2022 Oscar Predictions: August 10th Edition

For my first Oscar analysis in the 8 major categories for the month of August, the ten BP contenders remain the same. However, Everything Everywhere All at Once moves to #2 with Babylon slipping a spot to third. I truly do believe there’s a path for Once to take the top prize next year depending on how the next five months of releases play out.

At the end of July, I vaulted Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans to #1 in BP. Today I’m putting the filmmaker in first with Babylon‘s Damien Chazelle now in second.

While my lead actress and actor picks remain unaltered, there is movement in both supporting derbies. In Supporting Actress, Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) and Griselda Sicillani (Bardo) are in my projected quintet with Hong Chau (The Whale) and Zoe Kazan (She Said) falling out. In Supporting Actor, I’m switching Empire of Light costars with Michael Ward making the cut over Colin Firth.

Finally, I’ve taken Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives out of contention in all categories where I previously had it listed as a possibility. If Amazon Prime mounts a campaign later this year, it could find itself back in the mix. I wouldn’t count on it despite its solid reviews.

Expect another update in the next week or two! You can peruse all the movement below:

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

6. The Son (PR: 6) (E)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The Whale (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. White Noise (PR: 12) (+1)

12. She Said (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Tar (PR: 13) (E)

14. Elvis (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 14) (-1)

16. Decision to Leave (PR: 16) (E)

17. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 18) (+1)

18. Bones and All (PR: 20) (+2)

19. Till (PR: 19) (E)

20. Broker (PR: 17) (-3)

21. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 22) (+1)

22. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 23) (+1)

23. The Menu (PR: Not Ranked)

24. The Woman King (PR: 24) (E)

25. Amsterdam (PR: 21) (-4)

Dropped Out:

Thirteen Lives 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 8) (E)

9. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 11) (+1)

11. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 9 (-2)

12. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 12) (E)

13. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 13) (E)

14. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Bax Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Hirokazu Kore-eda, Broker

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (E)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 10) (E)

11. Helen Mirren, Golda (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Frances McDormand, Women Talking (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling

Emma Corrin, Lady Chatterley’s Lover 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 1) (E)

4. Damien Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (E)

11. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Harry Styles, My Policeman (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (E)

4. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 7) (+3)

5. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: +2)

14. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Patricia Clarkson, She Said 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Michael Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 10) (+6)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (E)

9. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 9) (-2)

12. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 15) (+3)

13. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Don Cheadle, White Noise (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 13) (-2)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Bardo (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Tar (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Menu (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Broker (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 15) (+3)

13. Bros (PR: 13) (E)

14. Amsterdam (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 14) (-1)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. White Noise (PR: 4) (E)

5. She Said (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bones and All (PR: 6) (E)

7. Till (PR: 7) (E)

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 8) (-2)

11. Living (PR: 14) (+3)

12. The Lost King (PR: Not Ranked)

13. The Woman King (PR: 13) (E)

14. Blonde (PR: 15) (+1)

15. The Good Nurse (PR: 12) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Thirteen Lives 

2022 Oscar Predictions: July 31st Edition

As July comes to a close, Oscar prognosticators received several bits of fascinating news this past week. The first was the lineup of the Venice Film Festival as well as the bulk of titles that will play in Toronto. That wild season (which also includes Telluride) is a mere month away. We will see a huge number of awards hopefuls being screened with long awaited buzz finally becoming clear.

Yet the biggest news is the (as yet unconfirmed) rumor that Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon will not come out until 2023. Variety and Deadline essentially reported it as fact. I struggled all day with whether to include Killers in my updated predictions (I faced the same choices a couple of weeks ago with Rustin). My final decision was to drop it. If Killers ends up back on the 2022 calendar, Variety and Deadline have some explaining to do…

Another development is that Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives was released. While reviews were certainly decent, I don’t think they’re strong enough that it will be a true BP contender. It’s at #25 on my list.

