So for those of you movie loving folk out there doing Oscar pools, let me be your guide. or not. Do your thing. Maybe your shaman already told you who will win. But these are my predictions for the Oscars that are being presented on Sunday. Yes, this Sunday.
BEST PICTURE: The Power Of The Dog
Despite the internet Oscar experts shitting bricks after Coda won the PGA award in this category, I know it is used as a barometer for predicting the winner in this category, and to be fair, i think Coda is in the #2 spot. It’s the crowd pleaser, the little engine that could. And if it had managed even one below the line nomination, i might agree with you. But with only three nominations, The Power Of The Dog still looks strong to beat Coda. The only other potential winners that wouldn’t just totally cause my bottom jaw to fall off are Dune, West Side Story, and Belfast. I don’t think they will win, but if I was predicting what films got the top 5 votes, that would be it.
BEST DIRECTOR: Jane Campion, The Power Of The Dog
There is no debate here. She won this race before voting started. She’s been so far and away ahead of everyone, it would be a far more interesting conversation to debate who got the second most votes. I think that’s either Kenneth Branagh or Paul Thomas Anderson. Branagh managed multiple nominations for Belfast, and told a deeply personal story, but PTA has that “never won before” murmuring that will pay off for him eventually.
BEST ACTOR: Will Smith, King Richard
Oddly, Smith is getting this :it’s his time” conversation for only his third nomination. I didn’t realize he was that overdue. At three nominations. Someone needs to apologize to Glenn Close then. But Smith dominates that film, and has been winning all the precursors needed. Cumberbatch might upset, but that’s highly unlikely. I locked in Smith when he managed to get a BAFTA nomination before Denzel, who has never (yes, never) been nominated for a BAFTA.
BEST ACTRESS: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes Of Tammy Faye
This is one of the “hold your breath” races. Watching other Oscar voters collectively lose their minds over this has been fun. Their predictions are all over the place. Here’s what I’ve got. Kristen Stewart stars in a polarizing film that some people love and others hated. She didn’t get a SAG nomination, or a BAFTA (in fact, none of these ladies did), so I think the nomination here is the prize. It’s her first trip, and her films only nomination. Penelope Cruz has already won an Oscar, and Parallel Mothers is flying under the radar. had Spain picked it for its International Feature selection, maybe it would drive more eyes, but an Original Score nomination won’t bring the boys to the yard. Olivia Coleman is also already a winner, and The Lost Daughetr managed only three nominations. It’s a divisive film and a complicated character. Can she win? Sure. She’s stunning. Will she? Probably not. Nicole Kidman hasn’t won since The Hours, so if any of the ladies were to make it to two wins this year, it feels more like Kidman, who is playing the beloved Lucille Ball. Her performance was so strong, I think she actually lifted Bardem and Simmons into the race, since both of those guys had missed out on important precursors. And you know what they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. So if anyone steals Chastain’s thunder, it’s Nicole. But I think Chastain wins her first Oscar here. People love her performance even if they didn’t like the film. I don’t think the film is as divisive as Spencer or The Lost Daughter, only in that most people agre that the film was not the best, and she carried it. No one is trying to claim it as an amazing film on its own. So, Jessica is my pick here.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Troy Kotzer, Coda
I need to learn to spell that dude’s name. He’s about to win an Oscar. He was off my radar initially since his performance in Coda is non verbal, and done through sign language, so you can imagine what a blind film critic would have to say about a performance I was unable to enjoy except through audio description, and Amelia Jones translating. Yet still, I’ve heard he’s amazing, and inclusivity is about to beat Kodi Smit McPhee out of a race he was considered a lock to win just a few months ago. Any other year, I would bother to discuss Hines from Belfast, as he is a character actor, and this category is built to reward character actors like him, but sadly this is not his year.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Ariana Debose, West Side Story
