95th Academy Awards Nominations Reaction

It was a glorious performance for Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Banshees of Inisherin with this morning’s Oscar nominations. Both pics were up everywhere they needed to be for everything to potentially win the big prize on March 12th.

There were also strong showings for All Quiet on the Western Front, Elvis, The Fabelmans, and Top Gun: Maverick. However, it’s fair to say that each missed a key race or two that would’ve helped for their Best Picture viability.

As far as my own showing, I went 79 for 105 in my projections. I’ll take it though it’s slightly under my 82/105 performance from the previous year. One bright spot: no 2 for 5’s as I’d experienced a couple of times in preceding years.

Let’s walk through each race one by one with initial thoughts, shall we?

Best Picture

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness, Women Talking

How I Did: 8/10

No real shockers. The movies that I had listed 11th and 12th (Avatar and Women Talking) made it over my selections of Babylon and The Whale. I went a little bold omitting Water in the first place.

As hinted at, I’m seeing this as between Everything and Banshees with Fabelmans as a potential spoiler (and maybe Maverick if I’m feeling bold).

Best Director

The Nominees: Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Todd Field (Tár), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness), Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)

How I Did: 4/5

The Daniels v. Spielberg is where this may come down to. All Quiet had a solid morning, but Edward Berger missing (I predicted him) likely eliminates it as a BP winner. Ostlund gets in instead.

Best Actress

The Nominees: Cate Blanchett (Tár), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie), Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

How I Did: 3/5

In just the last few days, there was an organic (?) campaign launched for Riseborough by plenty of famous faces. She was nowhere near the radar for the bulk of the season. Her inclusion might alter how campaigns look in the future. Williams (who was looking shaky) and Riseborough make it over my predictions of Viola Davis (The Woman King) and Danielle Deadwyler (Till). Both of their pics were shutout completely. As for who makes the podium trip, it’s either Blanchett or Yeoh.

Best Actor

The Nominees: Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Paul Mescal (Aftersun), Bill Nighy (Living)

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

For most prognosticators, this came down to Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick vs. Mescal for the fifth slot. It wasn’t to be for a fourth Cruise nod. For Mescal and Nighy, it’s an honor to be in the quintet. The race is between Butler and Farrell and Fraser (who have all nabbed key precursors). FYI – this entire lineup is first-time nominees and 16 of the acting nominees are newbies (which is very high).

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Hong Chau (The Whale), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

How I Did: 4/5

Hsu, who was my alternate, is in over Triangle‘s Dolly De Leon. If you’d told me De Leon’s movie would get Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay – I would’ve been even more confident she’d make it. With victories already at the Globes and Critics Choice, Bassett is the frontrunner.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway), Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans), Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

How I Did: 4/5

Henry gets the unanticipated nod over my pick of Paul Dano in The Fabelmans (many had Eddie Redmayne in The Good Nurse projected here). This is, frankly, the simplest acting derby to call and it is Quan.

Best Original Screenplay

The Nominees: The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Triangle of Sadness

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

The expected five as the Banshees v Everything showdown could be a clue during the night as to what wins BP at the end of it.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Living, Top Gun: Maverick, Women Talking

How I Did: 3/5

Maverick and All Quiet over She Said (which was shut out) and The Whale. Considering Women Talking made it in the BP ten, it could get the gold in this race and this one only since it received the least amount of nods (2) for the BP hopefuls. As an aside, there’s always a screenplay contender that gets no other noms anywhere else. This year it was Glass Onion.

Best Animated Feature

The Nominees: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, The Sea Beast, Turning Red

How I Did: 4/5

Pinocchio should take this, but this marks its only nod (it was expected to contend for Song and some techs). I had gone with Netflix’s Wendell and Wild for the fifth spot over Netflix’s The Sea Beast.

Best International Feature Film

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Argentina, 1985, Close, EO, The Quiet Girl

How I Did: 3/5

Here’s where there was a total surprise with Decision to Leave getting snubbed. I would’ve had it as the runner-up possibility to win over All Quiet (easily the favorite). I didn’t have Close or EO (though neither is unexpected). In addition to Decision, I also had Joyland.

