29th Screen Actors Guild Awards Nomination Predictions

Another significant piece of the Oscar prognosticating puzzle is put together on Wednesday when nominations for the 29th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards are dropped. The ceremony’s main prize, it’s important to note, is not Best Picture but Best Ensemble. That means a correlation from the Oscar BP and the top race here is not apples to apples. It is worth noting that half of the last 10 SAG Ensemble victors (Argo, Birdman, Spotlight, Parasite, CODA) did go on to win BP from the Academy. On the other hand, three recent BPs (The Shape of Water, Green Book, Nomadland) didn’t make the SAG quintet at all.

Let’s go through all six categories one by one with my picks and a runner-up call, shall we?

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

There are plenty of possibilities including box office hits like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Elvis, and Top Gun: Maverick. For Panther, the original won Ensemble in 2018 so the sequel materializing is feasible. I wouldn’t discount the sprawling cast of Babylon though middling reviews could hurt it. It’s tempting to pick Glass Onion but I’m hesitant since Knives Out was snubbed in 2019.

Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Fabelmans seem safe. Despite the small call sheet for The Banshees of Inisherin (with just four significant roles), I could see the SAG branch honoring it. I’m also liking The Woman King‘s chances. Women Talking is perhaps the biggest question mark. It has underperformed with precursors. A couple of months ago, I’d have considered it a potential frontrunner to win. Now I wonder if it makes it at all. Nevertheless – here’s my take:

Predicted Nominees:

The Banshees of Inisherin

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

The Woman King

Women Talking

Runner-Up: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

In the previous decade, SAG in Actress has matched the Academy 4/5 on six occasions and 3/5 on four. There are no perfect correlations. SAG has shown they will throw in a shocker – Jennifer Aniston in Cake, Sarah Silverman for I Smile Back or Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train are recent examples. If there’s one here, look out for Naomi Ackie (Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody).

Margot Robbie (Babylon) is currently the one I’ve got in the Academy five (for the moment) that I don’t have here. Ana de Armas (Blonde) is a real threat. If she makes this quintet, look for her Oscar stock to soar. With those possibilities mentioned, my choices are…

Predicted Nominees:

Cate Blanchett, Tár

Viola Davis, The Woman King

Danielle Deadwyler, Till

Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: Ana de Armas, Blonde

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), and Brendan Fraser (The Whale) should all be safe. Bill Nighy (Living) is fourth though I suspect there’s a better chance at SAG leaving him off than the Academy. Then there’s that five spot. It could be Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick), Tom Hanks (A Man Called Otto), Hugh Jackman (The Son), or Paul Mescal (Aftersun). Take your pick. I’m leaning toward the star of the year’s biggest hit. On a side note, there’s been a SAG/Oscar match of 5/5 for the previous two cycles.

Predicted Nominees:

Austin Butler, Elvis

Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick

Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Fraser, The Whale

Bill Nighy, Living

Runner-Up: Paul Mescal, Aftersun

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Last year was an anomaly when just 2 of the SAG nominees (Ariana DeBose for West Side Story and The Power of the Dog‘s Kirsten Dunst) scored Oscar nods. The magic number is usually 3 or 4. The wide open nature of this race has been discussed a lot on the blog. Beyond my picks and runner-up, don’t discount Dolly De Leon (Triangle of Sadness), Claire Foy (Women Talking), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Janelle Monae (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery), and Carey Mulligan (She Said).

Predicted Nominees:

Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Jessie Buckley, Women Talking

Hong Chau, The Whale

Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Like Supporting Actress last year, there was only a 2 for 5 match with Troy Kotsur in CODA and Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog. Usually it’s 4. For 2022, I believe only Ke Huy Quan and Brendan Gleeson are safe assumptions. The remaining three slots should be some combo of Paul Dano (The Fabelmans), Tom Hanks (Elvis), Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway), Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans), Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway), Brad Pitt (Babylon), and Eddie Redmayne (The Good Nurse) sorting it out.

Predicted Nominees:

Paul Dano, The Fabelmans

Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin

Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin

Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Eddie Redmayne, The Good Nurse

Runner-Up: Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble

Don’t discount The Batman or Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but my quintet is as follows…

Predicted Nominees:

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Top Gun: Maverick

The Woman King

Runner-Up: RRR

That equates to these movies generating these numbers:

5 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once

3 Nominations

The Fabelmans, The Woman King

2 Nominations

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Top Gun: Maverick, The Whale, Women Talking

1 Nomination

The Batman, Elvis, The Good Nurse, Living, Tár, Till

On Wednesday evening you can expect a recap of what happens after noms are revealed!

