My Predictions For The 2022 Academy Award Nominations

Yep, it’s that time of the year again. The Oscar nominations. The day when we learn of the contenders for the Best Picture and the ‘final five’ for all the other categories. Lots of talk is bound to happen about the nominees. There will also be lots of talk about the highly lauded performances that got snubbed out. The Oscar snubs are what I describe as our annual reminder that sometimes, excellent isn’t good enough. Nevertheless the nominated performances and nominated films should tell a lot about which films hte Academy could favor come the day of the Awards.

This year’s Oscar awards will be awarded on Sunday, March 12th. This year’s nominations will be happening Monday. Two weeks earlier than last year. This has been a case of an adjustment every year as it tries to get back to the way things were before the COVID pandemic. In the meantime, here are my predictions for this year’s Academy Award nominations:

BEST PICTURE

All Quiet On The Western Front
Avatar:Way Of The Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Elvis
Everything Everywhere All At Once
The Fabelmans
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Tar
Top Gun: Maverick
Women Talking

BEST DIRECTOR
Edward Berger – All Quiet On The Western Front
Todd Field – Tar
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All At Once
Martin McDonagh – The Banshees of Inisherin
Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans

BEST ACTOR
Austin Butler – Elvis
Colin Farrell – The Banshees Of Inisherin
Brendan Fraser – The Whale
Paul Mescal – Aftersun
Bill Nighy – Living

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett – Tar
Viola Davis – The Woman King
Danielle Deadwiler – Till
Michelle Williams – The Fabelmans
Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All At Once

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Brendan Gleeson – The Banshees Of Inisherin
Brian Tyre Henry – Causeway
Judd Hirsch – The Fabelmans
Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All At Once
Eddie Redmayne – The Good Nurse

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Angela Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Hong Chau – The Whale
Kerry Condon – The Banshees Of Inisherin
Jamie Lee Curtis – Everything Everywhere All At Once
Dolly de Leon – Thriangle Of Sadness

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Todd Field – Tar
Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All At Once
Martin McDonagh – The Banshees Of Inisherin
Charlotte Wells – Aftersun

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson and Ian Stockell – All Quiet On The Western Front
Samuel D. Hunter – The Whale
Kazuo Ishiguro – Living
Rebecca Lenkiewicz – She Said
Sarah Polley – Women Talking

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Marcel The Shell With The Shoes On
The Sea Beast
Turning Red
Wendell and Wild

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Russell Carpenter – Avatar: Way Of The World
Roger Deakins – Empire Of Light
Greg Fraser – The Batman
Claudio Miranda – Top Gun: Maverick
Mandy Walker – Elvis

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Jenny Beavan – Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris
Ruth Carter – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Catherine Martin – Elvis
Gersha Phillips – The Woman King
Mary Zophres – Babylon

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
All That Breathes
All The Beauty And Bloodshed
Descendant
Fire Of Love
Navalny

BEST FILM EDITING
Eddie Hamilton – Top Gun: Maverick
Michael Kahn and Sarah Broshar – The Fabelmans
Mikkel Nielsen – The Banshees Of Inisherin
Paul Rogers – Everything Everywhere All At Once
Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond – Elvis

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
All Quiet On The Western Front – Germany
Argentina, 1985 – Argentina
Close – Belgium
Decision To Leave – South Korea
EO – Poland

BEST MAKEUP and HAIRSTYLING
Babylon
The Batman
Blonde
Elvis
The Whale

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Carter Burwell – The Banshees Of Inisherin
Alexandre Desplat – Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Hilda Gudnadottir – Women Talking
Justin Hurwitz – Babylon
John Williams – The Fabelmans

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Carolina” – Where The Crawdads Sing
“Hold My Hand” – Top Gun: Maverick
“Life Me Up” – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
“My Mind And Me” – Selena Gomez: My Mind And Me
“Naatu Naatu” – RRR

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
All Quiet on The Western Front
Avatar: Way Of The Water
Babylon

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Elvis

BEST SOUND
All Quiet On The Western Front
Avatar: Way Of The Water
Elvis

Everything Everywhere All At Once
Top Gun: Maverick

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
All Quiet On The Western Front
Avatar: Way Of The Water
The Batman
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Top Gun: Maverick

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
The Flying Sailor
Ice Merchants
New Moon
Save Ralph

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
38 At The Garden
The Elephant Whisperers
The Flagmakers
How Do You Measure A Year?
Nuisance Bear

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT
An Irish Goodbye
Ivalu
Le Pupille
The Red Suitcase
Warsha

Just like I did in past years, I not only did predictions for the nominees but also possible upsetters in most of the categories. Those who’ve tracked Oscar nominations over the years will be very familiar with upsetters. So here are my picks for the potential upsetters:

BEST PICTURE
Aftersun
The Whale
The Woman King

BEST DIRECTOR
James Cameron – Avatar: Way Of The Water
Baz Luhrmann – Elvis

BEST ACTOR
Tom Cruise – Top Gun: Maverick
Hugh Jackman – The Son

BEST ACTRESS
Ana de Armas – Blonde
Margot Robbie – Babylon

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Dano – The Fabelmans
Barry Keoghan – The Banshees of Inisherin

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Stephanie Hsu – Everything Everywhere All At Once
Janelle Monae – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Park Chan-wook and Jeong Seo-gyong – Decision To Leave
Ruben Ostlund – Triangle Of Sadness

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Rian Johnson – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Five writers – Top Gun: Maverick

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Inu Oh
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
James Friend – All Quiet On The Western Front
Janusz Kaminski – The Fabelmans

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Mark Bridges – The Fabelmans
Jenny Eagan – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Moonage Daydream
The Territory

BEST FILM EDITING
Sven Budelman – All Quiet On The Western Front
Five editors – Avatar: Way Of The Water

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Holy Spider – Denmark
The Quiet Girl – Ireland

BEST MAKEUP and HAIRSTYLING
All Quiet On The Western Front
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Simon Franglen – Avatar: Way Of The Water
Ludwig Goransson – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Applause” – Tell It Like A Woman
“Stand Up” – Till

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Fabelmans
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

BEST SOUND
The Batman
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse Of Madness
Thirteen Lives

Those are my predictions for the nominations for the 2022 Academy Awards. The nominees will be revealed the morning of Tuesday the 24th. Lots of talk for who will be nominated expected. Lots of talk of the snubs expected too, of couse. Ya gotta love social media!

World Cup 2022 Predictions For The Knockout Rounds

Anyone else find it odd to be catching World Cup games while you’re doing Christmas shopping? I think this may be the last World Cup where the Round of 16 will kick off the knockout round. As many of you know, the next World Cup will be having a field of 48 teams. It’s unclear how they’ll do the second stage. It could be the knockout stage starts with a “Round of 32.” Or it could be a second set of group play. Four World Cups — 1950, 1974, 1978 and 1982 — did have a second set of group play. In the meantime, it hangs in the balance and is up for FIFA to decide.

As for 2022, the sixteen teams for the knockout round have been decided over the past thirteen days of group play. I don’t know about you but this seems like the fastest World Cup I’ve ever seen. With 3/4 of the total games completed, the play was quite something. Qatar became the first host nation to lose all three of their group games. Senegal is the most notable of many nations fined by FIFA for managers not bringing a player with them during a pre-game press conference. Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey became the first player of the Cup to get an instant red card. South Korea coach Paulo Bento had the rare achievement of a coach being given a red card. VAR use has caused excessive additions of stoppage time. It’s also been the subject of some controversial goal calls like one disallowed for France and another all owed for Japan. There were surprise losses like Argentina falling to Saudi Arabia, Germany to Japan and Belgium to Morocco. With six goals, Germany became the highest-scoring team that failed to advance. Speaking of Germany, highly lauded teams like Germany, Belgium and Uruguay didn’t advance, and the three teams that were guaranteed advancement after their second games lost their final match with a -1 goal differential. I guess they figured since they were already guaranteed, why put in the effort?

What can I say? Every World Cup has their shocking moments and controversies. There were a lot of good things that have happened during the World Cup. First of all, only three red cards have been given out. Only two own-goals have been scored. Every team in Qatar scored at least one goal and the goal average is 2.5 per game right now. Attendance for games has been excellent. Their lowest-attended match was just over 39,000 and their highest-attended match so far was Argentina vs. Mexico with just about 89,000. The World Cup attendance record is over 91,000 for the 1994 Final. Television broadcast has been excellent and American television has it highest-ever World Cup ratings. Plus this Cup’s knockout round makes it only the second ever to consist of teams from all six continents! On a Canadian note, Canada had the relief of only finishing second-last! Thanks, Qatar! Actually I don’t feel too bad. Like I illustrated in my previous blog, the team was mostly young and I think the team was had a bigger focus on 2026 when we co-host instead of 2022. Best of luck to the team!

Anyways enough about my blabbing about the previous 48 games. We’re heading to the knockout round where each round separates the contenders from the pretenders. Here’s my look at the first two sets of knockout rounds.

