2021 Oscars: FINAL Winner Predictions

And it’s come to this! After seven months of endless speculation, predictions, and posts – the 94th Academy Awards (with your hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, and Regina Hall) airs this Sunday evening.

These are my final picks for the races covering feature films. Will the Best Picture be CODA?

Or The Power of the Dog?

We have ourselves some real intrigue as both are strong possibilities. Either way, a steamer (either Netflix or Apple TV) should pick up its inaugural Best Pic victory.

Will there be upsets in any of the acting derbies where there seems to be a consensus four based on precursors? And just what will occur in the screenplay races which look unpredictable?

For each race, I’ll give you a bit of commentary along with my projected victor and the runner-up.

Let’s get to it! On Sunday evening, you will see a recap with how I performed…

Best Picture

Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Commentary:

Well, the big daddy of them all has certainly become fascinating. CODA, the little Sundance pic that could, has surged in the past few days. In addition to winning the SAG Ensemble prize, it captured the Producers Guild top honor and was a BAFTA selection for Adapted Screenplay. These designations (PGA especially) are significant precursors. A strong argument could be made that it has the momentum as voting closed yesterday. In fact, I’ve seen more prognosticators picking it this week than not…

However, The Power of the Dog is still quite viable. It took the Golden Globe Best Drama trophy as well as Critics Choice and BAFTA. Until CODA‘s rise, it was the heavy favorite.

We’ve got a real coin flip, folks! That definitely makes the end of Oscar night more suspenseful than last year when Nomadland seemed unbeatable and indeed was.

I don’t believe any of the other eight pictures have a chance. As for the two that do, I’ve gone back and forth constantly all week. There’s a time to stop speculating and make a final pick and I still believe there’s enough power for the Dog to edge out CODA. That said, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it turns out the other way.

PREDICTED WINNER:

The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up:

CODA

Best Director

Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Commentary:

This is far easier than Picture. With CODA maker Sian Heder absent, Jane Campion is in line to become the third female (and second in a row) to make a podium trip. She’s won all the key precursors – DGA, Globes, Critics Choice. It’s even a challenge to name a runner-up (I guess I’ll say Spielberg because he’s Spielberg). Make no mistake – this is one of the simplest checkmarks on the ballot.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up:

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Best Actress

Nominees:

Jessicas Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Commentary:

Kidman garnered the initial heat after a surprise Globe win, but that’s stalled as no other awards programs followed suit. Instead it’s been Chastain on the minor streak with SAG and Critics Choice. If there’s an upset in any acting derby, this is probably where it happens. Stewart’s road to Oscar looked shaky after some snubs. Academy voters could reward her and there’s some chatter about Cruz being viable. Yet I’m sticking with the safest best and that’s Chastain taking her first gold.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Riunner-Up:

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Best Actor

Nominees:

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield, tick, tick… Boom!

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Commentary:

During the fall, I was thinking there could be a barnburner between Smith and Cumberbatch (with Garfield as potential spoiler). That’s not how it’s played out as the Fresh Prince has been crowned the king in all preceding shows. I expect the sweep to continue.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Will Smith, King Richard

Runner-Up:

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees:

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Judi Dench, Belfast

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Commentary:

Buckley and Dench were surprising inclusions, but there won’t be any shocks with the winner. DeBose has run the table and she should represent Story‘s lone victory.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Runner-Up:

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees:

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Commentary: 

Despite its quartet of performers getting nominations, Dog is likely to produce Oscars for none of them. Smit-McPhee received the Golden Globe but it’s been all Kotsur since. This is the race where I’m most confident of a CODA moment.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Runner-Up:

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog 

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Worst Person in the World

Commentary:

Good luck with this one! The Writer’s Guild threw everyone for a loop last weekend when Don’t Look Up won over Licorice Pizza (Belfast was not eligible). I just don’t envision the Academy honoring Up. With a Belfast or Pizza victory, they would bestowing first ever Oscars to Kenneth Branagh and Paul Thomas Anderson respectively. With the Globe and Critics Choice going to Belfast, it has my vote (though it’s close).

