HOLLYWOOD—I cannot believe it we are less than a week away from the big shindig that is known as the pinnacle of awards season: OSCAR! Yes, some like to use Academy Awards for prestige, but we all know it’s about that golden statue that matters the most. I am still baffled that the organization is attempting to have an in-person ceremony in the midst of a pandemic. I guess Oscar is Oscar and it cannot be withered down to celebrities appearing virtually.

Whatever, all I am hoping is that the ceremony is not clocking in more than 3 hours because again we’re in a pandemic and it’s NOT like you can have a room full of people like you had in 2020. With that said its time to make predictions for who will reign supreme when it comes to the OSCAR SIX as I like to call it: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

I will admit there are some categories this year that are like locks and when I say locks I would be stunned and I mean utterly stunned if the person who I expect and should win, don’t walk away with the prize. For example, Best Picture and Best Director, two races that seem to split the prize in recent history, this year, I think the Best Director and the Best Picture will align for the film “Nomadland” and its director Chloe Zhao. Zhao seems unstoppable in the Best Director race and rightfully so for a creative and moving drama that rises to the ranks. I don’t think anyone comes even close to snatching that prize from Zhao.

Now Best Picture could deliver an upset, but I don’t see “Nomadland” losing to any movie beyond “The Trail of the Chicago 7” which is riveting filmmaking people. The problem is the movie hasn’t seen much awards love this season. It did pick up a big award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards winning the Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture prize which is equivalent to Best Picture at all other awards shows, but I just don’t see it. This is “Nomadland’s” prize to lose.

Let’s chat about Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, two races that have been dominated by similar names all awards season in Chadwick Boseman “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Daniel Kaluuya “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Boseman is incredible in the movie and those monologues that his character delivers; it sends chills down the spine. It is not good acting, not great acting, but fantastic acting. It’s a shame we lost this man so early because the talent was just exploding people and he’ll be the third actor to receive a posthumous Oscar behind Peter Finch “Network” and Heath Ledger “The Dark Knight.”

In another year without Boseman in the race, I think Riz Ahmed would have a shot because his was also incredible in “Sound of Metal” and Sir Anthony Hopkins proves at the age of 80 you can still deliver a performance that wows people as he does in “The Father.” If there was an upset it would come from Hopkins, but I just don’t see it because the sentiment for Boseman is way too strong.

Moving to Kaluuya, what he does with Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah” is beyond incredible, it is explosive. I still cannot believe that he is in the Supporting Actor race, as I think he should be in the Best Actor race. Now imagine if Kaluuya and Boseman were going toe-to-toe this year, things might be different. If there is an upset here and it’s a glimmer, it will be the result of Kaluuya and his co-star LaKeith Stanfield splitting votes and allowing someone like Sacha Baron Cohen to rise to the top for his stellar work in “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Cohen is known for being funny, but he proved he has the dramatic chops with his work in this drama and it is impressive.

Now here is where things get interesting Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. I honestly have no idea who could win either of these categories. Let me take that back, I think I know where Best Supporting Actress is headed, but the Academy loves to deliver surprises in its Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress categories and 2021 could be the year that we see one. At the start of the season Maria Bakalova was the front-runner for her work in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” but that momentum quickly burned off at the start of the season.

Then you have to take a look at the other contenders, Glenn Close who has been nominated 8 times people and never won an Oscar. This time it’s for a movie that critics didn’t love in “Hillbilly Elegy,” but I always argue critics are overrated people. It might be that time that the Academy feels Glenn is way overdue and hands the award to the veteran. There’s Amanda Seyfried for her work on “Mank” which is impressive, but didn’t wow me. I think this is a two-person race between Olivia Colman “The Father” and “Minari” breakout Yuh-Jung Houn. Houn has risen as the front-runner after winning both the SAG and BAFTA for her performance.

However, I cannot escape that nagging feeling that Oscar like’s an upset and it might be delivered by Colman who delivered an upset to Glenn Close a few years back winning Best Actress for “The Favourite.” She is damn riveting in “The Father” and I would not be surprised if there is a surprise for Oscar night this is the name that is called when the envelope is open. For now my money is on Yuh-Jung Houn for “Minari,” but if Colman wins you’ll know where you heard it from.

Best Actress this is the one I’m most eager about because I think 4 of the 5 contenders have a legitimate shot, this is not to take anything from Vanessa Kirby for “Pieces of a Woman,” but the other women have all won a big prize to say the least this awards season. Andra Day won the Golden Globe for her work in “The United States vs. Billie Holliday,” Viola Davis stunned us all when she won the SAG Award for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Frances McDormand, who has been considered the frontrunner all season long FINALLY won something when she walked away with the BAFTA for “Nomadland” however, it’s worth noting that the other frontrunner Carey Mulligan wasn’t even nominated for “Promising Young Woman.”

Speaking of Mulligan, she won the Critic’s Choice Award for her performance. I would be happy with any of the four women I mentioned winning, but my gut is sticking to Carey Mulligan. What she did in “Promising Young Woman” blew my mind. It was unexpected, raw, captivating and just explosive as an actress. McDormand just won the prize a few years back for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Day while powerful, I just don’t see it, Davis is great in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” but her portrayal seemed a bit excessive for me. Its solid acting, but I’ve seen much better from the actress in better movies if I’m being honest.

Mulligan does something with a character unlike anything we’ve seen before and it’s totally outside the box for the actress at the same time. She deserves that Oscar, but if Mulligan does not win I do believe it will be McDormand who reigns supreme. However, Davis winning that SAG award really has me thinking this might be a race between McDormand and Davis and if they split votes it will lead to Mulligan walking away with the top prize.

Those are my predictions for Oscar in 2021, in a year where if I’m being honest I didn’t think we would have such a ceremony as I’m a stickler for seeing movies on the big screen not at home.