Best Documentary Feature

The Nominees: All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Fire of Love, A House Made of Splinters, Navalny

How I Did: 4/5

Had Descendant instead of Splinters. There’s a path to victory for everything but Splinters in my view.

Best Cinematography

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Bardo, Elvis, Empire of Light, Tár

How I Did: 3/5

Top Gun: Maverick missing is baffling considering it was a major threat to win. It misses along with The Batman in favor of Bardo and Tár. I wouldn’t discount Empire for the victory though Quiet could make noise in this one.

Best Costume Design

The Nominees: Babylon, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

How I Did: 4/5

Everything‘s over performance is evident. I had The Woman King instead. The first three alphabetically are your possible winners.

Best Film Editing

The Nominees: The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick

How I Did: 3/5

In years past, getting an editing nod is often needed if you want to take BP. So it’s bad news for All Quiet and The Fabelmans. Banshees and Tár join the lineup in their place. Elvis, Everything, and Maverick all possibilities.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Elvis, The Whale

How I Did: 4/5

Had Amsterdam and not Quiet. Elvis or The Whale are most likely.

Best Original Score

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans

How I Did: 3/5

Considering it made BP, I didn’t think Women Talking would miss. I also had Pinocchio but it’s All Quiet and Everything. This could be the sole Oscar for Babylon.

Best Original Song

The Nominees: “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman, “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

How I Did: 4/5

Had Pinocchio‘s “Ciao Papa” and not the Everything tune. Despite big names like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and producer Diane Warren in the mix, “Naatu Naatu” has taken the precursors.

Best Production Design

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon, Elvis, The Fabelmans

How I Did: 4/5

A rare occurrence as I had Everything projected and it didn’t make it. All Quiet materializes instead. This could be Elvis or maybe a second shot for Babylon.

Best Sound

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick

How I Did: 4/5

The sound you hear when the envelope opens might be Maverick‘s only victory (now that Cinematography is impossible). I had EEAAO and not The Batman.

Best Visual Effects

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Top Gun: Maverick

How I Did: 3/5

Had the wrong MCU pic with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and not Panther. All Quiet is also in and I had Thirteen Lives. This should be the Avatar trophy.

That means these movies ended up garnering these numbers in terms of nominations:

11 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

9 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, The Banshees of Inisherin

8 Nominations

Elvis

7 Nominations

The Fabelmans

6 Nominations

Tár, Top Gun: Maverick

5 Nominations

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

4 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water

3 Nominations

Babylon, The Batman, Triangle of Sadness, The Whale

2 Nominations

Living, Women Talking

1 Nomination

Aftersun, All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Argentina, 1985, Bardo, Blonde, Causeway, Close, Empire of Light, EO, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, A House Made of Splinters, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Navalny, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, The Quiet Girl, RRR, The Sea Beast, Tell It Like a Woman, To Leslie, Turning Red

So what’s next? Followers of the blog may recall that I will soon begin my “Case Of” posts. That’s 35 separate write-ups making the case for and against all contenders in Picture, Director, and the four acting competitions. Stay tuned!

80th Golden Globe Awards Recap

Eddie Murphy, winner of tonight’s Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement, might have had the best timed Will Smith Oscar slap joke I’ve heard thus far (better than that of host Jerrod Carmichael). Mr. Murphy being funny was not a surprise. And there weren’t a whole lotta surprises for the cinematic victors at the 80th Golden Globes Awards… with a couple of exceptions.

I went 10/14 on my picks, but two of those misses happened to be the biggest prizes of all. After being snubbed for the shortlist of 16 filmmakers for BAFTA’s directing award, Steven Spielberg and his autobiographical The Fabelmans had an impressive and perhaps needed showing this evening. He won Best Director (which I did predict) and he capped the night by taking Best Motion Picture – Drama. I didn’t predict that as I went with Elvis instead.

The picture with tonight’s best showing was The Banshees of Inisherin at three podium trips. As expected, Colin Farrell was named Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy and Martin McDonagh took Best Screenplay. Banshees also emerged in Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy over my favored Everything Everywhere All at Once.

