March 5, 2022

Academy Awards 2021




The Oscar Hosts are back (times 3), and so are my Oscar Predications! 2020 was a weird COVID CRAZY YEAR and I think it produced an uneven group of films, though I loved Mank, Promising Young Woman, and Nomadland to name a few.  Although we strived for normalcy again in 2021, we didn’t quite get there as evidenced by the list of Best Picture Nominees, where a whooping (5) films debuted on home viewing streaming options. I still struggle to wrap my head around the ever-changing movie viewing environment and long for days when theaters are busy again. If you aren’t Spiderman or Batman you aren’t selling tickets it seems. 


(Note: I have not yet seen Spencer and The Tragedy of Macbeth...yet) 

THE BIG ONES (A couple felt like homework, but I saw em all!):


BEST PICTURE: What will win-CODA (I think), Director Sian Heder (Orange is the New Black fame) tells a heartwarming story about Ruby, the only hearing person in an otherwise deaf family. I am grateful the Oscars brought me to this film, because if it hadn’t been nominated, I may have never have got to it (Streaming on APPLE TV). I was moved by the films wonderful script and thoughtful sound design. It reminds me of Moonlight in that it isn’t well seen but has a lot of positive momentum going into the Oscars, since more folks like me tuned in once it got nominated. It is very much worthy of Best picture. 


What should win-BELFAST (Shouts Spider-Man: No Way Home-believe it or not) Director Kenneth Branagh chose a personal story as the center of his best film to date, the tumultuous 1960s in Ireland. This film is remarkably charming, you can’t take your eyes off it. I am shocked it does not have more momentum and completely devastated that the film wasn’t nominated for Cinematography (Haris Zambarloukos is a genuis!) and Film Editing (Una Ni Dhonghaile) as every choice they made matches Branagh’s wonderful script to perfection. I was completely romanced by the Van Morrison centric soundtrack as well. 


The Oscars have well documented issues and are bleeding viewers but nominating high-brow Sci-Fi snooze-fest Dune, over fun, fan pleasing films that work like Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Spider-Man: No Way Home are clearly not helping the cause. I honestly thought this was the year a Blockbuster-type film was going to sneak into the Best Picture field. One of the the more earnest films of 2021 was George Clooney's The Tender Bar, it isn't perfectly constructed, but deserved some recognition anyway. 


BEST DIRECTOR: Who will win- Jane Campion, Indie darling Jane Campion (The Piano) created a clever film in The Power of the Dog. The sneaky murder film has a creepy slow burn that will stay with you, although it is unlikely, I’ll ever watch it again. 


Who should win-Kenneth Branagh, he has directed film’s I really like before (Jack Ryan, Much Ado About Nothing, and Thor), but never has he created anything quite as wonderful and well-constructed as Belfast. I am rooting for him for sure. 


BEST ACTOR: Who will win-Will Smith, In King Richard Smith delivers one of the best performances of his career (Shouts Pursuit of Happiness) and I think he is deserving. 


Who should win- Honestly CODA’s Troy Kotsur has a case to be in this category, but  outside of him, I wouldn’t be mad if Denzel won another statue. 


BEST ACTRESS: Who will win-Odds say Nicole Kidman, who shines as Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardo’s (although Lucy talking Sorkin, I'm not so sure of). 


Who should win-Olivia Coleman, just give that woman an Oscar every year! The Lost Daughter is an unsettling film but you can't take your eyes off Coleman who just effortlessly commands the screen.   


BEST SUPPORTING’S: Who will win-Ariana DeBose and Kodi Smit-McPhee, The role of Anita is Oscar gold, and Ariana DeBose is wonderful in West Side Story. Kodi Smit-McPhee outshines Benedict Cumberbath in The Power of the Dog (no small feat) so I think he gets it. 


Who should win-They both deserve it here but I would prefer Troy Kotsur to Kodi, his heartwarming turn as Frank Rossi from Gloucester is brilliant. I think there are cases to be made for both Kirsten Dunst and Judi Dench who both give incredible performances in The Power of the Dog and Belfast. (Shouts Ciaran Hinds and Aunjanue Ellis) 




ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Will win-Belfast, Branagh just crushes it here and better win. You won’t find a better Original Screenplay in 2021. 


Should win-Zach Baylin was given a big task writing King Richard and did a good job with it, but no question for my money it should Belfast

Will win-The Power of the Dog, though I think it is the maybe the 3rd or 4th best Adapted Screenplay here.  


Who should win-CODA or maybe The Lost Daughter, I could see the Academy giving some love to Maggie Gyllenhaal here, but in my mind CODA is the best of this group, and by a lot. 


CINEMATOGRAPHY: Will win-The Power of the Dog, Ari Wegner’s firm and steady Cinematography sets the tone of the film and will likely take home the statue.


Should Win-Belfast and Cinematographer  Haris Zambarloukos were absolutely robbed here, the incredible work of the camera in that film is breathtaking. Where the camera is placed to give interesting POV shots that help the overall narrative was completely and unfairly overlooked. (Shouts Dune)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Will win-Summer of Soul, Questlove does a great job showing the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969. 

Should win-I mean after an amazing 2020 of music documentaries I thought 2021 picked up right where 2020 left off, Under the Volcano, Jagged, Tina, Brian Wilson Long Promised Road, or Listening to Kenny G, all deserved some love here. 


Quick Picks:


Animated Feature-Encanto 

Original Score-Encanto (Shouts Dune)

Original Song-No Time to Die by Bille Eillish (Shouts to Down to Joy by Van Morrison)

Costume Design-Cruella (Shouts to Dune)

Best Sound-Belfast (Shouts Dune, maybe a little too much reverb, but still)

Production Design-Dune (Shouts to West Side Story)

Visual Effects-Dune (Shouts to Spider-Man: No Way Home)

Have a wonderful time enjoying this years Oscars and support your local movie theaters!!! 


Pod Chicky Boom (E2W Preview the 94th Academy Awards!)