Nominations for the 2019 Emmys are due soon, and you’ll see a lot of articles about who should be nominated and why. Here’s one man’s (correct) opinions. Note: If I don’t think five (or more) things should be nominated for a category, I’ll just list the ones I think *definitely* should merit attention. Also note that I’m only doing drama and comedy – no miniseries or sketch/variety, though I’ve listed some I really liked below.
Best Drama Series:
Big Little Lies
This is Us
Best Comedy Series:
The Good Place
Best Actor, Drama:
Milo Ventimiglia, This is Us
Sterling K. Brown, This is Us
Penn Badgley, You
James Franco, The Deuce
Sean Penn, The First
Best Actress, Drama:
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
Susan Kelechi Watson, This is Us
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce
Best Supporting Actress, Drama
Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
Zoe Kravitz, Big Little Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies
Carrie Coon, The Sinner
Best Supporting Actor, Drama
Adam Scott, Big Little Lies
Justin Hartley, This is Us
Bobby Canavale, Homecoming
Best Actor, Comedy:
Bill Hader, Barry
Ben Feldman, Superstore
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn 99
Tony Hale, Veep
Marc Maron, GLOW
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Best Actress, Comedy:
Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Veep
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
America Ferrera, Superstore
Kristen Bell, The Good Place
Alison Brie, GLOW
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy:
James Marsden, Dead to Me
Henry Winkler, Barry
Charlie Barnett, Russian Doll
Nico Santos, Superstore
Manny Jacinto, The Good Place
Timothy Simons, Veep
Reid Scott, Veep
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy:
Cecily Strong, SNL
D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place
Lauren Ash, Superstore
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
Clea DuVall, Veep
Other shows/noms I hope make it: Fosse/Verdon (and Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams); Escape at Dannemora (and Patricia Arquette and Eric Lange especially); Sharp Objects (and Amy Adams especially); Chernobyl; and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Now check back when, say, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Game of Thrones are the top-nominated shows. Sigh.
In my lifetime, I remember when opening weekend box office became a big deal: 1997, when “The Lost World” played on basically every movie screen available. It made $74 million in 1997, a huge jump from the previous record-holder, “Batman Forever” ($52 million in 1995). Then, my freshman year of college, the record was reset twice: first, by “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which made $90 million in 2001, and second by “Spider-Man,” which, by making $114 million in 2002, was the first movie to ever make nine figures in a weekend. The “Spider-Man” record was destined to stand for a long time…until “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” made $135 million in 2006. Then “Spider-Man 3” took back Spidey’s crown, earning a shocking $151 million in 2007 – I say shocking because, remember, five years earlier no movie had ever crossed $100 million, let alone $150. The numbers were starting to be unfathomable, but still, the pace was growing at a relatively reasonable rate.
Opening weekends were and have since become a much bigger part of the overall box office equation – a movie’s “legs” are important, sure, but that opening weekend determines “bomb” or “hit” in a much more blatant way than, say, 20 years ago. Meanwhile, “The Dark Knight” earned $158 million in 2008, the last “Harry Potter” movie earned $169 in 2011, and we were primed for a movie to maybe, possibly, finally hit $200 million in a weekend. And “The Avengers” did it – $207 million in its opening weekend, to be precise. That had to be it – no way were other movies going to hit $200 million again regularly. Again, this was a decade after a movie finally hit $100 million – $200 million had to be considered rarefied air. And so of course the “Avengers” record stood the test of time…all the way until 2015, when “Jurassic World” opened with $208 million. But that record fell pretty quickly, because “The Force Awakens” came out in 2015 and absolutely crushed all previous records – $247 million its opening weekend, and a lifetime total of $936 million (domestic). So, that had to be it, right? In 20 years we went from $52 million to $247 million – certainly well above mere inflation over the same two-decade period. Well, no, there was still seemingly a little more wiggle room: “Infinity War” upped the ante by opening with $257 million in 2018. You can see there have been big jumps – from $114 to $135 to $158 to $169. Even going from “Jurassic World’s” $208 to “Force Awakens” $247 was understandable, given the pent-up demand for “Star Wars” content and the fact that it was essentially a sequel to “Return of the Jedi.”