ROUND OF 16 PREDICTIONS

This is where it all starts. The sixteen being reduced to eight, the quarterfinals reducing the eight to four, the semifinals reducing the four to the two to play in the final for the Cup. The knockout format is the same it’s been since 2006 for which team from which group plays who. We have some interesting pairings to start off with. So here I go starting my predictions for the Round of 16. For my predictions, I will be taking into account their play here in Qatar as well as past head-to-head results. Note that my pick to win will be in bold.

NETHERLANDS vs. UNITED STATES

The first Round of 16 match will be contested between two teams that didn’t qualify for 2018 and are obviously eager to be back. For the Netherlands, it all started with a 2-0 win against Senegal, then a 1-1 draw against Ecuador and finalized with a 2-0 win against hosts Qatar. The US opened their World Cup with a 1-1 draw against Wales followed by a scoreless draw against England. The US knew they needed nothing less than a win against Iran to advance. It just took a single goal from Christian Pulisic at the 38th minute to book the US to the knockout phase.

For this opener, I will have to go with the Netherlands. In head-to-head, The Netherlands have won four times while the US won only once. On top of it, the US has a team mostly of young men. The Netherlands has a well-seasoned team of young and experienced players. That’s why I feel it’s Oranje’s for the taking.

ARGENTINA vs AUSTRALIA

The second Round of 16 match is between two teams that couldn’t be more different in reputations. One team hasn’t missed a World Cup since 1970, advanced past the opening stage 14 out of 18 times, and even won the Cup twice. The other has competed in only six World Cups, this being their fifth consecutive, and just advanced to the Round of 16 only for the second time ever. Both teams lost their opening match but won the other two. Argentina opened with a shocking 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia. The Albiceleste knew they needed nothing but wins for qualification and their reputation, and they delivered with 2-0 wins over Mexico and Poland. Australia opened with a big loss to France 4-1. However the Socceroos did what they needed to do with 1-0 wins over Tunisia and Denmark.

As for the match, this will be the eighth time the two will square off. In the past, Argentina won five times and Australia has only won once. Even though this is the World Cup where Australia has had their best-ever group play, I expect the magic to end here. I’m sure this will be a clear victory for Argentina with a big score.

FRANCE vs. POLAND

It’s something how instead of being subject to the alleged curse of the defending champion, France was actually the first team to qualify, thanks to winning 4-1 against Australia and 2-1 against Denmark. Les Bleus had the luxury of losing 1-0 to Tunisia in its last game (Tunisia’s first-ever win over France) and still finish top of the group! Poland didn’t have it as easy. They started with a scoreless draw against Mexico, won against Saudi Arabia 2-0 but ended with a 2-0 loss to Argentina. Nevertheless their game stats and goal differentials held up to take the Eagles to the knockout round for the first time since 1986!

This Round of 16 pairing will become the seventeenth time the two will have dueled each other. France has won eight times before while Poland has won three times before. I will have to go with France because they’ve shown more consistency and have been better at scoring.

ENGLAND vs. SENEGAL

For England, it was another chance to start the chase on football glory. The team headed by coach Gareth Southgate is seen by many as the best England team ever. In its opening game against Iran, they proved they were ready by winning 6-2. Against the US, they came to a scoreless draw. Then against common rivals Wales, they delivered big in the second-half winning 3-0. For Senegal, it was a chance to get the berth that eluded them by such a close call four years ago. It actually started on a bad note as they lost to the Netherlands 2-0. Against Qatar, they were able to prove themselves better, winning 3-1. Then their match against Ecuador. Whoever won qualified, and it was Senegal that stepped up to the challenge winning 2-1.

This will be the first ever match between England and Senegal. They have never dueled before. It’s hard to tell, but I feel it will be England that will take it. Senegal have proven themselves to be more than what most people expected, but England has continued to show their brilliance and team chemistry on the field.

JAPAN vs. CROATIA

When a group has big-name teams like Spain or Germany, you think you’re chances are over, right? Not Japan. They opened with a 2-1 win over Germany and ended with another 2-1 win to Spain. Even a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica didn’t stop Samurai Blue from topping Group E. On to Croatia. Interesting that the group play of this World Cup has amassed six nil-nil draws, and Croatia was part of two of them! Despite that, they had the biggest win of Group F play: 4-1 against Canada. That gave The Blazers what they needed to qualify to the knockout round for the third time!

Now down to the game. Two different teams. One has been to the Top 3 of the World Cup twice, the other is eager to win their first ever World Cup knockout match. The two have squared off only three times ever, with Croatia winning once (in World Cup 1998), Japan winning once, and a draw. I feel this will be a very tight match. Judging by their play these past two weeks. both teams are roughly parallel in scoring and defending. I feel this will be a tight came that would end in a draw, with Croatia winning on penalty kicks.

BRAZIL vs. SOUTH KOREA

When people watch the World Cup, most people want to see what Brazil has to offer. Brazil opened with a 2-0 win over Serbia, with both goals coming from Richarlison. Brazil followed it up with a 1-0 win over Switzerland With qualification secured, Brazil could afford to lose to Cameroon 1-0 and still top Group G. For South Korea, they opened with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay and endured a 3-2 loss to Ghana. They needed a win against Portugal to advance and nothing less, and they got it 2-1! Their big scoring in their Ghana loss gave them the edge against Uruguay in advancing to the knockout stage for the third time ever.

This match will become the eighth time Brazil and South Korea will have faced off. In their seven previous matches, Brazil won six. This is their first time squaring off at the World Cup. Brazil may have been rather tame compared to the Brazil we’re used to seeing while South Korea has delivered consistently. I pick Brazil to win it.

MOROCCO vs. SPAIN

Interesting this is the Round of 16 match has two teams with the least geographical separation! Just the Aiboran Sea separating the two! Before the World Cup play, I had a feeling nations with desert climates might have an advantage in Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Iran scored surprise wins, but neither of them qualified. Morocco, on the other hand, delivered their best World Cup group play results ever. The Atlas Lions opened with a scoreless draw against Croatia, but went onto a surprise 2-0 win over Belgium and a 2-1 win over Canada. This is their second time qualifying to the knockout round and first since 1986! Their rivals Spain opened brilliantly with a 7-0 win over Costa Rica. After that, La Furia Roja were lacklustre with a 1-1 draw to Germany and a 2-1 loss to Japan.

Now onto the game. The two have met three times before. Morocco has never won. Spain won twice. Their one draw was a 2-2 draw at the 2018 World Cup. I have a feeling with Morocco pulling a lot of surprises, they will take this game in added extra time.

PORTUGAL vs. SWITZERLAND

Even before Qatar 2022 began, Portugal was one of the headliners. Possibly because this is likely to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last chance to win the Cup. They secured their qualification with a 3-2 win over Ghana and a 2-0 win over Uruguay. With their qualification already clinched, the Selecao could afford to lose 2-1 over South Korea and still top Group H. Switzerland arrived with low expectations here in Qatar. They proved a lot as they first won 1-0 against Cameroon, then lost 1-0 to Brazil, but ended their run with a 3-2 win over Serbia. Their two wins were just what they needed to advance for the eighth time and third consecutive.

This will be the 26th time Portugal and Switzerland will have challenged each other. In their previous 25 duels, Switzerland has won eleven times while Portugal has won nine. In their ten most recent matches, Portugal has won more often but Switzerland won the last match 1-0 back in June. For this one, I think it will go to Portugal in added extra time.

QUARTERFINAL PREDICTIONS

Very rarely do I make another blog about quarterfinal predictions. Only if my Round Of 16 predictions end up being dreadfully way off would I go out of my way to make a new blog of quarterfinal predictions. So assuming that my Round Of 16 winners do in fact win, here are my predictions for the quarterfinals:

UPDATE – December 7, 2022: I can’t believe it! All eight of my predictions were right! That means the teams I predicted to be in what quarterfinal tuned out to be right. Since the Round of 16 matches ended, I did some minor updates on the predictions below. The play from the Round of 16 shifted my opinion a bit on the teams.

CROATIA vs. BRAZIL

It’s interesting the two matches they had. Croatia’s match against Japan was a case the Japanese scored first, but Croatia led the second-half to equalize. It came down to penalty kicks and Croatia did it. Brazil was a case that they won their first two games, but they looked relaxed in their play. Even that loss to Cameroon can be seen as holding back. Whatever the situation, it was like the sizzle Brazil is famous for exploded in their win over South Korea.

The two have faced off against each other four times before. Brazil winning three times and a draw the other. Two of those Brazil wins were in World Cup group play in 2006 and 2014. After the play I saw on Monday, I’d expect another win from Brazil. I doubt there will be a Croatian surprise this time around.

NETHERLANDS vs. ARGENTINA

This is the pair from the very first day of Round of 16 matches and both won in strong fashion. Netherlands went on a scoring spree against the USA, proving they are ready for this tournament..Argentina were the ones in control against Australia. The Albiceleste were the ones in control of the game while the best Australia could do was stick to defending.

They’ve met nine times before; Netherlands winning four times and Argentina winning once. As for World Cup results, Netherlands won the first duel in 1974. As for the second duel, Argentina’s one win was in the 1978 World Cup final! Netherlands did get some World Cup revenge winning their 1998 quarterfinal.

For this match, I pick Argentina in added extra time. Both teams have shown their strengths and weaknesses in their group play. I think it will be Argentina that most has what it takes to deliver the win.

