Sunday, March 27, 2022

MY OFFICIAL 2021 OSCAR PREDICTIONS! Oh yeah, we're giving out awards and honoring movies at this thing. Somebody ought to tell the Academy that.


I had a friend of mine recently offhandly mention that they had never actually sat down and watched the Oscars. I told them that, this is probably not the year to start. I've been quiet on it, but there has been just, so much baggage in regards to this year's ceremony and some of the choices they've decided to make, all under some weird guise of "pressure" from ABC to get their ratings up, that frankly it seems like they've become more of the story then the movies this year.

And this is the worst year to do this shit too, I might add. The Oscars, and movies themselves are in a transition period. No longer is Sony and Warner Bros. taking on the Miramax juggernaut, the battle is between Netflix and Apple+. Theaters showing anything other then people dressed in spider costumes are not making any money, and the films people watch are being promoted and marketing and provided to an audience that's growing narrower and narrower. Never has the appeal of the masses and the appeal of the prestige been so far apart, and frankly that has less to do with the Academy then people realize. The pressure is seemingly always on the film world to read the minds and wants of the people, but frankly, if I were a voter, I'd rebel too at that. I don't want to vote for what everybody's seen, I want to vote for what's best and for the most part, whether or not I agree with their choices, from the evidence I can tell, that's all they ever seem to be doing, or at least trying to do. Of course, not everybody looks at or understands the evidence they're looking at so intricately as I and others who pay attention ('cause I don't want to use the word Oscarologist to describe myself, so I won't) do. The issue is that, the Academy, and partially the networks, all of whom are already losing money and ratings that matter hand-over-fist on everything, so while they're tightening the Oscars noose, the Academy themselves are, I don't know, are acting a little more out of fear and panic then they should. 

That's the nearest I can figure with these decisions, but let's go through them one at a time. First, the hosts. Yes, hosts. This year, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina King will be co-hosting. It's the first time the Oscars have had more then two hosts since the '80s. I'm just happy they're having a host, 'cause these last three years without one has just been lackluster. I don't know why we tried to start that trend up again, but it wasn't a good idea. As to these three, (Shrugs) I love all three of them, Schumer and Sykes especially, they're two of the best stand-ups around and Regina King has been one of the best actresses around for years and she's apparently been a good host for the BET Awards in the past, (Sorry, I never got into them; I'm more of an NAACP Image Awards guy.) and this year's producer is Will Packer who worked with her on "Girls Trip", so she's got enough hosting experience and is well-protected. I can see an argument that any of these should or could host on their own, but I actually think this is a good idea this year. They've waited way too long to even name the hosts, so they have less time to put on the show, if you split up the hosting duties between the three of them, you get them all, hopefully at their best, and that's less work to do. You have three creative people working on their own stuff as opposed to just one having to cover the three hour show. 

Ah, yes, the show. Let's get to the other big change, for the first time, not all the Oscars will be announced on the live broadcast. Eight awards, in fact, will be presented, before the broadcast begins, which means that we're only going to see 14 envelopes opened before the show starts. 

(Deep breath) 

Oh-kay, I'm not gonna call this the worst idea, in concept. I know, to some, this might sound like heresy, but let's take a step back for a second, and then look at this particular context, 'cause when you do that, it does become much more f'ed up. That said, pretty much every other major award shows does this, to one extent or another. The word is that this will be done in many ways similar to how the Tonys do this. I like the Tonys, and I like how they do that every year. Here's the thing though, the Tonys broadcast, isn't really about who wins every year. I love them, but that's totally secondary, the main point of the show is that they presents to the worldwide audiences, musical performances from all the major Broadway shows that are nominated every year. That's just expected, it would be stupid to have the Tonys and not have Broadway-level performances throughout the show. So, no, I don't need to see the award for who wins Best Scenic Design for a play. Same with the Grammys, which, doesn't matter remotely as an award to begin with, they're honoring music, mostly, and so, yeah, put on musical performances. Also, there's like, 90 Grammy categories, so, no, you can't fit them all one three hour show! That's fine. Hell, the Emmys have their whole secondary award show, the Creative Arts Emmys, just for many of the frankly, Creative Arts, that you know, most don't people don't and frankly, to some extent, shouldn't care about. 

Do the Oscars have this excuse though? Well, like, they only give out 23 Oscars a year, and even that is a recent downgrade by combining the Sound categories a couple years ago, which I'm still not in favor of btw, but whatever.... I get it. Do we absolutely need the Short categories to still be on the show, probably not. But here's the thing, what are they replacing this with? I mean, you could argue they shouldn't replace these with anything, but according to Academy President David Rubin, who's seriously making Cheryl Boone-Isaacs and John Bailey seem competent lately, it's to provide more time for comedy, film clips and musical performances.

