Even More Made-Up Hallmark Christmas Movies

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Since it’s that time of year, I thought I’d come up with a few more of these. Tell me which one(s) you’d watch, and who you’d cast, in the comments!

She’s a high-powered advertising executive who can’t land the big account. He is a former hit song writer down on his luck forced to write – blech – commercials? Can the two of them get the big spot for the big game? Title: “Jingle Bells” 

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All she ever wanted was snow – but good luck finding that in unnamed island country, amirite? This year, she’ll win a trip from her school to visit the town of Holiday, Maine, and finally see the white stuff up close and personal. Title: “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”

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She’s a high-powered advertising executive who has to go home to take care of her family’s farm this season. Her parents welcome her home, as do all the animals, especially her favorite sheep, Kris. When she sees that her old high school flame is also a ranch hand, sparks will fly. Title: “All I Want For Christmas is Ewe”

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She’s a high-powered advertising executive who hasn’t taken a vacation in 5 years. When her boss tells her that she can finally take a break, she heads home for 2 weeks, where she connects with her mother’s best friend’s son, a widower. Can your life change in under 2 weeks?Title: “The 12 Days of Christmas”

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He loves two things: his wife, and his country. So when his tour gets extended, he knows he’s going to miss the holidays with his wife and newborn son.  After completing another successful mission, will he get the two-week furlough he’s been seeking? Title: “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

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She’s a single mom, and a high-powered advertising executive.  He’s a recent widower, with a white beard and portly figure.  Her son, Billy, sees the sparks flying between the two…and notices there might be something more to Mom’s new friend “Kris” than meets the eye. Title: “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

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A Lonely US admiral (Rob Lowe?) falls in love during a border dispute with a gorgeous Canadian army ranger (Autumn Reeser). The peace accord is signed on Christmas morning. Title: “The Missile Toe”

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A lonely preschool principal (Elizabeth Berkley) falls in love with the custodian (Mario Lopez!) who is repainting the school’s lockers and also plays Santa in the school play. Title: “Deck the Halls”

3 1950s debutantes (JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Rachel Bilson, and Jessica Lowndes) fall for three “wise” men at their church’s Christmas ball. Title: “Jingle Belles”

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A plastic surgeon (John Stamos)’s first love is cutting – his patients, that is – until one day when he meets the love of his life (Lori Loughlin) on Xmas. Title: “Saint Nick”

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An ex-con has to work at Santa’s workshop. Title: “North Pole Parole”

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A poor boy can only afford two things to give his girlfriend: his love, and a homemade necklace. But he’ll learn the true meaning of Christmas. Title: “Love Don’t Frost a Thing”

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Best of the Decade

While of course I’ll write a post about what caught my eye this year, I wanted to take some time to highlight what were the best performances, movies, or stretch of movies over the past decade.  What do we call this decade? Is this the teens? Does that mean we’re about to embark on the roaring 20s again?

Though political machinations have made the last three years feel like they were a decade in their own right, entertainment since 2010 has really seen a lot of change: three Tonight Show hosts, two Late Night hosts, two different Spiders-Man, nearly every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, two different Batmen, the rise and fall (and rise?) of the DC Comics movies franchise, the rise and fall and rise and fall of Ben Affleck, Netflix becoming the most powerful player in the TV landscape, and – oh yeah – the return of actual Star Wars movies to theaters. Suffice it to say, it’s been a memorable decade. Let’s take a look and see what the true highlights were, shall we?  (Note: As always, this is an extremely personal list. You’ll notice no mention of “sitcoms” created by Lena Dunham, nor any shows about and/or containing dragons, to name a few. Glad if others enjoyed them, but they are definitely not for me.)

Best: New “Star Wars” Movies! In 2005, I went to see the first showing of “Revenge of the Sith” in London with my brother and some friends from college. I then saw it six more times in the theater, because it was billed as the final Star Wars movie.  So imagine my shock in 2012 when Disney purchased Lucasfilm and promised to release more movies. “The Force Awakens” was amazing, “Rogue One” was inspiring, and then “The Last Jedi” and “Solo” left me wanting. Also worth mentioning the fantastic “Rebels” animated series here.