MOROCCO vs. PORTUGAL

Both teams were decided on the last day of Round Of 16 matches. Morocco has normally lost to Spain, but they defended like never before to a 0-0 draw. When penalty kicks happened, Morocco was 3 for 4 while Spain couldn’t sink a single one! That makes Morocco only the fourth African nation to qualify for a World Cup quarterfinal! For Portugal, they knew they had to play well against Switzerland to win. They’ve won some but lost some to the Swiss. In the last Round of 16 match, they were a scoring force, winning 6-1.

Interesting that Morocco’s Round Of 16 rival Sapin was also their rival in 2018 group play.Here in the quarterfinal, Morocco will again meet up with another group play rival from 2018! They’ve met twice before. Morocco won the first time. Portugal won the second time. Yep, the World Cup game was won by Portugal.

On Saturday, I anticipate Portugal to win in regulation time. I am expecting Morocco to challenge and defend well, but for Portugal to win in the end.

FRANCE vs. ENGLAND

Here’s another case of two teams with brilliant wins in the Round Of 16. France opened up with a strong 3-1 win over Poland. The second-half scoring of Kylian Mbappe has him as the World Cup scoring leader with five goals! England continued to perform well as they won their first-ever match against Senegal 3-0.

They’ve crossed paths 31 times before. England has won seventeen times. France nine. In the two times they’ve faced off at the World Cup, England won both times: 2-0 in 1966 and 3-1 in 1982. Their last meeting was a friendly which France won 3-2. As for this match, I think this will go to a draw that will be decided on penalty kicks. Of course, France will win.

And there you have it. Those are my predictions for the Round Of 16 and Quarterfinal matches. Now time to see how they pan out. Also don’t expect to see another blog from me until the semifinals.

My Predictions For The 2021 Oscar Nominations

The one plus about this year’s Oscar nominations for this year is that it is more likely that you will be able to go to theatres. The restrictions are down, the theatres are open and you can watch on the big screen. Like movies are supposed to be seen. However do expect to see some of the Best Picture contenders and contenders in other categories on streaming services. Once again this year, the Academy is giving grace to films that could not be shown in theatres and streamed online. And I think it will continue this way until the whole world gets this pandemic under wraps and indoor visiting becomes as close to as free as it was before this pandemic.

This year’s Oscar awards will be awarded on Sunday, March 27th. The last Sunday of March. This year’s nominations will be happening tomorrow. More than a month earlier than last year. Part of the adjustment of slowly getting back to normal. Anyways here are my predictions for the Academy Award categories:

BEST PICTURE
Belfast
CODA
Don’t Look Up
Dune
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
Power Of The Dog
tick,tick…BOOM!
Tragedy Of MacBeth
West Side Story

BEST DIRECTOR
Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Jane Campion – Power Of The Dog
Steven Spielberg – West Side Story
Denis Villeneuve – Dune

BEST ACTOR
Javier Bardem – Being The Ricardos
Benedict Cumberbatch – Power Of The Dog
Andrew Garfield – tick,tick…BOOM!
Will Smith – King Richard
Denzel Washington – Tragedy Of MacBeth

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain – The Eyes Of Tammy Faye
Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter
Nicole Kidman – Being The Ricardos
Lady Gaga – House Of Gucci
Kristen Stewart – Spencer

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ben Affleck – The Tender Bar
Ciaran Hinds – Belfast
Troy Kotsur – CODA
Jared Leto – House Of Gucci
Kodi Smit-McPhee – Power Of The Dog

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Catriona Balfe – Belfast
Ariana DeBose – West Side Story
Kirsten Dunst – Power Of The Dog
Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard
Ruth Negga – Passing

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Asghar Farhadi – A Hero
Adam McKay and David Sirota – Don’t Look Up
Aaron Sorkin – Being The Ricardos

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Jane Campion – Power Of The Dog
Maggie Gyllenhaal – The Lost Daughter
Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Tamakasa Oe – Drive My Car
Sian Heder – CODA
Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve – Dune

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Encanto
Flee
Luca
The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Raya And The Last Dragon

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Bruno Delbonnel – Tragedy Of MacBeth
Greig Fraser – Dune
Janusz Kaminsky – West Side Story
Ari Wegner – Power Of The Dog
Haris Zambarloukos – Belfast

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Jenny Beavan – Cruella
Massimo Cantini Parrini – Cyrano
Robert Morgan and Jacqueline West – Dune
Paul Tazewell – West Side Story
Janty Yates – House Of Gucci

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Ascension
Flee
In The Same Breath
The Rescue
Summer Of Soul

BEST FILM EDITING
Sarah Broshar and Michael Kahn – West Side Story
Uni Ni Dhonghaile – Belfast
Andy Jurgenson – Licorice Pizza
Peter Sciberras – Power Of The Dog
Joe Walker – Dune

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Drive My Car – Japan
Flee – Denmark
The Hand Of God – Italy
A Hero – Iran
The Worst Person In The World– Norway

BEST MAKEUP and HAIRSTYLING
Cruella
Cyrano
Dune
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
House Of Gucci

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nicholas Britell – Don’t Look Up
Alexandre Desplat – The French Dispatch
Germaine Franco – Encanto
Jonny Greenwood – Power Of The Dog
Hans Zimmer – Dune

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Be Alive” – King Richard
“Dos Uguguitas” – Encanto
“Down To Joy” – Belfast
“Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” – Respect
“Just Look Up” – Don’t Look Up

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Dune
The French Dispatch
Nightmare Alley
Power Of The Dog
West Side Story

BEST SOUND
Dune
The Matrix Resurrections
A Quiet Place Part II

Spider-Man: No Way Home
West Side Story

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Dune
Godzilla vs. Kong
The Matrix Resurrections
Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Spider-Man: No Way Home

Just like I did in past years, I not only did predictions for the nominees but also possible upsetters in most of the categories. Those who’ve tracked Oscar nominations over the years will be very familiar with upsetters. So here are my picks for the potential upsetters:

BEST PICTURE
Being The Ricardos
Cyrano
Drive My Car

BEST DIRECTOR
Maggie Gyllenhaal – The Lost Daughter
Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car

BEST ACTOR
Mahershala Ali – Swan Song
Peter Dinklage – Cyrano

BEST ACTRESS
Alana Haim – Licorice Pizza
Rachel Zegler – West Side Story

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Bradley Cooper – Licorice Pizza
Jamie Dornan – Belfast

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Ann Dowd – Mass
Rita Moreno – West Side Story

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Pedro Almodovar – Parallel Mothers
Zach Baylin – King Richard

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Joel Coen – Tragedy of MacBeth
Tony Kushner – West Side Story

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
My Sunny Maad
Sing 2

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Dan Lautsen – Nightmare Alley
Linus Sandgren – No Time To Die

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Ruth E. Carter – Coming 2 America
Luis Sequeira – Nightmare Alley

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Attica
Procession

BEST FILM EDITING
Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum – tick, tick…BOOM!
Pamela Martin – King Richard

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Compartment No.6 – Finland
Prayers For The Stolen – Mexico

BEST MAKEUP and HAIRSTYLING
Coming 2 America

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Alberto Iglesias – Parallel Mothers
Daniel Pemberton – Being The Ricardos

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Beyond The Shore” – CODA
“No Time To Die” – No Time To Die

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Belfast
Nightmare Alley

BEST SOUND
Belfast
No Time To Die

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
No Time To Die

Those are my predictions for the nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards. The nominees will be revealed the morning of Tuesday the 8th. It will be interesting which expected ones got it and which unexpected ones got it too!

My Predictions For The 2020 Academy Awards

To think that before 2020, the Academy was strict about having films viewed in theatres. Internet films were off limits. Then the pandemic happened. Most of the theatres were closed. Most films had to put themselves on online streaming services to have themselves viewed. The Academy became more forgiving in that aspect and allowed for more streamed films to be submitted as entries. The pandemic also caused the Oscars themselves to be delayed until the last Sunday of April. That also meant those other ‘influencer’ award shows would have to delay in compensation of the pandemic too.

Whatever the situation, I was able to see all eight Best Picture nominees. Yes, it involved signing up for more than one streaming service and renting movies on Youtube, but it had to be this year. Hopefully next year, I’ll be back in the theatres. As for this year, I saw them all and now I’m ready to make my opinions for the winners for the 93rd Academy Awards:

BEST PICTURE

Last year, Olly Gibbs did a similar picture of the Best Picture contenders. This year he does it again! I’ll bet most of you who have seen any of the Best Picture nominees most likely saw it through a streaming service. That seems to be the case this year. The favorites were seen through a wide variety of streaming methods like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ or Amazon Prime. For most, it was the only way to access any of the Best Picture nominees.

Normally I’d publish separate reviews of the various Best Picture nominees and include the link to the blog in my review. This was not the case that I reviewed them before Oscar day. Separate reviews will have to come later. In the meantime, here’s my take on the eight Best Picture nominees:

The Father: To make a film about dementia that’s watchable is a big challenge. Having a lead actor like Anthony Hopkins helps. However this is a unique story as it goes through the father’s life as he and his daughter are going through major changes in their lives. The father’s struggle with dementia gives hints to his past. It makes for a unique and telling story. However I don’t see it as having what it takes to win Best Picture.