Okay, film clips? (Shrugs) I don't know, I know we're celebrating the movies, but I think we have enough of them in general during the show. (I know, last year was an exception, but you know, pandemic Oscars, everything gets a bigger break) That said, I've never heard anybody complain that there weren't enough movie clips during the Oscars. Musical performances, alright, I like hearing the Best Song nominees, and especially since Score is one of the categories they're moving to before the show, I assume it's the songs. I've often thought they were one of the things that constantly made the show longer to me, but I guess people want to hear Reba McEntire sing that Diane-Warren-penned song from that nobody's heard of from that one movie nobody heard or, or saw. 


As to the comedy and sketch, okay, look, I do think it's fun to compare Oscar shows and hosts and whatnot, and talk about such details regarding whether or not a show or a host is good or not, but, eh, best case scenario, and all these pieces of comedy are just, great, amazing, which, is not a guarantee, are you or anybody else gonna remember them or care about them, weeks from now, much less years? Are they really gonna be worth, not honoring, the Editors Branch, you know, the people who make the stars look good?! Yeah, like we don't need more comedy or sketches, or even music necessarily. If you're gonna replace these awards with something else, how about something Oscar related that people like?! I would use the time for at least one of the Governors Awards!? Remember those?! How about they do those Lifetime Achievement tributes at the Oscars broadcast themselves instead! They still do those, but they're separated onto their own little thing?! This year, Samuel L. Jackson, Elaine May, Liv Ullmann are getting Honorary Oscars and Danny Glover's getting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, wouldn't it be cool to even just see one of those on the regular show again!? I could give up the Short categories for that! But instead, we're getting comedy sketches that, while I love the people who are doing them this year, may or may not work at all, and even if they do, frankly they don't matter at all! 

Look, the thing is that, despite everything they're trying, they don't know what the actual problems are, or how to fix, or if they should be fixed, or if they should care about the ratings at all, because the Oscars don't actually need to be on ABC either, it's not like they're so beholden to Disney, right?! I get that you should be trying to listen to what the audience wants, but they often don't know what they want, and many of them wouldn't like the Oscars no matter what they did to them, so maybe trying to appease them is a bad idea.  

Look, if you want to do a dissertation about how the supposed problems with the Oscars are a reflection of the greater problems with Hollywood and the Academy as a whole, and how the changing of the ways movies are viewed and promoted and how studios are struggling to keep up and how were in the beginning of going back to a vertical integration system of distribution since the overturning of U.S. vs. Paramount decision and how streaming and other theatrical avenues are changing what even is a movie, in combination and contrasting with the flawed and archaic continuing use of Neilsen ratings for television while box office numbers during a pandemic, and...- like 28 other things I can list as to reasons were in the position we're in with this show, then, I don't know, you go write it yourself, 'cause frankly I don't want the extra work or headache right now, 'cause these Oscars in particular, they way they've been acting and have been treating us, they're not worth it. 

As to what I think? If you do want to watch people opening envelopes and giving acceptance speeches then there's not much you're ever gonna like about an awards show, so those people should shut up! Whatever else they do, I want the Oscars to at least, stay the Oscars, in whatever form that is, and that will never be good enough for some people, so I don't care about their opinions. I complain and criticize when the show drifts too far from that and for no good reason, and that's what's got everybody's up in arms. 

I mean think of it this way, the Editors get it with the Emmys, and don't complain why their award is shifted to the Creative Arts there, but there's 90 Emmys/year and that's only counting Primetime. But when, not even two days ago as I'm writing starting to write this, and eight days before the awards, and the American Cinema of Editors are still writing about how bullshit this is, along with several other main Guilds in Hollywood, which, yes, is the most pro-Union industry town in the world, then yeah, this might be a problem. A problem, a bad decision done for questionable and unnecessary reasons. 

(Deep breath, long sigh)

Anyway, um,...- I forgot what I was saying now. Oh, yeah, that's why this is probably not a good year to start watching the Oscars. This is a fluke year where everything's more concerned about the show then the movies and if you're not really into movies this year, then you don't really care too much who wins.

OH SHIT! Who wins!? That's right, this is my Predictions blog isn't! Let's get to that!...

See this is what I'm talking about, we care more about everything except the movies this year! Ugh! Let's run this down. 

Remember, these are predictions, not preferences, and all the other blah-blah-blahs. So alright, let's win our Oscar pools everybody!

