2022 Oscar Predictions: September 5th Edition

As I always say at the beginning of September on this blog – what a difference a few days makes as Venice is at its midpoint and Telluride occurred over the holiday weekend. The Toronto Film Festival begins Thursday. For the first time, I am thrilled to announce that I will be in attendance and have screenings scheduled for several potential heavy hitters! They include The Fabelmans, The Son, The Whale, Women Talking, The Banshees of Inisherin, Triangle of Sadness, Empire of Light, The Menu, The Wonder, Bros, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, and The Good Nurse. 

The fall festivals always cause the fortunes of certain pictures to rise and fall. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Bardo received mixed reviews out of Lido and it has dropped out of my predictions in Picture, Director, Actor (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), and Supporting Actress (Griselda Sicillani). On the other hand, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking looks to have solidified its position as a BP hopeful while Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley appear to be the two likeliest nominees from its ensemble. Cate Blanchett (Tar) and Brendan Fraser (The Whale) have positioned themselves as surefire nominees and potential winners in the lead acting derbies. Tar itself improved its standing in Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay. Empire of Light is no slam dunk for BP, but it’s in the mix and Olivia Colman seems solid in Actress. The Banshees of Inisherin may be Fox Searchlight’s better hope over Empire. It drew a rapturous Venice reaction today and has vaulted into Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Original Screenplay on my chart. Bones and All, despite some gushing reviews, could face challenges to fit into the BP race. Don’t Worry Darling, due to some middling write-ups, is probably toast.

Of course, we know that festivals are not the end all and be all for final verdicts. For example, Armageddon Time from James Gray seemed DOA after a so-so Cannes bow in the summer. Yet when it played Telluride over the weekend, the buzz was stronger. It’s awards heart is beating again – even if faintly.

This will probably be my last update for two weeks as I’ll be a Canadian for a few days. You can bet you’ll see lots of other individual Oscar prediction posts as well as reviews of the aforementioned pictures. When I update in a couple of weeks, I’m anticipating branching out to all races covering feature films. Until then, you can peruse all the movement (and there is definitely a lot of it) below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Son (PR: 5) (E)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 10) (+4)

7. The Whale (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Tar (PR: 11) (+3)

9. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 18) (+9)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (E)

13. She Said (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 16) (+2)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

16. White Noise (PR: 13) (-3)

17. Bones and All (PR: 22) (+5)

18. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

19. Till (PR: 20) (+1)

20. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 23) (+3)

21. Broker (PR: 17) (-4)

22. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 19) (-3)

23. Living (PR: 25) (+2)

24. Bardo (PR: 4) (-20)

25. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 24) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Menu

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 11) (+5)

7. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 9) (+1)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 12) (+3)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (-4)

12. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Noah Baumbach, White Noise (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo

Maria Schrader, She Said 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

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

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (E)

7. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (+1)

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

9. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 12) (+3)

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

11. Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Taylor Russell, Bones and All (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Regina King, Shirley (moved to 2023)

Frances McDormand, Women Talking (role not large enough)

Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 10) (+6)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 7) (E)

8. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

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

11. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+2)

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

14. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 14) (+10)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 6) (E)

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

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (-3)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (-4)

15. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Griselda Sicillani, Bardo

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. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 3) (E)

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

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

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

9. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 9) (E)

10. Anthony Hopkins, The Son (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Mark Strong, Tar (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (E)

14. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 14) (E)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Colin Firth, Empire of Light

Toby Jones, Empire of Light

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (+4)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Babylon (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Broker (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Bros (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Bardo (PR: 5) (-9)

15. The Menu (PR: 10) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Don’t Worry Darling

Chevalier

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. She Said (PR: 4) (E)

5. White Noise (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Bones and All (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Living (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (E)

10. Till (PR: 10) (E)

11. The Lost King (PR: 11) (E)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 12) (E)

13. The Wonder (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Elvis (PR: 13) (-1)

15. The Good Nurse (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King 

Oscar Predictions: Empire of Light

Empire of Light is the ninth feature film from Sam Mendes. Six of his previous eight titles received at least one Oscar nod. His debut, 1999’s American Beauty, won Best Picture and Director. His last, war epic 1917, garnered ten nominations and was victorious with three of them. The Mendes streak of awards success should continue with Empire of Light, which has premiered at Telluride prior to its December 9th stateside release.

