Here Are Our Picks For The 93rd Academy Awards

The Oscars are the biggest night in Hollywood. Since 1929, the best the film industry has to offer have gathered together in Los Angeles to honour their accomplishments. At the same time as the créme de la créme gather in the Dolby Theatre, movie lovers across the world will be watching and hoping to see their favourites win. This year, we decided to get in on the fun. So, without further ado here are our picks for the 93rd Academy Awards.

Best Visual Effects

Brandon Masters – Tenet
Lan M. – The One and Only Ivan
Jon Scott – Tenet
Sean Dillon – Tenet
Katie Liggera – Tenet
Amir Muhammad – Tenet

I could talk about why I’ve chosen Chadwick Boseman for Best Actor, or why Nomadland will win Best Picture, but far better people than I will be able to dig into why they deserve those awards. No, instead I’m going to talk about why Tenet deserves the Best Visual Effects award. It’s going up against some good competition, though I don’t think any of them compare to what was accomplished by the VFX team on Tenet. Now, there is one specific scene in Tenet that would win it the award all by itself, for it to be nestled within a whole host of incredible VFX is just icing on the cake. The scene I’m referring to however involves a disused building being destroyed. Now you may say there’s nothing special about that. You can go watch any superhero film you want and you’ll see just that. But what makes this scene special is how it uses the rules of the film, established by writer/director Christopher Nolan to create something unique. If you know about the time-bending practices employed throughout the film, or have seen the film, you’ll know just how special that building destruction is. I’m not going to tell you exactly what happens as it needs to be seen, just know that it is incredible, and is the reason Tenet will win Best Visual Effects.

Ethan Chamberlain – Tenet

Bobby – Tenet
Ashley – Tenet
Shan – Tenet

They’re going to toss Tenet a bone.

Robert Secundus – Tenet

Reagan Anick – Tenet

Best Film Editing

Brandon – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Lan- Sound of Metal
Jon – Sound of Metal
Sean – Promising Young Woman
Katie – Sound of Metal
Amir – Sound of Metal
Ethan – Promising Young Woman
Bobby – Promising Young Woman
Ashley – The Father
Shan – Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7 wins by default, see previous note about Aaron Sorkin, horny voters, mediocrity, etc, etc.

Robert Secundus – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Reagan – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Costume Design

Brandon – Mulan
Lan – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Jon – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sean – Pinocchio
Katie – Mank
Amir – Emma
Ethan – Emma
Bobby – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

One of my favorite films of 2020 was Autumn De Wilde’s adaptation of Emma. It was stacked with a stellar cast and purposeful direction that turned Jane Austen’s matchmaking classic into a feast for the eyes. I chose Emma to win the Oscar for Costume Design because Alexandra Byrne was meticulous in her choice of color, cut, and attention to detail. From ball gowns and undergarments to top hats and riding boots, Byrne harmoniously outfitted the cast in costumes that complemented the wallpaper within a scene, the lovely hues of the gardens, or the mood of her leading lady. I consider myself a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to period films, especially that of the Jane Austen variety. Alexandra Byrne’s exquisite color palette and inspired designs truly elevated this film genre and is deserving of recognition by the Academy.

Ashley – Emma

Shan – Emma

I like to believe that a just God created this cosmos and that His grace does occasionally shine upon it, and so I want to believe that EMMA. can win at least this category, given its absolutely gorgeous period costumes. I want to believe. I expect it will go to Mank, because the only thing Holywood is hornier for than Sorkin-style lib mediocrity is, of course, movies about Hollywood, and so I expect it to really stack up some wins.

Rob – Mank

Reagan – Emma

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Brandon – Pinocchio
Lan – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Jon – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sean – Pinocchio
Katie – Mank
Amir – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Ethan – Mank
Bobby – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Ashley – Emma
Shan – Emma

Mank, again, as a default winner, or, if there is a God but he particularly hates me, Hillbilly Elegy.

Rob – Mank

Reagan – Emma

Best Cinematography

Brandon – Judas and the Black Messiah
Lan – Nomadland
Jon – Mank
Sean – Judas and the Black Messiah
Katie – Nomadland
Amir – Nomadland
Ethan – Mank
Bobby – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Ashley – Nomadland
Shan – Nomadland

I am going to assume that every category where The Trial of the Chicago 7 is eligible will go to The Trial of the Chicago 7 unless there is some other contributing factor, because the academy is composed of elites extremely horny for Aaron Sorkin’s brand of liberal mediocrity.

Rob – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Reagan – Nomadland

Best Production Design

Brandon – Tenet
Lan – Mank
Jon – Mank
Sean –Mank
Katie – Tenet
Amir – Tenet
Ethan – The Father
Bobby – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Ashley – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Shan – Tenet

Tenet gets one more bone.

