Oscar Predictions: Amsterdam

From 2010-13, David O. Russell made three pictures (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) that collectively earned an astonishing 25 Oscar nominations. This included acting wins for Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Jennifer Lawrence. The filmmaker himself has yet to receive a gold statue and his previous effort (2015’s Joy) nabbed just 1 Academy nod for its lead Lawrence.

His latest is Amsterdam and the comedic mystery will be lucky to garner any attention during awards season. It was a curious decision when Russell’s first feature in seven years skipped the festival circuit of Venice, Telluride, and Toronto. Now we may know why.

Early reviews for the October 7th release are not encouraging. There’s only a handful of official reviews which show a 20% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Yet we also have plenty of social media reaction claiming this is a high profile disappointment. The impressive cast is led by Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington with tons of other familiar faces including Robert De Niro, Zoe Saldana, Taylor Swift, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rami Malek, Michael Shannon, and Chris Rock (to name some). I wouldn’t expect any to compete in the acting derbies. Bale and De Niro are getting some decent notices, but it shouldn’t matter (maybe Bale could show up at the Globes for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy if competition is light).

As I see it, Costume Design and/or Production Design are the only possibilities for Amsterdam to be an Academy player. It’s entirely feasible that it won’t show up at all. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Argentina, 1985

Focused on the brave legal battle against the title nation’s brutal dictatorship, Argentina, 1985 premiered at the Venice Film Festival prior to its limited release Friday. An Amazon Prime streaming release is October 21st. The historical drama comes from director Santiago Mitre with a cast including prolific Argentine star Ricardo Darin, Peter Lanzani, Alejandra Flechner, and Norman Briski.

Reviews from Italy were strong and it stands at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The native country has unsurprisingly selected it as their submission for International Feature Film at the Oscars. In 2009, Argentina’s The Secret in Their Eyes won that race. Their last nominee was 2014’s Wild Tales. 

The international race already has some potential heavy hitters like Decision to Leave, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Close. Yet 1985‘s initial reaction makes it a possibility to make the eventual quintet. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Saint Omer

The French cinematic community had some choices as to which pic to submit for their International Feature Film contender at the Oscars. There’s critically appreciated efforts such as Mia Hansen-Love’s One Fine Morning and Romain Gavras’s Athena. Yet they (unsurprisingly) went with Alice Diop’s Saint Omer. Making her first non-documentary film, Diop has already garnered buzz for the legal drama.

Omer received the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival (basically the fest’s second place award). That positive reaction continued in Toronto and it holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100%.

2015’s Mustang and 2019’s Les Miserables are the only two French IFF hopefuls of the past decade. I currently have Omer listed in fourth position behind Decision to Leave, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Close. It’s a long shot to win, but it has a great shot to make the cut. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: The Eternal Daughter

British director Joanna Hogg’s last two efforts were the critically heralded semi-autobiographical pics The Souvenir (2019) and The Souvenir Part II from last year. Both Souvenir‘s featured Honor Swinton Byrne and her mother – Oscar winner Tilda Swinton.

Mom is back in The Eternal Daughter, a mystery with supernatural themes that premiered in Venice and also played Toronto. Besides Swinton, the cast includes Joseph Mydell and Carly-Sophia Davies. It’s flown a bit under the radar on the fest circuit, but the Rotten Tomatoes score is a sturdy 91%.

The A24 release could garner some mentions on year end critics lists. Like her earlier titles, I question whether the Academy will get on board. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Don’t Worry Darling Box Office Prediction

Much has been written about the behind the scenes happenings with Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling over the past several weeks. Her follow-up to 2019’s Booksmart, it has been a favorite of gossip pages. This involves everything from whether or not Shia LaBeouf was fired or quit before filming began or whether Wilde and Florence Pugh are on speaking terms. There was also SpitGate which focused on whether Harry Styles spat on costar Chris Pine at the Venice Film Festival. Spoiler alert: probably not. Will this ink mean pleasing returns when Darling debuts on September 23rd?

Wilde’s sophomore effort stars Pugh and Styles with costars including Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, and Pine. Said to be a Stepford Wives like psychological thriller, early reviews have been rather lackluster. Its Rotten Tomatoes meter is 40%.

Pugh is a rising star and, obviously, Styles has his legions of super fans. Yet that translates to music for the latter and we’ve yet to see if his pop star status can translate to big box office numbers. If you subscribe to the “all publicity is good publicity” theory, Darling could manage to top expectations and gross over $20 million for its start. I’m not so sure. I think the current projections of mid to high teens sounds about right.

Don’t Worry Darling opening weekend prediction: $18.9 million

For my Avatar prediction, click here:

Avatar Box Office Prediction

Pearl Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (09/14): I’m revising my estimate up from $2.4 million to $3.4 million.

Shot in secret during the filming of this spring’s horror pic X, Ti West’s prequel Pearl is in theaters Friday. Mia Goth returns in the villainous title role with a supporting cast including David Corenswat, Tandi Wright, and Matthew Sunderland. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival days ago to pleasing reviews (87% on Rotten Tomatoes). That’s just slightly under the meter of its predecessor which nabbed 94%.