PREDICTED WINNER:

Belfast

Runner-Up:

Licorice Pizza

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees

CODA

Drive My Car

Dune

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog 

Commentary:

CODA‘s BAFTA win kickstarted its momentum. Even if Dog is Best Picture, CODA could still take this. On the other hand, I think there’s a better chance Best Pic and Adapted Screenplay match so I’m rolling with the Dog with no degree of confidence whatsoever.

PREDICTED WINNER:

The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up:

CODA

Best Animated Feature

Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Raya and the Last Dragon

Commentary:

I’m tempted to pick a Mitchells upset, but it’s dangerous to pick against Disney and Encanto is the frontrunner.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Encanto

Runner-Up:

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Best International Feature Film

Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

The Hand of God

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

The Worst Person in the World

Commentary:

This is unquestionably one of the no brainer picks as Drive My Car has dominated the precursors and is the only nominee to also nab a Best Picture nod.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Drive My Car

Runner-Up:

The Worst Person in the World

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees:

Ascension

Attica

Flee

Summer of Soul

Writing with Fire

Commentary:

With nominations in Animated Feature, International Feature, and Doc – it sure seems like Flee should win one of them. It might stand the best chance in this competition, but Summer of Soul has been impressive in precursors and should continue the streak.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Summer of Soul

Runner-Up:

Flee

Best Cinematography

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Commentary: 

This might be the tech race where Dog is successful. I’m not predicting it though and (get used to hearing this) think Dune emerges.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

The Power of the Dog

Best Costume Design

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

Nightmare Alley

West Side Story

Commentary:

Cruella has killed it the preceding competitions. Dune, if it crushes all techs, could take it but I’m going with the former.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Cruella

Runner-Up:

Dune

Best Film Editing

Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

The Power of the Dog

tick, tick… Boom!

Commentary:

Don’t sleep on King Richard which was bestowed the EDDIE award. I still think this is Dune‘s to lose.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

King Richard

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees:

Coming 2 America

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Commentary:

Gucci could fashion a 1 for 1 victory but Tammy Faye has taken some precursors.

PREDICTED WINNER:

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Runner-Up:

House of Gucci

Best Original Score

Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Encanto

Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog

Commentary:

Like Cinematography, this is between Dog and Dune. Like Cinematography, I’m choosing the latter.

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

The Power of the Dog

Best Original Song

Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days

Commentary:

Diane Warren gets her 13th nomination with “Somehow” and somehow she’s never won. That will continue. The smart money is on the 007 theme song from Billie Eilish. Yet I’m going with a minor upset with the Disney tune.

PREDICTED WINNER:

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

Runner-Up:

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Best Production Design

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Commentary:

For the last three categories, I could just say Dune and be done with it. In fact, I think I will…

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

West Side Story

Best Sound

Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Commentary:

See Production Design

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

West Side Story

Best Visual Effects

Nominees:

Dune

Free Guy

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Commentary:

See Production Design

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

There isn’t one… that’s how I’m confident I am that Dune takes it.

And so, ladies and gents, that means I’m predicting that these movies win these numbers of Oscars:

6 Wins

Dune

3 Wins

The Power of the Dog

2 Wins

Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

1 Win

Belfast, CODA, Cruella, Drive My Car, King Richard, Summer of Soul, West Side Story

Make sure to check out the blog post ceremony!

2021 Oscar Predictions: January 28th Edition

The DGA and PGA nominations are out as of yesterday and it’s caused some reflection as I pen my penultimate predictions for the 2021 Oscars. With Being the Ricardos and Tick, Tick… Boom! nabbing the final two BP spots at PGA (the other 8 were pretty obvious), I feel it necessary to include at least one of them. On the other hand, I’m reluctant to include both as PGA and the Academy’s BP selection rarely match. I’m leaning toward Boom! and it vaults back into the top ten. Yet I’m continuing to keep The Tragedy of Macbeth in the mix despite its lack of recent precursor love.

The DGA quintet and the Best Director nominees haven’t mirrored each other since 2009. So it’s a risk to go with DGA’s five. However, as of this moment, I’m going with it.

