34th Producers Guild of America Awards Predictions

The Screen Actors Guild and the Director Guild announced their nominees today. Tomorrow it’s the Producers Guild time to reveal their 10 selections for outstanding films and 5 picks for animated feature.

This list often comes pretty darn close to mirroring the Academy’s eventual BP contenders. Over the past decade, here’s the matches:

2012 – 8/9

2013 – 8/9

2014 – 7/8

2015 – 7/8

2016 – 9/9

2017 – 7/9

2018 – 8/8

2019 – 9/9

2020 – 7/8

2021 – 8/10

That’s a pretty remarkable 78/87 over the past 10 ceremonies. We have seen some British or foreign pics make the Academy cut and not with PGA including last year with Drive My Car. Other recent examples include Amour, Darkest Hour, and The Father.

Some PGA nominees that Oscar voters didn’t honor include some pics with more of a popcorn flavor. They include Skyfall, Gone Girl, Deadpool, Wonder Woman, Crazy Rich Asians, Knives Out, and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Keeping that in mind, that’s why I have All Quiet on the Western Front on the outside looking in. It could certainly materialize, but gotta pay attention to history, eh? Same goes for Aftersun.

I could envision something like The Menu, Nope, or RRR appearing on the list though I’m not feeling bold enough to pick either. As with BP, I feel there’s a relatively safe 7: Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick. In addition to the aforementioned hopefuls, the remaining three slots could be down to: Babylon (I feel it’s more possible here than with the Academy), Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (same), Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, The Whale, The Woman King, Women Talking.

Here’s how I see it shaking out:

Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

Predicted Nominees:

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Banshees of Inisherin

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Tár

Top Gun: Maverick

The Woman King

Women Talking

Runner-Up: Babylon

As for the animated fare, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio should be way out front. For the other five possibilities, you just need to pick which one to eliminate.

Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

Predicted Nominees:

The Bad Guys

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Turning Red

Runner-Up: Wendell and Wild

I’ll have a recap up tomorrow!

75th Directors Guild of America Awards Nomination Predictions

In addition to the SAG Awards announcing their nominees on Wednesday, we also have the Director Guild of America (DGA) revealing its five contenders for Outstanding Directing in a Feature Film.

This is a race that usually matches the Academy’s eventual 5 nominees with 80% accuracy. In the past decade, there’s been a 4 for 5 correlation in 8 of those years. There hasn’t been a 5 for 5 match since 2009.

Even though BAFTA shockingly left Steven Spielberg off its shortlist last week, he should make the cut here for The Fabelmans. It would also be quite unexpected for Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert to miss for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

After that, it gets interesting. I do believe James Cameron is recognized for Avatar: The Way of Water. The DGA has recently named pics in the sci-fi genre that the Academy surprisingly ignored. Recent examples are Ridley Scott (The Martian) and Denis Villeneuve (Dune).

On the flip side, the DGA has left off foreign filmmakers that the Academy does recognize. This includes Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) and Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) in the preceding two cycles. That could make the odds longer here for Edward Berger (All Quiet on the Western Front), Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave), or S.S. Rajamouli (RRR) than at the Oscars.

My hunch is that the trio of Todd Field (Tár), Baz Luhrmann (Elvis), and Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin) are angling for the final two slots with Sarah Polley (Women Talking) as a potential spoiler. I’ve got Field in my Academy quintet right now but missing here.

DGA PREDICTIONS

James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water

Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Baz Luhrmann, Elvis

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Runner-Up: Todd Field, Tár

AFI Recap: Yes on Nope and Nope on Babylon

The American Film Institute (AFI) said yes to Nope and nope to The Whale and Babylon today as they named their top ten movies of 2022. Jordan Peele’s sci-fi horror tale was perhaps the biggest surprise of the bunch.

