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Ocean's 8 is a Worthy Successor to the Heist Franchise: Review

Film Review: Ocean's 8It occurred to me watching Ocean's 8 that it has been a while since Sandra Bullock has had a big summer release. Not that she ever went anywhere, but it's nice to have her back. As Debbie Ocean, she is terrific as the calm and collected leader of the group of thieves (cool goes without saying, in an Ocean's movie). Debbie has been recently released from prison and although she's still beautiful and glamorous, Bullock plays her slightly faded, with a subtle but persistent sadness in her eyes. She really needs this heist to work, if only to prove something to herself. Luckily, Ocean's 8 is destined to be a hit.

The film is a continuation of Steven Soderberg's Ocean's movies. That trilogy featured two very good movies and one great one and was based on a mediocre Rat Pack vehicle from 1960 (on the Sinatra scale of cool, Ocean's 8 is more Nancy than Frank). Soderberg's influence can be clearly felt on this film, but, unfortunat…
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Ranking All 20 Oscar Nominated Acting Performances of 2018

Here's how I would rank the 20 performances nominated for Oscars in the four acting categories in 2018, from worst to best:


20. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Mary J. Blige is not bad in Mudbound, but she is outshined by not only the other nominees in her category but also her co-stars from the film, none of whom were nominated. The stoic nature of her character prevents Blige from having any sort of emotional release, or character transformation for that matter. If I were an Oscar voter looking to single out a member of Mudbound's ensemble, I would have looked to Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Rob Morgan, or Carey Mulligan all before Blige.

19. Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Lesley Manville is a terrific actress. She doesn't need the Academy to tell her that. So it is kind of strange that she received her first Oscar nomination ever for this performance. Her character is not a big part of the movie, and she does not make that much of an impression. Vicky Krieps gives by far the m…

Oscars 2018: Who Will Win?

2018 Oscar Predictions In a lot of ways, this year's Oscar race has been really exciting. For example, there are a number of films that have a reasonable shot at winning Best Picture, making it a more open race than usual. But in other ways, this Oscar season has been predictable and a little boring. For example, the same four actors have won every televised precursor award and there is no reason to suspect they'll lose the big one.

As always, here are my predictions for which movies will take home which awards. Although I usually provide analysis to go along with my choices for the acting categories, there just is not that much for me to say about them this year because they all seem pretty much sewn up at this point. I will say this: if there is an upset in one of the acting categories, it will be in Best Actress. Frances McDormand seems poised to pick up her second win in that category, but when actresses win their second Best Actress prize, it is typically within a couple o…

Predictions for this Year's Oscar Nominations in All 24 Categories

I usually do not make my predictions for the Oscar nominations public because I usually do not do a very good job at predicting them. The branches of the Academy who vote on who should be nominated for their categories can be very odd, with their bizarre rules and decision-making processes, and thus, there are always quite a few shockers when the nominations are finally announced. The only reason I decided to post my predictions this year is that last year I correctly predicted the Amy Adams snub for Arrival and I feel like I didn't get enough props for that. They are probably way off and I might change my mind on some things between now and Tuesday morning, but here they are:

Best Picture:
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Get Out
Lady Bird
Dunkirk
If six, Call Me By Your Name
If seven, The Post
If eight, I, Tonya
If nine, Darkest Hour

Remember that the Best Picture category can have anywhere from five to ten nominees. Ever since this rule has been in place, ther…