Judas And The Black Messiah: This is the story of the Black Panther with a big following and the FBI agent who sets him up for his assassination. It’s to do about a powerful leader who had a love for his woman and the FBI who poses as the leader’s friend only to lead him to the fatal heist. This is an intriguing story that gives you a piece of history that is often overlooked. Also it provides insight on the secret that haunted the FBI agent until the end of his life. Excellent film worthy of Best Picture, but unable to contend due to the tightness of this year’s competition.

Mank: For those who like seeing films of the Golden Age of Hollywood, you’ll like seeing Mank. This is a film that focuses on Herman Mankiewicz, Hollywood scriptwriter and producer. It focuses on his messing with the political system, his difficulties in the Hollywood studio system and his struggle with alcohol. It presents a unique story for someone that should be presented as unlikeable as most of the Hollywood producers should be seen. This is a film with Best Picture marked on it, but a certain other film has better Best Picture clout.

Minari: There have been stories of immigrants in pursuit of the American Dream before. This is a unique story because it’s of Korean farmers seeking to pursue the American Dream in Arkansas in the 1980’s. It’s of a family that tries to pursue a better life, brings the grandmother over in hopes to build the family back up, and a son struggling with a heart condition. This is a very personal story from writer/director Lee Isaac Chung. It has Best Picture potential, but there are at least three other films that are seen as stronger contenders.

Nomadland: This is an introspective look at the modern-day American nomad. Desperation in an economy that failed them is what caused them to adopt this modern style of the nomad life. However it’s something that they don’t just simply get used to doing, but it becomes a lifestyle for all those involved. There is a central character named Fern who first appears she has no choice but to accept this nomad life. Even as things don’t get any better, she learns to make it her own life, embrace her experiences, and then be able to say goodbye to her own life. This is an excellent personal story that really caught a lot of people’s eyes. That’s why I make it my Will Win pick.

Promising Young Woman: This is definitely a film that’s been made with rage in mind. And good reason. When the #MeToo movement came out, it highlighted a lot of problems. This is a rape revenge film that focuses on a friend’s rape and the failings that went around her like the friend who wouldn’t believe, the college system that hides things for the protection of their reputation, the friend of the rapist who watched and did nothing. The film also focuses on the culture of misogyny that provokes date rape. Cassie is the central figure that first comes off like she is the one to put misogyny in its place and later tries to get revenge for her friend’s rape. I think it’s the Generation X-er in me that likes how this film is like a lightning rod on society. That’s why I call it my Should Win pick.

Sound Of Metal– This is a unique story of a drummer who goes deaf and doesn’t know how to struggle with hearing loss. His willingness to accept deafness and move on with his life or his desire for a hearing implant that will give him his old life back is the central part of the story. This is a very good story that relies on images and sounds to tell of the musician’s struggle and also of the new life he tries to get used to. Very good film. Also in a year where this year’s batch of Best Picture contenders have been commonly described as ‘a pack of downers,’ this is the most uplifting film without going too overboard in its uplifting moments.

Trial Of The Chicago 7: This is a historical film that comes at the right time. It was released at a time when there was, and still is, a lot of political turmoil in the United States. It’s about a group of men arrested and tried for taking a stand for what they believed in. It’s about a corrupt judge who constantly made the wrong decisions on others. It’s about a political system that’s all about keeping the order of things. Centrally it’s about a leader who needed to fasce his fears and muster the courage displayed by the others. Excellent retelling of a historical moment. Among one of the top contenders for the win, but this is the year for Nomadland.

BEST DIRECTOR

Should Win and Will Win: Chloe Zhao – Nomadland

Directors nominate the Best Director nominees. This Oscar category is known for its all-too-frequent exclusion of female nominees. The first was back in 1976: Lina Wertmuller for Seven Beauties. Since then, it’s been Jane Campion for The Piano in 1993, Sofia Coppola, daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, for Lost In Translation in 2003, Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 for The Hurt Locker (which she won), and before this year, the last was Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird back in 2017. Five female nominees before the 2020 nominees were announced. This year made Oscar history as the first year two women were nominated for Best Director: Chloe Zhao and Emerald Fennell. The two female directors have the most talked-about films of this Oscar season: Nomadland and Promising Young Woman. It looks as though Zhao is poised to become only the second female winner of the Best Director category.

Also who knows after this year? Maybe in the future, two or three female Best Director nominees will become the annual norm.

BEST ACTOR

Should Win and Will Win: Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Most of us will remember Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa the Black Panther in the MCU. Since his death, there has been a lot of attention paid to a lot of his other works of the past. As 2020 was drawing to a close, the big focus was his performance as Levee Green in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In fact it’s his performance as Levee that steals the show from Ma. It makes it more the story about Levee’s own struggle for fame and fortune and his inner hurt and struggles. His portrayal of Levee Green cuts deep to the core. Giving him the Best Actor Oscar is the best way to remember him.

BEST ACTRESS

Should Win and Will Win: Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Boseman may have stolen the film as Levee Green, but Viola’s performance of Ma Rainey helped give this film its powerful 1-2 punch. Davis’ character is both that of an entertainer whose beloved and a person subject to the same hurt and harshness a black woman in America gets. As she cuts her record Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, you can tell the wrath she feels towards her lifetime and her struggles are present in the story. That’s why I feel Viola deserves the Best Actress Oscar.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Should Win and Will Win: Daniel Kaluuya – Judas And The Black Messiah

This year’s Oscars had a surprise with two Supporting Actor nominations for Judas And The Black Messiah. The nomination for Kaluuya was not a surprise as he won the Golden Globe for supporting actor. The nomination for LaKeith Stanfield was a surprise as it was felt Stanfield played the lead as Bill O’Neal. That had a lot of people wondering who’s the lead if O’Neal is supporting? I can’t answer that question. I will say that Stanfield didn’t get a single lead acting win or nomination so the Supporting Actor campaign was very successful here. Nevertheless the film belongs to Kaluuya for his performance of the late Black Panther Fred Hampton. He was very good at portraying Hampton both as a rebel with a cause and as a man with a lot of love.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Should Win and Will Win: Youn Yuh-jung – Minari

Youn Yuh-jung is an actress with an illustrious career in South Korea. Minari is pretty much the film where she’s introduced to North America. And it’s a great performance as a grandmother who first exhibits over-the-top behavior to becoming closer with grandson David to struggling with life after a stroke. She helped make the grandmother the central character of the story and it’s because of this I feel she should win here.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Should Win and Will Win: Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman

For a long time, Emerald Fennell was just another struggling actress. Her biggest success is in the British television series Call The Midwife. She also had good roles in film such as in Anna Karenina, Pan and The Danish Girl. Her first attempt at directing and writing was in the short film Careful How You Go. Promising Young Woman is her first attempt at a feature-length film and boy is it an eyebrow raiser. There have been ‘rape revenge’ movies before, but this is a film that doesn’t just get revenge on the rapist. It’s a story of one who has a reckoning of all those involved in her best friend’s rape like the friend that didn’t believe her, the college administration ‘protecting the boys’ futures,’ the lawyer who was menacing to the victim upon his client’s command, and the friend of the rapist who just watched and stood by. This is an angry film, but well written and well thought-out. Fennell’s feature went the furthest this year.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Should Win and Will Win: Chloe Zhao – Nomadland

For those that read Jessica Bruder’s book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, one would know it’s not a novel. It’s a set of stories of people that are modern-day nomads in America. Zhao was able to create a story of a fictional woman coming from an actual economic setback. She makes a nomad of herself because of the desperate times she was going through and of the people she meets along the way. It has a beginning, middle and end and it’s a story that is a reflection of life. That’s why Nomadland has to be the winner here.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Will Win: Soul

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Should Win and Will Win: Eric Messerschmidt – Mank

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Will Win: Ann Roth – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Will Win: My Octopus Teacher

BEST FILM EDITING

Will Win: Mikkel E. G. Nielsen – Sound Of Metal

BEST HAIR AND MAKE-UP

Will Win: Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

Will Win: Another Round (Denmark)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Will Win: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste – Soul

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Will Win: “Speak Now” – One Week In Miami

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Will Win: Donald Graham Burt & Jan Pascale – Mank

BEST SOUND

Will Win: Sound Of Metal

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Will Win: The Midnight Sky

SHORT FILM PREDICTIONS

For my reviews of the nominees and predictions for the wins for the various shorts categories, just click here for Animation and Live-Action and here for Documentaries.

JUST ONE MORE – TOP OSCAR UPSETS

Here are the six upsets I anticipate are most likely to happen. In category order:

  • Carey Mulligan for Best Actress in Promising Young Woman
  • Maria Balakova for Best Supporting Actress in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Lee Isaac Chung for Best Original Screenplay for Minari
  • Joshua James Richards for Best Cinematography for Nomadland
  • Time for Best Documentary
  • Tenet for Best Visual Effects

And there you have it. Those are my predictions for the winners of the 93rd Academy Awards. The Oscars ceremony promises to be like a film. We’ll have to wait and see!

