The Oscars are here again! 2021 ended up being a pretty great year for movies and a lot of the nominees are some of my favorites from the past year. From blockbusters like Dune to small, heartwarming dramas like CODA, the Best Picture lineup is surprisingly good.
I’m certainly no expert, but I’m putting myself out there and predicting some of the biggest categories before the awards are handed out.
Don’t Look Up
Drive My Car
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story
My pick: Honestly I love a lot of the movies that are nominated this year. With the exception of two or three, I’d be happy with any of them winning. But my heart is with West Side Story, CODA and Dune.
Who will win: The Power of the Dog seems unstoppable, but CODA has had a huge surge recently. My head says Power of the Dog, but my heart says CODA.
Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)
Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)
Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car)
Steven Spielberg (West Side Story)
My pick: Again, my heart is always with Stephen Spielberg. He’s undeniably a master at what he does, but for West Side Story to be his first musical ever? And it’s as good as it is? Truly incredible.
Who will win: Jane Campion directed an incredibly tense slow burn with a final act full of twists and mystery.
Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)
Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)
Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)
Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)
Kristen Stewart (Spencer)
My pick: Oscar Winner Kristen Stewart sounds pretty great. Her performance as Princess Diana is engrossing, compelling, and a little uncomfortable.
Who will win: This is one of the big categories that seems to still be a little up in the air. Olivia Coleman is an awards darling these days (and rightfully so), but Jessica Chastain certainly did the most acting as Tammy Faye, so I think she’ll pull away with a win here.
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)
My pick: Andrew Garfield really had a great year in 2021. His performance as Jonathan Larson in Tick, Tick…Boom! is sensational. He learned to sing for the role and gives each scene such energy and manic creativity.
Who will win: Will Smith has been the frontrunner for this category ever since King Richard first premiered. I think all of Hollywood wants him to win and recognize him for all the work he’s done. Plus, he does a great job in bringing humanity to an odd and often frustrating man.
Best Supporting Actress
Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter)
Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)
Judi Dench (Belfast)
Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)
Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)
My pick: I’d give all the Oscars to West Side Story if I could, and Ariana DeBose is a perfect Anita. But I also have to shoutout Aunjanue Ellis. For all the big, loud and bold choices Will Smith Makes as Richard Williams, Ellis’s portrayal as his wife Brandy is much quieter and more reserved. She nearly steals the show out from under Will Smith and was by far my favorite part of King Richard.
Who will win: Ariana DeBose seems the most deserving of an Oscar from West Side Story. She’s phenomenal and I will be thrilled when she wins.
Best Supporting Actor
Ciarán 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)
My pick: Kodi Smit-McPhee gives a subdued, quiet and nuanced performance in Power of the Dog that really only makes sense in the final few minutes. Your eye stays on Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, while Kodi lurks in the background to give you an unexpected punch in the heart.
Who will win: I absolutely adore CODA, and Troy Kotsur’s performance as the deaf father of a hearing child is simultaneously heartwarming and heart breaking. I’m so excited that these incredible deaf actors are finally getting the recognition they deserve.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Drive My Car
The Lost Daughter
The Power of the Dog
My pick: I’ve never read the original Dune book, but just looking at how big it is on my shelf is intimidating, so the fact that this world was so expertly displayed on screen and set up in a way that made sense to audiences is remarkable. It’s a big swing for a big budget blockbuster, and it lands so well.
Who will win: The Power of the Dog certainly has momentum here, but I think The Lost Daughter might come from behind and take this one home.
Best Original Screenplay
Don’t Look Up
The Worst Person in the World
My pick: Belfast is an intimate family drama set against the background of a war and expertly balances the light and dark moments. And The Worst Person in the World is a wonderful new look at romance and how messy life and growing up is. I’d love either of these two winning.
Who will win: I wouldn’t be surprised if Belfast wins, but I’m going to say Licorice Pizza takes this category.
Best Animated Feature
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon
My pick: I loved all these nominees in this category. Disney has really upped their game with movies like Encanto and Luca that have so much heart and don’t conform to the traditional beats of storytelling (neither one has a traditional villain). BUT – The Mitchells vs. the Machines is one of the best movies of last year. It’s chaotic, exciting, hilarious, relatable and full of depth and emotion.
Who will win: I’m honestly not sure with this category – it could be a neck-and-neck finish between Encanto, Luca and The Mitchells, but I’m going to put my bets on The Mitchells vs the Machines.