The Geiger Counter: Who I want to win at this year’s Academy Awards |

The Geiger Counter: Who I want to win at this year’s Academy Awards

Academy Awards are Sunday night

The 93rd Academy Awards is Sunday and like most award shows, it’s an entertaining evening as we watch favored predictions come true or underdogs shake things up. With Breck Film having its annual Oscar-themed fundraiser, I’m publishing my picks.

A silver lining to the pandemic is that most of this year’s films have been watchable online for multiple months, and the accessibility means I’m actually familiar with the nominated films.

Usually, I don’t put movies on my watchlist until after they win awards, creating an immense backlog. For instance, I have yet to see 2015’s “Spotlight.”

For the most part, I’m not sharing who I think will win, but rather who I want to win — though there will be some overlap. I’m going with my heart instead of poring over odds and compiling predictions like I do some years since it seems like an especially tight race.

Best picture: “Nomadland” follows a subculture of seasonal workers trying to make the best of it. The push and pull of themes like grief, community, settling down and moving on tug on one’s heartstrings.

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Director: A big reason why “Nomadland” is a front-runner is because of Chloé Zhao’s directing. She captured a slice of Americana in an extremely intimate way.

Actor in a leading role: The late Chadwick Boseman should and likely will be honored for his legacy. I haven’t witnessed a bad performance in his sadly too-short career, and the monologue he delivers in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is extremely moving.

Actress in a leading role: Frances McDormand and Viola Davis are stellar, but “Promising Young Woman” has as many nominations as it does because of Carey Mulligan’s gripping performance as a woman wanting to avenge her friend.

Actor in a supporting role: It’s interesting that the two lead roles in “Judas and the Black Messiah” have been split into supporting roles, making it harder to choose between them. I’m going with Daniel Kaluuya for his portrayal of the charismatic Fred Hampton.

Actress in a supporting role: Yuh-Jung Youn already won the Screen Actor’s Guild for her performance in “Minari,” so it makes sense she’ll follow it up with an Oscar. She makes a great foil and grandmother to the young Alan Kim.

Original and adapted screenplays: Aaron Sorkin has a way with words, so “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is my choice for original screenplay — though “Nomadland” will probably continue its streak — while the clever twist of portraying dementia in “The Father” makes it deserve the adapted screenplay win.

International feature: “Another Round” stresses the mantra of “everything in moderation” as Mads Mikkelsen goes through a midlife crisis. Yet it could also be an inspirational carpe diem tale about how to live post-pandemic.

Animated feature: I’ve been a fan of Tomm Moore’s work ever since “The Secret of Kells” was released, so I want “Wolfwakers” to win, but I’m guessing “Soul” will take the award being a Pixar movie.

I don’t have the space and time to share my vote in every category, and I become less knowledgeable toward the bottom of the ballot, but I will say that “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” had wonderful costumes, I can’t stop thinking about the production design in “The Father,” and “The Sound of Metal” needs to win best sound for its portrayal of hearing loss.

Who are you predicting will win?

Jefferson Geiger
What I’m Reading

‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens

Alternating between two time periods that eventually converge, this bestseller tells the story of Kya as she grows up in the marshes of North Carolina in the 1950s and ’60s. She fends for herself in the wilderness and becomes a sort of folk legend around town.

The plot is both a romantic coming-of-age tale and a small-town murder mystery. Yet what makes it worth reading is the wildlife scientist weaving in beautiful descriptions of nature and wildlife that transport you to the marshy banks.

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