Oscar predictions Oscars Kodi Smit-McPhee Benedict Cumberbatch Best Supporting Actor

Oscar Predictions: Who should win Best Actor & Supporting Actor Oscars

Will Smith and Troy Kotsur are betting favourites, but who really deserves to take the Oscar home this weekend?

And the Oscar goes to…

Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

Casting should be the big story of this year’s Best Actor race. Javier Bardem was not only miscast in Being the Ricardos (he is Spanish and not Cuban), he also clearly doesn’t look or sound like the real Desi Arnaz. Charisma saves him from being a total embarrassment. On paper, Denzel Washington should be too old for Macbeth, but Joel Coen’s otherwise tepid adaptation leans into the age of Macbeth compellingly. Will Smith’s casting in King Richard feels like a performance showpiece intended specifically to garner awards — it’s not bad by any means, but it’s not particularly interesting either. That leaves Andrew Garfield in Tick, Tick…Boom!, obvious casting in terms of type and talent. A strong performance in a relatively nothing film. Finally, we have Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Cumberbatch is also cast against type. Behind the scenes, Jane Campion has been vocal about challenging people-pleasing inclinations and forcing him to step into the commanding shoes of Phil Burbank. Cumberbatch never fully hits that powerful stride, but it only enhances rather than detracts from the performance. Personal secrets and intimate sufferings grip his character. His life has become an extended performance of masculinity – he’s inauthentic and incredibly deceptive. His paradoxical presence ultimately enhances the film. He’s unpredictable and solemn, tragic and sadistic. Cumberbatch allows these contradictions to rise to just below the surface, bringing to life one of the most memorable characters of the year. 

Who will probably win? Will Smith as Richard Williams in King Richard

Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

This year’s best supporting acting category is anybody’s game. Those in the know always look to the supporting categories for the more exciting performances. More often dominated by character actors and scene-stealers, the real meat of Hollywood exists on the sidelines. Ciarán Hinds, Troy Kotsur and J.K. Simmons gave great performances in some of the weakest nominated films. Unfortunately, the two most interesting performances are from the same movie and will likely split the vote: Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog.

For my money, Kodi Smit-McPhee is the most deserving. Much like Cumberbatch, his performance toys with masculinity and wily misdirection. His presence, lanky and fragile, conceals darker motives. The entire film is seen through his eyes as his narration bookends the film and his actions drive the narrative. His presence exposes the long-time issues with the Oscar categories in many ways. He often watches, looking at his mother stealing a drink out the window, watching as Phil burns paper flowers. His immediate inaction can be read as meekness, but we understand it’s anything but as the film plays out.

Who will probably win? Troy Kotsur in CODA

To read our Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Oscar predictions, please click here.

The Power of the Dog, directed by Jane Campion

The Academy Awards airs on ABC and CTV on Sunday, March 27, 8 p.m. For more, please visit the Oscars website.

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