The Rundown 2021: Picture

For our twenty-first Rundown article, we look at top prize of the night. After the jump, you’ll find our winner and runner-up predictions for Best Picture as well as general commentary about the race. Friday, we’ll get to our final revised predictions for the 94th Academy Awards.

Best Picture

Winner Predictions

  • Belfast
  • CODA (WL R) [New] (TL R) [New]
  • Don’t Look Up
  • Drive My Car
  • Dune
  • King Richard
  • Licorice Pizza
  • Nightmare Alley
  • The Power of the Dog (PP O) (TB O)
  • West Side Story

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Belfast (PP O)
  • CODA (TB R) [New]
  • The Power of the Dog (WL R) [New] (TL R) [New]

(color and symbol key at bottom of page)

Wesley Lovell: The most deserving film won’t be winning the Oscar, at least that’s if SAG and the PGA are to be believed. The Power of the Dog has so-far dominated precursor awards with Best Picture wins all over the map, BAFTA and Critics Choice being the two most recent. However, after the SAG Cast win was followed by the PGA win for CODA, it seems like momentum has shifted. That said, BAFTA is more analogous to the Academy’s membership than SAG or PGA are, so it’s possible this was a late-breaking mirage. Unfortunately, the trends are worrying enough that I’ve shifted my prediction to CODA as I’m trying to pull my personal feelings out of the equation. We’ll find out afterwards whether that was the smart move or my latest failure to ignore last-minute trepidation.
Peter J. Patrick: I refuse to believe that CODA will ride its late season push to overtake The Power of the Dog for Best Picture. If there is an upset, I still see Belfast as the one to do it.
Tripp Burton: This has become a two-horse race the last few weeks, thanks to a surge from CODA, but I am going to stick with the assumption that in the end The Power of the Dog will still prevail here. In the last few years of the expansion we have seen Parasite and Nomadland win, and The Power of the Dog feels like the film that plays to the New Academy the most. Anything can happen, and I don’t feel solid about that pick at all, but that is where we are at this moment.
Thomas La Tourrette: In the first year of a guaranteed ten nominees, there are only three that are in contention. At the beginning I thought West Side Story would be one of those, but it never seemed to catch on with critics or audiences even though it was an exciting film, and it would have been thrilling to see it win 60 years after the original. Later, it felt that Belfast might be the winner. It’s a pleasant film from a respected artist who has never won an Oscar. While it might not have been a lot of people’s first choice, I could imagine it being a strong consensus choice and the weighted ballot could help it win. Though as time went on, it seemed to never gain traction and at the same point that The Power of the Dog started dominating. Jane Campion’s picture ended up with over half the precursors, most notably BAFTA and then the Critics Choice Awards as well as the most Oscar nominations, usually a good sign for winning here. It is a polarizing movie, however, and I know many more people that hated it than liked it. Then CODA started gaining ground, first with a surprising win for best cast from the Screen Actors Guild. That seemed to be a one off until it won the Producers Guild award too. Now it was a real competition. CODA is a sweet film and very enjoyable. It is also a fairly predictable film but played with such interesting characters that one could overlook that. Most people I know would rate it as one of their favorites of the year, and that type of support could help it win on the weighted ballot. It would be strange for a film to win best picture with only three nominations, especially when one of which is not for director, but it is looking more likely that it will, and that quite possibly it will win all three of the Oscars it is up for. The Power of the Dog might still win, but I think that CODA has turned into the little film that could.


Appears on Four Lists
Appears on Three Lists
Appears on Two Lists

Wesley Lovell Peter Patrick Tripp Burton Thomas LaTourrette
[New] = New Prediction
[Return] = Prior Prediction Returning
(O) = Original Prediction
(R) = Rundown Series

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