The AFI list, in the previous decade, typically gives us seven of the eventual Best Picture contenders at the Oscars. In other words, they’re worth paying attention to. Coupled with Wednesday’s National Board of Review selections, there’s much to discuss. First, here’s the full AFI Ten:

Avatar: The Way of Water

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Nope

She Said

Tár

Top Gun: Maverick

The Woman King

Women Talking

It’s key to remember that only U.S. made pictures are eligible. That means titles like All Quiet on the Western Front, Decision to Leave, RRR, and The Banshees of Inisherin were not in the mix. However, Banshees received a Special Award similar to what eventual Academy hopefuls like Roma and Parasite nabbed.

I went 7 for 10 on my predictions. I correctly named Avatar, Elvis, Everything Everywhere…, The Fabelmans, Top Gun: Maverick, The Woman King, and Women Talking. I didn’t name Nope, She Said, and Tár. Instead I picked Babylon, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. For She Said and Tár especially, these were important nods considering they missed NBR (as did Nope).

Let’s start with the films that made the AFI and NBR lists. I’m counting Banshees with its AFI Special Award shout-out and there’s six more: Avatar: The Way of Water, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Top Gun: Maverick, The Woman King, and Women Talking. This is a list you want to be on when it comes to an Oscar BP nom.

In the previous five years, ten pictures that made AFI and NBR were ignored by the Academy. They are 2017’s The Florida Project, Mary Poppins Returns, A Quiet Place, First Reformed, and Eighth Grade (all from 2018), Knives Out and Richard Jewell from 2019, Da 5 Bloods and Soul in 2020, and last year’s The Tragedy of Macbeth.

If history is our guide, at least one of the seven from 2022 will miss out. Looking at the list, The Woman King is probably most vulnerable. That said, I’ve yet it to include it in my Oscar ten and the stock is rising.

In the past five years, only five pics have missed AFI and NBR (including Special Awards) and received a BP nod from the Academy. They are Darkest Hour from 2017, Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice in 2018, The Father in 2020, and last year’s Drive My Car.

What about the movies that didn’t make AFI or NBR in 2022? That list includes Babylon, The Whale, Triangle of Sadness, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, All Quiet o the Western Front, and Decision to Leave. The last two weren’t eligible for AFI. Nevertheless this isn’t a list you want to be on though the outlook isn’t completely dire.

If history guides us again, 2 of the aforementioned 2022 titles could still get love from Oscar. Perhaps Monday’s Golden Globes nods will save some of them. There’s no doubt that Babylon and The Whale are looking shakier for Academy inclusion after this week. They need some attention from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

I’ll have my Golden Globe nominations recap up Monday and if you missed my predictions on them, you can find them here:

Updated Oscar predictions will be on the blog Tuesday!

AFI Top Ten Predictions 2022

The American Film Institute announces their top ten pictures of the year tomorrow and it’s usually a good indication of half or more of the eventual BP contenders at the Oscars.

Keep in mind that American product only is eligible for this particular group. Since this list began in 2000, the Academy’s BP recipient has only missed here five times. Four of those occasions were due to the whole country of origin thing – 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, 2010’s The King Speech, The Artist in 2011, and Parasite from 2019. The Departed in 2006 also didn’t make the cut. This means you shouldn’t expect Aftersun, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Banshees of Inisherin, Decision to Leave, or RRR to surface here.

So what will? The AFI ten and the Oscar ten had a solid match last year at 8. Tick, Tick… Boom! and The Tragedy of Macbeth were the AFI inclusions that didn’t make it with the Academy. They went with two features from outside the U.S. in Belfast and Drive My Car. In recent years, the match number is usually 6 or 7.

It’s not uncommon for AFI to pick blockbusters or animated fare that the Academy does not. Recent examples include Soul, Knives Out, Mary Poppins Returns, A Quiet Place, Wonder Woman, Zootopia, Inside Out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Straight Outta Compton.

Let’s talk of the pics I have just missing the cut. It was hard to leave off Tár. If it fails to be named tomorrow, that would be two disappointing days in a row after it surprisingly missed the National Board of Review (NBR) list today. Same goes for She Said and The Whale while Till did make NBR. More popcorn flavored flicks like The Batman, Nope, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are all viable contenders.

