Oscars Reaction: 94th Academy Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2021 Oscars: FINAL Winner Predictions

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

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

Or The Power of the Dog?

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

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

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

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

Best Picture

Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Commentary:

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

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

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

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up:

CODA

Best Director

Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up:

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Best Actress

Nominees:

Jessicas Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Riunner-Up:

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Best Actor

Nominees:

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield, tick, tick… Boom!

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Will Smith, King Richard

Runner-Up:

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees:

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Judi Dench, Belfast

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Runner-Up:

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees:

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Commentary: 

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Runner-Up:

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog 

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Worst Person in the World

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Belfast

Runner-Up:

Licorice Pizza

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees

CODA

Drive My Car

Dune

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog 

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up:

CODA

Best Animated Feature

Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Raya and the Last Dragon

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Encanto

Runner-Up:

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Best International Feature Film

Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

The Hand of God

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

The Worst Person in the World

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Drive My Car

Runner-Up:

The Worst Person in the World

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees:

Ascension

Attica

Flee

Summer of Soul

Writing with Fire

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Summer of Soul

Runner-Up:

Flee

Best Cinematography

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Commentary: 

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

The Power of the Dog

Best Costume Design

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

Nightmare Alley

West Side Story

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Cruella

Runner-Up:

Dune

Best Film Editing

Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

The Power of the Dog

tick, tick… Boom!

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

King Richard

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees:

Coming 2 America

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Runner-Up:

House of Gucci

Best Original Score

Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Encanto

Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

The Power of the Dog

Best Original Song

Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

Runner-Up:

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Best Production Design

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Commentary:

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

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

West Side Story

Best Sound

Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Commentary:

See Production Design

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

West Side Story

Best Visual Effects

Nominees:

Dune

Free Guy

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Commentary:

See Production Design

PREDICTED WINNER:

Dune

Runner-Up:

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

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

6 Wins

Dune

3 Wins

The Power of the Dog

2 Wins

Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

1 Win

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

Make sure to check out the blog post ceremony!

PGA: The Rise of CODA

When it comes to the Producers Guild of America awards, there’s a 14/21 match between their best picture and the Academy’s in the 21st century. The two-thirds ratio is 3/5 in the past five years. In 2016, La La Land took PGA over the Oscar selection of Moonlight. For 2019, PGA went with 1917 while the big show went with Parasite. Other 21st century examples: The Big Short won PGA in 2015 (Oscar: Spotlight). For 2006, Little Miss Sunshine got the PGA prize while The Departed took Oscar.

The PGA’s for 2021 occurred last night and it’s another feather in the cap for CODA. Sian Heder’s coming-of-age drama built upon its recent SAG ensemble victory  to triumph here. If there was any doubt before, CODA has unquestionably positioned itself as the alternate to The Power of the Dog winning Best Picture at the Oscars. Not Belfast. Not King Richard or Dune. This is a two-horse race between Dog and CODA and they both have important precursor hardware. No matter which one grabs the gold, it will be the first BP win for a streamer (Netflix for Dog and Apple TV for CODA).

Jane Campion’s direction of Dog won the Director Guild of America (DGA) prize this week and that’s a reliable Academy precursor. She’s almost certain to be the Oscar winner (CODA‘s Sian Heder isn’t nominated). In fact, CODA only has three nominations overall: Picture, Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur), and Adapted Screenplay. It didn’t seem feasible until recently, but it could legitimately go 3 for 3.

Having said that, I wouldn’t dream of counting Dog out. It’s the Globe and BAFTA recipient. The precursor bonafides for it are just as impressive as CODA‘s. Even a week ago, however, I would’ve said Dog had about a 90% chance to be the Oscar BP. Now… well, it’s considerably less and we’ll see what I predict when I make my final picks on Wednesday.

In the Animated Feature and Documentary races at PGA, the respective winners were Encanto and Summer of Soul and they maintain their status as Academy favorites.

