Happy Oscars Sunday to all who celebrate! For a while there, it was starting to feel like this year’s awards season was never going to end–but here we are, look at us!

Back in January, it seemed like Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog was poised to run away with the season. While the film certainly has racked up its share of awards, a new frontrunner emerged following this year’s SAG Awards: CODA. And, it’s not hard to see why.

The film’s charming cast has managed to steal everyone’s hearts, from the red carpet to the White House. But furthermore, CODA is a movie that captured audiences at the Sundance Film Festival in 2021 and has continued to move people. And isn’t that what we should want from a Best Picture winner? Shouldn’t we want to see a film prevail that unites people in their love for pure storytelling, as well as one that makes people laugh, cry, and–most importantly–revisit the film in the years to come? That’s CODA. The Academy awarded a dull, yet beautifully shot film last year–I hope they go all-in on a film that is both truly beloved and meaningful on multiple levels this evening.

Acting-wise, I think the Best Supporting Actor/Actress races are pretty much locked in Troy Kotsur (CODA) and Ariana DeBose’s (West Side Story) favor. I suppose Best Actor is as well for Will Smith (King Richard), which leaves us the enigma that is Best Actress. Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) took the Golden Globe, Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) took both the SAG and Critics’ Choice, however, there has been a lot of rumbling this past week about Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) sneaking in for the win in the anonymous Oscar ballot reveals. Gotta love Best Actress keeping things interesting every year.

Before I jump into my picks and predictions, I just want to briefly address the decision to cut eight categories from the live broadcast: Film Editing, Sound, Makeup/Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design, Documentary Short, Animated Short, and Live Action Short. For an awards show with the audacity to use the tagline “Movie Lovers Unite,” following through with this decision shows that there’s more concern about ratings and trying to attract the attention of an audience that’s never going to care rather than appealing to an already dedicated audience of movie fans who tune in every year. In short, I think this decision is a huge mistake. These nominated creatives are being denied their moment in the live spotlight in front of their peers, and it’s genuinely disappointing.

Onto what I hope you came to read–my personal picks and predictions for the 94th Oscars! The live awards show kicks off later today at 5 p.m. (PT) on ABC.

Please note: Nominated films that I didn’t get a chance to see are denoted with an asterisk(*).

Best Picture

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story (2021)

KC pick: CODA

Will win: CODA

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Mothers

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

KC pick: Jessica Chastain

Will win: Jessica Chastain

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Javier Bardem in Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield in tick, tick…BOOM!

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of Macbeth

KC pick: Andrew Garfield

Will win: Will Smith

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Jessie Buckley in The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story (2021)

Judi Dench in Belfast

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard

KC pick: Ariana DeBose

Will win: Ariana DeBose

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Troy Kotsur in CODA

Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog

J.K. Simmons in Being the Ricardos

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

KC pick: Troy Kotsur

Will win: Troy Kotsur

Achievement in Directing

Belfast | Kenneth Branagh

Drive My Car | Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Licorice Pizza | Paul Thomas Anderson

The Power of the Dog | Jane Campion

West Side Story (2021) | Steven Spielberg

KC pick: Steven Spielberg

Will win: Jane Campion

Original Screenplay

Belfast | Written by Kenneth Branagh

Don’t Look Up | Screenplay by Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay & David Sirota

King Richard | Written by Zach Baylin

Licorice Pizza | Written by Paul Thomas Anderson

The Worst Person in the World | Written by Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier

KC pick: Belfast

Will win: Belfast

Adapted Screenplay

CODA | Screenplay by Siân Heder

Drive My Car | Screenplay by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe

Dune | Screenplay by Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth

The Lost Daughter | Written by Maggie Gyllenhaal

The Power of the Dog | Written by Jane Campion

KC pick: CODA

Will win: CODA

Best Animated Feature Film

Encanto | Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Yvett Merino and Clark Spencer

Flee | Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen and Charlotte De La Gournerie

Luca | Enrico Casarosa and Andrea Warren

The Mitchells vs the Machines | Mike Rianda, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Kurt Albrecht

Raya and the Last Dragon | Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada, Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho

KC pick: The Mitchells vs the Machines

Will win: Encanto

Best Documentary Feature

Ascension | Jessica Kingdon, Kira Simon-Kennedy and Nathan Truesdell

Attica* | Stanley Nelson and Traci A. Curry

Flee | Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen and Charlotte De La Gournerie