A Feather in the Tár Awards Cap

The National Society of Film Critics, composed of approximately 60 reviewers, is considered one of the higher profile groups to bestow yearly best of honors. They did so today and it was a good day for Todd Field’s Tár.

NSFC was enthralled by the psychological profile as it won Best Film in addition to Fields for his screenplay and Cate Blanchett in the title role. In its previous 56 years, the Film recipient here has only matched the Oscar BP nine times. It is worth noting that it’s occurred 4 out of the last 7 years with 2015’s Spotlight, 2016’s Moonlight, 2019’s Parasite, and 2020’s Nomadland. 7 of the past 10 NSFC victors were at least nominated for BP from the Academy. That bodes well for Tár. At this point, it would be pretty shocking if it was left off the list of 10 on Oscar nom morning.

This group also names runners-up. For Best Film, it was Aftersun. Director Charlotte Wells came in first in her race with Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave) in second. I’ve yet to seriously consider Aftersun as a top 10 finisher at the big dance. It’s possible, but perhaps a stretch. Only two of the NSFC winners in the previous decade took Oscar with Alfonso Cuaròn (Roma) and Chloe Zhao (Nomadland).

Blanchett’s trophy is no surprise. The other strong hopeful for Best Actress is Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once. She came in second. It’s worth mentioning that Blanchett won NSFC nine years ago for Blue Jasmine before translating that to her second Oscar. A third could be in the cards.

The lead Actor award went to Colin Farrell for both After Yang and The Banshees of Inisherin. Paul Mescal (Aftersun) was runner-up. Farrell looks assured a spot in the Academy quintet (for Banshees) while Mescal is gunning for a wide open fifth spot. You have to go back to 2016 (Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea) to find the previous NSFC/Oscar match.

Our Supporting Actress derby (also pretty wide open) went to the soft frontrunner with Kerry Condon in Banshees. Nina Hoss (Tár) nabbed the second most votes. If there’s an unexpected performer to pop up on nomination morning, it could be Hoss (especially given the uncertainty of her category).

It was smooth sailing for Ke Huy Quan in Supporting Actor as he continued his expected coronation as the season rolls along. The Everything Everywhere All at Once standout beat Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway), who’s a bubble possibility for Oscar.

Polish pic EO is your Best Film Not in the English Language with No Bears (out of Iran) second. The latter was not submitted for the Academy’s consideration. EO also took home an unanticipated win for its Cinematography with Nope as the runner-up.

Finally, Best Nonfiction Film was All the Beauty and the Bloodshed with Descendant second. Both are expected to contend for the Documentary cut at the Oscars.

We are in the heart of awards season, folks! My final prediction for the Golden Globes are coming your way next…

She Said Box Office Prediction

The true life tale of the New York Times journalists who exposed the crimes of Harvey Weinstein, Maria Schrader’s She Said debuts November 18th. Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan play the investigative reporters with a supporting cast including Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, Tom Pelphrey, and Samantha Morton.

Critical reaction skewed positive after its premiere at the New York Film Festival. With an 82% Rotten Tomatoes score, She could contend for nods in some Oscar races including Picture. The best reviews have compared it to 2015’s BP winner Spotlight.

The ripped from the fairly recent headlines story could assist in bringing in filmgoers. Universal is certainly banking on a female turnout. My hunch is that this struggles in its opening and hopes for sturdy legs in subsequent frames. Low to mid single digits might be the start.

She Said opening weekend prediction: $3.4 million

For my The Menu prediction, click here:

Best Picture 2015: The Final Five

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

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

Best Picture 2009: The Final Five

Best Picture 2010: The Final Five

Best Picture 2011: The Final Five

Best Picture 2012: The Final Five

Best Picture 2013: The Final Five

Best Picture 2014: The Final Five

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

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

The Big Short

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Bridge of Spies

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Brooklyn

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Mad Max: Fury Road

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

The Martian

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

The Revenant

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

Room

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

Does It Make the Final Five?

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

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

The whittled down five would be:

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

I’ll cover 2016 in short order!

Oscar Predictions: She Said

At the New York Film Festival this evening, the curtain went up on She Said. From director Maria Schrader, the film recounts The New York Times investigation in movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan portray the two lead reporters with a supporting cast including Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Samantha Morton, Tom Pelphrey, and Jennifer Ehle.

