Here’s the first teaser for one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Nightmare Alley!
Guillermo del Toro’s previous film, Shape of the Water, won the Oscar for Best Picture. Could Nightmare Alley pull off the same feat? I have no idea but the trailer looks good and I’ll watch Bradley Cooper, Willem DaFoe, and Cate Blanchett in anything. Nightmare Alley is scheduled to be released on December 17th.
Incidentally, Nightmare Alley is based on a novel, which was previously adapted into a film way back in 1947. That version, which is considered to be a noir classic, was directed by Edmund Goulding and starred Tyrone Power, Jr in the lead role.
It’s time for me to do my monthly Oscar predictions. Again, as I’ve said in the past, the majority of these predictions are based on a combination of instinct and wishful thinking. However, the picture may become a bit clearer as early as the end of this week. With the Venice and Telluride film festivals right around the corner and Toronto also swift approaching, critics are finally going to get a chance to see some of the contenders and, as the early reviews come in, it should be easier to pick the probable nominees from the also-rans.
Personally, I will curious to see how people react to Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. Among the other possibilities that we’ll be hearing about: Spencer, King Richard, Dune, The Lost Daughter, The Last Duel, and Belfast.
If you’re curious to see how my thinking has developed, check out my predictions for March and April and May and June and July!
It’s that time of the month again! It’s time for me to make my early Oscar predictions.
This year, the Cannes Film Festival really didn’t clear much up. TheFrenchDispatch was acclaimed but, in every review, there was an admission that, for everyone who absolutely loved it, there would probably be someone else who would absolutely hate it. I did decided to include RedRocket on my list of predictions, based on the Cannes reaction. I’m still not a 100% convinced that it’s going to be a contender, of course. But the idea of a Simon Rex movie being nominated for best picture was just too wonderfully strange for me to ignore. That’s the same logic that led to me including Pig as a best picture nominee, by the way.
On the Ridely Scott front, the overacting in the trailer for HouseofGucci really turned me off so I dropped it from all of my predictions. TheLastDuel looks like it might have a chance, however.
Anyway, the main thing to remember when looking at these predictions is that the majority of them are just random guesses, based on hunches and past Academy behavior. So, as always, take them with several grains of salt.
If you’re curious to see how my thinking has developed, check out my predictions for March and April and May and June!
It’s the end of the month and that means that it’s time for me to post my monthly predictions!
What has chanced since I last made my predictions in May? Though it was acclaimed by critics, the box office failure of InTheHeights has probably ended that film’s time as an Oscar contender. For all the musicals that are coming out this year, only Spielberg’s WestSideStory really seems like a good bet to emerge as a major contender. DearEvanHansen was pretty much eliminated from consideration as soon as its trailer dropped. Tick, Tick….Boom seems to be destined to be loved by theater kids while being dismissed by everyone else. I’d love to see Joe Wright and Peter Dinklage nominated but my instincts are telling me that Cyrano will probably not be a huge contender. In the end, WestSideStory seems like the most likely musical nominee.
I’ve been reading up on Jane Campion’s ThePoweroftheDog, which is set to premiere at Venice and then be released via Netflix. Based on a novel by Thomas Savage, this sounds like the type of film that could potentially be a strong contender, depending on what approach Campion takes the story. The main character of Phil Burbank is the type of bigger-than-life role that could lead to Oscar glory. (The closest recent equivalent to Phil would probably be Daniel Day-Lewis in ThereWillBeBlood.) Phil is a sharply intelligent but cruelly manipulative Montana rancher, the type who brags about castrating cattle while quoting Ovid and who goes out of his way to bully anyone who he considers to be effeminate. Of course, there’s a secret behind all of Phil’s cruelty and how the film handles that secret will have a lot to do with how strongly the film comes on during awards season. Phil is being played by Benedict Cumberbatch, which is …. interesting casting. (Personally, I probably would have begged Michael Fassbender to take the role.) Still, it seems like Phil could be the type of change-of-pace role that, should Cumberbatch’s casting pay off, could lead to Oscar glory.
Coming up in July, we’ve got Cannes and we’ll be getting our first look at contenders like Wes Anderson’s TheFrenchDispatch. Though Cannes is hardly a reliable precursor, the Oscar race should start to become a bit clearer as the festival start up and the contenders — many of which we’ve been waiting to see for over two years — will finally start to be released. Until then, take all predictions with a grain of salt!