    Producers: Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik and Tamar Thomas
    Producers: Philippe Rousselet Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger
Don't Look Up
    Producers: Adam McKay and Kevin Messic
Drive My Car
    Producer: Teruhisa YAMAMOTO
    Producers: Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve and Cale Boyter
King Richard
    Producers: Tim White, Trevor White and Will Smith
Licorice Pizza
    Producers: Sara Murphy, Adam Somner and Paul Thomas Anderson
Nightmare Alley
    Producers: Guillermo Del Toro, J. Miles Dale and Bradley Cooper
The Power of the Dog
    Producers: Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappier
West Side Story
    Producers: Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger

It's looking more and more like "CODA" is gonna pull off the upset as we inch closer to the show. I'm not entirely surprised something has come up to challenge "The Power of the Dog" but I am, a little skeptical that it's this film. CODA won at SAG and PGA, both huge upsets and to be honest, "The Power of the Dog", in particular Jane Campion herself, has not exactly helped themselves. That weird criticism from Sam Elliott about the film not seeming western enough because it was made by a New Zealand-born Aussie-based filmmaker, was just bizarre and weird, but it's kinda stuck. Also, Campion putting that shot in at the Williams sisters when she won at the Critics Choice, while not necessarily incorrect, was a bit of a wrong-headed quip from her. Still though, "CODA" is just weird. On top of it not getting a Best Director nomination, which would make it the third such winner in ten years which is startling since there was only three before and two of those were back in the earliest days of the oscars,  but it didn't even get a nomination from DGA in the category. And frankly, nobody's out there saying that either of those were necessarily snubs. I mean, even Billy Crystal joked about Bruce Beresford's snub when that film won with the Director nomination. More then that though, all the other recent such winners, "Argo" and "Green Book" had more then their fair share of nominations, including in major signifier categories like Editing. "CODA" has only three nominations, total, one in Writing, Supporting Actor and Picture. You don't necessarily need a lot of nomination, but three nominations and barely in other major categories and none below the line.... Last time that happened was-eh, in 1935, when "Grand Hotel" became the only film to win Best Picture without any other nominations, and most categories had only three nominees back then. I'm reluctant still to personally to switch off "The Power of the Dog", despite those two wins, those are big upset wins, but the statistics just don't hold up for a "CODA" upset; if anything I would've thought "Belfast" would've been the spoiler. It wouldn't surprise me though if the Academy can't quite force themselves to give Director and Picture to a female director two years in a row, but I don't know, the odds don't look right. 

PREDICTION: "The Power of the Dog"

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"

This is an easier category to call. Despite some pushback, I don't really see a scenario where Jane Campion loses this here. "Licorice Pizza" has underperformed everywhere, including with the Academy, Branagh's nomination is nice, and I might've thought about looking at him for spoiler if the film had firmly kept it's grip on 2nd place instead of being overtaken by "CODA" of all films, there's no real need to give Spielberg another Oscar, and Hamaguchi's nomination basically is his Oscar this year, although I'd love to see him spoil. Campion's won basically everywhere that matters, they want to give it to her, she's the first woman to be nominated in the category twice, I think no matter what she might wrong-headedly blurt out, most of Hollywood agrees it's her turn.

PREDICTION: Jane Campion-"The Power of the Dog"

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"

For a minute there, it looked like "King Richard" could play spoiler in Best Picture, it basically got everything it needed except a Directing nomination, but it's pretty much fallen back in most categories except for Actor and possibly in Editing. Actor is where it's really big, Will Smith took Critics Choice, SAG and the Globes, and I think in general, everybody just agrees that it's about time for him to win. He might not be the biggest box office movie star anymore, but his reign was so long and so undisputed that I don't think it's every gonna be met/topped again. I mean, maybe if The Rock keeps it up, but let's be real for a second, Will Smith's all-around resume is still better then Dwayne's overall, who's mostly earned that title from appearing in sequels. They don't give it to every big movie star who basically keeps Hollywood afloat, Tom Cruise probably should've at least won at least one Oscar by now for instance, but I doubt that's gonna happen anytime soon now, but they do try. This'll be a bit, the male equivalent to Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock's wins for "Erin Brockovich" and "The Blind Side" respectively, but that said, eh, it's not like he doesn't deserve it either. If anyone can play spoiler here, look out for Andrew Garfield for "tick, tick...BOOM!" though, he's the one that probably could pull it off and has taken a couple awards away from Smith, but nothing huge and that movie underperformed most of the way. Maybe if "The Power of the Dog" is even stronger then previously thought, I could see Cumberbatch, but that's a longshot at this point.

PREDICTION: Will Smith-"King Richard"

Jessica Chastain-"The Eyes of Tammy Faye"
Olivia Colman-"The Lost Daughter"
Penelope Cruz-"Parallel Mothers"
Nicole Kidman-"Being the Ricardos"
Kristen Stewart-"Spencer"

