Oscar Predictions: That Shelf’s Will Win/Should Win Smackdown

What seemed like a done deal in many races has now shaped up for what promises to be an unpredictable night! The That Shelf team assembled for its annual smackdown of Oscar predictions and picks. We’re all over the map in terms of who should win, as expected, but the bets placed on who will win has surprisingly little consensus.

It seemed like The Power of the Dog had Netflix’s first Best Picture win wrapped up in ribbons. But then CODA pulled a surprise upset at the SAG Awards. Then again at the Producers Guild of America Awards. While onlookers might have been able to chalk up the SAG win to an acknowledgement of CODA’s formidable and mostly deaf cast, the PGA win means serious heat. It especially matters since it’s the only prize that shares the Academy’s ranked ballot in which a film requires fifty percent of the vote plus one in order to win.

On the other hand, one could say this is all Oscar blogger spin in the final stretch. The late surge for CODA resembles the momentum that Hidden Figures seemed to have in 2016 when it too won the SAG’s ensemble prize and scored a Best Picture nomination. Noise grew around an underdog, people started taking Hidden Figures seriously, and suspicions grew that La La Land didn’t actually have the deal sealed. Onlookers were right—La La Land didn’t win, but neither did Hidden Figures. Either way, the growing support for CODA is probably worse news for Belfast, which would be more likely to benefit from the ranked ballot given its feel-good mainstream appeal.

Our Oscar Predictions

On Twitter, Will Perkins, Emma Badame, Bil Antoniou, Barbara Goslawski, Rachel Ho, Courtney Small, and Rachel West discussed the contenders via Spaces. (Unfortunately, I had major technical gaffes and a phone from 2016 that just couldn’t handle the chat!) In addition to offering some fearless Oscar predictions, they discussed the controversial changes to the ceremony, which of the precursors still hold sway, and what the Academy can do to fix the show. Listen to their debate below!



All contributors were invited to submit their picks and Oscar predictions, and to participate in a Twitter spaces debate. Participants in the poll were Akash Singh, Barbara Goslawski, Bil Antoniou, Colin Biggs, Courtney Small, Daniel Grant, Emma Badame, Pat Mullen, and Rachel Ho. Participants could abstain in any question in which they did not have an opinion.


The Power of the Dog | Netflix

Best Picture

The nominees: Belfast, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

The crew admits that CODA‘s late-minute rally makes the race interesting, but we’re giving Oscar voters the rare benefit of the doubt. CODA isn’t a film that will be studied in years to come like recent winners Nomadland, Parasite, or Moonlight. But our preferred choices, The Power of the Dog, Drive My Car, Dune, and Nightmare Alley will be. My colleagues in the Twitter Spaces, meanwhile, seriously undersold the laugh-a-minute Commander in Streep satire of Don’t Look Up, but even the film’s biggest fans have gotta agree that it has zero chance of winning. A film this love-it-or-hate it will be knocked out early, and one could say the same for Licorice Pizza.

Maybe we’re biased, but maybe we’re also having faith in the temperature of the room all year long and sticking with the stats that suggest our collective admiration for The Power of the Dog reflects its chances.  CODA is just too much of an underdog to make this little-to-late rally to happen, despite all the money being thrown that Apple is throwing at it. It also seriously underperformed in the nominations, netting only screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, and no film has ever won Best Picture without a single below-the-line nomination since 1932’s Grand Hotel. Dog, meanwhile, was nominated in every category in which it was a realistic contender–in one case twice, which indicates admiration across all branches. For all the work, all the industry changes, and all-around artistry of Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, we say Netflix will still be the first streamer to win Best Picture, despite whatever bumps happened near the finish line.