If you’re curious to see how my thinking has developed, check out my predictions for March and April and May.
It’s that time of the month again! It’s time for me to go out on a limb and attempt to predict what will be nominated for the Oscars. Of course, trying to do this early in the year is a fool’s errand. We all know that. That’s actually part of the fun.
As of right now, the list below is full of familiar names, a few films that were acclaimed at Sundance, and a few random guesses. A lot of the predicted nominees are films that were expected to be Oscar contenders last year but which were delayed due to the pandemic. (Looking at you, West Side Story.) Some of them are contenders that I personally would just like to see nominated, even though it probably won’t happen. (I’m not going to jinx anything by pointing out which nomination about which I’m specifically thinking. You’ll probably be able to guess for yourself.) Over the next few months, the Oscar picture will become a bit clearer. Many of the contenders listed below will be forgotten about. Meanwhile, new contenders will emerge. My point is, take it all with a grain of salt and don’t put down any money just yet.
Two big developments to keep in mind:
First off, the Academy is officially going back to having a set a number of nominees. Next year, ten films will be nominated for best picture. Not seven. Not nine. Ten. Personally, I’m thrilled by this development. Nothing irritated me more than when they used to announce those weird, seven-picture lineups. (As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like odd numbers.)
Secondly, the Academy is going back to the old eligibility dates. Yay! What that means is that only films that are released between March and the end of this year will be eligible to compete for the Oscars. More importantly, it means that the best film of 2021 will not be released in 2022.
Anyway, here are my predictions for this month! Don’t take them too seriously. If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, check out my predictions for March and April.
Well, now that the latest Oscar ceremony is out of the way, I guess it’s time to focus on predicting what will be nominated next year.
(Well, it’s not really time but if you’re an Oscar-obsessive like I am, you really have no choice. Oscar speculation is an addiction that’s easily shaken off.)
Below, you’ll find my predictions for April. As always, these should be taken with several grains of salt.
First off, I haven’t seen any of these films and some of them might not live up to expectations.
Secondly, I’m not even sure whether the Academy is going to go back to the old rules of using the end of December as their eligibility cut-off or if they’re going to continue with the extended release window that they used last year.
Third, the Oscar picture is never anywhere close clear until November or December rolls around. Right now, I can only predict what I know is going to be released between now and December 31st. Obviously some of the movies below might have their release date changed and several movies will be picked up from the various film festivals. In all probability, next year’s big Oscar winner isn’t even on anyone’s radar right now. (Let’s not forget that, up until February of this year, most people were still predicting that Da 5 Bloods would be a huge Oscar player.)
Also note, the Academy is finally going back to having a set number of best picture nominees so no more of this stupid 7 or 9 nominees nonsense. In theory, that’s good news for film like Dune, which will probably get a lot of technical nominations but which probably would have struggled to make the final best picture lineup under the former rules. Of course, the Academy is also about to institute their inclusion requirements so it will be interesting to see if any of the expected contenders are disqualified from competing for best picture.
If you want to follow how my thinking has developed, be sure to check out my predictions for March!
The Oscar nominations for 2020-2021 were finally revealed earlier this month. They weren’t particularly surprising. To be honest, they were kind of boring. But, with those nominations now revealed and the Oscars sets to be awarded at the end of April, that means it’s time to start looking forward to next year!
Of course, it’s hard to say what’s going to happen next year. Most of the films that are scheduled to come out later in 2021 were originally scheduled to come out in 2020. (And they were made in 2018 and 2019, which means the first big releases of 2021 are already dated.) Right now, most of the probable nominees are films that I originally expected to be contenders last year, like Spielberg’s West Side Story and Dune. Needless to say, new contenders will emerge over the next few months. Quite frankly, I’m skeptical of West Side Story because it sounds like the type of project that will bring out all of Spielberg’s worst instincts as a filmmaker. But, until it’s released, it’ll be a contender because he’s Spielberg.
As of right now, we don’t even know what the eligibility window is going to be for the next set of Oscar contenders. Is the Academy going to go back to a December cut-off or are they going to continue to extend the eligibility window. Are we predicting the 2021 Oscars or are we predicting the 2021-2022 Oscars? Again, as of now, we just don’t know. Personally, I’m hoping they return to a December cut-off but I have a feeling that the Academy will disagree.
