Oscar History: 2012

It’s been quite some time since I’ve done an Oscar History post (about two and a half years) and I’m at 2012. It was a year in which Seth MacFarlane hosted the show – fresh off his comedy smash Ted. Here’s what transpired in the major categories with some other pictures and performers I might have considered:

The year saw nine nominees for Best Picture in which Ben Affleck’s Argo took the top prize. Other nominees: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook (my personal favorite of the year), and Zero Dark Thirty. 

Many Wes Anderson fans would contend that Moonrise Kingdom should have made the cut. And I could certainly argue that The Avengers (perhaps the greatest comic book flick and the year’s biggest grosser) was worth a nod.

The nominations in Best Director were a huge surprise at the time. While Argo won the top prize of all, Affleck was not nominated for his behind the camera efforts. It was the first time since Driving Miss Daisy‘s Bruce Beresford where an Oscar-winning Picture didn’t see its filmmaker nominated.

Instead it was Ang Lee who was victorious for Life of Pi over Michael Haneke (Amour), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

In addition to Affleck, it was surprising that Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) was not included. And I certainly would have put in Tarantino for Django.

The race for Best Actor seemed over when the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln was announced. And that’s exactly how it played out as he won his third Oscar over a strong slate of Bradley Cooper (Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), and Denzel Washington (Flight).

The exclusion of John Hawkes in The Sessions could have been welcomed, but I’ll admit that’s a solid group.

Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for Silver Linings over Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts), and Naomi Watts (The Impossible).

Again, no major qualms here. I did enjoy the work of Helen Mirren in Hitchcock (for which she did get a Golden Globe nod).

Supporting Actor was competitive as Christoph Waltz won his second statue for Django (three years after Inglourious Basterds). He was a bit of a surprise winner over Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln. Other nominees: Alan Arkin (Argo), Robert De Niro (Playbook), and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master).

Here’s a year where there’s a lot of others I thought of. Waltz won, but I think the work of Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson in Django was equally impressive. There’s Javier Bardem as one of the greatest Bond villains ever in Skyfall. Or John Goodman’s showy role in Flight. As for some other blockbusters that year, how about Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers or Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike? And my favorite comedic scene of that year was due to Giovanni Ribisi in Ted…

In Supporting Actress, Anne Hathaway was a front-runner for Les Miserables and there was no upset. Other nominees: Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), and Jacki Weaver (Playbook).

Judi Dench had more heft to her part as M in Skyfall that year and I’ll also give a shout-out to Salma Hayek’s performance in Oliver Stone’s Savages.

And there’s your Oscar history for 2012! I’ll have 2013 up… hopefully in less than two and a half years!

2016 Golden Globe Predictions

The most visible Oscar precursor is unveiled tomorrow when the Golden Globe nominations come out. Unlike the Academy Awards, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association divides its Picture and lead acting races into two categories: Drama and Musical/Comedy. Additionally, it doesn’t split the screenplay race into Adapted and Original like the Oscars do.

Tonight on the blog, I am giving you my estimates for what and who will be nominated at the Globes, along with picking an alternate and a potential surprise in these races.

Let’s get to it!


Predicted Nominees



Manchester by the Sea



Alternate: Jackie

Potential Surprise: Fences not getting a nod, allowing Jackie or Lion or Hacksaw Ridge to get in.


Predicted Nominees

Florence Foster Jenkins

La La Land

The Lobster

Rules Don’t Apply

20th Century Women

Alternate: Hail, Caesar!

Potential Surprise: Captain Fantastic managing to get recognized.


Predicted Nominees

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Martin Scorsese, Silence

Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Alternate: Denzel Washington, Fences

Potential Surprise: Pablo Larrain getting a nod for Jackie.


Predicted Nominees

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Joel Edgerton, Loving

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge

Tom Hanks, Sully

Denzel Washington, Fences

Alternate: Andrew Garfield, Silence – will be interesting to see which pic he’s nominated for.

Potential Surprise: Michael Keaton landing a nom for The Founder, which could significantly boost his Oscar talk.


Predicted Nominees

Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply

Colin Farrell, The Lobster

Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins

Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Alternate: Adam Driver, Paterson

Potential Surprise: Grant not being nominated, which would essentially kill his slimming chances for a Supporting Actor Oscar nod.


Predicted Nominees

Amy Adams, Arrival

Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Alternate: Rachel Weisz, Denial

Potential Surprise: Hearing Rebecca Hall’s name called for the little seen Christine.


