Tonight's 94th annual Academy Awards show will honor the year's best in filmmaking (follow this link to join our FREE Oscar contest)
. It's a new look Oscars, with the controversial omission of select award winners with the hopes of shortening the broadcast, following a threatening ultimatum allegedly given by ABC. This evening's ceremony offers an extremely close Best Picture toss-up that could go either way, as well as a few other close races that should keep interest high throughout the night. Needless to say, I'm excited to cap off the 2021 cinematic year and, as such, I'm offering up my predictions for the most notable of Oscar races. Here's how I envision the night unfolding:
Best Animated Feature
Will Win: Encanto
Could Win: The Mitchells vs. the Machines
With the Encanto
tune "We Don't Talk About Bruno" becoming a monster billboard hit, I'm firmly entrenched win the film's camp, but The Mitchells vs the Machines
is an all-around better movie in my opinion and one that could clearly play the spoiler here..
Best Documentary Feature
Will Win: Summer of Soul
Could Win: Flee
Quest Love's Summer of Soul
has cemented itself as the frontrunner in this category but don't be shocked if Flee
gets called as the film secured a trio of nominations (Best Animated, Best International and Documentary Feature) which means it is very well regarded by the voters.
Best International Feature
Will Win: Drive My Car
Could Win: The Worst Person in the World
The Breakdown: Drive My Car
is the only one of the bunch also nominated for Best Picture, so it's essentially a lock at this point.
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Belfast
Could Win: Licorice Pizza
The Breakdown: Kenneth Branagh's Belfast was an early Best Picture frontrunner that ultimately faded. However, the film is still adored and bound to be rewarded in some way, so I expect it to happen here. Yet, Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza) and Adam McKay (Don't Look Up) can never be counted out in a screenplay category.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: CODA
Could Win: The Power of the Dog
The Breakdown: These two films are in for a tough competitive night. The Power of the Dog holds a slight advantage in the macro sense because of it's Director Nomination and the multiple acting nominations that are attached to it, but I feel like this is where CODA will get the better of the battle..
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Ariana DeBose - West Side Story
Could Win: Aunjanue Ellis - King Richard
The Breakdown: This is actually a three-way race with the two aforementioned actresses as Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog). I wouldn't be shocked by any of them winning the statue, yet DeBose gives the biggest standout performance in my opinion followed closely by Ellis. I believe the voters are seeing what I see.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Troy Kotsur - CODA
Could Win: Kodi Smit-McPhee - The Power of the Dog
The Breakdown: Here is yet another CODA vs. The Power of the Dog showdown. This should be Troy Kotsur all the way, as he was truly magnificent in the film, and I expect it will be, but Kodi Smit-McPhee gives a career best turn as well in a movie that's adored by many voters so we will see.
Will Win: Jessica Chastain - The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Could Win: Nicole Kidman - Being the Ricardos
Best Actress feels like one of the most fluid races of the night. I wouldn't be shocked by any of the five nominees having their name called. However, Chastain is long overdue for an Oscar and she's had a strong showing in the precursors leading up to tonight's main event, so I am left to believe she'll be crowned victorious.
Will Win: Will Smith - King Richard
Could Win: Benedict Cumberbatch - The Power of the Dog
The Breakdown: The Power of the Dog has the ability to play the spoiler in just about any race where it's included because the film is so revered. Yet, Will Smith has been in the driver seat leading up to tonight's awards showcase so I'm staying in line with his winning trajectory and expecting his first Oscar statue tonight. Both gave unforgettable turns though, so it's a win either way.
Will Win: Jane Campion - The Power of the Dog
Could Win: Steven Spielberg - West Side Story
The Breakdown: This race feels like it safely belongs to Jane Campion. She's muscled her way through the precursors and has checked just about every major box imaginable. If I'm honestly trying to figure out who else "could" win, I think the most accurate answer is no one else. Yet, I will go with my heart for the sake of giving some name and go with my personal favorite director of the year, Steven Spielberg.
Will Win: The Power of the Dog
Could Win: CODA
The Breakdown: After a four year span from 2016 to 2019 where the Oscars surprisingly split their Best Picture and Best Director winners three of the four years, they've circled back to the norm by keeping them algined in both 2020 and 2021. I'm going to follow the latest trend and anticipate a Best Picture win for The Power of the Dog, which would give the most valuable prize to the industry's biggest "Red A" (or should I say, "Red N"), Netflix. It's going to happen eventually, so now seems like as good a year as any to finally hand Netflix the crown. Don't count CODA out, though. I see it has a 55% chance for The Power of the Dog and a 45% chance for CODA, which gives us all plenty of reason to stay tuned throughout tonight's entire event.