Jason’s Predictions and Predilections for the 94th Annual Academy Awards

94th Annual Academy Awards

So, I try and screen every nominated film, as I attempt to do every year, but this year, not only did I have my day gig, I also worked about 30hrs/week far and at the Oscars (my eighteenth!). Good news is I watched everything that has a shot at an award, every Best Picture nominee, every Doc, Foreign Language, Short (of all kinds) and most Performance awards. In short, sorry “Cruella”…didn’t have the time (but did look at pix of the costumes!). Ironically, the ONLY award that is kind of up for grabs is Best Picture…the rest seem to have very clear favorites, even if many of those favorites would not be who I would’ve voted for.

Also, it’s lovely to be back on the Carpet, but even better to be amongst my FOE (family of the event-world) that I have missed over the last two years!

Best Motion Picture of the Year

When it comes to Best Picture…how does the voting work? Well, every year I reprint a detailed article in GoldDerby.com , which you can read here (even if it refers to a different Oscars, it explains the process well). In short, members rank the nominees in preference from 1-8. Any picture that gets 50% of first-place votes wins. If none hit that threshold (which is likely), then the picture with the lowest number of first-place votes is eliminated, and it’s all tallied once again, until a film gets 50%, and thus, wins. One would think this task would be pretty straight forward, especially in a year when there seems to be only a couple of films on everyone’s mind as the best of the best. The upshot is that often the most easy to digest film wins (with exceptions like “Moonlight” and “Parasite”).

Which is why people are talking about CODA having a real shot, even though, let’s be honest, it’s basically an ABC Afterschool Special…but much better performed and directed. LOVELY, don’t get me wrong…but not really the kind of film that announces to the world that this is the culmination of the best film craft…front to back. For me, that goes to a film that wasn’t even nominated, Norway’s brilliant, “Worst Person in the World”. But since it wasn’t nominated, I’d go with “Drive My Car’…but since that is three hours plus and consists mostly of two people in a car (no, really, it’s phenomenal), it has no shot…so of the three mosrt likely to win (“CODA”, “Dog” and “Belfast”) I’d have to go with “Belfast”. Ticked all the boxes for me, even if it could be considered “Roma in Belfast”. Anyhoo, here ya go…


Don’t Look Up 
Drive My Car
King Richard 
Licorice Pizza
Nightmare Alley 
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story 

Will win: “CODA”
Should win: “Drive My Car”
Not-so-longshot: “Power of the Dog” and “Belfast”
Should be here: “Worst Person in the World” (seriously, this film is SOOOO good)

Achievement in Directing


Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Ryûsuke Hamaghi, Drive My Car
Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Will win: Jane Campion (in spite of her tone deaf comment at the Critics’ Choice Awards)
Should win: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Long Shot: Kenneth Branagh
Should be here: Joachim Trier , “Worst Person in the World”

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

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

Will win: Will Smith
Should win: Will Smith
Longshot: Benedict Cumberbatch
Should be here: Nic Cage (“Pig”) or Hidetoshi Nishijima, Drive My Car

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

chastainHoly crap, did anyone SEE “Spencer”?! or “Parallel Mothers”?! Doesn’t matter. Chastain will win, but I would put her third in this group and sixth overall.


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

Will win: Jessica Chastain
Should win: KRISTEN STEWART, fer chrissakes!
Longshot: Olivia Colman
Should be here: Renate Reinsve Worst Person or Toko Miura, Drive My Car

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

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

Will win: Troy Kotsur
Should win: Troy Kotsur or Ciaran Hinds
Long Shot: Kodi Smit-McPhee
Should be here: Mark Rylance, Don’t Look Up

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

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

Will win: Ariana DuBose
Should win: Ariana DuBose
Long Shot: Kirsten Dunst
Should be here: Nina Arianda Being the Ricardos

Original Screenplay

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizzaoriginal licorice
Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
Adam McKay and David Sirota, Don’t Look Up
Zach Baylin, King Richard
Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier, The Worst Person in the World

Will win: Licorice Pizza
Should Win: Worst Person in the World
Not So Long Shot: Belfast
Should be here: Pig

Best Adapted Screenplay


Sian Heder, CODA
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, Drive My Car
Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth, Dune
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter
Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Will win: CODA
Should Win: Drive My Car
Long Shot: Green Knight

Best Animated Feature Film

encanto“Luca”…really? Over “Belle”? Oy.