The news wasn’t all bad for Everything as Michelle Yeoh was Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy and Ke Huy Quan is your Best Supporting Actor. The Banshees victory could spawn some prognosticators switching their vote to it winning the BP Oscar. I’m thinking Everything is still very viable and The Fabelmans did what it needed to make this a three-picture race. Had Elvis or Top Gun: Maverick been your Drama pick, it might’ve surged the buzz for them. It wasn’t to be.

Other than the Motion Picture competitions, my other two misses were for Score and Non-English Language Film. In the former, Babylon was selected over my predicted Women Talking. For the latter, it produced the night’s only shocker as Argentina, 1985 was named instead of RRR (what I went with) and All Quiet on the Western Front (what plenty of others went with).

As for the remaining races I got right – Cate Blanchett is Best Actress (Drama) for Tár while Angela Bassett is Supporting Actress for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Austin Butler got the sole Elvis victory as Best Actor (Drama). Guillermo del Toro saw his version of Pinocchio be crowned Animated Feature. Finally, “Naatu Naatu” from RRR is Best Original Song over tunes from heavy hitters like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga.

Bottom line: The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, and The Fabelmans have been my top 3 possibilities for Best Picture for many weeks. Nothing that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association did tonight changed that dynamic.

We’ve got a busy few days coming up with SAG and DGA nominations tomorrow and Critics Choice Awards airing Sunday. I’ll have my updated Oscar predictions up on Monday!

2022 Oscar Shortlists Reaction

Shortlists covering seven of the feature film races at the Oscars were unveiled this afternoon. We now know the 15 pictures that will contend for Best Original Score, Original Song, International Feature Film, and Documentary Feature. Additionally, we have our 10 finalists for Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound, and Visual Effects.

I’ll go over each competition below, but I went 62 for 90 in my overall picks. It was a good day for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and All Quiet on the Western Front. They got in everywhere they reasonably could have.

With The Batman and Everything Everywhere All at Once, it was a mixed announcement as both made the cut for some and not others where they were expected to. The documentary Good Night Oppy had perhaps the worst day. It was widely anticipated to get in for Documentary and (to a lesser degree) Visual Effects and made neither.

Let’s break it down! **Selections that I correctly called are in bold

Best Original Score

Nominees:

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

Babylon

The Banshees of Inisherin

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Devotion

Don’t Worry Darling

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Nope

She Said

The Woman King

Women Talking

HOW I DID: 9/15

The most notable omissions here are Empire of Light and The Batman while Devotion in particular wasn’t expected to be included. I also incorrectly named Bardo, Living, RRR, and White Noise. My top 5 from my projections 3 days ago (Women Talking, Babylon, The Fabelmans, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, The Banshees of Inisherin) remain.

Best Original Song

Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman

Carolinafrom Where the Crawdads Sing

“Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

“Dust and Ash” from The Voice of Dust and Ash

“Good Afternoon” from Spirited

“Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick

“Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

“My Mind & Me” from Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me

“Naatu” from RRR

“New Body Rhumba” from White Noise

“Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from Avatar: The Way of Water

“Stand Up” from Till

“This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

“Til You’re Home” from A Man Called Otto

“Time” from Amsterdam

HOW I DID: 10/15

As expected, there’s some heavy hitters in the mix with Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, and Selena Gomez (who I didn’t predict). The highest profile omission is Billie Eilish for “Nobody Like U” in Turning Red. My other misses were “Keep Rising” from The Woman King, “On My Way (Marry Me)” from Marry Me (a miss for Jennifer Lopez), and “Ready As I’ll Ever Be” from The Return of Tanya Tucker – Featuring Brandi Carlile.

Best International Feature Film

All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)

Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)

Bardo (Mexico)

The Blue Caftan (Morocco)

Cairo Conspiracy (Sweden)

Close (Belgium)

Corsage (Austria)

Decision to Leave (South Korea)

EO (Poland)

Holy Spider (Denmark)

Joyland (Pakistan)

Last Film Show (India)

The Quiet Girl (Ireland)

Return to Seoul (Cambodia)

Saint Omer (France)

HOW I DID: 13/15

My best showing as I incorrectly had Spain’s Alcarras and Mars One from Brazil. India saved a little face with Last Film Show getting in. They didn’t select RRR and it could have won. There are really no major surprises here.