Rob – Tenet

Reagan – Mank

Best Sound

Brandon – Soul
Lan – Sound of Metal
Jon – Sound of Metal
Sean – Sound of Metal

While it may seem on-the-nose, I can reinforce my prediction for Sound of Metal to win an Oscar in the “Sound” category with utmost assurance. Sound of Metal is quite literally about sound — or more specifically, the absence of sound. The main protagonist, a heavy metal drummer whose musical profession depends on keeping tempo parallel to the sound of the other instruments, loses his hearing. In an astonishing cinematic feat, Sound of Metal replicates the warped, staticy noise a recently deaf or hard-of-hearing person might hear. Even more impressively, viewers later hear a tangible rendering of the plausible sound through a cochlear implant. The film ping-pongs between presenting audible sound levels and a fading or completely absconded sense of hearing. Reverberated sounds jar the audiences. Oftentimes, viewers must strain to listen to low decibel audio volumes. As a result, emotional resonance is heightened when viewers endure the parallel experience as the on-screen characters in Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal is overwhelmingly didactic. how the reality of hearing loss can be physically agonizing, but not life-destroying. In fact, the most peaceful moments of the film occur when deaf individuals sit around a table signing back and forth to one another, not viewing their deafness as a hindrance toward enjoying life. The only sound the audience hears is clinking dishes or subtle breathing. Salient depictions of sound’s influence on everyday existence make Sound of Metal the most ideal winner for an Oscar in “Sound.”

Katie – Sound of Metal

Amir – Sound of Metal
Ethan – Sound of Metal
Bobby – Sound of Metal
Ashley – Sound of Metal
Shan – Sound of Metal

This is a tricky one— Sound of Metal is the one that most overtly plays with sound, but we have both Disney and Mank defaults in play. I say the defaults cancel each other out and Sound of Metal wins it.

Rob – Sound of Metal

Reagan – Sound of Metal

Best Original Song

Brandon – “Fight For You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
Lan – “Speak Now,” One Night in Miami…
Jon – “Husavik,” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Sean – “Fight For You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
Katie – “Speak Now,” One Night in Miami…
Amir – “Io Sì (Seen),” The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)
Ethan – “Speak Now,” One Night in Miami…
Bobby – “Fight For You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
Ashley – “Speak Now,” One Night in Miami…
Shan -“Husavik,” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

“Hear My Voice,” given the Sorkin default.

Rob – “Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7

Reagan – “Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Original Score

Brandon – Soul
Lan – Da 5 Bloods
Jon – Soul
Sean – Da 5 Bloods
Katie – Soul
Amir – Soul
Ethan – Soul
Bobby – Minari
Ashley – Soul
Shan – Soul

The Mank default might apply here— or Soul might take the lead, given, again, the large numbers of grandchildren who force elderly voters to watch every Disney or Pixar lead, and given the number of white liberal millionaires who think that voting for a movie with jazz absolves them of a life of racism.

Rob – Soul

Reagan – Soul

Best Animated Short Film

Brandon –If Anything Happens I Love You
Lan – Burrow

If Anything Happens, I Love You is a genuinely devastating look at what happens when a tragic act befalls a family, and how the aftermath of that event affects that family. The most striking thing, besides the simplistic yet effective animation, is how there is no dialogue uttered once throughout this short film. It makes the tragedy even more utterly heartbreaking. It ends on a beautiful yet bittersweet note, as this event is still sadly happening in today’s world. 

Jon – If Anything Happens I Love You

Sean – If Anything Happens I Love You
Katie – If Anything Happens I Love You

I have been known to shout into the void that I love Pixar’s Spark Shorts. There isn’t a single one I’ve seen that hasn’t elicited some sort of emotion from me and most of the time this crazy thing happens where my eyes start leaking. 2020 Pixar Spark Short Burrow is nominated for the Animated Short Film Oscar and I believe it’s worthy of taking the statue home. Burrow clocks in at 6 minutes with no dialogue and is scored with a timeless cacophony of Mozart. It tells the simple story of a bunny just trying to tunnel himself a home. Along the way he runs into some unwanted neighbors and in his escape, finds himself in trouble and needing the support of the community he originally rejected. This short is absolutely adorable, the art style is so fresh, yet feels inspired by classic children’s book illustrations. The characters are delightfully expressive and their motivations so clear and meaningful. Writer and Director Madeline Sharafian, as well as the rest of the team behind Burrow have created a little bit of magic in this short, and I’m not just saying that because I’ve sold my soul to the Mouse.

Ashley – Burrow

Shan – If Anything Happens I Love You

Burrow given the Disney Default.

