Best Picture 2015: The Final Five

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

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

Best Picture 2009: The Final Five

Best Picture 2010: The Final Five

Best Picture 2011: The Final Five

Best Picture 2012: The Final Five

Best Picture 2013: The Final Five

Best Picture 2014: The Final Five

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

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

The Big Short

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Bridge of Spies

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Brooklyn

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Mad Max: Fury Road

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

The Martian

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

The Revenant

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Room

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

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

The whittled down five would be:

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

I’ll cover 2016 in short order!

Emancipation Enters the Oscar Race

In an alternative universe, Emancipation might be in my top 10 predicted Best Picture nominees. I could potentially be discussing Will Smith’s chances of being the first back to back acting winner since Tom Hanks in 1993 and 1994.

I didn’t think this alternative universe could be a potential reality in the 2022 awards season. In 2021, Apple TV beat Netflix and others to the punch as CODA was the inaugural streaming Best Picture winner. For a while, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon appeared to be Apple’s best shot at making it two years in a row. That’s until it got pushed to 2023. In recent weeks, there was speculation that Ridley Scott’s Napoleon starring Joaquin Phoenix could make a jump to 2022. It wasn’t to be.

This has left Apple without a legit across the board Oscar player… until maybe today. Why? The streamer announced that Antoine Fuqua’s historical drama Emancipation will hit theaters for an awards qualifying run on December 2nd and then be available for home viewing on December 9th. The trailer was unveiled this morning.

And in case you’re still wondering why I’m skeptical… two words: The Slap. Yes, the slap heard around the globe when Chris Rock presented Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards and cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. And, of course, slap provider Will Smith giving his acceptance speech a few minutes later when he was victorious in Best Actor for King Richard.

Since then, many of Smith’s planned projects have entered turnaround status. Emancipation, in which he plays a slave who joins the Union Army, was already filmed. And Apple made the surprising decision in early October to get it out two months later. This surely means Smith will be subject to interviews where he’ll address The Slap sooner than later.

So… the obvious question: can Smith get nominated? Can the film itself do so in other categories? Even though the star resigned from the Academy in the aftermath of the incident, he can still be nominated (and he can attend if invited by other members). So while the short answer is yes… the real answer is more complicated.

My gut is that Smith’s work in Emancipation would have to be undeniably awards worthy to make the final five. Even that could be a stretch. Time heals controversies and not much time has passed. As for the film itself, it could surely garner nods from Best Picture on down (I’m curious if Ben Foster gets any chatter for Supporting Actor). Yet it starts off at a unique disadvantage.

We won’t know until reviews start surfacing and that could be a few weeks. I can only assume Apple will give this a major push for consideration. It’s a campaign that is an uphill battle for reasons unfathomable just a few months ago.

Summer 2012: The Top 10 Hits and More

My look back at the cinematic summers of 30, 20, and 10 years ago culminates with 2012. A decade ago, the Marvel Cinematic Universe went from a successful franchise to the phenomenal juggernaut that it remains today. That’s due to the release of a little something called The Avengers. On a side note, it’s worth mentioning that the biggest grosser 30 years ago (Batman Returns), two decades ago (Spider-Man), and in this post all share comic book roots.

Before we get to Iron Man and company, I’ll recount the other features in the top ten moneymakers before covering additional notable titles and some flops. If you missed my write-ups about the seasons of 1992 and 2002, you can find them here:

Summer 1992: The Top 10 Hits and More

Summer 2002: The Top 10 Hits and More

10. Prometheus

Domestic Gross: $126 million

Some three decades after Alien terrified audiences, Ridley Scott returned to the franchise. However, this was more of a mixed bag in terms of critical and audience reaction. The production design and Michael Fassbender’s performance were praised while the script drew its share of critics. Nevertheless Scott would be back in the mix five years later with Alien: Covenant. 