Predicted Nominees

Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship

Annette Bening, 20th Century Women

Susan Sarandon, The Meddler

Emma Stone, La La Land

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Alternate: Sally Field, My Name is Doris

Potential Surprise: Hailee Steinfeld sneaking in for the critically lauded The Edge of Seventeen.


Predicted Nominees

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Issey Ogata, Silence

Dev Patel, Lion

Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Alternate: Mykelti Williamson, Fences

Potential Surprise: There could be a lot in this race, but let’s go with Aaron Eckhart getting recognized for Sully or Bleed for This.


Predicted Nominees

Viola Davis, Fences

Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women

Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Nicole Kidman, Lion

Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Alternate: Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky

Potential Surprise: Molly Shannon’s small indie work in Other People making the cut.


Predicted Nominees


La La Land

Manchester by the Sea



Alternate: Fences

Potential Surprise: Well, predicting Fences gets left off is a bit of a surprise, so let’s go with that.

I’ll have a post up tomorrow recounting how I did with these predictions. Until then…


Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 6th Edition

It’s Thursday and that means I’m back at it with my weekly Oscar predictions in the eight major categories. So what’s transpired over the past seven days? Quite a bit! The Girl on the Train, which opens tomorrow, was screened with very mixed critical reaction. It had been at the lower end (#24 last week) of possible Best Picture nominees, but it now appears its chances have been completely derailed. Don’t expect it to appear on the list again. I do still have Emily Blunt as a long-shot Actress possibility, but Haley Bennett’s work in Supporting Actress and an Adapted Screenplay nomination have also fallen off.

We also got a trailer for Pablo Larrain’s Jackie, which could be a contender in several races. And we received official word that Ben Affleck’s Prohibition era crime pic Live by Night will be released in limited fashion in late December, qualifying it for the Academy’s consideration.

And there was the debut at the New York Film Festival of Ana DuVernay’s race relations documentary 13th. It’s important to note that no doc has been nominated for Best Picture, so it’s got a steep hill to climb. Yet it’s possible and joins the contenders of hopefuls this week.

*A final note before we get to predictions. It is my plan throughout October to keep with listing 25 Best Picture possibilities and 15 in the other races. By the first week of November, this will shift to 20 for Best Picture and ten in the others.

And with that, this week’s predictions:

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Fences (PR: 2)

3. Silence (PR: 3)

4. Lion (PR: 5)

5. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 4)

6. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

7. Moonlight (PR: 7)

8. Loving (PR: 8)

9. Jackie (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities

10. Hidden Figures (PR: 9)

11. Arrival (PR: 11)

12. Sully (PR: 12)

13. Live by Night (PR: 15)

14. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 13)

15. Hell or High Water (PR: 14)

16. 13th (PR: Not Ranked)

17. The Birth of a Nation (PR: 16)

18. The Jungle Book (PR: 19)

19. 20th Century Women (PR: 18)

20. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 17)

21. The Founder (PR: 22)

22. Gold (PR: 21)

23. Allied (PR: 23)

24. Miss Sloane (PR: Not Ranked)

25. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 25)

Dropped Out:


The Girl on the Train

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 3)

3. Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 2)

4. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 4)

5. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Pablo Larrain, Jackie (PR: 9)

7. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 6)

8. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 7)

9. Denis Villenueve, Arrival (PR: 10)

10. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 8)

11. Ana DuVernay, 13th (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Clint Eastwood, Sully (PR: 13)

13. Ben Affleck, Live by Night (PR: 15)

14. Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 12)

15. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 11)

Dropped Out:

Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Casey Affleck, Manchster by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 3)

4. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 4)

5. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joe Alwyn, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 6)

7. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 7)

8. Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 8)

9. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 11)

10. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 9)

11. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 12)

12. Miles Teller, Bleed for This (PR: 10)

13. Ben Affleck, Live by Night (PR: 15)

14. Will Smith, Collateral Beauty (PR: 13)

15. Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation (PR: 14)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

3. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 3)

4. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

5. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 7)

7. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 6)

8. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 12)

9. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 8)

10. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 9)

11. Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 10)

12. Marion Cotillard, Allied (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train (PR: 11)

14. Rebecca Hall, Christine (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Rachel Weisz, Denial

Sally Field, My Name is Doris

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 1)

2. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 2)

3. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 3)

4. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 4)

5. Aaron Eckhart, Sully (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 5)

7. Sunny Pawar, Lion (PR: 6)

8. Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 10)

9. Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie (PR: 14)

10. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Steve Martin, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 8)

12. Aaron Eckhart, Bleed for This (PR: 7)

13. Lucas Hedges, Manchster by the Sea (PR: 11)

14. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 13)

15. Alan Rickman, Eye in the Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Timothy Spall, Denial

Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

3. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 3)

4. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 11)

5. Laura Linney, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Kristen Stewart, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 5)

7. Margo Martindale, The Hollars (PR: 7)

8. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: 10)

9. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

10. Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women (PR: 8)

11. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 9)

12. Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold (PR: 13)

13. Janelle Monae, Moonlight (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Miss Sloane (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Haley Bennett, The Girl on the Train

Sienna Miller, Live by Night

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. La Land Land (PR: 1)

2. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Moonlight (PR: 3)

4. Jackie (PR: 4)

5. Loving (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Hell or High Water (PR: 6)

7. 20th Century Women (PR: 8)

8. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 9)

9. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 7)

10. The Lobster (PR: 10)

11. Miss Sloane (PR: 14)

12. Zootopia (PR: 11)

13. Gold (PR: 13)

14. Allied (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Toni Erdmann (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Birth of a Nation


Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Fences (PR: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 2)

3. Lion (PR: 4)

4. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

5. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities

6. Sully (PR: 9)

7. Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

8. Arrival (PR: 7)

9. Live by Night (PR: 13)

10. Indignation (PR: 11)

11. Elle (PR: 8)

12. Love & Friendship (PR: 10)

13. The Jungle Book (PR: 14)

14. A Monster Calls (PR: 15)

15. Denial (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Girl on the Train

And there you have it, folks! Until next time…

Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: September 29th Edition

It’s my weekly Thursday Oscar predictions in the eight major categories coming your way and there has been some news since last Thursday. It was officially confirmed that Martin Scorsese’s passion project Silence will be released in December in time for awards consideration (maybe we’ll finally get a trailer soon!). There were trailers released for some high-profile contenders: Denzel Washington’s Fences and Mike Mills’s 20th Century Women. 

As we do every week, I’ll rank my top 25 contenders for Best Picture along with top 15 for the directing, acting, and screenplay races (you can also see the movement from the previous week’s ranking to now).

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Fences (PR: 2)

3. Silence  (PR: 4)

4. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 3)

5. Lion (PR: 7)

6. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 5)

7. Moonlight (PR: 6)

8. Loving (PR: 8)

9. Hidden Figures (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Jackie (PR: 11)

11. Arrival (PR: 12)

12. Sully (PR: 13)

13. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 10)

14. Hell or High Water (PR: 16)

15. Live by Night (PR: 14)

16. The Birth of a Nation (PR: 15)

17. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 19)

18. 20th Century Women (PR: 17)

19. The Jungle Book (PR: 21)

20. Passengers (PR: 25)

21. Gold (PR: Not Ranked)

22. The Founder (PR: 22)

23. Allied (PR: 18)

24. The Girl on the Train (PR: Not Ranked)

25. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 23)

Dropped Out:

Collateral Beauty

Hacksaw Ridge

Best Director

Predicted Nominees

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 2)

3. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 3)

4. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 4)

5. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 8)

7. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 6)

8. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 7)

9. Pablo Larrain, Jackie (PR: 11)

10. Denis Villenueve, Arrival (PR: 10)

11. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 12)

12. Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 9)

13. Clint Eastwood, Sully (PR: 13)

14. Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Ben Affleck, Live by Night (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Robert Zemeckis, Allied

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 2)

2. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

3. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 5)

4. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 3)

5. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Joe Alwyn, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 6)

7. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 7)

8. Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 9)

9. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 10)

10. Miles Teller, Bleed for This (PR: 12)

11. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 11)

13. Will Smith, Collateral Beauty (PR: 8)

14. Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation (PR: 13)

15. Ben Affleck, Live by Night (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Dave Johns, I, Daniel Blake 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

3. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 3)

4. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 4)

5. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 6)

7. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 7)

8. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 9)

9. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 8)

10. Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 10)

11. Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train (PR: 12)

12. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 11)

13. Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers (PR: 13)

14. Rachel Weisz, Denial (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Sally Field, My Name is Doris (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Rooney Mara, Una

Marion Cotillard, Allied

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 1)

2. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 2)

3. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 3)

4. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 7)

5. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sunny Pawar, Lion (PR: 6)