Called the filmmaker’s most personal effort, Empire is a late 70s/early 80s set celebration of cinema with a May/December romance between leads Olivia Colman and Micheal Ward. Costars include Tom Brooke, Toby Jones, and Colin Firth.

We are early in the review process and some of the write-ups are rather mixed. Yet the superlatives going to Colman has me thinking she’s going to receive her fourth Academy mention in five years. She won for Best Actress in 2018 The Favourite and then nabbed a Supporting Actress nod in 2020 for The Father. A lead actress slot followed last year for The Lost Daughter. The other races where this looks strong are Cinematography from the legendary Roger Deakins and the Trent Reznior/Atticus Ross score. Production Design is also doable.

Ward’s work is also being praised. However, I’m not near as confident he makes the Actor cut. Firth’s role, by the way, sounds too small for a supporting bid. The latter’s performance and its viability could be determined by Empire‘s strength in BP (as well as the original screenplay). Voters do love movies about their industry and that could help. I don’t believe this has established a guaranteed spot among the ten. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: The Wonder

Florence Pugh’s turn in the forthcoming Don’t Worry Darling (which is readying its Venice debut) might be her highest profile autumn project. Yet the actress (a Supporting Actress nominee for Little Women in 2019) is generating kudos for The Wonder, which has premiered at Telluride. A November theatrical release is planned prior to a December Netflix bow.

Sebastian Lelio directs the drama set in 1860s Ireland. He’s known for critically appreciated efforts like Disobedience and Gloria Bell and five years ago, his Chilean pic A Fantastic Woman won the international feature prize from the Academy. Pugh stars as a nurse tasked with monitoring a young girl said to have survived without food for months. Tom Burke, Niamh Algar, Toby Jones, and Ciaran Hinds costar. The screenplay comes from Emma Donoghue and it’s based on her own novel. She is best known for the book and script for Room, which won Brie Larson a Best Actress Oscar.

The smattering of reviews out are mostly positive though they don’t have me thinking The Wonder is a Best Picture contender. I could see Netflix pushing Pugh in lead actress. And with that… get used to this refrain. I believe 60% of the Actress field might be set already. That would be Michelle Yeah in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Cate Blanchett for Tar, and Olivia Colman for Empire of Light (my post for that is about to be published so consider this a spoiler alert). Pugh and anyone else could be competing for two slots and there’s plenty of performances left unseen.

Bottom line: I wouldn’t count Pugh out based on initial reaction for The Wonder but competition is already severe. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Oscar Predictions: August 26th Edition

My final Oscar predictions for the month of August could rightfully be called the calm before the storm. That’s because Venice, Telluride, and Toronto are about to blow in screenings for several legitimate contenders. And there’s no doubt it will change the forecasts below.

My plan is to do the next update on Labor Day (ten days from now). By that point, there should be reviews and awards buzz out for Venice pics like White Noise, Tar, Bardo, Bones and All, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Don’t Worry Darling, among others. There’s also anything that plays Telluride over the holiday weekend (expect that to potentially include The Son and Women Talking). My next update should be about a week later.

Those next updates will incorporate the lengthy list of Toronto screenings and late Venice leftovers. That list includes Blonde, The Fabelmans, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Greatest Beer Run Ever, Empire of Light, The Good Nurse, The Menu, The Lost King, The Woman King, Bros, Chevalier, and more. In other words… buckle up because the Oscar picture is going to be in much sharper focus over the next three weeks!

