POSSIBLE SPOILER? Sian Heder’s Best Picture nominee “CODA,” which took the ensemble award at the Screen Actors Guild—an honor equal to Best Picture.
BEST DIRECTOR: I will stick by Campion.
POSSIBLE SPOILER: Helmer Ryusuke Hamaguchi for “Drive My Car,” which also earned three other Oscar nominations—namely, Best Picture, Best International Feature Film, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It is also the first Japanese-language film to compete for Best Picture.
BEST ACTRESS: Jessica Chastain for her performance in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” playing the notorious televangelist who preached to the choir and took their money, singing to her fans with layers upon layers of makeup and heavy faux eyelashes. Chastain is overdue for a win, having received two previous Academy Awards nominations: Best Supporting Actress for 2011’s “The Help” and Best Actress for 2012’s “Zero Dark Thirty.”
POSSIBLE SPOILER: Olivia Colman—AKA a human awards magnet who won this prize for her ditzy rabbit-loving Queen Anne in 2018’s “The Favourite.” In this year’s “The Lost Daughter,” she plays a reluctant mother who plunges into a whirlpool of maternal conflict. Colman also was nominated last year as the caretaker daughter of Anthony Hopkins who suffers from dementia in 2020’s“The Father.”
BEST ACTOR: Will Smith headlines in the biopic “King Richard” as the determined father of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams. Like Chastain, Smith has previously competed at the Oscars. He was nominated for bringing the boxing legend Muhammad Ali to life in the 2001 film “Ali” and he portrayed a real-life homeless salesman who protects his young son in 2006’s “The Pursuit of Happyness.” He is also up for Best Picture as a producer of his current contender.
POSSIBLE SPOILER: Benedict Cumberbatch, for his work as macho rancher Phil Burbank in “The Power of the Dog.” The British performer has previously been nominated for Best Actor in 2014’s “The Imitation Game.”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Ariana DeBose, who broke out on the sixth season of TV competition series in “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2009, while making it into the top 20 competitors. She was up for a Best Featured Actress Tony in 2018 for her role in as Disco Donna in the jukebox musical Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. She is also a critical darling for her role as Anita in the big-screen remake of “West Side Story.” The part of the Manhattan-loving Puerto Rican transplant has earned her much acclaim and several accolades, including a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. The latter made her the first Afro-Latina and openly queer woman of color to win the award. DeBose is as closest thing to a lock to take the gold this year.