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!

Oscars 2021: The Case of Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz’s performance in Parallel Mothers is the third Best Actress entry in my Case Of posts. If you missed the ones covering the other C’s (Jessica Chastain and Olivia Colman), they’re here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jessica Chastain

Oscars 2021: The Case of Olivia Colman

The Case for Penelope Cruz:

More than any other high profile race, Best Actress looks wide open. Spain inexplicably didn’t name Mothers as its International Feature Film selection (it probably would’ve been nominated). Instead it settled for this nod and Original Score. This could provide a way for the Academy to honor it.

The Case Against Penelope Cruz:

If Cruz were to take this, she would do so without mentions from the Globes, SAG, BAFTA, or Critics Choice. That just doesn’t happen.

Previous Nominations: 3

Volver (2006 – Actress); Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008 – Supporting Actress, WON)Nine (2009 – Supporting Actress)

The Verdict:

When Cruz won Supporting Actress 13 years ago for Vicky Christina Barcelona, she was the favorite. For her other two nominations in 2006 and 2009, she was a major long shot. That is once again the case and of the five women up, I believe she’s got the lowest chance to emerge victorious.

My Case Of posts will continue with the third Best Actor competitor – Andrew Garfield in Tick Tick… Boom!

2021 SAG Awards Winner Predictions

The SAG Awards air this Sunday night and I’m here to give you my take. For some context, I went 4/5 in my projections from 2017-2019 and 3/5 last year. The winners here will certainly help themselves if they’re nominated for Oscars (as you’ll see – not all are).

Let’s get to it!

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

House of Gucci

King Richard

Commentary:

I could offer an argument for anything but Gucci (partly because The Birdcage from 1996 is the only winner that wasn’t nominated for BP at the Oscars). The rest of the pics are BP players with the Academy. Belfast is the most likely to win (notice frontrunner The Power of the Dog isn’t here). Even though I’m not projecting its lone nominee (Balfe) to take the SAG and it was a surprise that Ciaran Hinds didn’t make it, I’ll say the cast is ultimately honored as a whole. CODA is right on its heels.

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Runner-Up: CODA

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Jennifer Hudson, Respect

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Commentary: 

Welcome to the confounding world of Best Actress in the 2021 awards season and this is easily the trickiest race to figure out. The Oscar/SAG match is 3/5. Gaga and Hudson didn’t make the Acadeny’s cut in favor of Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) and Kristen Stewart (Spencer).

Let’s start with Gaga. The SAG winner in this race has never not been nominated for an Oscar so the superstar would certainly make history if she takes this. That stat discourages me from calling her name, but who knows? All hopefuls here would be first-time winners in this category (Hudson took Supporting Actress 15 years back in Dreamgirls). She seems least likely to win. So we’re down to Chastain, Colman, and Kidman. All could prevail. Kidman took the Golden Globe and a podium trip could solidify her status as the Oscar frontrunner. Chastain’s showy role could be honored and it’s a bit of a coin flip for me. I’ll give Kidman an ever so slight edge.

Predicted Winner: Nicole Kidman

Runner-Up: Jessica Chastain

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

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:

Not complicated like Actress as there’s a 5 for 5 lineup with the Academy’s nominees. Unlike the Oscars, I do buy into the theory that Garfield might be more of a spoiler than Cumberbatch to Smith. The SAG folks could reward Garfield’s showy role. That said, I’m not betting against Smith.

Predicted Winner: Will Smith

Runner-Up: Andrew Garfield

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Ruth Negga, Passing

Commentary: 

There’s only a 2 for 5 symmetry with the big show and that’s DeBose and Dunst. Balfe, Blanchett, and Negga are in over Academy picks Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter), Judi Dench (Belfast), and Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard). I do think it’s between the Oscar contestants. Dunst is a threat though I’m going with DeBose sweeping until I see different.

Predicted Winner: Ariana DeBose

Runner-Up: Kirsten Dunst

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar

Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Commentary:

Like Supporting Actress, just a 2 for 5 (Kotsur, Smit-McPhee) match. Affleck, Cooper, and Leto got SAG love instead of Oscar selections Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog), and J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos). And I’ll also say it’s between the two Academy players. This is difficult because I could easily see Smit-McPhee sweeping (he won the Globe). Yet I have a sneaking suspicion the thespians may go for Kotsur. With little confidence, I’ll pick that.