Another big change is in Best Actor as I’m including Javier Bardem in Ricardos for the first time (over Leonardo DiCaprio for Don’t Look Up). There’s also a change in Supporting Actor as I’m putting Ben Affleck (The Tender Bar) in for his inaugural appearance. That knocks out Jared Leto for Gucci.

The last big piece of the precursor puzzle arrives Thursday with BAFTA nods. On Friday (02/04), I will make my FINAL Oscar calls before nomination morning on Tuesday, February 8th.

Here’s how I have things standing as of now:

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Dune (PR: 4) (+1)

4. West Side Story (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

6. King Richard (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Don’t Look Up (PR: 6) (-1)

8. CODA (PR: 8) (E)

9. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 11) (+2)

10. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Being the Ricardos (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Drive My Car (PR: 13) (+1)

13. House of Gucci (PR: 10) (-3)

14. Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

15. The Lost Daughter (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

No Time to Die

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 3) (E)

4. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 8) (E)

9. Sian Heder, CODA (PR: 9) (E)

10. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos (PR: 1) (E)

2. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 2) (E)

3. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (E)

4. Kristen Stewart, Spencer (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Lady Gaga, House of Gucci (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 7) (E)

8. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (E)

10. Emilia Jones, CODA (PR: 10) (E)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 2) (E)

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 3) (E)

4. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (E)

5. Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Peter Dinklage, Cyrano (PR: 7) (E)

8. Nicolas Cage, Pig (PR: 8) (E)

9. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 9) (E)

10. Hidetoshi Nishijima, Drive My Car (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (PR: 1) (E)

2. Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Caitriona Balfe, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Ruth Negga, Passing (PR: 4) (E)

5. Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 8) (E)

9. Rita Moreno, West Side Story (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. Troy Kotsur, CODA (PR: 2) (E)

3. Ciaran Hinds, Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza (PR: 4) (E)

5. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (+1)

8. J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Mike Faist, West Side Story (PR: 10) (E)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Licorice Pizza (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3) (E)

4. Being the Ricardos (PR: 4) (E)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. King Richard (PR: 6) (E)

7. Parallel Mothers (PR: 7) (E)

8. Mass (PR: 8) (E)

9. The French Dispatch (PR: 9) (E)

10. A Hero (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Pig

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Power of the Dog (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. CODA (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Lost Daughter (PR: 4) (E)

5. Dune (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Drive My Car (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 7) (E)

8. Passing (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Last Duel 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees

1. Encanto (PR: 1) (E)

2. Flee (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PR: 3) (E)

4. Luca (PR: 4) (E)

5. Raya and the Last Dragon (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Belle (PR: 6) (E)

7. Sing 2 (PR: Not Ranked)

8. The Summit of the Gods (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Vivo (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

My Sunny Maad

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Drive My Car (PR: 1) (E)

2. A Hero (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Worst Person in the World (PR: 3) (E)

4. Flee (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Hand of God (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. I’m Your Man (PR: 6) (E)

7. Prayers for the Stolen (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Great Freedom (PR: 9) (E)

10. Playground (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Good Boss

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Rescue (PR: 2) (E)

3. Procession (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Summer of Soul (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The First Wave (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ascension (PR: 6) (E)

7. Faya Dayi (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Attica (PR: 7) (-1)

9. President (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Velvet Underground (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

In the Same Breath 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Belfast (PR: 3) (-1)

5. West Side Story (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (E)

8. The French Dispatch (PR: 8) (E)

9. Spencer (PR: 10) (+1)

10. No Time to Die (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

C’Mon C’Mon

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cruella (PR: 1) (E)

2. Dune (PR: 2) (E)

3. West Side Story (PR: 3) (E)

4. House of Gucci (PR: 4) (E)

5. Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spencer (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 6) (-1)

8. The French Dispatch (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Cyrano (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Last Night in Soho (PR: 10) (E)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Belfast (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Power of the Dog (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 2) (-4)

7. King Richard (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Nightmare Alley (PR: 10) (+1)

10. No Time to Die (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Being the Ricardos

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. House of Gucci (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 3) (E)

4. Cruella (PR: 4) (E)

5. Coming 2 America (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Suicide Squad (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 8) (+1)