This is probably the most difficult of the major categories to predict. The award prognosticators have just been all over the map, and I'm not sure any of them are particularly useful this year, and it doesn't help that despite ten best picture nominees, not one of these films showed up in the category, so you can't use that as a tiebreaker. That said, leading off with her SAG win, has put Jessica Chastain in the lead for now. Nicole Kidman won the Globe, but it's not like that matters too much, but it's a win over Chastain. The BAFTAs were so off in their world in this category it's not even worth looking at. The Critics also went Chastain, which is not the greatest prognosticator, but it's important here 'cause it's the biggest win she has, over Kristen Stewart; she doesn't own a big win over Penelope Cruz though. "Parallel Mothers", is on the Academy's radar outside of the category too as it got in for Musical Score. Although, if we're looking at the film most likely to have gotten a Best Picture nomination of the group, that would be "The Lost Daughter" which got three and is probably doing the best of the movies among the other awards and guilds at the moment. Colman has an Oscar already, but that was a surprise win and this could be a second one, under similar circumstances. Nicole Kidman's won before and also "Being the Ricardos", while popular with the actors was shutout of everything else, only getting three acting nominations and nothing more; first film since "The Master" to pull that off, and none of those actors won for that. "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" is the most likely to win something else, as it's been winning in Makeup, even in places like BAFTA where Chastain herself was snubbed. And there's president for that combo, most notably, Meryl Streep's win for "The Iron Lady" which got little outside of Actress and Makeup acclaim elsewise. If they're not going with a previous winner then Chastain would make the most sense here as she's been beloved by the Academy for awhile now and also Kristen Stewart, I suspect they figure still has time to win in the future. (Also, I suspect that the Academy is just overloaded and tired of Princess Diana stuff, even good stuff about her. The Emmys overlooked Emma Corrin for Colman for "The Crown" despite everyone thinking she was taking it.) I do think the fact that she got the nomination despite being snubbed everywhere is a bit of an interesting sign; that's something that has occasionally happened over the years, although usually in Supporting categories, like Brenda Fricker's win for "My Left Foot" for instance, it's a little weird to see it in the Lead categories, and I'm having trouble finding a recent example where that happened in this category. Odd year for the category, and I'm just gonna go with who I suspect the Academy most wants to honor this year.

PREDICTION: Jessica Chastain-"The Eyes of Tammy Faye"

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"

Things are lining up way too easily here for Troy Kotsur to take this. Kodi Smit-McPhee was the heavy favorite for awhile, winning the majority of the critics awards, and the Golden Globe, but as "CODA"'s sudden risen higher and higher in every other category, it's becoming clear that Kotsur is prime to become the second deaf actor to win an Oscar, after of course, her co-star Marlee Matlin's Best Actress win in '86 for "Children of a Lesser God". I suspect Kodi, could still pull this off, but I think he had to win somewhere in the big three, of SAG, Critics or BAFTA, and they all went Kotsur, and it doesn't help that he's probably getting a little vote-split from his co-star Jesse Plemons. This is "CODA"'s safest pick for a win. And any other name would basically be a huge upset at this point.


Jessie Buckley-"The Lost Daughter"
Ariana DeBose-"West Side Story"
Judi Dench-"Belfast"
Kirsten Dunst-"The Power of the Dog"
Aunjanue Ellis-"King Richard"

Jessie Buckley's nomination here is kinda interesting; along with Olivia Colman, it's the first time since 2001, and only the third time ever that two actors got nominated from the same film for playing the same character. The other times it happened, also both in the Lead and Supporting Actress categories, was Kate Winslet and Judi Dench for "Iris", which is interesting since that old dame is still getting nominations in these films, at age 87, which coincidentally was the same year as the other time this happened, 1997 when Gloria Stuart was nominated, also coincidentally with Kate Winslet for "Titanic". That said, eh, kinda hard to pick her over Ariana DeBose who's basically been sweeping most everything, and her main competition was usually Ruth Negga for "Passing" which got criminally overlooked here. It's also an interesting win, it'd add her character of Anita to the short, short list of characters who've won more then one Oscar. It's basically, Brando and De Niro winning for playing Don Vito Corleone and arguably, Heath Ledger and Joaquim Phoenix for playing the Joker, but that could technically be a stretch, 'cause you could argue those are two different Joker characters...- but yeah, that'd be huge. Also kinda depressing honestly; are we seriously so caught up in remakes and reboots that we're just giving Oscars to the same characters now?! God, I hope this is an anomaly. Also, since is Rita Moreno's old part, I should one make one obligatory mention that Rita Moreno is an amazing freak of nature whose ground she walks on should be kissed by everybody, just, all the time.  

PREDICTION: Ariana DeBose-"West Side Story" 

CODA-Sian Heder
Drive My Car-Ryusuke HAMAGUCHI, Takamasa OE
Dune-Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth
The Lost Daughter-Maggie Gyllenhaal
The Power of the Dog-Jane Campion

As usual, the WGA Awards are less helpful then you'd think; they have strict rules about who's eligible so for instance, only "CODA" and "Dune" even got nominated, with "CODA" winning. "Drive My Car", "The Lost Daughter", which won the USC Scripter Award, were likely not eligible since "Drive My Car" is a foreign film and usually foreign writers aren't members of the WGA, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, is more known previously as an actor, so I doubt she was eligible. This makes "The Power of the Dog" was also ineligible, which I think is a bit weird, 'cause Campion actually won this award back in 1994 for "The Piano"...- there might be some other reason it was ineligible though. Anyway, "CODA" does have one notable win over "The Power of the Dog" and that's BAFTA, but everywhere else it's fallen short head-to-head. "CODA" is on the upswing that, and Campion has already won a Writing Oscar and will almost certainly win for Directing, so there isn't necessarily an incentive to give this award to her as well and "CODA" makes the most sense. "The Lost Daughter" despite winning a prize here and there didn't get into picture, and no film's won this category without a Picture nomination since-eh,... (Google search) wow, "Gods and Monsters" in '98. "Drive My Car" could win this, but I don't think it has the same "Parasite"-level of movement behind it, and "Dune" seems like a real longshot, so that leaves these two.... Interestingly, if "CODA" wins, it'll be the first time since "The Departed" that a film won in this category for being adapted, from another film. Yeah, "CODA"'s actually a remake of the French film, "La Famille Belier"; I'm not sure how many people realize that.