Recent journalistic exposes such as 2015’s Spotlight went all the way to a Best Picture victory. On the other hand, 2019’s Bombshell managed acting nods but missed BP and screenplay. Based on the early reviews coming out of the Big Apple, She Said may land somewhere in the middle. The initial reactions indicate this could absolutely make the ten contenders in Picture. Winning appears highly unlikely (several write-ups are in the solid but not great realm). As for its script, Adapted Screenplay is pretty weak in 2022. There’s no reason to think this won’t get in. I’d continue to put it behind Women Talking and The Whale. 

One of this season’s mysteries has been speculating on which performers here might rise to contention. Much of this could come down to Universal’s category placement decisions. It would seem that Mulligan and Kazan are both leads and that should mean Best Actress campaigns for both. Yet that lead derby (as has been discussed many times on this blog) is packed. That doesn’t hold true for Supporting Actress which appears far more open to possibilities. Both are generating good ink with Mulligan said to perhaps have a more clip friendly role. If the call is made for both to go supporting, one or either could get in. I wouldn’t say the same in Actress. Both Morton and Ehle are scoring kudos for their brief roles, but they could be too brief for consideration.

Bottom line: Picture and Adapted Screenplay are in the mix for She Said. We have to hear the studio’s plans for the cast before that becomes clearer. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Venice Film Festival Preview

How important is the Venice Film Festival when it comes to premiering Oscar hopefuls? In the past decade, nearly half of the Best Picture winners got their rollout in Italy. That would be Birdman, Spotlight, The Shape of Water, and Nomadland. It’s tough to find a recent Venice fest where there’s not at least 2 eventual nominees for the Academy’s biggest race.

This year’s competition kicks off tomorrow and you can anticipate plenty of individualized Oscar prediction posts coming your way. Telluride follows this weekend (with the lineup announcement on Thursday) and Toronto starts next Thursday (I’ll be there!).

Let’s take a look at ten Venice entries looking to create their Oscar buzz over the next few days…

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed 

Laura Poitras, who won an Academy Award for her 2014 Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, turns her eye to activist Nan Goldin and her fight against the opioid epidemic. This could certainly be a player in the Doc competition.

The Banshees of Inisherin 

The last time filmmaker Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell, and Brendan Gleeson collaborated, the result was the acclaimed 2008 black comedy In Bruges. They’re playing in the same genre here with McDonagh’s follow-up to 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which earned acting Oscars for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.

Bardo

3 out of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s last four films were nominated for Best Picture. Birdman took gold with Babel and The Revenant contending. Expectations are that his latest drama (available on Netflix in December) could be the streamer’s most serious contender and it could immediately become a frontrunner for International Feature Film.

Blonde

Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana de Armas (another Netflix offering) comes with an NC-17 rating and lots of prognosticators wondering if it’s too risqué to get awards attention. We’ll know soon.

Bones & All

Luca Guadagnino had a pic in the BP derby five years ago with Call Me by Your Name and then followed with the confounding Suspiria remake. This horror romance with cannibalistic themes stars Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell. I have’t really had this as much of a threat for the Oscar race so let’s see if that narrative shifts.

Don’t Worry Darling

Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to Booksmart is a tale of marital and suburban strife headlined by Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. The thriller  has been generating headlines for some wrong reasons lately, but great reviews could turn that buzz around.

The Son

Florian Zeller took home a Screenplay Oscar for 2020’s The Father while Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor. The Father is next and Hugh Jackman is seeking his first statue. The supporting cast includes Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, and Hopkins. Any and all could be in the mix for acting honors.

Tar

Cate Blanchett could be lined up for a third Oscar win in Todd Field’s latest in which the acclaimed actress plays a composer. It’s the director’s first feature in over 15 years after both In the Bedroom and Little Children received Academy nods.

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky directed Natalie Portman to the podium in 2010’s Black Swan. There’s chatter he could do the same and assist in mounting a significant career comeback for Brendan Fraser (something he did for Mickey Rourke with 2008’s The Wrestler). The Mummy star plays a 600 pound man reconnecting with his daughter (Sadie Sink).

White Noise

Noah Baumbach’s last Netflix film was the BP contending Marriage Story from 2019. His Marriage star Adam Driver is back in this adaptation of a 1980s sci-fi dark comedy. It will open Venice tomorrow and it will be my first Oscar Predictions post. Stay tuned!

PGA: The Rise of CODA

When it comes to the Producers Guild of America awards, there’s a 14/21 match between their best picture and the Academy’s in the 21st century. The two-thirds ratio is 3/5 in the past five years. In 2016, La La Land took PGA over the Oscar selection of Moonlight. For 2019, PGA went with 1917 while the big show went with Parasite. Other 21st century examples: The Big Short won PGA in 2015 (Oscar: Spotlight). For 2006, Little Miss Sunshine got the PGA prize while The Departed took Oscar.