8. West Side Story (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Cyrano (PR: 9) (E)

10. No Time to Die (PR: 10) (E)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Spencer (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Parallel Mothers (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Encanto (PR: 7) (-1)

9. King Richard (PR: 9) (E)

10. Being the Ricardos (PR: 10) (E)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (PR: 1) (E)

2. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto (PR: 3) (+1)

3. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 2) (-1)

4. “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up (PR: 6) (+2)

5. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Here I Am” from Respect (PR: 5) (-1)

7. “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall (PR: 7) (E)

8. “Beyond the Shore” from CODA (PR: 8) (E)

9. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 9) (E)

10. “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days (PR: 10) (E)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (+1)

3. West Side Story (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Belfast (PR: 6) (E)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Power of the Dog (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Spencer (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Cyrano (PR: 10) (E)

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 5) (+1)

5. No Time to Die (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Power of the Dog (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 6) (-1)

8. A Quiet Place Part II (PR: 9) (+1)

9. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Last Night in Soho (PR: 10) (E)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Matrix Resurrections (PR: 2) (E)

3. Godzilla vs. Kong (PR: 3) (E)

4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 4) (E)

5. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. No Time to Die (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Free Guy (PR: 7) (E)

8. Eternals (PR: 8) (E)

9. Ghostbusters: Afterlife (PR: 9) (E)

10. Black Widow (PR: 10) (E)

This all equates to the following numbers of nominations for these pictures:

11 Nominations

Dune

9 Nominations

Belfast, The Power of the Dog

8 Nominations

West Side Story

5 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, Licorice Pizza

4 Nominations

King Richard, The Tragedy of Macbeth

3 Nominations

Being the Ricardos, CODA, Flee, House of Gucci, Tick, Tick… Boom!

2 Nominations

Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Lost Daughter, Nightmare Alley, No Time to Die, Spencer

1 Nomination

C’Mon C’Mon, Coming 2 America, Drive My Car, The First Wave, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, A Hero, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Passing, Procession, Ray and the Last Dragon, The Rescue, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Summer of Soul, The Tender Bar, The Worst Person in the World

2021 PGA and DGA Nominations Reaction

Two major Oscar precursors dropped today and it’s a good day to be the Ricardos as Aaron Sorkin’s Lucy and Desi pic make the PGA’s top ten cut, as did Netflix’s musical Tick, Tick… Boom!

Here are your 10 PGA nominees:

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Power of the Dog

Tick, Tick… Boom!

West Side Story

That means I went 8 out of 10 for my projections. The general thinking (and one that I shared) is that 8 pictures were safe: Belfast, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story. That turned out to be accurate.

The real battle was for the last 2 spots and they went to Ricardos and Boom! PGA has a history of nominating moneymakers and that’s why I chose No Time to Die to make the list (others were putting Spider-Man: No Way Home in the mix). Neither did so and that might end discussions on whether either of them could make it  with the Academy.

I also had House of Gucci getting in and its PGA omission decreases its viability in the Oscar BP derby. Other notables to miss include Drive My Car, The Lost Daughter, Nightmare Alley, and The Tragedy of Macbeth. 

Truth be told – the PGA lineup could easily be the Oscar one. However, that is hardly ever the case and we’ll see how it shakes out when I update my predictions tomorrow.

It’s also true that the five contenders in the Directors Guild Awards rarely match the Oscars (usually it’s 4 out of five). My quintet of Academy hopefuls has stayed steady over recent weeks: Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Steven Spielberg (Wet Side Story), and Denis Villeneuve (Dune).

And that’s exactly the lineup that DGA revealed today. I went 4 of 5 because I had Adam McKay (Don’t Look Up) in over Anderson. A DGA nod could have helped others on the outside looking in like Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) or Joel Coen (Macbeth).

As I explained in my predictions yesterday, you have to go back to 2009 for the last year in which DGA/Oscar matched in Best Director. It could absolutely happen in 2021 and, unlike PGA, I may continue to project it that way.

As mentioned, look for my penultimate 2021 Oscar updates tomorrow!

2021 DGA and PGA Nominations Predictions

Two significant Academy precursors are coming our way tomorrow when the Directors and Producers Guilds of America reveal nominees. Both groups could shed major light on who and what we will see on Oscar nomination morning in less than two weeks.