My Predictions For The 2020 Oscar Nominations

This year’s Oscars may not make you want to go to the theatres, but it will make you stream like crazy. This year may have a lot of cases where movie theatres were either forced to close or limit capacity because of health regulations. This year also made may film companies send many Oscar-calibre films to streaming services since theatrical release would be harder than ever to achieve. The Academy has been very forgiving in this situation. They’ve loosened up the rules for this year in particular to allow movies that only had a streaming life have Oscar eligibility. What can I say? Nobody wanted this pandemic. Especially since many people are now labeling this period of time the ‘Coronaversary!’Has it been a year already?

In a regular year, the Oscars would have been awarded by now. Actually the last Sunday of February. This year the nominations are delayed until March 15th. Nevertheless it has still kept Oscar-trackers like myself busy. And I’m ready to make my predictions for this year:

BEST PICTURE
The Father
Judas And The Black Messiah
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Minari
News Of The World
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound Of Metal
Trial of the Chicago 7

BEST DIRECTOR
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
David Fincher – Mank
Aaron Sorkin – Trial Of The Chicago 7
Chloe Zhao – Nomadland


BEST ACTOR
Riz Ahmed – Sound Of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Gary Oldman – Mank
Tahar Rahim – The Mauritanian

BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day – The United States Vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces Of A Woman
Frances Mcdormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Sacha Baron Cohen – Trial Of The Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas And The Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night In Miami
Paul Raci – Sound Of Metal

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Maria Balakova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close – Hilbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman – The Father
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Youn Yuh-jung – Minari

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Will Berson and Shaka King – Judas And The Black Messiah
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Jack Fincher – Mank
Aaron Sorkin – Trial Of The Chicago 7

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Paul Greengrass and Luke Davies – News Of The World
Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller – The Father
Kemp Powers – One Night In Miami
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Chloe Zhao – Nomadland

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Farmageddon: A Shaun The Sheep Movie
Onward
Over The Moon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Eric Messerschmidt – Mank
Lachlan Milne – Minari
Joshua James Richards – Nomadland
Darius Wolski – News Of The World
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Alexandra Byrne – Emma
Ann Roth – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Trish Summerville – Mank
Bina Daigeler – Mulan
Susan Harman and David Wolsky – The Personal History Of David Copperfield

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Dick Johnson Is Dead
MLK – FBI
My Octopus Teacher
Time
The Truffle Hunters

BEST FILM EDITING
Kirk Baxter – Mank
Harry Yoon – Minari
Chloe Zhao – Nomadland
Frederic Thoraval – Promising Young Woman
Alan Baumgarten – Trial Of The Chicago 7

BEST HAIR and MAKEUP
Birds of Prey
Hillbilly Elegy
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
One Night In Miami

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Another Round – Denmark
Collective – Romania
Dear Comrades – Russia
La Llorona – Guatemala
Two Of Us – France

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Mank
Alexandre Desplat – The Midnight Sky
James Newton Howard – News Of The World
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Soul
Ludwig Goranson – Tenet

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Fight For You” – Judas And The Black Messiah
“Io Se (Seen) – The Life Ahead (La vita davanti a sé)
“Hear My Voice” – Trial Of The Chicago 7
“Husavik” – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga
“Speak Now” – One Night In Miami

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Emma
Mank
News Of The World
The Personal History of David Copperfield
Tenet

BEST SOUND
Greyhound
Mank
News Of The World
Nomadland
Sound Of Metal

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Birds Of Prey
Mank
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
Tenet


Just like I did in past years, I not only did predictions for the nominees but also possible upsetters in most of the categories. With this year being a year where most films were streamed, there could be upsets a pleanty. So here are my picks for the potential upsetters:

BEST PICTURE
Da 5 Bloods
One Night In Miami

BEST DIRECTOR
Regina King – One Night In Miami
Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods

BEST ACTOR
Sacha Baron Cohen – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Steven Yeun – Minari

BEST ACTRESS
Sidney Flanagan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Rosamund Pike – I Care A Lot

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jared Leto – The Little Things
Bill Murray – On The Rocks

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jodie Foster – The Mauritanian
Helena Zengel – News Of The World

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Abraham And Darius Marder – Sound Of Metal

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Ramin Bahrani – White Tiger
Jonathan Raymond And Kelly Reichardt – First Cow

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Croods: A New Age
The Willoughbys

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Phedon Papamichael – Trial Of The Chicago 7
Newton Thomas Sigel – Da 5 Bloods

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Francine Jamison-Tanchuck – One Night In Miami
Nancy Steiner – Promising Young Woman

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Painter And The Thief
Welcome To Chechnya

BEST FILM EDITING
Yorgos Lamprinos – The Father
Mikkel E. G. Nielsen – Sound Of Metal

BEST HAIR and MAKEUP
Emma

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Night Of The Kings – Cote D’Ivoire
Quo Vadis Aida? – Bosnia-Hercegovina

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Emile Mosseri – Minari

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Loyal Brave True” – Mulan

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mulan

BEST SOUND
Soul
Trial Of The Chicago Seven

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Soul
Welcome To Chechnya

Those are my predictions for the nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards. The nominees will be revealed the morning of Monday the 15th. We’ll wait and see what the decisions are!

My Predictions For the 2019 Academy Awards

Chocolate Oscar

It’s interesting that this year’s Oscars are being held the second Sunday of February. Usually they’re held the last Sunday or the first Sunday of March in a Winter Olympic year. It was pretty evident will all my cramming of my Best Picture reviews. I didn’t start until three weeks to go and I didn’t think I could review all nine in time. But I did! The last of the Best Picture reviews I posted on Wednesday. Next year they’ll be going back to the last Sunday of February. So hopefully reviewing them all will be a lot more relaxed.

Anyways I’m able to make predictions for this year’s Oscars. I’m even able to make some calls for what should win in some categories. I’ve seen enough films to make up 96 of the 124 nominations. They range from single-nomination films like Knives Out to Joker with the most nominations with eleven in total. Most categories have been very predictable with the same film or same effort winning film award after film award. That could help me with my Oscar bingo I’ll be playing once again this Sunday! However there are a few that appear unpredictable. So without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2019 Academy Awards:

BEST PICTURE

Oscar nominees

All credit to Olly Gibbs for that excellent image of this year’s nominees. This year has a wide range of film among the nine nominees. Two are set during World Wars. Two are written and directed by a Hollywood couple. Four have had a domestic gross at the box office of over $100 million. Two are films that got moved to NetFlix after an initial box-office release. One is done by a master of gangster movies and another is done by his heir apparent, but not a gangster movie at all. One is a modern-day adaptation of a classic novel. One is a fictional account of a cartoon villain. One is of car racing. One is of a failing marriage. One if of classic Hollywood. One is of Hitler through a child’s eyes. One is a possible answer to a popular whodunit. One is of a journey during war. And one is of an impoverished family trying to break free. All are seen worthy of being nominated in the Best Picture category this year. So here is my rundown of the Best Picture nominees:

1917 – War movies usually win the Academy over, as long as they’re done well. This has been the darling of most awards shows. I predict this as my Will Win pick. I myself admire it for its cinematography and it’s storytelling, but it’s not the film I most want to win Best Picture. Usually for Best Picture, I feel it should have much of the best of the year in the three top categories: acting, directing and writing.

Ford v Ferrari – Very rarely do auto racing movies get nominated for Best Picture. This is more than an auto racing film. It’s about those that were behind the big moment and the family relation of the racer who was shunned behind. Definitely a crowd-pleaser, but it doesn’t look like an Academy-pleaser.

The Irishman – What can I say? This is the film in which I most want to win because this is a film that went above and beyond what I expected out of it. I admire films that go above and beyond what I expect. Plus it had top-notch acting, directing and writing. However it lost a lot of its energy it had back in November. That’s why I think it won’t win.

Jojo Rabbit – This is one movie that would normally not be Best Picture material. I have to say of all nine Best Picture nominees, this is my favorite. This is the most entertaining of the nine. However I know how to separate my personal favorite from the films I feel are the best. Besides I know how stodgy the Academy is towards comedies.

Joker – Last year was something how a superhero movie finally got a Best Picture nomination. This year is a case of a story of the genesis of a villain won crowds and won movie awards. This is an impressive story too. However I feel that it faces stiff competition in the Best Picture race from other films.

Little Women – To think this is the first Little Women adaptation to be nominated for Best Picture! I can’t complain at all as the film took some different twists and it came out a winning story. I admire the way it was directed, written and acted, but there are films that have more boost in this competition.

Marriage Story – Sometimes all it takes to win people is a story that connects with people. That’s the magic of Marriage Story. This film’s best qualities are the acting and writing. However this is another film that appears prone to fall under the weight of bigger competition. Plus this being on NetFlix may be an additional reason why its chances were hurt.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – This is one salute to the Golden Age of Hollywood with a twist. Also it will cause a lot of people to reassess their definition of what a Quentin Tarantino movie is. I know my parents still think Tarantino movies are all ‘blood and guts’ but this film shows a side of Quentin most people overlook. I do rank this as a film in the Top 3 most expected to win, but it’s not my top pick. I think its summer release may have caused it to lose much of its buzz.

