The Oscars return to Hollywood on Sunday, as nominees from top contending films including “CODA,” “The Power of the Dog” and “Belfast” gather in a futuristic, glittering ballroom for the movie industry´s biggest night.
After a year away from the Dolby Theatre due to the pandemic, the 94th Academy Awards are back in the heart of Tinseltown, where A-listers who have passed strict Covid-19 testing protocols will walk the red carpet in their finest gowns and tuxedos once again.
Dark, psychological Western “The Power of the Dog” had looked set to earn Netflix its much-coveted first best picture statuette, but the race has been flung wide open in the past few weeks.
“CODA” — an uplifting drama from Apple+ TV about an eccentric deaf family, and their musical daughter who can hear — has surged in popularity, and is now tipped by many industry insiders as the favorite.
Either would be a historic first best picture win for a streaming service.
Kenneth Branagh´s childhood-inspired “Belfast” cannot be ruled out — even if its director is one of several nominees whose presence at the Oscars was thrown into doubt by a positive Covid test last week.
“It´s a two- or three-horse race,” said Variety film awards editor Clayton Davis, who has witnessed “big momentum” for “CODA.”
“People have had a very rough last two years. And ´CODA´ is positive, it´s feel-good. And I think voters are in a feel-good mood.”
“It´s a very tight race,” agreed Hollywood Reporter awards columnist Scott Feinberg.
While Jane Campion´s “The Power of the Dog” is adored by many, it is “a bit more polarizing” and “not everyone´s cup of tea” — a handicap, as Academy voters are asked to rank all 10 best picture nominees.
“CODA,” which began life as an indie drama, benefits from being perceived as “the underdog,” an Academy voter said.
“Some Academy members I speak to are still reluctant to vote for a Netflix film as a best picture. But then here comes Apple, a streaming service as well,” said the voter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noting the “twist of irony.” (AFP)