The Killers announcement obviously means major changes in most of my lineups. Cannes fest winner Triangle of Sadness replaces it in my 10 BP picks while Sarah Polley (Women Talking) is in for Scorsese in Director. Adam Driver in the Venice opener White Noise replaces Leonardo DiCaprio in Actor. Hong Chau (The Whale) is now in Supporting Actress with Lily Gladstone out. And with Jesse Plemons dropping in Supporting Actor, that leaves room for Triangle‘s Woody Harrelson. Finally, She Said rises in Adapted Screenplay.

That’s not all, folks! There’s a new #1 in Best Picture! I’ve had Damien Chazelle’s Babylon ranked #1 from the beginning… until now. In order to find a BP winner that didn’t play at either Venice or Telluride or Toronto or Sundance or Cannes, you have to go all the way back to (ironically) Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. That was 16 years ago. Babylon could still sneak into Telluride. Yet I’m skeptical it will. This factoid alone is enough for me to vault Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans (premiering at Toronto) to the top spot.

I’m not finished yet with the #1 changes. The Son is now first in Adapted Screenplay since Killers has moved. And Ke Huy Quan rises to the pole position in Supporting Actor over Paul Dano from The Fabelmans. 

Another alteration – Empire of Light falls out of Original Screenplay with The Banshees of Inisherin in as my likely lone screenplay nominee.

That’s a lot of movement in one week and you can peruse it all below!

Best Picture 

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 2) (+1)

2. Babylon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Bardo (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

6. The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Whale (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 15) (+5)

Other Possibilities:

11. She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. White Noise (PR: 12) (E)

13. Tar (PR: 13) (E)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 14) (E)

15. Elvis (PR: 16) (+1)

16. Decision to Leave (PR: 19) (+3)

17. Broker (PR: 18) (+1)

18. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 20) (+2)

19. Till (PR: 17) (-2)

20. Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

21. Amsterdam (PR: 23) (+2)

22. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 24) (+2)

23. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 25) (+2)

24. The Woman King (PR: 21) (-3)

25. Thirteen Lives (PR: 22) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Killers of the Flower Moon 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (E)

5. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 11) (+4)

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 8) (E)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon

Chinoye Chukwu, Till

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 3) (E)

4. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 10) (E)

11. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Helen Mirren, Golda (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 14) (E)

15. Emma Corrin, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Frances McDormand, Women Talking 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 12) (E)

13. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye (PR: 14) (E)

15. Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives (PR: 13) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 4) (+2)

3. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (E)

4. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: 13) (+5)

9. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 9) (E)

10. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Patricia Clarkson, She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 12) (E)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon

Whoopi Goldberg, Till 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (+2)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 12) (+4)

9. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 13) (+4)

10. Michael Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Don Cheadle, White Noise (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon

Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon

Colin Farrell, Thirteen Lives 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Empire of Light (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Bardo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Tar (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (E)

10. Broker (PR: 10) (E)

11. The Menu (PR: 11) (E)

12. Amsterdam (PR: 12) (E)

13. Bros (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 15) (E)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Women Talking (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Whale (PR: 4) (+1)

4. White Noise (PR: 5) (+1)

5. She Said (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bones and All (PR: 13) (+7)

7. Till (PR: 7) (E)

8 .The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 11) (+3)

9. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Thirteen Lives (PR: 9) (-2)

12. The Good Nurse (PR: 14) (+2)

13. The Woman King (PR: 8) (-5)

14. Living (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Blonde (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Killers of the Flower Moon

Elvis 

22 for ’22: Oscars Early Look

It’s been an entire week since The Slap… check that, the 94th Academy Awards where CODA parlayed its Sundance buzz from January 2021 all the way to a Best Picture victory.

That also means I’ve managed to wait a whole week without speculation for the next Academy Awards which will hopefully be a slap free zone. So what are some titles that could be vying for attention?