Parasite – This is definitely the foreign-language film of the year. Undisputed! This is my Should Win pick because this film has accomplished more than any of the other nine Best Picture nominees. It’s a case once again that the best film of the year is not in the English-language. However I’m very doubtful it will win. I remember last year Roma was the best film but it lost out to Green Book. That solidified my belief the Academy will never make a foreign-language film a Best Picture winner.

I know a lot of people often think the Academy Awards are a case of Hollywood patting itself on the back. One can say an excellent example of this was last year when Roma lost Best Picture to Green Book. If Once Upon A Time In Hollywood wins this, then it will further prove their point. I am very doubtful Parasite will win. However if 1917 wins, it won’t look like Hollywood patting itself on the back because it’s a British film!

BEST DIRECTOR

Should Win: Bong Joon-ho – Parasite

Will Win: Sam Mendes – 1917

I chose Bong Joon-ho naturally. Most people feel the common belief that The winner for Best Director should be the director of the Best Picture winner. It happens over 70% of the time at the Oscars. As a result my Best Director pick for Should Win is from the same film as my Should Win for Best Picture. I feel it’s right since Parasite is the film I admire most and it’s Bong who made it happen. I feel it will go to Sam Mendes because of his past awards success this year. Nevertheless I would not be disappointed if it did because 1917 is a film that’s worth admiring.

BEST ACTOR

Should Win and Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

What can I say? It’s not just about being widely praised as the acting performance of the year but of the movie role of the year. Nobody — not even the most loyal of Batman fans — expected Joker to be the film that it is. It’s a film that not only tells the story of the emergence of the Joker, the chaos of Gotham City and the genesis of Batman, but it takes one into the mind of Arthur Fleck. One knew that Arthur would snap any minute. What can I say? One could argue that it’s Joaquin that single-handedly made the work!

BEST ACTRESS

Should Win and Will Win: Renee Zellweger – Judy

I never reviewed Judy in my blog after I saw it back in November. It’s an excellent story of a period in the last year of Judy Garland’s life. It focuses on her attempt for a comeback and how it appeared showbiz took everything out of her. It also flashed back to her childhood and how she was raised to think that a normal life that the other girls were having is for mortals. Renee was excellent in embodying Judy as she looked like a person who just couldn’t come to terms with herself and even feared what she would mostly be remembered for. Renee was spot on in epitomizing Judy from the voice, to the singing to the hostile attitude to the troubled personality to even writing left-handed.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Should Win: Joe Pesci – The Irishman

Will Win: Brad Pitt – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

One thing about this year’s acting nominees. A lot of people talked about the lack of racial diversity. That is true, and I even reminded people in social media of Spielberg saying the Academy is like a member-only club.

As for actors, another lack of diversity is that only six nominations went to performances from five actors who were never nominated before. For Supporting Actor, this is normally a ‘newbie-friendly’ category but all five have been nominated before in the past and only Brad Pitt has never won an Oscar. That appears likely to change as he is the heavy favorite to win for his scene-stealing in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Actually Brad has enough screen time to qualify for the Best LEAD Actor category! However I would be likely to go with Joe Pesci for his portrayal as a mob boss who appears like a father figure. Nevertheless Sunday will be Brad’s moment.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Should Win and Will Win: Laura Dern – Marriage Story

Some performances nominated for Supporting Actor/Actress are usually lead roles that are ‘politicked’ as supporting roles, like I I mentioned about Brad Pitt earlier. Some supporting acting nominations and wins are because they’re good at stealing the show from the lead actors. And some nominations and wins in the supporting acting categories can also be because they do an excellent job of character acting. That’s why I have no problem with Laura Dern winning. She made you hate Nora! She did an excellent job as the manipulative sly-talking lawyer and she made her character of Nora almost look like she was a snake!  Actors are taught about even using animal-like behaviors to enhance characters. This award is Laura’s for the taking. And on the day before her 53rd birthday to boot!

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Should Win: Boon Jong-ho – Parasite

Will Win: Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

If there’s one major category that I feel will be the hardest to predict, it’s actually both screenplay categories. Lately some of the award shows have given alternating views on who they think is the best. I agree with what Bong Joon-ho said in his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes: “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you’ll be introduced to so many more amazing films.” I agree, but I doubt if the Academy agrees. Roma may have won last year, but I don’t think they’ll make it two in a row.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Should Win: Steve Zaillian – The Irishman

Will Win: Greta Gerwig – Little Women

It’s interesting that Greta and her common-law partner Noah Baumbach are both nominated for screenplays this year. I had to go with The Irishman on this one because it’s a complex story that Zaillian is able to make work. I think they will give it to Great for putting a new twist to a story that’s been adapted numerous times. I think the biggest upset could come from Jojo Rabbit, but I’m still set on Little Women.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Will Win: Toy Story 4

This year I did not see any of the nominated films. I only saw three animated films and none of them got nominated here. Even though Klaus won the Annie Award and the BAFTA, I have a feeling Disney is going to take it again. This is the one category Disney wants to win most. wouldn’t that be something if Toy Story 4 loses to a NetFlix film?

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

Should Win and Will Win: Parasite (South Korea)

For those wondering, this is a new title for the category that used to be called Best Foreign Language Film. This year I saw four of the five nominees in this category, which is extremely rare for me. The others I saw are Pain And Glory, Honeyland and Corpus Christi. That means I can also make a ‘should win’ judgement in this category. It’s safe to say Parasite is the foreign-language film of the year. Also Honeyland makes history as the first documentary to be nominated in this category.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Will Win: Roger Deakins – 1917

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Will Win: Jacqueline Durran – Little Women

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Will Win: Honeyland

BEST FILM EDITING

Will Win: Yang Jin-mo – Parasite

BEST HAIR AND MAKE-UP

Will Win: Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker – Bombshell

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Will Win: Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Will Win: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” – Rocketman

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Will Win: Barbara Ling & Nancy Haigh – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

BEST SOUND EDITING

Will Win: Ford v Ferrari

BEST SOUND MIXING

Will Win: Ford v Ferrari

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Will Win: 1917

SHORT FILM PREDICTIONS

For my reviews of the nominees and predictions of the wins for Best Animated Short Film, Best Live-Action Short Film and Best Documentary Short Subject, click on this paragraph.

JUST ONE MORE – TOP OSCAR UPSETS

Here are the five upsets I anticipate are most likely to happen. In category order:

  • Taika Waititi for Best Adapted Screenplay for Jojo Rabbit
  • Klaus for Best Animated Feature
  • Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland for Best Film Editing for Ford v Ferrari
  • American Factory for Best Documentary Feature
  • The Lion King for Best Visual Effects

And there you go. My predictions for the winners, and possible upsetters of the 92nd Academy Awards. Having a hostless Oscars last year was such a success, they did it again this year. Will it be as entertaining? Will there be some shock winners like Olivia Colman was last year? It will all be decided Sunday night.

2019 FIFA WWC: My Prediction for the FINAL, And Third-Place Playoff Too

ettie

I have to say this Women’s World Cup has been excellent. It won’t break the attendance record set by Canada back in 2015 but it has already surpassed the 1 million mark. The support for the teams has been outstanding with the various football federations shouting their support and some of the biggest male football stars supporting their teammates. Play has also been excellent as there’s American Alex Morgan and England’s Ellen White chasing the golden boot with six goals each. Also there’s only been four expulsions: only one of which was an instant red. So this is a Women’s World Cup France should be very proud of.

THIRD-PLACE Playoff:

Few people are willing to make a prediction for the Third-Place playoff, or the match I call the ‘bronze medal match.’ However I’m one who is willing. Here’s how I look at it:

Head-To-Head Stats:

England and Sweden have faced off against each other 24 times before in the past. Sweden has won thirteen times, England won three times and they drew eight times. Their last match against each other was on November 11, 2018 which Sweden won 2-0.

Team-By-Team Analysis:

England fixedEngland: Women’s football has really grown a lot since England finished third at the last Women’s World Cup. The team they fielded looked like one that could pose the best challenge to the United States. Unfortunately it was not to be as the US beat them 2-1. To add insult to the injury, the US’s Alex Morgan appeared to do a tea-sipping gesture after scoring the winning goal. Many have taken this to be an insult to the English.

It’s difficult to say if England will win. They will have a lot of their top stars like Ellen white and Lucy Bronze ready to play for the game, but Millie Bright won’t be after her double-yellow red card. Phil Neville knows that he will have to get his team ready for the match on Saturday. England have already gotten this far. Perhaps they can give their team one last feat.

Sweden FixedSweden: Before the semifinal, I’m sure most of you predicted Sweden to beat the Netherlands. I mean Sweden had the clout. They’ve been to every Women’s World Cup since it began in 1991. They’ve finished in the Top 3 three times before. They’ve even beat the Netherlands way more often than they lost to them. However things did not go according to plan. Before the match, Fridolina Rolfö received a second yellow card during the match against Germany which meant she will miss the next match. The Netherlands turned out to be a more formidable opponent than they expected. Regulation play resulted in no score. Then there was the goal from Jackie Groenen in the 99th minute. Then there was the shocking injury to Kosovare Asllani where she was carried off on a stretcher.