Best (for a while): The McConnaissance: Between his bonkers cameo in “Wolf of Wall Street,” his star-making turn in “Dallas Buyers Club,” and the one-two punch of him and Woody Harrelson in “True Detective,” McConaughey could do no wrong.  And then, of course, he made a movie in which he plays a fisherman in a video game. And “Interstellar.” No good thing lasts. 

Best: Sam Rockwell: “The Way, Way Back” is an underrated gem, and though he was primarily known as merely a character actor for much of the decade, Rockwell scored back-to-back Oscar noms (and a win) for his turns his “Three Billboards” and “Vice.” 

Best: The Marvel Movies: Imagine introducing Thor, and Captain America, and Black Panther, and (the best version of) Spider-Man, and Captain Marvel…and then also making several movies wherein they team up? And having each of those movies make hundreds of millions of dollars, and be entertaining (“Thor 2” excepted)? It’s a stunning achievement that so many studios tried to copy (DC and Sony tried to make cinematic universes out of Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman and Spider-Man/Sinister Six, and Universal wanted to make a Dark Universe out of its horror movie monsters).  It’s an incredible accomplishment. 

Mixed Bag: Other Comic Book Movies: “X-Men” movies were both great (“Days of Future Past,” “First Class”) and terrible (“Dark Phoenix,” “Apocalypse”); their spin-offs were good (“Logan,” “Deadpool”); and some of the DC Universe movies were enjoyable (“Joker,” “Wonder Woman,” “Man of Steel”) while others (“Justice League,” “Batman v. Superman,” “Aquaman”) were what this critic might call “atrosh.”

Best: Netflix Series: “Master of None.” “GLOW.” “Love.” “Russian Doll.” “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” “Black Mirror.” Both iterations of “Wet Hot American Summer.” And dozens more. It’s no wonder that Disney+ and Apple+ wanted in on the streaming action. 

Worst: Most Reboots and Remakes: Not everyone needed to know about the continuing adventures of the Tanner Family (“Fuller House”) or “Will and Grace.”  Similarly, did we need another “Magnum, P.I.,” another “MacGyver,” or another “Hawaii 5-0?” 

Best: Zoe Kazan: “Ruby Sparks” was brilliant, her work in “Olive Kitteridge” was Emmy nominated, I loved her on “The Deuce,” and then she goes and makes “The Big Sick,” which was the best movie of the year in 2017. (I also *loved* “What If” with her and Daniel Radcliffe.)

Best: Michael Keaton: from getting a scene-stealing turn in “The Other Guys,” to being a great MCU villain in “Spider-Man,” to “Spotlight” and “Birdman,” and even “The Founder,” Keaton put together an incredible decade.

Best: Jake Gyllenhaal: What a weird decade. He moved on from chasing box-office glory (“Day After Tomorrow,” “Prince of Persia”) to really interesting artsy territory (and, you know, “Spider-Man: Far From Home”). His work in “Wildlife,” “Stronger,” “Everest,” “Southpaw,” “End of Watch,” “Nightcrawler,” and “Source Code” show an actor who is hitting his stride.

Best: Bradley Cooper aka Cooper Bradley: “Silver Linings Playbook.” “American Hustle.” Rocket Raccoon. “American Sniper.” “Limitless.” All great. And then he gives us the best movie of last year, “A Star Is Born.”

Worst: Blah Origin Stories: How many “Robin Hood” movies did we need? Surely not the two we got. (Bonus points if you remember both “Robin Hood” movies this decade. One had Russell Crowe!)

Best: Quality Sitcoms: “Happy Endings,” “The Good Place,” “Suburgatory,” “New Girl,” “Brooklyn 99,” most of “Parks and Rec,” most of “Community,” “Superstore,” “Silicon Valley,” the best (i.e. non-first season) of “Cougar Town,” and “Veep” really set a high bar for laugh riots.

