The winning trio of Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes will host The 94th Academy Awards ceremony tonight on ABC. Naturally as a critic and movie buff I had to share my thoughts on whom I think will take home the Oscar Gold in the Big Categories.
Nominees: Belfast, Coda, Don't Look Up, Drive My Car, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power of The Dog, and West Side Story.
Reviews & Dunn Pick This is a tough call since all of the movies here were critical darlings. However, as a betting man, I will have to go with The Power of the Dog or Coda. The former film has been cleaning up with wins at other awards ceremonies, and the most recent BAFTA win should be a sign of a repeat tonight. However the latter film has gained momentum lately. Either way history will be made tonight as for the first time a streaming service will take home Best Picture.
Nominees: Kenneth Branagh (Belfast) Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car), Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), and Steven Spielberg (West Side Story)
Reviews & Dunn Pick: Similar to Best Picture, this is another tough call. As we all know, Spielberg already has two Oscar wins under his belt. While I had a lovely time with his take on West Side Story, I don't think the Academy will award him a third trophy. The only definite in this category is that Ryûsuke Hamaguchi goes home empty-handed. This year's race will come down to repeat nominees Jane Campion and Kenneth Branagh, which I could go one of two ways. Either we get a tie, or Campion's takes home the gold.
Nominees: Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Andrew Garfield (tick, tick … Boom!), Denzel Washington, (The Tragedy of Macbeth) and Will Smith, (King Richard).
Reviews & Dunn Pick – Will Smith. The Best Actor Winner is easily going to be the most anticipated night announcement. While I had King Richard as not only a career-best performance from Will Smith it was also one of my 2021's best, I thought the good folks at Netflix would go all out for their dual nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Garfield. While both Cumberbatch and Garfield gave career best performances, Smith is overdue for Oscar gold. Will Smith has been on a hot streak winning the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Critics' Choice Award. Furthermore Mr. Smith winning the BAFTA two weeks prior to tonight’s ceremony solidified his chance of taking home the OSCAR Gold.
Nominees: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) Kristen Stewart (Spencer).
Reviews & Dunn Pick - Jessica Chastain. The Oscar Gold race for Best Actress is tight between Stewart and Chastain, with both actresses giving award-worthy performances. In addition there's always the chance for an upset in the form of Penélope Cruz .However, this is Chastain's time to shine, and the thrice nominated actress who has never won (and was robbed for Zero Dark Thirty) is overdue.
Best Supporting Actor
Reviews & Dunn Pick – Troy Kotsur. Initially, I saw this as a battle between The Power of the Dog's Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons. However, Kostur's gained momentum over the last few months that says he has it in the bag. While some will think Kostur's win is only coming because he's a deaf man, I say to them, take your blinders off. Yes, he's the first deaf man ever to receive a nomination for an acting prize. But how I see it, he's an actor who happens to be deaf, and he's worthy of this moment and all of the accolades he's receiving.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter; Ariana DeBose, West Side Story Judi Dench, Belfast, Kirsten Dunst The Power of the Dog, Aunjanue Ellis(King Richard)
Reviews & Dunn Pick: Ariana DeBose. In a perfect world, there would be a tie between the equally deserving Aunjanue Ellis and Ariana DeBose. However, similar to Best Supporting Actor, this one is all but a guaranteed win for DeBose. The talented actress fully tapped into what made Moreno an Oscar winner for the same role sixty years ago while making the role her own.
Be sure to tune in to the Oscars tonight on ABC to see if my picks are accurate.