On May 27th and after numerous delays, Top Gun: Maverick will find Tom Cruise returning to his iconic role some 36 years after the original. There’s a decent chance it could be up for similar prizes that its predecessor landed like Sound, Film Editing, and Song (courtesy of Lady Gaga apparently). Visual Effects is a possibility as well.

My weekly Oscar prediction posts won’t begin until mid to late August. In the meantime, you’ll get individualized write-ups for pics that open or screen at festivals.

Yet for today – I feel the need. The need to identify 21 other 2022 titles that might end up on the Academy’s radar. Enjoy!

Armageddon Time

Despite acclaimed movies like The Lost City of Z and Ad Astra, James Gray has yet to connect with awards voters. This drama, rumored to be centered on his Queens upbringing, is the next hopeful and features a stellar cast including Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, and Jeremy Strong. Release Date: TBD

Avatar 2

The 2009 original amassed nine nominations and won took home three. The first sequel (there’s three more on the way) arrives in December from James Cameron. Will it capture the critical and box office magic of part one? That’s impossible to know at this juncture, but one can safely assume it’ll be up for some tech categories like Sound and Visual Effects. Release Date: December 16th

Babylon

Damien Chazelle is no stranger to the big dance. Whiplash was a BP nominee and J.K. Simmons won Supporting Actor. Chazelle took Director for his follow-up La La Land along with Emma Stone’s Actress victory and it almost famously took BP. First Man nabbed four nominations, but missed the top of the line races. Babylon is a period drama focused on Hollywood’s Golden Age and should be right up the Academy’s alley. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Tobey Maguire. Release Date: December 25th

Canterbury Glass

Robbie also turns up in David O. Russell’s latest ensemble piece. Anytime he’s behind the camera, Oscar nods typically follow (think The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle). Slated for November, the dramedy also features Christian Bale, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, and… Chris Rock. Release Date: November 4th

Elvis

Arriving in June but with a Cannes unveiling in May, Baz Luhrmann’s musical bio of The King stars Austin Butler in the title role and Tom Hanks as The Colonel. If this doesn’t contend for the major awards, I would still anticipate potential tech recognition (Production Design, Sound, etc…). Release Date: June 24th

Empire of Light

Sam Mendes was likely in the runner-up position in 2019 for Picture and Director (behind Parasite) with 1917. His follow-up is an English set romance starring Olivia Colman (who would be going for her fourth nomination in five years), Michael Ward, and Colin Firth. Release Date: TBD

Everything Everywhere All at Once

From two filmmakers known collectively as Daniels, Once is already out in limited release with spectacular reviews (97% on RT). The sci-fi action comedy might be too bizarre for the Academy, but I wouldn’t count it out as its admirers are vocal. Picture, Director, Actress (Michelle Yeoh), and Original Screenplay are all on the table. Release Date: out in limited release, opens wide April 8th

The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg directs a semi-autobiographical tale and cowrites with his Lincoln and West Side Story scribe Tony Kushner. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, and Paul Dano. Needless to say, this is a major contender on paper. Release Date: November 23rd

Killers of the Flower Moon

Alongside The Fabelmans, this might be the most obvious nominee from a personnel standpoint. Martin Scorsese helms this western crime drama featuring Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, and his two frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Apple TV just became the first streamer to get a BP victory with CODA. This could be the second in a row. Release Date: November

Poor Things

In 2018, The Favourite scored a whopping ten nominations. Based on an acclaimed 1992 novel, Poor Things is Yorgos Lanthimos’s follow-up and it reunites him with Emma Stone along with Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, and Mark Ruffalo. The plot sounds bizarre but it could also be an Oscar bait role for Stone and others. Release Date: TBD

Rustin

One of Netflix’s contenders is George C. Wolfe’s profile of gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (played by Colman Domingo). In 2020, Wolfe directed Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman to nods for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Look for Domingo to be a competitor and the supporting cast includes Chris Rock (maybe he will be back at the show), Glynn Turman, and Audra McDonald. Release Date: TBD

