I love the movies. All my life I’ve lived for the smell of a movie theater and sitting in the dark while someone tells me a story for two hours. That said, I almost never agree with the Oscars picks for best picture. So each year I give my rundown on the Best Picture and am usually wrong but I don’t care. I like what I like. And you’ll probably enjoy what I like too. 

Best Picture Nominees

Belfast – I hated this movie, but really wanted to like it. I remember some of that stuff happening on the news. But this movie never sunk its teeth into me. I think it was the pacing or its desperate attempt at being artsy. 

Don’t Look Up – I liked this movie a lot. Thought it was a little fat by about 30 minutes but the concept of the world ending is something that’s consumed me all my life. Wrap that idea around the current state of affairs with mass media and you get a really compelling story. And it’s very well acted. 

Drive My Car – Heard it was 3 hours in Japanese with a lot of sex and heavy subject matter and just haven’t found the time to commit. I’m sure it’s lovely. 

Dune – I expected to hate this, but it’s my second favorite movie of the year. The old one with Kyle MacLachlan bored me to death. All my friends loved it and I was like … ugh. The tooth. The tooth. Anyway, THIS one is SO much better. I actually understood the storyline. Oh and the visuals, man – just whoa. A fun movie. 

Licorice Pizza – I hate Paul Thomas Anderson almost as much as I hate Ridley Scott so I boycotted this movie – and it’ll end up being one that my wife loves, I’m sure. Then I’ll hear it. 

Nightmare Alley – I liked this movie more than a lot of y’all. I mean I predicted the ending halfway through but thought it was pretty ok. I didn’t feel ripped off after watching it. 

Power of the Dog – This will win Best Picture. And yes, it’s a fine movie. It’s well acted. Well directed. Beautiful. All that. Oh, and it deals with controversial subject matter which is always fun. But I pay attention to words used to tell stories. And when the “big reveal” is revealed in the opening dialogue, I just couldn’t get past that. Still, it’ll win. 

West Side Story – I actually liked this movie a lot! I’d never seen the original (or play) so I had no idea what to expect – and was not disappointing that Spielberg took some liberties. It was beautiful and tragic and deserves anything it receives. 

CODA – This was my favorite movie of the year. Which dooms it. But man, what a story. I love it the way I loved JoJo Rabbit a few years ago. A beautifully heartbreaking story that comes out of nowhere and moves you to tears, laughter, and applause. IT’S OK TO WATCH A MOVIE AND FEEL GOOD.

Will Win: “Power of the Dog”

Should Win: “CODA”


Supporting Actor: Troy Kotsur, “CODA” (if he doesn’t win people were paid off) 

Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story” (see above) 

Actress: Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” (but wow was Kidman Lucy) 

Actor: Will Smith, “King Richard” (though Garfield’s performance was remarkable) 

Director: Jane Campton, “The Power of the Dog” (but don’t count out Spielberg if “Dog” isn’t sweeping other things)

Original Screenplay: “Don’t Look Up” 

Adapted Screenplay: “The Power of the Dog” 

Cinematography: “Dune” 

Costume: “Dune” (or “Cyrano” because I heard it was good) 

Documentary: “Summer of Soul” 

Animated Movie: “Encanto” – we watched it in February and it’s really good! 

Song: Whatever is from “Encanto” 

See CODA. Trust me.
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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.