About the only thing we do know for sure, right now, is that the Academy is going to go back to a set number of nominees. 10 films will be nominated. No more of this maybe 7 or maybe 8 nominees. It’s about time.
Anyway, the list below is based on the assumption that the Academy’s going to go back to the old eligibility window, which means that only films released between the start of March and the end of December will be eligible for Oscar consideration.
It’s also based on the presumption that the Oscars can be predicted this far out. They can’t. But I enjoy making lists and I love the Oscars. Doing these predictions has become a part of my monthly ritual. You know how much I love a good ritual.
So, here are my potentially worthless predictions for what will be nominated next year!
In some ways, Earl is typical of the characters that Eastwood has played during the latter part of his career. He’s grouchy. He’s alienated almost everyone who was previously close to him. He drives an old pickup truck and he has no idea how to text and he seems to literally snarls whenever he sees anyone under the age of 60. He served in the Korean War and he’s not scared of guns.
In other ways, Earl is not a typical Eastwood character at all. First off, he’s on the verge of financial ruin. Earl may not be the first Eastwood character to not know how to responsibly handle money but he is perhaps the first one to be on the verge of homelessness as a result. (He’s perhaps the first of Eastwood’s modern character to face real-world consequences for his flaws.) Secondly, Earl often seems to be lost in the 21st century world. In Gran Torino and Trouble With The Curve, Eastwood played grumpy old men who could still hold their own when it came to dealing with younger people. But, in The Mule, Earl seems to be defeated by life. The only thing that he really has going for him is his reputation as a horticulturist and, as the film makes clear, that’s not a skill that’s going to bring in much money.
That all changes when Earl has a chance meeting with Rico (Victor Rasuk), a friend of his granddaughter’s. Knowing that Earl is desperate for money, Rico tells him that he could make a quick payday by transporting a package for some friends. After giving it some thought, Earl agrees. When Earl meets Rico’s friends, everyone is shocked at how old he is. They’re even more shocked when Earl says that he doesn’t know how to text. Earl is given a phone and told to answer it whenever it rings but to never use it to call anyone. A package is put in the back of Earl’s pickup truck. It’s suggested that Earl not look in the package.
Does Earl know that he’s transporting drugs? At first, it’s hard to say. While it seems obvious to us, Earl is from a different time. Still, once Earl does eventually learn that he’s being used as a drug mule, it doesn’t seem to bother him. If nothing else, Earl actually seems to get a kick out of being a real-life outlaw. He continues to make his runs and he continues to make money and, perhaps most importantly, he now has a purpose in life. In a strange way, the drug runners even become his new family. (They call him Tata, which is Spanish for grandfather.) Of course, they’re a family that makes it cleat that they’ll kill Earl if he’s ever late delivering the package but that doesn’t seem to matter to Earl.
Meanwhile, the DEA (represented by Laurence Fishburne, Bradley Cooper, and — somewhat inevitably — Michael Pena) are hearing reports about a new drug mule who has been nicknamed Tata. What they don’t suspect, of course, is that Tata is a 90 year-old man who has no criminal record and who is always very careful to obey all the traffic laws. Even when Earl is pulled over by the police, he’s such a nice old man that they let him go without bothering to really search his vehicle. It seems like Earl’s got a perfect thing going but, unfortunately, things are never as good as they seem and eventually, the reality of Earl’s situation intrudes on his fantasy….
It’s been said that The Mule is going to be Eastwood’s final film as an actor and he gives an excellent performance as Earl. The Mule, which feels, in many ways, like a good-natured companion piece to Gran Torino, features Eastwood at both his most vulnerable and, probably not coincidentally, his most likable and sympathetic. In this film, Eastwood makes clear that he’s no longer the righteous Dirty Harry or the mythological Man With No Name. Now, he’s just a man nearing the end of his life and trying to come to terms with the mistakes and the decisions of the past. Eastwood plays Earl like a man who knows that his time is limited. Smuggling drugs gives him a chance to feel like he’s alive again but, throughout it all, there’s still a deep sadness. Earl can use his money to pay his bills and to fix up the local VFW hall but he still can’t buy his family’s forgiveness. Watching the film, it’s impossible not to feel for Earl. You’re happy that he found at least a little satisfaction with his criminal career, even though you immediately suspect that things probably aren’t going to turn out well for him.