9. Snow White and the Huntsman 

Domestic Gross: $155 million

Hot off the Twilight franchise and hot off playing Thor in The Avengers, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth battled Prometheus costar Charlize Theron’s evil stepmom in this fantasy adventure. Reviews were so-so but it performed well enough to warrant a less appreciated prequel The Huntsman: Winter’s War in 2016.

8. Ice Age: Continental Drift 

Domestic Gross: $161 million

The fourth entry in the animated franchise featuring the vocal stylings of Ray Romano and John Leguizamo kept the grosses hot. Sequel Collision Course would follow four years later.

7. Men in Black 3

Domestic Gross: $179 million

The third teaming of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (with Josh Brolin playing a convincing younger version of him) earned $11 million less than 2002’s part II. That sequel made less than the 1997 original. The series was revamped in 2019 with Men in Black: International with none other than Chris Hemsworth, but audiences tuned out.

6. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

Domestic Gross: $216 million

Ben Stiller and Chris Rock returned for the third time voicing their respective lion and zebra. Spin-off Penguins of Madagascar came out two years later while a proper fourth entry never materialized from DreamWorks.

5. Ted

Domestic Gross: $218 million

Moving from Fox’s hugely successful animated sitcom Family Guy the big screen, Seth MacFarlane’s story of Mark Wahlberg and his crude talking bear Ted was the breakout comedy of the season. Follow-ups A Million Ways to Die in the West and the Ted sequel were not as well received.

4. Brave

Domestic Gross: $237 million

The first Pixar film led by a female hero is also the inaugural studio entry (co)directed by a woman. It would go on to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man

Domestic Gross: $262 million

After not moving forward with a fourth title directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire, the Spidey franchise was rebooted with Marc Webb behind the camera and Andrew Garfield donning the red. The dollars followed although reviews were mixed and a 2014 sequel was widely considered a disappointment.

2. The Dark Knight Rises

Domestic Gross: $448 million

While perhaps not quite reaching the heights of 2008’s The Dark Knight, the culmination to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy sent Christian Bale’s Caped Crusader off in stirring fashion and with hugely profitable earnings.

1. The Avengers

Domestic Gross: $623 million

Setting record after record upon release, the melding of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye transfixed filmgoers. It’s been Marvel’s world and we’ve been living in it ever since.

And now for some other pics worthy of discussion:

Magic Mike

Domestic Gross: $113 million

Steven Soderbergh’s saga of male exotic dancers was based loosely on Channing Tatum’s real life experiences. It turned him into a superstar while giving Matthew McConaughey a memorable showcase. The micro budgeted pic (a reported $7 million) spawned a 2015 sequel and there’s a third scheduled to hit HBO Max next year.

The Bourne Legacy

Domestic Gross: $113 million

Audiences weren’t clamoring for Jeremy Renner to replace Matt Damon in this franchise, but the stateside and overseas grosses were still pretty acceptable. That said, Renner’s tenure lasted this pic and this pic only.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Domestic Gross: $46 million

While it performed even better overseas, this British import with Judi Dench  was a sleeper hit stateside that begat a 2015 sequel.

Moonrise Kingdom 

Domestic Gross: $45 million

Wes Anderson scored with critics and crowds with this coming-of-age dramedy that premiered at Cannes and then found an audience in the weeks that followed.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Domestic Gross: $12 million

This indie drama from Benh Zeitlin was truly a little movie that could. Shot for under $2 million, it eventually nabbed Oscar nods for Picture, Director, Actress (Quvanzhane Wallis at age 9), and Adapted Screenplay.

They’re not all winners so let’s get into some critical and/or commercial failures from the period:

Dark Shadows

Domestic Gross: $79 million

Johnny Depp’s box office happy days were beginning to fade as his 8th collaboration with Tim Burton was perhaps the least memorable. This horror comedy failed to enlighten viewers.