Rob – Burrow

Best Live Action Short Film

Brandon – Two Distant Strangers
Jon – Two Distant Strangers
Sean – Two Distant Strangers
Katie – Two Distant Strangers
Ashley – The Letter Room

The Letter Room, because at least some voters will remember the name after seeing the poster with Oscar Isaac.

Rob – The Letter Room

Best Documentary Short Subject

Brandon – A Love Song for Latasha
Jon – Colette
Sean – Do Not Split
Katie- A Love Song for Latasha
Ashley – Hunger Ward

When you can’t even be sure the voters have heard of any of the choices, go for the one that sounds coolest.

Rob – A Concerto is a Conversation

Best Documentary Feature

Brandon – My Octopus Teacher
Jon – Crip Camp

Time is an apt criticism of the American justice system in its treatment of black people with its story of how one woman has been fighting for her husband’s release ever since he was arrested for armed bank robbery. Garrett Bradley asks s to view the married couple and the rest of their family as real people who have their hopes and dreams. It asks those of us who are not black to acknowledge our privilege so that we can empathise with these people. I will never be able to understand their struggle, but I will support their fight and I will empathise with them. Indeed, Time is a timeless film that is possibly more relevant than ever. After all, the tragedies of the past don’t gradually lead to a better tomorrow if one doesn’t fight for a better now.

Bobby – Time

Sean – Time
Katie – Time

Deeply affecting work that operates on an entirely different level compared to the other nominees in this category. When I think of the best documentaries they’re generally the ones that inspire a different way of thinking and feeling. Time is one of those films.

Amir – Time

Ashley – My Octopus Teacher
Rob – My Octopus Teacher

Best International Feature Film

Brandon – The Man Who Sold His Skin
Lan – Another Round
Jon – Another Round
Sean – Another Round
Katie – The Man Who Sold His Skin

I just personally would like to see Thomas Vinterberg happy. If everything he had to go through making this film culminated in his victory, then maybe good things can happen.

Amir – Another Round

Ethan – Another Round
Bobby – Collective
Ashley – Better Days
Shan – Another Round
Rob – Another Round
Reagan – Another Round

Best Animated Feature Film

Brandon – Soul
Lan – Soul
Jon – Soul
Sean – Soul
Katie – Soul
Amir – Soul
Ethan – Wolfwalkers
Bobby – Wolfwalkers
Ashley – Soul
Shan – Soul
Rob – Soul

Look. I’ve already accepted that Wolfwalkers won’t win. I’ve made my piece with that fact. But that does not mean that I won’t sing its praises or the praises of Cartoon Saloon and their previous films, all of which are gorgeous with incredible stories. Cartoon Saloon has released four feature films and all of them have been nominated for oscars, there is obviously something special about them. And yet Pixar will take home their five thousandth award on Sunday night.

Reagan – Wolfwalkers

Best Adapted Screenplay

Brandon – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Lan – One Night in Miami…
Jon – Nomadland
Sean – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Katie – One Night in Miami…

“I found a new book which only tells the truth. It’s called Facebook. I learn so many facts there.”

Amir – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Ethan – The Father
Bobby – Nomadland
Ashley – One Night in Miami…
Shan – The White Tiger
Rob – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Reagan – Nomadland

Best Original Screenplay

Brandon – Judas and the Black Messiah
Lan – Minari
Jon – Promising Young Woman

Judas and the Black Messiah is a film that does quite possibly one of the hardest balancing acts possible: it tells the story of the Black Panther Party in a studio film without portraying the Panthers as unsympathetic monsters who got what was coming for them or downplaying their radical politics to be more palatable. The film’s screenplay paints a picture of people who want a better life for everyone, be they poor white men, broken black kids, or criminals and the forces of those who wish to see them brought down. It’s about why radicalism often fails, how people can be forced to break their own hearts in order to survive, and, ultimately, an argument against complacency.

Sean – Judas and the Black Messiah

Katie – Sound of Metal

I can’t recall a movie in recent memory to move the needle (in either direction) in a way that Promising Young Woman has, and I bet Academy voters probably would say the same. Regardless of how anyone feels about the film, one cannot deny the sheer hold this film has had. 

Amir – Promising Young Woman

Ethan – Promising Young Woman
Bobby – Minari
Ashley – Promising Young Woman
Shan – Promising Young Woman
Rob – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Reagan – Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actress

Brandon – Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Lan – Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
Jon – Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Sean – Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Katie – Yuh-Jung Youn. Minari

I’ll just cut to the chase; Maria Bakalova rules, and I hope she appears in more movies.

Amir – Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Ethan – Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
Bobby – Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
Ashley – Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
Shan – Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
Rob – Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Amanda Seyfried is an absolute delight in Mank and anyone who says otherwise either hasn’t seen the movie or ignored every scene she was in.

