2022 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win and Should Win?

Two of the four major categories are completely up in the air this year, and the results of Best Picture could shape the future of The Academy.

Sunday should be a fun one — even if eight categories are egregiously not being announced live.

Still, seven of my ten favorite movies were nominated for Best Picture this year, so I’m eager to see if one of them is able to pull it out. There are also a couple nominees that just didn’t click with me, and naturally, one of them is a front runner.

Anyways, let’s jump right into it.

Best Picture

Predicted Winner: CODA

I can’t believe I’m predicting that a feel-good, formulaic, Apple-distributed movie will win Best Picture, but here we are. 

As a champion of the underdog narrative, I felt more confident with this pick before CODA went on to win Best Screenplay at the BAFTAs and WGA Awards and Best Picture at the PGAs. With its recent steam, CODA has arguably pushed The Power of the Dog into underdog status, which will make for a fun night of intrigue this weekend. 

If CODA wins, I’ll be elated. Not because it was my favorite movie of the year — or even my favorite of the nominees. It’s just that The Power of the Dog represents so much of what is wrong with the Oscars right now. Dog is a slow-burn Western that makes you work immensely hard for a reward that, honestly, isn’t that great. If it’s victorious, it’ll come off as the most condescending pick in a long time. This is the kind of move that filmmakers believe you should like and feel bad about yourself if you don’t. As the show slips in ratings and the prominence of these awards diminishes, this would be a terrible move from the Academy. 

On a rewatch of The Power of the Dog, I’ll admit I became higher on it, but the first time I watched this movie, I hated it. Viscerally. Ironically, once I became warmer to its win potential, its chances took a back seat. 

But let’s talk about the Sundance darling that could — CODA. The more people watch it, the more people love it. It continues to gain traction with every guild win, and it appears that this crowd pleaser might pull it out after all. 

Looking at the other nominees, Drive My Car doesn’t get to where it’s going fast enough, and Licorice Pizza’s episodic approach might be enough to win it Best Screenplay – but not Best Picture. King Richard and Belfast had early fan-favorite momentum that diminished as they become harder to watch, West Side Story has sadly lost all of its noise in these major categories, and Dune’s epic strengths as a sci-fi are likely to lead it to a similar night that Mad Max in 2016 — lots of below-the-line victories, but no Best Picture trophy. 

That’s a shame, too, as Dune would be more-than-deserving of the win. Despite being half of a story, it’s the most “movie” movie of this year’s nominees. Which brings me to the last two contenders, which arguably have the worst chance of winning — Don’t Look Up and Nightmare Alley. My third and first favorite movies of the year, respectively, I’m praying one of their names is in the envelope on Sunday. But it’s not going to happen. 

And that’s a bummer. 

Don’t Look Up is a hysterical, poignant screenplay, executed with great talent by its cast and director. It’s firmly my favorite Adam McKay film. Nightmare Alley, on the other hand, owns its darkness and feels as though Del Toro made a movie from the 1940s today (which — to be fair — he did). 

AJ’s Rankings (AKA my personal preferences) 

  1. Nightmare Alley
  2. Don’t Look Up
  3. Dune
  4. West Side Story
  5. CODA
  6. Belfast
  7. King Richard
  8. Licorice Pizza
  9. The Power of the Dog
  10. Drive My Car

Should Have Been Nominated

A Quiet Place Part II, Red Rocket, Spider-Man: No Way Home

Best Director

Predicted Winner: Campion, The Power of the Dog

The tide has shifted so dramatically that Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog may walk away with just one award on Sunday. The visual world she built and helped to realize through her actors’ performances is a feat, no doubt. Personally, I’d love to see a Spielberg win for proving his naysayers wrong and crafting a modern, exciting, and differentiated take on a previous Best Picture winner. 

Either way, whoever walks away with the award on Sunday — with the exception of Hamaguchi — will be seen largely as a career acknowledgement. Spielberg has gone Oscarless since the 90s, as has Campion — who herself has never won a Best Director Oscar. Despite being celebrated filmmakers for decades, PTA and Branagh have also never won. But The Academy will likely save their praise for one of those two in the Original Screenplay category.

AJ’s Rankings

  1. Spielberg, West Side Story
  2. Campion, The Power of the Dog
  3. Branagh, Belfast
  4. Anderson, Licorice Pizza
  5. Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Should Have Been Nominated

Del Toro, Nightmare Alley; McKay, Don’t Look Up; Villeneuve, Dune; Baker, Red Rocket

Best Actress 

Predicted Winner: Kristen Stewart, Spencer

I literally have no idea what will happen in this category. 