Predicted Winner: Troy Kotsur

Runner-Up: Kodi Smit-McPhee

I’ll have reaction up on the ceremony Sunday night!

Oscars 2021: The Case of Olivia Colman

Olivia Colman’s turn in Netflix’s The Lost Daughter is the second Case Of post for the five women competing for Best Actress. If you missed the first on Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, you can find it here:

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jessica Chastain

The Case for Olivia Colman:

It’s another hailed performance from the Oscar winner who surprisingly took to the podium three years back for The Favourite (upsetting frontrunner Glenn Close in The Wife). Colman gets her third nod in four years. In addition to the victory from 2018, she was nominated last year in supporting for The Father. She nabbed precursor attention at the Globes, SAG, and Critics Choice. Daughter performed decently with the Academy with Jessie Buckley receiving an unexpected spot in Supporting Actress and director Maggie Gyllenhaal’s being recognized for her adapted screenplay. Furthermore, Best Actress looks wide open and anything could happen.

The Case Against Olivia Colman:

Had Daughter managed a Best Picture slot, I might feel more confident in calling for a potential second trophy for Colman. That said, none of the five Actress’s films are in the big dance. Critics liked this better than general audiences judging from Rotten Tomatoes. In an unexpected twist, BAFTA did not include Colman. What gives me the most pause is that Colman is the most recent recipient – Jessica Chastain and Kristen Stewart (Spencer) have never won, Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) is a supporting winner from 13 years ago, and Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) took Actress 19 years ago.

Previous Nominations: 2

The Favourite (2018 – Actress, WON); The Father (2020 – Supporting Actress)

The Verdict:

This is a tricky one and good luck figuring out Best Actress in 2021. The counterargument to the recency bias is that it didn’t hurt Frances McDormand (Nomadland) last year. However, that was a frontrunner for BP and that narrative doesn’t exist this time around. If Colman can get a win at SAG this weekend or Critics Choice later on, it increases her viability with the Academy. If not, I doubt she gets her second Oscar.

My Case Of posts will continue with Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Oscars 2021: The Case of Jessica Chastain

The first hopeful in a very interesting Best Actress competition is up next in my Case Of posts for the 94th Academy Awards and that’s Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye. 

The Case for Jessica Chastain:

Of the five nominees in Actress, only Kristen Stewart (Spencer) and Chastain have yet to win an Oscar. Somewhat surprisingly, she’s only been nominated twice and the last time was nine years ago. There could already be a feeling that she’s overdue and Olivia Colman, Penelope Cruz, and Nicole Kidman have already won. Her embodiment of evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker (with its nominated makeup team) drew raves from critics and she received nods at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Critics Choice Awards.

The Case Against Jessica Chastain:

The film itself did not draw raves with a middling 69% Rotten Tomatoes score. Furthermore, it was a bust at the box office with just over $2 million domestically.

Previous Nominations: 2

The Help (2011 – Supporting Actress); Zero Dark Thirty (2012 – Actress)

The Verdict:

Best Actress is wide open at this juncture. So-so reviews for the picture itself didn’t hurt Renee Zellweger in 2019 with Judy and it may not hurt Chastain. She’s a possibility to win, but then again, so are the others.

My Case of posts will continue with our first Best Actor nominee – Javier Bardem in Being the Ricardos

2021 Oscar Nominations Reaction

And at last… they’re out! After months of speculating on the blog (starting all the way back with my initial predictions in August), the Oscar nominations for the 94th Academy Awards were unveiled early this morning.

As always, there’s shocking omissions and surprising additions. There’s races that went as planned. And (for me at least) there’s always that one tricky category where I end up going 2/5. This year it was Documentary Feature which is notoriously tough to figure out. On the flip side, I projected 4 out of the 20 feature film competitions with 5/5 accuracy. All in all – I went 82 for 105 on the picks.

Some initial thoughts before I break it down race by race. The Power of the Dog was easily the winner of the morning with 12 nods (even more than anticipated). It led all nominees with Dune second (10).

Other movies that either met or exceeded expectations: Drive My Car, King Richard, and Nightmare Alley (which was the only somewhat surprising BP addition). For others, it was more of a mixed bag. Belfast garnered 7 mentions but came up short in key tech indicators like Cinematography and Editing. The same can be said for Licorice Pizza. Seven was also the number for West Side Story, but it missed screenplay. Being the Ricardos got 3 acting nods but no Picture or screenplay. And even Dune, with the 10 nods, somehow missed a director nomination for Denis Villeneuve.

