Everything in this month’s top 10 moves except, interestingly, the #1 and the #10 films. As with Best Director, ROMA is still on top after one of the best fall festival runs ever, hitting every major (and most 2nd and 3rd tier) after Netflix’s big Cannes fight this summer. It was a fight that showed the streamer’s muscle and stubbornness to bend and it paid off.
But, right behind ROMA (also as in Best Director) is A Star Is Born, which moves two spots to #2, its highest placement. Whether it’s reality or the need of Oscar pundits at large, this looks like the race of the season. It’s an ultimate apples vs oranges fight, one Cuarón has already been in. This time though, the tables are turned a bit and he has the heavier, personal and weighty film vs a film that might be seen as technically strong but not as deep.
The #3 and #4 films, If Beale Street Could Talk and The Favourite, both continue to be strong players and both just earned Gotham Award nominations yesterday for Best Feature. The Gothams are small, to be sure, but they do kick off critics’ awards season and even announce their winners on the 26th, ahead of the National Board of Review (NBR) which always loves to be first (they announce on the 27th). A win for either film will be an important boost moving forward.
Green Book makes the biggest move, up into the top 5. With two Audience Awards under its belt (Toronto and Mill Valley) and a prime Thanksgiving holiday release, the crowdpleaser seems destined for big box office, which will only improve its awards prowess, especially in a year where the Board of Governors thought it wise to create a ‘Popular Film’ Oscar category (thankfully defunct…for now). With the amount of box office hits already here and likely coming up, it should make that need null and void.
Widows and Black Panther have been pretty fluid on my charts all year and move back up just a bit again. Black Panther is the biggest box office hit of the year and stands an excellent chance at multiple below the line nominations and if there was ever a ‘superhero’ film to break the Best Picture glass ceiling it’s this one. Widows, with its excellent reviews, good festival run and strong word of mouth should be a big box office hit as well and with possible acting nominations from Oscar winner Viola Davis and Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya in tow, that keeps it firmly in the conversation.
First Man drops once again, down to #9 now. It might seem like a risky call to bet against it but even with great reviews and the likelihood of a handful of below the line nominations it’s going to be difficult for the film to dig itself out the box office crater it finds itself in. This could be like when we thought Sully was going to hit big with the ‘dad porn’ voters only to fail big time with a single nomination, in Sound Editing. Vice could pull from that crowd, too. So far, First Man is no Sully, which grossed $240M worldwide on a $60M budget or Hacksaw Ridge, which grossed $175M worldwide on a $40M budget. Plus, now that Universal has Green Book looking much brighter, First Man could become an afterthought.
Clint Eastwood’s The Mule could be the film that pulls votes from that meat-and-potatoes old guard crowd. The last time Eastwood was both in front of an behind the camera was 2008’s Gran Torino. A massive box office hit but an Oscar no-show. It’s the month’s sole debut and rightfully so as there’s not much else that’s going to suddenly break through.
Here are my 2019 Oscar Predictions in Best Picture for October 19, 2018.
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – chart debut
1. ROMA (Netflix – December)
2. A Star is Born (Warner Bros – 10/5)
3. If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna – 11/30)
4. The Favourite (Fox Searchlight – 11/23)
5. Green Book (Universal – 11/21)
6. BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features – 8/10)
7. Widows (20th Century Fox – 11/16)
8. Black Panther (Disney – 2/16)
9. First Man (Universal – 10/12)
10. Vice (Annapurna – 12/14)
Boy Erased (Focus Features – 11/2)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight – 10/19)
Cold War (Amazon – 12/21)
Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros – 8/17)
Destroyer (Annapurna – 12/25)
The Mule (Warner Bros – 12/14)
22 July (Netflix – 10/16)
Beautiful Boy (Amazon – 10/12)
Bird Box (Netflix – 12/21)
Capharnaüm (Sony Classics – 12/14)
First Reformed (A24 – 5/18)
Mary Poppins Returns (Disney – 12/19)
Mary Queen of Scots (Focus Features – 12/7)
On the Basis of Sex (Focus Features – 12/25)