The DGA nominates five directors for their top prize and it is a reliable preview for usually 4 of the 5 eventual hopefuls at the big show. In the past five years, the DGA’s list corresponds with the Academy’s on the 4 of 5 ratio. The exception was 2018 when it was 3/5. You have to go back to 2009 to find the last year in which there was a perfect match.

For weeks, my Oscar projections in Best Director has remained consistent: Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), and Denis Villeneuve (Dune). That’s probably the safest lineup to predict for DGA as well, but I’m hesitant to do so since it’s been over a decade with the two corresponding.

So who’s vulnerable and who could rise up? It’s hard to see Campion (the Oscar frontrunner), Villeneuve, or Spielberg missing. Same generally goes for Branagh though there’s whispers that Belfast could be slipping a bit (still not enough for me to take him out). That leaves Anderson and there’s some precedent. In 2017, the Academy nominated him for Phantom Thread while DGA omitted him. He’s the easiest to leave off their ballot.

Who takes his place? I doubt that it’s Ryusuke Hamaguchi for Drive My Car. In recent times, the Academy has been more generous with nods for filmmakers and their international features. Last year, they nominated Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) and in 2018 they did the same for Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War) while DGA ignored them.

If there’s a surprise fifth nominee in store, watch out for Guillermo del Toro (Nightmare Alley), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Lost Daughter) or Sian Heder (CODA). However, I think it could come down to Joel Coen (The Tragedy of Macbeth) and Adam McKay (Don’t Look Up). The latter is a two-time DGA nominee (The Big Short and Vice) and Don’t Look Up is a buzzy streaming success story that’s been widely viewed. Coen, on the other hand, could be honored for the technical mastery of Macbeth. 

This is a close call, but I’m ever so slightly leaning toward McKay and I’ll go that route. Therefore – my official DGA predictions are:

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Runner-Up: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Second Alternate: Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth 

Let’s move to the PGA, shall we? Over the last five years, these are the matches between the Producers and the Academy when it comes to their Best Picture awards:

2016: 9/9

2017: 7/9

2018: 8/8

2019: 9/9

2020: 7/8

It’s important to keep in mind that the Academy, for the past several years, can have anywhere between 5-10 BP contenders (the magic number has been 8 or 9). Yet in 2021, the Oscars are reverting back to a set 10 (the PGA always nominates 10 except for 2017 when they had 11 for some inexplicable reason).

That means there’s only been three films (Darkest Hour and Phantom Thread in 2017 and The Father in 2020) that received Oscar nods and didn’t materialize on the PGA list.

My current 10 selections for BP from the Academy are as follows: Belfast, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Dune, House of Gucci, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story.

I’m estimating that only Gucci and Tragedy could be truly vulnerable to miss the PGA cut (anything else being left off would constitute a pretty big surprise). If that happens, CODA or Richard might be the ones.

In my view, Tragedy is exactly the kind of feature that PGA may not recognize. Gucci is more of a question mark as the Producers generally like to nominate pictures that performed well at the box office. To that point, the PGA has a history of honoring moneymakers that the Academy does not. Recent examples include Bridesmaids, Skyfall, Gone Girl, Straight Outta Compton, Deadpool, Wonder Woman, Crazy Rich Asians, A Quiet Place, and Knives Out.

That could absolutely open the door for No Time to Die or Spider-Man: No Way Home… or both. I’m slightly more hesitant to include Spidey being that neither Avengers: Infinity War or Endgame got PGA love. However, I’m not oblivious to the fact that this guild may want to mention the picture that broke pandemic era box office records.

Outside of the blockbuster mold, you could also see titles like Being the Ricardos, Drive My Car, The Lost Daughter, Nightmare Alley, or Tick, Tick… Boom! factor in.