Best Documentary Feature

All That Breathes

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Bad Axe

Children of the Mist

Descendant

Fire of Love

Hallelujah: Leonardo Cohen, a Journey, a Song

Hidden Letters

A House Made of Splinters

The Janes

Last Flight Home

Moonage Daydream

Navalny

Retrograde

The Territory

HOW I DID: 10/15

I took a swing by not including The Territory and it got in. As for the aforementioned Good Night Oppy and Sr., they were anticipated to be here and are not. My other whiffs were Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, Riotsville, U.S.A., and Wildcat. My high five from December 18th – All That Breathes, Navalny, Fire of Love, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Descendant – remain.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

All Quiet on the Western Front

Amsterdam

Babylon

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Blonde

Crimes of the Future

Elvis

Emancipation

The Whale

HOW I DID: 7/10

Here’s a race where Everything Everywhere isn’t to be found. I also went with Three Thousand Years of Longing and The Woman King. Once again my top five from the weekend is in. The Crimes of the Future nod is truly unexpected.

Best Sound

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

Babylon

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Moonage Daydream

Top Gun: Maverick

HOW I DID: 7/10

Once again my quintet of picks from 3 days ago are safe. Nope is a significant omission as is RRR (Thirteen Lives is my other miss). The unexpected addition of the Bowie doc Moonage Daydream is being praised.

Best Visual Effects

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Jurassic World: Dominion

Nope

Thirteen Lives

Top Gun: Maverick

HOW I DID: 6/10

Here’s where my predicted five will undoubtedly be altered when I make my update. I had Everything Everywhere and RRR at 3rd and 4th, respectively. They are gone. I also incorrectly called Good Night Oppy and Thor: Love and Thunder. This means Avatar (which should win), Maverick, and Multiverse are the trio remaining that I projected. In my view, this bodes well for Panther getting in. The fifth slot is far trickier to estimate at the moment.

And that does it for now, folks! I’ll have updated predictions in all races up before Christmas!

Oscar Predictions – Avatar: The Way of Water

Avatar: The Way of Water surfaces on your 3D and IMAX screens this Friday. It is, of course, James Cameron’s follow-up to 2009’s original which still stands as the biggest worldwide grosser of all time (and third overall domestically). The social media embargo lifted last week and the common refrain was “don’t bet against James Cameron”. I held off on my Oscar speculation until the official review embargo lapsed. That happened today.

Currently at 85% on Rotten Tomatoes (part 1 ended up at 82%), many critics are claiming this is an improvement over the first. Some of the same gripes remain including that it is overlong (3 hours and 12 minutes) and underdeveloped in its screenplay. Praise for its technical work is more universal.

In 2009, Avatar made an Oscar splash with nine nominations: Picture, Director, Art Direction (now Production Design), Cinematography, Film Editing, Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing (the Sound races are now combined), and Visual Effects. It won 3 – Art Direction, Cinematography, and Visual Effects.

Water has a chance of receiving the same number of nods. On Monday, the Golden Globes put it in their five for Picture (Drama) and Director. I already believe the Academy will make room for this in BP. It should be the second massive international blockbuster (alongside Top Gun: Maverick) in the mix. Cameron showing up in the directing quintet is not as automatic.

Let’s dispense with the easiest items. This is going to win Visual Effects just like its predecessor. That’s one of the slam dunk categories you can cross off already. Production Design and Cinematography and Sound are all probable inclusions. I’m less certain about the score and editing. Then there’s the Weeknd, who contributed the song “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)”. I’m not so sure about its strength in that competition. He needs to overcome other superstars such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and Billie Eilish and that could be a tall order.

You’ll notice I haven’t discussed the performances or the screenplay. While there’s kudos for returnees like Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver (in a different role than in 2009), don’t expect the acting to capture the attention of voters. Given that the writing is the most faulted aspect, don’t hold your breath expecting Cameron and cowriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver to contend.

