Oscars 2021: The Case of Kodi Smit-McPhee

Kodi Smit-McPhee’s performance in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog is the fifth and final Case Of post for the Supporting Actor contenders. If you missed the others, you can access them here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Ciaran Hinds

Oscars 2021: The Case of Troy Kotsur

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jesse Plemons

Oscars 2021: The Case of J.K. Simmons

The Case for Kodi Smit-McPhee:

The 25-year-old Aussie picked up numerous critics prizes for his acclaimed role as well as the Golden Globe. Of the four actors nominated for Power (with Jesse Plemons in the same category), Smit-McPhee has received the most precursors and stands the best shot.

The Case Against Kodi Smit-McPhee:

Troy Kotsur. Simply put, the CODA costar has all the momentum after winning the SAG, Critics Choice, and BAFTA.

Previous Nominations: 

None

The Verdict:

Smit-McPhee is definitely the runner-up, but Kotsur is appearing much stronger after the double weekend wins at Critics Choice and BAFTA. Dog appears poised for major victories, but it’s looking less and less like this will be one of them.

And that concludes all 35 of my Case Of posts! It’s been fun. Stay tuned for my final Oscar winner predictions next week…

Oscars 2021: The Case of Aunjanue Ellis

Aunjanue Ellis’s performance as the supportive and strong willed matriarch of a tennis dynasty in King Richard is my final Case Of post for the Supporting Actress hopefuls. The other four can be accessed here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jessie Buckley

Oscars 2021: The Case of Ariana DeBose

Oscars 2021: The Case of Judi Dench

Oscars 2021: The Case of Kirsten Dunst

The Case for Aunjanue Ellis:

Known most for her TV work prior to this, Ellis stole a scene or two from Best Actor frontrunner Will Smith and critics noticed. So did BAFTA, Globe, and Critics Choice, where she also scored nods.

The Case Against Aunjanue Ellis:

She didn’t run the table as SAG omitted her. Ellis also lost the Globe to Ariana DeBose for West Side Story (who also took SAG) and she’s considered perhaps the sturdiest favorite of all the four acting competitions.

Previous Nominations:

None

The Verdict:

The awards love for King Richard is likely to be served up to Smith and not Ellis.

My Case Of posts will conclude with the final Supporting Actor contender – Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Oscars 2021: The Case of Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington title performance in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth is the fifth and final Case Of post for the Best Actor nominees. If you missed the other ones, they’re right here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Javier Bardem

Oscars 2021: The Case of Benedict Cumberbatch

Oscars 2021: The Case of Andrew Garfield

Oscars 2021: The Case of Will Smith

The Case for Denzel Washington:

He’s certainly achieved the most nominations of the quintet and this marks his third in lead actor in the past six years. Washington’s Shakespearian turn landed him mentions at the Globes, SAG, and Critics Choice.

The Case Against Denzel Washington:

Macbeth underwhelmed on Oscar nomination morning with just two additional nods (Cinematography and Production Design). He’s lost the Globe and SAG to Will Smith (King Richard), who stands as the favorite.

Previous Nominations: 8

Cry Freedom (Supporting Actor – 1987); Glory (Supporting Actor – 1989, WON)Malcolm X (Actor – 1992); The Hurricane (Actor – 1999); Training Day (Actor – 2001, WON)Flight (Actor – 2012); Fences (Actor – 2016); Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Actor – 2017)

The Verdict: 

20 years ago, Washington’s Best Actor victory for Training Day prevented a Will Smith win for Ali. Two decades later, it’s likely the Fresh Prince keeping Mr. Washington from Oscar statue #3. I’d also say he’s behind Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) and Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!).

My Case Of posts will continue with the final Supporting Actress hopeful – Aunjanue Ellis for King Richard

Oscars 2021: The Case of Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart’s role as Princess Diana in Spencer is the fifth and final Case Of post for the Best Actress contenders. The first four can be accessed here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jessica Chastain

Oscars 2021: The Case of Olivia Colman

Oscars 2021: The Case of Penelope Cruz

Oscars 2021: The Case of Nicole Kidman

The Case for Kristen Stewart:

Awards attention for the Twilight star has been building for some time. After acclaimed performances in indie fare like Clouds of Sils Maria, Certain Women, and Personal Shopper, this high-profile role has been considered a potential frontrunner performance since it debuted at the Venice Film Festival.

