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Final Oscars Predictions: Best Picture — Apple Projected to Become First Streamer to Win Academy’s Top Prize (ARCHIVED)


It’s a race for the history books. The showdown to be the first streaming service to win best picture has focused on all of the players, most notably Netflix. 

With Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” landing a gargantuan 12 Oscar nominations, it looked like its long-awaited moment had finally arrived after missing the cut with “Roma” (2018), “The Irishman” (2019) and “Mank” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (2020). But unfortunately, an extended, drawn-out phase two might have cost the western movie critical votes. First, the film was a talking point in the media with Sam Elliott’s criticisms, followed by the blowback to some of Campion’s comments at the Critics Choice Awards ceremony. 

The momentum for Apple’s “CODA” has been undeniable. Conversations with dozens of voters indicated that the Academy’s membership was looking for a good mood. Enter Sian Heder’s film, which won the SAG Award for cast ensemble four days after Russia invaded Ukraine when the global community was looking for hope for the future. PGA gave “CODA” its top prize, and the film managed to win the BAFTA award for adapted screenplay, the critical indicator that it also appeals internationally. 

In the end, I subscribe to the theory that Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” is very much a possibility to spoil the party — mimicking “Spotlight” (2015) with original screenplay and best picture wins only – and it could even perhaps pull a “Mutiny on the Bounty” with a top category win only. The Focus Features film has a solid international presence and support, and it could be splitting that binding pocket with “The Power of the Dog,” which allows “CODA” to come up the middle. 

Regarding the other seven nominated films, “Dune” is trending to win anywhere between three to eight Oscars. It has passion within the artisan branches, putting it in the top five, but with no palpable indication of a winning threat. The respect and adoration for Steven Spielberg and “West Side Story” were on full display in phase two, with every nominee at the DGA awards and PGA awards acknowledging him in their speeches and opening remarks. Frontrunning for an acting Oscar with Ariana DeBose, along with two possible bubble wins for costume design and sound, may have done better with voters than many believed. 

It was surprising to learn from conversations with voters and confirmed through multiple awards strategists that Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” has a vast amount of support internationally, which would help explain its pretty surprising BAFTA win over Branagh. One theory suggests that if you see Anderson’s film taking best original screenplay, that could indicate a “Power” win coming ahead since they could share the same voting demographics. 

Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” could go out in the first two rounds when tabulating the preferential ballots. The key to Netflix winning best picture could lie within those first two rounds. We’ll never know for sure as the Academy doesn’t release official voting numbers, but I believe the more rounds the tabulating goes, the less likely they will take home the statuette. The ballots that list Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car” at No. 1 could hold the answers to what’s winning best picture. If a voter lists the Japanese frontrunner for international feature at the top of their ballot, what films are listed in the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 spots? 

This is all speculation, but it’s a photo finish that’ll be exciting to see the outcome on Sunday. 

Will win: “CODA” (Apple Original Films) – Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger 

Could win: “Belfast” (Focus Features) – Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik and Tamar Thomas 

Should win: “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix) – Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappie 

Should have been here: “C’mon C’mon” (A24) – Chelsea Barnard, Lila Yacoub, Andrea Longacre-White

Precursor Awards Leader: “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)


  1. "CODA" (Apple Original Films)THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "'You're All I Need to Get By'" - Ruby (Emilia Jones)PRODUCERS: Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger
    DIRECTOR: Siân Heder
    SYNOPSIS: As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family's fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music by wanting to go to Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her parents.
    STARRING: Eugenio Derbez, Daniel Durant, Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo
  2. "Belfast" (Focus Features)THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "Go. Go now. Don’t look back. I love you, son" - Granny (Judi Dench)PRODUCERS: Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik and Tamar Thomas
    DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh
    SYNOPSIS: A young boy and his working-class Belfast family experience the tumultuous late 1960s.
    STARRING: Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Jude Hill, Ciarán Hinds, Colin Morgan
  3. "The Power of the Dog" (Netflix)THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "I just want to say... how nice it is not to be alone." - George Burbank (Jesse Plemons)
    : Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappie

    DIRECTOR: Jane Campion
    SYNOPSIS: Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.
    STARRING: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee
  4. "West Side Story" (20th Century Studios)THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "Oye Javi, ponle fuego, vamos." - Anita (Ariana DeBose)
    : Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger

    DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
    SYNOPSIS: An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.
    STARRING: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Rita Moreno, Brian d'Arcy James, Corey Stoll, Mike Faist, Josh Andres Rivera, Iris Menas
  5. "Dune" (Warner Bros)THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "A great man doesn't seek to lead; he is called to it. But if your answer is no, you'd still be the only thing I ever needed you to be: my son." - Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac)
    : Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve and Cale Boyter

    DIRECTOR: Denis Villeneuve
    SYNOPSIS: Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
    STARRING: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Mamoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Chang Chen, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Charlotte Rampling
  6. "Drive My Car" (Janus Films/Sideshow)THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "We must keep on living." - Yûsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima)PRODUCERS: Teruhisa Yamamoto
    DIRECTOR: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
    SYNOPSIS: After his wife's unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku, a renowned stage actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima. There, he begins to face the haunting mysteries his wife left behind.
    STARRING: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura, Reika Kirishima, Park Yu-rim, Jin Dae-yeon, Sonia Yuan
  7. "King Richard" (Warner Bros)THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "The most strongest, the most powerful, the most dangerous creature on this whole earth is a woman who knows how to think. Ain't nothing she can't do." - Richard Williams (Will Smith)
    : Tim White, Trevor White and Will Smith

    DIRECTOR: Reinaldo Marcus Green
    SYNOPSIS: A look at how tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams became who they are after the coaching from their father Richard Williams.
    STARRING: Jon Bernthal, Aunjanue Ellis, Tony Goldwyn, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Will Smith
  8. "Licorice Pizza" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "Do you know who my girlfriend is?" - Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper)PRODUCERS: Sara Murphy, Adam Somner and Paul Thomas Anderson
    DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson
    SYNOPSIS: The story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and going through the treacherous navigation of first love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973.
    STARRING: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper
  9. "Nightmare Alley" (Searchlight Pictures)THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "Mister, I was born for it." - Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper)
    : Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale and Bradley Cooper

    DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro
    SYNOPSIS: An ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is.
    STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, David Strathairn
  10. "Don't Look Up" (Netflix)THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "We really did have everything, didn't we?" - Randall (Leonardo DiCaprio)
    : Adam McKay and Kevin Messick

    DIRECTOR: Adam McKay
    SYNOPSIS: Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.
    STARRING: Cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ariana Grande, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Lawrence, Melanie Lynskey, Kid Cudi, Rob Morgan, Himesh Patel, Ron Perlman, Tyler Perry, Mark Rylance, Meryl Streep

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

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