Then there’s House of Gucci, which showed up only in Makeup and Hairstyling. No Jared Leto (I predicted he’d be left off), but no Lady Gaga in Actress was perhaps the shocker of the day.

Let’s get into it and I’ll offer my initial take on what/who could win (my final predictions will come shortly before the March 27th show).

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

How I Did: 9/10

Commentary: My one miss was Alley coming in over Being the Ricardos. Make no mistake. With its 12 mentions, The Power of the Dog is undoubtedly the frontrunner. Yes, the Twitterverse will offer alternate theories. Could Drive My Car‘s impressive haul give us our second foreign BP winner in three years? Could Belfast or West Side Story spoil? I doubt it.

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

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Hamaguchi getting in wasn’t unforeseen. If so, I figured he’d do so over Anderson, Branagh, or Spielberg and certainly not Villeneuve. That’s what happened. Campion made history today by becoming the first female nominee to get a second nomination. All signs point to her becoming the third (after Kathryn Bigelow and Chloe Zhao) to win.

Best Actress

Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: We now arrive at the biggest head scratcher of the major categories. Gaga’s aforementioned omission is truly unexpected (Cruz takes her slot). The precursors (BAFTA, Globes, SAG) have been all over the map and there’s no obvious favorite. I would say Cruz doesn’t stand much of a chance, but the other four do (it’s a lot like last year’s Actress derby). This is also the first time since 2005 where no Actress hopeful has their film in contention for Best Picture. Kidman’s Globe win could help and we’ll see what SAG does, but this is wide open.

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

How I Did: 5/5

Commentary: That’s more like it! Smith (especially after Richard‘s good morning) is out ahead though I could see Cumberbatch definitely threatening after Dog‘s very good morning. Fun tidbit: not since 1980 has the Best Actor race consisted entirely of previous nominees until today.

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

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: This was the first race announced today and the jaws of prognosticators dropped immediately. Buckley and (especially) Dench were not anticipated by most. I didn’t even have either as my runner-up or second alternate. They displace Ruth Negga (Passing) and Dench’s costar Caitriona Balfe. While the lineup is different than we thought, the frontrunner (DeBose) remains the same with Dunst (getting her first nod) as a possible upset pick.

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

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Simmons in over Bradley Cooper in Licorice Pizza. Mr. Cooper has two movies contending for BP but no singling out to show for it. Smit-McPhee may be out in front but a Kotsur victory is feasible.

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Worst Person in the World

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Worst Person is the surprise. I didn’t predict Richard though its  inclusion was expected. They’re in over Ricardos and Parallel Mothers (which was admittedly a bit of an upset pick from me). This should be between Belfast and Pizza and it may represent the best opportunity for either to grab a statue.

Tidbit: since 2001, there was at least one screenplay contender where it served as its only nomination. Until today.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees:

CODA

Drive My Car

Dune

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 5/5

Commentary: Let’s not overcomplicate it when we don’t need to. Power is far and away the leader in this pack.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Raya and the Last Dragon

How I Did: 5/5

Commentary: This went as planned. There are three Disney products in the group, but the other two (Flee, Mitchells) are potential roadblocks to Encanto winning. Yet betting against Disney usually isn’t wise in this one and Encanto will probably take it.

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

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: I’m gonna go ahead and say Lunana is the first Oscar contender with Yak in its title without checking (correct me if wrong). It surprisingly gets in (along with far less surprising The Hand of God) over A Hero and Playground. This one’s simple: anything other than Car would be a massive upset.

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees:

Ascension

Attica

Flee

Summer of Soul

Writing with Fire

How I Did: 2/5

Commentary: There’s that blasted 2 for 5 race! Ascension, Attica, and Fire are up over my selections of Faye Dayi, Procession, and The Rescue (its omission is stunning considering it was a contender to win).

Flee made history by becoming the first film to be nominated for Animated Feature, International Feature Film, and here. This race probably marks its best chance to win, but I wouldn’t sleep on Summer of Soul. 

Best Cinematography

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Alley over Belfast. Get used to hearing this with the tech categories – Dune might be out in front. Dog could threaten.

