down to Driver or Phoenix.

Best Actress – Drama

Nominees: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Renee Zellweger (Judy)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: No surprises here! It is worth mentioning that, despite some early critical precursor love, the work of Lupita Nyong’o in Us didn’t factor in. Zellweger may have the edge here, followed by Johansson or Theron. This could also match what the Academy does.

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Daniel Craig (Knives Out), Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: Another sweep here as this list was as anticipated. DiCaprio is the favorite, but don’t sleep on Murphy or Egerton as spoilers.

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Awkwafina (The Farewell), Cate Blanchett (Where’d You Go Bernadette), Ana de Armas (Knives Out), Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Emma Thompson (Late Night)

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: It’s first alternate Blanchett in for over Constance Wu from Hustlers. As I do believe Awkwafina is the only actress here with Oscar viability, look for her to win here.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

How I Did: 5/5

Analysis: Today could have given a boost to Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse or other outliers such as Wesley Snipes (Dolemite) or Song Kang-Ho (Parasite), but it wasn’t to be as this very star studded list materialized as predicted. With Pacino and Pesci potentially splitting votes, Pitt is in the driver’s seat.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell), Annette Bening (The Report), Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

How I Did: 3/5

Analysis: I was a little shakier here as my first alternate Bening and unlisted Bates get in over Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit) and Florence Pugh (Little Women). Expect Dern vs. Lopez in this one.

Best Screenplay

Nominees: The Irishman, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite, The Two Popes

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Another feather in the cap for Popes, which could in over Jojo (which had a rather subpar morning). Hollywood could have a very slight edge over Marriage. 

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

Nominees: The Farewell, Les Miserables, Pain and Glory, Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Nothing unexpected as Les Miserables (my first alternate) was named over Atlantics. No doubt that Parasite is the massive favorite.

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Nominees: Frozen II, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, The Lion King, Missing Link, Toy Story 4

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Perhaps the shocker of the day is The Lion King nabbing a nod here. I said I Lost My Body instead. With Disney holding now three of the five slots, they’ve got 60% chance to win. Dragon could upset, but Toy Story is the probable recipient.

Best Original Score

Nominees: 1917, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, Motherless Brooklyn

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Brooklyn got a surprise nod. I had Ford v Ferrari instead. 1917 looks to take the trophy.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman, “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II, “Spirit” from The Lion King, “Stand Up” from Harriet

How I Did: 4/5

Analysis: Second alternate “Stand Up” is in over my “Daily Battles” from Motherless Brooklyn. The Globe voters could be tempted to go with Elton John here, though Frozen II is probably a soft favorite.

So, al in all, I went 54 for 70 on my overall estimates. The Golden Globes airs January 5th on NBC with Ricky Gervais hosting.

The Critics Make Their Choices

One day ahead of the more highly publicized Golden Globe nominations, this Sunday saw the unveiling of the nods for the Critics Choice Movie Awards. And in looking over their selections in recent history, they serve as quite a harbinger for the choices that Oscar voters might make.

After a strong showing in early precursors, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman led the way with 14 nominations. This is followed by 12 nods for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 9 for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, 8 for 1917 from Sam Mendes and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, and 7 for Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, Joker from Todd Phillips and Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite. 

This particular branch of voters utilizes an unpredictable scale for numbers of nominees in each category. For Best Picture, it’s always ten. Yet it fluctuates when it comes to director, the acting and screenplay races, and so forth.

Today I’ll break down the major categories and discuss each one and what it could mean come Oscar time. The ceremony airs on the CW this January 12th.

Best Picture

Nominees: 1917, Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite, Uncut Gems

Reaction here is that the precursor love continues for Uncut Gems from Ben and Josh Safdie. This is probably the least expected feature to make the cut and the Adam Sandler led crime drama appears to be peaking at the right time. While this certainly doesn’t guarantee an Oscar nod, it’s now undoubtedly part of the conversation.

Some notable titles to miss the list: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Bombshell, The Farewell, Richard Jewell, and The Two Popes. It will be interesting tomorrow to see if the Globes finds room for Popes as part of its nominations, as it seems to be fading fast. It doesn’t help that Netflix could be primarily concerned with Irishman and Marriage Story. 

Over the last five years, there’s been four of them when eight of the Critics Choice list nabbed Best Picture attention at the Oscars. In 2017, it was nine of them. In other words, pay attention to this list.

Best Director

Nominees: Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Bong Joon-Ho  (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Ben and Josh Safdie (Uncut Gems), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

And another notch in the Uncut Gems arsenal. Most recent years have seen six nominees, but there’s seven nominees in 2019. In 2016, five of the Choice directors made up the Oscar list. In 2014 and 2015, it was three and for the past two years it’s been four.

Looking over this list, it’s very feasible that there’s a five match. Who could sneak in that’s not on here? One name that comes to mind is James Mangold for Ford v Ferrari. 

Best Actor

Nominees: Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Robert De Niro (The Irishman), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems)

In a category that typically has six nominees, it should be no shocker that there’s seven this time around as Best Actor is packed. From 2015-2018, we have seen 5 nominees for two of the years (2015, 2018) make the Academy derby and two with 4 (2016, 2017). 2014 was a bit of an outlier with three.

