Oscar Predictions By MoCo’s Very Own, Andrew Italia

by MCS Staff
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 Andrew Italia is an attorney in Rockville, 2001 Quince Orchard High School graduate, and MoCo resident. When he was in college at the University of Maryland, he was the movie critic for The Maryland Diamondback.

During his time as the movie critic, he began making Oscar predictions for all 24 categories. His all-time record is 21 out of 24, but he usually falls in the 18-20 range.

For the third straight year he is providing The MoCoShow with his predictions. Earlier this month, he shared his Top Twelve Movies of 2021.

If the Oscars fall in the forest and no one is around to see it, does it make a sound?

            The question is apt for an awards show that once seduced a viewership second only to the Superbowl but which now circles the drain of cultural irrelevance behind the ratings of NCIS: Dripping Springs While the Academy bulked its voting members up to 9,487, it has yet to restore its focus to films fans actually enjoy.  Facing such a stalwart fall from grace, what course correction can they offer after last year’s trainwreck of a show?  Perhaps a pair of big name hosts who play off each other?  Colin Jost and Michael Che?  Tina Fey and Amy Poehler?  Kanye (aka “Ye”) and Pete Davidson?  Maybe nominate box office behemoth Spider-man: No Way Home for Best Picture?  Bring Jack back to the front row?

Negative Ghost Rider.  

Instead they’ve eliminated eight categories from the live broadcast, trifurcated the show into three parts, and featured a Twitter audience poll.

Wow.

So start tweeting.

           Then get ready for more NCIS.

 

Key:

Will Win: Bet your first born on it (…but only if you’re at least semi-fond of your second born…)

Alternate: The most likely upset

Should Win: Who wins in Voltaire’s “best of all possible worlds”

Should’ve Been Nominated: Who the Academy snubbed entirely

 

BEST PICTURE:

Will Win: Coda

Alternate: The Power of the Dog

Should Win:  Coda

Should’ve been Nominated: The Last Duel

What was looking like an early KO has gone all twelve rounds.

First you have your flyweights.  West Side Story hopes to be the first remake of a Best Picture winner to become a Best Picture winner…but shit in one hand and hope in the other…amiright?  Even eco-friendly Don’t Look Up has a shot at victory.  Though technically so did the Fenian Raids.

Belfast is Ivan Drago.  A fierce favorite poised for victory in the first act, it is the only non-streaming film to be nominated for SAG Ensemble, DGA, and PGA, presents a chance to award Kenneth Branagh a lifetime achievement, and has a timely message given the human tragedy in Ukraine.  However, it’s lacking critical editing and cinematography noms and has won no major awards since Toronto.

The Power of the Dog is Apollo Creed.  The seemingly invincible frontrunner with the most nominations and impeccable craft.  It already wears belts from the Golden Globe, DGA, BFCA, and BAFTA.  But it lacks any SAGs, the poignant PGA, and any actual, well…excitement (though the few of us who suffered through poor Frances McDormand shitting in a bucket in last year’s snoozefest Nomadland can attest that you don’t need this to win).  The Academy has also gone out of its stuffed shirted way to snub Netflix thus far.

Your Rocky Balboa in this already asinine analogy?  None other than Coda The scrappy underdog who managed the come-from-behind comeuppances of both a SAG ensemble and a PGA (16 of the last 21 winners had one, as did 22 of the last 32 overall).  Of the last ten films to boast both of these bellwethers, eight of them won.  Winning will still mean a statistical Crash, as no film with a sparse three nominations has won Best Picture since 1932 and no film without a directing or editing nom has won since 1935.  Who could be in its corner to allow such a feat?  First is Steve Jobs’ giant fruit company – in a guilded age owned by tech giants, the reach of Apple’s propaganda cannot be overstated.  Standing aside it is the byzantine preferential ballot, the king killer of frontrunners (Roma, 1917, et al.) who can’t hurdle 50% on the first round.  Plus, as Adrian can attest, who the hell doesn’t love David when he’s fighting Goliath?