Best Costume Design

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

Nightmare Alley

West Side Story

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Cyrano‘s sole nod comes here. I had House of Gucci instead. Dune can’t win all the techs and Cruella could take this.

Best Film Editing

Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

The Power of the Dog

Tick, Tick… Boom!

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Richard and Boom! over Belfast and Licorice Pizza. The Belfast omission is particularly notable as BP victors nearly always are nominated here. This could be more Dune gold.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees:

Coming 2 America

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Went with Suicide Squad over Coming 2 America. Despite its bad performance this morning, Gucci could win this. Or it might just go to Dune.

Best Original Score

Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

No Time to Die

Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Went with The French Dispatch (which goose egged) over Mothers. As for the winner (get ready for it) – expect Dune or 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

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Maybe the surprise here shouldn’t be with “Somehow You Do” over “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up. After all, this marks Diane Warren’s 13th nomination and sixth in the last seven years. She’s never won and won’t this time.

“Be Alive” from Beyonce or “Oruguitas” could get it, but “No Time to Die” from Billie Eilish could be the third Bond theme in a row to be celebrated.

Best Production Design

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Another category where I said French Dispatch and missed. Power gets in instead. While Dune is strong, I wouldn’t be startled to see this as the lone victory for Nightmare Alley.

Best Sound

Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

How I Did: 5/5

Commentary: You should hear Dune‘s name called.

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

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Free Guy and Spidey over The Matrix Resurrections and Godzilla vs. Kong. As for the winner: See Best Sound.

Here’s the overall nominations break down:

12 Nominations

The Power of the Dog

10 Nominations

Dune

7 Nominations

Belfast, West Side Story

6 Nominations

King Richard

4 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Nightmare Alley

3 Nominations

Being the Ricardos, CODA, Encanto, Flee, Licorice Pizza, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, The Tragedy of Macbeth

2 Nominations

Cruella, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Parallel Mothers, Tick, Tick… Boom!, The Worst Person in the World

1 Nomination

Ascension, Attica, Coming 2 America, Cyrano, Four Good Days, Free Guy, The Hand of God, House of Gucci, Luca, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Raya and the Last Dragon, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spencer, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Summer of Soul, Writing with Fire

Starting very shortly, you can peruse my Case Of posts in which I write individualized posts for all the contenders in Picture, Director, and the four acting races!

2021 Final Oscar Predictions

This is it! After months of speculation that began all the way back in a time known as August 2021, the guesswork grinds to a halt. It’s time for my FINAL Oscar predictions for the 94th Academy Awards. Nominations are out Tuesday (February 8th) with the big show airing March 27th.

I’ve penned thousands of words discussing the various feature film categories that will be revealed. The speculation ends today. For each race, I will give you my picks along with a runner-up and a second alternate. On Tuesday, I’ll have reaction up with my thoughts and, of course, how I did with the prognostications. I’m also giving you how I fared in the previous two years with each category.

So… pencils down. Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

2019 Performance: 9/9

2020 Performance: 7/9

***There are 10 fixed nominees now***

Predicted Nominees:

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Tick, Tick… Boom!

Second Alternate: The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Director

2019 Performance: 4/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Runner-Up: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Second Alternate: Sian Heder, CODA

Best Actress

2019 Performance: 5/5

2020 Performance: 5/5

Predicted Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Runner-Up: Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Second Alternate: Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Best Actor

2019 Performance: 4/5

2020 Performance: 5/5

Predicted 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

Runner-Up: Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Best Supporting Actress

2019 Performance: 4/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Ruth Negga, Passing

Runner-Up: Ann Dowd, Mass

Second Alternate: Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley

Best Supporting Actor

2019 Performance: 5/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Second Alternate: Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar

Best Original Screenplay

2019 Performance: 4/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Licorice Pizza

Parallel Mothers

Runner-Up: King Richard

Second Alternate: C’Mon C’Mon

Best Adapted Screenplay

2019 Performance: 5/5

2020 Performance: 3/5

Predicted Nominees:

CODA

Drive My Car

Dune

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: West Side Story

Second Alternate: Passing

Best Animated Feature

2019 Performance: 4/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Raya and the Last Dragon

Runner-Up: Belle

Second Alternate: Sing 2

Best International Feature Film

2019 Performance: 3/5

2020 Performance: 2/5

Predicted Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

A Hero

Playground

The Worst Person in the World

Runner-Up: The Hand of God

Second Alternate: Prayers for the Stolen

Best Documentary Feature

2019 Performance: 3/5

2020 Performance: 3/5

Predicted Nominees:

Faya Dayi

Flee

Procession

The Rescue 

Summer of Soul

Runner-Up: The First Wave

Second Alternate: Ascension

Best Cinematography

2019 Performance: 4/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Nightmare Alley

Second Alternate: Licorice Pizza

Best Costume Design

2019 Performance: 3/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Dune

House of Gucci

Nightmare Alley

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Cyrano

Second Alternate: Licorice Pizza

Best Film Editing

2019 Performance: 4/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Licorice Pizza

The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: West Side Story

Second Alternate: King Richard

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 

2019 Performance: 3/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

The Suicide Squad

Runner-Up: Coming 2 America

Second Alternate: Cyrano

Best Original Score

2019 Performance: 5/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Encanto

The French Dispatch

The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Parallel Mothers

Second Alternate: Spencer

Best Original Song

2019 Performance: 3/5

2020 Performance: 4/5

Predicted Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Runner-Up: “Here I Am” from Respect 

Second Alternate: “Beyond the Shore” from CODA

Best Production Design

2019 Performance: 4/5

2020 Performance: 3/5

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Belfast

Second Alternate: Licorice Pizza

Best Sound

2020 Performance: 5/5

***Sound races were split into Editing and Mixing prior to 2020

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: A Quiet Place Part II

Second Alternate: Spider-Man: No Way Home

Best Visual Effects

2019 Performance: 5/5

2020 Performance: 3/5

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

Godzilla vs. Kong

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Runner-Up: Spider-Man: No Way Home

Second Alternate: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

And this means my FINAL tally of total nominations for these films are as follows:

11 Nominations

Dune, The Power of the Dog

9 Nominations

Belfast

7 Nominations

West Side Story

5 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, Licorice Pizza

4 Nominations

Being the Ricardos, King Richard

3 Nominations

CODA, Drive My Car, Encanto, Flee, House of Gucci, No Time to Die, The Tragedy of Macbeth

2 Nominations

Cruella, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Lost Daughter, Nightmare Alley

1 Nomination

Faya Dayi, Godzilla vs. Kong, A Hero, Luca, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Parallel Mothers, Passing, Playground, Procession, Raya and the Last Dragon, The Rescue, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spencer, The Suicide Squad, Summer of Soul, Tick, Tick… Boom!, The Worst Person in the World

Come Tuesday – visit the blog for reaction to the nominations!

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 Oscar Predictions: January 22nd Edition

In two weeks time, House of Gucci has gone from unranked in my top 15 Best Picture possibilities to making the cut in 10th. Whether it stays there – who knows? As I see it, the top 8 look relatively safe and then it could be a free for all for the last two spots. Gucci‘s rise means Tick, Tick… Boom! drops out.

I’ve also made way for The Lone Screenplay nominee which has occurred every year since 2001. C’Mon C’Mon is now included in Original Screenplay and that knocks out King Richard. I wrote about The Lone Screenplay history of the 21st century here:

The Lone Screenplay Nominee: An Oscar Prediction Analysis

You can read all the movement below and I’ll have a penultimate update next week before unveiling my final predictions shortly before the February 8th announcement!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Belfast (PR: 2) (E)

3. West Side Story (PR: 3) (E)

4. Dune (PR: 4) (E)

5. Licorice Pizza (PR: 5) (E)

6. Don’t Look Up (PR: 8) (+2)

7. King Richard (PR: 6) (-1)

8. CODA (PR: 7) (-1)

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

10. House of Gucci (PR: 12) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

11. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 9) (-2)

12. Being the Ricardos (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Drive My Car (PR: 13) (E)

14. The Lost Daughter (PR: 14) (E)

15. No Time to Die (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Nightmare Alley

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: 4) (+1)

4. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 3) (-1)

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

Other Possibilities:

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

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

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

9. Sian Heder, CODA (PR: 9) (E)

10. Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

2. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (PR: 2) (-1)

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

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

Other Possibilities:

6. Rachel Zegler, West Side Story (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Emilia Jones, CODA (PR: 10) (E)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Will Smith, King Richard (PR: 1) (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. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos (PR: 6) (E)