While had the critics on its side, its box office performance was so-so. The $4.3 million opening culminated in an overall domestic gross of just under $12 million. While that might seem low, it’s a tidy profit for A24 considering the reported $1 million budget.

I’m sure Pearl wasn’t pricey either, but I suspect this won’t even reach figures. I’ll say between $2-3 million sounds about right.

Pearl opening weekend prediction: $3.4 million

For my The Woman King prediction, click here:

The Woman King Box Office Prediction

For my See How They Run prediction, click here:

See How They Run Box Office Prediction

Oscar Predictions: Blonde

While she received two Golden Globe nominations in her short-lived career, the Oscars never recognized Marilyn Monroe. Could the Academy honor the performance of Ana de Armas in the biopic Blonde as the icon? Arriving in limited release on September 16th before its September 28th Netlix stream, Andrew Dominik’s pic comes with a rare NC-17 rating and a near three hour runtime. Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Xavier Samuel, and Julianne Nicholson costar in the adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’s 2000 novel.

This is Dominik’s first feature since 2012’s Killing Them Softly (his 2007 Western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is considered by many to be a modern day classic). It premiered at Venice and early buzz is that this is a dark and rather sleazy and often enthralling exploration of the price of fame. The Rotten Tomatoes meter is at 84%.

I’m dubious that the Academy will embrace this as a BP contender. The real question is whether de Armas can make the cut. Based on initial reaction, she certainly can but it’s no guarantee… unlike, say, Cate Blanchett (Tar) or Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once). Her potential inclusion is probably contingent on how competition for slots plays out in the next four months. My Oscar Predictions posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: The Son

Two awards seasons ago, Florian Zeller’s The Father premiered at Sundance all the way back at a time known as January 2020. For over a year (and with the Oscars delayed due to COVID), the performance of Anthony Hopkins stayed in the minds of voters and he scored an upset Best Actor victory over the late Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). The pic nabbed five other nominations including a win for its Adapted Screenplay.

Zeller’s follow-up is The Son and prognosticators including me anointed Hugh Jackman as the Best Actor frontrunner sight unseen. That dynamic has changed as it’s screened at Venice before moving to Toronto (the actual release is November 11th). The supporting cast includes Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, and Hopkins.

Unlike The Father where reviews were basically all laudatory, the Italian buzz for The Son is wildly mixed. Some are calling it an emotional gut punch and highly effective. Others are claiming it’s a big failure. If there seems to be agreement on one item, it’s the potency of Jackman. He still seems likely to make the Actor cut for his second nod after 2012’s Les Miserables. Yet I’m feeling more confident that I made the right call by placing Brendan Fraser (The Whale) in 1st place on Monday’s update and sliding Jackman to second.

Beyond its star, any other nominations for The Son appears questionable at press time. Perhaps Toronto reaction will help flesh it out – for better or worse. From the initial reaction, I’d say Kirby and McGrath could be possible in the supporting fields. Hopkins is said to have a smaller role and Dern’s character reportedly has less to work with than Kirby. It could find its way into Adapted Screenplay, but a win seems like a reach already.

Bottom line: Jackman should be safe though nothing else is with this one. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Dead for a Dollar

Half a century ago, Walter Hill wrote the screenplay that turned into the Steve McQueen/Ali MacGraw vehicle The Getaway. 40 years back, he was directing Eddie Murphy in his cinematic debut alongside Nick Nolte in 48 Hrs. Now at age 80, the filmmaker is still active behind the camera.

His Western Dead for a Dollar has played in Venice prior to its September 30th stateside release. Two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe, and Rachel Brosnahan headline the cast of the late 19th century set pic. Reviews are decent at 78% on Rotten Tomatoes though not strong enough to indicate this will come out and play in any awards category. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: L’Immensita

If there’s an actress out there who I would say has almost quietly received four Oscar nominations, it’s Penelope Cruz. She won Supporting Actress in 2008 for Vicky Christina Barcelona, but was nominated the following year in that race for Nine. That’s in addition to two lead nods for 2006’s Volver and last year’s Parallel Mothers. 

At the Venice Film Festival, the quadruple contender stars in L’Immensita. The Italian family drama finds Cruz playing the mother of a boy (Luana Giuliani) grappling with gender identity. With her character experiencing mental health issues, this is said to be a juicy role for Emanuele Crialese’s effort.

There’s not many reviews out yet, but the handful of them available has its Rotten Tomatoes score at 100%. It will be interesting to see if Italy selects this as their International Feature Film designee. The Eight Mountains (which premiered at Cannes over the summer) is another possibility. The nation has had two films in the IFF derby over the past decade: 2013’s The Great Beauty (which won) and last year’s The Hand of God. If L’Immensita is the pick, the early word-of-mouth suggests it could make the eventual shortlist. Could Cruz be in the mix for a fifth nod? That’s doubtful though she was able to pull off that Parallel Mothers mention in a crowded 2021 Best Actress field. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…