There’s very little overlap between SAG, the Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Critics’ Choice here, and if anyone is benefiting from this chaos, it’s Jessica Chastain — a phenomenal, yet-unrecognized actress who might just be given the “here you go” award in a year where the stakes are relatively low. Three of her competitors are former winners, and while they each have a legitimate chance, I’m making my ballsy bet this year in Best Actress and predicting Kristen Stewart. 

An early frontrunner who lost her buzz after losing out on some key nominations, Kristen has as good a shot as anyone on Sunday. In a category with some uncertainty, I wouldn’t be shocked if voters resort to the initial favorite and get Stewart a win. Plus, let’s be honest — was Tammy Faye even that good? We’ve seen Best Actresses for mediocre movies before, but my gut is telling me this year just won’t be Chastain’s.

AJ’s Rankings

  1. Kristen Stewart, Spencer
  2. Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  3. Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
  4. Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
    Also Nominated: Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Should Have Been Nominated

Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza; Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up; Emilia Jones, CODA

Best Actor

Predicted Winner: Will Smith, King Richard

Is a miraculous, unprecedented win for Andrew Garfield brewing? Possibly, but highly unlikely. Will Smith has been the odds-on favorite since early autumn, and every time he gives an acceptance speech, he gets one step closer to the Oscars stage. 

While it’ll be nice to see Smith accept an award and see his peers legitimize his talent, I can’t help feel like this is the gimmie award of the night. Smith’s performance was good, but to call it the best leading male one of the year wouldn’t be accurate. In my eyes, that honor would go to Benedict Cumberbatch. Even though the movie wasn’t my favorite, his performance was its biggest draw.

AJ’s Rankings

  1. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
  2. Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick…Boom!
  3. Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos
  4. Will Smith, King Richard
  5. Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of MacBeth

Should Have Been Nominated

Simon Rex, Red Rocket; Nicolas Cage, Pig; Jude Hill, Belfast

Best Supporting Actress 

Predicted Winner: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Honestly, it’s a pretty weak category this year. DeBose has been well on her way to a poetic win in a category that Rita Moreno won in 60 years prior. Out of these nominees, her infectious and layered performance is probably the best. 

While I wasn’t huge on The Lost Daughter, I think Jessie Buckley sneakily had the best performance of the film, and a win for her or Kirsten Dunst wouldn’t be unwarranted in my eyes. Aunjanue Ellis didn’t have enough screen time or impactful moments to warrant her presence on this year’s list to me, while Judi Dench somehow got the spot of her more-deserving costar Caitriona Balfe. Also, while the pundits were favoring Ann Dowd for a nomination, I was hoping Martha Plimpton might be able to sneak in for her performance in Mass.

AJ’s Rankings

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

Should Have Been Nominated

Martha Plimpton, Mass; Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Winner: Troy Kotsur, CODA

The only guaranteed win for CODA on Sunday will be for Troy Kotsur. A complicated and charming portrayal in an uplifting movie, his performance is all but guaranteed to send him straight to the Oscars stage. 

All the others…I’ll be honest — I don’t care. 

AJ’s Rankings

  1. Troy Kotsur, CODA

4-way tie for “who cares?”: Ciarán Hinds (?), Belfast; Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog; Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog; J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos

Should Have Been Nominated

Jonah Hill, Don’t Look Up

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Winer: CODA

Pay attention when they call this category on Oscar night — it’s likely the winner will also go on to nab Best Picture. Especially if it’s CODA.

Being dialogue-driven tends to help in these categories, and although the dialogue in all of CODA’s scenes isn’t spoken, its ability to support redundant story tropes with characters we care about and words that matter should elevate it to a win. If the love for The Power of the Dog stays true, we might see it win here. I’m doubtful. Some also haven’t counted out Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Lost Daughter. I have. 

AJ’s Rankings

  1. CODA
  2. Dune
  3. The Power of the Dog
  4. Drive My Car
  5. The Lost Daughter

Should Have Been Nominated

Nightmare Alley, West Side Story, Tick, Tick…Boom!

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Watch out for PTA here, but Branagh has more international and intergenerational support than Anderson does. The Academy is also a sucker for personal movies, and Belfast is the most personal in this category. 

If I had a vote, it’d go to Don’t Look Up. After feeling mostly indifferent towards The Big Short and Vice, McKay finally won me over with one of his serious movies with a comedic twist. 