I’m keeping Gucci in (with extreme uncertainty) and projecting 007 in the mega-earner slot so here’s my PGA ten:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

House of Gucci

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Spider-Man: No Way Home

Second Alternate: The Tragedy of Macbeth 

So there you have it! I’ll have reaction up on both DGA and PGA tomorrow on the blog…

Oscars 2020: The Case of Chloe Zhao

My Case Of posts in the Best Director category reaches its fifth and final hopeful with Chloe Zhao for Nomadland. If you missed the previous four, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/26/oscars-2020-the-case-of-lee-isaac-chung/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/02/oscars-2020-the-case-of-emerald-fennell/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/08/oscars-2020-the-case-of-david-fincher/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/11/oscars-2020-the-case-of-thomas-vinterberg/

The Case for Chloe Zhao

Nomadland is absolutely the frontrunner to win Best Picture and oftentimes it matches with director (though not quite as much in recent years). Even if something upsets Nomadland in the big race, Zhao has made it a clean sweep at the precursors and that includes BAFTA, DGA, Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and many other regional critics group awards. Zhao (who will next take on the MCU’s Eternals) will also make some history by becoming the second female to take the gold after Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) in 2009.

The Case Against Chloe Zhao

To be blunt – there really isn’t one. I suppose only if the Academy doesn’t embrace Nomadland like other awards bodies have and that appears unlikely.

The Verdict

Some of the major categories have some suspense around them. This one doesn’t. Zhao appears primed for victory.

My Case Of posts will continue with Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman…

DGA: The Zhaomentum Continues

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) is a pretty darn accurate predictor of who will win at the Academy Awards. In the past 20 years, the DGA and Oscar winners for Best Director have matched 17 times. It is worth noting that one of the 3 non matches was last year as Sam Mendes (1917) took DGA while Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) took the Academy’s gold.

Tonight the DGA held their ceremony and it went as expected with Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) emerging victorious. This goes along with her numerous critics groups prizes and the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award. Anyone else being named this evening would have been a surprise and it’s further evidence that Zhao is the strong favorite for Oscar. If so, she will become the second female to do so after Kathryn Bigelow for 2009’s The Hurt Locker.

This is also more evidence that Nomadland itself is in the driver’s seat for Best Picture as the Academy’s ceremony is just 15 days away. Bottom line: the Zhaomentum continues and none of the other nominees appear capable of interrupting it.

Oscars 2020: The Case of Lee Isaac Chung

Now that my Case Of posts for the 8 nominated Best Picture candidates has concluded, it’s time to move to the 25 contenders in the directing and acting competitions. It begins with Best Director and Lee Isaac Chung for Minari.

The Case for Lee Isaac Chung

Since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020, Chung’s drama about South Korean immigrants in 1980s rural America has been a critical and audience favorite. The film performed about as well as expected on nomination day with 6 nods. While Nomadland is certainly the frontrunner to take BP, Minari stands as one of the few titles with upset potential. Chung also landed a DGA spot which is critical for a win with the Academy.

The Case Against Lee Isaac Chung

Even if Nomadland doesn’t win the biggest prize of all, its maker Chloe Zhao seems destined for Best Director. While Minari performed well with Academy, its miss in Editing casts doubt on a BP victory. As for Chung himself, his lack of recognition at the Golden Globes seems significant. You have to go all the way back to Roman Polanski in 2002 for The Pianist to find an Oscar winning filmmaker who wasn’t nominated at the Globes.

The Verdict

In a trend you will see with other director nominees not named Chloe Zhao, it’s hard to envision Chung or the others overcoming her momentum.

My Case Of posts will continue in the field of Best Actress with Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom…

Oscars 2019 Recap: The Parasite Show

There was certainly an international flavor to last night’s Oscar ceremony and it was in a history making way. The Academy Awards honoring the pictures and performers of 2019 will forever be known as The Parasite Show as voters fell hard for Bong Joon-Ho’s South Korean export.

So how did I do on predictions? 18/21 and I’m pretty darn pleased with that. There were few surprises that didn’t involve Eminem popping up for an out of nowhere performance of his 2002 Best Song winner “Lose Yourself” (of which he missed that acceptance speech 17 years back).

Best Director was certainly the biggest race I missed. That’s because Sam Mendes (1917) was undeniably the front runner after taking home the Golden Globe and especially the Directors Guild of America, which almost always previews the eventual Academy winner. Yet the Parasite love extended to Joon-Ho, whose interpreter seemed to get more airtime than anyone. The film also was victorious for Best Picture, International Feature Film, and Original Screenplay, which I correctly projected. In doing so, Parasite is the first foreign language entry to take Best Picture in its 92 year history. The four victories ended up leading the night over 1917, which took three in tech categories (Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Visual Effects).