7. Aaron Eckhart, Bleed for This (PR: 8)

8. Steve Martin, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 5)

9. Aaron Eckhart, Sully (PR: 10)

10. Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 11)

11. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 9)

12. Timothy Spall, Denial (PR: 13)

13. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 12)

14. Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

3. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 4)

4. Laura Linney, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

5. Kristen Stewart, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

7. Margo Martindale, The Hollars (PR: 7)

8. Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 11)

10. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: 8)

11. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 9)

12. Haley Bennett, The Girl on the Train (PR: 13)

13. Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold (PR: 10)

14. Sienna Miller, Live by Night (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Helen Mirren, Collateral Beauty

Aja Naomi King, The Birth of a Nation

Julianne Moore, Maggie’s Plan

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. La Land Land (PR: 1)

2. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Moonlight (PR: 3)

4. Jackie (PR: 4)

5. Loving (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hell or High Water (PR: 6)

7. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 9)

8. 20th Century Women (PR: 7)

9. I, Daniel Blake (PR: 13)

10. The Lobster (PR: 8)

11. Zootopia (PR: 11)

12. The Birth of a Nation (PR: 10)

13. Gold (PR: 12)

14. Miss Sloane (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Passengers (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Collateral Beauty


Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Fences (PR: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 3)

3. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 2)

4. Lion (PR: 4)

5. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

7. Arrival (PR: 7)

8. Elle (PR: 11)

9. Sully (PR: 8)

10. Love & Friendship (PR: 12)

11. Indignation (PR: 13)

12. The Girl on the Train (PR: 10)

13. Live by Night (PR: 9)

14. The Jungle Book (PR: 15)

15. A Monster Calls (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


And that’ll do it for the weekly Oscar predictions! Check back next week, folks…

2016 Early Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

Day 3 of my early Oscar predictions arrives with Best Actress. These late August/early September guesstimates yielded two of the eventual nominees in 2014 and three last year.

Looking over the field of possibilities for Best Actress in 2016, one thing seems clear. More than most years, this particular race seems loaded with legitimate contenders and it could be one of the more competitive categories of the year.

Let’s start with three actresses who have received nominations but never won: four-time nominee and never winner Annette Bening is headlining this fall’s 20th Century Women. She was a strong contender for wins in both 1999 and 2004 (for American Beauty and Being Julia), but lost out in both cases to Hilary Swank.

There’s five-time nominee and never winner Amy Adams, who has two pictures in which she could be recognized: Arrival and Nocturnal Animals.

We have Viola Davis in this December’s Denzel Washington directed Fences. She was nominated for 2011’s The Help but lost to Meryl Streep in her role as The Iron Lady.

Speaking of Meryl Streep… there’s Meryl Streep going for her 20th nomination as Florence Foster Jenkins. Its potential drawback could be muted box office numbers this summer, but you can never count her out.

Emma Stone will likely draw attention for her work in the musical drama La La Land. Ruth Negga has received early raves costarring in the interracial romance Loving. Then there’s the biopic Jackie (as in Kennedy), which casts 2010 winner Natalie Portman in the title role. She could be a major contender, yet there’s some uncertainty as to when it’ll come out.

Oh there’s more! Jennifer Lawrence will go for her fifth nomination in seven years with sci-fi drama Passengers. Emily Blunt could be a player with The Girl on the Train, as could previous nominees Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane), Rosamund Pike (A United Kingdom), and Rooney Mara (Lion). Not to mention previous winners like Sally Field (My Name is Doris), Helen Mirren (Eye in the Sky) and Marion Cotillard (Allied).

Bottom line: this race looks packed and we’ll see how it develops in the coming weeks. For now…


Amy Adams, Arrival

Annette Bening, 20th Century Women

Viola Davis, Fences

Ruth Negga, Loving

Emma Stone, La La Land

Other Possibilities:

Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals

Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train

Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane

Marion Cotillard, Allied

Sally Field, My Name is Doris

Rebecca Hall, Christine

Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers

Rooney Mara, Lion

Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky

Rosamund Pike, A United Kingdom

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Alicia Vikander, The Light Between Oceans

Rachel Weisz, Denial

Best Actor tomorrow!

Top 25 Highest Grossing Actresses of All Time (20-16)

Continuing on with the Top 25 Highest Grossing Actresses in box office history, today brings us to part two and numbers 20-16.

