2018 Oscar Season Preview: November

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

November 2, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

Premise: From IMDb: “A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert in 1985.”
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Expectations: Uncertain. There are a lot of Queen fans, but is this movie really something they’ve been clamoring to see. The first trailer did enthuse some, but will that be enough to make it a hit.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. While the Best Actor category is starting to solidify, there might still be room for a performance form Rami Malek if the film is even remotely good.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Nobody’s Fool

Premise: From IMDb: “A woman who gets released from prison and reunites with her sister, who discovers she is in an online relationship with a man that may be “catfishing” her.”
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Expectations: Decent. Is Tiffany Haddish the next big thing to hit cinemas? Possibly, though in a muted way. Although Girls Trip was a huge success, her most recent film, Night School was a more muted success. That said, I cannot imagine this doing more than respectable business at the box office.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Premise: From IMDb: “A young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.”
Box Office Prospects: $150 M
Expectations: Good. While the film does stem from a successful Disney animated property, it has that kind of feel. While it will undoubtedly do better than A Wrinkle in Time, I doubt it does as well as any of the other live-action versions of Disney animated films.
Oscar Prospects: Good. The production design and costumes look amazing and it is sure to take up the now almost annual Disney spot in the Production Design and Costume Design categories. Wins might not happen, though.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Boy Erased (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “The son of a Baptist preacher is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program.”
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Can a small film about gay conversion therapy really sell to wide audiences? I suspect it won’t even if it plays well to Oscar.
Oscar Prospects: Good. Although the film has been said to be “take your medicine” important, that doesn’t always play well with Oscar voters. That said, its cast is sure to contend as is the screenplay.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

A Private War (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “One of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time, Marie Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontline of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless.”
Box Office Prospects: $15 M
Expectations: Weak. A film about a war correspondent isn’t exactly the kind of film that lights up the box office. It could do well if word spreads, but I suspect it will hang out at the specialty box office for awhile, then close unless Oscar pays attention.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. Best Actress is filled with stiff competition this year and this is one of the performances that might falter because of that. Rosamund Pike’s received solid notices for her role in the film, but without a boost at the box office, I suspect it may be forgotten.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

November 9, 2018

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

Premise: From IMDb: “Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.”
Box Office Prospects: $70 M
Expectations: Uncertain. With the solid performance of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at the box office seven years ago, it would be surprising if a follow-up didn’t do well. That said, the director and cast are gone and what remains may be unfamiliar to most audiences, especially if they want to make it a box office hit.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

The Grinch

Premise: From IMDb: “A grumpy Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville.”
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Expectations: Good. There’s zero chance at this film flops at the box office, and even more evidence to suggest it will soar thanks to a lack of animated films at the box office combined with a lack of competition.
Oscar Prospects: Good. With the paucity of animated films so far this year, especially after the glut of recent years, there’s not a lot of Oscar competition, putting this one easily into contention.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Overlord

Premise: From IMDb: “The story of two American soldiers behind enemy lines on D Day.”
Box Office Prospects: $35 M
Expectations: Weak. There hasn’t been a lot of advertising for this one and the premise doesn’t exactly strike one as the foundation for box office success.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Peterloo (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “The story of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre where British forces attacked a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Manchester.”
Box Office Prospects: $4 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Mike Leigh’s biggest box office success came 22 years ago with Secrets & Lies, which made a then-solid $13 million at the box office. Since then, his films have consistently performed in the $3 to $4 million range. That means this film is likely to follow suit.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. Never count out Mike Leigh at the Oscars. That said, this film has gotten limited traction so far, which might be a sign that it’s not playing as well as it needs to. Still, never count out Mike Leigh at the Oscars.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

November 16, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Premise: From IMDb: “The second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” franchise which follows the adventures of Newt Scamander.”
Box Office Prospects: $250 M
Expectations: Excellent. While the prior film wasn’t as big as the latter Harry Potter outings, it was a still impressive $234 million. Now that fans have had a chance to warm up to the film, I suspect the second film will be an even bigger success.
Oscar Prospects: Good. While the first film in this new series looked like it might go home without an Oscar, it managed to win for Best Costume Design out of its two nominations. I suspect the film may be nominated in both films again, possibly even other craft categories, but I don’t think lightning will strike twice in terms of winning.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Instant Family

Premise: From IMDb: “A couple find themselves in over their heads when they adopt three children.”
Box Office Prospects: $120 M
Expectations: Good. What might surprise most filmgoers is that Rose Byrne has amassed a surprisingly strong raft of box office hits. Seven of her films have topped $100 million at the box office. Some of those were with her as a minor character. That said, she’s co-starred in four $100 million-plus films. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Her comic ailities are a part of that success. Thus, I suspect this will be another in her cap.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Widows

