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The Oscars are mixing things up again this year in a bid to get people interested in watching the biggest night in Hollywood. The Academy has sensed what people truly dislike about award shows: The awards themselves. With that dumb point in mind, the following categories will be awarded in a pre-taped segment before the live broadcast:

  • Documentary Short Subject
  • Film Editing
  • Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Original Score,
  • Production Design
  • Animated Short Film
  • Live-Action Short Film
  • Sound

This decision is not without controversy. Industry insiders are furious that the Oscars will essentially snub so many hard workers in favor of dancing and comedy. The Academy Awards are not just about celebrating the top of the marquee but all of the workers down the line.

If the Oscars aren’t an awards show, then what’s the point of having them broadcast at all?

Ratings have been tanking for years, and there’s no indication or reason to think they’ll rebound this year. Award shows are old hat and not cool anymore. Even with these categories cut, the show will still run more than hours. 

I love movies, and I have no plans to watch the Oscars. Why waste a night on cruddy, Hollywood liberal-approved comedy? I’ll watch the speeches the morning after. And if there’s anything funny that happens, I am sure I will see it on Twitter.

Hunter’s Ill-Informed Oscar Predictions

With all that being said, here’s a breakdown of the four major categories and who will win and should win. This is just an educated guess based on my personal preferences and analyzing Academy tendencies from years past.

Best Picture

  • Who Will Win: The Power Of The Dog. Recent history tells us that the Best Director winner is a great predictor of the Best Picture winner. Jane Campion and her gothic western are the favorites in both categories. But momentum can swing in a hurry, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Belfast gains a bit of steam down the stretch. 
  • Who Should Win: Dune. Denis Villeneuve is the best director going right now, and it frankly isn’t a close race. Dune delivered a lot on the promise of the groundbreaking Sci-Fi novel. Amazing visuals that didn’t overwhelm or look gimmicky combined with superb cinematography, sound, and acting. The total package. 

Best Actor

  • Who Will Win: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power Of The DogDriving around LA, Netflix is in a full-court press to win its first round of Oscars, and if they don’t win Best Picture, then I suspect Cumberbatch will walk away with the acting nod.
  • Who Should Win: Will Smith, King Richard. The Academy loves a comeback, and Will Smith is back in a form we haven’t seen since The Pursuit of Happyness. After a decade of abysmal film choices, Smith finally brought back the star power and acting prowess we always knew he had. After being snubbed for Ali, Smith’s turn as the father of the two greatest athletes deserves a trophy.  

Best Actress

  • Who Will Win: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes Of Tammy Faye. The Academy loves it when a pretty actress covers herself in makeup and wigs. Chastain was absorbed into the eyeshadow of the televangelist and did a good job being “ugly.” 
  • Who Should Win: Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth. That she isn’t nominated is a colossal mistake. McDormand subtly played the conniving Lady Macbeth, which you rarely see in Shakespeare. I have a suspicion her nomination had to do with her multitude of wins and the Academy looking to give someone new a shot. If she were nominated, she would win in a landslide. The Joel Coen adaptation of the Scottish Play had many problems, but Frances’ turn was the largest bright spot. 

Best Director

  • Who Will Win: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog. This is not to say it isn’t a good movie or that Campion doesn’t deserve it, but the Oscars are attempting to right what they perceive to be decades of cultural wrongs in having women largely left out. Campion seems like the “correct” choice in a sea of white men. 
  • Who Should Win: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast. There might not be a more personal film than Branagh’s ode to his childhood – growing up during the start of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Branagh, who typically does Shakespeare or Who-Done-Its, broke away from his mold to deliver something moving and affirming to the audience. The Academy doesn’t usually pick directors just for straying from type like they often do in the acting categories, but they should make an exception this year. 

One More Thought

One additional note, I wonder if Don’t Look Up or The Power Of The Dog will get snubbed in all categories. Many Academy members are not fans of streaming services, their flouting of union rules, and the lack of solid pay for many workers.

Certain voting members will protest vote against the two to keep Netflix in check. But if Dog does sweep top categories, as it is predicted by many to do, it would be a sure sign as any that Netflix is a top-tier competitor. 

Will you watch the Oscars this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Next, Read This: The Oscars Will Have A Host This Year – But Does It Need One?

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