But, of course, you can see where I’m going with this: even if “Endgame,” the newly-released Avengers movie, was going to break records, you’d have maybe expected $280. Maybe $290. If you were being generous, maybe it would be the first franchise to break an honestly-unthinkable $300 million. But it didn’t do that. No – it made $350 million, shattering the previous record by almost $100 million. Think about that. Just about 18 years ago, people were floored that a movie could make $90 million in a weekend. Now “Avengers” made $96 million…on a Friday. It made $60 million just in Thursday previews. It made $109 million on Saturday, and a not-too-shabby $84 million on Sunday.
It’s mind-boggling, and unfathomable, and – yet – I’d be a fool to say, “well, this is the record that can’t be broken.” Every time I’ve thought that in the past (see above), I’ve been proven wrong. But this is leaps and bounds above normal expectations. A cursory Google search tells me the fastest mile ever ran was 3 minutes, 43 seconds. For a long period of time, a 4-minute mile was unheard of, but clearly we live in an era where sub-4 is now attainable. You’d imagine that the next best times would be something like 3 minutes and 41 seconds, maybe 3 minutes and 39 seconds – once you’re getting to such an elite level, it’s going to be hard to shave off even fractions of a second. What “Endgame” did, and what you have to appreciate in terms of how much modern cinema and movie-going has changed, is akin to running a sub 3-minute mile.
I don’t know what would be next to break “Endgame”‘s record: maybe “Rise of Skywalker,” which is for all intents and purposes the last “Star Wars” movie. But honestly – “Endgame” may be a once-in-a-lifetime event for people of my generation, where the entire pop culture landscape was dominated by just one thing. For so long, we’ve heard about the fracturing of pop culture: from three broadcast networks to four, to the rise of cable, to the rise of premium cable, to Netflix and Hulu, etc. There’s not going to be a “MASH” finale-level event where all of our TVs are dialed in on the same channel – even the Superbowl at best draws 100-something million viewers, not the majority of the country. But “Endgame” seems to be that rare movie that cracked through and created, for a weekend, a monoculture.
I have no dog in this fight – I mean, I suppose full disclosure, I own one lone share of Disney stock that was given to me well before Disney ever acquired Pixar and Lucasfilm and Marvel – but I’m just astounded. The sheer tonnage of box office receipts for this movie has made me a temporary box office pundits. (Don’t worry – in the future, I’ll leave it to the professionals.)
Spoilers for those who haven’t seen it, but honestly, the truest words Thanos may have said the whole movie can really be summed up by the crazy box office weekend we just got: “I am inevitable.”
In just six days, we’ll really be in the endgame. After over 20 movies, I thought I’d pick my favorite moments from the previous Marvel movies. You’ll notice I’ve omitted scenes from any Thor movie, whose trilogy I find the weakest of the “main” Avengers; scenes with Hawkeye and Black Widow, who have not had their own solo movies; scenes featuring Dr. Strange and Captain Marvel, whose solo movies were fine but didn’t have stand-out moments; and anything from the 2008 Incredible Hulk movie. I enjoy the Marvel humor more than the action or the interconnected nature of the movies, which is certainly reflected below, and why I feel most drawn to Peter Parker, Tony Stark, and Peter Quill. Tell me in the comments what scenes or moments you think I should have included! And, of course, spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen each and every one of the MCU movies.
10. Tony quips to Harley (Iron Man 3, 2013)
9. Dance Off to Save the Universe (Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014)
8. The Best Possible Use of Jeff Bridges (Iron Man, 2008)
7. Luis Riffs (Ant-Man, 2015)
6. The Death of Killmonger (Black Panther, 2018)
5. “I am Groot.” “I am Steve Rogers.” (Avengers: Infinity War, 2018)
The funniest moment in an otherwise quite serious movie (when half the world disappears, I’d say that qualifies as “serious”).