In case you missed part one, you can find here it here –


Here we go:

20. Meryl Streep

Career Earnings: $2 billion

Franchises: None

Highest Grossing Picture: Mamma Mia! (2008) – $144 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 6 (Mamma Mia!, Into the Woods, The Devil Wears Prada, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, It’s Complicated, Kramer vs. Kramer)

Lowest Grosser: Dark Matter (2008) – $30,000

Overall Rank: 94

19. Amy Adams

Career Earnings: $2 billion

Franchises: Current Superman/Batman films

Highest Grossing Picture: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – $329 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 7 (Batman v Superman, Man of Steel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Catch Me If You Can, American Hustle, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Enchanted)

Lowest Grosser: Standing Still (2006) – $30,000

Overall Rank: 93

18. Natalie Portman

Career Earnings: $2 billion

Franchises: Star Wars episodes I-III, Thor

Highest Grossing Picture: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) – $474 million

Numbers of $100M+ Earners: 6 (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Black Swan, Thor, Thor: The Dark World)

Lowest Grosser: The Other Woman (2011) – $25,000

Overall Rank: 85

17. Sally Field

Career Earnings: $2 billion

Franchises: Second Spider-Man series

Highest Grossing Picture: Forrest Gump (1994) – $330 million

Numbers of $100M+ Earners: Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Mrs. Doubtfire, Lincoln, Smokey and the Bandit

Lowest Grosser: Two Weeks (2006) – $47,000

Overall Rank: 94

16. Zoe Saldana

Career Earnings: $2 billion

Franchises: Star Trek (with Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy soon to follow)

Highest Grossing Picture: Avatar (2009) – $760 million

Numbers of $100M+ Earners: 4 (Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness)

Lowest Grosser: The Skeptic (2009) – $1,000

Overall Rank: 82

I’ll bring you numbers 15-11 tomorrow!

Oscar Watch: Hello, My Name Is Doris

This past weekend, comedic drama Hello, My Name Is Doris impressed box office observers by making nearly a million dollars on just 128 screens. The film premiered at the SXSW Film Fesitval days ago to positive response with a current rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The bulk of the film’s praise has been devoted to its lead star, Sally Field, playing an older woman romancing a younger man. If distributor Roadside Attractions is able to mount a credible campaign, Field could find herself in line for her fourth nomination in just under 40 years. In 1979, she was victorious in Best Actress for her title role in Norma Rae and in 1984, won again for Places in the Heart. In 2012, she was nominated in Supporting Actress in Lincoln. 

This is highly likely to be the only category where Doris could be a factor. Costars including Max Greenfield, Stephen Root, Natasha Lyonne, and Tyne Daly shouldn’t garner attention. While reviews are strong, March is awfully early in the Academy’s season and her inclusion may depend on how solid the race for Actress becomes (a question mark currently).

That said, Field is a beloved performer whose track record with the Academy has been sterling over four decades. They’re capable of liking her – really, really liking her. It’d be foolish to completely count her out.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie Review

It’s a feeling that I simply couldn’t shake when I watched 2012’s reboot The Amazing Spider-Man: this movie isn’t necessary. Yet it was. If Sony Pictures wanted to keep the rights to the Spidey brand (and did they ever), a new pic had to be produced. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst weren’t interested in a fourth entry so the franchise was started over just ten years after it began.

However, that didn’t mean it felt necessary… Sony’s financial consideration aside. Too often The Amazing Spider-Man felt like a remake of 2002’s original and there was no reason to have one. There were silver linings. The chemistry between Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spidey and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy was stronger than the Maguire/Dunst dynamic. Come to think of it… that was about the only silver lining in director Andrew Webb’s playbook. The rest of the pic was reasonably entertaining but familiar… way too familiar.

This brings us to the inevitable sequel in which the filmmakers (Webb returns behind the camera) inexplicably make the same errors that sunk the original trilogy by the time the mediocre Spider-Man 3 entered multiplexes in 2007. Too many villains. Too many subplots you don’t care about. It’s the same problems that have hindered Batman and Iron Man flicks in their weakest entries, too.

New characters include Jamie Foxx as Electro/Max Dillon, an Oscorp employees who worships Spider-Man and then finds himself as his nemesis when an electrical accident turns him into a super villain. His character is not terribly interesting and Foxx’s performance is not among his strongest.

