Well, we’ve done it. I’ve given you predictions for screenplay, acting, and literally every other category. It’s time for the two biggies. Let’s not waste any more of the internet and just dive in.
Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
Jane Campion, Power Of The Dog
Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car
Steven Spielberg, West Side Story
WHO WILL WIN?: I hope this category brought a tent and a sleeping bag, because it is going Camping… I mean Campion. With her return to filmmaking, Jane Campion is truly excellent as a filmmaker with Power Of The Dog. This is the one category that is a stone cold lock. So long as the Oscars go long and someone will give a speech that is too long, Jane Campion WILL win for Best Director.
WHO SHOULD WIN?: This is kind of spoiling the next category, but I’m a firm believer that if you made the best movie, then you’re the Best Director. So Steven Spielberg is gonna get hosed on this one. More on that later.
UPSET SPECIAL: Not gonna happen. No way; no how. However, if for some reason the earth and heavens move and Campion isn’t winning, then I think it would go to Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Drive My Car is the film I hope more people see because of all of its nominations, because it’s an amazing and heartbreaking film. Hamaguchi made a powerful entry, but this is Campion’s to lose.
WHO GOT SNUBBED?: My original answer was going to be Wes Anderson, but the real confusing snub here is for Denis Villeneuve for Dune. That film raked in a ton of nominations and is visually gorgeous, and I’m stunned that Villeneuve, a previous nominee, didn’t get the love. In a perfect world, Branagh and Anderson (Paul Thomas) are out, and Villeneuve and Anderson (Wes) are in.
Don’t Look Up
Drive My Car
Power Of The Dog
West Side Story
WHO WILL WIN?: Ok, so this has been a two-horse race all season, and while the smart money has CODA winning the big prize of the night, I cannot shake the feeling in my gut that, when it’s all said and done, Power Of The Dog is going to be the Best Picture. A cold and aggressive take on the American Western, Campion’s film just rips with amazing performances and an unrelenting tone. It’s not happy feel-good Hollywood, but that’s not the story Campion wanted to tell.
WHO SHOULD WIN?: West Side Story was everything America needed in a weird and rough year. An escapist return to the theater, but also one with a somber message. Glorious musical numbers. Amazing cinematography. It’s what Steven Spielberg seems to have been building his whole career to make, and it pays off in enormous dividends.
UPSET SPECIAL: As mentioned, if Power Of The Dog isn’t winning, then CODA is. And it’s a fine film I liked enough. It just doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot else to say about it that other people haven’t.
WHAT GOT SNUBBED?: Look, in no way is The French Dispatch the best film from Wes Anderson. But it’s an amazing and interesting and beautiful film and one of the best of the year. I would have included that instead of Don’t Look Up.