Yesterday Box Office Prediction

Oscar winning director Danny Boyle, who clearly enjoys playing in multiple genres, tries his hand at a musical comedy next weekend with Yesterday. The high concept pic puts forth the theory that only one aspiring songwriter (Himesh Patel) rememberers The Beatles and cashes in on the world’s memory loss. Costars include Lily James, Kate McKinnon, and Ed Sheeran.

Mr. Boyle, as mentioned, has a varied filmography that includes Trainspotting and its sequel, 28 Days Later and its follow-up, Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire, and Steve Jobs. When Yesterday premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, its so-so reception killed any potential awards chatter. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 68%.

While there’s legions of Fab Four fans out there, I don’t see this turning into a summer sleeper. I believe this will struggle to reach $10 million.

Yesterday opening weekend prediction: $9.1 million

For my Annabelle Comes Home prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/18/annabelle-comes-home-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Yesterday

Premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival over the weekend, the comedic fantasy Yesterday comes with plenty of behind the scenes players with awards credentials. The high concept story imagines a world where the songs of The Beatles have all been forgotten, except by a young aspiring songwriter (Himesh Patel). It’s his duty to re-educate the populace about the Fab Four. Costars include Lily James, Kate McKinnon, and Ed Sheeran (playing himself).

The aforementioned pedigree starts at the top. Director Danny Boyle has had one of the most eclectic filmographies in memory. His works include a Best Picture winner (2008’s Slumdog Millionaire) and a nominee two years later (127 Hours). They also include cult favorites such as Trainspotting, the acclaimed zombie tales 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, and sci-fi thriller Sunshine. There’s also Steve Jobs, which never materialized as the awards contender that prognosticators thought it could be.

Additionally, the screenplay comes from Richard Curtis. He received an Oscar nod 25 years ago for Four Weddings and a Funeral. Other written works of note include Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Love Actually.

As you can see, it’s pretty clear why Yesterday could be looked at as an Oscar player today due to the talent involved. Yet after its festival debut ahead of its June release, reviews are telling a different story. Some are positive, but others are decidedly not. Some critics are breaking out their best Beatles puns with one stating it never quite comes together.

Bottom line: we’ll see if Yesterday can manage to be a profitable crowd pleaser, but don’t expect this to be a factor come with nominations down the line. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Best Actor: A Look Back

My look back at the major Oscar categories from 1990 to the present arrives at Best Actor today! If you missed my posts covering Actress and the Supporting races, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/31/best-actress-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/25/best-supporting-actor-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/20/best-supporting-actress-a-look-back/

As with those previous entries, I am picking the three least surprising winners of the last 28 years, along with the three biggest upsets. Additionally, you’ll see my personal picks for strongest and weakest fields overall.

As a primer, here are the winners from 1990 to now:

1990 – Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune

1991 – Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs

1992 – Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman

1993 – Tom Hanks, Philadelphia

1994 – Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump

1995 – Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas

1996 – Geoffrey Rush, Shine

1997 – Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets

1998 – Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful

1999 – Kevin Spacey, American Beauty

2000 – Russell Crowe, Gladiator

2001 – Denzel Washington, Training Day

2002 – Adrien Brody, The Pianist

2003 – Sean Penn, Mystic River

2004 – Jamie Foxx, Ray

2005 – Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote

2006 – Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

2007 – Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

2008 – Sean Penn, Milk

2009 – Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

2010 – Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

2011 – Jean Dujardin, The Artist

2012 – Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

2013 – Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

2014 – Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

2015 – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

2016 – Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

2017 – Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Let’s begin with the three that I’m deeming as the non-surprise winners. Whittling this down to that number was a challenge. The double wins by Hanks and Penn and even last year’s winner Oldman could’ve easily been named here, too. Here goes…

3. Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman

The legendary thespian was 0 for 6 when it came to nominations and wins entering 1992. He picked up his 7th and 8th nods that year with his supporting role in Glengarry Glen Ross and lead role as a blind former colonel in this Martin Brest directed drama. By Oscar night, it was clear he was finally going to make that trip to the podium.

2. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Like Pacino, DiCaprio had been an Academy bridesmaid before… four times. His fifth nod for The Revenant guaranteed he’d finally be a winner against weak competition (more on that below).

1. Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

I could have named the Method actor’s victory in 2007 for There Will Be Blood as well, but his win five years later as the nation’s 16th President edges it out. From the moment the Steven Spielberg project was announced, Day-Lewis was the odds on favorite and it never changed.

Now – my selections for the upsets:

3. Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs

While it might seem an obvious win nearly 30 years later, Nick Nolte’s work in The Prince of Tides had nabbed him the Golden Globe. Additionally, there was some controversy about Sir Anthony’s inclusion in the lead race due to his approximate 16 minutes of screen time. This is truly evidence of a performance so towering that it couldn’t be ignored.

2. Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful

The Italian director/writer/actor was an underdog against competition that included Nick Nolte (once again) for Affliction and Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters. Mr. Benigni seemed a bit shocked himself when his name was called, as he famously bounded exuberantly to the stage.

1. Adrien Brody, The Pianist

The smart money in 2002 was with Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt or Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York. Brody’s win was pretty shocking, as was the giant smooch he planted on presenter Halle Berry.

When it comes to overall fields, I’m going recent history with both. For strongest, I’ll give it to 2012. That’s the year Day-Lewis won for Lincoln. All other nominees were rock solid as well with Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), and Denzel Washington (Flight).

For weakest, I’m picking 2015. This is the aforementioned year of DiCaprio’s overdue win. The rest of the field, however, was a bit lacking. It consisted of Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl).

And there’s your Actor look back, folks! Keep an eye out for Best Picture soon as the final post in this series…

Oscar Watch: Call Me by Your Name

The Sundance Film Festival of 2017 has come and gone, but this blogger is still sorting out the potential Oscar buzz coming from it. Even though it’s the earliest fest, Sundance has a habit of showcasing film or two and performers that get Academy nods a year later.

Perhaps no other picture generated more buzz this time around than Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name, a gay love story set in Italy during the 1980s. Based on an acclaimed 2007 novel by Andre Aciman, Name stars Timothee Chalamet (a relative unknown who’s appeared on Showtime’s “Homeland”), Armie Hammer, and Michael Stuhlbarg, a fine character actor who’s popped up in everything from Steve Jobs to Arrival to Doctor Strange to Miss Sloane as of late.

Buzz on this romance is terrific thus far and it sports a 100% current Rotten Tomatoes rating. It’s leaving Sundance with the strongest potential for Oscar voter notice along with Mudbound (which I already posted about). Picture, Director, Actor (Chalamet) and Supporting Actor (Hammer or Stuhlbarg) appear to be in play, as well as Adapted Screenplay.

Of course, it’s very early but Name appears to be a real contender.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Todd’s FINAL 2015 Oscar Predictions

One week from tonight, the 88th Annual Academy Awards will air with Chris Rock hosting and unlike some other years, there is real and legitimate intrigue as to what will win the big prize in Best Picture. Meanwhile, other categories have strong front runners but upsets are always possible. So with seven days to go, here are my FINAL predictions for who will win in each categories, with the exception of the three short film races. Here we go!

BEST PICTURE

For Room, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Brooklyn and Bridge of Spies – it’s an honor to be nominated. This is truly a close race between the trio of The Big Short, The Revenant and Spotlight and any one of them could easily emerge victorious. All have won important precursors. Of the three, my gut is that Short is running third in this tight derby. All week my inclination has been to pick Spotlight, but The Revenant seems to have the hot hand in these late proceedings.

FINAL PICK: The Revenant

Runner-Up: Spotlight

BEST DIRECTOR

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu looks poised to win his second directing prize in a row after 2014’s Birdman for his work in The Revenant. If so, he would be the first auteur to do that in 65 years. In my estimation, only George Miller could be an upset winner for Mad Max, but that’s doubtful. Inarritu has won the Golden Globe and the DGA and is a safe bet.