There is no discussion here. She’s won every precursor ever. I don’t think anyone has managed to win anything. Maybe some random critic circles, but Debose managed to even win the BAFTA for a uniquely American film, that wasn’t as well received by the BAFTAs as it was here. Gun to my head, I say Kirsten Dunst is in second place. But I think there is a wide margin here. Ariana’s win at the BAFTA’s just solidified that for me.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Belfast
The recent win of Don’t look Up by the WGA definitely turned a two horse race into a three horse race. previously, it was between Kenneth Branagh and his personal love letter in Belfast, versus Paul Thomas Anderson’s quirky Licorice Pizza, garnering him that glorious Oscar. I could flip a coin here, but there’s something about PTA being a perpetual bridesmaid that made me pick Belfast. I think PTA is destined for a big Oscar win down the line,but for a stronger film with wider support. Could Don’t Look Up steal this? I think that’s the brand new question.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Power Of The Dog
I think Coda could upset here, even though most people are questioning why it’s here. Yes, the film is technically a remake. I suppose Maggie Gyllenhaal could sneak in with a surprise The Lost Daughter, but I also think The Power Of The Dog will win more than two Oscars, and since I think all four actors will be shut out, it has to pick up wins elsewhere.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: The Power Of The Dog
This is me picking the upset over the front runner. I think most people assume this is going to Dune, but I think Dog ends up surprising and winning 4 Oscars. Though ultimately, Dune will win more.
BEST EDITING: Dune
This one flips back to Dune. I don’t know who is in second. usually this goes to the most editing, which feels like Tick Tick Boom, but that film barely got nominations. Maybe it’ll be in second.
BEST PRODUCTIOn DESIGN: Nightmare Alley
There are two incredible visual directors who always shake up Production Design. Tim Burton and Guillermo Del Toro. I’m thinking Nightmare Alley walks away with a surprise win here over Dune.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Cruella
I don’t even know what film would be the back up here. Cruella is winning everywhere. Maybe Cyrano picked up some last minute support since it was released during the voting period? So it was fresh in their minds? I don’t know.
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR DESIGN: The Eyes Of Tammy Faye
Transforming Jessica into Tammy will lead to an Oscar. Transforming Jared Leto into a razzie nominated performance will not.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Dune
Yes, Hans Zimmer here for Dune. I think his score is sweeping and memorable. Plus, he isn’t double nominated to split the vote against himself, and he’s also Hans Zimmer. Possible upset? The Power Of The Dog.
BEST ORIGINAl SONG: no Time To Die from No Time To Die
They nominated the wrong Encanto song, which will keep it from winning. Everyone is talking about Bruno right now, not the nominated piece. Possible upset? Don’t Look Up fro Don’t Look Up.
BEST SOUND: Dune
Another easy win for Dune. If not Dune… West Side Story? Really, I should be saying A Quiet Place part 2. But I can’t.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Dune
It’s not lost on me the irony of my thoughts on this category, so I’m just saying Dune and moving on.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Attica
A lot of times this branch doesn’t pick the obvious favorite, or the crowd pleaser, which is Summer Of Soul. That’s the one everyone wants to win. It’s a great doc. But so are Flee and Attica, and when the category narrowed to five, it forced this branch to analyze these films closer, and I think Attica surprises here. Summer Of Soul is the safe bet, I’ll admit that.
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE: Drive My Car
Any other year, this would be an interesting category as there films managed nominations outside this category. However, only one managed a Best Picture nomination, and that was Drive My Car.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Encanto
I’m playing it safe here, even though the voice in my head is screaming The Mitchells Vs The Machines. Disney has three nominees in this category, which could lead to vote splitting, and there will be people who don’t always want the mouse to win this category, which leaves them with Flee or Mitchells, which is why a part of me really believes Mitchells can win. But I’m playing it safe.
As far as the shorts, the only ones I’ve seen are in Documentary Short, where I’ve picked Audible. Otherwise, just pick something. That’s what most people do. The majority of people in Oscar pools haven’t seen these films, and they are guessing here more than anything else. There is no precursor to help us here.