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The Daily Tar Heel

The Academy Awards are finally here. With the ceremony being held Sunday night, some of The Daily Tar Heel's staff made their predictions about which Oscar-nominated movies will win it all. 

Best Picture 

Ryan Phillips (RP): “Nomadland.” After sweeping the entire awards season and garnering widespread acclaim, Chloé Zhao’s personal and moving journey is my pick to take home the night’s top honors. 

Madison Ward (MW): “Nomadland.” Need I say more?

Guillermo Molero (GM): “Nomadland.” I did say more — but I didn’t need to, because this is a no-brainer. 

Best Director 

RP: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland.” Zhao’s sensitive and down-to-earth direction was the key to the success of “Nomadland,” and the Academy will surely recognize that.

MW: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland.” Zhao’s passionate, moving direction is one that will not soon be forgotten, and this would make her the second woman in history to win the coveted award, Best Director. 

GM: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland.” A brilliantly understated touch from Zhao, in addition to that mentioned above, carried this movie to new heights. 

Best Actor

RP: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Not only is Boseman terrific in the film, but I predict the Academy will take this chance to recognize a performer tragically gone too soon.

MW: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Boseman’s legacy will forever live on, and I predict Best Actor will be awarded posthumously to this legendary actor and incredible person. 

GM: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” As much as I loved Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal,” Boseman’s performance was enigmatic, captivating and larger-than-life. 

Best Actress

RP: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland.” This is the closest category of the night but in this neck-and-neck race, I expect the perennial Oscar darling McDormand to take it home.

MW: Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman.” This award could go to any actress, but I believe Kirby’s excellent performance will edge out “Nomadland” (no shade to the beyond-talented McDormand). 

GM: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland.” McDormand’s performance was understated but brimming with passion, which will hopefully be enough to give her the edge here.

Best Supporting Actor

RP: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Kaluuya’s magnetic and energetic performance is not only the highlight of the film but the best performance nominated for Best Supporting Actor this year.

MW: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Kaluuya’s performance was riveting and powerful, and I couldn’t turn away. This is a must-see movie. 

GM: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” This was easily one of the year’s best performances, and the only way to truly understand why is to watch the film yourself.

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Best Supporting Actress

RP: Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari.” This sensitive turn epitomizes the deep and honest humanity that pervades “Minari,” and the Academy will likely reward that.

MW: Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari.” I am fully aboard the Yuh-jung Youn train. Her performance moved and awed me, and there is no better fit for Best Supporting Actress. 

GM: Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari.” Charming, sweet, touching… Can she be my grandma, too?

Best Original Screenplay 

RP: “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Oscar voters tend to love snappy dialogue, and I expect Sunday night to be no exception.

MW: “Promising Young Woman.” The fast-paced, dramatic nature of this film was beyond well-written and convincing. Go, Fennell!

GM: “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” I hope “Judas” wins instead, but Ryan’s right (unfortunately) — the Academy’s going to get this one wrong.

Best Adapted Screenplay

RP: “The Father.” “Nomadland” seems to have a lead in this category right now, but watch out for an upset win for Florian Zeller.

MW: “The Father.” Sorry to disappoint, Guillermo, but “Nomadland” can’t win every award… right?

GM: “Nomadland.” Not all, but most of them. I don’t have a clear favorite, so I’ll go with “Nomadland” and its charismatic, emotional, down-to-earth screenplay. (Also, “The Father” is the one film I haven’t seen.)

Best Original Score

RP: “Soul.” I expect that Academy voters will appreciate the way Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score captures the dreamlike nature of the film with their ethereal and gorgeous compositions.

MW: "Soul." This breathtaking animated movie packed with tunes that will take your breath away is deserving of Best Original Score. 

GM: “Minari.” With lovely, lilting melodies, this score helped ground “Minari” emotionally, so it deserves to take home the gold.

Other Notable Categories: 

Best Cinematography 

RP: “Nomadland”

MW: “Mank”

GM: “Nomadland”

Best Sound

RP: “Sound of Metal”

MW: “Sound of Metal”

GM: “Sound of Metal”

Best Animated Feature 

RP: “Soul”

MW: “Soul”

GM: “Soul”

Best Documentary Feature 

RP: “My Octopus Teacher”

MW: "My Octopus Teacher"

GM: “Time”

Best International Feature Film

RP: “Another Round”

MW: “Another Round"

GM: “Another Round”

Best Production Design

RP: “Mank”

MW: "The Father"

GM: “Mank”

Best Costume Design

RP: “Emma.”

MW: "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"

GM: “Emma.”

Best Film Editing

RP: “Nomadland”

MW: "Sound of Metal"

GM: “Nomadland”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

RP: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

MW: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

GM: "Emma"

Best Visual Effects

RP: "Tenet"

MW: "Tenet"

GM: “Tenet”