Belfast-Kenneth Branagh
Don't Look Up-Adam McKay, Story by Adam McKay and David Sirota
King Richard-Zach Baylin
Licorice Pizza-Paul Thomas Anderson
The Worst Person in the World-Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier

Another example of how WGA works differently then other guilds, as "Belfast" and "The Worst Person in the World" were ineligible for that award, so "Don't Look Up" pulled off a weird upset there over "King Richard" and "Licorice Pizza". That surprised me, "Don't Look Up" is by far the most divisive of the Best Picture nominees, and especially since Adam McKay already has a writing Oscar for "The Big Short" I didn't really seriously look at him as a possibility here. BAFTA went with "Licorice Pizza" against, mostly the same field, only without "The Worst Person in the World" being replaced with "Being the Ricardos". (Boy, the Writers Branch really are hot and cold on Aaron Sorkin sometimes....) Gold Derby's odds aren't helping with this one either; no matter how you parse this category, they are in a dead split between "Belfast" and "Licorice Pizza", two films by two filmmakers who's been nominated many times for Oscars over the years, and have never won. In case you're wondering about "The Worst Person in the World"'s chances here, no film's won this category without a BP nomination since '04 and that was "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", and the last time a foreign film without a BP nomination won was-eh, I believe, "Talk to Her" and yeah, that was an upset, and Almodova was up for Directing that year as well, so they clearly liked that film a lot. I'm a bit torn here personally, I can easily see arguments to award either Branagh or P.T.A., but "Licorice Pizza" definitely underperformed across the board here; it'd be very weird for it to win Writing here, especially since it couldn't beat "Don't Look Away" at WGA. I gotta believe BAFTA is a fluke. Branagh did win at the Globes, and I think his film is less polarizing.

PREDICTION: "Belfast"-Kenneth Branagh

    Directors: Jared Bush, Byron Howard
    Producers: Yvett Merino, Clark Spencer
    Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
    Producers: Monica Hellstrom, Signe Byrge Sorensen, Charlotte Le Gournerie
    Director: Enrico Casarosa
    Producer: Andrea Warren
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
    Director: Michael Rianda
    Producers: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, Kurt Albrecht
Raya and the Last Dragon
    Directors: Don Hall, Carlos Lopez Estrada
    Producers: Peter Del Vecho, Osnat Shurer

I think there's a slight chance that the Academy could go rogue on this one and give it to "The Mitchells vs. the Machines", that's the one film that everybody seems to like, but I've long since stopped myself from letting anybody other then Disney/Pixar take that category, and clearly if that's the case again, then "Encanto" is the clear favorite. It's the biggest one, the most popular one, the most beloved one, and the one everybody's singing the song from. Also, TikTok is still weird.


    Director/Producer: Jessica Kingdon
    Producers: Kira Simon-Kennedy and Nathan Truesdell
    Director/Producers: Traci Curry, Stanley Nelson
    Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
    Producers: Monica Hellstrom, Signe Byrge Sorensen, Charlotte Le Gournerie
Summer of Soul (...Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
    Director: Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson
    Producers: Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein
Writing with Fire
    Director/Producers: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh

This category is always a little susceptible to an upset or two, but this year, it seems pretty solid that the category is between "Summer of Soul..." and "Flee". I've seen both, I thought "Summer of Soul..." was the better and definitely the more fun film. "Flee" is animated and those rarely win documentary, especially documentary feature. I don't really see anything else winning, maybe "Writing with Fire" since it broke late, but I don't know, "Summer of Soul..." seems to have taken over at this point. Who knew all the late night bandleaders would be Oscar winners? (Shrugs)

PREDICTION: "Summer of Soul (...Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Drive My Car (Japan)
Flee (Denmark)
The Hand of God (Italy)
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan)
The Worst Person in the World (Norway)

I guess it's possible that something other then "Drive My Car" could win, but it'd be pretty weird and rare. No film that's ever been up for both International Language film and Best Picture in the same year has lost the category. There's some competition here with "The Worst Person in the World" and "Flee" also getting into several other categories. "Lunana..." is a wild card as it wasn't elgible for the other categories, and there's always a decent chance that the most unknown film in the group, but, eh, now that the entire Academy votes on the category and not just the International Feature Branch it's less likely then ever, and frankly I doubt it. Once a foreign film gets into Picture, Directing and Writing, it's pretty much ending up here.

