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The Oscars: Who should win, who will

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down, my crystal ball was very foggy.

Now almost a year after movie houses, concert halls and theatres went shuttered, Hollywood is offering is a glimmer of hope with the Academy Awards ceremony. But it is obvious that the Oscars will look a lot different this year.

But at least the red-carpeted ceremony will be held this year on April 25 with the ABC telecast beginning at 8 p.m.

But caution and social distancing remain foremost concerns as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the annual awards ceremony from two venues: the massive Union Station (Los Angeles)and the Dolby Theatre Hollywood).

Fortunately, I managed to see almost all of the nominated actors and films, though not at local and area movie houses, but mainly on streaming via Hulu, Showtime, HBO Max and Netflix.

So as my crystal ball has cleared just enough for a few subjective picks in the major categories, here’s my predictions as to whom should win and whom will win the 93rd Academy Awards:

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR — Should Win: Leslie Odom Jr for “One Night In Miami.”

The Tony Award winning actor plays activist Sam Cooke in a fictionalized account of a real life celebration in a Miami motel after a Cassius Clay victory.

Will Win: Love him or hate him, Sacha Baron Cohen is the likely winner for. “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS — Should Win: Glenn Close for “Hillbilly Elegy.”

The film was not a big fan favorite, but Close was barely recognizable in a gritty role.

Will Win: Amanda Seyfried for “Mank”

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE — Should Win: Anthony Hopkins as “The Father.”

Hopkins portrays a slide into dementia. And Gary Oldman will grab lots of votes for “Mank” although he can not top his award winning role as Winston Churchill.

Will Win: Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Ever since the untimely death of Chadwick Boseman, his widow has made tearful acceptance speeches on other award shows. No reason to think that the Oscar voters won’t continue this tradition.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE — A close race with at least three worthy contenders. Should win: Andra Day for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.”

Featuring some unnecessary nudity in this tale of the controversial jazz singer, Day might walk off with the Oscar, except for Viola Davis — the most nominated black actress ever — (“Ma Rainey”), and odds-on favorite, Frances McDormand (Nomadland”)

Will Win: an upset pick for the revenge-seeking Brit Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman.”

BEST PICTURE – Should Win: “Mank.”

This black and white film follows alcoholic scriptwriter Herman Mankiew5cz causally workng on Orson Welles’ classic “Citizen Kane.” Years ago, there were always only five nominees for top film of the year. So with a bit of wisdom — warped or otherwise — the number nominated can now be up to ten. This year, there are eight nominees, with “Mank” leading the pack with ten nominations.

Will Win: “Nomadland” is the favorite, and will take home the coveted Oscar.

Now for an uncalled for pick re: Diversity. After years of talking, but doing little to honor diversity for black performers and behind-the-scene production staff, Oscar may actually step up this year and give Best Director to Chloe Zhao (of Asian descent) for her superb direction of “Nomadland.”

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