4. Elevator Fight! (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014)
3. The Battle of New York (Avengers, 2012)
“And Hulk? Smash.”
2. “We are Groot.” (Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014)
“Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good.” (Avengers: Infinity War, 2018)
Notre Dame is a majestic, meaningful, historic building, and I send it and the people of Paris nothing but my best wishes. I’ve been lucky enough to visit it several times, but given that this is a pop-culture blog, I thought it best to share my favorite scene in a movie concerning Notre Dame’s beauty.
Some people love the Super Bowl for the commercials (though in recent years they have not been nearly as good as the ones of old). Some love it for the drama of a championship game. But my favorite part of the Super Bowl, at least the last few years, have been the SNL Totino’s trilogy of commercials. Sadly, since Vanessa Bayer left as a cast member the show no longer makes these pre-tapes. But a Totino’s clip in January was the highlight of my SNL viewing season. Check them out below:
As always, I make my predictions as soon as the nominations are out. These are the individuals and films that will win Oscars in 2019 – no need to watch the host-less show now!
A Star Is Born BlacKkKlansman Green Book Roma Black Panther Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite Vice
Should Win: BlackKKKlansman, both the best of the bunch and also the movie that affected me the most even months after seeing it. I also really enjoyed The Favourite and A Star is Born, and while I like Black Panther, to me it’s great just for a Marvel movie to be nominated.
Will Win: Welp. A few weeks ago, I’d have said A Star is Born is a lock. Then Bradley Cooper (or as my friend Rachel Weiner dubbed him years ago, Cooper Bradley) didn’t even get nominated for Best Director, a bad sign. Green Book (likely your parents’ favorite movie) and Roma seem like the best bets here, with the crowd-pleasing Bohemian Rhapsody a dark horse. I’ll say Roma.
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman Adam McKay, Vice Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Should Win: Spike Lee. His first nomination, and his is the best movie of this group. The surprise here is Pawlikowski, essentially taking the slot I thought would go to Cooper. And Lanthimos’s film was his most audience-accessible and yet still retained his trademark quirkiness.
Will Win: Cuaron, and I think this is the prediction about which I feel best.
Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale, Vice Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born Viggo Mortensen, Green Book Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Should Win: I’m surprised that Ethan Hawke and Lucas Hedges are out and Mortensen and Dafoe are in, but Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine is the only character on this list I’ll remember years from now.
Will Win: This has felt like a Bale/Malek showdown since the Golden Globes, and with Bale having already earned a trophy, I think the Academy will recognize Malek.
Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close, The Wife Lady Gaga, A Star is Born Olivia Colman, The Favourite Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Should Win: Olivia Colman was great, but A Star is Born does not work without Gaga’s performane as Aly. Aparicio is the heart of Roma, and the same is true of McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me.
Will Win: This has also felt predestined since the Globes to go between Close and Colman. I think Close will win, as her Globes speech put her back on a lot of voters’ radars.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, Green Book Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? Sam Elliott, A Star is Born Sam Rockwell, Vice
Should Win: Driver was great, though I thought Topher Grace was the more memorable performance in that film. Rockwell did an admirable Dubya in Vice, but he and Ali are the two most recent recipients of this award. I think the Academy will want to spread the love.
Will Win: This seems to come down to a career recognition of Sam Elliott versus an outstanding performance by Richard E. Grant. Supporting Actor is usually a category with big upsets, so I’ll take Grant.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk Amy Adams, Vice Emma Stone, The Favourite Marina de Tavira, Roma Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Should Win: Stone and Weisz are the foundation at the heart of The Favourite, and their performances should win them a co-trophy. I’m very surprised to see de Tavira on the list, though she was quite good.
Will Win: Does the Academy recognize Amy Adams, frequently-nominated but still searching for her first trophy? Or will it go with Regina King, who I’ve enjoyed ever since she was Marcy Tidwell in Jerry Maguire? Adams is long overdue, but this would feel like a make-good award, and she’s had several better performances. I think the award goes to King.