My Best Picture ten remains the same, but I’ve made a change in Director with Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness) in over Sarah Polley for Women Talking. 

In Best Actress, there’s a new #1 as I’ve vaulted Cate Blanchett (Tar) to the top spot over Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once). Yeoh spent only a week in first after she replaced Babylon‘s Margot Robbie, who’s now in third position. We will know in a matter of days whether Blanchett’s promotion is warranted courtesy of Venice.

I’ve switched Micheal Ward’s performance in Empire of Light from supporting to lead. Toronto’s fest should shed light on whether that’s the right call. Due to this, Bill Nighy (Living) falls out of my actor quintet. In Supporting Actor, Babylon‘s Brad Pitt is back in the mix since I’ve taken Ward out. In Original Screenplay, I’m switching in Bardo with The Banshees of Inisherin out.

You can read all the movement below and keep an eye out for lots of individualized prediction posts for the pictures playing in Italy, Colorado, and Canada in the coming weeks!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

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

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

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Son (PR: 6) (+1)

6. Women Talking (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Whale (PR: 8) (E)

9. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Tar (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 14) (+2)

13. White Noise (PR: 12) (-1)

14. She Said (PR: 11) (-3)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

16. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 16) (E)

17. Broker (PR: 20) (+3)

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

19. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 21) (+2)

20. Till (PR: 18) (-2)

21. The Menu (PR: 22) (+1)

22. Bones and All (PR: 19) (-3)

23. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: Not Ranked)

24. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 25) (+1)

25. Living (PR: 24) (-1)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 4) (E)

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

Other Possibilities:

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

7. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 7) (E)

8. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (E)

9. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 9) (E)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

11. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 13) (+2)

12. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 11) (-1)

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

14. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis (PR: 14) (E)

15. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: 15) (E)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 3) (+2)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (E)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (E)

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

9. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 6) (-3)

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

11. Frances McDormand, Women Talking (PR: 11) (E)

12. Tang Wei, Decision to Leave (PR: 14) (+2)

13. Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Florence Pugh, The Wonder (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Jessica Chastain, The Good Nurse (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Helen Mirren, Golda (moved to 2023)

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: 3) (E)

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

5. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Supporting

Other Possibilities:

6. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-3)

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

12. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chevalier (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Park Hae-il, Decision to Leave (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye

Timothee Chalamet, Bones and All

Harry Styles, My Policeman 

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: 4) (E)

5. Griselda Sicillani, Bardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Samantha Morton, She Said (PR: 11) (E)

12. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 10) (-2)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 13) (E)

14. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Nina Hoss, Tar (PR: 14) (-1)

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. Zen McGrath, The Son (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (+2)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+5)

10. Toby Jones, Empire of Light (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Anthony Hopkins, The Son (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (-3)

14. Ralph Fiennes, The Menu (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Russell Crowe, The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 15) (E)

Dropped Out:

Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (moved to Best Actor)

Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Bardo (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Empire of Light (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Tar (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Menu (PR: 10) (E)

11. Broker (PR: 11) (E)

12. Bros (PR: 13) (+1)

13. Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: 14) (E)

15. Chevalier (PR: 15) (E)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Whale (PR: 3) (E)

4. She Said (PR: 5) (+1)

5. White Noise (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Living (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Bones and All (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Till (PR: 9) (-1)

11. The Lost King (PR: 14) (+3)

12. The Greatest Beer Run Ever (PR: 12) (E)

13. Elvis (PR: 15) (+2)

14. The Good Nurse (PR: Not Ranked)

15. The Woman King (PR: 11) (-4)

Dropped Out:

Blonde 

Oscar Predictions: The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Benedict Cumberbatch is primed to receive his second Best Actor nod (after 2014’s The Imitation Game) for his work in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. It screened at Venice this week, but it’s not the only title headlined by the star.

