Oscar Watch: Clemency

35 years ago, Alfre Woodard received a Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for Cross Creek. She hasn’t nabbed another one since, despite heralded roles in pictures such as Passion Fish and Down in the Delta. When it comes to her television work, it’s an entirely different story as she’s had 18 Emmy nominations and won four.

Clemency, in which Woodard plays a prison warden, debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival and the actress is earning some of the best reviews of her career. The film itself holds an impressive 96% Rotten Tomatoes rating prior to its late December release (Neon picked up distribution rights).

The likelihood is that any Oscar attention will center solely on its star. Aldis Hodge is also garnering critical kudos, but the Supporting Actor category is jam packed already. In my latest Academy forecast, I have Woodard listed in sixth. I’ve found myself indecisive every week about her inclusion.

Bottom line: it’s no slam dunk, but Clemency could well provide this acclaimed actress a second trip to the red carpet. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Honey Boy

There was a time and it wasn’t long ago when Shia LaBeouf’s career appeared to be a Hollywood cautionary tale. Just about a decade ago, he was the industry’s hot new leading man with starring roles in the Transformers franchise, Disturbia, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. However, his bizarre personal antics and a high profile 2017 arrest looked to derail his promising standing.

2019 has proved to be a resurgent period. There’s his acclaimed turn in the indie hit The Peanut Butter Falcon. And early this year, Honey Boy was unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival and screenings have continued in Toronto.

LaBeouf wrote the screenplay and it serves as an autobiographical look at his childhood. He also costars and he gave himself a part in which he plays his own father. Other actors include Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe, Maika Moore, and Natasha Lyonne. Like Falcon, the film has garnered critical praise to the tune of a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Academy voters love a solid comeback story. Could they reward LaBeouf with a supporting actor or original screenplay nod? I generally think Honey Boy might be a tad too low profile for inclusion and Original Screenplay in particular seems awfully crowded. Yet when it comes to how things were looking just two years ago, awards chatter is a positive sign of where Shia’s career is at. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Don’t Let Go Box Office Prediction

Blumhouse Productions hopes to have a sleeper hit on their hands over Labor Day weekend with Don’t Let Go. The supernatural thriller finds David Oyelowo attempting to retroactively prevent the death of loved ones. Jacob Aaron Estes directs with a supporting cast including Storm Reid, Bryon Mann, Mykelti Williamson, Alfred Molina, and Brian Tyree Henry.

The pic premiered eight months ago at the Sundance Film Festival to mixed reaction. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is at 47%. That’s not a great number to generate buzz and Go appears to be lacking it. While it’s a little risky to underestimate Blumhouse, the Labor Day release date isn’t exactly a vote of confidence.

I’ll say this doesn’t manage to achieve double digits over the four day holiday weekend. Mid single digits is possibly where this goes.

Don’t Let Go opening weekend prediction: $4.5 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

Oscar Watch: Brittany Runs a Marathon

Perhaps this is more of a Golden Globes Watch when it comes to the new comedy Brittany Runs a Marathon. The pic features Jillian Bell as a hard partying single lady whose life is altered when she competes for the NYC Marathon. It screened at the Sundance Film Festival back in January to solid buzz. The Rotten Tomatoes score is currently 93% ahead of its release this weekend.

Bell has been a scene stealer on TV’s “Workaholics” and features such as 22 Jump Street. This appears to be her breakout starring role and some reviews have suggested it could be a minor hit if Amazon handles marketing correctly. While this holds little chance at Oscar recognition, it will be interesting to see if the studio mounts a campaign for Bell for Best Actress in Musical/Comedy at the Globes. She could follow in the footsteps of Amy Schumer in Trainwreck for a similar part that got nominated. That said, Brittany is definitely lower profile. My Oscar (or GG) Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Luce

After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January, racial drama Luce has been doing decent limited release business over the past couple weeks. The film centers around a high school athletic prodigy (Kelvin Harrison Jr., in a performance drawing raves) and his adoptive parents played by Naomi Watts and Tim Roth. Octavia Spencer costars.

Luce drew its share of admirers on the festival circuit and it currently holds a 91% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Nigerian filmmaker Julius Onah directs with a screenplay he co-wrote along with JC Lee. It’s probably Original Screenplay where this holds a slight chance at being recognized. The likely scenario is this gets lost in the shuffle behind higher profile releases. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Blinded by the Light Box Office Prediction

The British import Blinded by the Light illuminates theaters this coming weekend after receiving glowing reviews from its debut earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. From director Gurinder Chadha, who made the breakout hit Bend It Like Beckham, the dramedy focuses on a teenager whose life is transformed by the music of Bruce Springsteen. Viveik Kalra is said teenager and the supporting cast includes Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, and Nell Williams.

As mentioned, Blinded was shown on the fest circuit and a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score followed. The pic would love to follow in the footsteps of this summer’s sleeper hit Yesterday, which rode its Beatles musical connection to impressive box office grosses. The ability for this to over perform is possible, but the likely scenario is a mid single digits premiere while it hopes to develop legs over subsequent weekends.

Blinded by the Light opening weekend prediction: $5.8 million

For my The Angry Birds Movie 2 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/08/06/the-angry-birds-movie-2-box-office-prediction/

For my Good Boys prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/08/07/good-boys-box-office-prediction/

For my 47 Meters Down: Uncaged prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/08/08/47-meters-down-uncaged-box-office-prediction/

For my Where’d You Go, Bernadette prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/08/11/whered-you-go-bernadette-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Mike Wallace Is Here

Christopher Plummer didn’t land an Oscar nod as a supporting player for 1999’s The Insider portraying legendary “60 Minutes” correspondent Mike Wallace. In 2014, the same held true for Robert Redford as Wallace in Truth.

So could a documentary focused on the man himself clock the attention of awards voters? Mike Wallace Is Here gets the limited release treatment this weekend as it recounts the work of the tireless and probing newsman. It received its first screening early in the year at the Sundance Film Festival. Reviews have been quite positive with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 95%.

That said, many of the critical write ups have been more in the three star range as opposed to four. And that makes me feel that this doc is probably a long shot at Academy recognition. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…