Battleship

Domestic Gross: $65 million

Action fans weren’t taken with this Peter Berg directed board game adaptation starring Liam Neeson and Rihanna with a bloated budget of over $200 million.

Total Recall

Domestic Gross: $58 million

And your action sci-fi fans weren’t signing up for Colin Farrell taking over for Arnold Schwarzenegger in this unneeded remake.

Rock of Ages

Domestic Gross: $38 million

Based on the Broadway musical, there was a deaf ear turned to this adaptation despite Tom Cruise getting solid notices for his performance. Lucky for him, he’d rule this current summer with Top Gun: Maverick. 

That’s My Boy

Domestic Gross: $36 million

Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg’s comedic partnership drew a 20% Tomatoes meter and ambivalence from usually devoted Sandler fans.

The Watch

Domestic Gross: $35 million

That wasn’t the only high-profile comedic flop as this sci-fi mashup with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill fared even worse in numbers and rotten reviews (17% RT).

And that’ll close it out, ladies and gents! It’s been a pleasure revising these cinematic seasons of days past.

House of Gucci Review

I wouldn’t necessarily say I totally bought into Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, but it’s a lively and garish world to play in for much of the duration. There were also moments where I just stared blankly at its bewildering tonal swings, not wanting to purchase this overblown product anymore. All the money and Oscar nominees and winners and well placed pop banger needle drops in the world can’t completely save it. Yet it’s hard to look away from.

We meet Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) in the late 1970s. A receptionist at her dad’s trucking business in Italy, she meets Maurizio (Adam Driver) at a nightspot where they awkwardly interact until she hears his last name. Gucci. Her demeanor changes and the awkward interaction turns to awkward flirtation. Maurizio is fickle when it comes to involving himself in the legendary upscale family fashion business. Patrizia is laser focused on inserting herself. Soon to be father-in-law Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), an ailing former screen star, doesn’t think she’s up to snuff. His brother Aldo (Al Pacino) takes to her and eventually the couple jet from their native country to New York armed with a 50% interest in the corporation.

From the moment back in the club where Patrizia meets her eventual hubby, she takes his surname and schemes with it. No one appears safe from her calculations. That includes Aldo and his – I guess we’ll say eccentric – son Paolo (Jared Leto). Unrecognizable under a balding wig, a fat suit,  and a mound of makeup, Leto is alternately hilarious and dumbfounding. I struggle how to describe this performance. During the first hour, Leto seems right at home with the campy vibe. By the time the company intrigue grows more serious, Paolo’s appearances are equivalent to a highly insecure Muppet crashing a serious conversation. Pacino, surprisingly, is far more toned down (though he does get a chance to yell late in the proceedings).

Driver’s character (and in turn his performance as a whole) is more of a blank slate. There’s a bit of a Michael Corleone arc happening with Maurizio. He starts out wishing to be on the outside looking in but can’t escape all the trappings of the business and is soon consumed by it. Unlike Corleone, that shift seems sudden and without much context. And that’s where The Godfather comparisons will and should end.

Patrizia wants to be consumed it all. Gaga is terrific as the wily outsider who  outfoxes her new clan. She’ll do anything to get ahead including consorting with a crime minded psychic (Salma Hayek). After impressing with her vulnerability in A Star Is Born, she’s a force of nature as she never stops maneuvering. That’s until she’s reminded that being born with the Gucci name has more advantages than marrying into it.

Gucci‘s final act gets bogged down in boardroom shenanigans that aren’t as frothy like the early portions that have a guilty pleasure soapy appeal. This will not be remembered highly atop Ridley Scott’s filmography and he made a far better picture (The Last Duel) that was out a month prior. This is more of a curiosity and a well-tailored one (expect for when Jared Leto lumbers in to do whatever the filmmakers somehow allowed him to do).

*** (out of four)

2021: The Year of Jodie Comer

My fourth and final post regarding actors who had a memorable 2021 on the big screen brings us to the only performer that wasn’t in Spider-Man: No Way Home and that’s Jodie Comer.

