We have reached the eighth post in my Case of series outlining the pros and cons of films up for Best Picture at the Oscars. Up now: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. If you missed previous write-ups, you can find them here:
Tarantino is a legendary filmmaker and his efforts have yet to win Best Picture despite nominations for Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds, and Django Unchained. With critical acclaim and healthy box office ($141 million), this star studded entry might simply feel like QT’s time has come. The precursor love has extended to Brad Pitt (the major front runner for Supporting Actor) and a Golden Globe victory for Best Musical/Comedy. It’s tied for the second most nominations with 10 along with The Irishman and 1917.
The Case Against Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
This might not seem like a big deal. but its omission for Best Editing kind of seems like a thing. The Best Picture recipient almost never misses that final five. Furthermore, its loss in the PGA race to 1917 and SAG ensemble to Parasite are significant exclusions.
A narrative is being established that the race could be between 1917 and Parasite. Yet Hollywood still feels like the third viable contender even with the lack of SAG and PGA attention.
Director Quentin Tarantino and star Leonardo DiCaprio both return to the silver screen for the first time in three and a half years with the release of OnceUponaTimeinHollywood next weekend. Set in the late 1960s, Mr. Tarantino’s latest casts DiCaprio as a washed up TV actor with Brad Pitt as his longtime stunt double. The sprawling supporting players include Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Kurt Russell, Damian Lewis, the late Luke Perry, Damon Herriman, Mike Moh, Zoe Bell, and Al Pacino.
When Hollywood premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, it did so to reviews expected of its director. The Rotten Tomatoes score is at 92% and it could attract Oscar attention. The teaming of DiCaprio (in his first role since his Oscar winning turn in TheRevenant) and Pitt and the many Tarantino followers certainly have given this a high profile.
In order to achieve its maker’s largest all-time three day start, Hollywood would need to top the $38 million made by InglouriousBasterds ten years ago. However, that’s a bit of a misnomer. 2012’s DjangoUnchained opened over Christmas and took in $30 million from Friday to Sunday. Yet it made $63 million over its expanded holiday rollout.
The range here is pretty wide. It’s feasible that Hollywood doesn’t quite reach that high 30s threshold. I think it gets there with a just a few hundred thousand to spare.
OnceUponaTimeinHollywood opening weekend prediction: $38.7 million