Admittedly, there is one cringe-worthy scene in which it’s suggested that the 90 year-old Earl has had a threesome with two twenty year-olds (and one gets the feeling that the scene would not have been included if not for the fact that the film’s star was also the director). For the most part, though, this is a thoughtful film that features a poignant performance from Eastwood and which is directed in a restrained, but empathetic manner. If this is Eastwood’s swan song as an actor, it’s a good note to go out on.
We talk a lot about which performers and directors have been snubbed at Oscar time. For movie lovers, that’s an important subject. We all know that great actors like Peter O’Toole, Cary Grant, Albert Finney, and others all went to their grave with several nominations but not a single competitive Oscar to their name. Earlier this week, Kirk Douglas died at the age of 103 without having ever won a competitive Oscar. We always talk about how certain actors are overdue for their first Oscar but sometimes we forget that being overdue doesn’t always translate into an eventual win.
With that in mind, here are 6 actors who I sincerely hope will have won their first Oscar by the time 2040 rolls around:
Bradley Cooper is kind of the obvious choice for a list like this. It’s still amazing to think that Cooper started the previous decade best known for a supporting role on Alias and for playing the smarmiest of the friends in The Hangover films. Over the past ten years, he has emerged as not only a excellent actor but an excellent filmmaker as well. (He may not have received a nomination for Best Director for A Star Is Born but he deserved one.) Considering how often he’s been nominated over the past few years, Cooper is reaching overdue status and I full expect he’ll win an Oscar sometime during the next decade.
2. Ethan Hawke
Ethan Hawke has hardly been snubbed when it comes to nominations. He’s been twice supported for Best Supporting Actor and he’s got two nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay. That Ethan Hawke was not nominated for First Reformed is still a shock to me. It was one of the best performances of 2018 but it was also a rather subtle and, at times, rather depressing performance as well. With the exception of his nomination for Training Day, all of Hawke’s nominations have been the result of collaborating with Richard Linklater. Hopefully, Linklater is currently working on a great script that has a great role for Ethan Hawke because Hawke deserves to win an Oscar before 2040.
3. Steve Carell
When it comes to talking about actors who will someday win an Oscar, Steve Carell seems like an obvious choice. He’s only received one nomination — for Foxcatcher — but people just seem to love him. I think the man obstacle standing in Carell’s way is that he has a habit of appearing in movies that sound like they should be good but then turn out to be the total opposite. (Welcome to Marwen, anybody?) Still, it’s hard not to feel that Carell will eventually get the right role.
4. Oscar Isaac
Isaac has yet to receive his first nomination but it feels like it’s only a matter of time. He’s talented, he’s super hot, and I still love the way he delivered the line, “I declare him to be an ….. OUTLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW!” in Robin Hood.
5. Robert Downey, Jr.
Obviously, Robert Downey, Jr. is not going to win for Dr. Doolittle. In fact, if he keeps making movies like that, he’s going to make me look really stupid for putting him on this list. But the fact of the matter is that Downey is an actor who not only made an amazing comeback but who also served as the anchor for one of the most successful film franchises in history. It’s hard to imagine the MCU becoming what it became without Downey’s involvement. Downey can also be an excellent actor. (People tend to forget that he had two nominations to his name before he ever played Iron Man.) Someone needs to write Downey the perfect role and hope that he’ll accept it, regardless of how much money he’s being offered to star in the latest Disney live action remake.
6. Kurt Russell
Somehow, Kurt Russell does not have a single Oscar nomination to his name! Despite being one of the most beloved actors out there and being something of a cinematic icon, Russell has never once been nominated. (One problem is that all of the truly great Kurt Russell roles end up going to Jeff Bridges. It’s every easy to imagine Russell playing every role ever played by Jeff Bridges and vice versa.) The thing is, Kurt’s not getting any younger. So, let’s hope that Quentin Tarantino is currently writing the role of a lifetime for Hollywood’s greatest Libertarian.
Agree? Disagree? Have someone else who you have picked over these six? Let me know in the comments below!