Prior to this year, the English actress was primarily known for her small screen leading role on the BBC’s Killing Eve (for which she’s won an Emmy). While that work continues, she made waves with audiences and critics alike in the multiplexes.

While box office success did not greet Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, Comer earned raves as Marguerite de Carrouges in the historical yet timely drama. In a cast that included Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Ben Affleck, Comer garnered the lion’s share of awards buzz and deservedly so.

A couple of months before Duel, she was widely seen alongside Ryan Reynolds in the family friendly action comedy Free Guy (which took in over $300 million worldwide). A sequel is already being planned.

For Comer, 2021 succeeded in transitioning her success from TV to film. This concludes my Year Of write-ups and here’s to 2022!

The Last Duel Review

Sword fights abound literally and figuratively in Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, which finds the legendary director covering familiar red stained territory in a unique storytelling format. Based on a true incident that transpired in late 14th century France, Good Will Hunting scribes Matt Damon and Ben Affleck collaborate with Nicole Holofcener for this three tiered tale of a tragic crime mixed with a touch of black comedy. It explores the horrors of machismo at a time when women were seen as property by the standards of thought and law. The most fascinating aspect of the film (and most appalling) is that the three principals may truly believe they’re the victim, including two that should not.

Shot in gray with a focus on grey areas, Duel is fashioned into triangular chapters (from a novel by Eric Jager). Each outlines the plot from these perspectives: Jean de Carrouges (Damon), who fancies himself a brave and noble knight; the philandering squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) who has the ear of the authoritative and even more philandering Count Pierre d’Alencon (Affleck); and Jean’s educated and strong wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer). Jean and Marguerite’s marriage is one of convenience and real estate opportunities for the former. He also desires a male heir that Marguerite has yet to produce. Jacques, meanwhile, has access to influence that Jean doesn’t possess. When he becomes smitten with his friend’s bride, the power dynamic turns more dangerous.

An accusation of rape is made in an era when most women didn’t dare do so (made clear in a potent monologue by Jean’s emotionally barren mother played by Harriet Walter). 600 plus years ago, that meant Jean and Jacques would participate in the picture’s title if a trial permitted it (and allow for Scott to play in some Gladiator type set pieces). Where the screenplay derives some humor is that the two leading men seem convinced that they are the aggrieved party and are oblivious to the damage inflicted on Marguerite. As nearly every male character is given a chance to bask in his laurels, we detect plenty of side eyes from the women around them. I suspect those sharp edges come courtesy of Holofcener’s script portions.

The Last Duel is fueled by Comer’s central performance as a victim who spoke up centuries before hashtags existed. The struggles to hold her perpetrator responsible are both centuries old and of today. Didn’t she remark that he was attractive? Maybe her no was a yes and she enjoyed it. Damon and especially Driver add sturdy support and Affleck commands the screen in his relatively brief runtime (once you get past the odd looking wigs).

The chaptered structure is occasionally repetitive. However, by the time the literal swordplay commences, the time spent with the trio builds a sense of genuine tension. Marguerite will be punished by a grisly death unless Jacques succeeds. In other words, her words mean little and she must rely on her husband to determine whether her time is up. That’s the wound that cuts the deepest as we await their fates.

***1/2 (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: Weekend of December 3-5

While the COVID era has altered the release patterns of movies in significant ways, the first weekend of December is not that unique from what we’ve seen in pre pandemic times. It will be a quieter frame filled with the holiday leftovers and no newbies out in wide release. That could mean the top five will stay the same with one probable exception.

Disney has made a habit out of releasing their animated titles over the Thanksgiving frame and that resulted in Encanto topping the holiday charts. Looking at previous Mouse Factory premieres over the past several years, Coco dropped 46% in its second frame in 2017 while Moana fell 50% the year prior. I will basically split the difference with Encanto and that means a low teens gross.