The Case Against Kristen Stewart:

That frontrunner status hit massive speed bumps. While Stewart nabbed Golden Globe and Critics Choice nods, she was snubbed at SAG and BAFTA. She lost the Globe to Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) and SAG went to Jessica Chastain. She’s yet to take a significant precursor (a Critics Choice Award this weekend could help). Furthermore, Spencer drew mixed reaction from critics and audiences and Stewart holds the sole Oscar nod for it.

Previous Nominations:

None

The Verdict:

It’s a guessing game in Best Actress. Despite Stewart’s setbacks, she’s still in the running in this wide open derby. Her exclusion in SAG could even cause Academy voters to grant her retribution. That said, she’s probably behind Chastain and Kidman at the moment.

My Case Of posts will continue with our last Best Actor player – Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of Macbeth

Oscars 2021: The Case of Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg’s direction of West Side Story closes out my five Case Of posts for the nominees in the race. If you didn’t catch the previous four, you can get ’em here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Paul Thomas Anderson

Oscars 2021: The Case of Kenneth Branagh

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jane Campion

Oscars 2021: The Case of Ryusuke Hamaguchi

The Case for Steven Spielberg:

He’s Steven Spielberg – the most famous and beloved director in the world. Garnering an 8th nomination for his behind the camera work, he could follow in the footsteps of Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. They won 60 years ago for their direction of the 1961 original.

The Case Against Steven Spielberg:

Spielberg’s two previous victories were for Best Picture frontrunners Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan (which ended up getting upset by Shakespeare in Love). West Side Story is not expected to take the big prize and it was also a high-profile box office disappointment.

Previous Nominations: 7 (for Directing only)

Close Encounters of Third Kind (1977); Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982); Schindler’s List (1993 – WON); Saving Private Ryan (1998 – WON)Munich (2005); Lincoln (2012)

The Verdict:

When Spielberg took gold for Schindler’s 28 years ago, he beat out Jane Campion for The Piano. She was probably runner-up. It appears that dynamic will be reversed as Campion is the odds on favorite.

My Case Of posts will continue with the final Best Actress hopeful – Kristen Stewart for Spencer

Oscars 2021: The Case of Kirsten Dunst

As the alcoholic Montana inn owner in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, Kirsten Dunst is the fourth Supporting Actress entry for my Case Of posts. If you missed the first three, they’re here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jessie Buckley

Oscars 2021: The Case of Ariana DeBose

Oscars 2021: The Case of Judi Dench

The Case for Kirsten Dunst:

Despite not turning 40 until next month, Dunst has been a fixture on the big screen for over a quarter century. She’s had sizable hits like Bring It On and the original Spider-Man trilogy and critically appreciated performances such as The Virgin Suicides and The Beguiled. This marks her first Oscar nomination some 27 years after a Golden Globe nod for her breakout role in Interview with the Vampire. With Dog leading all nominated films at 12 mentions, voters may decide it’s time to recognize her. Dunst also turned up in the key precursors (Globes, SAG, Critics Choice).

The Case Against Kirsten Dunst:

Ariana DeBose. The West Side Story actress won the Globe and SAG and is widely seen as the strong favorite. Dog‘s best opportunity at an acting victory is with Kodi Smit-McPhee in Supporting Actor and not Dunst, her real life beau Jesse Plemons, or Benedict Cumberbatch.

Previous Nominations:

None

The Verdict:

Dunst appears to be the runner-up in this race, but she’s still a long shot considering DeBose’s momentum.

My Case Of posts will continue in Supporting Actor with Dunst’s Spider-Man costar J.K. Simmons for Being the Ricardos

Oscars 2021: The Case of Will Smith

My fourth Case Of post for the Best Actor competitors is Will Smith in King Richard. If you missed the previous entries, they can be found here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Javier Bardem

Oscars 2021: The Case of Benedict Cumberbatch

Oscars 2021: The Case of Andrew Garfield

The Case for Will Smith:

As the doggedly determined father of eventual tennis royalty Venus and Serena Williams, Smith has held frontrunner status for months. He lost his first two bids in 2001 and 2006 for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, respectively. As one of the most bankable stars of the past quarter century, Hollywood could certainly feel like it’s time to honor him. The Golden Globe and SAG voters moved in the that direction as he took both awards for his work. Richard also over performed at the Oscars with six nominations.