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: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Clifton Collins, Jr., Jockey

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. Marlee Matlin, CODA (PR: 6) (E)

7. Ann Dowd, Mass (PR: 7) (E)

8. Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Rita Moreno, West Side Story (PR: 8) (-1)

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. Jared Leto, House of Gucci (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jamie Dornan, Belfast (PR: 7) (E)

8. Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog (PR: 8) (E)

9. J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos (PR: 9) (E)

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: 5) (+1)

5. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. King Richard (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Parallel Mothers (PR: 7) (E)

8. Mass (PR: 8) (E)

9. The French Dispatch (PR: 9) (E)

10. Pig (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

A Hero

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: 5) (+1)

5. Dune (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Drive My Car (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Passing (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Last Duel (PR: 10) (E)

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. The Summit of the Gods (PR: 7) (E)

8. Vivo (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Ron’s Gone Wrong (PR: 10) (+1)

10. My Sunny Maad (PR: 8) (-2)

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: 7) (+1)

7. Compartment No. 6 (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Prayers for the Stolen (PR: 8) (E)

9. Great Freedom (PR: 9) (E)

10. The Good Boss (PR: 10) (E)

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Flee (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Rescue (PR: 2) (E)

3. Summer of Soul (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Procession (PR: 3) (-1)

5. The First Wave (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ascension (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Attica (PR: 6) (-1)

8. President (PR: 8) (E)

9. Faya Dayi (PR: 9) (E)

10. In the Same Breath (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Julia

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Power of the Dog (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The Tragedy of Macbeth (PR: 5) (+1)

5. West Side Story (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (E)

7. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The French Dispatch (PR: 7) (-1)

9. C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Spencer (PR: 8) (-2)

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. Spencer (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Licorice Pizza (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Nightmare Alley (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Cyrano (PR: 8) (E)

9. The French Dispatch (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Last Night in Soho (PR: 10) (E)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Power of the Dog (PR: 4) (E)

5. Licorice Pizza (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Don’t Look Up (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 5) (-2)

8. King Richard (PR: 8) (E)

9. Being the Ricardos (PR: 9) (E)

10. Nightmare Alley (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The French Dispatch

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: 5) (+1)

5. Coming 2 America (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. West Side Story (PR: 8) (+2)

7. The Suicide Squad (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Nightmare Alley (PR: 7) (-1)

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. Don’t Look Up (PR: 3) (E)

4. The French Dispatch (PR: 4) (E)

5. Parallel Mothers (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spencer (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Encanto (PR: 9) (+2)

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

9. King Richard (PR: 8) (-1)

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. “Be Alive” from King Richard (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto (PR: 3) (E)

4. “Down to Joy” from Belfast (PR: 4) (E)

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

Other Possibilities:

6. “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up (PR: 5) (-1)

7. “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall (PR: 9) (+2)

8. “Beyond the Shore” from CODA (PR: 7) (-1)

9. “So May We Start” from Annette (PR: 8) (-1)

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

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Nightmare Alley (PR: 3) (E)

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: Not Ranked)

8. Spencer (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Power of the Dog (PR: 9) (E)

10. Cyrano (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Cruella

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dune (PR: 1) (E)

2. West Side Story (PR: 2) (E)

3. Belfast (PR: 3) (E)

4. No Time to Die (PR: 4) (E)

5. Tick, Tick… Boom! (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 8) (+2)

7. The Power of the Dog (PR: 6) (-1)

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

9. A Quiet Place Part II (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: 4) (+1)

4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PR: 5) (+1)

5. No Time to Die (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spider-Man: No Way Home (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Free Guy (PR: 7) (E)

8. Eternals (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Ghostbusters: Afterlife (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Black Widow (PR: 10) (E)

That equates to these films achieving these numbers of nominations:

11 Nominations

Dune

9 Nominations

Belfast, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

5 Nominations

House of Gucci, Licorice Pizza

4 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, King Richard, The Tragedy of Macbeth

3 Nominations

CODA, Flee, No Time to Die

2 Nominations

Being the Ricardos, Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The French Dispatch, The Lost Daughter, Spencer, Tick, Tick… Boom!