That should be enough to keep it #1 over Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which may lose about half its audience in weekend #3. House of Gucci, after a solid start, might see a drop in the mid 40s and that should easily keep it in third. Eternals looks to hold the four spot.

The only change could be Clifford the Big Red Dog going back in the top five. While I have it experiencing a decline of over 50%, I suspect Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (after a disappointing debut) could plummet in the mid 60s and that would remove it from the high five.

Here’s how I see it going down:

1. Encanto

Predicted Gross: $14.1 million

2. Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Predicted Gross: $12 million

3. House of Gucci

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million

4. Eternals

Predicted Gross: $4 million

5. Clifford the Big Red Dog

Predicted Gross: $2.4 million

Box Office Results (November 26-28)

It wasn’t the bountiful harvest of Thanksgivings past, but audiences managed to turn up for two newcomers while mostly ignoring a third.

Encanto took in $27.2 million over the traditional Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend and $40.5 million since its Wednesday start. That didn’t reach my projections of $31.2 million and $46.5 million, respectively. The debut is only about half of what previous Disney animated features like the aforementioned Moana and Coco achieved. Yet it’s still the best animated opening in COVID times.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife held up well in second with $24.2 million, a bit shy of my $27 million prediction. The two-week total is $87 million as it looks to hit $100 million in the coming days.

Adult crowds finally turned up for something and they went gaga for House of Gucci. The Ridley Scott pic fashioned a third place showing with $14.2 million from Friday to Sunday and $22 million since Wednesday. That tops my estimates of $12.3 million and $19.8 million.

Eternals was fourth with $7.9 million. My guess? $7.9 million! The MCU adventure stands at $150 million.

The reboot Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was badgered at the box office with just $5.3 million for the weekend and $8.8 million for the five-day. That falls well under my takes of $7.7 million and $11.7 million.

Holdovers outside the top five also couldn’t match my projections. Clifford the Big Red Dog was sixth at $5 million (I said $6.9 million). Total is $43 million. Will Smith’s Oscar hopeful King Richard is a bonafide disappointment theatrically. I thought it might have a meager decline in its sophomore outing, but it earned $3.2 million for seventh place. I said $4.8 million and the ten-day tally is a mere $11 million.

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

Box Office Predictions: Weekend of November 26-28

Hollywood is hoping for a bountiful harvest over the long Turkey Day weekend. We have three newbies premiering: Disney’s animated Encanto, Ridley Scott’s murderous melodrama House of Gucci with Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, and franchise reboot Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Encanto Box Office Prediction

House of Gucci Box Office Prediction

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Box Office Prediction

The Mouse Factory, as it has over numerous Thanksgiving frames in recent years, should top the charts… should. While I don’t have Encanto nearing the grosses that titles like Moana and Coco have accomplished for the holiday, my low 30s Friday to Sunday estimate has it edging out the sophomore weekend of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. 

The latter had a start at the higher end of projections (more on that below) and if it falls in the high 30s, it could challenge Encanto for box office supremacy.

Gucci is a big question mark. I have it comfortably in third with a lower double digits take for the traditional weekend and close to $20 million for the five-day (all newcomers hit theaters on Wednesday). Gaga’s fans in particular could vault it to better numbers. On the other hand, mixed buzz could put it lower.

Resident Evil is a series that experienced its smallest opening weekend with its previous sixth installment The Final Chapter in 2016. It made just shy of $14 million. I’m not optimistic with Raccoon and I believe it could find itself in a close battle with Eternals for the four spot.

As for leftovers, Clifford the Big Red Dog and King Richard (after a disappointing premiere) are likely to post minimal declines. Yet both could fall outside the top five.