So is this Rocky Rocky II The ill fated first fight of Rocky IV?

We’ll find out when the final bell rings on Sunday.

 

BEST DIRECTOR:

Will Win: Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Alternate: Kenneth Branagh for Belfast 

Should Win: Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza

Should’ve been Nominated: Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Spielberg now has six nominations in six separate decades.  But this isn’t his night.  Instead, Campion roars back after a 12-year hiatus as the first woman nominated twice in this category, and likely the third woman to win it.

 

BEST ACTOR:

Will Win:  Will Smith for King Richard

Alternate: Benedict Cumberbatch for The Power of the Dog

Should Win:  Will Smith for King Richard

Should’ve Been Nominated: Nicolas Cage for Pig

Will Big Will become King Will?  Likely.  Though don’t count Doctor Strange out yet…

 

BEST ACTRESS:

Will Win:  Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Alternate: Kristen Stewart for Spencer

Should Win:  Kristen Stewart for Spencer

Should’ve Been Nominated: Rosamund Pike for I Care a Lot

The cloudiest crystal ball of the night with a schizophrenic scattershot of precursor awards pointing anywhere but true north.  Nicole Kidman took the Globe and Chastain the BFCA and SAG.  As both Kidman and Olivia Coleman already have Oscars on their mantles, the edge goes to always-a-bridesmaid Chastain.  Though a certain Charlie’s Angel could steal the show…  

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Will Win: Troy Kotsur for Coda

Alternate: Kodi Smit-McPhee for The Power of the Dog

Should Win: Troy Kotsur for Coda

Should’ve been Nominated: Jon Bernthal for King Richard OR John Cena for The Suicide Squad

A Dog-sized tsunami could wash up here.  Otherwise it’s the indelible Kotsur’s for the taking.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Will Win: Ariana DeBose for West Side Story

Alternate: Judi Dench for Belfast

Should Win: Ariana DeBose for West Side Story

Should’ve Been Nominated: Marlee Matlin in Coda

While Judi becomes the oldest woman ever nominated, West Side Story‘s Anita will almost certainly join Don Vito Corleone and the Joker as the rare role earning two different performers playing it an Oscar (following Rita Moreno in 1962).

 

BEST SCREENPLAY (ADAPTED):

Will Win: Coda

Alternate: The Power of the Dog

Should Win: Coda

Should’ve been Nominated: The Suicide Squad

The Lost Daughter winning the Scripter and Coda taking the BAFTA and WGA (which predicted this category in four of the last four years) kneecapped Dog before its march to the podium.

 

BEST SCREENPLAY (ORIGINAL): 

Will Win: Belfast

Alternate: Licorice Pizza

Should Win: Don’t Look Up

Should’ve been Nominated: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Another nail biter.  If they don’t hand it the big prize, this might be the Academy’s only chance to recognize Branagh’s semi-autobiographical ode to his childhood (as BFCA did).  But it’s also their opportunity to award PTA a writing prize (as BAFTA did).  Or they could throw it to Adam McKay (as WGA did).

 

BEST ANIMATED PICTURE:

Will Win: Encanto 

Alternate: The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Should Win: Raya and the Last Dragon

Should’ve been Nominated: South Park: Post-Covid

While no one talks about Bruno, the early talk was all about Encanto Though with the coveted Annie award (which predicted the winner in this category 14 of the last 20 years), Mitchells has shoplifted late breaking momentum.  Flip your favorite coin.

 

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM:

Will Win: Drive My Car (Japan)

Alternate: The Worst Woman in the World (Norway)

Should Win: Drive My Car (Japan)

Should’ve been Nominated: Riders of Justice (Denmark)

While the Worst Woman is pretty close in the rearview, Japan’s submission is sanguine for the win.

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

Will Win: Summer of Soul

Alternate: Flee

Should Win: Flee

Should’ve been Nominated: The Rescue

Of its three nominations, this is Flee‘s best ticket to the podium.  Standing in its path is perennial favorite Summer of Soul The best documentary of the year, The Rescue, wasn’t even invited to the party.