Dane Dehaan is Harry Osborn, who takes over his Dad’s corporation following his death. Harry finds out he’s terminally ill and believes he needs Spidey’s blood to keep him alive. He doesn’t know his best childhood friend Peter Parker is also… well, you know. Complications ensue and an iconic baddie from Spidey lore enters the picture. Dehaan gives the role his all, but by the time his metamorphosis occurs, you’re checking your watch.

There’s also Paul Giamatti in a curiously small role as a Russian mobster who you won’t care about and where the character’s incredibly talented and Oscar nominated actor hams it up pretty embarrassingly.

And Sally Field is back as Aunt May with Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz returning in flashback sequences as Peter’s parents. Denis Leary as Gwen’s late father is also seen, but not heard.

The picture’s only strength lies in the genuine chemistry of Garfield and Stone, just like in the first. It’s not enough. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has that unmistakable whiff of needlessness that plagued its predecessor. There’s a sequence in the beginning when Gwen and Peter are having a quarrel and she sadly says, “You have done this again and again, Peter Parker! I can’t live like this.” We’ve seen that scene between Spidey and his girl again and again… and again… and again. We’ve seen the breakup of Peter and Gwen… and Peter and Mary Jane. And we’ve seen it too much in the past 12 years. Sony Pictures needs to keep the gravy train rolling, but I can live without this fading franchise.

** (out of four)

Doubting Doubtfire

Weeks ago when it was announced that Fox was in development with a sequel to 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire, my reaction was similar to that of many: really?

I’ve covered the fact that most comedy sequels simply don’t work before:


There was a time when a sequel would’ve made a whole lot of sense. After all, it grossed $219 million domestically and $441 million worldwide, making it second only to Jurassic Park for that year’s top earners. This was at a time when star Robin Williams was a box office force, especially with kids flicks (Aladdin had been released the year prior). Director Chris Columbus was also a hit making machine, coming off Home Alone and its sequel. Neither have had much success in recent years.

It has been noted that Doubtfire is one of the most replayed pictures on cable so there is likely a new generation of filmgoers who have caught it that way. It’s also encouraging that Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum is drafting the screenplay.

Still – one thought keeps tugging at me. Are there many people who thought there was a lot more to be explored in the Doubtfire universe? As I see it, the film seemed to be a self-contained unit with a follow-up not needed. Even Mara Wilson, who played Robin’s youngest daughter, immediately went to Twitter to proclaim she wouldn’t be involved. By the way, if you don’t follow Mara Wilson on Twitter you should. I’m not sure if Sally Field will reprise her role either and there’s no reason for Pierce Brosnan to return.

At least Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels coming back to reprise their roles in the Dumb and Dumber sequel (out this November) makes a little more sense. That picture would seem to lend itself more to a sequel. However, we’ll see how well that works.

Good luck to Mr. Berenbaum, director Columbus, and Robin Williams coming up with a story that brings audiences back in the Doubtfire fold. Maybe they should make it a horror movie because there’s already been a brilliant trailer cut for that scenario:

For now it’s hard not to be doubting the Doubtfire sequel.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Box Office Prediction

Two summers back, the Spidey franchise was rebooted with Andrew Garfield in the title role and summer 2014 kicks off with its sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Friday. Emma Stone is back as Gwen Stacy as is Sally Field as Aunt May, with a trio of villains joining the mix. They are Jamie Foxx as Electro, Paul Giamatti as Russian mobster Aleksei Sytsevich, and Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn, who will likely become the Green Goblin at some point. Marc Webb, who helmed the original, is back behind the camera.

Interestingly, among the four current Spidey flicks, each has grossed less than the previous one. Here’s the stats:

Spider-Man (2002): $403 million

Spider-Man 2 (2004): $373 million

Spider-Man 3 (2007): $336 million

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012): $262 million

Judging the opening gross of this sequel based on its 2012 predecessor is a bit tricky because it opened over the Fourth of July weekend. While its Friday to Sunday gross was $62 million, it rolled out over a six-day period beginning on a Tuesday with $137 million.

I think the real question here is whether or not The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will have the biggest superhero opening so far this year. In other words – can it top the $95 million opening that Captain America: The Winter Soldier accomplished a month ago?

As I see it, the possibility of Spidey topping $100 million out of the gate is real. It pretty much has the weekend to itself and has the advantage of being the first high-profile summer 2014 blockbuster. On the other hand, the original wasn’t exactly beloved and the low end opening possibility to me would be around $75 million – which would be considered a bit of a letdown.

My spidey sense tells me this won’t quite reach what Captain America did, but it’ll come close.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opening weekend prediction: $90.1 million