AJ’s Rankings

  1. Don’t Look Up
  2. The Worst Person in the World 
  3. Belfast
  4. King Richard
  5. Licorice Pizza

Should Have Been Nominated

Red Rocket

And now, the rest of my predictions & preferences.

Best Cinematography

Will Win: Dune
Should Win: Dune

Best Costume Design

Will Win: Cruella
Should Win: Dune

Best Film Editing

Will Win: Dune
Should Win: Tick, Tick…Boom!

Best Makeup

Will Win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Should Win: Dune

Best Production Design

Wil Win: Dune 
Should Win: Dune

Best Score

Will Win: Dune 
Should Win: Dune

Best Sound

Will Win: Dune 
Should Win: Dune

Best Visual Effects

Will Win: Dune (But watch out for No Way Home)
Should Win: Dune

Best Animated Feature

Will Win: The Mitchells Vs. The Machines
Should Win: The Mitchells Vs. The Machines

Tallied Predictions

Dune: 6 Wins out of 10 Nominations
CODA: 3 Wins out of 3 Nominations
The Power of the Dog: 1 Win out of 12 Nominations
King Richard: 1 Win out of 6 Nominations
West Side Story: 1 Win out of 7 Nominations 
Belfast: 1 Win out of 7 Nominations
The Eyes of Tammy Faye: 1 Win out of 2 Nominations
Cruella: 1 Win out of 2 Nominations
The Mitchells Vs. The Machines: 1 Win out of 1 Nominations
Spencer: 1 Win out of 1 Nomination

AJ’s Top 15 of 2020 & 2021

Hey there. Been a while.

In January of 2021, I made a decision to postpone my annual best-of list until 2022. With release dates being pushed out, Academy eligibility shifts, and simply fewer movies getting shown in theaters, I didn’t want to scrape the bottom of the barrel with a Top 10 List that likely wouldn’t have even come out until April.

And so, I’m proud to finally present the list of my Top 15 Movies from 2020 and 2021.

15. King Richard

The movie on this list I was most skeptical about going into, King Richard was one of my favorite feel-good movies of the last two years. A crowd-pleaser whose emotion and sentimentality is (usually) not a hinderance, the movie is anchored by a captivating Will Smith in a film that honestly shouldn’t be this good. Thankfully, it is.

14. Spider-Man: No Way Home

You know, I’m something of a film critic myself – and I think that while the entirety of No Way Home doesn’t glisten as brightly as its final showdown, it’s worth trudging through the lizard CGI and the “let’s help the bad guys solve their problems” portion of the movie to get some of the best character content we’ve seen in a Spider-Man movie. Holland, Garfield, Dafoe, and Molina far exceeded my expectations going in – and yes, I’m still waiting for my Kirsten Dunst cameo.

13. Red Rocket

Simon Rex is electrifying in Sean Baker’s follow-up to my favorite movie of 2017. I’m always impressed when a movie can make an unlikable character worth cheering for, and Rex’s performance as the gray-moralled Mikey Saber is one of my favorite examples of this trope in action. The movie’s contents are a bit too problematic for me to unabashedly sing its praises, but man did I enjoy myself in that theater.

12. Belfast

I like what I like, and slice-of-life nostalgia does it for me. Belfast‘s blend of innocence and family turmoil created an inviting theater experience for me as I experienced writer-director Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiography. The cast truly shines here – most notably Catriona Balfe and newcomer Jude Hill.

11. CODA

CODA wasn’t convenient to watch – I finally had to buckle and get an Apple TV+ free trial. But it was worth it. Was CODA sappy and emotionally manipulative? Yes. Did I still almost cry? You better believe it. Emilia Jones is being heinously overlooked in the Best Actress race – and if you get an Apple TV account and watch this movie, you’ll see why.

10. Alone

At last – a 2020 movie! Watching Alone was a watershed experience for me. As a road tripper, the preliminary sequences of car-bound cat-and-mouse kept me on the edge of my couch, even though I knew our protagonist would soon be captured. And once she was, I found myself rooting for her harder than any movie character since maybe Chris in Get Out. This is how to make a survivalist movie right. I can only imagine how vocal the crowd would have been had I seen this in the theater.

9. West Side Story

A return to the familiar, the new West Side Story updates the award-winning classic with a modern cast, flare, and pace. For the record, I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but it’s hard to deny the efficacy of Spielberg and his cast and crew here. Of all the movies on this list, West Side Story is one of the films I’m most excited to watch again soon.

8. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Goddamn, Viola Davis. She carried this movie of a heated recording studio session exceptionally. I didn’t want to take my eyes off of her – and the movie’s screenplay and design depicted the ugliness of 1920’s Chicago in every way. Also, while I defend Anthony Hopkins’ win at last year’s Oscars, that shouldn’t take away from the spirited and committed work of Chadwick Boseman in this movie, who keeps us enthralled when Davis is off-screen.

7. The Hunt

I’m a busy guy, so it takes a Grade-A movie for me to watch it one day, then put it back in the DVD player the next day to watch it again. The first time I saw The Hunt, that’s exactly what happened (and yes, I still have a DVD player). The Hunt is a blast. It’s unique, well-paced, hysterical, and poignant. While I can’t say it’s the best film of the past two years, I might say that it’s my favorite.

6. The Trial of the Chicago 7

Aside from the shove-it-down-your-throat racism of Frank Langella’s character, Chicago 7 was engrossing and made its serious subject matter entertaining. A much more promising showcase of writer-director Aaron Sorkin’s dual behind-the-camera abilities than his 2021 effort Being the Ricardos (which – candidly – I did enjoy), the cast, editing, and screenplay make Chicago 7 worth your time.

5. Dune

Another movie I’m excited to revisit, Dune lands the #5 spot on my list largely due to the commitment to its production. Visually visceral and epic and every way, Dune‘s ambitions pay off and effectively create a world of intrigue, power, and adventure. Side note: when Zendaya showed up at the end, I literally said “fucking finally” out loud. Can’t wait to see more of her in 2UNE.

4. Don’t Look Up

Like The Hunt, Don’t Look Up takes rather pressing subject matter in our world and pushes things to the extreme. Also like The Hunt, I loved every minute. It’s my favorite Adam McKay movie, and Leo and Jonah are doing some incredible work here. Maybe I shouldn’t laugh at this movie – but I’ve seen it twice and can’t seem to go a few minutes without doing so.

3. A Quiet Place Part II

Admittedly, I didn’t love the first A Quiet Place. But the second one, I unabashedly do. There was one sequence of the movie where I don’t think I took a breath for nearly two minutes. While the narrative works best when we’re on the Cillian Murphy/Millicent Simmonds adventure, the entire film builds on the premise and tension of its predecessor for a more polished, heart-pounding endeavor. Bring on A Quiet Place Part III – sooner than later please, John & Emily.

2. Nightmare Alley

If I had to describe Del Toro’s last two movies, it feels like he’s making 1940s movies today. Nightmare Alley encompasses deception and manipulation in this harrowing rise-and-fall noir. Everything and everyone in this movie was firing on all cylinders. It is a sheer tsunami of filmmaking talent at its best, building a world I wanted to simultaneously spend as much and as little time in as possible.

1. Promising Young Woman

This movie made me realize how imperative casting is for a motion picture. With this romance movie wrapped in conflict and bookended by a troubling revenge tale, Emerald Fennell immediately cemented herself as the filmmaker to watch with this one. The music choice, dialogue, characters, and production design are all stand-out. After going months without being in the theater, I’ll never forget my first trip back to the cinema, watching this movie, and grinning during its final moments.

2021 Oscar Predictions: Who Will (and Should) Win?

Another year, another round of AJ’s Oscar commentary.

Another Round pun intended.

Does it need to be said that this year was an abnormal one? Put it this way – I didn’t release a Top 10 of 2021 (keep your eyes peeled in January 2022 for my planned dual-year Top 20 list). I was thrilled that movies still came out in 2020 – I even made my way to the theater a couple times. Still, let’s just say I’m slightly more excited for 2021 in film.

Now, when it comes to the Oscars, we’re looking at a list of films that…didn’t exactly do it for me. Nomadland‘s cinematography, Minari‘s simplicity, and the relevance of historical, Black-led cinema in movies like like Ma Rainey and Black Messiah made 2021 cinema good, but rarely excellent.

Regardless, this is the batch we’ve got this year, and while I won’t do it as passionately as I usually do, I’m prepared to enthrall you with my rants and commentary on who I think should win in each of the major Oscar categories, who likely will win, and who was sadly left off the list.

If you want to hear me talk more about my movies, check out my YouTube channel and the podcast I co-host with my friend Trevor on millennial kids flicks, The Old Kids Movies.

Best Picture

Predicted Winner: Minari

This is more of a “Nomadland will lose” prediction than a “Minari will win” one.

