It’s the Oscar season and bets are pooling in on who might take home the prestigious award.
Since everyone makes predictions about who may win the Oscars, I’m going to do things a little differently and tell you who won’t win but is truly deserving of the shiny, golden trophy.
I’ve selected seven categories in particular whose winners seemed to be already decided or very predictable, and contrasted them with choices that are equally worthy of the award. Now, I know I said “film” but I’ve also included Leading Actor and Actress into the mix because they need to be talked about.
So without further ado:
1Best Picture: Belfast
Most folks think that The Power of the Dog all but has Best Picture in their bag, and they might not be wrong. The multiple nominations racked up, immense praise and the possibility of it being the fourth Western to win so, leaves very little room for doubt.
The Power of the Dog definitely overshadows its noteworthy contender Belfast, which I gather has more weight than the remaining eight nominations. It is heartfelt, uplifting, funny and tragic.
Not to forget, it’s more digestible to the audience who might find The Power of the Dog a bit too cavernous for their taste. It’s a movie that won’t leave its audience divisive in its opinions. (You can decide if that’s a good thing or not).
It’s not that I don’t want The Power of the Dog to win Best Picture, it’s just a shame that it means Belfast won’t.
2Best Adapted Screenplay: Drive My Car
Since Denis Villeneuve was shunned for Directing, it is very well possible that the Academy may award Dune in other categories, the most likely being Best Adapted Screenplay. After all, he did adapt a 600-page intricate Sci-Fi world for the screen successfully, with both avid fans and unintroduced watchers liking the movie.
If I had to go around giving awards, Drive My Car would be my pick in this category. The juncture where Villeneuve and Hamaguchi diverge is the task set up for them.
Let me put it this way — It is much easier to adapt Herbert’s novel (and I say this with all due respect) than it is Murakami’s. Murakami’s work is often subtle bordering on ambiguous and leaves you with unkindled introspection and the feeling of being carved open.
A film like Drive My Car which gets its source material’s emotions right on screen must be acknowledged.
(Another great contender would be The Lost Daughter, which if selected to win would be a happy surprise!)
3Original Screenplay: The Worst Person in the World
Since Belfast won’t win Best Picture, it is likely to snag an award for Original Screenplay. However, I wouldn’t put it past King Richard to win it either, especially because it is predicted to be left out in other categories.
But as I say, there is no such thing as having too many foreign-language films at the Oscars. The Worst Person in the World is the renaissance of romance films. It’s modern, relevant and so very real — The writing is so reflective and on point!
The only other category it has been nominated in is International Feature Film. Sadly, if my instincts are anything to go by, The Worst Person in the World won’t make the cut for either of the categories despite its potential.
4Best Cinematography: The Tragedy of Macbeth
When I first saw the trailer for The Tragedy of Macbeth, I was sure it would win many Academy awards. But now gauging the hot and cold response to it, I have my doubts. (It wasn’t even included for Best Picture!)
Every other nominee in the category (The Power of the Dog, Nightmare Alley, Dune, and West Side Story) has a compelling visual narrative to offer. But none transport you like The Tragedy of Macbeth.
I’m not merely talking about fusing the gothic with the Shakespearean, but more so about how the film’s techniques are clearly reminiscent of the dawn of cinema. If those casting votes recognize this too, I won’t mind being proven wrong about Macbeth losing this award.
5Best Actor: Will Smith (King Richard)
I’m not saying that Will Smith is not in the running of winning Best Actor, but it is possible that he might lose out to his other nominees (especially Cumberbatch and Washington).
Still, Smith’s Oscar is long overdue. He may not be particularly known for hard-hitting films as he veers more on comedy and action. But this is exactly what makes his role in King Richard so captivating. Smith makes you forget any of his other movies and really takes the center stage as a seasoned actor.
If not an Oscar, I hope this nomination drives Smith into appearing in more diverse content.
6Best Actress: Kristen Stewart (Spencer)
As of yet, there’s no clear predictable winner for Best Actress. But once again, deducing Spencer’s precursory nominations (or lack thereof), it makes my heart ache that Stewart may be snubbed once again.
The top contenders in this category are Nicole Kidman for Being the Ricardos and Olivia Coleman for The Lost Daughter. The latter has been sealing her legendary status over the years, so it is not difficult to imagine Coleman winning another Oscar four years later.
Where does Stewart fit into all of this? When Spencer was just released, Stewart’s shoo-in to the Oscars was all the talk. There was special praise for her acting, even if the movie did not land all its marks. Now the Academy has nominated the film for only one category — Stewart for Best Actress, but even that won’t save Spencer from failing to live up to its predicted award hype.
7Visual Effects: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Due to its nonsensical beef with superhero movies, the Academy has chosen to ignore the film that quite literally revived the box office during the pandemic. It’s not just that Spider-Man NWH made big bucks, it’s that the film & Tom Holland’s acting deserves to be acknowledged for its part in cinema and cultural media.
Superhero movies are changing and NWH is proof that they should be taken as seriously as other “critically acclaimed” films. No Way Home was the moment of 2021’s cinema.
Since the Academy has already disappointed me with their treatment of Spider-Man: No Way Home, I have no hopes of it winning in the lone category it was nominated in.