See How They Run

The 1950s set murder mystery could provide 27-year-old Saoirse Ronan with an opportunity to land her fifth nomination. Sam Rockwell, David Oyelowo, Adrien Brody, and Ruth Wilson are among the supporting players. Tom George directs. Release Date: TBD

She Said

Five years after the scandal rocked Hollywood, She Said from Maria Schrader recounts the New York Times sexual misconduct investigation into Harvey Weinstein. Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, and Patricia Clarkson lead the cast. Release Date: November 18th

The Son

Florian Zeller won Best Adapted Screenplay in 2020 for The Father along with Anthony Hopkins taking Best Actor. This follow-up (based on the director’s play) finds Hopkins reprising his Oscar-winning part in supporting fashion. Other cast members seeking awards attention include Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, and Vanessa Kirby. Release Date: TBD

TAR

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Todd Field behind the camera. Previous efforts In the Bedroom and Little Children received 8 nominations between them. A decade and a half following Children comes this Berlin set drama with Cate Blanchett, Noemie Merlant, and Mark Strong. Release Date: October 7th

Three Thousand Years of Longing

Scheduled for a Cannes bow in May, Longing is a fantasy romance from the legendary mind of George Miller (who last made Mad Max: Fury Road which won six tech Oscars). Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton star. Release Date: TBD

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky directed Mickey Rourke to a comeback narrative nod for 2008’s The Wrestler. Two years later, his follow-up Black Swan earned Natalie Portman a statue. Brendan Fraser is hoping for the same treatment with The Whale as he plays a 600 pound man attempting to reconnect with his daughter. Costars include Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Samantha Morton. I’d expect Makeup and Hairstyling could also be in play with this. Release Date: TBD

White Noise

Not a remake of the Michael Keaton supernatural thriller from 2005, this is Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to Marriage Story. Based on a 1985 novel, it’s the filmmaker’s first picture based on other source material. Marriage landed three acting nods (with Laura Dern winning Supporting Actress). The cast here includes frequent Baumbach collaborator Adam Driver, real-life partner Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Andre Benjamin, Alessandro Nivola, and Don Cheadle. This could be Netflix’s strongest contender. Release Date: TBD

The Woman King

Expect this West Afrian set historical epic from Gina Prince-Bythewood to be heavily touted by Sony with awards bait roles for leads Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu. The supporting cast includes John Boyega and Lashana Lynch. Release Date: September 16th

Women Talking

Based on a 2018 novel, Sarah Polley writes and directs this drama focused on eight Mennonite women and their story of abuse. The sterling cast includes Frances McDormand, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, Claire Foy, and Rooney Mara. Release Date: TBD

And that’s just a small preview of the features that could materialize for the 95th Academy Awards! As always, the speculation on this site will continue throughout the year and into the next. Stay tuned…

Daily Streaming Guide: April 2nd Edition

For today’s streaming guide, I focus on what I consider Steven Spielberg’s best picture of the 21st century:

Minority Report was released in 2002 and it’s new to Netflix as of yesterday. Set in 2054, the sci-fi action thriller casts Tom Cruise as the head of a police force that determines “precrimes” – allowing law enforcement the ability to arrest perps before they commit murder. This system turns its head on Cruise when he becomes subject to such an investigation. Costarring Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, and Max Von Sydow, Report is a visual feast with a highly intelligent screenplay. The pic is based on a short story from famed author Philip K. Dick. Such features as Blade Runner and Total Recall have also been based on his works.

While it was a hit upon release, I’ve always felt this doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. I consider it to be the #1 movie of 2002 and the kind of relentless entertainment that its director is celebrated for. If you haven’t caught it (or need a reminder of its quality), I can’t recommend it enough.

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

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Now that Harry Potter’s wand has been cinematically retired (at least until Warner Bros figures out how to eventually resuscitate him), it’s J.K. Rowling to the rescue with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This is the first entry in the wizardry world with a screenplay directly from the famed author who created it. This expands greatly on her 2001 novel (which is when Harry debuted onscreen) to create another franchise meant to draw youngsters into its spell, as well as Potter fans of all ages.