If the Academy has taught us anything in the past few years, it’s that the frontrunner does not win. The Revenant, La La Land, Three Billboards, Roma, and 1917 all came up short in their respective years, so if history continues, we’re in for an upset – and my money’s on Minari, with The Trial of the Chicago 7 close behind.

While beautiful to look at, I believe Nomadland lacks the punch needed to get enough placements in voters’ Top 3 spots on their preferential ballots. We also need to acknowledge the year we’ve had – and while Nomadland captures both the isolation we felt and the escapism we vied for in the last twelve months, it doesn’t touch on the breadth or cover the depth of important social issues that many of its competitors do.

Minari puts an Asian-American family front and center, and balances cinematic subtlety with compelling narrative more effectively than Nomadland does. It also has more humor, more heart, and more tragedy. Meanwhile, Chicago 7 (however briefly) highlights the trials of Black Americans and the corruption of the system that resulted in the death of Fred Hampton (yes, Judas covers this topic in much greater detail, but it doesn’t have Academy darling Aaron Sorkin behind it).

That said, the feeling towards 2020 movies is largely indifferent from what I’ve seen, so if there’s any year without a groundswell of support for the underdog, this might be it, and thus Nomadland will take the prize.

If I had a vote this year, it would go to Promising Young Woman – a phenomenally cast, edited, and written movie that’s perhaps a couple years too late to the #MeToo party. While The Academy probably won’t give it its top prize on Sunday for that reason, that shouldn’t deter you from seeing a film that embodies everything I love about cinema. I guess some Hollywood stars are blind.

The virtually impossible winners on Sunday are Sound of Metal, The Father, and Mank – all of which were lucky to be nominated and 100% would not be here if 2020 went pandemic-less. I’m also disappointed to not see Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on this list, which was 2020’s biggest surprise for me.

AJ’s Rankings (AKA My Personal Preferences)

1. Promising Young Woman
2. The Trial of the Chicago 7
3. Minari
4. Nomadland
5. Judas and the Black Messiah
6. Sound of Metal
7. The Father
8. Mank

Should Have Been Nominated

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Director

Predicted Winner: Zhao, Nomadland

The Academy looks poised to award the second woman in history with a Best Director Oscar – but in my eyes, they’re honoring the wrong woman in this category. Fennell adapted her PYW screenplay with such fascination, taking me on an emotional roller coaster that had me confused at times yet grinning at the end. I can’t wait to see what she makes next.

As for our predicted winner, Zhao captures her female protagonist’s journey with more reservation, effectively transporting viewers into the world of the modern nomad. She’d have had my vote in this category had Fennell not been included.

The only other real contender here is Lee Isaac Chung, who brought a deeply personal tale to the screen with Minari. Legendary director David Fincher will remain Oscar-less after Sunday night, and Thomas Vinterberg will have to settle for the fact that more people saw his amazing film on Hulu than if he had not been nominated.

AJ’s Rankings

1. Fennell, Promising Young Woman
2. Zhao, Nomadland
3. Chung, Minari
4. Vinterberg, Another Round
5. Fincher, Mank

Should Have Been Nominated

Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7; Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Actress

Predicted Winner: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Davis, Day, McDormand, and Mulligan are essentially in a four-way tie in this race after their respective SAG, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Critics’ Choice wins. This prediction is my least confident one for the night, but I’m still making it for a few key reasons.

First, Viola Davis – while to date unrecognized in the Best Actress category – does have an Oscar, while Carey does not. I also think that because both women hand in moving portrayals of historic singers and have some momentum after their respective SAG and Golden Globe wins, Viola and Andra will cancel each other out – leaving room for Carey to emerge as the victor.

Frances may upset, but I believe The Academy will try to share the love knowing Chloe is winning Director and the film itself may (or may not!) win Best Picture. Since PYW is likely only walking away with one other award (more on that later), Academy voters may want to acknowledge the work here in this category. Still, this is the closest Best Actress race I have seen in my time predicting for the show.

My ballot, however, would have Davis’s name checked off. She took a character who sweats cockiness and dislikability and made me root for her wholeheartedly for those same reasons. Close behind is Mulligan, who is a tragically underrated performer.

AJ’s Rankings

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
2. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
3. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
4. Frances McDormand, Nomadland
5. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman

Best Actor

Predicted Winner: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

This is the performance that made me realize how much I’m going to miss Chadwick Boseman. His passion and excitement for being an actor is evident in this movie, and it is a fitting and signature farewell.

