2019 SAG Award Predictions

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

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

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

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture

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

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

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

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

Predicted Nominees

Dolemite Is My Name

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

First Alternate – Little Women

Second Alternate – Knives Out

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

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

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

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

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

Predicted Nominees

Robert De Niro, The Irishman

Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

First Alternate – Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Second Alternate – Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

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

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

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

Predicted Nominees

Awkwafina, The Farewell

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Renee Zellweger, Judy

First Alternate – Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Second Alternate – Lupita Nyong’o, Us

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

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

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

Predicted Nominees

Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse

Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

Al Pacino, The Irishman

Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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

Second Alternate – Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy

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

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

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

Predicted Nominees

Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers

Florence Pugh, Little Women

Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell 

First Alternate – Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Second Alternate – Annette Bening, The Report

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

Oscar Watch: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Ralph Breaks the Internet is expected to easily hit the #1 spot at the box office over the Thanksgiving holiday. The film is Disney’s highly anticipated sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It-Ralph and reviews are out today.

The verdict? Much like its predecessor, critical notice is strong as it currently stands at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some early notices say it doesn’t quite match the original, but it’s all pretty much a positive vibe.

As to where that puts Internet in the Oscar race for Best Animated Feature, I’d say it’s almost certainly in. Wreck-It-Ralph also nabbed a nomination in that category, but lost to Disney/Pixar’s Brave. That would appear to be what will happen again as Ralph should get a nod and lose to the heroes of Pixar’s Incredibles 2.

Bottom line: Ralph officially broke into awards chatter today, but studio competition should keep it from achieving gold. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

For my Creed II prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/14/creed-ii-box-office-prediction/

For my Robin Hood prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/14/robin-hood-box-office-prediction/

Ralph Breaks the Internet Box Office Prediction

Disney is no stranger to debuting high-profile titles over the long Turkey Day weekend and they’re back at it again with Ralph Breaks the Internet. It’s the sequel to 2012’s WreckItRalph and brings back the vocal stylings of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, and Ed O’Neill. New actors behind the mic include Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, and Alfred Molina. Rich Moore and Phil Johnston direct.

While we’re not in Incredibles 2 territory as far as expectations, Ralph is forecasted to easily break into the top spot for the Thanksgiving holiday. The original made $49 million for its start six years ago and ended up with $189 million.

Animated sequels can and have exceeded debut earnings of their predecessors. There’s been several years for kids to watch the original repeatedly and Internet could also appeal to younger adults. As mentioned, the Mouse Factory likes this frame for their drawn efforts. On the high-end, there’s Frozen, which made $93 million over the full Wednesday to Sunday frame ($67 million traditional weekend). On the low-end is The Good Dinosaur with a $55 million five-day ($39 million three-day). Two years ago, Moana took in $82 million ($56 million Friday to Sunday). Last year it was Coco with $72 million ($50 million three-day).

So where does this fit in? I like it falling in between Disney’s output from the last two years. That means I’m estimating it slightly outshines WreckIt for the traditional weekend with upper 70s for the whole holiday.

Ralph Breaks the Internet opening weekend prediction: $54.4 million (Friday to Sunday); $79.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Creed II prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/14/creed-ii-box-office-prediction/

For my Robin Hood prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/14/robin-hood-box-office-prediction/

For my Green Book prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/17/green-book-box-office-prediction/

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A glossy and often relevant retelling of one of the most famous matches ever, Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton’s Battle of the Sexes is centered on both the tennis court and the court of public opinion. Both matters are firmly on the focused mind of Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), the famed pro who was demanding equal pay for women in 1973 when the picture is set.

King and her fellow female players aren’t getting near that, so they start a league of their own, under the sponsorship of Virginia Slim cigarettes (it was a different time). Another player sees an opportunity to cash in on the publicity and that’s Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), a former champion now in his mid 50s who spends most of his time as a compulsive gambler (though he doesn’t see it that way). His challenge to King to meet on the court generated a divide among the sexes and many eyeballs on the eventual event – apparently about 90 million.

The court of public opinion doesn’t extend to gender issues. King is married to Larry (Austin Stowell) who helps run her fledgling empire. Yet when she meets free spirit hairdresser Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough), a romance quickly develops. King is smitten, but she knows it must stay in the closet to protect her career.

Battle of the Sexes tells this tale entertainingly and somewhat superficially. The themes of gender equality are ones that render four decades later. Stone has the most material to work with in her nuanced and strong portrayal of King. There’s not much nuance to Carell’s Riggs, though he’s certainly fun to watch.

The screenplay doesn’t delve too deep into his story, but Carell plays it well enough to avoid him becoming a total caricature. King seems to know Bobby isn’t quite the chauvinist louse he purports to be. The same cannot be said for Bill Pullman’s Jack Kramer, a prominent former pro turned announcer who doesn’t understand anything about women’s liberation. The pic is peppered with familiar faces in smaller parts, including Elisabeth Shue as Bobby’s wealthy and frustrated wife and Alan Cumming as the team’s outfit designer who quickly figures out Billie’s affair.

King would eventually earn the Presidential Medal of Freedom due to her advocacy for gay rights and equal pay. Sexes sees her at the advent of that life’s work. We see her drive as she tirelessly practices to beat a man at his game when so few think it’s possible. In fact, hearing Howard Cosell’s actual play-by-play during the game is both a treat and a stark reminder that it was a different era. We know eventually that King’s relentless work ethic will be applied elsewhere and for an even greater cause. Battle doesn’t delve overly deep into how she got there, but it serves up its replay of history admirably enough.