Reagan – Amanda Seyfried, Mank

Best Supporting Actor

Brandon – Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Of the four characters that One Night in Miami follows, I found Leslie Odom Jr’s portrayal of a fictionalized Sam Cooke the strongest performance in the film.  While Odom Jr’s vocal chops are extraordinary, the energy he puts into Cooke’s internal strife shines on screen, especially when he has a great ensemble cast to work with.  It’s a tight category this year, but Odom Jr. edges out the other nominees with the combination of his vocal and acting performance.

Lan – Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami...

Jon – Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Before I get into my full comments regarding this category, I would first like to state that both Lakeith Standfield and Daniel Kaluuya should not be here. They are, quite frankly, the co-leads of Judas and the Black Messiah. That they are both nominated for Supporting Actor highlights the degree to which actors like Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins have a stranglehold on the awards. That being said, both actors give a phenomenal performance. Of the two, ultimately, it’s Standfield who gives the stronger performance, able to capture Bill O’Neal’s desperation, charisma, and grief with just a single look. He never makes the man too sympathetic that we might align ourselves with him, but Lakeith doesn’t push his role to pure villainy. He portrays a complex, pitiable, unsympathetic lead that your heart breaks when his final fate is revealed.

Sean – Lakeith Stanfeild, Judas and the Black Messiah

Katie – Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

A master class in acting, Daniel Kaluuya’s performance as Chairman Fred Hampton is nothing short of genius and revelatory. While the film may skirt through many deeper nuances of Hampton’s message, Kaluuya fills those cracks by crafting a fearless and dynamic leader with bravado, honor, and humanity. You simply cannot take your eyes off of him.

Amir – Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Ethan – Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
Bobby – Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Ashley – Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Shan – Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Rob – Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Reagan – Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Actress

Brandon – Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Lan – Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Jon – Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
Sean – Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Katie – Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Despite my feelings towards Promising Young Woman, Carey Mulligan is a marvelous actress that rightly deserves praise for her ability to create a compellingly transgressive character. They already unjustly passed over Rosamund Pike for the same thing in Gone Girl, so let’s hope they don’t repeat old mistakes.

Amir – Carrie Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Ethan – Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
Bobby – Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Ashley – France McDormand, Nomadland
Shan – Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Rob – Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Reagan – Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Best Actor

Brandon – Gary Oldman, Mank
Lan – Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman delivered one of the most beautiful and heart wrenching performances of his career with Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Filmed while dealing with the colon cancer that would eventually take his life, Boseman radiated charisma from the minute he stepped on screen. Levee Green could go from cocky to insulting to charming at the blink of an eye, and Boseman embraced that persona wholeheartedly. Boseman has been winning accolades left and right this season for his final performance, and it’s an almost guaranteed lock he’ll win on Oscar Night. 

Jon – Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Sean – Steven Yuen, Minari
Katie – Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Through his tragically short career, Boseman has given nothing short of magnetic, skillful, and memorable performances, and this award like many posthumous awards — and all the connotations that follow — would simply be a kindness for a man who gave so much. We miss you already.

Amir – Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Ethan – Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Bobby – Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Ashley – Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

All I want from this Oscar is for Riz Ahmed to take home the award. Not only has he given such a sensational and empathic performance as Ruben, he practically uplift the movie’s underwritten script. That said, he has a heavy competition in Sir Anthony Hopkins’ moving performance in The Father. I’m worried, but perhaps still cautiously hopeful for Riz’s chance.

Shan – Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Rob – Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Reagan – Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Director

Brandon – David Fincher, Mank
Lan – Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Sean – Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round
Katie – Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Chloe has simply been dominating the directing categories that it’s become a bit of a forgone conclusion, but that isn’t to say it wasn’t well earned. Chloe’s love for her craft is evident in every detail and decision made throughout Nomadland. And who am I to bet against a woman of color?

Amir – Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Ethan – Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Bobby – Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Ashley – Lee Issac Ching, Minari
Shan – Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Rob – David Fincher, Mank
Reagan – Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Best Picture

Brandon – Judas and the Black Messiah
Lan – Minari
Jon – Nomadland
Sean – Judas and the Black Messiah
Katie – Sound of Metal

To be perfectly honest, I don’t believe this should win. But the Academy has a history with loving movies that (attempt to) speak truth to power. It’s an easy sell, and if Green Book is anything to go by then Academy voters probably want to do their part to unify. What better way to do that than to award the safest choice of the bunch. (go Nomadland, go!)

Amir – Nomadland

Ethan – Nomadland
Bobby – Minari
Ashley – Minari
Shan – Minari

And here we have our two defaults in contest – Sorkin or Fincher? Hollywood liberalism or Hollywood onanism? I think, in this case, it goes to the former.

Rob – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Reagan – Nomadland

By Reagan Anick

Reagan is an aspiring eldritch horror who can often be found screaming into the void. She goes by rhymeswpicard on twitter.

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