The 94th Oscars: Who Should Win and Who Will Win

By: Aaron Siebert

It’s the most exciting, yet, aggravating time of the year for film nerds, the Oscar nominations have been announced and everybody’s mind is running amok to make the correct guess. If you’re not a cinephile, just think of it like March Madness bracket making but for movies instead of basketball. If you don’t like film or basketball, well, I think you can guess what I mean. 

But here’s the thing: the average person either hasn’t seen most of the nominated movies or just doesn’t know how to make their picks once they do see them. 

Lucky for you, that’s where I come in. Two years in a row I have hosted an Oscars party where me and my many guests all make our predictions, and I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve won each time. Getting 16 out of 24. 

But just because a film will win, it doesn’t mean it will. So allow me to give insight into my top educated guesses. I’ll make sure to give extra insight into the most talked about categories, because that’s where the debate tends to be the highest. So let’s start off with the one everyone is thinking about: 

Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Power of the Dog” Directed by Jane Campion

Best Picture

Who Should Win – “Drive My Car”

Who Will Win – “The Power of the Dog” 

Reasoning: “Drive My Car” is a patient, beautiful, character-drama about a widower uncovering secrets about his wife while forming a new friendship with his young female chauffeur. It’s also three hours long and doesn’t have nearly as much buzz as “The Power of the Dog”, which has the most nominations overall. When one movie racked up 12 nominations, with one in every major category, there tends to be an obvious trend. 

Best Director 

Who Should Win – Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza”. 

Who Will Win – Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog”. 

Reasoning: More often than not, the film that wins best picture will also win best director. This is because the director has arguably the greatest impact upon a film (besides possibly the screenwriter). Paul Thomas Anderson has perfected every technical element of filmmaking. He understands cinematography and sound better than over 99% of great directors, and he is overdue for his award. But Jane Campion still did a highly respectable job on “Power of the Dog” and the Oscars have been pushing to award more women directors after years of underrepresentation in the category. 

Best Actor 

Who Should Win – Andrew Garfield in “Tick Tick Boom” 

Who Will Win – Andrew Garfield in “Tick Tick Boom” 

Reasoning: If I am to be completely honest, I don’t think Andrew has much competition this year. Javier Bardem was more of a support in “Being the Ricardos”, Will Smith didn’t once convince me he wasn’t himself in “King Richard”, and Benedict Cumberbatch I found to be miscast in “The Power of the Dog”. Denzel Washington did a fantastic job in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” but he has already won twice in this category. Andrew is a young actor who gave a wonderful performance full of life, energy, and detail that the Academy will most likely reward. 

Kristen Stewart in “Spencer” Directed by Pablo Larrain

Best Actress 

Who Should Win – Kristen Stewart in “Spencer” 

Who Will Win – Jessica Chastain in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” 

Reasoning: Kristen Stewart forever changed my perspective on her after she portrayed Princess Diana in “Spencer”. She played every possible aspect of the woman gracefully and I could only see Diana after a while. But Jessica Chastain put everything into her performance as famous televangelist Tammy Faye, which has translated into a Screen Actors Guild Award. When you win a SAG, you tend to have a good shot at getting the little gold man statue as well. 

Best Supporting Actor 

Who Should Win – Troy Kotsur in “CODA” 

Who Will Win – Troy Kotsur in “CODA” 

Reasoning: Troy is a lesser known actor who played the father of an almost all deaf family in “CODA”. Being a deaf man himself, Troy was able to bring a sense of realism to the role that had me completely convinced and hooked from the beginning. He is the first deaf man to be nominated for an Oscar, and he also won at the SAG Awards. 

Best Supporting Actress 

Who Should Win – Jesse Buckley in “The Lost Daughter” 

Who Will Win – Ariana DeBose in “West Side Story” 

Reasoning: I loved Jesse Buckley’s performance, and personally, it had me the most convinced of them all. But, I cannot ignore the reaction that DeBose earned in “West Side Story”. She stole the show in every musical number and was the standout of the cast. It led to her winning at the Golden Globes and being one of the most talked about parts of the movie without a doubt. 

“Flee” Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Best Animated Feature 

Who Should Win – “Flee”

Who Will Win – “Encanto”

Reasoning: Animated was a great way of telling the story of Amin, a gay man who had to flee his home in Afganistan and now confronts his past while living in Denmark. It is a documentary and I want to see more documentaries being told in such interesting ways. But, “Encanto” is a Disney film. If there’s one thing Disney can do, it’s make the most talked about animated film of the year, and without a doubt “Encanto” fits that criteria. 

Best Original Screenplay 

Who Should Win – “The Worst Person in the World” 

Who Will Win – “Don’t Look Up” 

Reasoning: “The Worst Person in the World” was the best movie I saw in 2021. The Screenplay is hilarious, heartbreaking, and feels extremely personal. If I was in charge of nominating films for the Oscars, “The Worst Person in the World” would be nominated and win so much more. “Don’t Look Up” is none of those things. The script is nothing but a neo-political, surface level, condescending, preachy chore to sit through. But, it’s exactly the type of thing that out of date Oscar voters eat up every year, so it’ll definitely defeat the movie that deserves it. 

Best Adapted Screenplay 

Who Should Win – “Drive My Car”

Who Will Win – “The Power of the Dog” 

Reasoning: What was my reasoning for Best picture? Yeah, that again but this time more specific. Ok ok I’ll say something else. The genius subtleties of “Drive My Car” are far less obviously effective than the major plot threads in “The Power of the Dog”. The plot is more clear in “The Power of the Dog” and it’s Oscar clout this year will be reflected here too. 

Speed-Round 

Now that we have the big ones out of the way, just take notes on what I’m about to select. I won’t go into too much detail from this point on, but trust me. I will get you bragging rights, don’t worry. 

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” Directed by Joel Coen

Best Production Design 

Who Should Win – “The Tragedy of Macbeth” 

Who Will Win – “Nightmare Alley” 

Best Costume Design 

Who Should Win – “Dune” 

Who Will Win – “Cruella” 

Best Cinematography 

Who Should Win – “The Tragedy of Macbeth” 

Who Will Win – “Dune” 

Best Editing 

Who Should Win – “The Power of the Dog” 

Who Will Win – “Don’t Look Up” 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 

Who Should Win – “Dune” 

Who Will Win – “House of Gucci” 

Best Sound 

Who Should Win – “Dune” 

Who Will Win – “Dune” 

Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in “Dune” DIrected by Denis Villeneuve

Best Visual Effects 

Who Should Win – “Dune” 

Who Will Win – “Dune” 

Best Score 

Who Should Win – “Dune” 

Who Will Win – “The Power of the Dog” 

Best Song 

Who Should Win – “Down to Joy” 

Who Will Win – “No Time to Die” 

Best Documentary Feature 

Who Should Win – “Summer of Soul (…or When the Revolution Could Not be Televised)”

Who Will Win – “Flee” 

Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura in “Drive My Car” Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Best International Feature 

Who Should Win – “The Worst Person in the World” 

Who Will Win – “Drive My Car” 

Best Animated Short 

Who Should Win – “Boxballet” 

Who Will Win – “Robin Robin” 

Best Documentary Short 

Who Should Win – “Lead Me Home” 

Who Will Win – “Three Songs for Benazir” 

Best Live-Action Short 

Who Should Win – “Please Hold”
Who Will Win – “The Long Goodbye”

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