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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at C of C chapter.

This coming Sunday marks the end of the (very drawn out) film awards season honoring the films of 2021. With Oscar voters casting their final ballots this week, these are my annual guesses, preferences, and possibilities for who will take home Oscar gold on Sunday.

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
Will Win: The Power of the Dog

It’s been the odds-on favorite this whole season. It swept critics circles, it’s the most nominated film this year, and Jane Campion has been sweeping for her directing and adapted screenplay. Arrows have been pointing towards this the whole time and it might be time for me to face the inevitable.
Could Win: CODA
There was not a more heartwarming and beautiful film this year than CODA (which stands for Child of Deaf Adults). It’s been picking up steam at just the right time, having won several awards for Troy Kotsur’s performance, the SAG Award for Best Ensemble, and a win at the WGA Awards for adapted screenplay (but my question is where was Emilia Jones’s Oscar nomination for lead actress?!). In such dark times, this film centered on joy, love, and family could be the winner we all need and get.
Should Win: West Side Story
In a year when there were so many excellent musicals (justice for In The Heights!), one in particular could be the one to defend the honor of musicals. It’s the one movie this past year where I left the theater on such a high. Speilberg’s technique was absolutely stunning, the cinematography was astounding, the DANCING, the costumes, the set, the casting (with one exception), the singing, and did I mention the dancing? It was the perfect movie musical and hands down the best movie of the year and deserves a Best Picture win.

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 Win: Will Smith (King Richard)

Smith gave one of the finest performances of his career in King Richard and has thus far been recognized by every awards body as such. It would be a bit shocking to see him lose the Oscar on Sunday after the season he’s had this year (plus I’d like to be able to say that I’ve met an Oscar winner before).
Could Win: Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)
Another actor who’s turned in one of his best performances this past year and stands to become one of the most awarded actors in history were he to win on Sunday. He’s one of the most respected and beloved individuals in the movie industry and that could get him another win this week.
Should Win: Andrew Garfield (tick, tick… BOOM!)
Another addition into 2021’s league of incredible musicals, Andrew Garfield also gives a career-high performance. In the semi autobiographical musical about and by the late Jonathan Larson (playwright behind the musical Rent), Garfield truly transforms into Larson, and not in a Rami Malek-Bohemian Rhapsody way that feels like an impression; you don’t see Garfield while watching tick, tick… BOOM! but rather only Larson. This is the kind of performance that you want when seeing someone play a real life figure and is one I won’t forget for a while.

Best Actress
The nominees: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos), Kristen Stewart (Spencer)
Will Win:
Folks I’m going to be honest: this category is stumping me. I honestly have no idea who actually will win. Chastain won Critics Choice and SAG but missed some other crucial wins and nominations. Stewart has missed most of the crucial wins and nominations. Nicole Kidman won the Golden Globe but does that even make a difference anymore since they’ve lost their credibility? And Colman and Cruz have both missed crucial nominations and wins things are so up in the air they could possibly pull it off? I’m perplexed by this category and honestly have no predictions for it whatsoever.

Best Supporting Actor
The nominees: Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Troy Kotsur (CODA), Jesse Plemmons (The Power of the Dog), J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)
Will and Should Win: Troy Kotsur (CODA)
Kotsur’s performance as Frank Rossi, the father and fisherman, was such a nuanced and quietly beautiful turn that he absolutely deserves every award he’s received so far and his inevitable Oscar on Sunday.

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)
Will and Should Win: Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)

DeBose did not melt three pairs of shoes shooting the “America” number (a true story!) because she wasn’t giving it her all! She gives the best performance in any category this year hands down, bringing such joy to Anita while also bearing her heartbreak and loss in such an authentic and moving way. She deserves all the awards and the Oscar will just be the cherry on top. Between “America” and THAT scene (if you’ve seen the movie you know exactly which one I’m talking about), she’s got the Oscar on lock.

Other predictions:
Best Director: Steven Spielberg (West Side Story)
Best Original Screenplay: Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Sian Heder (CODA)
Best Animated Film: Encanto
Best Cinematography: The Tragedy of Macbeth

Full time student, part time awards show predictor, full time recommender of television shows, movies, and books.