In order to achieve that goal, David Yates is back directing. He’s responsible for the last four features in the Potterverse. Our central character this time around is Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a magizoologist from London who comes to New York City circa 1926 with a briefcase full of creatures. It’s not clear immediately why he’s in the Big Apple, but his back story tells us of his time at a little school called Hogwarts where he was expelled and was tutored by a much younger Dumbledore.

Wizards need to be registered stateside and Newt finds himself generating the skepticism of Tina (Katherine Waterston), who works for MACUSA, the Magical Congress of the United States of America (obviously). She’s frustrated with her job, which is headed by its President (Carmen Ejogo) and enforced by Colin Farrell’s head of security. Newt and Tina team up to protect his various beasts and those who wish to destroy them. It’s not a two-person team as Newt befriends aspiring baker and World War I vet Jacob (Dan Fogler). Tina’s mind reading sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) is also involved and is the apple of Jacob’s eye. Before we continue with the rest of the review, let me declare that the subplot of Jacob and Queenie’s flirtation and budding romance was my favorite thing about the movie. Fogler serves as the general comic relief here anyway and does so quite wonderfully. Sudol shines in her first role. Their chemistry has genuine magic and if there was ever a case for a rom com spin-off of a hoped for multi-billion dollar franchise, this is it.

Moving on, that’s a small but very winning part of the two-hour plus running time. I wish I could say the chemistry between Newt and Tina was as impressive, but it’s not. Tina is a bit of a blank slate in this first installment and it certainly remains to be seen whether Redmayne’s Newt will come anywhere close to being as beloved as you know who. He’s got a long way to go. Not even Harry Potter could have sold doing a “mating dance” with a titillated CG rhino and neither can Newt. On the other hand, Beasts has its own version of a Star Wars-like cantina scene with Ron Perlman’s cool voicing of a nefarious creation and it’s a highlight.

There are other performances worthy of note, including Ezra Miller as an abused teen with mysterious powers and Samantha Morton as his wizard hating adopted mom doing the abuse. Our main villain Grindelwald is mostly just spoken of but not seen (kind of like Voldemort was for a bit), but we know he’ll play a bigger role as the series moves along.

Fantastic Beasts is heavy on effects (most of them eye-catching) and creating the visually arresting template for sequels. I didn’t think it reached a Sorcerer’s Stone level of quality as far as part 1’s, but Rowling is generally successful in making us curious about what comes next with this real and generated crop of characters.

*** (out of four)

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them Box Office Prediction

The wildly popular fantasy world created by J.K. Rowling is back in theaters for the first time in five years as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them debuts next weekend. Based on a novel by the Harry Potter author, Beasts looks to create a new franchise for Warner Bros after that aforementioned wizard yielded the studio $2.3 billion dollars for the previous one. David Yates directs and he knows this universe well after making the last four Potter installments. Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne stars with a supporting cast that includes Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman, and Jon Voight.

The reported $225 million production is intended as the first in a five-part series and it’s safe to say there’s a lot riding on this one. Seven of the eight Potter pics reside in the top 100 domestic earners of all time and even the lowest grossing one (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) made just under $250M.

So where does this first entry in a budding new franchise land? I don’t believe it’ll quite reach the $90 million that first Potter experience The Sorcerer’s Stone opened at 15 years ago. That said, a gross in low to mid $80s range out of the gate seems quite probable. I’ll predict it’ll do just that and we can expect to see plenty more wizards and muggles coming our way in the near future.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opening weekend prediction: $83.1 million

For my Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/09/billy-lynns-long-halftime-walk-box-office-prediction/

For my Bleed for This prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/10/bleed-for-this-box-office-prediction/

For my The Edge of Seventeen prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/09/the-edge-of-seventeen-box-office-prediction/