BAFTA and Critics Choice Awards Reaction

It was a frenzied Sunday for awards prognosticators as both the BAFTA and Critics Choice Awards aired. Both can be sturdy forecasters for what Oscar will do. This time around, I did better with the Brits than the stateside reviewers. For BAFTA, I went 15/22 (not bad). As for the Critics… oof. Just 10 for 21. Let’s take a look at both with some commentary below:

BAFTA

What I Got Right:

Film – The Power of the Dog

Director – Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Actress – Joanna Scanlan, After Love

Supporting Actress – Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Documentary – Summer of Soul

Film Not in the English Language – Drive My Car

Casting – West Side Story

Cinematography – Dune

Costume Design – Cruella

Makeup and Hair – The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Original Score – Dune

Production Design – Dune

Sound – Dune

Special Visual Effects – Dune

Outstanding British Film  – Belfast

What I Got Wrong:

Actor – Will Smith, King Richard (Predicted: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog)

Supporting Actor – Troy Kotsur, CODA (Predicted: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog)

Original Screenplay – Licorice Pizza (Predicted: Belfast)

Adapted Screenplay – CODA (Predicted: The Power of the Dog)

Animated Feature – Encanto (Predicted: Flee)

Editing – No Time to Die (Predicted: Dune)

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer – The Harder They Fall (Predicted: Passing)

Critics Choice Awards

What I Got Right:

Picture – The Power of the Dog

Director – Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Actor – Will Smith, King Richard

Supporting Actress – Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Adapted Screenplay – The Power of the Dog

Foreign Language Film – Drive My Car

Cinematography – The Power of the Dog

Costume Design – Cruella

Score – Dune

Visual Effects – Dune

What I Got Wrong:

Actress – Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Predicted: Kristen Stewart, Spencer)

Supporting Actor – Troy Kotsur, CODA (Predicted: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog)

Original Screenplay – Belfast (Predicted: Licorice Pizza)

Animated Feature – The Mitchells vs. the Machines (Predicted: Encanto)

Comedy – Licorice Pizza (Predicted: The French Dispatch)

Young Actor/Actress – Jude Hill, Belfast (Predicted: Rachel Zegler, West Side Story)

Acting Ensemble – Belfast (Predicted: The Power of the Dog)

Editing  – West Side Story (Predicted: Dune)

Hair and Makeup – The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Predicted: House of Gucci)

Production Design – Dune (Predicted: Nightmare Alley)

Song – “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (Predicted: “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up)

Commentary –

Let’s start with the acting races. I would venture to say now that those four categories all have strong frontrunners: Jessica Chastain and Will Smith in lead and Ariana DeBose and Troy Kotsur in supporting. Smith and DeBose, in particular, appear unbeatable while Chastain and Kotsur are easy odds-on favorites.

Dune should win plenty of the down the line competitions and appears bound to win the most Oscars overall.

The screenplay races are filled with genuine drama. CODA taking Adapted Screenplay over The Power of the Dog at the BAFTAs was a shocker, but it could be a sign of things to come from the Academy (though I wouldn’t wager money on that). Original Screenplay is absolutely a two-horse race between Belfast and Licorice Pizza. 

Drive My Car is going to take International Feature Film. Simple as that. Summer of Soul looks to be in solid shape for Doc. And even though The Mitchells vs. the Machines managed to take the critics prize, Disney’s Encanto is probably still out front for the Oscar.

In other down the line derbies, the double victories in Makeup and Hairstyling for The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Cruella in Costume Design make them favorites.

And despite The Power of the Dog not picking up some trophies at both ceremonies, it did so with Picture and Director at both. And it should do so on Oscar night.

That’s all for now! Next week (probably on Wednesday), look for my FINAL Oscar winner predictions!

2021 BAFTA Awards WINNERS Predictions

As if Sunday’s Critics Choice Awards weren’t enough, the British Academy Film Awards air the same day. The BAFTAs, as of late, have been a rather reliable predictor for Oscar races (especially the acting derbies). Last year, the BAFTA/Oscar matched in all 4 thespian derbies and that included the surprise Anthony Hopkins (The Father) victory over Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. 

That can’t occur this time around because none of the Best Actress contenders at BAFTA are nominated for the Academy Award (go figure!). As I have with other ceremonies, I’m giving you my winner pick with a runner-up. On Monday, expect recaps for Critics Choice and this show!