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

Will Win: Dune

Alternate: Spider-man: No Way Home

Should Win: Dune

Should’ve been Nominated: The Matrix Resurrections

Short of Spider-man savoring a pity ****, VES winner Dune walks away with it.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:

Will Win: “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Alternate: “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

Should Win: “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Should’ve been Nominated: “Last One Standing” from Venom: Let There be Carnage

The last two Bond songs won here, so the franchise’s youngest singer seems poised for a repeat.  However, only a damned fool and his perverted Uncle Fred bets against Lin Manuel (for “Dos Oruguitas”) or Queen B herself (for King Richard‘s “Be Alive”) entirely.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:

Will Win: Dune by Hans Zimmer

Alternate: The Power of the Dog by Johnny Greenwood

Should Win: Dune by Hans Zimmer

Should’ve been Nominated: The Last Duel by Harry Gregson-Williams

You are Hans Zimmer, the biggest composer east of Johnny Williams.  After crafting dozens of famous scores (i.e. The Lion King, Crimson Tide, The Dark Knight, etc.), you literally invented a new instrument to capture Dune‘s.  After twelve nominations, it’s your first win in almost three decades.  You rent the tux, book the limo, mix the Vin Mariani, and scribble out the speech.  And then…  The Academy bumps your big moment to make time for a Twitter award.  Cue the Curb Your Enthusiasm riff.

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Will Win: Dune

Alternate: The Power of the Dog

Should Win: Dune

Should’ve been Nominated: The Green Knight

Between dunking Dune and picking up his BAFTA, Greig Fraser just shot a small indie you may have heard of called…The Batman Suffice to say, if anyone can take the big Dog down, it’s him.

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

Will Win: Dune

Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Should Win: Dune

Should’ve been Nominated: The French Dispatch

It’s Dune‘s to lose.

 

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING:

Will Win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Alternate: Dune

Should Win: House of Gucci

Should’ve been Nominated: The Suicide Squad

With Lady Ga Ga gone, if Gucci gets any gold, it will be here.  But right now it’s likely licking the bronze… 

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

Will Win: Cruella

Alternate: Dune

Should Win: Dune

Should’ve been Nominated: House of Gucci

Cruella probably prevails, but a clean Dune sweep come Sunday steals its thunder.

 

BEST FILM EDITING:

Will Win: Dune

Alternate: King Richard

Should Win: King Richard

Should’ve been Nominated: No Time to Die

A razor close onanistic exercise for film dweebs.  Dog is the critical favorite, Dune is the crowd favorite, King Richard is the ACE winner, West Side Story is the BFCA winner, and the BAFTA winning No Time to Die wasn’t nominated.  Your dice. 

 

BEST SOUND:

Will Win:  Dune

Alternate: West Side Story

Should Win: No Time to Die

Should’ve Been Nominated: A Quiet Place Part II

While the musical is ordinarily the heavyweight, the sounds of Arrakis’ desert seemed poised for an uppercut.

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT:

Will Win: The Queen of Basketball

Alternate: Three Songs for Benazir

 

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED):

Will Win: Robin Robin

Alternate: The Windshield Wiper

 

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION):

Will Win: The Long Goodbye

Alternate: Ala Kachuu: Take and Run

 

Your Office Pool Approved Shortlist:

Best Picture: Coda

Best Director: Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Best Actor: Will Smith for King Richard

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Best Supporting Actor: Troy Kotsur for Coda

Best Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose for West Side Story

Best Screenplay (Adapted): Coda

Best Screenplay (Original): Belfast

Best Animated Film: Encanto

Best Foreign Film: Drive My Car (Japan)

Best Documentary Feature: Summer of Soul

Best Visual Effects:  Dune

Best Song: “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Best Score: Dune by Hans Zimmer

Best Cinematography: Dune

Best Production Design: Dune

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Best Costume Design: Cruella

Best Film Editing: Dune

Best Sound: Dune

Best Short Documentary: The Queen of Basketball

Best Short Film (Animated): Robin Robin

Best Short Film (Live Action): The Long Goodbye

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