Ok, we know the nominees. Let’s do some of patented predictions!
I should mention that while I am awesome at predicting nominees, predicting winners is where I am unusually godawful. Last year, I was a mess at it, even getting both screenplay categories wrong. So, let’s start with that and party!!!
Best Original Screenplay
Belfast (Kenneth Branagh)
Don’t Look Up (Adam McKay)
King Richard (Zach Baylin)
Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Worst Person In The World (Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier)
WHO WILL WIN?: I think this year is going to be a good year for King Richard, a film which received six Oscar nominations. It’s a really good and touching film, and I think it’s powered by two things: an amazing performance by Will Smith as Richard Williams (father of Venus and Serena), and a really good script from Zach Baylin. This isn’t the strongest batch of nominees in this category this year, and that helps this movie and this script. Not saying it’s a bad film or script, just that this crop isn’t as good as years prior.
WHO SHOULD WIN?: I know a lot of people are thinking that Licorice Pizza is coming away with it, and maybe it will, but I’m still having too difficult of a time reconciling with the age difference between the two lead characters. What I am not reconciling with, however, is how amazing the movie The Worst Person In The World is. This movie took me by huge surprise, despite being on almost every critic’s “Best Of” list. It’s touching and meaningful and funny and sad and sometimes it’s all of that at once. It’s not going to win, but it would be awesome if it did.
UPSET SPECIAL?: I think the dark horse here is Don’t Look Up, a film a lot of people liked a whole lot more than I did. I don’t see it taking home any Oscars this year, but because of the nominees, it just might sneak in and give Adam McKay an Oscar.
WHO GOT SNUBBED?: If you’ve been following what I do with my predictions, I have a rule: I cannot say a movie got snubbed without taking a nominee off of the board, and it’s easy to do in this case. The French Dispatch is nowhere near Wes Anderson’s best film, but it’s also one of the best movies of 2021 and has one of the best scripts of the year. In my world, Anderson is in and Don’t Look Up is out.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Coda (Siân Heder)
Drive My Car (Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe)
Dune (Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth)
The Lost Daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal)
The Power Of The Dog (Jane Campion)
WHO WILL WIN?: This year, I’m putting all of my gambling odds on The Power Of The Dog. I just get the feeling that this film is going to be the big, big winner on Oscar night and it’s gonna be taking home a lot of gold statues. It’s deserved, by the way. It’s an amazing film that touches on a lot of issues, and Campion has written a sad and cruel screenplay that absolutely floored me.
WHO SHOULD WIN?: No film shocked me with its greatness more than the writing/directing debut of Maggie Gyllenhaal. The Lost Daughter is an absolute roller coaster of pain and grief and a struggle to figure out what parenthood means, especially to a mother. Gyllenhaal wrote a gem of an adaptation and it should be the one which will be recognized.
UPSET SPECIAL?: You never know when a great foreign language film is going to come out of nowhere and sweep everything. I was wrong when i said it wasn’t going to happen with Parasite a few years ago. And I don’t think it’s going to happen to Drive My Car this year. But, if this film takes home Best Adapted Screenplay, it could be a huge night for the film, also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture.
WHO GOT SNUBBED?: You know what? No snubs. I could have put in The Tragedy Of MacBeth or Passing or West Side Story, but I’m not sure what I would have taken out to make room. As soft as I find the Best Original Screenplay nominees, that’s how good the Adapted nominees are.