And the Oscar Goes To…

With the Oscars back at forefront of Hollywood buzz, here are our predictions for the four main categories.

Madeleine Nicks

Best Director

This year’s Best Director category gives a window into the true standouts of the year’s extremely long list of Best Picture nominees. And yet, Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story’’ serve as two of the more mysterious films at this year’s awards. If I had a vote on the academy, I would lean towards Anderson and “Licorice Pizza,” but both directors don’t have much foundation within the nominations to garner the best director distinction. Instead, “The Power of the Dog” director Jane Campion is beautifully set up to make a historic win. As the academy is looking to continue diversifying its list of winners, and Campion would not only do that, but rightfully deserves the statue.


Best Actor

This category consists of a fascinatingly confusing array of performances. Javier Bardem beat the odds and took a nomination for his performance in “Being the Ricardos.” Andrew Garfield gave a powerhouse performance in “Tick, Tick… Boom!” but is the only nomination for the film. Cumberbatch leads a heavily celebrated cast in “The Power of the Dog,” but has been receiving less accolades than the rest of the ensemble. Therefore, the win likely falls to Will Smith in “King Richard,” who carries the heart and gravity of the film, giving a maturity to the performances of his younger counterparts. He also recently won the SAG award for Best Actor, which is a common signifier of the Oscar win.


Best Actress

While Jessica Chastain and Olivia Colman’s nominations came a bit out of left field, and with Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga both absent from the list, the main attention for the win falls to Kristen Stewart. In the highly-anticipated “Spencer,” Stewart is not just at the front of the film, she is the soul of it. Throughout this entire category, one theme emerges: motherhood. And after watching “Spencer,” even as the movie took surprisingly dark and haunted turns, Stewart gave an exceedingly impactful window into the core of Diana’s heart: her children. Any scene with her two boys was delicate, real, and beautiful. Those moments grounded the film and gave a new sense of maturity and intimacy to Stewart’s performance.


Best Picture

This was a year of powerful, impressive movies, many of which rely on a group of extremely strong actors to carry it through its grandeur. In this long list, it’s hard to think that anything was excluded, but Wes Anderson’s latest creation, “The French Dispatch,” which boasts dozens of A-list actors, is noticeably missing from this year’s nominations. While it was a surprising absence, it makes the ensemble cast pictures that did make the list that much more important. “The Power of the Dog,” with 12 nominations, is undoubtedly among the top of this year’s films. With a complexly understated tone, stunning cinematography, vivid performances, and Jane Campion’s leadership, “The Power of the Dog” has a good chance at the statue.