As has been discussed on this blog, I believe there are 11 legitimate performers vying for 5 slots at the Oscars. The four that didn’t make the cut here are Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell), and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes). Here’s yet another example of Popes falling short.

Today’s announcements, in particular, could serve as a boost for Murphy and Sandler.

Best Actress

Nominees: Awkwafina (The Farewell), Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Renee Zellweger (Judy)

There’s a serious correlation between these nominees and Oscar. In four of the past five years, we’ve seen five of the women getting Academy love. In 2016, it was four. That seems destined to repeat itself here as the only potential outlier in my mind is Alfre Woodard in Clemency. I would bank on five of these seven nominees being the Oscar list.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

These nominees are further proof of an Irishman double nod for Pacino and Pesci coming our way. We’ve seen five for five matchups in two of the past five years with this race. This also makes me think Hopkins has a much better chance for Popes attention than his lead costar Pryce.

If there’s one name not here that could factor into the Oscar mix – Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy. All in all, no big surprises here.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Florence Pugh (Little Women), Margot Robbie (Bombshell), Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell)

This is indeed what I’d call the top 6 for Oscar viability. However, I wouldn’t sleep on Kathy Bates for Richard Jewell (a film these voters totally ignored). In the past half decade, we’ve never seen less than four of the nominees here getting Academy nods.

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Farewell, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite

The noticeable item here is the inclusion of Knives Out. All the rest were basically foregone conclusions. It gets in instead of Bombshell, 1917, Pain and Glory, or Ford v Ferrari. Could Oscar follow suit? Definitely possible as the last two years have seen 5 for 5 matches.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, The Two Popes

We haven’t seen a total match with the Academy from 2014 to present. I suspect that will change this time around as I believe 5 of these 6 contenders will make the Oscar cut. What gets left out? Beautiful Day, Joker, and Popes are the likely contenders.

My precursor posts will roll along in rapid succession as my take on the Los Angeles critics is up next…

Richard Jewell Box Office Prediction

Clint Eastwood continues to churn out film after film and his latest, Richard Jewell, keeps with his recent theme of fact based dramas recounting events of the past quarter century. Paul Walter Hauser (memorable in supporting roles in I, Tonya and BlacKkKlansman) stars in the title role of the security guard falsely accused of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing. Costars include Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, and Olivia Wilde.

Jewell looks to bring in an adult audience amidst Christmas fare geared towards family crowds. With Eastwood at the helm, it could succeed. The director’s previous work, The Mule, debuted over the same mid December weekend last year to $17.5 million. Critics are mostly on his side here with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 88% and some awards chatter.

That said, I don’t believe Jewell will nab Mule numbers right away (it helped that Eastwood starred in the latter). This will hope to leg out as many grownup dramas do over subsequent holiday weekends. For its start, I believe low double digits to possibly low teens sounds about right.

Richard Jewell opening weekend prediction: $11 million

For my Jumanji: The Next Level prediction, click here:


For my Black Christmas prediction, click here:


AFI Sharpens The Oscar Focus

The AFI Film Awards came out with their 2019 honors today and they do things a little differently. This particular group names their favorite 10 pictures of the year without naming a winner. And their top films are the only category they bother with.

Today those ten movies were as follows: 1917, The Farewell, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Knives Out, Little Women, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Richard Jewell. 

So what’s to learn when it comes to Oscar pontificating? Let’s start with comparing this list to yesterday’s announcement of the National Board of Review’s 10 honored titles… eleven actually because their winner was The Irishman. The NBR’s different titles were Dolemite Is My Name, Ford v Ferrari, Uncut Gems, and Waves. Not on NBR’s list from AFI:  The Farewell and Little Women. 

Shared AFI/NBR pics: The Irishman, 1917, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Richard Jewell. If you think getting Picture mentions in both guarantees Oscar love, 2018 proved otherwise. Five films did just that last year and didn’t land Best Pictures nods: Eighth Grade, First Reformed, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns, and A Quiet Place.

Confused? Welcome to the world of awards speculation. As I see it currently, there are only two shared 2019 AFI/NBR features that could miss out on the big race: Knives Out and Richard Jewell. I’ll also take this opportunity to note that Parasite (which is looking decent for Best Pic attention) is ineligible for AFI since it’s a foreign film.

As for Best Pic hopefuls that landed no love from these groups, we have A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (I believe its chances are fading quickly) and Bombshell (not as convinced that it cannot rebound). It could get the 2018 Vice slot, which was ignored by AFI/NBR. There’s also Rocketman, which can hang on to the thought that it could be this year’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

When you look at the AFI list’s history over the past half decade, it is a fairly reliable barometer on certain directions the Academy will take. Last year, five out of the eventual eight nominees were on their list and that’s the lowest percentage. In 2016 and 2017, it was 7 for 9. In 2014 and 2015, it was 6 for 8. So you can pretty much bank on at least half of AFI’s list and probably a bit more landing Oscar nominations.

I’ll leave you with this: while Knives Out is certainly one of the most obvious candidates for something that could miss a Picture nod, I like its chances better than I ever have before. This could be a case of perfect timing as it just opened, had a much bigger debut than expected, and audiences and critics are singing its praises. I wouldn’t count it out. In fact, I suspect when I update my estimates on Monday – it will rank higher than ever before and enter my top 15 possibilities. That will knock a candidate out and Mister Rogers could be the unfortunate victim.