Sweden came to the tournament with a lot of energy. They won big and were able to rebound after a loss to the United States. Their trip to the WWC semifinal was not easy as they overcame teams like Canada and Germany that had bigger expectations. However they were brought to a halt by the Netherlands in the semifinals. They could win the third-place match or they could lose it. It depends if their players are all in top condition and they attack more than they did on Wednesday.

My Prediction: England have the star strikers, while Sweden has a strong team unit. Sweden will have a one-woman advantage in this game after Bright’s expulsion. Asllani may not be recovered from her injury, but Rolfö can be brought back in play. I will predict Sweden to win 2-0.

THE FINAL

FIFA WWC

This is it. The final for the Women’s World Cup. One team has been their four of the previous seven times and won three times including the last contest in Canada. The other team is only competing in its second Women’s World Cup and won its first-ever knockout match right here in France. So this is quite the quantum leap for the team. So here’s the low-down:

Head-To-Head Stats:

The USA and the Netherlands have met only seven times before. The only time the Netherlands won before was their first meeting all the way back in 1991. The last time the two squared off against each other was in 2016.

Team-By-Team Analysis:

United_States_SoccerUnited States: The United States is the team that is most expected to win this Women’s World Cup. They’re the defending champs from 2015. They’re ranked #1 in the World. They have some of the biggest stars in women’s football who are seen as trailblazers. However they have also earned naysayers too. It all started when they won 13-0 against Thailand and celebrated after each goal. Many thought it was disrespectful. Then Megan Rapinoe made headlines for taking a knee during the play of the Star-Spangled Banner. She followed that by saying she won’t be going to the White House to a reporter. Most recently, Alex Morgan made England fans mad when she celebrated her game-winning goal by doing a tea-sipping gesture. Despite the negative press, they’ve delivered each time. They’ve won all their games, scoring 24 goals and only conceding three.

The only barrier I can see the US would have en route to winning the Cup is them being overconfident. They’ve played very well: better than any other nation. However they showed in their Round Of 16 game against Spain they could give it all away. They won 2-1, but on two penalty kicks from Rapinoe. They did come back in the QuarterFinals against France winning 2-1. However they should not go to the Final thinking they’ll roll over the Netherlands. The Netherlands has surprised all their major opponents here in France. For the US to win, they have to be on the ball and take the Netherlands seriously.

Netherlands FootballNetherlands: Before Women’s Euro 2017, people did not expect much of the Netherlands. Why should they after they finished in the Round of 16 in Canada 2015 and failed to qualify for the Olympics? However they surprised everybody by winning all their games and would win the final by beating Denmark 4-2. This made it the first Women’s Euro since 1993 that Germany didn’t win! Here at this Women’s World Cup, expectations were good but not that big. Canada was expected to top Group E, but the Netherlands did it by winning all their games, including beating Canada 2-1. Then in the Round of 16, they were pitted against Japan whom they lost to in Canada 2015. This time the Netherlands won. They were pitted against Italy in the quarterfinals and won 2-0. Then came Sweden who was more expected to win the game. It started with nil-nil after regulation, but a goal from Jackie Groenen in the 99th changed it all. Now it’s the Netherlands in the final.

What can I say? The Netherlands have silenced their critics. Especially those who dismissed their win at the Women’s Euro as host-country luck. These past six matches show that the Netherlands have earned their place in the WWC Final. However the United States team has more seasoned players and have consistently shown to be a stronger team unit with more know-how of the game than the Dutch players. Now don’t get me wrong. I think the Netherlands can win against the USA, but they will have to play like they’ve never played before, both as individuals and as a team unit, and take advantage of any American weak-spots once they find them.

My Prediction:

I hate to side with the majority so instantaneously, but I think the United States will win this 4-1. I hate to peeve off Oranje fans, I could be wrong, but the Netherlands simply making it to the final already shows how much women’s football has improved there.

And there you go. That’s my prediction for the Final of the Women’s World Cup, as well as my prediction for the third-place match. To think it will all be decided by Sunday. What a month it’s been!

 

 

2019 FIFA WWC: My Predictions For The SemiFinals

Womens Cup

It does seem odd that I post my predictions for the semifinals on Canada Day, especially since Canada is out of the tournament. In fact the two teams that Canada lost to in France, Netherlands and Sweden, are squaring off in the second semi-final! Sometimes I think that sends a message of how good Canada was as a team; that the teams they lost to got this far. We shouldn’t forget that both teams beat other top teams in the knockout rounds too; Netherlands beat 2015 finalist Japan in the Round of 16 and Sweden beat 2016 Olympic champs Germany in the quarterfinal. Other top teams like Australia, Brazil, China and France are out too. Pele always says: “Football is a box of surprises.”

WWC SemisAnyways enough of who are out of the tournament and let’s focus on the four that are still standing. The US is the only one of the four that have won the Women’s World Cup in the past, two have been to the semis at least once before, and one team is there for the first time ever. Three have won all of their games in this WWC while one had a loss in group play to a team that’s also in the semifinals. Both semifinal matches will take place at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon: the same venue that will hold the final for the Cup. So here’s a look at the four teams in both semifinals and my predictions:

SEMIFINAL #1: England vs. U.S.A.

Head-To-Head Stats:

The only time the US and England met head-to-head at the WWC was back in 2007 which the US won 3-0. No doubt after that, England decided to get better. In the past five years, the two meet five times before: four of those times at the new She Believes Tournament. Of the five times, England won once while the US won three times. Their last meeting was at this year’s She Believes Tournament. England won the tournament, but drew against the US 2-2. The US was the only team England didn’t defeat.

Team-By-Team Analysis:

EnglandEngland: This makes it only the second time England has reached the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup. The only other time was back in 2015. England’s appearance in the semis allows Great Britain to qualify a women’s team to the Tokyo Olympics. England won all their games in the Group Stage with Scotland being the only team to score a goal against them. England especially wanted to get revenge on Japan whom they lost to back in 2015. England continued looking like a tough team to beat with 3-0 wins against Cameroon in the Round of 16 and Norway in the quarterfinals. England have been earning their strong share of supporters like Wayne Rooney, Prince William, various BBC personalities and even the public with chants of “It’s coming home!” Many English who never cared about women’s football in the past are now paying attention!

England have been looking like a strong opponent all tournament. However they do have their imperfections. They’ve lost to major opponents early in tournaments. Also they’ve had losses to top-ranked teams in the past 12 months. England will have to be on-target if they’re to win here in France.

United_States_Soccer

United States: In all eight Women’s World Cups, the United States has been present. In all eight Women’s World Cups have they made it as far as the semifinals. In the Group Stage, they appeared invincible in their 13-0 win against Thailand and continued looking impressive with a 3-0 win against Chile and a 2-0 win against Sweden. Then in the knockout rounds, the US appeared to lost its edge after a 2-1 win over Spain in the Round of 16: both goals being penalty kicks delivered by Megan Rapinoe. Also it was Rapinoe who made the most controversy when she took a knee during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner and even said in an interview about a White House-dinner if the team wins “I’m not going to the ******* White House.” It was an intense three days between the whole fiasco and their game against France. The team had since stood with Rapinoe and what she said. What happened against France was the team responded with a 2-1 win: both goals scored by Rapinoe.

The US came as the team with the most expectations to win and has been one team that has best delivered so far. However this World Cup is all about endurance and who is the strongest at the end. The US went all out in the Round of 16 but appeared to give way when they played against Spain. They can’t afford to do that in their semifinal against England on Tuesday. Not after how well England has been playing. Don’t forget they went easy at the 2016 Rio Olympics and found themselves out without a medal.

My Prediction: Last time England played the US, it was this year in February and the result was a 2-2 draw. I anticipate the game will be a 1-1 draw with the United States winning on penalties.

SEMIFINALS #2: Netherlands vs. Sweden

Head-To-Head Stats:

This is the first time the Netherlands and Sweden will meet on the Women’s World Cup stage. They met once before at the Women’s Euro in 2017 where host-nation Netherlands beat Sweden 2-0 in the quarterfinals en route to winning the championship. In total, Sweden has beat the Netherlands more often in the 21 previous times that they met: ten times in total. Six times the Netherlands won while five games ended as draws.

Team-By-Team Analysis:

Netherlands Football

Netherlands: Isn’t that something how a team that has only competed in their second Women’s World Cup is now in their first-ever semi finals? Actually the Netherlands’ woen’s team was not taken too seriously until they qualified for their first Women’s Euro in 2009. There they finished third and showed that the women’s team has a lot of promise ahead. Back when they made their WWC debut in Canada 2015, they finished in the Round of 16 losing 1-2 to eventual finalists Japan. However the Leeuwinnen have really taken off in success. Back in 2017 when they hosted the Women’s Euro, they won! They would also continue their winning way by topping the 2018 Algarve Cup (based on stats). The Netherlands would be the team that toughed it out in the FIFA playoff rounds for qualifying for this Women’s World Cup.

The Netherlands have overcome a lot to be in this semi. They were successful in winning all their games in the Group Stage, got revenge on Japan 2-1 in the Round of 15 and beat Italy 2-0. They have overcome a lot to prove their Euro win was no fluke. However they have had a history of losing out to key opponents. They’ve lost to teams like Spain, Norway and Poland in the last eighteen months. The Netherlands have done very well together, but they will have to be on if they are going to beat Sweden in the semifinal.