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) | Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein

Writing with Fire | Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

KC pick: Flee

Will win: Summer of Soul

Best International Feature Film

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

KC pick: The Worst Person in the World

Will win: Drive My Car

Best Animated Short Film

Affairs of the Art | Joanna Quinn and Les Mills

Bestia | Hugo Covarrubias and Tevo Díaz

Boxballet | Anton Dyakov

Robin Robin | Dan Ojari and Mikey Please

The Windshield Wiper | Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sanchez

KC pick: Abstaining from making a personal pick, as I’ve not yet seen any of the films in the category.

Will win: Robin Robin

Best Documentary Short Subject

Audible | Matt Ogens and Geoff McLean

Lead Me Home | Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk

The Queen of Basketball | Ben Proudfoot

Three Songs for Benazir | Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei

When We Were Bullies | Jay Rosenblatt

KC pick: Abstaining from making a personal pick, as I’ve not yet seen any of the films in the category.

Will win: The Queen of Basketball

Best Live Action Short Film

Ala Kachuu – Take and Run | Maria Brendle and Nadine Lüchinger

The Dress | Tadeusz Łysiak and Maciej Ślesicki

The Long Goodbye | Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed

On My Mind | Martin Strange-Hansen and Kim Magnusson

Please Hold | K.D. Dávila and Levin Menekse

KC pick: Abstaining from making a personal pick, as I’ve not yet seen any of the films in the category.

Will win: The Long Goodbye

Achievement in Cinematography

Dune | Greig Fraser

Nightmare Alley | Dan Laustsen

The Power of the Dog | Ari Wegner

The Tragedy of Macbeth | Bruno Delbonnel

West Side Story (2021) | Janusz Kaminski

KC pick: The Power of the Dog

Will win: Dune

Achievement in Film Editing

Don’t Look Up | Hank Corwin

Dune | Joe Walker

King Richard | Pamela Martin

The Power of the Dog |  Peter Sciberras

tick, tick…BOOM! | Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum

KC pick: tick, tick…BOOM!

Will win: Dune

Achievement in Production Design

Dune | Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Zsuzsanna Sipos

Nightmare Alley | Production Design: Tamara Deverell; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau

The Power of the Dog | Production Design: Grant Major; Set Decoration: Amber Richards

The Tragedy of Macbeth | Production Design: Stefan Dechant; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

West Side Story (2021) | Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo

KC pick: Dune

Will win: Dune

Achievement in Sound

Belfast | Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather and Niv Adiri

Dune | Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett

No Time to Die | Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey and Mark Taylor

The Power of the Dog | Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie and Tara Webb

West Side Story (2021) | Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson and Shawn Murphy

KC pick: No Time to Die

Will win: Dune

Achievement in Visual Effects

Dune | Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer

Free Guy | Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis and Dan Sudick

No Time to Die | Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner and Chris Corbould

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings | Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker and Dan Oliver

Spider-Man: No Way Home | Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein and Dan Sudick

KC pick: Free Guy

Will win: Dune

Achievement in Costume Design

Cruella | Jenny Beavan

Cyrano | Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran

Dune | Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan

Nightmare Alley | Luis Sequeira

West Side Story (2021) |  Paul Tazewell

KC pick: Cruella

Will win: Cyrano

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Coming 2 America* | Mike Marino, Stacey Morris and Carla Farmer

Cruella | Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne and Julia Vernon

Dune | Donald Mowat, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr

The Eyes of Tammy Faye | Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh

House of Gucci | Göran Lundström, Anna Carin Lock and Frederic Aspiras

KC pick: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Will win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

Don’t Look Up | Nicholas Britell

Dune | Hans Zimmer

Encanto | Germaine Franco

Parallel Mothers | Alberto Iglesias

The Power of the Dog | Jonny Greenwood

KC pick: Parallel Mothers

Will win: Dune

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

“Be Alive” from King Richard
Music and Lyric by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto
Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miran

Down To Joy” from Belfast
Music and Lyric by Van Morrison

“No Time To Die” from No Time to Die
Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days*
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

KC pick: “No Time to Die”

Will win: “No Time to Die”

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