Daniel Rester’s Final Oscar Predictions

The 94th Academy Awards are right around the corner. The show will take place on March 27th at the Dolby Theatre, a return to the venue after last year’s shake-up of a show due to COVID-19. This year’s ceremony will celebrate films released between March 1st and December 31st, 2021, since the previous awards season was changed because of the pandemic as well. Some of the nominees this season, like West Side Story and Dune, were in the conversation for Oscars that season before being delayed like so many other films. 

The return to a more normal Oscars ceremony is welcome, though the decision to not include all of the categories live has irked some people, myself included. These artists in all the categories deserve the spotlight more than commercials and song performances of tunes that weren’t even nominated. But that’s show producers for you, always making weird decisions for cutting time. 

The nominations this year are quite varied and it’s nice that so many of the categories are unpredictable. The awards season leading up to the Oscars has cast a wide net of winners. The only sure-thing locks, I believe, are Will Smith for Best Actor, Ariana DeBose for Best Supporting Actress, Drive My Car for Best International Feature Film, and Jane Campion for Best Director. 

Speaking of Campion, her film The Power of the Dog (with 12 nominations, the most of the films this year) took the Best Picture frontrunner status from Belfast early on in the season. It continued its run with big wins at the Golden Globes, with BAFTA, and with DGA. Recently however, the heartwarmer Coda has positioned itself as a possible underdog winner as it won big at SAG and PGA. It’s an exciting mix-up, but I still think The Power of the Dog will come out on top. 

Below are my predictions for what else I think will win Oscars. I have also included what I think should win, being the nominees I would vote for if I got to vote in each category. Let’s gear up for Hollywood’s favorite night. 

Best supporting actress

Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter)

Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) – WILL WIN

Judi Dench (Belfast)

Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)

Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) – SHOULD WIN

Best costume design




Nightmare Alley

West Side Story – SHOULD WIN

Best sound



No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story – SHOULD WIN

Best original score

Don’t Look Up



Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog – SHOULD WIN

Best adapted screenplay

Coda (Sian Heder) – WILL WIN

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) – SHOULD WIN

Best original screenplay

Belfast (Kenneth Branagh)

Don’t Look Up (Adam McKay, David Sirota)

Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson) – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

King Richard (Zach Baylin)

The Worst Person in the World (Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier)

Best animated short

Affairs of the Art




The Windshield Wiper

Best live action short

Ala Kachuu – Take and Run

The Dress

The Long Goodbye – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

On My Mind

Please Hold

Best supporting actor

Ciarán Hinds (Belfast) – SHOULD WIN

Troy Kotsur (Coda) – WILL WIN

Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog)

JK Simmons (Being the Ricardos)

Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

Best film editing

Don’t Look Up


King Richard

The Power of the Dog – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

tick, tick… BOOM!

Best makeup & hairstyling

Coming 2 America



The Eyes of Tammy Faye – WILL WIN

House of Gucci – SHOULD WIN

Best animated feature

Encanto – WILL WIN



The Mitchells Vs the Machines

Raya and the Last Dragon

Best documentary feature




Summer of Soul – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

Writing With Fire

Best documentary short


Lead Me Home

The Queen of Basketball – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

Three Songs for Benazir

When We Were Bullies

Best original song

Be Alive (King Richard) 

Dos Oruguitas (Encanto) – WILL WIN

Down to Joy (Belfast)

No Time to Die (No Time to Die) – SHOULD WIN

Somehow You Do (Four Good Days)

Best cinematography


Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth SHOULD WIN

West Side Story

Best international feature

Drive My Car – WILL WIN


The Hand of God – SHOULD WIN

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

The Worst Person in the World

Best production design


Nightmare Alley – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Best visual effects


Free Guy

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

No Time to Die

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Best actress

Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)

Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)

Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)

Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

Best actor

Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos)

Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) – SHOULD WIN

Andrew Garfield (tick, tick … BOOM!)

Will Smith (King Richard) – WILL WIN

Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)

Best director

Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)

Drive My Car (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)

Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)

Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog) – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

Steven Spielberg (West Side Story)

Best picture



Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car


King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

West Side Story

Written by
Daniel Rester is a writer for the We Live Film portion of We Live Entertainment. He is a Southern Oregon University alumnus and has a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Communication (Film, Television, and Convergent Media) and Emerging Media and Digital Arts. He has been involved with writing and directing short films for years. Rester also won 2nd place in the Feature Screenplay Competition in the 2015 Oregon Film Awards for his screenplay "Emma Was Here," which is currently in post-production and will be Rester's feature directorial debut.

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