*** (out of four)

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

In the humorously titled Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, there’s a gag involving the terrific Will Arnett that only takes up maybe three minutes of screen time. He plays the host of “CMZ” (think TMZ) as he hilariously chats with his staff of gossip reporters and furiously downs big gulps and other assorted beverages. It struck my funny bone so much that I found myself wondering how good a movie would be if it were just about them. Then I remembered that taking memorable three minute bits and stretching them into feature length comedies usually doesn’t work.

There are other moments in Popstar that work. Yet it didn’t quite change my theory above. Fans of “Saturday Night Live” are familiar with The Lonely Island, Andy Samberg’s music group responsible for several YouTube friendly videos packed with catchy lyrics and musical icon cameos. Here, Samberg and his colleagues Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone (that pair share directing duties) make up The Style Boyz – a hip hop pop trio that hit it big. Yet it’s Kid Connor (Samberg) that was the Justin Timberlake (who cameos), Beyoncé or Method Man of the group and branches out on the solo tip. Taccone’s Kid Contact becomes his DJ and Schaffer’s Kid Brain leaves the business to become a farmer in Colorado (wonder where that development will lead to??).

We pick up as solo act Connor4Real is set to debut his sophomore album, which is a disaster looming. Along the way, Popstar parodies the extreme narcissism of its industry while throwing in plenty of ridiculous songs. None of them really hold a candle to the brilliance displayed in the granddaddy of music doc spoofs, This is Spinal Tap.  As mentioned, there’s just not enough solid material to totally justify the 90 minutes here.

One mistake is that the Lonely team who wrote the screenplay seem to believe that cameos count as jokes. There are tons and tons of cameos. Admittedly some work (Seal’s bit is a trip and Timberlake gets to flex his comedic chops), but many others leave no impression. For the performers not playing themselves, a little of Samberg’s Connor goes a long way. Sarah Silverman and Tim Meadows are mostly background players as his publicist and manager. And the versatile Joan Cusack pops up so briefly as Connor’s hard partying mom that I can only think her part was left on the cutting room floor.

While there are laughs to be had here, you’re probably better off looking up the trio’s SNL work. They’re shorter and more consistently funny. See if you can find Arnett’s scenes too…

**1/2 (out of four)

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Box Office Prediction

It has, at least to me, a title that makes me laugh every time I think of it. Yet I’m not convinced that will lead to an impressive performance on the charts.

Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island partners Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone headline the music documentary spoof Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Costars include Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Bill Hader, Joan Cusack, Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett (pulling double duty over the weekend with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows), and Martin Sheen. There’s also a bunch of cameos from real pop stars such as Adam Levine, Mariah Carey, Usher, and Carrie Underwood.

Mr. Samberg’s digital shorts on “Saturday Night Live” were a solid staple of the show for many years with classics like “Lazy Sunday” and “Dick in a Box”. His film career, on the other hand, has been pretty unimpressive box office wise. 2007’s Hot Rod and 2012’s That’s My Boy both were critical and commercial disappointments.

I’ll predict Popstar struggles to even reach high single digits.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping opening weekend prediction: $5.6 million

For my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/25/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-out-of-the-shadows-box-office-prediction/

For my Me Before You prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/25/me-before-you-box-office-prediction/

SAG Award Predictions 2015

This evening, the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards airs and it will likely provide further hints of the direction the Academy may go in with their acting races. As I did with the Globes and will with the Oscars, here are my predictions on what and who will win!

BEST CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

Beasts of No Nation

The Big Short

Spotlight

Straight Outta Compton

Trumbo

Prediction: It’s important to note that SAG is honoring best cast and NOT Best Picture. Therefore the Academy’s Best Picture and this category have only matched 10 out of 22 times. This really appears to be a horse race between Short and Spotlight and it truly go either way. I’ll pick Spotlight for the win which would solidify a true three movie race with Short and The Revenant for the Oscar.

BEST ACTOR

Nominees

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Johnny Depp, Black Mass

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

PREDICTION: Oscar and SAG have matched 17 of 22 times here, which is the best margin of all. This race will further determine whether Leo is the true front runner and my suspicion is it will. Leo all the way.

BEST ACTRESS

Nominees

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back

Prediction: 15 for 22 match with Oscar here. Larson keeps racking up trophies and is the Academy front runner and I suspect she’ll win here.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Nominees

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

Jacob Tremblay, Room

Prediction: 14 for 22 Academy match. This is the most interesting category of the night. Only 2 of the nominees here (Bale, Rylance) are Oscar nominated and the potential Academy favorite (Creed’s Sylvester Stallone) is nowhere to be found. This race could certainly provide an upset, but it’s fair to say Bale and Rylance are the most likely winners. In a tough one, I’ll give the slight edge to Rylance.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nominees

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Helen Mirren, Trumbo

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Predicton: 13 of 22 Oscar match. Winslet was a surprise Globe winner and if she prevails here, we all may need to rethink our Oscar prognostications. Here’s another race where an upset is possible, but I’ll go with Miss Vikander for the win.

And that’ll do it for now, folks!