Pop Culture Predictions #3

by 
 | February 18, 2022

Hi, I'm Drew, a big nerd who happens to run a hybrid marketing and production company. I lead content and brand strategy and use data to build insights that inform our clients' business decisions. In this weekly series, I'm going to pick a couple of pop-culture IPs and make a bold prediction based on past experience, real-time data, and a boatload of moxie. Here we go...

Prediction - Belfast will win the Oscar for Best Picture and Kenneth Branagh will win Best Director

Full disclosure, I haven’t even seen Belfast yet. So, I’m looking at this prediction solely based on what we know about how the Academy votes from past winners. Personally, I’d love to see Dune win Best Picture as I will always root for well-made science fiction. Alas, here's why Belfast will win Best Picture at this year's Oscars.

  • It's a true story about the director of the film's childhood (Kenneth Branagh). Hollywood loves itself more than it loves anything else. So anytime you have a well-made movie about someone or something that draws a throughline back to the craft of making movies, then it's checking that box or scratching that itch. Previous Best Picture winners with a throughline back to the lights, camera, action - The Artist, Slumdog Millionaire, Birdman, and Shakespeare in Love.
  • It's in black and white (mostly). The Academy loves its artsy black and white films because now it's an artistic choice vs. before it was a limitation on the technology. I fall on the line of "sure whatever the director wants," but typically, I feel like the film being in black and white or color doesn't make it a better or worse film. Regardless it's another boxed checked for those who love the "cinematic look" and statement. Other modern (after 1960) Best Picture films that were in black and white by choice - The Artist, The Apartment, and Schindler's List.
  • It's a historical period piece. Belfast is a movie about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, set in the summer of 1969 when tensions between Protestants and Catholics turned into violence that tore families apart. Tugs at the heartstrings, and you could make a case that the Protestants and Catholics are stand in's for our modern-day political party division. Uh, art is powerful. Let's see some other previous "make you cry" period piece winners - Green Book, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The Artist, The King's Speech, Chicago, A Beautiful Mind, Shakespeare in Love, Titanic, The English Patient, Braveheart, Schindler’s List, Dances With Wolves, Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Emperor, Out of Africa, Amadeus, Chariots of Fire, Patton, The Sound of Music, Lawrence of Arabia, and many more.
  • Belfast has already won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, just like past Best Picture winners Nomadland and Green Book. Check!
  • It has a musical number in it. Seriously, this film was engineered to win Best Picture...there's literally a scene where star Jamie Dornan, who plays Pa, performs a rousing musical number that's a scene-stealer. Watch him melt women's (and men's) hearts in the entire universe when he sang the same song at the Los Angeles premiere. So theatre nerds unite and vote for Belfast over Tik Tik Boom. Other winners that include song and dance - The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Shakespeare in Love, Chicago, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Pippin sings to the Steward of Gondor), Slumdog Millionaire, and The Artist.
  • It's actually a really great film from what I hear. It seems to be winning not only critics' hearts but also us plebians who enjoy watching Speed and Demolition Man on repeat.

Bottom Line: I mean, anything can happen Oscars night, but if I were a betting man (I'm not), then I'd double down on Belfast to win Best Picture and Branagh to win Best Director for his body of work as a whole but then have it taken away by a last min vote recount where Drive My Car wins everything.

Prediction 2 - The Book of Boba Fett WON'T get a season 2 on Disney+

While I enjoyed The Book of Boba Fett and its obvious western tropes and callbacks to the original trilogy, it’s hard not to notice that this series was just a character set up to a larger story being told. Let’s look at a few notable truths:

  1. Boba Fett was only the focus in 5 of the 7 episodes in a show titled The Book of Boba Fett. Two of the episodes focused on the Mandalorian, Baby Grogu, and Luke Skywalker with teases for the upcoming Ashoka series. This right away is a red flag. It seems the writers had a hard enough time filling 7 episodes of Boba’s story and instead felt the need to bring the focus back to the now more popular Mandalorian.
  2. Star Wars is at its best when we explore the larger universe. Lucas understood that when he dreamed up the ice planet Hoth, the floating city of Bespin, and the lava planet of Mustafar. All in contrast to the desert planet of Tatooine, which from Luke’s and the rest of the galaxy’s perspective is unremarkable. The Book of Boba Fett (spoiler alert) ends with Boba in control of the planet as its protector and crime boss with a heart of gold. I’m not sure we need or want another season of antics on Tatooine. The planet has interesting historical significance but is best left as a location we visit and reminisce about vs. making a home there for our characters.
  3. Let’s look at viewer sentiment. Based on scores from Rotten Tomatoes, The Mandalorian far out scores The Book of Boba Fett.

Also, taking a look at search interest, we can see TBOBF spike at episodes 6 and 7 when the show pivots from Boba’s story to the Mandalorian and baby Grogu.

Google Trends Interest Over Time For The Book of Boba Fett

Bottom Line: It's pretty clear that Disney is taking from the Marvel playbook and applying it to the Star Wars universe here. At the rate they are introducing new (and old) characters that all exist in the same time period (The Mandalorian, Boba Fett, Ashoka, Deep Fake Luke Skywalker, Grogu, Black Krrsantan, Fennec Shand, Bo-Katan, Cobb Vanth), they are clearly building towards an interconnected series of moments that fill the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. We may even get our Avengers: End Game type moment at some point.

So we'll clearly see Boba Fett and his group of friends again, but I don't think it will be as a standalone series.

I'll be back every few weeks with some more predictions. The value of a prediction is not accuracy (though it is better to be right than wrong), but the reasoning and conversation that the prediction catalyzes. Let me know if you think I'm right or wrong in the comments below!

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