Bottom line: Avatar: The Way of Water looks to be Cameron’s third movie in a row (after Titanic and Avatar) to be in the BP race. Look for its nomination total to be at least 4-5 and maybe more. In other words, to borrow a phrase from most of Twitter last week, don’t bet against James Cameron. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Golden Globes Nominations Reaction

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, after a controversial couple of years which resulted in no aired telecast for the last ceremony, is moving forward with Jerrod Carmichael hosting the show on NBC in a month. The nominations for the 14 cinematic races were unveiled this morning.

I went 54 for 70 on my picks – an improvement over my previous 2021 performance of 49/70. The big winner: Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin. Its 8 nods led all pictures and landed mentions everywhere it was expected to.

On the flip side, it was a disappointing day for Women Talking. Sarah Polley’s expected Oscar contender managed two nods (Screenplay and Score) and missed out on several races where it was thought to be viable.

Let’s take the competitions one by one with my thoughts, shall we?

Best Motion Picture (Drama)

Nominees: Avatar: The Way of Water, Elvis, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick

How I Did: 4/5

Per above, the surprise here is Women Talking not making the cut. I had it in instead of Avatar (which is proving itself to be a highly likely hopeful for Oscar’s BP derby). While The Fabelmans could be considered a soft frontrunner, I would say everything but Tár has a shot to win.

Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Triangle of Sadness

How I Did: 4/5

I went with The Menu over Triangle but the latter’s inclusion was not unexpected. This is almost certainly a battle between Banshees and Everything.

Best Director

Nominees: James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water), Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Baz Luhrmann (Elvis), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)

How I Did: 4/5

Like in Best Drama, I went with Women Talking and its maker Sarah Polley instead of James Cameron. Also like that race, Spielberg might be favored but the others could upset the legend.

Best Actress (Drama)

Nominees: Cate Blanchett (Tár), Olivia Colman (Empire of Light), Viola Davis (The Woman King), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans)

How I Did: 4/5

Danielle Deadwyler (Till) failing to make the quintet is unexpected as is de Armas’s nod in the Marilyn Monroe biopic (which garnered plenty of poor reviews). You’re going to want to bet on Blanchett in this one.

Best Actor (Drama)

Nominees: Austin Butler (Elvis), Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Hugh Jackman (The Son), Bill Nighy (Living), Jeremy Pope (The Inspection)

How I Did: 3/5

Jackman and Pope in over my selections of Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick) and Paul Mescal (Aftersun). Mr. Cruise whiffing is noticeable. Perhaps the HFPA is still salty about him giving back his Globes during the height of their controversies. Elvis is the only picture in this group that received more than 1 nomination and Butler could certainly emerge victorious. So could Fraser.

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Lesley Manville (Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris), Margot Robbie (Babylon), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Menu), Emma Thompson (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywher All at Once)

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

This went as anticipated and should continue that way with Yeoh taking the trophy in January.

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Diego Calva (Babylon), Daniel Craig (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery), Adam Driver (White Noise), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Ralph Fiennes (The Menu)

How I Did: 4/5

I went with Tom Hanks (A Man Called Otto) instead of Driver. It doesn’t matter much who the other four gentlemen are. This is Farrell’s to lose.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Dolly de Leon (Triangle of Sadness), Carey Mulligan (She Said)

How I Did: 2/5 (ouch)

Supporting Actress has been a head scratcher all year as I’ve done Oscar projections. That proved true today with my poor performance. I went with Hong Chau (The Whale), Claire Foy (Women Talking), and Janelle Monae (Glass Onion) instead of Bassett, de Leon, and Mulligan. I’d say any of these contestants could win in this wide open field.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin), Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brad Pitt (Babylon), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Eddie Redmayne (The Good Nurse)

How I Did: 3/5

I had Paul Dano (The Fabelmans) and Tom Hanks (yet again for Elvis), but Koeghan and Redmayne made it. Quan is probably out front but I wouldn’t rule Gleeson out.