Best Film

Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Licorice Pizza

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Belfast

Best Director

Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Audrey Diwan, Happening

Julia Ducournau, Titane

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Aleem Khan, After Love

Predicted Winner: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Emilia Jones, CODA

Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Joanna Scanlan, After Love

Tessa Thompson, Passing

Predicted Winner: Joanna Scanlan, After Love

Runner-Up: Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Adeel Akhtar, Ali & Ava

Mahershala Ali, Swan Song

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Stephen Graham, Boiling Point

Will Smith, King Richard

Predicted Winner: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Will Smith, King Richard

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Ann Dowd, Mass

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Ruth Negga, Passing

Predicted Winner: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Ruth Negga, Passing

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Mike Faist, West Side Story

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Woody Norman, C’Mon C’Mon

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Runner-Up: Licorice Pizza

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees:

CODA

Drive My Car

Dune

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: The Lost Daughter

Best Animated Film

Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Predicted Winner: Flee

Runner-Up: Encanto

Best Documentary 

Nominees:

Becoming Cousteau

Cow

Flee

The Rescue

Summer of Soul

Predicted Winner: Summer of Soul

Runner-Up: Flee

Best Film Not in the English Language

Nominees:

Drive My Car

The Hand of God

Parallel Mothers

Petite Maman

The Worst Person in the World

Predicted Winner: Drive My Car

Runner-Up: The Worst Person in the World

Best Casting

Nominees:

Boiling Point

Dune

The Hand of God

King Richard

West Side Story

Predicted Winner: West Side Story

Runner-Up: Dune

Best Cinematography

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: The Power of the Dog

Best Costume Design

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

Predicted Winner: Cruella

Runner-Up: Dune

Best Editing

Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Licorice Pizza

No Time to Die

Summer of Soul

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: No Time to Die

Best Makeup and Hair

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Predicted Winner: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Runner-Up: House of Gucci

Best Original Score

Nominees:

Being the Ricardos

Don’t Look Up

Dune

The French Dispatch

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: The Power of the Dog

Best Production Design

Nominees:

Cyrano

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

West Side Story

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: Nightmare Alley

Best Sound

Nominees:

Dune

Last Night in Soho

No Time to Die

A Quiet Place Part II

West Side Story

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: No Tme to Die

Best Special Visual Effects

Nominees:

Dune

Free Guy

Ghostbusters: Afterlife 

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: No Time to Die

Outstanding British Film

Nominees:

After Love

Ali & Ava

Belfast

Boiling Point

Cyrano

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

House of Gucci

Last Night in Soho

No Time to Die

Passing

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Runner-Up: After Love

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer

Nominees:

After Love

Boiling Point

The Harder They Fall

Keyboard Fantasies

Passing

Predicted Winner: Passing

Runner-Up: After Love

My predictions mean the following movies get these numbers of wins:

6 Wins

Dune

5 Wins

The Power of the Dog

2 Wins

Belfast, West Side Story

1 Win

After Love, Cruella, Drive My Car, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, Passing, Summer of Soul

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 BAFTA Nominations Reaction

For the second year in a row, the British Academy Film Awards (or BAFTAs) showed its unpredictable nature with some shocking omissions and unexpected inclusions. The last major precursor before Oscar nominations are unveiled Tuesday, I went 63 of 99 when it comes to races with a correlation to the Academy’s competitions. Truth be told – it coulda been worse considering the surprises we witnessed today.

Let’s break them down one by one with some commentary, shall we?

Film

Nominees: Belfast, Don’t Look Up, Dune, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: The BAFTAs delivered a great haul for Pizza. It and Don’t Look Up got in over my picks of The Tragedy of Macbeth and West Side Story (which both underwhelmed). Gut reaction says Power is in the lead.

Director

Nominees: Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Audrey Diwan (Happening), Julia Ducournau (Titane), Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car), Aleem Khan (After Love)

How I Did: 4/6

Commentary: Wow – no Kenneth Branagh for Belfast or Denis Villeneuve for Dune! They miss with Anderson and Diwan taking the spots. Like with Film, Campion could be out in front.

Leading Actress

Nominees: Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza), Emilia Jones (CODA), Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person in the World), Joanna Scanlan (After Love), Tessa Thompson (Passing)

How I Did: 3/6

Commentary: Surprises galore here! No Nicole Kidman for Being the Ricardos or Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter. I predicted both along with Claire Rushbrook for Ali & Ava. In their slots are Haim (continuing the Licorice love), Jones, and Thompson. I would also note no Kristen Stewart in Spencer after her SAG snub.

Now here’s an interesting stat – since 2013, the BAFTA Leading Actress recipient has matched the Oscar winner. So… are Kidman and Colman in trouble? Could Gaga be on her way to a gold statue? Does this show Haim’s potential strength at getting an Academy mention? Questions abound, but I know one thing – this year’s Actress race is as intriguing as last year’s.