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, Nightmare Alley, Parallel Mothers, Passing, Procession, Raya and the Last Dragon, The Rescue, Respect, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Summer of Soul, The Worst Person in the World

The Lone Screenplay Nominee: An Oscar Prediction Analysis

We are getting the nitty gritty on nailing down Oscar predictions on this blog and it’s time to consider a prevailing trend in the 21st century when it comes to the Adapted and Original Screenplay contests. That would be The Lone Screenplay Nominee.

What’s that you ask? For the last 20 award ceremonies, at least one movie has been nominated in its screenplay race and in no other additional category. That’s a rather startling statistic, but it’s true. You have to go all the way to 2000 to find a year in which the ten nominated films in those two derbies didn’t get a nod elsewhere.

Here’s the list from 2001-2020 of pictures that got The Lone Screenplay nomination (abbreviation are AS for Adapted and OS for Original):

2001 – Ghost World (AS), The Royal Tenenbaums (OS)

2002 – About a Boy (AS), My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Y Tu Mama Tambien (OS)

2003 – American Splendor (AS), Dirty Pretty Things (OS)

2004 – Before Sunset (AS)

2005 – Match Point, The Squid and the Whale (OS)

2006 – Borat (AS)

2007 – Lars and the Real Girl (OS)

2008 – Happy-Go-Lucky, In Bruges (OS)

2009 – In the Loop (AS)

2010 – Another Year (OS)

2011 – The Ides of March (AS), Margin Call (OS)

2012 – Moonrise Kingdom (OS)

2013 – Before Midnight (AS)

2014 – Nightcrawler (OS)

2015 – Straight Outta Compton (OS)

2016 – 20th Century Women, The Lobster (OS)

2017 – The Disaster Artist, Logan, Molly’s Game (AS), The Big Sick (OS)

2018 – First Reformed (OS)

2019 – Knives Out (OS)

2020 – The White Tiger (AS)

Clearly the writing branch of the Academy enjoy singling out a pic or two that doesn’t get any love elsewhere. And it’s a tradition that I haven’t really factored into my predictions for 2021’s hopefuls. That changes today.

My latest round of predictions from last week were the following for Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay:

Adapted – CODA, Dune, The Lost Daughter, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

Original – Being the Ricardos, Belfast, Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza

Here’s the problem – all ten of those pictures are highly likely to find nominations elsewhere.

So… what’s vulnerable and what are the movies that could fit the Lone Screenplay Nominee mold when the announcement is made on February 8?

Glad you asked. In Adapted, Dune could absolutely miss. The voters in the screenplay race could decide that it’ll get plenty of tech nods (it will) as well as Picture and Director mentions (highly probable). Its screenplay nod could  wait until its sequel.

So what are the contenders in Adapted that may not get nods elsewhere? There’s The Last Duel, which could get points for its unique script that tells its medieval tale from three differing perspectives. It appears to have little chance at Picture or even Jodie Comer’s acclaimed performance in lead actress.

There’s also Passing, but that’s assuming Ruth Negga misses out in Supporting Actress (and I’ve got her in). Other possibilities are Nightmare Alley (though it should at least be recognized for Production Design) and Tick, Tick… Boom! (which could be in line for Picture but especially for Andrew Garfield in lead actor). The Lost Daughter could be the one. However, I have a hard time seeing Olivia Colman not getting in for Best Actress.

Moving to Original Screenplay, my five current nominees all seem destined to achieve mentions elsewhere. I look at King Richard and Being the Ricardos as potentially being two that could miss the screenplay cut.

There are three pictures with original scripts that could fill the slots and be The Lone Nominee and they are:

    • C’Mon C’Mon. And there’s history here. Mike Mills was the writer/director for the aforementioned 20th Century Women from 2016. With Joaquin Phoenix as a long shot for Best Actor inclusion, this is the type of nominee that the writers might celebrate.
    • Mass. It looked like a potential BP nominee for some time but it has fallen (it’s not even in my top 15). Ann Dowd could score a Supporting Actress nomination, but I currently have her ranked 7th. It’s a pic that’s all dialogue between four actors and that could strike the voters fancies.
    • Parallel Mothers. The Pedro Almodovar pic was not Spain’s selection for International Feature Film and is therefore not eligible. Penelope Cruz is a possibility for Actress, but I have her outside the top five.

When I update my estimates for all categories this weekend, expect to see one of these titles (either in Adapted or Original or maybe both) selected. History says it’s the right call. Stay tuned!