The Case Against Will Smith:

There’s not much of one except there’s been upsets previously in this race. That includes last year when Anthony Hopkins (The Father) took the statue over the favored Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Playing the role of spoiler could be Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog, which dominated overall nods at 12. If Cumberbatch wins the Critics Choice award or BAFTA, look for plenty of chatter on the tightness of this competition.

Previous Nominations: 2

Ali (2001 – Actor); The Pursuit of Happyness (2006 – Actor)

The Verdict:

Look for Smith to be crowned the victor, but there’s a nagging feeling that Cumberbatch could surprise.

My Case Of posts will continue with Kirsten Dunst’s Supporting Actress bid for The Power of the Dog

Oscars 2021: The Case of Nicole Kidman

Playing TV legend Lucille Ball, Nicole Kidman’s performance in Being the Ricardos is next up in my Case Of posts for the Best Actress nominees. If you didn’t catch the first three entries, they’re here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jessica Chastain

Oscars 2021: The Case of Olivia Colman

Oscars 2021: The Case of Penelope Cruz

The Case for Nicole Kidman:

It actually seems like Kidman should have more than five nominations and she hasn’t won in 19 years. Ricardos is a golden opportunity for the Academy to make her a two-time winner. The Golden Globes made a victory here more possible when she took the top Drama prize at that ceremony. Oscar voters were clearly impressed with the cast as Javier Bardem and J.K. Simmons also received nods.

The Case Against Nicole Kidman:

A SAG award might’ve made her the heavy frontrunner, but Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) won it. Ricardos itself received mixed critical reaction and missed major categories like Picture and Original Screenplay.

Previous Nominations: 4

Moulin Rouge! (2001 – Actress); The Hours (2002 – Actress, WON)Rabbit Hole (2010 – Actress); Lion (2016 – Supporting Actress)

The Verdict:

As has been discussed many times on the blog, Best Actress is wide open (just like last year). I’d say Kidman and Chastain (based on their early hardware) probably stand the best chance, but nobody is an overwhelming favorite by any means.

My Case OF posts will continue with Best Actor hopefuls and Will Smith in King Richard

Oscars 2021: The Case of Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s behind the camera work for Drive My Car is the fourth Case Of post for the five director nominees. If you missed the others, you can find them here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Paul Thomas Anderson

Oscars 2021: The Case of Kenneth Branagh

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jane Campion

The Case for Ryusuke Hamaguchi:

The 43-year-old filmmaker has been acclaimed in his native Japan for years. Car, his three hour epic, is his stateside breakthrough and it performed better than expected on nominations morning with four nods in Picture, Adapted Screenplay, International Feature Film, and here. Voters may want to honor it somewhere…

The Case Against Ryusuke Hamaguchi:

And that category is almost certain to be International Feature Film where it’s the surefire favorite. It’s a long shot in the other three races with Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog) in the driver’s seat for this one. Hamaguchi also failed to place for the Golden Globes or Critics Choice Awards.

Previous Nominations:

None

The Verdict:

He’ll be onstage in the foreign competition, but not for Best Director.

My Case Of posts will continue with the Best Actress hopefuls and Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jesse Plemons

My Case Of posts arrive at the third Supporting Actor contender and it’s Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog. The first two write-ups can be found here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Ciaran Hinds

Oscars 2021: The Case of Troy Kotsur

The Case for Jesse Plemons:

Having appeared in acclaimed TV and cinematic works including Breaking Bad and Fargo on the small screen and The Master, The Irishman, and Judas and the Black Messiah on the big one, Plemons scores his first Academy nod. Dog led all nominees with 13 and that includes Kirsten Dunst (the actor’s real life love interest).

The Case Against Jesse Plemons:

It also includes his costar Kodi Smit-McPhee, who’s nominated in the same category and won the Golden Globe. Despite a BAFTA mention, Plemons didn’t make the SAG, Globe, or Critics Choice shortlists. Smit-McPhee and Troy Kotsur (CODA) are looked at as the potential victors. Woody Harrelson in 2017 lost to his costar Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as did Lakeith Stranfield last year to Daniel Kaluuya for the aforementioned Judas. Plemons could play that role this time around.

Previous Nominations: 

None

The Verdict:

Plemons might be back again next year with Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Don’t look for an Oscar delivery here.

My Case Of posts will continue with Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s direction of Drive My Car