Best Screenplay

Nominees: The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Women Talking

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

Finally we get something for Women Talking. Yet this race (like Musical/Comedy) is probably either Banshees or Everything.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Inu-Oh, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Turning Red

How I Did: 4/5

Inu-Oh is the surprise (I said The Bad Guys instead). Pinocchio is favored but I wouldn’t discount Marcel (which is picking up critics prizes).

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Argentina, 1985, Close, Decision to Leave, RRR

How I Did: 4/5

This could be a fascinating one. I don’t see Argentina or Close winning (which I left out for Bardo). The other 3 could.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, The Fabelmans, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Women Talking

How I Did: 4/5

This is where I should’ve left Avatar out as Banshees got in instead. This could be a close one and I’m not ready to pick a leader.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing, “Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, “Naatu Naatu” from RRR

How I Did: 4/5

Pop superstar Billie Eilish and “Nobody Like U” was left off for pop superstar Taylor Swift and “Carolina”. Don’t be shocked if this comes down to pop superstars Lady Gaga for “Hold My Hand” and Rihanna for “Lift Me Up”.

That means the following features nabbed these numbers in terms of nominations:

8 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin

6 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

5 Nominations

Babylon, The Fabelmans

3 Nominations

Elvis, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Tár

2 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water, Black Panther Wakanda Forever, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Menu, RRR, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness, Women Talking

1 Nomination

All Quiet on the Western Front, Argentina, 1985, Blonde, Close, Decision to Leave, Empire of Light, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, The Good Nurse, The Inspection, Inu-Oh, Living, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, She Said, The Son, Turning Red, The Whale, Where the Crawdads Sing, White Noise, The Woman King

Oscar Predictions – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hopes to land the biggest opening of 2022 when it debuts this weekend. Disney would also love to see the MCU sequel to 2018’s cultural phenomenon achieve the awards love that its predecessor got. It’s not out of the question that it could.

The review embargo is up today and the Rotten Tomatoes meter is an impressive 90% (under part 1’s 96%). Critics are praising the film’s treatment of the loss of its star Chadwick Boseman in 2020. There is some griping about it being overlong. Few reviews are saying it surpasses the original in terms of quality.

The first Panther was nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Still the only superhero pic to make the BP cut, it took 3 of 7 (Score, Production Design, Costume Design). The other nods were Original Song (“All the Stars” from Kendrick Lamar) and Sound Editing and Sound Mixing (these categories have since been combined).

All 3 races where it won four years ago could pop up this time around. Production Design and Costume Design seem like givens. Sound appears a fairly safe bet. Same with Original Song as Rihanna’s closing credits ballad “Lift Me Up” is a threat to win. Ironically, Mr. Lamar lost in 2018 to Lady Gaga and “Shallow”. Gaga could strike again with “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick.

Panther did miss Visual Effects four years back and there were grumbles about the quality. The general consensus is that Wakanda‘s effects are a step up. I don’t think it’s guaranteed to make the VE quintet. However, I do think it has the best shot of the MCU’s 2022 slate (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder are the others).

As for performances, I could see Angela Bassett nabbing some ink. Ultimately I don’t see a second nom materializing nearly 30 years after her first one for What’s Love Got to Do with It.

Now the major question – can Wakanda Forever get a BP nomination? Short answer is yes. Longer answer is more complicated. With Maverick, there’s already one sequel that looks pretty safe. We still have Avatar: The Way of Water and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery waiting in the wings. I think it’s logical to say we won’t see four sequels in BP. Three seems like a stretch. While I wouldn’t discount Wakanda in the big race, I believe the more feasible scenario is tech nods and possibly 5 to even 7 of them. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

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.

Queen & Slim Box Office Prediction

In what’s being called a current take on Bonnie and Clyde, Universal is hoping that moviegoers take a trip with Queen & Slim over the long Thanksgiving weekend. The romantic thriller stars Daniel Kaluuya (of Get Out and Black Panther fame) and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith as a new couple on the run after a minor traffic stop goes wrong. Melina Matsoukas, who’s won Grammys and MTV Video Music Awards for her work with Beyonce and Rihanna, makes her feature film debut. Costars include Bokeem Woodbine, Chloe Sevigny, and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The pic debuted last week at the AFI Fest to very positive reviews. Yet despite the current 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating, this has yet to achieve any significant awards chatter. That could hinder its box office potential. Queen is already being called a potential cult hit. However, cult hits often take some time to achieve that status.