Best: Bill Hader: His work on SNL and in “Trainwreck,” were great, and then he went and made “Barry” into one of HBO’s best shows in years.

Best: Brie Larson: Also great in “Trainwreck,” plus solid work to garner an Oscar in “Room,” and then an incredible MCU debut with “Captain Marvel.” Even her work in “21 Jump Street” was great!

Worst: Unnecessary Sequels: The “Hangover” Sequels totally sully the good work of the first one. “Wreck-It Ralph 2” was clearly a cash grab. “Independence Day: 2” might be the biggest drop-off in quality from one film to the next since…well, “Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom.”

Worst: No National Treasure 3?
I mean, what are we even doing here then? 

Worst: Seriously? They made a TV show…musical….called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend? Oy. Hard pass.

Best: Some Reboots (When done properly): “Creed” and “Jurassic World” put oomph back into their respective franchises (though their sequels did not continue the upward momentum).

Best: Guilty Pleasures: “This is Us” reliably tugs on the heart strings every week. “Hart of Dixie” – a show about Zoe Hart, a City doctor who became a small town physician – lasted four majestic seasons. “Girl Meets World” – while admittedly a cash grab – finally answered what happened to Mr. Turner. And “The Challenge” produced a lot of memorable drama, and a number of Johnny Bananas and Cara Maria wins.

Worst: Seriously?? When you watch award shows and things like “Green Book,” “The Shape of Water,” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” win awards but Amy Poehler never got an Emmy for Leslie Knope, you know that…well I guess that award shows are meaningless!

Best: Amy Adams: Her role in “Arrival” alone probably gets her on this list, but also her work in “Sharp Objects,” “American Hustle,” “Her,” “The Master,” “The Muppets,” and “The Fighter.”

Best: Don Cheadle: His work on “House of Lies,” “Black Monday,” and as Rhodey in the MCU made it a fine decade for the actor. Speaking of “House of Lies…”

Best: Kristen Bell: Her work on “House of Lies,” “Veronica Mars,” “The Good Place,” and brief cameos on “Parks and Rec” moved Bell to the A-list.

Best: Rami Malek: His work on “Mr. Robot” (even when the show’s quality has waned) is fantastic, and when you’ve won an Oscar and an Emmy in the same decade, you’re obviously doing something right.

Best: Other Streamers: Disney+ only just started but it already has a content library (MCU/Star Wars/Old Disney) that will sate me for weeks on end; Amazon Prime and Hulu had quality offerings (“The Handmaid’s Tale” being the best of the lot); and even Yahoo rescued “Community” for its last season.

Best: HBO dramas: “The Leftovers” – What an amazing three-season journey the Garvey/Durst clan took us on. “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Deuce” were the network at its best. And the aforementioned first-season of “True Detective” was sublime. And I may be one of the only ones left, but I’m still a huge “Westworld” fan.

Best movie of each year of the decade:
2010: The Social Network
2011: Drive (this year was hardest for me to choose from of the decade, easily; I also loved 10 Years, Planet of the Apes, First Class, the first Captain America, and more.)
2012: Avengers
2013: Prisoners
2014: Lego Movie
2015: Force Awakens
2016: Arrival
2017: The Big Sick
2018: A Star is Born
2019: Avengers Endgame

Best: This Blog!: Because it gives me a reason – frequently – to thank you for reading my rambling, nonsensical thoughts on the entertainment industry.

Avengers: Endgame – A Theory

[SPOILERS FOR ENDGAME BELOW]

I was rewatching “Endgame” the other day, and I noticed I still had the same question as when I first saw it: If Captain America goes back in time to be with Peggy, why doesn’t he, you know, stop various wars and other bad acts from occurring? Why didn’t he help out in Korea, in Vietnam, in Iraq – or, rather, why did he not prevent some of these wars from occurring? It’s hard to tell precisely where real history ends and the MCU’s history begins, but we know in the MCU there was a World War II. Cap is seen dancing with Peggy Carter and – even if it’s after the “Agent Carter” series wrapped up – it’s likely the early 1950s. There are probably enough MCU-world disasters that he could have prevented since then. So why is it so crucial that there be war and chaos, with Cap just sitting on the sidelines? Two words: Stark Industries.

