The Oscars highlight the return of Hollywood’s best


Photo credit/ Used under the Creative Commons license: Credit: Flickr/Prayitno

The Academy Awards Ceremony will be broadcast on ABC this Sunday, March 27th at 8 p.m.

It’s that time of year again! The 94th annual Academy Awards will be held on March 25. This year, the ceremony will be back to normal after having a special set-up last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. In that return to normalcy, this year will be the first time since 2018 that the Oscars will have a host, with the duties being split between comediennes Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall.

Though this sense of normalcy is returning after a rough few years, great movies never left. Let’s get into the predictions.

Best Picture

This year’s Best Picture nominees are so good, it really is a toss up for the possible winner, except for one. “Don’t Look Up” being nominated for so many Oscars (including Best Picture) will continue to confuse me, especially since it has absolutely no chance of winning this award. I loved “West Side Story” and think that it has a good chance of winning. However, it is against both “Dune” and “Belfast,” which were acclaimed for being visually amazing, and “Licorice Pizza” which is known for its great script. I believe, however, that the Academy will vote in favor of “Belfast.” It is a beautiful black and white, coming of age film about a boy growing up in Belfast during the start of the Troubles in Ireland. The film won the People’s Choice Award at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival as well as Best Screenplay at the 2021 Golden Globes and definitely could take home the Oscar. However, “The Power of the Dog” did win the Golden Globe for Best Picture so it will certainly be an interesting competition.

Best Director

The nominees for Best Director seem like a list of members in the directing hall of fame. There is Steven Spielberg against Paul Thomas Anderson against Kenneth Branagh. Steven Spielberg has a very high chance of winning for “West Side Story” because every aspect of that movie is so beautiful and he’s one of the best directors of all time. However, the same could be said for Jane Campion and her film “The Power of the Dog.” She is the first woman director to be nominated for an Oscar twice and I think she’s going to win it. Plus, to see a female director win Best Director two years in a row would be groundbreaking.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

I think I can speak for everyone who saw a movie this year that there is no competition in this category. The Oscar will be going to Ariana Debose for her role in “West Side Story.” Her performance was stunning, with beautiful dancing and heartbreaking acting. Rita Moreno (who is also in the 2021 “West Side Story”) won the Oscar for playing Anita in the original film, so if Debose wins for her portrayal of Anita, the duo will be the third pair to be added to the list of different actors who won the Oscar for the same role. Among them are Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro for playing Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” films and Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix for playing The Joker in films set in the “Batman” universe.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

The nominees in this category have not made much noise in regards to their performances. However, the one that is being talked about is Kodi Smit-McPhee for “The Power of the Dog”. The New York Times described his performance as “evoking the young Anthony Perkins of “Psycho;” a high compliment for young actors. He is certainly a rising star. Smit-McPhee has won 16 awards already just for this role so it would come as no surprise to anyone if he takes the Oscar home.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

There are two performances in this category that I loved so much: Kristen Stewart in “Spencer” and Jessica Chastain in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” Stewart’s transformation into Princess Diana in “Spencer” was so good that it got to the point where I forgot she wasn’t actually Diana. She has my vote to win. Chastain was incredible in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and I am so glad that she was nominated for her performance because every other award show had snubbed her. This category is an odd one, though, because although Kristen Stewart is the best out of these nominees, she was not even nominated for either Leading Actress Golden Globes. Those instead went to Rachel Zegler for “West Side Story” (who wasn’t nominated for an Oscar) and Nicole Kidman for “Being the Ricardos.”

Best Actor in a Leading Role

As a theater kid, I desperately want Andrew Garfield to win for his role in “tick, tick…BOOM!.” He was funny, emotional and just all around fantastic in that movie. However, based on other award predictions, I believe this may be the year Will Smith, the Fresh Prince himself, wins an Oscar for his performance in “King Richard.” If it doesn’t go to Will Smith, the award will go to Benedict Cumberbatch for “The Power of the Dog.”

Because of all of these great performances, the Academy Awards this year will certainly be one to watch. For more on my thoughts on this year’s Oscars, be sure to check out TV-Marywood’s After Oscars Show where I will be discussing the awards the Monday after the broadcast.

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Twitter: @EllenFrantzTWW