In the acting races, everything was according to script as the quartet of Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Renee Zellweger (Judy), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), and Laura Dern (Marriage Story) went to the podium. Anything else happening would have constituted serious upset territory.

Other correct calls are as follows:

Adapted Screenplay – Jojo Rabbit

Animated Feature – Toy Story 4

Costume Design – Little Women

Film Editing – Ford v Ferrari

Makeup and Hairstyling – Bombshell

Original Score – Joker

Original Song – “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from Rocketman

Production Design – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Besides Director, I whiffed on Documentary with my slight upset pick of For Sama. It went to the front runner American Factory. Same goes for Sound Editing, which Ford v Ferrari took as opposed to 1917.

I was correct in my thinking that The Irishman would be the only Best Picture nominee to come up completely empty-handed, despite 10 nominations. Lucky for Martin Scorsese, he received plenty of shout-outs including from the maker of Parasite. Joon-Ho (and his interpreter) certainly came away as the story of the evening. And I’m ready to get the 2020 Oscar speculation rolling!

The British Fall for 1917

The BAFTAs took place today and they’re the British equivalent of the Oscars. And it was 1917 continuing its epic run in precursors by winning 7 trophies, including Best Picture and Director. That said, the victory comes with a caveat and not a minor one. The last five BAFTA Picture recipients did not go on to nab the top prize with the Academy. So if you’re still considering going with Parasite or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or something else to take the biggest Oscar, there’s reason to do so.

In the acting races, nothing changed the narrative of having major front runners in all four. The winners (and it’ll look familiar): Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) for Actor, Renee Zellweger (Judy) in Actress, and Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Laura Dern (Marriage Story) for the supporting derbies. Simply put, anyone other than this quartet taking Oscar gold would constitute an upset.

One day after the Writers Guild named Jojo Rabbit as Adapted Screenplay as its winner and Parasite in Original Screenplay, BAFTA followed suit. It puts them in the driver’s seat for the Academy and that’s not welcome news for Little Women in Adapted or Hollywood in Original.

Another race to watch is Animated Feature because it seems wide open at the moment. Toy Story 4 is seen as the favorite due to Oscar’s penchant for Pixar. However, that sure seems iffy because other titles keep picking up precursors. Today it was Netflix’s Klaus taking the award.

Here’s the list of other winners for the BAFTAs:

Outstanding British Film – 1917

Film Not in the English Language – Parasite

Documentary – For Sama

Score – Joker

Casting – Joker

Cinematography – 1917

Editing – Ford v Ferrari

Production Design – 1917

Costume Design – Little Women

Makeup & Hair – Bombshell

Sound – 1917

Visual Effects – 1917 

Look for plenty more Oscar speculation as we are now one week away from the show!

Oscars 2019: The Case of Sam Mendes

My second Case of post discussing the directors up this year brings us to Sam Mendes for his World War I epic 1917:

The Case for Sam Mendes

The Englishman who became known for his theatre work became a Best Director winner with his first feature 20 years ago – American Beauty. Since then, he’s made a slew of pictures that never quite achieved full Academy attention: Road to Perdition, Jarhead, and Revolutionary Road among them. Over the past decade, he’s been in 007 land after making the last two Bond adventures Skyfall and Spectre. His latest effort has brought him back to serious contention and he’s got the hardware to prove it. Mendes has won the Golden Globe, Directors Guild of America, and BAFTA awards for his direction. Those three prizes alone puts him in the driver’s seat for a second Oscar 20 years apart. That, by the way, would be the longest stretch between a filmmaker taking the trophy.

The Case Against Sam Mendes

From a pure precursor standpoint, there really is no case against him. Yet there’s a lot of love for Bong Joon-Ho and his critically heralded Parasite. He serves as the chief competitor.

The Verdict

It is very hard to ignore the fact that Mendes has won everything that needs to be won in order to emerge victorious here.

My Case of posts will continue with Joe Pesci in The Irishman!