We shall see if any of them get in. Avatar, Babylon, Elvis, Glass Onion, Pinocchio, and The Woman King all feel like pics that should make it here if they have any hope of making the Academy’s cut. It is rare for the Oscars to nominate a more mainstream title that AFI doesn’t.

I’ll have a recap up tomorrow with commentary and how I did!

AFI Top Predictions

Avatar: The Way of Water

Babylon

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Top Gun: Maverick

The Woman King

Women Talking

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Picture Race

My deep dives into 6 high profile Oscar races reaches the top one with Best Picture. If you missed my posts on Director and the four acting competitions, you can find them here:

At this early November period from 2019-21, here’s how accurate I was with my BP forecast. Three years ago, I correctly called 8 of the 9 eventual nominees. That includes the winner Parasite, 1917, Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Marriage Story, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The ninth hopeful was Joker and it was listed in Other Possibilities. In the wildly unpredictable 2020, I was right about 5 of 8 with two months left in the calendar – Nomadland (which won), The Father, Mank, Minari, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Judas and the Black Messiah was named in Other Possibilities while Promising Young Woman and Sound of Metal were not yet in my top 15. In 2021, the Academy went back to a set number of 10 BP nominees. I rightly identified 7 of the 10 with Belfast, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, and West Side Story. The film that emerged victorious – CODA was not yet predicted but in Other Possibilities. So was Don’t Look Up while Drive My Car wasn’t among the 15.

Moving to 2022 – I can’t recall a year where four sequels were viable for inclusion. That’s where we stand at the moment. The top grosser of the year is Top Gun: Maverick and I do believe the Academy will reward it for bringing older audiences back to multiplexes (and of course for its quality). In a few weeks, we’ll have a better idea about Avatar: The Way of Water. I’m not ready to vault into my ten, but that could change soon. Knives Out missed out on BP in 2019 so I’m skeptical for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. And while Black Panther made the lineup in 2018, Wakanda Forever seems like a stretch despite the solid buzz. Nevertheless it’s not crazy to think that 40% of the BP players could be sequels.

On the non-sequel front, we begin with The Fabelmans. Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical coming-of-age tale has been listed at #1 for weeks on the blog. Only one of the filmmaker’s works – 1993’s Schindler’s List – has won BP. Shakespeare in Love was a surprise recipient in 1998 over the favored Saving Private Ryan. Nearly 30 years later, Fabelmans could have the credentials to be the second.

However, the frontrunner at this stage often doesn’t cross the finish line and Spielberg’s latest feels like a soft frontrunner. I could easily envision a scenario where the voters go outside the box with Everything Everywhere All at Once. A24’s multi-genre pic achieved wide acclaim and did great business at the box office. While spring releases rarely make the journey all the way through the awards calendar, Everything could buck that trend.

Other spoilers include The Banshees of Inisherin and Women Talking, which both garnered kudos at film festivals and will have their ardent admirers. I believe that logic also applies to Tár and The Whale though I don’t see either having a shot to win. And we are still waiting to see if Damien Chazelle’s Babylon is as viable as its pedigree suggests (we’ll know in a few days when it screens).

It’s become more common for an international feature film to get in and the two most likely to do so are All Quiet on the Western Front (which might just be Netflix’s most serious hopeful) and Decision to Leave. The reviews for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Bardo should leave it out (it might not even make the separate international race).

While Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is the favorite to be Best Animated Feature, I don’t see it breaking into the big dance. It’s probably the only animated title with any sort of chance.

The festival circuit always lessens the viability of some pics. In 2022, I would put the following on that list: Empire of Light, The Son, and Armageddon Time.

The Academy could choose to honor some moneymakers like Elvis and The Woman King (though putting Maverick in could check that box). Till may only show up in Best Actress for Danielle Deadwyler. And it’s tough to know what to make of the upcoming Emancipation considering it’s led by Will Smith (who has some, um, recent history with the ceremony).