The other is The Electrical Life of Louis Wain where Cumberbatch plays the real life title character of the English artist known for his cat drawings. Will Sharpe directs and the supporting cast includes Claire Foy, Andrea Riseborough, Sharon Rooney, and Toby Jones. It hits theaters in mid October with an Amazon Prime streaming premiere in early November.

Early reviews are mixed. I don’t anticipate this getting any life with awards voters in any category. Bottom line: Cumberbatch should get a tuxedo or two or three ready for next year. And it will be for Dog and not the one about the guy known for cats. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Oscar Watch: First Cow

Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow debuted at the Telluride Film Festival in August of 2019 to very solid reviews before moving to the Berlin Film Festival. The 19th century set drama taking place in the Oregon Territory stands at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and represents another critical darling from the indie director.

After a limited and abbreviated theatrical run in March that was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cow is now available for streaming today. Being that it’s one of the most acclaimed releases so far in 2020, I wouldn’t be surprised if distributor A24 makes an awards play for it.

That could be a tall order. Reichardt’s previous effort Certain Women with Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart also nabbed kudos from the critical community, but was ignored by Oscar voters. Her latest could easily see the same result, but with the uncertainty of the year’s calendar – a play for for Picture or Adapted Screenplay is at least feasible. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: The Last Thing He Wanted

In 2017, the period drama Mudbound likely just missed the cut for Best Picture consideration at the Oscars. The critically hailed Netflix production from director Dee Rees arrived at a time where Academy voters were probably still leery of the streaming service garnering significant nods. Mary J. Blige did manage a nomination for Supporting Actress.

Mudbound started its awards buzz at the Sundance Film Festival three years ago. Rees’s follow-up is the political thriller The Last Thing He Wanted and it’s also scheduled for a Netflix bow in February. The film stars Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Rosie Perez, Edi Gathegi, Mel Rodriguez, Toby Jones, and Willem Dafoe in this adaptation from a Joan Didion novel.

The acclaim that greeted Rees and her picture three years ago has not repeated itself in 2020. The Last Thing currently sits at 0% (oof) on Rotten Tomatoes with reviews declaring it a serious misfire from a gifted filmmaker. The festival circuit frequently pushes along movies for consideration. It can also have the opposite effect of shutting those prospects down completely. And that’s where this seems bound. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Christopher Robin Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (08/02/18): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my estimate down a tad from $34 million to $29.6 million

Disney’s Christopher Robin hopes to make a pot of money when it’s released next weekend. The mix of live-action and CG brings back Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and other notable creatures that originated from the 1926 novel. Ewan McGregor plays an adult Christopher with Hayley Atwell as his wife. Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Nick Mohammed, Peter Capaldi, and Sophie Okonedo provide voiceover work. Marc Forster directs. I’m guessing this is more in tone with his 2003 pic Finding Neverland and not Quantum of Solace and World War Z.

This is not to be confused with last year’s Goodbye Christopher Robin with Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie. That biopic about Pooh’s author went nowhere at the box office.

That shouldn’t be the case here. The Mouse Factory is certainly astute at marketing their product and the familiarity with Winnie and friends won’t hurt. It may even succeed at tapping into adult moviegoers hungry for a nostalgic fix. Depending on how high Mission: ImpossibleFallout flies this coming weekend, a low to possibly mid 30s gross from Robin could put it in contention for the top spot. That seems reasonable for where this begins.

Christopher Robin opening weekend prediction: $29.6 million

For my The Spy Who Dumped Me prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/07/24/the-spy-who-dumped-me-box-office-prediction/

For my The Darkest Minds prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/07/24/the-darkest-minds-box-office-prediction/

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Movie Review

The central theme of the Jurassic franchise is whether the scientific re-creation of dinosaurs for profit is enough reason to justify their existence. Of course, the real reason these movies exist is so we can gaze upon glorious CG creatures that took our breath away 25 years ago in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Three years ago, Colin Trevorrow gave us Jurassic World. It did just enough to tap into our nostalgia for the original while keeping another central theme prominent in all series entries – the humans are less interesting than their prehistoric counterparts.

