In my Academy Awards Snubs feature last week, I wrote that debating the nominations is part of the fun of the annual Oscars-madness, and I certainly enjoyed it – it’s arguably the more important of these two write-ups for me as a critic, celebrating the worthy contributions to film culture in 2020 that were overlooked. But voting on the winners just feels like the main event, doesn’t it? You won’t get a lot of pushback for arguing a movie or performance deserved more attention, but when you pick a favorite of the nominees, you’re bound to brush up against a few other, strongly held opinions. The debates that follow are kind of what I live for.

So, rubbing my hands together with maniacal glee, I humbly offer What’sUp readers my thoughts on who should and who will be getting a little gold statuette this weekend. While I do my best to follow the narratives that build throughout Awards Season, my actual predictions are little more than educated guesses, and Academy voters remain capable of rallying around anything. But I’ve based my choices for the worthiest candidates purely on the merit of the work they’re nominated for – outside factors that undoubtedly play a role in actual voting, such as previous wins, I’m choosing to ignore here. Do with that information what you will.

I should also mention that, while I’ve actually been better about catching up with the nominees this year, I do have a few blind spots. I’ll be skipping two categories that I just haven’t seen enough of to weigh in with any authority: Best Visual Effects, and, most regrettably, Best International Feature Film. I intend to rectify this soon (maybe even before Sunday), but as I couldn’t in time for this write-up, foreign films will be conspicuously absent on this list.

Now, on to my Oscar picks, listed in order of their presentation at last year’s ceremony – look for this article on WUN social media accounts to share your thoughts on these choices and make some predictions of your own!

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Will Win: Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, Judas and the Black Messiah

Should Win: Daniel Kaluuya

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM 

Will Win: Soul

Should Win: Wolfwalkers

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Will Win: If Anything Happens I Love You

Should Win: Opera

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Will Win: Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Should Win: Darius Marder, Abraham Marder & Derek Cianfrance, Sound of Metal

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Will Win: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Should Win: Kemp Powers, One Night in Miami…

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM 

Will Win: The Letter Room

Should Win: The Present

PRODUCTION DESIGN 

Will Win: Mank

Should Win: Mank

COSTUME DESIGN 

Will Win: Trish Summerville, Mank

Should Win: Alexandra Byrne, Emma.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE 

Will Win: My Octopus Teacher

Should Win: Time

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT 

Will Win: A Love Song for Natasha

Should Win: A Love Song for Natasha

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE 

Will Win: Youn Yuh-jung as Soon-ja, Minari

Should Win: Amanda Seyfriedas Marion Davies, Mank

SOUND

Will Win: Sound of Metal

Should Win: Sound of Metal

CINEMATOGRAPHY 

Will Win: Joshua James Richards, Nomadland

Should Win: Joshua James Richards

FILM EDITING  

Will Win: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Should Win: Yorgos Lamprimos, The Father

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING 

Will Win: Mank

Should Win: Emma.

ORIGINAL SCORE 

Will Win: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Mank

Should Win: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross& Jon Batiste,Soul

ORIGINAL SONG

Will Win: “Io sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead

Should Win: “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami…

DIRECTING 

Will Win: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Should Win: Chloé Zhao

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Will Win: Chadwick Bosemanas Levee Green, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Should Win: Riz Ahmed as Ruben Stone, Sound of Metal

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE 

Will Win: Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Should Win: Frances McDormand as Fern, Nomadland

BEST MOTION PICTURE

Will Win: Nomadland

Should Win: Nomadland

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Alexander Harrison

Alex Harrison is an emerging film critic getting a Masters in Film Studies in his spare time