Should win

Drive My Car: Akash, Barbara, Bil, Courtney, Daniel

Dune: Pat, Rachel

Nightmare Alley: Colin

The Power of the Dog: Emma


Will win

Belfast: Emma

CODA: Rachel

The Power of the Dog: Akash, Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Daniel, Pat


This for that

Barbara says: Swap out Don’t Look Up for The Tragedy of Macbeth, CODA (I know it’s a favourite to win but I didn’t think it was one of the year’s best) for Summer of Soul (this is a film that corrects history), and Belfast for The Worst Person in the World


Courtney says: Swap out Don’t Look Up for Red Rocket

Emma: Anything instead of Don’t Look Up in ANY category but particularly The Tragedy of Macbeth for DLU in Best Picture

Pat says: Swap out King Richard and Licorice Pizza for Flee and Spencer

Rachel says: Swap out Don’t Look Up for Flee


Jane Campion during production of The Power of the Dog | Netflix

Best Director

The nominees: Paul Thomas Anderson, The Power of the Dog; Kenneth Branagh, Belfast; Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog; Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car; Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Whatever Twitter-generated “controversy” at the Critics Choice Awards led people to think that Jane Campion might lost what seemed like a runaway isn’t phasing us. (As Bil noted in the Twitter chat, the biggest surprise was that people actually watched the Critics Choice Awards.) This prize is Campion’s by a mile. Realistically, she’s dominated the awards circuit to the point that there’s really no clear second place challenger. In all likelihood, her commanding lead is probably what led to Denis Villeneuve’s surprise snub for Dune if her ballots had to be redistributed to allow enough votes to let people through.

Should win

Paul Thomas Anderson: Rachel

Jane Campion: Akash, Colin, Courtney, Daniel, Emma

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi: Barbara, Bil, Pat

Will win

Jane Campion: everyone


This for that

Barbara says: Swap out Kenneth Branagh for Rebecca Hall (Passing)

Daniel says: Swap out Paul Thomas Anderson for Denis Villeneuve (Dune)

Emma: Swap out Paul Thomas Anderson for Denis Villeneuve (although there was a laundry list of women who also make sense here)

Pat says: swap out Paul Thomas Anderson for Denis Villeneuve (Dune) and Kenneth Branagh for Pablo Larraín (Spencer)

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Best Actress

The 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

We have strong opinions about this one! Kristen Stewart has stalwart fans among That Shelf writers including myself and Akash, who articulated very well how the vulnerability of her performance might hit some viewers especially hard. Although Stewart missed key nominations and came up short at the SAG Awards and the BAFTAs, we’re still holding out hope. For one, the BAFTAs mean little in the acting races anymore with their wonky new nomination system. (Members vote on the top two names from the shortlist of 15 names, while a secret jury draws from the pool of less popular shortlisted contenders.) But – Regina King missed both these precursors while being the frontrunner for If Beale Street Could Talk and still cinched the Oscar. So did Marcia Gay Harden in a total upset for 2000’s Pollock. That might not be a ton of precedent to make one confident, but when it comes to the competition…do people really want Jessica Chastain to win for this performance in this movie? Our team is also split on Nicole Kidman’s take on Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos and our disagreement reflects the wider polarization in the field. We all love Penélope Cruz in Parallel Mothers, but thing that’s an especially long shot given the film’s relatively muted presence on the circuit.

Should win

Olivia Colman: Daniel, Emma

Penélope Cruz: Barbara, Colin, Rachel

Nicole Kidman: Bil

Kristen Stewart: Akash, Courtney, Pat

Will win

Jessica Chastain: Barbara, Colin, Courtney, Emma

Olivia Colman: Bil

Kristen Stewart: Akash, Daniel, Pat, Rachel

This for that

Akash says: Swap out Nicole Kidman for Tessa Thompson in Passing

Bil says: Swap out Kristen Stewart for Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Emma says: Swap out Nicole Kidman for Renate Reinsve in The Worst Person in the World

Will Smith in King Richard
Aunjanue Ellis, Mikayla Bartholomew, Will Smith, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton and Daniele Lawson in ‘King Richard’.

Best Actor

The nominees: 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

Will Smith is kind of like the CODA of Best Actor nominees for us. We all agree that he has the heat, but…why? It’s a good performance, but not as challenging, immersive, or memorable as the turns by Cumberbatch, Garfield, and Washington. It’s his year even if some feel he’s not working the circuit much–although he might not have to if voters fear Jada!

Should win

Benedict Cumberbatch: Akash, Colin, Courtney, Emma

Andrew Garfield: Pat

Denzel Washington: Barbara, Daniel, Rachel

Will win

Andrew Garfield: Akash

Will Smith: Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Daniel, Emma, Pat, Rachel

This for that

Barbara says: Swap out Javier Bardem for Hidetoshi Nishijima in Drive My Car

Colin says: Swap out Javier Bardem for Nicolas Cage in Pig

West Side Story
Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Best Supporting Actress

The 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

If we can’t have Academy Award winner Ariana Grande, then I guess we get Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose. The West Side Story ingénue swept the key precursors, while her presumed rival Catríona Balfe was one of the biggest snubs of nomination day. This race is all but locked.

