Oscar Picks: December 2021

Being the Ricardos
Don’t Look Up
House of Gucci
Licorice Pizza
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story

Falling off: The Humans, King Richard
Rising star: The Lost Daughter

The skinny: While King Richard certainly has a shot to return to the list of 10 finalists, it looks less likely now that the film bombed at the box office. Slotting in are Being the Ricardos, which actors aren’t going to be able to resist, and West Side Story, which seems to have silenced all the naysayers. While Netflix already has two films in the mix, The Lost Daughter is surging.

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley
Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Falling off: Leos Carax
Rising star: Julia Ducournau, Titane

The skinny: While I had initially thought Carax was the perfect candidate for the “respected international director who gets a nod for an otherwise ignored film,” he’s got a lot more competition for that slot, including Titane‘s Julia Ducournau, The Worst Person in the World‘s Joachim Trier and Drive My Car‘s Ryusuke Hamaguchi. So that probably just means they’ll nominate Steven Spielberg again.

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Peter Dinklage, Cyrano
Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick Boom
Will Smith, King Richard
Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Falling off: Adam Driver
Rising star: Nicolas Cage, Pig

The skinny: Adam Driver had not one but three acclaimed films this year. But alas none of them will help him get into this crowded field. While the odd release strategy might keep Cyrano from a Best Picture nod, the campaign circuit is already eating up all of Peter Dinklage’s performance, so he may take away some heat from Benedict Cumberbatch, who’s magnificent but prickly in The Power of the Dog. But it would be nice if someone would clear out for Nicolas Cage, who’s doing his best acting in more than a decade in Pig.

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
Lady Gaga, House of Gucci
Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Falling off: Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Hudson
Rising star: Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

The skinny: Everyone loves Alana Haim and with good reason. But she’s going to have a hell of a time breaking into this group, which features four winners and a never-better Kristen Stewart.

Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza
Ciaran Hinds, Belfast
Troy Kotsur, CODA
Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Falling off: Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Al Pacino
Rising star: Jared Leto, House of Gucci

The skinny: An absolutely wide-open category that currently features four men who have never been nominated before. But hey, remember a few months ago (yes, this year’s Oscars were in April) when there was legitimate worry that Jared Leto would get nominated for the otherwise lousy The Little Things? That didn’t come to pass, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility this year for his divisive turn in House of Gucci.

Judi Dench, Belfast
Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Marlee Matlin, CODA

Falling off: Olga Meridiz
Rising star: Rita Moreno, West Side Story

The skinny: Poor Olga Meridiz, along with pretty much everyone else involved in In the Heights is likely to be swept aside in favor of West Side Story, which is a shame. While Rita Moreno could end up nominated for a similar role, right now Aunjanue Ellis feels like the woman to beat.

Being the Ricardos
Don’t Look Up
The French Dispatch
Licorice Pizza

Falling off: The Card Counter
Rising star: Mass

The skinny: Farewell, my beloved Card Counter. You were too pure (and cynical) for these voters.

The Lost Daughter
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog

Falling off: The Humans
Rising star: The Tragedy of Macbeth

The skinny: What was initially deemed a weak category for this year seems stronger every day. The only question seems to be if Joel Coen will be nominated for his faithful (at least in verse) adaptation of Macbeth. Kenneth Branagh pulled it off 25 years ago for his unabridged version of Hamlet. But it might not be so simple this time, despite the film’s success elsewhere.

This entry was posted in Awards, Film, Oscars, Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.