SwedenSweden: While Netherlands are rookies at being in the WWC semifinals, Sweden have been there before. Three times to be exact with the last time being a third-place finish in 2011. Like the US, they’ve also competed in every Women’s World Cup. Here in France, they’ve been showing a lot of great team play and a lot of great play together. That has helped them in every game and even surpass major favorites like Canada and Germany. The one thing about Sweden is that needs to continue its team strength or else it will fall apart. And it has fallen apart in major tournaments in the past, like WWC 2015 and Euro 2017. This game could be Sweden’s triumph or Sweden’s choke.

Sweden are a team that know how to rebound when you least expect it. At the 2016 Olympics, they received their biggest defeat in the team’s history by losing to Brazil 5-1 in group play only to draw against them in the semifinals and defeat them in penalty kicks. Sweden would go on to the gold-medal match, but lose to Germany. The funny thing is it’s at this very Women’s World Cup where they got their revenge on Germany: in the quarterfinals with a 2-1 win. Here’s another thing to chew on: Sweden lost in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Women’s Euro to the Netherlands. Will they get revenge here? And if the US win their semi, will Sweden get revenge for group play by beating them in the final?

My Prediction: Sweden may have won against the Netherlands more often, but Oranje have won their last two meetings. Netherlands may ave won all their games, but Sweden have performed better as a team. I predict Sweden to win 2-1 in added extra time.

And there you have it. Those are my predictions for the 2019 Women’s World Cup semifinals. Hard to believe the final is just six days away! May the best team win!

 

 

2019 FIFA WWC: REVISED Predictions For The Quarterfinals

WWC QF

Did I say that I won’t be doing any predicting until the semifinals? I changed my mind. Normally I would let my predictions I made back on Friday stay as is, but the Round of 16 matched made me rethink a lot of things. Not simply because I got two quarterfinalists wrong — I’ve been wrong in Round of 16 predictions before and shunned them aside — but because of the play of teams in the Round of 16. Here they’re showing more of their strengths and weaknesses and it’s better to tell who will win.

So I will try to make a new set of predictions for the quarterfinals. Interesting how all six teams that topped their group won their Round-Of-16 match. Also interesting how seven of the eight quarterfinalists are European teams. The USA is the only non-European team that won their Round of 16 match. What did it? Jetlag to all those other teams? The same curse on the men’s World Cup that has prevented any non-European team from qualifying for a World Cup semifinal on European soil since 1998? Bad reffing? Or is it because the European teams are simply the most there? You be the judge. Anyways that’s the way it is and here’s how I predict for the quarterfinals:

NorwayNorway vs. England fixedEngland: Already for Norway, this is their best WWC result for them since 2007. They won their match against Australia, but on penalty kicks. They will be hard-pressed against England. Don’t forget it was England who ended Norway’s Women’s World Cup run in 2015 with a 1-2 in the Round Of 16. Don’t forget England looked good in their 3-0 win over Cameroon. I will have to go with England here.

France fixedFrance vs. USAU.S.A.: The U.S.A. looks like they struggled in their game against Spain. They won 2-1, but it was on penalty kicks from Megan Rapinoe. They appeared invincible in their 13-0 win over Thailand, but don’t forget football is opponent vs. opponent and results can differ greatly. France may have won 2-1 over Brazil, but it was in added extra time. So they showed some vulnerability here.

France may have won over the U.S. 3-1 in a friendly back in January, but this is a different day and a different meet. I think the U.S.A. will win, but in added extra time.

Italy ficedItaly vs. Netherlands FixedNetherlands: Italy, in its first Women’s World Cup in 20 years, but won their first-ever knockout round game against China 2-0. This is also the Netherlands’ first time ever winning a knock-out match at the WWC, and it was up against Japan: last year’s finalist. Both teams also looked great in their group play. Netherlands won all their games while Italy only lost to Brazil.

This is a tight call between the ‘Cinderella team’ of the tournament and the 2017 Women’s Euro winner. Don’t forget both teams will already have their best-ever result at the Women’s World Cup. I will have to say Italy as they’ve won over the Netherlands in head-to-head competition more often.

Germany fixedGermany vs. Sweden FixedSweden: Isn’t that something that this quarterfinal looks like a rematch of the 2016 Olympic final? Germany is one of five teams entering the quarterfinals with straight wins. Sweden’s only loss came to the U.S.A. in group play. Germany was very convincing in their 3-0 win against Nigeria. Sweden may have won against Canada 1-0 but they proved the can be a strong team.

I predict it will be Germany that wins as they have appeared the strongest. Also because they haven’t conceded a single goal in the tournament. And also Germany has won against Sweden more than they’ve lost in head-to-head competition.

And there you have it. My new predictions for the quarterfinals. Funny how watching play gives you second-thoughts. Right now I’m tempted to predict that the WWC final will be the U.S.A. vs. Germany. But it’s wrong to jump the gun. So let the play decide!

2019 FIFA WWC: Predictions For The Round-of-16 And Quarterfinals

ettieThe Group Stage has been contested. Those 36 games delivered a lot in terms of excitement and thrills. There were even surprises. Who would have thought it would be Italy that would top Group C? Also we knew the USA would beat Thailand, but who expected a score of 13-0? Also it’s interesting to note that none of the debut teams qualified for the Round Of 16, but they deserve respect. Chile was the one debut team that achieved a win and Scotland was the debut team that scored the most goals. Even Jamaica and South Africa gave themselves their first-ever WWC goal.

Whatever the situation, the 24 at the beginning had to be reduced to 16 and now that it’s decided, it’s off to the knockout rounds.

ROUND OF 16 PREDICTIONS

Makes better sense that it be called the Round of 16 than the ‘Eighth-Finals.’ With this being a contest of 24 teams, the Round of 16 is a case where the Top 2 teams from each group plus the four best third-place teams qualify for this round. By the time all the second-games were played, it became evident that four game points, the equivalent of a win and a draw, guaranteed qualification. However there would still be at least two teams with a win and two losses that were lucky enough to qualify. Anyways all the qualifiers have been decided as well as who plays who. Interesting how eight European teams and eight non-European teams qualified. Also interesting how each Round of 16 game is a case of a European team against a team outside Europe. Interesting.

Here are my predictions with my winner prediction bolded:

Norway (Group A 2nd) vs. Australia (Group C 2nd): This is hard to tell. Norway have been playing well despite France showing their weaknesses. Australia have performed well but they too faced exposure of their vulnerability thanks to Italy. I give it to Australia not just on play here, but also because Australia beat Norway in a game last year.

England (Group D Winner) vs. Cameroon (Group B/E/F 3rd): England made it through Group D with straight wins. Cameroon made it through by winning their last Group E match against New Zealand. They’re lucky they were able to score again after that own-goal. I’d say this game is England’s to take.

France (Group A Winner) vs. Brazil (Group C/D/E 3rd): France hopes as host nation they’d win all three of their Group Stage games and they did. Brazil won two games and lost to Australia. Because of goal differentials, they finished third in their group. For the winner here, I’ll pick France because Brazil has never won against France.

Spain (Group B 2nd) vs. U.S.A. (Group F Winner): One of the big surprises of this WWC was Spain. They won against South Africa, drew against China and only lost 1-0 to Germany. The US winning Group F was no surprise, but their 13-0 win over Thailand was! For this match, I expect the U.S.A. to win. We might even see another big score!

Italy (Group C Winner) vs. China (Group A/B/F 3rd): China qualifying was not a surprise. Italy topping Group C was a surprise. Especially since they surpassed more lauded teams like Australia and Brazil. It’s hard to predict who will win since China last played Italy back in 2008. I’d have to say Italy because they’ve been better at scoring at this Women’s World Cup.

Netherlands (Group E Winner) vs. Japan (2nd. Group D): This is a tough call. We have the finalist at the last WWC playing against the winner of the 2017 Women’s Euro. I will have to go with The Netherlands because they have been better at winning and scoring at this Women’s World Cup.

Germany (Group B Winner) vs. Nigeria (Group A/C/D 3rd): The reigning Olympic champions Germany have won all their group play games. Nigeria only had a single win, but hung on to qualify. I’m going with Germany because of their consistency.

Sweden (Group F 2nd.) vs. Canada (Group E 2nd.): This is interesting as both teams finished second in their group and both did it with two wins and a loss. Both are Olympic medalists from Rio: Sweden the silver medalist and Canada the bronze medalist. I’ll go with Canada, but to win on penalty kicks.

QUARTERFINAL PREDICTIONS:

Provided my predictions for the Round of 16 winners hold true, here are my predictions for the quarterfinals:

Australia vs. England: Australia has only won once in their five meetings with England. I will have to go with England here.

France vs. U.S.A.: The USA appears invincible but keep in mind France beat them 3-1 in a friendly back in January. I’m going with France, but in added extra time.

Italy vs. The Netherlands: Italy may have been a surprise but I think this is where things are going to run out and thing will go in the advantage of the Netherlands.

Germany vs. Canada: This is going to be a tight game as it’s against two of the biggest in the world. I will have to say Germany.

And there you have it. Those are my predictions for the Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals. You won’t be hearing from me again until just before the semifinals. So stay toond!