Leading Actor

Nominees: Adeel Akhtar (Ali & Ava), Mahershala Ali (Swan Song), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Leonardo DiCaprio (Don’t Look Up), Stephen Graham (Boiling Point), Will Smith (King Richard)

How I Did: 3/6

Commentary: Smith’s inclusion here (which I didn’t project) just might solidify him as the Oscar frontrunner (with Cumberbatch pretty close behind). Academy hopefuls Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!) and Denzel Washington (Macbeth) were left out as was Daniel Craig in his swan song as Bond in No Time to Die. In their place – Smith, Ali (following up on his Globe nominated turn), and DiCaprio.

Side note – somehow, Denzel has never been nominated for a BAFTA.

Supporting Actress

Nominees: Caitriona Balfe (Belfast), Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter), Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), Ann Dowd (Mass), Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), Ruth Negga (Passing)

How I Did: 4/6

Commentary: Dowd finally shows up! I must say – no huge shockers here as she and Ellis made it over Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog) and Kathryn Hunter (Macbeth). We’ll see if DeBose’s potential sweep continues here.

Supporting Actor

Nominees: Mike Faist (West Side Story), Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Troy Kotsur (CODA), Woody Norman (C’Mon C’Mon), Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

How I Did: 3/6

Commentary: There was a double dose of Dog love for Plemons (who I didn’t predict) and Smit-McPhee (who I did and he could certainly win). I also went with Faist’s costar David Alvarez instead in a last minute switch that I now regret. And young Norman is responsible for the only nod for C’Mon C’Mon. I also went with Benicio del Toro for The French Dispatch and Jamie Dornan in Belfast. At this point, an Oscar nod for Dornan seems like a reach. Also worth noting is that, despite Pizza over performing, no Bradley Cooper.

Original Screenplay

Nominees: Being the Ricardos, Belfast, Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Here’s a list that may absolutely match the Oscar one. I said After Love over Richard (which had a solid day). Like with the Academy, this might be a Belfast v. Pizza showdown and considering how well the latter did, I might lean that way.

Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: CODA, Drive My Car, Dune, The Lost Daughter, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Went with West Side Story over Dune. This is Power‘s to lose.

Animated Film

Nominees: Encanto, Flee, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines

How I Did: 3/4

Commentary: Rather predictable list though I said Ron’s Gone Wrong instead of Luca.

Film Not in the English Language

Nominees: Drive My Car, The Hand of God, Parallel Mothers, Petite Maman, The Worst Person in the World

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: No Flee here or Titane with God and Mothers in. Drive My Car is the favorite.

Documentary

Nominees: Becoming Cousteau, Cow, Flee, The Rescue, Summer of Soul

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Summer of Soul did well when factoring in the surprise Editing nod. It made it along with Cousteau over my picks of The Sparks Brothers and The Velvet Underground.

Cinematography

Nominees: Dune, Nightmare Alley, No Time to Die, The Power of the Dog, The Tragedy of Macbeth

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Well – Macbeth got something (!) Only miss here was going with Belfast instead of Alley.

Costume Design

Nominees: Cruella, Cyrano, Dune, The French Dispatch, Nightmare Alley

How I Did: 2/5

Commentary: There’s always a pesky 2/5 race where I just whiff. I got Cyrano and Dune right but the others popped up over House of Gucci, Last Night in Soho, and West Side Story. I didn’t predict it, but Cruella could be the main competition for Dune.

Editing

Nominees: Belfast, Dune, Licorice Pizza, No Time to Die, Summer of Soul

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Soul‘s aforementioned placement is unexpected – could it possibly follow suit with the Academy? Also didn’t project Pizza. They are in over Last Night in Soho and (you guessed it) West Side Story.

Makeup and Hair

Nominees: Cruella, Cyrano, Dune, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, House of Gucci

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Cyrano over The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. Honestly, other than Cyrano, I think any of the hopefuls could take this.

Original Score

Nominees: Being the Ricardos, Don’t Look Up, Dune, The French Dispatch, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Ricardos and Don’t Look Up in; The Green Knight and Spencer out. Probably a showdown of Dune v. Dog. 

Production Design

Nominees: Cyrano, Dune, The French Dispatch, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Here’s a rare category where I incorrectly had West Side missing. It’s in, along with Cyrano (which had a decent haul with tech races) over Belfast and Macbeth.