That said, it’s not the best leading male performance of the year.

Anthony Hopkins was haunting in The Father and broke my heart in his final scene. Going purely based on merit, I believe Anthony deserves to walk on that stage and accept an Oscar for Best Actor after 30 years without doing so. Riz Ahmed, too, was haunting as a man dealing with another type of loss, and he made Sound of Metal significantly more watchable for me.

I’m happy to see Steven Yuen here, but his performance in Minari was hardly Oscar-worthy. And don’t get me started on Mank.

AJ’s Rankings

1. Anthony Hopkins, The Father
2. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
3. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
4. Steven Yuen, Minari
5. Gary Oldman, Mank

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Winner: Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

How ironic would it be if Glenn Close – a woman constantly rejected by the Academy – wins her Oscar for Hillbilly Elegy, a movie that was almost entirely rejected by the Academy?

Here’s what I’ll say…it’s possible. I really think it is. But my money (and my vote) would be on Yuh-Jung Youn for her portrayal as nana Soon-ja. Unless Maria Bakalova comes out of nowhere, it really comes down to these two women. Karen Smith is an Oscar nominee, though, so a huge congrats to Amanda Seyfried. Olivia Coleman handed in a nomination-worthy performance in The Father, but it’s unlikely to earn her the win.

AJ’s Rankings

1. Yuh-Jung Yoon, Minari
2. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
3. Olivia Coleman, The Father
4. Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Also Nominated: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Winner: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

An overdue win for his work in Widows, Kaluuya is poised to take home the gold on Sunday for his portrayal as Fred Hampton in the 11th-hour entry Judas and the Black Messiah.

Candidly, it’s a pretty weak field this year, which makes me even more disappointed that Alan Kim didn’t sneak in for his turn in Minari. While I do think Kaluuya deserves the win, I honestly wouldn’t be peeved if Sacha Baron Cohen pulled out a surprise victory here.

AJ’s Rankings

1. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
2. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
3. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
4. LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah
5. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami…

Should Have Been Nominated

Alan Kim, Minari

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Winner: Promising Young Woman

I even hesitate predicting this win, because Aaron Sorkin is in this category – and while he has won before, he has yet to win Best Original Screenplay. I’m also torn over whether his Best Director omission will rally the troops to see his win in this category or if it’s indicative of the Academy’s indifference towards his film this year.

Either way, Promising Young Woman remains the frontrunner here, coming into Sunday’s show with a recent BAFTA win in the same category. Of the remaining three, Minari and Judas each have a minimally low chance of upsetting, while Sound of Metal is out of the running on this one.

AJ’s Rankings

1. Promising Young Woman
2. The Trial of the Chicago 7
3. Minari
4. Sound of Metal
5. Judas and the Black Messiah

Should Have Been Nominated

Alone, The Hunt, Another Round

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Winner: The Father

Pundits place Nomadland as the most likely winner here, but I disagree. The film is anything but screenplay-driven, as opposed to movies like The Father and One Night in Miami… which are entirely screenplay-driven. I’m backing The Father because of the intricacies in storytelling and revelations that scarily depict a loss of sanity and stability as one ages. The BAFTAs felt the same way.

AJ’s Rankings

1. The Father
2. Nomadland
3. One Night in Miami…
Also Nominated: The White Tiger & Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Should Have Been Nominated

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

And now, the rest of my predictions and preference, without my commentary.

Best Cinematography

Will Win: Nomadland
Should Win: Nomadland

Best Costume Design

Will Win: Emma
Should Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Film Editing

Will Win: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Should Win: Promising Young Woman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Will Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Should Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Production Design

Will Win: Mank
Should Win: Mank

Best Score

Will Win: Soul
Should Win: Minari

Best Song

Will Win: Speak Now, One Night in Miami

Best Sound

Will Win: Sound of Metal
Should Win: Sound of Metal

Best Visual Effects

Will Win: Tenet
Should Win: Tenet

Best Animated Feature

Will Win: Soul

Best International Feature

Will Win: Another Round

Tallied Predictions

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: 2 wins
Minari: 2 wins
Nomadland: 2 wins
Promising Young Woman: 2 wins
Soul: 2 wins
Another Round: 1 win
Emma: 1 win
The Father: 1 win
Judas and the Black Messiah: 1 win
Mank: 1 win
One Night in Miami…: 1 win
Sound of Metal: 1 win
Tenet: 1 win
The Trial of the Chicago 7: 1 win