Don’t miss the Oscars this weekend—here’s our predictions!

The most prestigious awards show celebrating the movie industry takes place this Sunday. The 93rd Academy Awards is coming a few months late, thanks Covid, but anticipation for ‘Hollywood’s biggest night’ is still at an all-time high.

To help you win your Oscar pool, here are my picks for the big awards of the evening.

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Balakova – Borat Subsequent Movie Film
Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman – The Father
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari

The heart and soul of most families is the matriarch and Youn’s performance is amazing. Glenn Close deserves to have an Oscar on her mantle and Balakova was hilarious. Colman delivered a great performance and Seyfried is getting better but Youn’s name will be called. Her turn as the sweet grandmother tugs at the heartstrings and she has been cleaning up this awards season.

And the Oscar goes to: Yuh-Jung Youn. Her momentum seems unstoppable.

Who could surprise: Glenn Close. It’s criminal she doesn’t have an Oscar and she buried herself in this performance. Could it be her time?

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr.  – One Night in Miami
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
Lakeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah

Sacha Baron Cohen could have had two nominations this year. One for ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ and one for ‘Borat’. He delivered a fantastic performance in a film with so many great actors. Leslie Odom Jr. showed he can do a lot more than just sing the songs of Lin Manuel Miranda in Regina Kings breakout hit. LaKeith Stanfield was a bit of a surprise nomination as his name wasn’t really on the radar for this award. Don’t let that fact make you think his performance didn’t deserve recognition. However it is co-star who is getting all of the press here. Daniel Kaluuya turns in the performance of his career. He brings Fred Hampton to life in Shaka Kings brilliant film. I will be shocked if he doesn’t win. 

And the Oscar goes to: Daniel Kaluuya.

Who could surprise: No one, this is a lock.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Borat Subsequent Movie Film
The Father
One Night in Miami
The White Tiger

‘The Father’ is by far the most impressive script in my opinion. Zeller takes his audience on the journey with the character. Many experts are saying ‘Nomadland’ but since you’re here for my opinion…

And the Oscar goes to. ‘The Father’

Who could surprise: ‘Nomadland’, ‘Borat’. This is the hardest one to call for me.

Best Original Screenplay

Judas and the Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

For years I have been a broken record saying, ‘Nobody writes like Aaron Sorkin!’ I am a huge fanboy. From his cleverly crafted TV series ‘SportsNight’ to ‘The West Wing’ he has made witty dialogue a trademark of his work. For my money, the opening sequence of ‘Molly’s Game’ is some of the best written and edited material I have seen on screen. You know why? Because nobody writes like Aaron Sorkin. No stranger to winning an Oscar (The Social Network) this should be an easy choice, right? Well, not so fast. Each one of these scripts is powerful in its own right but the buzz from this category is really with Emerald Fennell and her amazing script for ‘Promising Young Woman.’ We have seen many films tackle the ‘Me Too’ and ‘Time’s Up’ movements but this film gives those movements a superhero. Whether you consider it a dark comedy, a thriller, etc, you must consider it a fantastic film.

I adore Aaron Sorkin and I have tremendous respect for him, but after April 25th I suspect I will be saying, ‘Nobody writes like Emerald Fennell.

And the Oscar goes to: Emerald Fennell

Who could surprise: Aaron Sorkin

Best International Film

Another Round (Denmark)
Better Days (Hong Kong)
Collective (Romania)
The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia)
Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Following in the footsteps of last years winner ‘Parasite’ comes five strong contenders. Now I can use facts or common sense to pick this one. I am in a generous mood so I will use both.

The fact is ‘Another Round’ has been sweeping this category this awards season. Audiences and critics alike love this film about sa group of friends who test the limits of day drinking.

Common sense says that the only International Film nominee that is also nominated for Best Director is for the film ‘Another Round.’ If only every category was this easy to pick.