FINAL PICK: Inarritu

Runner-Up: Miller

BEST ACTOR

Speaking of safe bets involving The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio at last looks poised to win a gold statue. He is the heavy favorite over competitors Matt Damon, Michael Fassbender, Eddie Redmayne and Bryan Cranston.

FINAL PICK: DiCaprio

Runner-Up: Ummmm… Cranston? Seriously, Leo is a major favorite

BEST ACTRESS

Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) could be spoilers, but the front runner is definitely Brie Larson’s turn in Room.

FINAL PICK: Larson

Runner-Up: Ronan

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

If the Academy doesn’t go for nostalgia here, you might see Mark Rylance win for Bridge of Spies. Yet I do believe Sylvester Stallone will knock out his foes for Creed.

FINAL PICK: Stallone

Runner-Up: Rylance

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs) has won some precursors and Rooney Mara (Carol) stands an outside shot, but Alicia Vikander had a big 2015 and I’ll pick her for The Danish Girl.

FINAL PICK: Vikander

Runner-Up: Winslet

For the remainder of the categories, I’m simply listing my picks with the runner-up:

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

FINAL PICK: Spotlight

Runner-Up: Inside Out

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

FINAL PICK: The Big Short

Runner-Up: Room

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

FINAL PICK: Inside Out

Runner-Up: Anomalisa

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

FINAL PICK: Son of Saul

Runner-Up: Mustang

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

FINAL PICK: Cartel Land

Runner-Up: Amy

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

FINAL PICK: The Hateful Eight

Runner-Up: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

FINAL PICK: “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground

Runner-Up: “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey

BEST SOUND EDITING

FINAL PICK: The Revenant

Runner-Up: Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST SOUND MIXING

FINAL PICK: Mad Max: Fury Road

Runner-Up: The Revenant

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

FINAL PICK: Mad Max: Fury Road

Runner-Up: The Revenant

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

FINAL PICK: The Revenant

Runner-Up: Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

FINAL PICK: Mad Max: Fury Road

Runner-Up: The Revenant

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

FINAL PICK: Carol

Runner-Up: Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST FILM EDITING

FINAL PICK: The Big Short

Runner-Up: Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

FINAL PICK: Mad Max: Fury Road

Runner-Up: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Steve Jobs Movie Review

Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs is a masterwork in editing, use of music, and fine performances doused with the dialogue that is unmistakably that of Aaron Sorkin. The man in the title, played by Michael Fassbender, is presented as he’s often said to have been: frustrating. There are certainly times in this picture where the audience will be angry at Mr. Jobs and Sorkin’s script doesn’t sugarcoat his considerable flaws, which include his inability to acknowledge his own daughter. At the same time, this is a work that appreciates its central character, imperfections and all.

The film is constructed much like a play and in three acts centered around the launch of the Apple Founder’s products. In 1984, it’s the Macintosh. In 1988, the failed NeXT computer after Steve had been dumped from his own company. In 1998, the iMac which helped lead to iEverything and market domination. Through this 14 year journey, we meet the people who populate this temperamental genius’s life. There’s his marketing exec Joanna (Kate Winslet), constantly by Steve’s side and witness to historical triumphs and her boss’s failures. Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) is the jilted company cofounder who kept Apple afloat for many years while Jobs got all the credit. John Sculley (a typically rock solid Jeff Daniels) is the CEO who is both an enemy and father figure. And the biggest through line comes from Lisa, the daughter that Steve can’t bring himself to properly father.

Steve Jobs eschews the conventional cliches of a biopic, just as the man who hated conventional may have preferred. While Fassbender doesn’t exactly resemble Steve, his performance is quite an accomplishment and succeeds in nailing down his complexities. The loyal yet often flustered Joanna is brought to life wonderfully by Winslet. Sorkin’s well known snappy dialogue should please his many admirers and the story structure is creative enough that you probably won’t quibble with reported historical inaccuracies. Truth be told, no two hour tale could properly nail presenting the enigmatic title subject, but Steve Jobs the film has a talented team doing their level best.

Love or hate him or (like most) appreciative and confounded by him, this picture fascinatingly is another puzzle piece of the man whose existence constantly is at our fingertips.

***1/2 (out of four)

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!