Should win

Jessie Buckley: Daniel, Emma

Ariana DeBose: Colin, Courtney, Rachel

Kirsten Dunst: Akash, Bil, Pat

Aunjanue Ellis: Barbara

Will win

Ariana DeBose: everyone

This for that

Barbara says: Swap out Judi Dench for Ann Dowd in Mass and Kirsten Dunst for Ruth Negga in Passing

Courtney says: Swap out Judi Dench for Ruth Negga in Passing

Emma says: Swap out Dame Judi, who we all love but let’s be serious here, for Catríona Balfe in Belfast

Pat says: Swap out Judi Dench for Meryl Streep in Don’t Look Up, Jessie Buckley for Cate Blanchett in Nightmare Alley, and Aunjanue Ellis for Ruth Negga in Passing

Troy Kotsur with Emilia Jones in CODA | AppleTV+

Best Supporting Actor

The nominees: 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

The supporting races look to be the easier calls of the night. If CODA‘s winning anything, it’s for Troy Kotsur’s hilarious and heartfelt performance as a deaf father trying to understand his daughter’s passion for singing. Whatever heat Kodi Smit-McPhee had will probably split Dog votes with co-star Jesse Plemons. Presumably, this nomination for Simmons means that “J.K.” stands for “joking.” Ha ha, Academy. Ha ha.

Should win

Troy Kotsur: Akash, Courtney, Daniel, Rachel

Jesse Plemons: Emma, Pat

Kodi Smit-McPhee: Barbara, Colin

Will win

Troy Kotsur: everyone

This for that

Barbara says: Swap out J.K. Simmons for Mike Faist in West Side Story and Ciarán Hinds for Robin de Jesús in tick, tick…BOOM!

Emma says: Swap out J.K. Simmons for Jason Isaacs in Mass

Pat says: swap out J.K. Simmons for Colman Domingo in Zola

Drive My Car | Films We Like

Best International Feature

The nominees: Drive My Car (Japan), Flee (Denmark), The Hand of God (Italy), Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan), The Worst Person in the World (Norway)

Okay, this one might be the safest bet next to Jane Campion. Drive My Car surely has this one in the bag as the only non-English film up for Best Picture. There is formidable competition here, though, and The Hand of God, Flee, and The Worst Person in the World could have won any other year.

Should win

Drive My Car: Akash, Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Daniel, Emma

Flee: Pat

The Worst Person in the World: Rachel

Will win

Drive My Car: everyone

This for That

Pat says: Drop the yak for Canada’s Drunken Birds.

Summer of Soul | Searchlight Pictures

Best Documentary Feature

The nominees: Ascension, Attica, Flee, Summer of Soul, Writing with Fire

A few members on the chat were gobsmacked that The Rescue wasn’t nominated, but the doc branch generally doesn’t reward repeat wins in the feature category and remains highly suspect of success. Just note the snubs for Won’t You Be My Neighbour?, Apollo 11Jane, and any doc prior to 2002 that made more than 20 bucks at the box office. The last director to win a second Oscar in this category was the GOAT herself, Barbara Kopple, with 1991’s American Dream. Instead, expect Questlove to win for his directorial debut Summer of Soul. The film is an exceptional archival work that literally changes history. Soul faces stiff competition from Flee, and we’re split whether the Danish doc’s additional nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best International Feature could help it–i.e: members say, “I’ll vote for Soul here and Flee there”–or if it will simply split votes and go home empty handed.

