Oscar Chances: Django Unchained

django_unchained_posterOver the course of the next couple of weeks, we will be discussing/reviewing the movies fighting for the coveted honor of receiving the Oscar for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards which takes place on February 24th, as well as articles focusing on the actor/actress categories.  Today’s focus is on Django Unchained.

If there’s any movie of the nine nominees this year that planned on making a statement, it’s Django Unchained (the ‘D’ is silent). Of course, that “statement” can be many things, per se. The statement in question could refer to a political stance on America’s dark past of slavery.  The statement could be that undying love shows no boundaries. The statement could be to not mess with Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson or Leonardo DiCaprio. In all actuality, there aren’t many people who would disagree that if this movie states anything, it’s that Quentin Tarantino knows how to make a damn good movie.

Tarantino wrote and directed a movie has every element of a classic. Classic performances, classic cinematography, classic scenery, classic music and a classic story: revenge and recapturing. For as classic as this movie deserves to become, there’s no doubt that the movie is completely unconventional, which makes sense actually when you think about what all the classics have in common. Seriously, how many movies does one come across involving a German enlisting a black slave to be his right-hand bounty hunter? Also, if anyone seriously says it’s a remake of the 1966 film titled Django, they are sorely mistaken.

Django is up for a total of five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz, Best Sound Editing, and Best Achievement in Cinematography. Unfortunately, it is possible that Django will unfortunately go home empty-handed on awards night. Why? Because it’s an unconventional classic. That’s why. Also, the acting categories for all fields this year is completely tough, as is the Best Picture category. Zero Dark Thirty seems to be the favorite in Original Screenplay. That leaves only the technical awards up for contention for Django, which are also usually near impossible to predict this year. Foxx could have definitely deserved a nomination for Best Actor, and the same for Leo in Supporting Actor, but as mentioned above the competition is already pretty heavy in the acting fields. It does seem kind of unusual that Tarantino was left out of the Best Director category, a definite snub of all trades.

So what are Django’s chances of pulling an upset and taking home the gold (man) for Best Picture? Pretty slim, honestly. The traits that stick this film out in the first place are surpassed by other movies nominated. Zero Dark Thirty has more controversy, and Lincoln steals much of the period-piece aspect (it is a more realistic view of historic events). Nevertheless, Django is as gripping, funny, tense, and gory as a Tarantino movie can be, and its nominations are all more than deserved.

Chances of winning: 70%

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Hansel and Gretel Slay the Competition

Hunting witches like never before. Literally, this has never been in the typical story...

Hunting witches like never before. Literally, this has never been in the typical story…

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters may have opened to an average $19 million over the weekend, but that was still enough for the flick to claim the top spot in the box office. The movie, which opened in 3,372 theatres this past Friday, stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the witch-hunting duo, Hansel and Gretel. Sure, that’s not what any of us remember about the classic Grimm tale, but hey, it’s Hollywood. It would seem by the estimated numbers that not many people want to remember them this way, either.

The other openers over the weekend were Parker and Movie 43Parker is Jason Statham’s latest outing, and although he’s been known for his modest, albeit consistent box office-opening track record, Parker’s estimated $7 million and fifth place debut is quite the disappointment. The movie opened in 2,224 theatres over the weekend, and its measly cume does not bode well so far.

Movie 43 is also quite bellow the spoof genre norm, landing in 7th place with an embarrassing $5 million at 2,023 locations. In comparison, the last spoof movie to hit the screens was this year’s A Haunted House, which earned nearly four times as much in its opening weekend. In fact, Movie 43 may become the lowest grossing spoof movie in quite a while, fairing even worse than 2008’s Disaster Movie, which opened with about the same numbers. That movie’s title is a pun in itself, being voted one of the worse movies of all time by any reputable source.

The holdovers this weekend all seemed to have hefty drops, bringing more bad news for this weekend’s box office, although that is partly due to inflated weekend numbers from last week since it was considered a holiday weekend (Martin Luther King Jr. day).  Mama was the biggest holdover. Last week’s number one movie fell nearly 54% and scared up another $12.9 million, bringing its total to a still impressive $48.6 million. As it stands, Mama is the number one movie of the year so far, surpassing Gangster Squad this past Friday.

Silver Linings Playbook stayed at the third spot this weekend, falling an impressive 7% (although it did gain over 100 theatres) to an estimated $10 million. The Oscar-nominated movie, starring Oscar-nominated actors in all four acting categories, has a new notable total of $69.5 million.

Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty also continues its impressive run, ringing in nearly $10 million itself, which was good enough for fourth place. Its total gross to date now stands at $69.9 million. The 6th place slot this weekend goes to Django Unchained, another Oscar-nominated movie, which is down 35% from last weekend with $5 million. The zany Tarantino movie has so far racked up $146 million; not bad for a movie of its kind. Gangster Squad continues its sharp decline, falling 51% and garnering $4.2 million over the weekend, bringing its grand total to an unimpressive $39.6 million after three weeks. Broken City and Oscar-bait Les Miserables rounded out the top ten at this weekend’s box office. Both fell in the 50% vicinity with around $4 million for each. Broken City now stands at a $15.3 million total, and Les Mis has so far accumulated an estimated $137.2 million.

Here is your top ten (Estimates)

1/N Par. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters $19,000,000 *NEW*

2/1 Uni. Mama $12,860,000 ($48,648,000)

3/3 Wein. Silver Linings Playbook $10,000,000 ($69, 465,000)

4/2 Sony Zero Dark Thirty $9,800,000 ($69,904,000)

5/N FD Parker $7,000,000 *NEW*

6/7 Wein. Django Unchained $5,005,000 ($146,295,000)

7/N Rela. Movie 43 $5,000,000 *NEW*

8/4 WB Gangster Squad $4,200,000 ($39,647,000)

9/5 Fox Broken City $4,000,000 ($15,270,000)

10/8 Uni. Les Miserables $3,912,000 ($137,237,000)