And the Oscar goes to: ‘Another Round’ (Denmark)

Who could surprise: ‘Quo Vadis. Aida?’ (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman –  Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Gary Oldman – Mank
Steven Yeun – Minari

At last year’s Toronto International Film Festival after seeing ‘The Father’ I was convinced I had seen the best work of Anthony Hopkins’ career since ‘The Silence of the Lambs.’ I took in the other performances. Gary Oldman was good in ‘Mank’. Getting killed off of ‘The Walking Dead’ was clearly the best thing that ever happened to Steven Yeun’s career as he has been able to shine theatrically ever since. Riz Ahmed continues to develop a strong resume. No, this was Anthony Hopkins’ award to lose. Then I saw ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.’ Chadwick Boseman lit up the screen. He delivered the performance of his career. A short career that already included phenomenal performances.

Many people will say that he will win the Oscar because he passed away. Many people said that about Heath Ledger’s turn as the Joker until they saw ‘The Dark Knight’ and understood what all of the fuss is about. The buzz around Boseman for his performance in this film didn’t start when he passed, it was simply amplified.

The fact that his education was secretly funded by Denzel Washington, who serves as a producer on this film, seems to bring things full circle.

You can call him Chadwick or refer to his phenomenal characters like Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall or The Black Panther, but come April 25th we will all be calling him the same thing . . . . Academy Award winner Chadwick Boseman.

And the Oscar goes to: Chadwick Boseman.

Who could surprise: There is a slim, chance Anthony Hopkins win, I just don’t think he will.

Best Actress

Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anda Day – The United States vs Billie Holliday
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

This is the award I am most excited for. You could honestly pick any name and I would happily endorse it. These are simply the five best performances. Rosamund Pike won Best Actress at the Golden Globes and isn’t nominated. You can blame the publicity behind the film ‘I Care a Lot’ or you can simply say these five were just a little better.

Viola Davis proved once again why she is one of the best, male or female, in front of a screen. Andra Day’s performance of someone dealing with substance abuse issues while being pursued by the government was intense. Vanessa Kirby’s performance in ‘Pieces of a Woman’ gave me infinite respect for any woman who has ever been pregnant. Frances McDormand reminded everyone why she is the standard. Carey Mulligan delivers the best work of her career in a film that is not only timely, but both deserves and demands your attention. The real winner in this category are the audiences that bared witness to these breathtaking executions of acting.

The Oscar goes to . . . . Some say McDormand . . . . some say Davis . . . . I am going with the performance that I truly believe deserves this trophy and that is Carey Mulligan.

Who could surprise: Any of these women. They nominated the right five here and I’d be happy for any of them. If Mulligan doesn’t win I would love to see Viola Davis win her first Best Actress to go with her Supporting Award from ‘Fences’.

Best Director

Thomas Vinterberg – Another Round
David Fincher – Mank
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Chloe Zhao – Nomadland
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman

Coming into this awards season there was a lot of talk that three women would be nominated for Best Director. The third being Regina King for her film ‘One Night in Miami…’. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. But history is about to be made another way. Chloe Zhao who has basically won every award she’s been up for will save the best for last. When it was confirmed that Aaron Sorkin wasn’t nominated I had a hard time seeing anyone else win this award. She will be the first woman of colour to win Best Director. ‘Nomadland’ is visually stunning, somewhat reminiscent of last years ‘1917’ with a strong focus on cinematography.

The ‘Chloe Zhao’ train is moving full steam ahead. Next stop…the Academy Awards.

And the Oscar goes to….Chloe Zhao

Who could surprise: Again, no one. This one is pretty guaranteed. Lee Isaac Chung could upset but it would be a major shock since Zhao has won every major award leading up to this.

Best Picture

The Father
Judas and The Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

What a fantastic list of films. A list that I encourage you to watch if you haven’t. The stories will captivate you. The hard look at the justice system, a man dealing with dementia, a drummer who is losing his hearing, a Black Panther member dealing with betrayal, a woman who refuses to be the victim, an immigrant family chasing the American dream, a look at the making of one of Hollywood’s most respected films and a woman who must adapt to her circumstances.

These eight movies represent the best of Hollywood for 2020 and a little of 2021.

Given the nominees we are presented with I would love to say ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ or ‘Promising Young Woman’ but I don’t want to be wrong.

And the Oscar goes to: ‘Nomadland’.

Who could surprise: ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’. It’s what I would vote for. I loved that film, but I’m not convinced the Academy voters are ready for a Netflix film to win Best Picture.