Should win

Ascension: Bil

Flee: Colin, Courtney, Pat, Rachel

Summer of Soul: Barbara, Daniel, Emma

Writing with Fire: Akash

Will win

Ascension: Colin

Flee: Akash, Emma, Rachel

Summer of Soul: Barbara, Bil, Courtney, Daniel, Pat



Best Animated Feature

The nominees: Encanto, Flee, Luca, The Mitchells vs. The Machines, Raya and the Last Dragon

Now here we have a showdown. People love Encanto and their kids streamed the intolerable song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” enough to make it a hit. Plus, there’s this bizarre mania to make Lin-Manuel Miranda an EGOT at all costs. (And tick, tick…BOOM! was right there, guys…) But perfectly mediocre Disney movies often beat independent works that advance the art form, so Encanto inevitably has the edge. And it is indeed pretty. However, Flee is a runaway work that simply could never have been made without animation and, by its design, shows the artistic potential of this mode of filmmaking to film the unfilmable. There’s also the elephant in the room that Flee is a groundbreaking LGBTQ+ story and Encanto represents a studio that bankrolled all the backers of Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, which generated a lot of controversy just before final balloting began. If Flee beats Disney, that sweetens the victory. If Disney beats Flee, that’s salt in the wound. Disney also has two potential disadvantages here: nominees Luca and Raya could siphon votes, while its blatant interference with the awards ceremony has rankled members. But also has the industry’s deepest pockets and widest reach.

Should win

Flee: Akash, Barbara, Bil, Daniel, Emma, Pat, Rachel

The Mitchells vs. the Machines: Colin, Courtney

Will win

Encanto: Bil, Colin, Courtney, Daniel, Emma, Rachel

Flee: Akash, Barbara, Pat


Best Original Screenplay

The nominees: Belfast, Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, The Worst Person in the World

With seven nominations and a whole lotta love, Belfast presumably has to win something, right? Our consensus says that Kenneth Branagh will make good on his overdue status with this cinematic memoir. But Licorice Pizza has as many fans as it does tone-deaf jokes, while Don’t Look Up‘s fan(s?) might propel the snappy writing to sneak in a win. Then there’s The Worst Person in the World, which might enjoy some insurance here if it isn’t winning the international prize.

Should win

Don’t Look Up: Pat

The Worst Person in the World: Akash, Barbara, Bil, Courtney, Daniel, Emma, Rachel

Will win

Belfast: Bil, Colin, Emma, Pat, Rachel

Don’t Look Up: Daniel

Licorice Pizza: Akash, Barbara, Courtney

The Power of the Dog | Kirsty Griffin / Netflix

Best Adapted Screenplay

The nominees: CODA, Drive My Car, Dune, The Lost Daughter, The Power of the Dog

Best Adapted Screenplay could add suspense to the night. Everyone knows that Jane Campion’s winning for directing, so they might throw Sîan Heder a bone for CODA. However, Campion’s screenplay has more layers and is a challenging adaptation of a complex book, just as Dune takes an insanely difficult work and makes it not only tolerable but fun and it succeeds where esteemed directors failed. Ditto The Lost Daughter, which tackles a difficult book, and Drive My Car, which juggles multiple languages and cultural texts for a talky meditation of the soul.

Should win

Drive My Car: Akash, Barbara, Bil, Courtney, Pat

Dune: Colin, Rachel

The Power of the Dog: Emma, Daniel

Will win

CODA: Bil, Emma

Drive My Car: Akash

The Power of the Dog: Barbara, Colin, Courtney, Daniel, Pat, Rachel


Best Cinematography

The nominees: Dune, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

We agree: it’s probably a Dune sweep in the technical awards! The irony of the Academy sidelining these categories in the name of popularity.

Should win

Dune: Colin, Daniel, Pat

The Power of the Dog: Akash, Bil, Emma

The Tragedy of Macbeth: Courtney, Rachel

West Side Story: Barbara

Will win

Dune: Barbara, Colin, Emma, Pat

The Power of the Dog: Akash, Bil, Rachel

West Side Story: Courtney, Daniel

A still from Denis Villeneuve's Dune

Best Film Editing

The nominees: Don’t Look Up; Dune; King Richard; The Power of the Dog; tick, tick…BOOM!         

Here’s one of the night’s biggest wild cards. Dune won the BAFTA. King Richard and tick, tick, BOOM! won the Eddies. And West Side Story, which wasn’t even nominated here, won the Critics’ Choice. Then there’s Don’t Look Up with its signature OCD Adam McKay style, and the finesse of presumed Best Picture winner The Power of the Dog. Recent years have often paired the winners for Best Film Editing and Best Sound, so Dune might be the safe bet, but King Richard has a mean backhand and BOOM! a real peppy tempo. (I’m waffling so much that I changed my bet from King Richard to Dune while writing this.)