Opening on Wednesday, I believe this will have a five-day take in the high single digits to low double digits as it hopes for word of mouth to carry it along.

Queen & Slim opening weekend prediction: $6.9 million (Friday to Sunday); $10.1 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Knives Out prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/11/20/knives-out-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Queen & Slim

The Los Angeles based AFI Fest is the last major calendar year opportunity for Oscar hopefuls to strut their stuff and there’s always a few premieres to go along with it. In 2019, that includes Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell and The Banker with Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie. The opener is Queen & Slim from director Melina Matsoukas, who’s been known for her visionary music videos for Beyonce and Rihanna.

Slim centers on a couple (Daniel Kaluuya of Get Out fame and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith) whose first date becomes intertwined with a police brutality incident. Early critical reaction is strong and it stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Indications are that this could turn into a cult hit and perhaps even a real one, with an insightful and politically charged screenplay from Lena Waithe. She’s known primarily for acclaimed TV projects Master of None and The Chi.

Despite the praise, Oscar attention could be… well, slim. Anything arriving this late in the game would need to be a game changer for Picture visibility and some reviews are positive but with some reservation. Turner-Smith is garnering a lot of chatter, but it could be a leap to think she’ll factor into an already crowded Best Actress race.

Bottom line: look for Queen to become a conversation piece upon its November 27th release. I’m just not confident that will include talk about Academy nods. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Top Ten Summer Hits of 2008: A Look Back

As I do each summer on the blog, I’m giving you the top 10 seasonal ditties from 10, 20, and 30 years ago as tabulated by Billboard. I’ve already covered 1988 and 1998 and if you missed them, here ya go:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/21/top-ten-summer-hits-of-1988-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/28/top-ten-summer-hits-of-1998-a-look-back/

We now move to one decade ago. As with past posts, I’m ranking each song on a scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (summer classic) and letting you know whether or not said track is on my Apple Music. Let’s get to it…

10. “Dangerous” by Kardinal Offishall feat. Akon

This reggae tinged hip hop effort represents the biggest hit for Canada’s Offishall with an assist from Akon. It’s adequate though not particularly memorable.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music? No

9. “Leavin'” by Jesse McCartney

This is the biggest hit from the second most famous McCartney in pop music. It gives exposure to G5 planes and is rather disposable, but pleasant enough.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

8. “Disturbia” by Rihanna

Now we’re talking. She’s got tons of hits, but I find the dance groove of “Disturbia” to be among Rihanna’s very best.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

7. “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield

The Emma Stone pic Easy A had a whole sequence about how she couldn’t stand this pop confection by English artist Bedingfield and then found herself loving it and listening to it incessantly. I wouldn’t go that far, but it is annoyingly catchy.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

6. “Forever” by Chris Brown

These were better times for Mr. Brown as this techno sounding dance smash serves as one of his musical highlights.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

5. “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis

This one was pretty inescapable in summer 2008 with solid vocals from Brit singer Lewis. It’s co-produced by none other than Jesse McCartney.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

4. “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay

Sorry Coldplay haters, but I find this string heavy work to be pretty darn terrific. It earns its place as one of their signature tunes.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

3. “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne feat. Static Major

Lil Wayne was all the rage ten years ago yet I actually find this auto-tune monster hit to have lost some luster. Still, it’s his biggest selling single.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

2. “Take a Bow” by Rihanna

How about a round of applause for more fine work from Rihanna. This ballad stands as one of her best. Co-produced by Ne-Yo.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

1. “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry

The song that turned Perry into a superstar, the lyrics certainly caught the attention of many. It’s a well-crafted pop track for sure. It’s not her greatest song, but it serves as an impressive breakout point for a career still roaring.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

And there you have it! The summers of 1988, 1998, and 2008 are covered! I look forward to next summer when 1989, 1999, and 2009 are on deck…