The PGA’s for 2021 occurred last night and it’s another feather in the cap for CODA. Sian Heder’s coming-of-age drama built upon its recent SAG ensemble victory  to triumph here. If there was any doubt before, CODA has unquestionably positioned itself as the alternate to The Power of the Dog winning Best Picture at the Oscars. Not Belfast. Not King Richard or Dune. This is a two-horse race between Dog and CODA and they both have important precursor hardware. No matter which one grabs the gold, it will be the first BP win for a streamer (Netflix for Dog and Apple TV for CODA).

Jane Campion’s direction of Dog won the Director Guild of America (DGA) prize this week and that’s a reliable Academy precursor. She’s almost certain to be the Oscar winner (CODA‘s Sian Heder isn’t nominated). In fact, CODA only has three nominations overall: Picture, Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur), and Adapted Screenplay. It didn’t seem feasible until recently, but it could legitimately go 3 for 3.

Having said that, I wouldn’t dream of counting Dog out. It’s the Globe and BAFTA recipient. The precursor bonafides for it are just as impressive as CODA‘s. Even a week ago, however, I would’ve said Dog had about a 90% chance to be the Oscar BP. Now… well, it’s considerably less and we’ll see what I predict when I make my final picks on Wednesday.

In the Animated Feature and Documentary races at PGA, the respective winners were Encanto and Summer of Soul and they maintain their status as Academy favorites.

The Lost Daughter Finds Gotham Love

The Gotham Awards, which honors independent pictures, held its annual ceremony tonight with category shifts, surprises, and ties. The NYC based event is not exactly seen as a reliable barometer of what will happen at the Oscars. However, it’s worth noting that since the Best Feature category was established in 2004, there’s only been three years (2007, 2008, 2018) in which none of the nominees made the Academy’s Best Picture cut. Four recent Gotham winners (Birdman, Spotlight, Moonlight, and last year’s Nomadland) ended up being the Oscar selection.

In 2021, none of the five nominees for the big race were listed in my latest Oscar estimates. In fact, none of the quintet were in my top 15 possibilities. That would be going against the grain for what Gotham typically produces and the big winner tonight is undoubtedly Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut The Lost Daughter (which hits theaters on December 17 and Netflix on New Years Eve). The psychological drama took the top prize over The Green Knight, Passing, Pig, and Test Pattern. I only foresee Daughter and Passing as having viable paths to a Best Pic nod and the former’s victory here gives it more exposure.

In addition to Best Feature, Daughter was honored for Breakthrough Director and Screenplay. I am confident an Adapted Screenplay nod from the Academy is coming its way.

As for those category shifts, the Gothams chose to eliminate gender distinction in the lead acting derbies. Yet, ironically, there was a tie bestowing the award for a male and female. That provided another statue for Daughter and its lead Olivia Colman (as her Best Actress chances are looking stronger each day). The male was a surprise with character actor Frankie Faison for The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain. You may know him best as orderly Barney in The Silence of the Lambs, but his lead role here got him attention over Joaquin Phoenix (C’Mon C’Mon). I wouldn’t count on Academy members taking notice.

This is the first year in which Gotham had a supporting race (also gender neutral) and it went to Troy Kotsur in CODA. This will feels a bit more significant as the scene stealer won over stellar competition like his costar Marlee Matlin and Ruth Negga in Passing. In an Oscar year where Supporting Actor is wide open, awards like this could propel Kotsur to make the final cut.

Elsewhere Flee took Documentary (it’s a likely shoo-in with the Academy) while Drive My Car helped its case in the foreign race over Titane and The Worst Person in the World. 

Bottom line: Daughter found a precursor in Gotham that should raise the profile as the Oscar folks are starting to pay attention.

Venice Film Festival: A Preview

The Venice Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday this week. For this blogger, it means my Oscar speculation will kick into overdrive. You can anticipate a flurry of Oscar Watch posts starting September 1st and continuing throughout the month as the Telluride fest transpires over Labor Day weekend. Toronto is right behind beginning September 9th.

To put it all in perspective, the eventual Best Picture winner has premiered at this trio of festivals more often than not lately. Nomadland (last year’s victor) started off in Venice and won the Golden Lion, which is the equivalent to BP. The same narrative holds true for 2017’s The Shape of Water. 2018’s Green Book debuted at Toronto. 2016’s Moonlight premiered at Telluride. 2015’s Spotlight rolled out at Venice and 2014’s Birdman opened that festival. You get the idea.