Sound

Nominees: Dune, Last Night in Soho, No Time to Die, A Quiet Place Part II, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Place over Belfast. Expect Dune to reign supreme.

Special Visual Effects

Nominees: Dune, Free Guy, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, The Matrix Resurrections, No Time to Die

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Should be another victory for Dune as Free Guy and Ghostbusters made it over my selections of The King’s Man and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

And there’s your recap. As a reminder, my FINAL Oscar predictions (which I’m currently beating myself up over) will be posted tomorrow! Stay tuned…

2021 BAFTA Predictions

The last major precursor nominations before Tuesday’s Oscar nods come out tomorrow and it’s the British Academy Film Awards or BAFTAs. Let’s discuss them a bit, shall we? The BAFTAs can be a confusing branch to figure out.

For starters, the number of nominees in each category is a tad puzzling. Best Film has five as do the tech races and screenplay derbies. Director and the acting competitions contain 6 while Animated Film is 4. However, Documentary and “Film Not in the English Language” is 5. Got that?

While past years have matched the Oscars fairly closely in the big categories, 2020 was an exception. While 4 of the 5 Best Film contenders ended up nabbing BP mentions from the Academy, it was just 3 of the directors. For Best Actor, it was also 3 but in Best Actress only two. Same goes for Supporting – 3 in Actor, 2 in Actress.

In other words, projecting the BAFTAs is a major crapshoot but I’ll try. Since it’s British voters, titles such as the BBC’s After Love are expected to perform well in some of the major races.

Another major note – I am only forecasting competitions where there’s a direct correlation to the Academy. Therefore I’m not weighing in on Best British Film, Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer, or Casting.

For each race, I’ll give you my picks (and I triple checked the numbers) and an alternate. A recap on how I did and my general thoughts are up tomorrow and my final Oscar predictions will be up Friday!

Film

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Alternate: No Time to Die

Director

Predicted Nominees:

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog 

Julia Ducournau, Titane

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Aleem Khan, After Love

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Alternate: Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Leading Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Claire Rushbrook, Ali & Ava

Joanna Scanlan, After Love

Alternate: Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Leading Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Adeel Akhtar, Ali & Ava

Daniel Craig, No Time to Die

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!

Stephen Graham, Boiling Point

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Alternate: Will Smith, King Richard

Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Kathryn Hunter, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Ruth Negga, Passing

Alternate: Vinette Robinson, Boiling Point

Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

David Alvarez, West Side Story

Benicio del Toro, The French Dispatch

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

After Love

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Licorice Pizza

Alternate: The French Dispatch

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

CODA

Drive My Car

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Alternate: The Tragedy of Macbeth

Animated Film

Predicted Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Ron’s Gone Wrong

Alternate: Luca

Film Not in the English Language

Predicted Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

Petite Maman

Titane

The Worst Person in the World

Alternate: The Hand of God

Documentary

Predicted Nominees:

Cow

Flee

The Rescue

The Sparks Brothers

The Velvet Underground

Alternate: Summer of Soul

Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Alternate: West Side Story

Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

Cyrano

Dune

House of Gucci

Last Night in Soho

West Side Story

Alternate: Cruella

Editing

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Last Night in Soho

No Time to Die

West Side Story

Alternate: The Power of the Dog

Makeup and Hair

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Dune

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Altenrate: Last Night in Soho

Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

The French Dispatch

The Green Knight

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

Alternate: No Time to Die

Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Alternate: West Side Story

Sound

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Last Night in Soho

No Time to Die

West Side Story

Alternate: The Power of the Dog 

Special Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

The King’s Man

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Alternate: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Oscar Predictions: Navalny

Focused on the Russian opposition leader who was mysteriously poisoned in 2020, Navalny struck a chord with Sundance festival goers and won the documentary audience award and festival favorite prize.

It comes from filmmaker Daniel Roher and is slated for distribution on CNN and via HBO Max in the early portion of the year. Standing at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, this will attempt to carry its buzz forward through awards season and could absolutely be a factor in the Doc Feature competition at next year’s Oscars.

Sundance is often a successful launching pad in the genre. Last year, a third of the 15 doc contenders (including Flee, Faye Dayi, and Summer of Soul) got their starts in Park City. Navalny may be on the list this time in 2023 and my Oscar Prediction posts will continue…