PREDICTION: "Drive My Car"

Dune-Greig Fraser
Nightmare Alley-Dan Laustsen
The Power of the Dog-Ari Wegner
The Tragedy of Macbeth-Bruno Delbonnel
West Side Story-Janusz Kaminski

The ASC Award didn't used to be one of the more accurate Oscar predictor, but in the last decade, it's become one, only inaccurately calling the winner twice since then, once when they quixotically picked Greig Fraser for "Lion" over Linus Sandgren for "La La Land". and another when they took Lukasz Zal for "Cold War" over Alfonso Cuaron for "Roma", however that one, I can kinda understand. It's unusual for the Director of a film to also be the movie's cinematographer, and I suspect that got them angry a bit. And yet, I'm not crazy about the possibility of Fraser pulling off the win for once. Do people watch and think about cinematography, 'cause I'm not sure I do. Fraser has the awards though, and the narrative that he got this stolen from him before, even though I think most people counted that loss as more a fumble from the ASC. If there is a second choice, I could see Janusz Kaminski winning as he wasn't nominated for ASC and that does happen occasionally, or at least it used to. But second choice, I think the person with the most likely shot of pulling off the upset would be Ari Wegner for "The Power of the Dog" which would make her the first woman to win the Oscar in this category, which has bizarrely only had two female nominees in it's history. It's one of the few tech categories that gender-wise, director was well ahead of the them on. I'm personally torn on this one. I don't know, it's never gonna go paint with the prognosticators and I gotta pick one upset at least.

PREDICTION: "The Power of the Dog"-Ari Wegner

Cruella-Jenny Beavan
Cyrano-Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran
Dune-Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan
Nightmare Alley-Luis Sequeira
West Side Story-Paul Tazewell

I think I thought this category would be a little more scattered, but for the most part, it's a two-person race now. with most of the awards going to "Cruella", with "Dune" getting the second choice as being the winner of the Fantasy Genre award at CDG. I guess it makes sense, if there's a film that actually deals with fashion and it has any reasonable shot at getting nominated, then it's probably going win, and I can definitely understand how difficult it must be for Costume Designers to pass on Cruella De Vil. Still, "Dune" or even "Cyrano" could pull this off. I've seen a few people predict it, and it did get nominated at CDG, unlike "Little Women" last year, but there hasn't been a winner in this category that got only one nomination since 2005's "Marie Antoinette". IDK, I think if "Cyrano" was that amazing, that it's costumes that good, then it would've won at the Guild.

PREDICTION: "Cruella"-Jenny Beavan

Don't Look Up-Hank Corwin
Dune-Joe Walker
King Richard-Pamela Martin
The Power of the Dog-Peter Sciberras
tick, tick...BOOM!-Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum 

"King Richard" and "tick, tick...BOOM!" took the Eddie Awards and it seems like those two are the favorites. "Dune" could play spoiler, in fact, Gold Derby has it pretty much ahead, and that makes a little sense since it's the only real action-based film in the category but it is up against a musical, albeit not "West Side Story" who, the Editors seemed to not care for at all, curiously enough, a sports movie, and not just any sport, tennis. Lot of editing needed to make that interesting and compelling, and I think the general consensus is that the film is good enough to get something other then just Actor. I don't think the general Oscar public would give it to "tick, tick...BOOM!" but I can definitely see more people finding "King Richard" more interesting then a confusing half of a sci-fi movie. 

PREDICTION: "King Richard"-Pamela Martin

Coming 2 America-Mike Marino, Stacey Morris and Carla Farmer
Cruella-Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne and Julia Vernon
Dune-Donald Mowat, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
The Eyes of Tammy Faye-Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh
House of Gucci-Goran Lundstron, Anna Carin Lock and Frederic Aspiras

Another category where the Guilds are more skeptic. The MUAHs really went for "Coming 2 America" believe it or not, winning three of the big awards. Honestly, they probably deserve it the most, but right now I think "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" are the clear favorite here. It's one of those categories where I question whether or not the Academy Branches should vote for categories outside their Branch much, honestly, but I get it. Especially if Chastain wins actress; it would be weird if she won and the makeup didn't for that performance,... well, it wouldn't be weird. I mean, "The Hours" didn't win Makeup, but yeah, in this case, they kinda go hand-in-hand. I wouldn't mind something surprising here though, but outside of "Suicide Squad", and "The Wolfman" there hasn't been a winner in this category that was the film's only nomination, that wasn't against other films that had only one nomination, in the category since '96, when "The Nutty Professor" won. They might not pick the best movie, or the most beloved film, but they're gonna pick a movie they like before anything....

