An absorbing two-horse race has emerged in the Best Picture category.
The biggest night in the film industry is set to go down tomorrow night in Los Angeles. The 94th Oscars will see Hollywood’s biggest stars recognised for their work in film over the last twelve months, and there are some clear frontrunners going into the ceremony.
Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog leads the nominations with 12, followed by big-budget sci-fi epic Dune with 10. Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story are joint third with 7 each, so expect one of these pictures to win a few of the most illustrious awards.
The so-called ‘big five’ are the awards everybody wants to get their hands on. Winning any one of Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay (Adapted or Original), or Best Director and you are really in business.
The Power of the Dog has already secured literally hundreds of awards, most significantly two Baftas, four Critics’ Choice Awards, and three Golden Globes. At its premiere at the Venice International Film Festival last year, it received a four-minute standing ovation and has been the frontrunner for Best Picture for weeks.
But one film has emerged as a dark horse at the Oscars after sweeping some of the biggest categories during awards season. Apple TV’s CODA is fresh off the back of huge success at the Baftas and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, with actor Troy Kotsur making history as the first deaf actor to pick up some prestigious awards.
CODA’s last-minute emergence has created an enthralling two-horse race for Best Picture and added some energy into the ceremony.
“It’s official: We’ve got a sprint to the finish,” wrote Vanity Fair’s David Canfield. “It’s a race for the history books. The showdown to be the first streaming service to win best picture,” agreed Variety’s Clayton Davis.
If The Power of the Dog misses out on Best Picture, it’s unlikely to be the end of Jane Campions evening as she is a favourite to win Best Director, following on from Chloe Zhao’s success in the category last year. Her biggest rival in this category looks to be Kenneth Branagh for his semi-autobiographical drama Belfast.
Will Smith could be in line to win his first-ever Oscar for his role in King Richard as the 53-year-old is pipped for Best Actor, but he faces stiff competition from Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Garfield. Jessica Chastain has emerged as a frontrunner for Best Actress for her role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, up against Kristen Stewart and Olivia Coleman.
CODA took home Best Adapted Screenplay at both the Writers Guild of America awards and the Baftas, so looks pretty certain to pick up the same accolade tomorrow night. Coming-of-age comedy-drama Licorice Pizza and satirical doomsday drama Don’t Look Up will be vying for Best Original Screenplay.
The evening is set up nicely for some classic last-minute Oscars drama. The trio of Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer will curate the ceremony and undoubtedly add a heavy dose of humour to ease the tension. Performances from the All-Star Band, made up of Robert Glasper, Travis Barker and Sheila E will else help calm the nerves.
The 94th annual Academy Awards are set to take place on Sunday the 27th of March, with the broadcast airing live on ABC at 8pm ET/5pm PT. The nominations for the main categories are below, while a full list can be found here.
Don’t Look Up
Drive My Car
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story
Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)
Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)
Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)
Steven Spielberg (West Side Story)
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car)
Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)
Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)
Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)
Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)
Kristen Stewart (Spencer)
Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog)
Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick … Boom!)
Will Smith (King Richard)
Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter)
Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)
Judi Dench (Belfast)
Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)
Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ciarán Hinds (Belfast)
Troy Kotsur (CODA)
Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog)
J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
CODA (Sian Heder)
Drive My Car (Ryusuke Hamaguchi & Takamasa Oe)
Dune (Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts & Denis Villeneuve)
The Lost Daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal)
The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Belfast (Kenneth Branagh)
Don’t Look Up (Adam McKay & David Sirota)
Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Worst Person in the World