Premise: From IMDb: “Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.”
Box Office Prospects: $85 M
Expectations: Good. Heist films often do well at the box office, but this one, said to be incredibly well made, is sure to be a fairly strong performer at the box office based on its strong first trailer, killer cast, and interesting premise.
Oscar Prospects: Unlikely. While the film has gotten strong reviews out of the festivals, I suspect Oscar voters have more than their fair share of films to review for the year-end awards and other than a left field Best Actress citation for Viola Davis and a potential Film Editing nomination, the film doesn’t have a lot of Oscar potential.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

At Eternity’s Gate (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “A look at Vincent van Gogh’s time in Arles.”
Box Office Prospects: $5 M
Expectations: Weak. Period biopics, even of famous painters, even as Oscar contenders, seldom do well at the box office.
Oscar Prospects: Good. Willem Dafoe is beloved in Hollywood and his failure to win last year for The Florida Project two prior supporting nominations show he has built up a lot of good will with Hollywood. They will also want to award him fairly soon and this kind of film might just be that opportunity, and in the lead category to boot.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

November 23, 2018

Creed II (releases on Nov. 21, 2018)

Premise: From IMDb: “Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, newly crowned light heavyweight champion Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago.”
Box Office Prospects: $120 M
Expectations: Good. The first film did solid work at the box office. This sequel is likely to do as well or possibly even better.
Oscar Prospects: Unlikely. Although the first film earned attention as a potential major Oscar player, it ended up with a single nomination for Sylvester Stallone in Supporting Actor. Lightning is unlikely to strike twice for the film, especially with the Academy’s aversion to sequels.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Green Book (releases on Nov. 21, 2018)

Premise: From IMDb: “A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.”
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Good word out of the festival circuit could help the film, but it’s the kind of period drama that hasn’t always done well at the box office. The Audience Award winner at Toronto could still do decently, but won’t likely be a break-out success.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. The Audience Award at Toronto is a good sign of Oscar contention, especially its long recent track record. However, that’s no guarantee. There are a lot of films out there that could take up similar socially conscious slots at the Oscars and it will need above average box office numbers and a strong outpouring of support from critics to do that well at the Oscars.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Raph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (releases on Nov. 21, 2018)

Premise: From IMDb: “Six years after the events of “Wreck-It Ralph,” Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.”
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Expectations: Good. The first film took in $189 million at the box office. With little else in its way and the Thanksgiving holiday to boost its numbers, I suspect it may do even better than its predecessor.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. The first film should have won the Oscar. Unfortunately, the Academy’s antipathy towards sequels also extends towards animated films, which have performed poorly in that regard, seldom taking slots in the Best Animated Feature race. That said, there isn’t a lot of competition this year, so it could end up with a slot it might otherwise have missed out on in a stronger year, regardless of quality.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Robin Hood (releases on Nov. 21, 2018)

Premise: From IMDb: “Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance.”
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Taron Egerton hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to prove he’s a box office draw. This might be our first indication if his popularity extends beyond the Kingsman films.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

November 23, 2018

The Favourite (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.”
Box Office Prospects: $5 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Yorgos Lanthimos’ films haven’t been successes at the box office. While this film looks more like a traditional narrative than his past outings, that might not bolster its chances. That said, the Oscars may boost the film beyond predictions.
Oscar Prospects: Good. Olivia Colman is already being talked about as a guaranteed Oscar nominee. Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone could also be dragged along, as could the film’s costumes.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Shoplifters (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “A family of small-time crooks take in a child they find on the street.”
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Hirokazu Koreeda has never made a box office hit, which speaks more to the appeal of indie foreign films at the specialty box office. This film could do better as it’s currently being discussed as a major Oscar player this year Palme d’Or win at the Cannes film festival
Oscar Prospects: Good. That Palme d’Or could help the film make it onto the shortlist for a Best Foreign Language Film nomination and a win might not be out of the question.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

November 30, 2018

If Beale Street Could Talk (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “A woman in Harlem desperately scrambles to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while carrying their first child.”
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Expectations: Decent. Barry Jenkins made his debut with Oscar winning Best Picture Moonlight two short years ago. His follow up will likely be an Oscar player even if it’s not a major hit at the box office.
Oscar Prospects: Good. Barry Jenkins’ star is ascendant and he is very likely to make another Oscar showing with this period drama about pride and social justice. The first trailer is superb and Oscar voters will certainly want to recognize it.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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