And with that, let’s do a top 7 this time around:

1. Encanto

Predicted Gross: $31.2 million (Friday to Sunday); $46.5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

2. Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Predicted Gross: $27 million

3. House of Gucci

Predicted Gross: $12.3 million (Friday to Sunday); $19.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

4. Eternals

Predicted Gross: $7.9 million

5. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

Predicted Gross: $7.7 million (Friday to Sunday); $11.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

6. Clifford the Big Red Dog

Predicted Gross: $6.9 million

7. King Richard

Predicted Gross: $4.8 million

Box Office Results (November 19-21)

Ghostbustin’ made audiences feel good as the long in development sequel took in $44 million. As mentioned, that’s toward the top of prognostications and bodes well for a healthy run ahead. The sci-fi comedy drove past my $38.1 million estimate.

Eternals dropped to second after two weeks in first with $11 million (a touch below my $12.6 million take). The MCU fantasy stands at $136 million.

In third, Clifford the Big Red Dog slid a bit more than I figured in weekend #2 with $8.1 million (I went with $10.5 million). Total is $33 million.

I have to think Warner Bros. is questioning their choice to simultaneously release Will Smith’s sports drama King Richard on HBO Max. Serving up a weak fourth place debut, it made just $5.4 million. Not approaching my $9.2 million projection, it will hope for minimal declines ahead (and boffo HBO numbers).

Dune rounded out the top five with $3.1 million, below my $4.2 million prediction as it’s approaching the nine figure mark with $98 million.

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

House of Gucci Box Office Prediction

The trailers have already inspired plenty of memes and GIFs and soon we’ll know if audiences are inspired to check out House of Gucci in theaters. From director Ridley Scott, the flashy crime drama centered on the fashion family is out November 24th over the long Thanksgiving weekend. It’s filled with Academy players like Lady Gaga (in her second major role after her Oscar nominated turn in A Star Is Born), Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek, and Al Pacino.

While the review embargo is not yet up, plenty of reactions have come from screenings and they are very mixed. Despite the prevalence of award winning thespians, it appears doubtful that Gucci will be a significant Oscar contender (though Gaga and Leto could get in). The varied buzz could prevent some moviegoers from checking in and adult dramas have struggled mightily in the COVID era. Just last month, Scott’s own The Last Duel was a high priced bomb.

I do believe the curiosity factor will be higher for Gucci than Duel and it also helps that Gaga has plenty of ardent followers who should turn up. That said, a debut in the lower double digits for the traditional frame and close to $2o million for the five-day is probably where this lands.

House of Gucci opening weekend prediction: $12.3 million (Friday to Sunday); $19.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Encanto prediction, click here:

Encanto Box Office Prediction

For my Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City prediction, click here:

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Box Office Prediction

2021 Oscar Predictions: November 11th Edition

My Oscar predictions in all feature film categories are updated and there’s movement to discuss! There’s been a change in my ten Best Picture nominees for the first time in several weeks as House of Gucci has fallen and I’m putting Don’t Look Up in. The social media reaction to Gucci has resulted in it dropping for multiple categories. I still have Lady Gaga garnering an Actress nod (though she drops from 2nd to 4th) as well as Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling.

In other developments:

    • Andrew Garfield vaults from 6th to 3rd in Best Actor for Tick, Tick… Boom! That’s to the detriment of Joaquin Phoenix for C’Mon C’Mon
    • Two changes in the ever evolving Supporting Actor derby with Jason Isaacs (Mass) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) making the cut and displacing Jared Leto (Gucci) and Ciaran Hinds (Belfast)
    • Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) is on the outside looking in for Supporting Actress with Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) rising
    • Don’t Look Up also enters Original Screenplay with Mass falling out of the top five

You can read all the updates right here!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 3) (E)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Dune (PR: 4) (-1)

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. West Side Story (PR: 7) (E)

8. Don’t Look Up (PR: 12) (+4)

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

10. Spencer (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Flee (PR: 11) (E)

12. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 14) (+2)

13. House of Gucci (PR: 8) (-5)

14. CODA (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Mass (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. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (+2)