So what are the highest profile titles jockeying for position? What are the movies that could become instant hopefuls for the Academy’s attention? I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Power of the Dog

In 1993, director Jane Campion had her last major Oscar contender with The Piano. It won Best Actress for Holly Hunter, Supporting Actress for Anna Paquin, and Original Screenplay for Campion. She became the first female ever to be nominated for Best Director (losing that race and Picture to Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List).

Her latest is The Power of the Dog and it will be a mainstay on the festival circuit before its theatrical release in November that’s followed by an early December Netflix bow. Dog is, on paper, the film that prognosticators like me are looking at as an early favorite.

In my previous weekly rankings, I have Dog listed at #1 in Picture, Director, Actor (Cumberbatch), and Adapted Screenplay. Dunst and Plemons are, respectively, ranked second in Supporting Actress and Actor.

We will know quite soon whether it lives up to the hype.

Parallel Mothers

Pedro Almodovar’s latest will open the proceedings on Tuesday. The Spanish language drama stars Penelope Cruz and she could be a factor in what appears to be a potentially crowded Best Actress derby. Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film could also be races where it contends. Just two years back, the auteur’s previous work Pain and Glory was nominated in the international competition and it nabbed Antonio Banderas a Best Actor nod.

Additionally, Cruz and Banderas star in the comedy Official Competition, which is also premiering here. It may also be one to keep an eye on.

Spencer

Speaking of that Best Actress race which features numerous players, that holds true with Spencer. Pablo Larrain’s biopic about Princess Diana may propel Kristen Stewart to her first nomination. Larrain directed Natalie Portman and she made the final five as Jackie from 2016. Will Stewart break through on the awards front after a series of post Twilight acclaimed roles? The answer is coming.

The Hand of God

Another Netflix property is this Italian drama from Paolo Sorrentino, whose 2013 effort The Great Beauty dominated the foreign language races at the Oscars and Globes. His latest could be another contender and I will be keeping an eye on whether it could branch out to Best Picture (like Roma and Parasite recently did).

The Card Counter

Paul Schrader’s last pic First Reformed received an Original Screenplay nod for its filmmaker. His latest crime drama features Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, and Willem Dafoe. I haven’t had this featured at all in my weekly predictions, but a splashy Venice rollout could alter that.

Dune

The Card Counter cannot claim the title of being Oscar Isaac’s most breathlessly awaited arrival. That would be Dune from Denis Villeneuve as the sci-fi epic is debuting out of competition. Originally slated for 2020, Dune could be a major awards threat in lots of categories (especially the technical ones). Whether it is Best Picture material will soon be established.

The Lost Daughter

Maggie Gyllenhaal directs Olivia Colman in the Netflix drama slated for late December. Colman has been nominated in two out of the three years at the big show. She won in 2018 for The Favourite in Best Actress and got a mention in supporting last year for The Father. 

Last Night in Soho

Edgar Wright psychological horror experience features Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy (coming off her heralded role on The Queen’s Gambit). The genre is not one usually geared to Oscar love, but you never know.

The Last Duel

Ridley Scott has not one, but two competitors seeking awards attention in 2021. The most obvious is House of Gucci. The other is this historical drama with Jodie Comer (another possibility in Actress), Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Ben Affleck. We will soon know whether Scott has two pics in the mix.

And that’s just some of what I’m watching out for, folks! Get ready as the Oscar picture should become clearer in the coming days and I’ll be here to cover it…

Stillwater Box Office Prediction

Matt Damon is a Midwestern oil worker who treks to France to help his daughter (Abigail Breslin) on trial for murder in the crime drama Stillwater, out July 30th. Tom McCarthy (whose 2015 journalistic expose Spotlight) won Best Picture directs.

The pic recently debuted at the Cannes Film Festival to mostly positive notices. It stands at 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some reviews call it one of Damon’s finest performances and there’s even a chance he could garner awards buzz.

As far as box office prospects, I’m skeptical. I’m surprised Focus Features is putting this out in the heat of summer since this looks like more of a fall player. The counterargument could be that adults tired of sequels, sci-fi spectacles, family fare, and reboots will turn up. And certainly Damon’s star power helps.

That said, I suspect the verdict for Stillwater is a subpar start in the mid single digits.

Stillwater opening weekend prediction: $5.2 million

For my Jungle Cruise prediction, click here:

Jungle Cruise Box Office Prediction

For my The Green Knight prediction, click here:

The Green Knight Box Office Prediction