Bottom line: there is a lot of uncertainty about BP. I feel fairly confident about The Fabelmans, Everything Everywhere, Women Talking, The Banshees of Inisherin, Top Gun: Maverick, Tár, and The Whale (more than others with that one). We’ll know about Babylon shortly so that leaves two spots. I could definitely see a sequel or a foreign flick jumping up. For now, the 9th and 10th entries go to Triangle of Sadness and She Said. Expect movement as the weeks roll along.

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1 . The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tár (PR: 7) (E)

8. The Whale (PR: 8) (E)

9. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (E)

10. She Said (PR: 12) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

11. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 11) (E)

12. Decision to Leave (PR: 10) (-2)

13. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Elvis (PR: 13) (-1)

15. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 15) (E)

Stay tuned for estimates on all the races coming up soon!

2022 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Director Race

Best Director is on deck for my closeup looks at six major categories at the Oscars. If you missed my posts covering the four acting derbies, you can find them here:

As I have with the other competitions, let’s see how accurate my estimates were from 2019-21 at the same early November time period. In 2019, I correctly had 4 of the 5 eventual directors: winner Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), and Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). Todd Phillips (Joker) was identified in Other Possibilities. 2020 was a trickier year due to COVID complications and I had 2 of the contenders rightly pegged: Chloe Zhao for Nomadland (who won) and David Fincher for Mank. Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) was in Other Possibilities while Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) and Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) were not yet in my top ten. Last year, I had 3 of 5 with the victorious Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), and Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza). Steven Spielberg (West Side Story) was in Other Possibilities and I didn’t have Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) yet in the mix.

I don’t have Spielberg down as an Other Possibility in 2022. This time around, he could be in line for his third Best Director statue behind 1993’s Schindler’s List and 1998’s Saving Private Ryan. It would mark his ninth overall nom. If he wins, he would become only the fourth filmmaker with three or more victories. John Ford has 4 while Frank Capra and William Wyler have 3.

The last four years have given us a nominee with an International Feature Film contender. In addition to Joon-ho in 2019 and Vinterberg and Hamaguchi the following years, Alfonso Cuaron took the prize in 2018 for Roma. There are two in 2022 that stand the best shot: Edward Berger (All Quiet on the Western Front) and Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave). If you want to be brave and predict an out of nowhere selection (like Vinterberg kinda was in 2020), look to Lukas Dhont (Close) or Jerzy Skolimowski (EO). Maybe even Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Bardo though he faces a tough road due to mixed critical reception.

However, I’m not quite ready to elevate any of them to the forecasted quintet. Damien Chazelle’s Babylon will soon screen prior to its December bow. It has the looks of a contender and he’s in unless the buzz tells me differently in a few days.

I’m also feeling good about the Daniels (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) for Everything Everywhere All at Once. Same goes for Sarah Polley (Women Talking). Both appear to be surefire BP selections and would mark the Academy’s first mentions for them in this race.

As for the fifth spot, there’s plenty of names beyond the aforementioned international auteurs. Todd Field for Tár tops that list with Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin) not far behind. If Avatar: The Way of Water approaches the reception that the original received, James Cameron could enter the conversation.

If She Said or The Whale pick up even more steam in BP, I wouldn’t discount Maria Schrader or Darren Aronofsky respectively. That same logic applies to Ruben Ostlund for Triangle of Sadness. I’ve had him in my five previously.

Perhaps the voters will honor the maker of the year’s biggest blockbuster with Joseph Kosinski for Top Gun: Maverick. The more likely path is a BP nom and a few tech inclusions.

This race can and will evolve over the next couple of months. Here’s the state of the race right now:

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1 . Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. Todd Field, Tár (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (E)

9. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Picture is up next, folks! Stay tuned…

Oscar Predictions: All Quiet on the Western Front

92 years ago, Lewis Milestone’s war epic All Quiet on the Western Front became just the third movie to win Best Picture at the Oscars. After premiering at the Toronto Film Festival before its October 28th Netflix stream, the latest version could attract Academy attention as well. The German production comes from director Edward Berger with a cast including Daniel Bruhl, Albrecht Schuch, Sebastian Hulk, and Aaron Hilmer.

