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 Shortlists: Reaction

It’s a big day for us Oscar prognosticators as the shortlists were revealed this afternoon. For the uninitiated, there are seven feature film races where the Academy releases contenders ranging from 10-15 nominees. For Original Score, Song, International Feature Film, and Documentary Feature – we are given 15 hopefuls. In Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound, and Visual Effects – the list is dwindled to 10.

Let’s walk thru them one by one and I’ll talk about some surprises and omissions!

Best Original Score

The 15 Contenders:

Being the Ricardos

Candyman

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Encanto

The French Dispatch

The Green Knight

The Harder They Fall

King Richard

The Last Duel

No Time to Die

Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Commentary: 

Based on my latest Oscar forecast from December 15th, my five predicted nominees (Dune, The Power of the Dog, Spencer, Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth) all made the cut. So did my #7 (The French Dispatch), #9 (Being the Ricardos), and #10 (King Richard). The two omissions from my top 10: (6) Nightmare Alley and (8) Cyrano.

The biggest surprise might be the inclusion of Candyman. 

Best Original Song

The 15 Contenders:

“So May We Start” from Annette

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“Right Where I Belong” from Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road

“Automatic Woman” from Bruised

“Dream Girl” from Cinderella

“Beyond the Shore” from CODA

“The Anonymous Ones” from Dear Evan Hansen

“Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days

“Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

“Here I Am” from Respect

“Your Song Saved My Life” from Sing 2

Commentary:

My only top 10 ditty from 12/15 not on this list is “Believe” from The Rescue. I will note that “Every Letter” from Cyrano just dropped from my 10 last week and that turned out to be the correct call. This race still likely boils down to Beyonce (“Be Alive”) vs. Billie (“No Time to Die”).

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 

The 10 Contenders:

Coming 2 America

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Nightmare Alley

No Time to Die

The Suicide Squad

West Side Story

Commentary:

A race where Cyrano isn’t left out! Last week I had Spencer in fifth position and it falls out. Same goes for Being the Ricardos (7) and The Last Duel (10). This is a competition that could go for Dune, Gucci, or Tammy as I see it.

Best Sound

The 10 Contenders:

Belfast

Dune

Last Night in Soho

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

A Quiet Place Part II

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Tick Tick… Boom!

West Side Story

Commentary:

My predicted five from six days ago (Dune, West Side Story, Belfast, No Time to Die, Tick Tick… Boom!) are intact as are my #6 (Matrix) and #9 (A Quiet Place Part II). Not so for the films I had at 7, 8 and 10: Nightmare Alley, The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Last Duel). Fresh off its gargantuan box office, the Spidey mention shows potential strength at making the shorter shortlist.

Best Visual Effects

The 10 Contenders:

Black Widow

Dune

Eternals

Free Guy

Ghostbusters: Afterlife 

Godzilla vs. Kong

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Commentary:

All 4 MCU movies from 2021 make it in as do three Warner Bros spectacles  (Dune, Matrix, Godzilla). I had Don’t Look Up placed fourth but it falls out. So does Finch which I rated seventh. This certainly increases the chances for Marvel to have at least two in the final five, but there’s Dune and then everything else in this race.

Best Documentary Feature

The 15 Contenders:

Ascension

Attica

Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry

Faya Dayi

The First Wave

Flee

In the Same Breath

Julia

President

Procession

The Rescue

Simple As Water

Summer of Soul

The Velvet Underground

Writing with Fire

Commentary:

It’s tough luck for my #9 (The Lost Leonardo) and #10 (Becoming Cousteau) as this fascinating race plays out between The Rescue, Flee, and Summer of Soul. 

Best International Feature Film

The 15 Contenders:

Compartment No. 6

Drive My Car

Flee

The Good Boss

Great Freedom 

The Hand of God

A Hero

Hive

I’m Your Man

Lamb

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Playground

Plaza Catedral

Prayers for the Stolen

The Worst Person in the World

Commentary:

Lamb and a Yak walk into the international competition, but the shocker of the day might be France’s Titane (which I had it 7th) not being mentioned. Same goes for #9 Memoria. This could be the category where Flee wins, but A Hero has been my #1. When I update my projections tomorrow, don’t be surprised if the rising Drive My Car from Japan takes over the top spot.

I’ll have fresh estimates in ALL feature categories posted tomorrow!