In the inevitable sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, we have a newer problem in that the dinosaurs are becoming increasingly less fascinating. When we left that theme park in 2015, it was in tatters due to the havoc wrought by its main attractions. We’re informed that the dinos still roam the deserted Isla Nublar and there’s a political debate as to what to do with them. That conversation is accelerated as a volcano is about to erupt on the island and incinerate everything. As audience members, let’s just choose to forget that even if the park had become successful and free of T-Rex breakouts, it would’ve only existed for three years because of that volcano. We don’t watch Jurassic pics for logic, after all.

The impending meltdown gets the attention of Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park’s former operations manager, who’s now an advocate for the dinosaurs survival. Her nephews from Jurassic World aren’t seen or mentioned. Perhaps they were smart enough to want nothing to do with all this. She’s recruited by Ben Lockwood (James Cromwell), the ailing former partner of the late John Hammond, to gather up Isla Nublar’s famous residents. Claire recruits her ex-flame and dino whisperer Owen (Chris Pratt) to join her, along with a ragtag group of assistants and military types led by mercenary and hunter Ted Levine. It turns out Lockwood’s assistant (Rafe Spall, a rather bland villain) might have conjured up other ideas for the creatures true purposes. Oh and Lockwood has a granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon). Kids in Jurassic flicks are mandatory. She’s got a spotty British accent and an eventual revelation about her character that is downright bonkers.

Our return to Jurassic World does allow for a couple imaginative action sequences that are well choreographed and filmed by franchise newcomer J.A. Bayona (Trevorrow isn’t behind the camera but has co-writing credit). In the second half, the pic moves to a more insulated setting. This section is less satisfying. While Bayona and company get a wee bit of credit for trying something different, the execution falters.

That’s the real issue here. 25 summers ago, the visuals of Jurassic Park were brand new and stunning. The technology, while still state of the art, isn’t fresh anymore. Human characters here aren’t compelling either. The dynamic between Pratt and Howard is as dull as before. Jeff Goldblum turns up as Dr. Malcolm for the first time since 1997’s The Lost World, but his presence is brief and forgettable. What wowed us a quarter century ago is now a listless undertaking occasionally punctuated by genuine excitement. Put another way, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has a tough time justifying its existence.

** (out of four)

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (06/15): I am revising my prediction down from $155.4 million to $140.4 million

Arriving three years after its predecessor set a series of box office records, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom looks to flex its dino might next weekend. The fifth picture in the massive franchise that just turned 25 years old, Kingdom is the sequel to Jurassic World and brings back Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jeff Goldblum (for the first time since 1997’s The Lost World). New cast members include Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, and Ted Levine. J.A. Bayona takes over directorial duties from Colin Trevorrow.

The history of this franchise setting opening weekend milestones is significant. Steven Spielberg’s original in 1993 had the largest debut ever at $47 million a quarter century ago. The Lost World would achieve the same honor four years later with $72 million. And, of course, Jurassic World stunned prognosticators in 2015 with $208 million out of the gate, which stood as the greatest premiere until Star Wars: The Force Awakens topped it six months later.

Fallen Kingdom will not and is not expected to break records. Jurassic World seemed to have its stars aligned for a spectacular opening. It had been nearly a decade and a half since the previous installment and the nostalgia factor was off the charts. Mostly positive reviews didn’t hurt and Mr. Pratt was coming off a star making role in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Critical reaction is mixed. The sequel currently sits at 59% on Rotten Tomatoes (World got to 71%). The film is already out in a number of foreign markets and it earned $151 million worldwide over the weekend (a bit above expectations).

The stateside tracking for Kingdom is between $130-$150 million. My general feeling is that this franchise has continually exceeded expectations and may do so here, albeit not by much. Jurassic World was a phenomenon while this is looked at as another summer sequel. It just happens to be one with a huge fan base who love returning to see these CG creatures.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opening weekend prediction: $140.4 million