The Favourite First Reformed Green Book Roma Vice
Should Win: First Reformed was scintillating, and Paul Schraeder is a phenomenal writer. The Favourite had a great story about palace intrigue. Vice, for me, had a lot of story faults – the story of Scooter Libby leaking Valerie Plame’s name is all but dropped after an off-hand mention. And – sorry Mom and Dad – Green Book is 1) Driving Mr. Daisy, and 2) Going to get dinged because its author had some seriously bad tweets in 2015. Therefore…
Will Win: Roma.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs BlacKkKlansman Can You Ever Forgive Me? If Beale Street Could Talk A Star Is Born
Should Win: If Beale Street Could Talk had some memorable scenes, and Buster Scruggs works as an anthology (though I thought it had thematic and tonal issues). Can You Ever Forgive Me is an ironic choice considering its subject is a woman who fakes letters. And while A Star is Born is a really solid movie, the story fades badly in the second half. Ergo…
Will Win: BlackKKlansman.
Animated Feature Film
Incredibles 2 Isle of Dogs Mirai Ralph Breaks the Internet Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Should Win: Spiderverse. Period. It’s one of the best animated films of all time.
Will Win: Ditto.
Cold War The Favourite Never Look Away Roma A Star Is Born
Should Win: Things get interesting here. A Star is Born has some beautiful concert shots, but its cinematography is most memorable when Jackson and Aly are riding through the desert. Cold War is nominated for Best Director as well and has a Polish director, Never Look Away is a German film, and the Favourite deals with the England of centuries ago, and all three are fine choices, but it’s a different foreign film that will win this category.
Will Win: Roma.
Free Solo Hale County This Morning, This Evening Minding the Gap Of Fathers and Sons RBG
Should Win: This is one of the best years for Documentary I can remember. Free Solo has gotten raves, and in another year might be the front-runner.
Will Win: RBG.
Documentary Short Subject
Black Sheep End Game Lifeboat A Night at the Garden Period. End of Sentence.
Should Win: Having seen none, I’ll just say that they all have very nice titles.
Will Win: Lifeboat.
Foreign Language Film
Cold War Roma Shoplifters Capernaum Never Look Away
Should Win: A strong year for foreign film! Cold War snagged a Best Director nom, and Never Look Away received one for cinematography. Shoplifters may have been my dad’s favorite movie of 2018. All that said…
Will Win: Roma.
Makeup and Hairstyling
Border Mary Queen of Scots Vice
Should Win: Vice. Christian Bale essentially became Dick Cheney.
Will Win: Same.
Ballad of Buster Scruggs Black Panther The Favourite Mary Poppins Returns Mary Queen of Scots
Should Win: Black Panther. The world-building that movie did included clothing for all of the various tribes of Wakanda.
Will Win: The Favourite.
Blackkklansman Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite Green Book Vice
Should Win: Best Editing is usually tied to best picture. Interestingly, Roma is not nominated here, which may portend more trouble for the film than I originally saw. Regardless, BlackKklansman had some brilliant editing, including the scene with the bomb towards the end, when the action toggled back and forth between several characters.
Will Win: As much as I’m hopeful that Spike Lee’s film will get some Oscar love, I think this will go to Green Book, and will begin the slow realization of my Oscar night that it’s going to win a lot of awards.
Black Panther Blackkklansman If Baele Street Could Talk Isle of Dogs Mary Poppins Returns
Should Win: BlackKklansman, because it really did have great music that added an extra element of intensity.
Will Win: Mary Poppins Returns, because it’s a musical.
Animated Short Film
Animal Behaviour Bao Late Afternoon One Small Step Weekends
Should Win: One Small Step, because it’s amazing:
Will Win: Bao, because it played before the Incredibles 2 and so most voters will have seen it.
Live Action Short Film
Detainment Fauve Mother Marguerite Skin
Should and Will Win: Detainment (having seen none of them, that’s my answer and I’m sticking to it).