Should win

Dune: Barbara, Colin, Courtney, Daniel, Emma, Pat, Rachel

The Power of the Dog: Akash, Bil

Will win

Dune: Barbara, Colin, Courtney, Emma, Pat

The Power of the Dog: Akash, Bil, Rachel

tick, tick…BOOM!: Daniel

Dune TIFF 2021 screening

Best Production Design

The nominees: Dune, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

Like good Canadians, we’re rooting for Dune and/or Nightmare Alley. It’s another tough call, but one might find it hard to deny the world building of Dune.

Should win

Dune: Akash, Bil, Colin, Pat, Rachel

Nightmare Alley: Barbara, Emma

The Tragedy of Macbeth: Courtney

West Side Story: Daniel

Will win

Dune: Akash, Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Emma, Pat

Nightmare Alley: Rachel

West Side Story: Daniel


Best Costume Design

The nominees: Cruella, Cyrano, Dune, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story

Cruella basically adapts the fashion wars of RuPaul’s Drag Race to the world of 101 Dalmatians. It seems like a no-brainer that a movie designed as a series of Eleganza Extravaganza runway one-upmanship would win, right? Take away the costumes and Cruella isn’t much of a movie at all, though, whereas the fabulous threads of Dune help transport audiences to another world, the colours make West Side Story pop, and the meticulously researched designs of Nightmare Alley are richly tailored to the genre, characters, and era.

Should win

Cruella: Courtney, Daniel, Emma

Dune: Akash, Pat

Nightmare Alley: Rachel

West Side Story: Bil, Colin

Will win

Cruella: Akash, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Emma, Pat

West Side Story: Daniel, Rachel

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Best Make-up and Hairstyling

The nominees: Coming 2 America, Cruella, Dune, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, House of Gucci

It’s Jessica Chastain’s chipmunk cheeks versus the gobs of latex smothered over Jared Leto. Films never win based on hairstyling alone, so don’t have high hopes for Coming 2 America or Cruella even though they’re quite impressive on those fronts. Dune, meanwhile, has been weirdly absent from the awards conversation here despite the range of make-up, particularly the complex Baron transformation on which the teams bake-off reel focused heavily.

Should win

Dune: Pat

The Eyes of Tammy Faye: Daniel, Emma

House of Gucci: Akash, Bil, Courtney, Rachel

Will win

Dune: Pat

The Eyes of Tammy Faye: Akash, Colin, Courtney, Rachel

House of Gucci: Bil, Daniel, Emma

The Power of the Dog

Best Music – Original Score

The nominees: Don’t Look Up, Dune, Encanto, Parallel Mothers, The Power of the Dog

Hans Zimmer hasn’t won an Oscar since The Lion King and the epic bombast of Dune makes the adventure such a thrill ride, so voters might be inclined to acknowledge the composer’s epic blamming that’s been burning out sub-woofers worldwide since Inception. Zimmer won the BAFTA, Critics Choice Award, and Golden Globe, so the stats favour him. However, Jonny Greenwood had a terrific year scoring Spencer and Licorice Pizza in addition to his nominated work for The Power of the Dog.  Add a stand-alone triumph to an impeccable body of work, and he’s hard to ignore (and might catch residual favour from Spencer fans and Licorice Pizza stans.) Then there’s the jazzy zaniness of Don’t Look Up by growing favourite Nicholas Britell, which might have had a chance if so many people didn’t hate the movie.

Should win

Dune: Barbara, Courtney, Daniel, Pat, Rachel

Parallel Mothers: Bil

The Power of the Dog: Akash, Colin, Emma

Will win

Dune: Barbara, Bil, Pat

Encanto: Colin

The Power of the Dog: Akash, Courtney, Daniel, Emma, Rachel

Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in No Time to Die
No Time to Die

Best Music – Original Song

The nominees: Be Alive” from King Richard, “Dos oruguitas” from Encanto, “Down to Joy” from Belfast, “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die, “Somehow You Do” from Three Good Days

Condolences to the Bé hive, but our crew isn’t especially enthusiastic about these nominees. My fellow Shelfers showed some serious disrespect to Diane Warren in the Twitter Spaces by mocking Three Good Days and Glenn Close’s bad wig–both of which are, admittedly, not very good–but can’t discount the heat Warren’s building as the Susan Lucci of the Oscars. If one only considers the written lyrics, “Somehow You Do” is a strong contender for a film that literally nobody saw. But if Oscar wants a “popular” choice, Beyoncé’s banger performance of Be Alive could win, as could Billie Eilish’s rather boring Bond song after Skyfall and Spectre netted a pair of 007 Oscar wins. And one can never discount the mania over EGOTting Encanto‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda, but “Dos oruguitas” isn’t exactly Encanto‘s most memorable song.