You see, without war, Stark Industries – a multi-national weapons conglomerate – would never have been so successful. Without the rise of Stark Industries, you wouldn’t have Tony Stark as a “billionaire, philanthropist playboy.” Tony Stark would not have gone to Afghanistan, and he would not have created the Iron Man suit. No Iron Man suit also means no War Machine suit, so Rhodey isn’t available to help in later MCU adventures either. No Stark Industries means the Maximoff twins – including Wanda – don’t have a grudge against Tony, and so don’t volunteer to get superpowers, meaning no Scarlet Witch. Tony Stark not being fabulously wealthy means no Avengers facilities, and certainly no one is reaching out to Tony Stark to figure out time travel if he’s not already a prominent figure. The Battle of New York in 2012 goes a lot differently if Tony doesn’t take that nuclear warhead through the wormhole, and if he can’t help out the team. Maybe Justin Hammer becomes a more prominent weapons manufacturer, but given how poorly his devices work in “Iron Man 2,” I doubt he ever becomes a surrogate Tony Stark.

This guy is no Tony Stark.

Also, Tony Stark is the only one who figured out that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, so say goodbye to him in the MCU (again). Also, without Iron Man, Ultron isn’t built, so Sokovia isn’t attacked – goodbye, Sokovia Accords – and also, there is no motivation for Zemo to try to break up the Avengers in “Civil War.” And, most crucially, you wouldn’t have Vision – and the mind stone would have taken up residence in a scepter not captured by the Avengers.

No Ultron without Tony.

Most importantly, let’s say Thanos is still hellbent on getting the stones. Well, as mentioned, Tony isn’t going to figure out time travel to stop him. Probably Thanos can just take over Earth with the Chitaurri’s help in 2012 but, even if he can’t, Maw can just take Dr. Strange (like he does at the beginning of “Infinity War”) with no Spider-Man or Iron Man to rescue the Sorceror Supreme.

His mission would have been accomplished a lot sooner.

So, if you’re Captain America, you’d have an odd choice. On the one hand, it’s in your nature to fight. On the other, if you stop certain atrocities from occurring, you’re preventing the rise of your greatest ally, the man who not only jump-started the MCU but who funds the Avengers, who has been a central hero time and again, and who, when last you saw him, sacrificed himself for the good of the universe.

“And I. Am. Iron Man.”

Certainly not an easy choice, but I guess leave it to Cap to figure things out.

About that “Endgame” Box Office

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Wow. There’s really no other word for it.

Apologies in advance – this won’t just become a Marvel blog – but this past weekend’s box office performance warrants discussion.

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.”

Note: All figures cited courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.com

Top MCU Moments

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)

I’m not a fan of Jeff Bridges, but this is the best way to use him in a movie – as a power-hungry boss whose voice sounds like he’s swallowing his own throat.

7. Luis Riffs (Ant-Man, 2015)

6. The Death of Killmonger (Black Panther, 2018)

Wakanda Forever

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)


  1. “Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good.” (Avengers: Infinity War, 2018)

Oscar Predictions 2019

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!

Best Picture

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.

Directing

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.

Original Screenplay

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.

Adapted Screenplay

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.

Cinematography

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.

Documentary Feature

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.

Costume Design

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.

Film Editing

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.

Original Score

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).

Sound Editing

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

Sound Mixing

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

Visual Effects

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.

Original Song

“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.

Production Design

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.

What I am Looking Forward to, 2019 Edition

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.

Disney+:

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:

Image result for shut up and take my money gif

Marvel Movies:

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.).

excited to see Spidey in action

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.

Disney Remakes:

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.

TV:

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.

Premieres:

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).

Finales:

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:

Image result for gwendolyn good place

What is everyone else excited about? Let me know in the comments!