The 94th Academy Awards air on Sunday, March 27th. It's the biggest awards show of the year for film and we're here with our predictions for the winners in four major categories.
Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik and Tamar Thomas, Producers
Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger, Producers
DON'T LOOK UP
Adam McKay and Kevin Messick, Producers
DRIVE MY CAR
Teruhisa Yamamoto, Producer
Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve and Cale Boyter, Producers
Tim White, Trevor White and Will Smith, Producers
Sara Murphy, Adam Somner and Paul Thomas Anderson, Producers
Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale and Bradley Cooper, Producers
THE POWER OF THE DOG
Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappier, Producers
WEST SIDE STORY
Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
Kitty: I really like Don't Look Up, not only because the movie has an extravagant cast, but it also satirizes that the script is no more magical than the reality. We can relate everything that happened in the film to the past two years. It is absurd yet, so real.
Chris: Beautifully shot, well-acted, and perfectly paced, Power of the Dog is a film in which nothing seems wasted, and all the plot points lead to an inevitable yet surprising conclusion. Set in Montana but shot in New Zealand, the movie follows Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Burbank (Jesse Plemons), two ranch-owning brothers, who seem to be drifting apart. This is mostly because Phil is unbearable, but he is brilliant and hard-working, not to mention a fantastic banjo player. George, stolid and boring, falls in love with Rose (Kirsten Dunst), who has a lanky son named Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who looks very out of place on a Montana ranch, right down to his swishy jeans and white sneakers. When George brings Rose and Peter to live in the ranch, Phil does everything in his power to ensure they have a lousy stay, hoping they’ll leave him and George alone. But when Phil drives Rose to alcoholism, Peter finds a way to even the score in one of the most subtle ways imaginable. It’s a Western fight without fists. If there was an award for “Best Scene,” it would have to go to the dinner party in the ranch house, when so much tension rides on waiting for a single piano key to be pressed.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
being the Ricardos
The Power of the Dog
The Tragedy of Macbeth
Kitty: I vote for Benedict Cumberbatch. How did he, a British gentleman, become a vulgar cowboy in "The Power of the Dog"? Benedict ultimately left the image of Sherlock behind, not only with a hoarse and thick American southern accent but also let the audience see the sad and pathetic side of this irritable and rude cowboy. He believes in male chauvinism, but as a gay, he could only reveal his delicate emotions with a glance and moves in his lips. If Benedict wins the Oscar for Best Actor, it also affirms his outstanding achievements in independent films and Marvel blockbusters.
Chris: Cumberbatch has a weird charisma, where he plays his characters like jerks, but you still somehow root for them. The list is long and varied: the brilliant and arrogant Dr. Strange of the Marvel franchise; the brilliant and arrogant Sherlock Holmes; the brilliant and arrogant Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Notice a pattern? Despite their unlovable personalities, Cumberbatch somehow finds a way to bring you to their side. It’s a bit more of a difficult task with Phil Burbank, the arrogant, brilliant ranch herder in Montana. He’s angry and insecure, and keeps talking about his dead hero Bronco Henry. In each scene, you don’t know if he’s going to lash out with physical violence, or merely tear someone apart with words. The tension kills you. And after you really start to hate him, you can’t help but like him when he’s stumbling across the Montana plain, trying to return a rope to his new friend.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
The Lost Daughter
Being the Ricardos
Kitty: Olivia Colman can overwhelm the audience with her acting. The Lost Daughter delved into the psychology of middle-aged women and described the love-hate relationship between mother and daughter in a penetrating way. Since Olivia has already won several awards for The Lost Daughter, it would not be surprising if she wins the Oscar for the second time.
Chris: I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t watched any of the movies in which these nominees are featured. But hey, Nicole Kidman’s always great. Even just accepting the role to portray Lucille Ball/Ricardo is pretty brave; she was a force of nature, often imitated yet never duplicated. Good luck, Nicole!
Animated Feature Film
Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Yvett Merino and Clark Spencer
Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen and Charlotte De La Gournerie
Enrico Casarosa and Andrea Warren
THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES
Mike Rianda, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Kurt Albrecht
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON
Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada, Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho
Kitty: Usually, when it comes to animated films, we tend to think of the works of Disney or Hayao Miyazaki. As a film genre, animated films should not be only in these stereotypes but can also be used to express more diverse themes, like Flee. The animation of this film divides into two parts. One part is realistic, which tells the relatively straightforward and typical experience in Amin's memory. Another aspect of the animation uses abstract images and polarized styles to express Amin's memory's vague and traumatic experiences. Combining these styles is like a simplified reality filtered by memory. Still, it has a sense of psychological reality, instead of being as rigid as the realism of "photography" because of such a layer of filtering.
Chris: The favourite in this category is Encanto, which is also a great movie but which, I thought, fell completely apart in the final scene. The Mitchells vs. The Machines, however, has one of the sweetest endings, which is complete contrast to the absolute silliness and sometimes sensory-overloading animation in the rest of the movie. It’s a fun ride, as a regular middle-class family is chased around the U.S. by an army of robots that want to take over the world. Yet, at its heart, it’s a story about a father dropping his daughter off to college. If you’re a father yourself, and you’ve got a daughter, I dare you not to cry in that last scene….even if she’s not old enough to attend post-secondary school. Favourite scene: the joy in the face (and voice) of the father when he “must” take away everyone’s phones so they don’t get tracked by the killer robots. A dream for all parents, surely.
These are our predictions. We're not Movie Critics, just CityWest employees. Tune in on Sunday to see who wins!
Look for these films on VOD or stream through Quantum Internet on your favourite streaming service. Don’t Look Up and The Power of the Dog are available to stream now on Netflix.