Should win

“Dos oruguitas”: Akash, Courtney, Daniel

“No Time to Die”: Bil, Emma, Rachel

“Somehow You Do”: Pat

Will win

“Be Alive”: Colin, Emma

“Dos oruguitas”: Akash, Daniel

“Down to Joy”: Bil

“No Time to Die”: Courtney, Pat, Rachel


Best Sound

The nominees: Belfast, Dune, No Time to Die, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

It’s Dune versus West Side Story here as the category generally favours action films and musicals. After the Academy collapsed sound editing and sound mixing into one prize, it depends how voters actually interpret this category. Does one prioritize something like Dune, which had to use sound effects imaginatively to create a new world (and mix them amid a wall-to-wall Hans Zimmer score) or does one vote for the essential layering of words and music that are the pulse of a film like West Side Story?

Should win

Dune: Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Daniel, Pat

No Time to Die: Rachel

The Power of the Dog: Akash

West Side Story: Emma

Will win

Dune: Akash, Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Emma, Pat

West Side Story: Daniel, Rachel

Denis Villeneuve Dune

Best Visual Effects

The nominees: Dune, Free Guy, No Time to Die, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: Pandering Fan Service

Dune! Dune! Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuune!

Should win

Dune: everyone

Will win

Dune: everyone

The Queen of Basketball

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

The nominees: Audible, Lead Me Home, The Queen of Basketball, Three Songs for Benazir, When We Were Bullies

Our participants start to drop off once shorts season kicks in, but we’re all saying it’s going to be a sports movie. We’re generally going with the upbeat character profile The Queen of Basketball from Canadian director Ben Proudfoot. But don’t count out Audible and its portrait of a football team at an all-deaf school.

Should win

Lead Me Home: Pat

The Queen of Basketball: Bil, Colin, Rachel

Three Songs for Benazir: Akash

Will win

Audible: Akash

The Queen of Basketball: Colin, Pat, Rachel

The Long Goodbye

“Best” Live Action Short

The nominees: Ala Kachuu – Take and Run, The Dress, The Long Goodbye, On My Mind, Please Hold

The win here ultimately depends on how many voters actually made it through all five of these dreary films. We’re rooting for Riz Ahmed and the provocative The Long Goodbye, but Ala Kachuu could scoop it for its human rights fable or The Dress for its compelling lead performance.

Should win

The Long Goodbye: Akash, Pat, Rachel

Will win

Ala Kachuu – Take and Run: Pat

The Long Goodbye: Akash, Bil, Rachel

Robin Robin

Best Short (Animated)

The nominees: Affairs of the Art, Bestia, Boxballet, Robin Robin, The Windshield Wiper

We’re split between the conventional whimsy of Netflix’s Robin Robin and the innovation of the NFB co-pro Affairs of the Art and the edgy independent work The Windshield Wiper. Lots of people like the nightmarish Bestia, though, which swept the festival prizes, but may be too dark to win here.

Should win

Affairs of the Art: Courtney

Boxballet: Colin, Pat, Rachel

Will win

Affairs of the Art: Courtney

Robin Robin: Emma, Pat, Rachel

The Windshield Wiper: Akash

The Power of the Dog

Who are you rooting for most on Oscar night?

Akash: Kristen Stewart

Barbara: Hamaguchi and Drive My Car (his chances of winning are low so I may just play cards/drink while I watch the broadcast)

Bil: Nicole Kidman

Colin: Dune

Courtney and Rachel: Troy Kotsur

Emma: Benedict Cumberbatch, Ari Wegner (!), & Jonny Greenwood for The Power of the Dog (and Campion, but she’s got it in the bag, as she should.)

Pat: Flee and for Kristen Stewart to win the one that counts. You got this, girl!


Stay tuned Sunday night and follow us on Twitter to share your thoughts. Want to make your own picks and predictions? Download our Oscar ballot now.