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

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

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: 8) (-2)

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. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (+1)

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

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 6) (E)

7. Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (E)

8. Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

Tessa Thompson, Passing 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

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

4. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 4) (-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: 8) (E)

9. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Jude Hill, Belfast (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Adam Driver, House of Gucci 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 3) (E)

4. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Judi Dench, Belfast (PR: 7) (E)

8. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 8) (E)

9. Meryl Streep, Don’t Look Up (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Richard Jenkins, The Humans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Jason Isaacs, Mass (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Jon Bernthal, King Richard (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 10) (+1)

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

Dropped Out:

Al Pacino, House of Gucci

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Belfast (PR: 1) (E)

2. Licorice Pizza (PR: 2) (E)

3. King Richard (PR: 4) (E)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (+3)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mass (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Spencer (PR: 6) (-1)

8. A Hero (PR: 10) (+2)

9. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 8) (-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: 3) (E)

4. The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Passing (PR: 9) (+3)

7. West Side Story (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Dune (PR: 7) (-1)

9. CODA (PR: Not Ranked)

10. House of Gucci (PR: 6) (-4)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

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: 4) (E)

5. Belle (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Summit of the Gods (PR: 7) (+1)

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

8. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Who Is Anne Frank (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Charlotte (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Vivo

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. Drive My Car (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Titane (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Hand of God (PR: 4) (-2)

7. I’m Your Man (PR: 7) (E)

8. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 8) (E)

9. Great Freedom (PR: 9) (E)

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: 3) (E)

4. Attica (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Lost Leonardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The First Wave (PR: 9) (+3)

7. President (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Ailey (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Procession (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Becoming Cousteau (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Ascension

The Velvet Underground 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Belfast (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. Spencer (PR: 7) (E)

8. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The French Dispatch (PR: 8) (-1)

10. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cruella (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Spencer (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Dune (PR: 4) (+1)

4. House of Gucci (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 6) (E)

7. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Cyrano (PR: 8) (E)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (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. Don’t Look Up (PR: 7) (+4)

4. Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (E)

5. West Side Story (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. King Richard (PR: 8) (E)

9. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

10. House of Gucci (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. House of Gucci (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Cruella (PR: 4) (E)

5. Spencer (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (E)

8. Being the Ricardos (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Licorice Pizza (PR: 10) (+1)

10. The Green Knight (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Spencer (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (+3)

4. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (-2)

5. The French Dispatch (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Cyrano (PR: 10) (+2)

9. King Richard (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Belfast (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Licorice Pizza

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto (PR: Not Ranked)

3. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 2) (-1)

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

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

Other Possibilities:

6. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 6) (E)

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

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

9. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 5) (-4)

10. “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall (PR: 10) (E)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nightmare Alley (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Dune (PR: 1) (-1)

3. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (+1)

4. West Side Story (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Spencer (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (E)

7. Cyrano (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Belfast (PR: 7) (-1)

9. House of Gucci (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Power of the Dog

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Nightmare Alley (PR: 4) (E)

5. No Time to Die (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: Not Ranked)

7. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Last Duel (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Cyrano (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

The Matrix Resurrections

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 3) (E)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Free Guy (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Eternals (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Finch (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Spider-Man: Far From Home (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Suicide Squad (PR: 10) (E)

And that equates to the following pictures nabbing these numbers in terms of nominations:

10 Nominations

Dune

9 Nominations

Belfast

8 Nominations

Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog

6 Nominations

Spencer

5 Nominations

King Richard, Licorice Pizza

4 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

3 Nominations

Flee, House of Gucci

2 Nominations

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

1 Nomination

Attica, Belle, C’Mon C’Mon, Drive My Car, Godzilla vs. Kong, A Hero, The Lost Leonardo, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Passing, The Rescue, Respect, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Summer of Soul, Tick, Tick… Boom!, Titane, The Worst Person in the World