The Mitchells vs. the Machines 
Raya and the Last Dragon

Will win: Encanto
Should win: Flee
Long Shot: Flee
Should be here: Belle

Best International Film

driveThree of these are pretty damned fabulous. One is…uh…odd, and the other is okay.


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)

Will win: Drive My Car
Should win: Drive My Car or The Worst Person in the World
Long Shot: The Worst Person in the World
Should be here: A Hero or Parallel Mothers

Best Documentary Feature

While “Ascension” put me RIGHT to sleep, the other four did not disappoint! However, shortlisted films like “The Resuce” or “Proscession” were equally deserving of nominations. But, yeah, “Soul” in a rout…


Summer of Soul
Writing With Fire

Will win: Summer of Soul
Should win: Summer of Soul
Long Shot: Attica
Should be here: Procession

Best Documentary Short Subject


Lead Me Home
The Queen of Basketball
Three Songs for Benazir
When We Were Bullies

Will win: The Queen of Basketball
Should win: When We Were Bullies
Not So Long shot: Three Songs for Benazir

Best Live-Action Short Film


Ala Kachuu
The Dress
The Long Goodbye
On My Mind
Please Hold

Will win: The Long Goodbye
Should Win: On My Mind
Long Shot: On My Mind

Best Animated Short Film

robinPlease save us from the saccharin shorts like “Robin Robin”. Well made and creative…but OH, so sappy…give me that Windshield Wiprer, please!


Affairs of the Art
Robin Robin
The Windshield Wiper

Will win: Robin Robin
Should Win: The Windshield Wiper
Long Shot: Boxballet

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original SCORE)

dunezimmerGreenwood’s “Spencer” score was the best of the year in my eyes, but hard to argue Zimmer’s “Dune” as best of this bunch.


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

Will win: Hans Zimmer, Dune
Should Win: Hans Zimmer, Dune
Long Shot: Germaine Franco, Encanto
Should be here: Jonny Greenwood, Spencer

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original SONG)

eilishUh…Billie Eilish.


“Be Alive,” King Richard
“Dos Oruguitas,” Encanto
“Down to Joy,” Belfast
“No Time to Die,” No Time to Die
“Somehow You Do,” Four Good Days

Will win: “No Time to Die,” No Time to Die
Should Win: “No Time to Die,” No Time to Die
Not So Long Shot: “Dos Oruguitas,” Encantoo

Achievement in Sound


No Time to Die
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story

Will win: Dune
Should Win: Dune
Long Shot: none

Achievement in Cinematography


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

Will win: Dune
Should Win: Nightmare Alley
Long Shot: The Power of the Dog
Should be here: Pig or Green Knight

Achievement in Film Editing

Am I crazy? Was West Side Story’s editing NOT the best of the year? And not even nonminated? Insanity!


Don’t Look Up
King Richard
The Power of the Dog
Tick, Tick…Boom!

Will win: Dune
Should Win: Dune
Long Shot: The Power of the Dog
Should be here:West Side Story

Achievement in Visual Effects


Free Guy
No Time to Die
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Spider-Man: No Way Home


Will win: Dune
Should Win: Dune
Long Shot: uh…none

Achievement in Production Design

Nominees: dunepd

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

Will win: Dune
Should Win: Dune
Long Shot: West Side Story 
Should be here: Green Knight

Achievement in Costume Design


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

Will win: Cruella
Should win: Cruella
Long Shot: Dune

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling


Coming 2 America
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
House of Gucci

Will win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Should win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Long Shot: None
Should be here: Pig

That’s all. Good luck in your pools and in your hopes! See you at the Oscars!

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