PREDICTION: "The Eyes of Tammy Faye"

Don't Look Up-Nicholas Britell
Dune-Hans Zimmer
Encanto-Germaine Franco
Parallel Mothers-Alberto Iglesias
The Power of the Dog-Jonny Greenwood

Another tricky category to judge the Guilds on. Most of the other awards have either gone to "Dune" or "The Power of the Dog", but the SCL went with "Encanto" and they could play spoiler. "Dune" won at BAFTO, but "Encanto" wasn't nominated there. Last year, "Soul" won the category, and Hans Zimmer's one Oscar winner, out of a bunch of previous nominations was for "The Lion King", which does song wrong when you say it out loud. Jonny Greenwood was nominated for "The Power of the Dog", but he's been splitting awards with himself for "Spencer" most of award season. I get the feeling the general consensus is that, they just want to give Hans Zimmer a second Oscar, and they don't necessarily have a strong enough reason to not give him one here. 

PREDICTION: "Dune"-Hans Zimmer

"Down to Joy"-Belfast
    Music/Lyrics: Van Morrison
"Dos Oruguitas"-Encanto
    Music/Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda
"Somehow You Do"-Four Good Days
    Music/Lyrics: Diane Warren
"Be Alive"-King Richard
    Music/Lyrics: DIXSON and Beyonce Knowles-Carter
"No Time to Die"-No Time to Die
    Music/Lyrics: Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell

A very compelling Best Song category this year with a lot of possibilities. Lin-Manuel Miranda could win the EGOT with a win here, but "Dos Oruguitas" is arguably not the biggest song from "Encanto", and that film could win in Animated Feature, so it's not necessarily prescient to honor it here. We got a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer in Van Morrison up for "Belfast" and probably nobody wants to hear him talk right now, but he could win. There's usually an unspoken rule that the biggest music act always a chance to win this, of course he's up against Beyonce, so good luck with that. Those are two Best Picture nominees as well, although curiously that's not necessarily a signifier of a winner. Then there's the favorite, the James Bond theme from Billie Eilish and her writing partner Finneas O'Connell, another big modern pop star who's won a lot, and Bond themes have won the last two times they've been up in this category, and it looks likely that they're get three as this is the only real radio hit in this group, so it technically is the biggest song in the category. That's also how the Bond theme won last time, despite being an underdog going in against a Lady Gaga and Diane Warren-penned song from a documentary. Diane Warren's up again, and will almost definitely lose again also, I might add. Last year was one of the rare times there was a real upset in the category, but I think that was an anomaly. I mean, if the Sam Smith Bond song can win, then the better Billie Eilish song should win, even in a good field.

PREDICTION: "No Time to Die"-No Time to Die-Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell

    Production Design: Patrice Vermette
    Set Decoration: Zsuzsanna Sipos
Nightmare Alley
    Production Design: Tamara Deverell
    Set Decoration: Shane Vieau
The Power of the Dog
    Production Design: Grant Major
    Set Decoration: Amber Richards
The Tragedy of Macbeth
    Production Design: Stefan Dechant
    Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
West Side Story
    Production Design: Adam Stockhausen
    Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo

The two big guild winners in the category are "Dune" and "Nightmare Alley". "The Power of the Dog" didn't even get nominated at the ADGs which is also kind of a good sign for the film in general, but it's probably the least likely to win here. This is probably "Nightmare Alley"'s best shot at a win but is that enough. This film got into Picture, but the other three nominations it got were all in craft categories. It's trending upward, but "Dune" has the wins at Critics Choice and at BAFTA, both against "Nightmare Alley". I could see an upset here, and maybe they go completely rogue and give it to "West Side Story", musicals do better in this category then people realize, but eh, it seems like with the craft categories, if there's no absolute obvious winner, then they're gonna try to give "Dune" everything else. 


Belfast-Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather and Niv Adiri
Dune-Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett
No Time to Die-Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey and Mark Taylor
The Power of the Dog-Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie, Tara Webb
West Side Story-Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson and Shawn Murphy

The Golden Reels were all over the map, with "Dune", "Nightmare Alley" weirdly, despite getting snubbed and "West Side Story" all winning something. The CAS Awards went to "Dune" though. BAFTA went with "Dune" too, and it's basically between them and "West Side Story". It's hard to tell with the Mixing and Editing categories combined together again, usually the Mixing going to the more musical film and the Editing going to the more action film. Even before then, the trend was going against that, so I think the safest bet is "Dune" and I don't hear about anything obvious taking it instead.


Dune-Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer
Free Guy-Swen Gillberg, Nikos Kalaitzidis and Dan Sudick
No Time to Die-Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner and Chris Corbould
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings-Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker and Dan Oliver
Spider-Man: No Way Home-Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein and Dan Sudick

It's the Visual Effects category and there's a Best Picture nominee in the group. They're winning. This is simple. Oh, and even if you think the VES Awards are a good predictor in the category, which, ehhh, eh, "Dune" still won big there. I guess "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is in a distant second, but-eh,... yeah, it's not winning anything unless it wins those stupid fucking Twitter Awards that I am just ignoring and pretending the Academy aren't doing them, and they don't exist.... Oh, Christ, I didn't even mention them in the beginning did I? 