Its native country has already named it as their submission for International Feature Film. Critical reaction is positive across the board with 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. In particular, the World War I tale is being praised for tech aspects.

Along with South Korea’s Decision to Leave, I believe Quiet is pretty close to a sure thing for the IFF category. Yet it could branch out beyond that. We’ve seen a trend lately of Best Director nominees representing their foreign features. Recent examples include Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War), Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round), and Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car). In the first two cases, their film didn’t even make the Best Picture cut. This could happen with Berger or Decision‘s Park Chan-wook.

The possibilities don’t end there. Adapted Screenplay looks quite open for slot availability. The aforementioned down the line chances to make the final five include Cinematography, Editing, and Sound. It’s just as possible that Quiet only makes noise in IFF, but it could contend in multiple competitions including BP. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Plan 75

Japan surprised awards prognosticators this week with the announcement that Plan 75 will be their competitor for International Feature Film at the Oscars. This has nothing to do with the quality of Che Hayakawa’s dystopian drama where the aging population is given the option to be euthanized. Plan garnered strong reviews out of Cannes and it will receive plenty of North American eyeballs next week in Toronto.

The unexpected development is that Japan could have submitted Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s heralded Broker (also making the rounds on the fest circuit) and it chose otherwise. The general consensus is that Broker, after South Korea understandably went with Decision to Leave over it, would have been close to a shoo-in nominee for the Academy’s international competition.

75‘s chances are a little murkier though solid notices out of Toronto could help. This comes a year after Japan’s Drive My Car was victorious in the foreign film race so we will see if their campaign skills are still sharp in 2022. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscars Reaction: 94th Academy Awards

The pranksters of the Internet had a little fun with the justly criticized decision to have a “Fan Favorite” award. The top 3 consisted of Netflix’s Army of the Dead, the reviled Cinderella remake, and Johnny Depp’s barely seen Minamata. I’m guessing this viewer’s choice designation experiment will be unique to the 94th Academy Awards and this ceremony only. Gotta love footnotes, eh?

Let’s talk about what else happened at the Oscars. No… not that. Not yet.

I went 17 for 20, but I missed the biggie. CODA took Best Picture over The Power of the Dog. In fact, the Apple TV pic went 3 for 3 as it also won Adapted Screenplay (I picked Dog) and Troy Kotsur for Supporting Actor.

I admittedly had an upset selection with “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto over “No Time to Die” from that Bond pic. Billie Eilish did indeed take the musical prize and it’s now the third 007 theme in a row to win after “Skyfall” (2012) and “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre (2015).

The other 16 categories went according to my prognostications… Will Smith as Best Actor for King Richard… NOT YET…

Jessica Chastain (Best Actress for The Eyes of Tammy Faye) and Ariana DeBose (Supporting Actor for West Side Story). Belfast for Original Screenplay. Encanto in Animated Feature and Drive My Car for International Feature Film and Summer of Soul as Documentary Feature. You can read the rest. Dune won the most trophies with six.

The Power of the Dog took just one award with Jane Campion taking Director and becoming the third woman to do so and second in a row.  It marks the first time since 1967 that director’s win for the movie marks its sole victory. For you trivia buffs… it was Mike Nichols for The Graduate. 

OK… let’s get real. All of what I’m writing about is a footnote. That’s because  Will Smith’s open hand slap of Chris Rock for a joke directed at wife Jada Pinkett Smith is all the 94th edition of the Oscars will be remembered for. It was shocking (and riveting) TV made even more so with the knowledge that Smith would be giving a speech moments later. I still don’t know what to think and I’m still a little aghast at what I saw. That whole reading the wrong winner from five years ago seems a little small potatoes now.

I do know this… my Oscar predictions and speculations for the 95th Academy Awards will be here before you know it.

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!