Black Panther Bohemian Rhapsody First Man A Quiet Place Roma
Should Win: First Man. The job they did with various noises (rockets taking off, etc.) were great, but also the moment of silence when (50-year spoiler alert) Neil Armstrong walks on the moon was one of the best “sound” moments of the year.
Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody
Black Panther Bohemian Rhapsody First Man Roma A Star Is Born
Should Win: First Man, for the same reasons as above.
Will Win: A Star Is Born
Avengers: Infinity War Christopher Robin First Man Ready Player One Solo: A Star Wars Story
Should Win: I’m never going to go against Star Wars, although Infinity War and Ready Player One had really great special effects.
Will Win: First Man, the only “awards-y” film of the bunch.
“All the Stars” from Black Panther “I’ll Fight” from RBG “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns “Shallow” from A Star Is Born “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Should and Will Win: Shallow. I mean, it’s a song that is legitimately great, that’s currently on pop radio rotation.
Black Panther The Favourite First Man Mary Poppins Returns Roma
Should and Will Win: Black Panther. Again, Ryan Coogler and company had to completely world-build Wakanda, and they made it feel like a real place.
Now that we’re well into 2019, I wanted to do a quick post discussing the movies and TV shows about which I am most excited this year (h/t Chris Daly for encouraging me to write this).
Star Wars Episode IX:
Still no title and no teaser, but no matter – it’s a new Star Wars movie.
A new Star Wars show (The Mandalorian), new Marvel shows (centered on Loki, Scarlet Witch, and Lady Sif), every old Disney movie, and more. This is going to be Disney’s version of Netflix, and if you’re anything like me you are already feeling like this:
Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home all look fantastic. You have the first female-led Marvel movie, the movie that will resolve the cliffhanger from last year’s terrific Infinity War, and then a new Spider-Man movie riding a wave of recent Spidey successes (Venom, Into the Spider-Verse, etc.).
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Because the first Lego Movie is as close to perfection for me as any movie in recent memory, from the debate of following the instructions vs. free building to the joy of seeing so many old parts and sets. Can’t wait for the follow up.
Dumbo, The Lion King, and Aladdin were easily some of my favorite Disney films growing up, so to get all three again on the big screen in the style of Maleficient, Cinderella, the Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast will be a treat. Curious to see how Will Smith’s genie compares to Robin Williams’s. The voice cast for The Lion King (Donald Glover, Beyonce, John Oliver, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and a returning James Earl Jones as Mufasa) is pride-worthy (see what I did there?).
Other Disney Releases:
Wow, is Disney going to own the year or what? Both Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4 are sequels to well-received animated films that I’ll definitely see in theaters.
The Beach Bum:
Directed by Harmony Korine, who also did Kids and Spring Breakers, this Matthew McConaughey-starring vehicle looks insane, in the best way possible. Can’t. Wait.
Others I have some interest in include the reboot of Men in Black, Detective Pikachu (it has a cute trailer), Hobbs and Shaw (because #FastAndFurious movies usually deliver), Shazam, Ad Astra, Sonic the Hedgehog, Little Women, and The Goldfinch.
While of course I’m excited about the return of some shows (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Big Little Lies, Superstore, The Good Place, etc.), I want to highlight things that are other premiering or ending in 2019.
The Watchmen (HBO – from the creator of LOST and The Leftovers, and with characters from Alan Moore’s original groundbreaking graphic novel), I am the Night (TNT – miniseries with Chris Pine and directed by Patty Jenkins), Russian Doll (TNT – miniseries with Natasha Lyonne about someone who has to live the same day over and over again), and Miracle Workers (TBS – Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi who play an angel and God, respectively).
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix), Veep (HBO), The Big Bang Theory (CBS), and of course Mr. Robot (USA) all conclude this year.
Here’s hoping 2019 has more hits than misses, and is an even better entertainment year than 2018. It already has brought us one of my favorite all-time GIFs:
What is everyone else excited about? Let me know in the comments!