Affairs of the Art-Joanna Quinn and Les Mills
Bestia-Hugo Covarrubias and Tevo Diaz
Boxballet-Anton Dyakov
Robin Robin-Dan Ojari and Mikey Please
The Windshield Wiper-Albert Mielgo and Leo Sanchez

I still haven't been able to watch either "Bestia" or "Boxballet" unfortunately, but I did get around to watching "Affairs of the Art", and it is as zany, obsessive and exuberant as I imagined. I still think "The Windshield Wiper" is my favorite of these, but it's a pretty, eh, I don't know what the word is...-. it's a very arthouse kind of short film, and I can't imagine it's everyone's taste. Gold Derby has it second right now, and while I can see it winning, there's a noticeable popular choice in the lead. "Robin Robin" is a bit longer most of the rest of the category, and is widely available on Netflix, and is generally a really fun little short film. I can see "Bestia" or "The Windshield Wiper" pulling off the upset here, but "Robin Robin" just looks hard to bet against, especially when there is no Disney or Pixar nominee this year, this seems to be both the good spot-filler for that, as well as kind of the perfect longer animated short story that can grip people, kinda like the famous '06 short film Suzie Templeton's "Peter and the Wolf". It fits too much criteria for me to ignore it. Plus, Netflix equals availability, so they've seen it.

PREDICTION: "Robin Robin"

Audible-Matt Ogens and Geoff McLean
Lead Me Home-Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk
The Queen of Basketball-Ben Proudfoot
Three Songs for Benazir-Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei
When We Were Bullies-Jay Rosenblatt

I don't love going with the favorites in these short categories; I always feel like this is where you should really look out for spoilers, but "The Queen of Basketball" is the heavy favorite, and of the group I've seen, that's also the one I'd go for. It's the most fun and most uplifting of the stories. It's a better sports short then "Audible" which has Netflix and the fact that it's about the deaf on it's side, in this year where "CODA" is a major player. Also, the subject of the short, Lusia 'Lucy' Harris, passed away earlier this year quite suddenly. I am definitely worried though, about "When We Were Bullies"; HBO's doing a big push for that short film, which will debut a couple days after the Oscars on HBO Max. I'm not sure why then, as opposed to earlier, but boy does that short film, even based on the trailers looks and feels big. Netflix is split between the three shorts, "Audible", "Lead Me Home", the best of their three and "Three Songs for Benazir" which was the odds-on favorite until "The Queen of Basketball" started climbing. Also, it's a lot better then Ben Proudfoot's submission last year, "A Concerto of a Conversation" which I thought was way overrated and I would've complained about more if they didn't pick the worst of the documentary shorts that year as the winner. I wanna go with "The Queen of Basketball" but this category does not have the best history of going with the fun, biopic winner. Let's see: deaf kids, homelessness, marriage struggle, bullying or basketball? Hmmm.... I really do want to pick at least one more upset here, but HBO delaying, and Netflix splitting, and the last one left is the fun one.... 

PREDICTION: "The Queen of Basketball"

Ala Kachuu-Take and Run-Maria Brendle and Nadine Luchinger
The Dress-Tadeusz Lysiak and Maciej Slesicki
The Long Goodbye-Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed
On My Mind-Martin Strange-Hansen and Kim Magnusson
Please Hold-K.D. Davila and Levin Menekse

I still haven't gotten to "Ala Kachuu..." but I did finally get to "Please Hold", and ooooh, this is good, real good. Evil, evil as all fuck, but good, really good, as well as "On My Mind", which was, pretty simple, but still ultimately really powerful. It doesn't seem like there's a bad pick in the mix here. I'm tempted to look for an upset here, but "The Long Goodbye" is the one made by and starring Riz Ahmed and it's a very powerful and personal short that's also quite timely. Just as a general good rule, if there is a big name involved in any of these live-action shorts, it's a good idea to just go with it, but I don't know.... It's still the favorite, but I think if people saw all the nominees in the group, then I think it might get competition. I noticed Gold Derby has "The Dress" and "Please Hold", which were my favorite two of the shorts in 3rd and 4th, but climbing in the odds the most. I think it might be too late, but I can see "Please Hold" playing spoiler here. I'm trying to convince myself, but I don't like taking three favorites in the shorts, but dammit, I'm not seeing it. 

PREDICTION: "The Long Goodbye"

Well, there we go. I'll have my thoughts on the show after we suffer through it together right here. Or not, I mean, I guess you could also just no watch this year. I wouldn't blame you, this year. It's a shame, there actually is a decent bunch of films here to celebrate and honor and it seems like this is the first time I've genuinely come to believe that the Oscars, for good or for bad, were not-at-all about celebrating and honoring the films. I hope this is an anomaly year in that regard and that this is not a new normal for the show. Or at least, this disaster leads to better decisions and changes next year.


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