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BuzzMeter 2022: Our experts predict the Oscar winners — and so can you (all polls open)

The stars of Oscar-contending movies "King Richard," "Power of the Dog," "Belfast" and "West Side Story"
The films that would be king — “King Richard” (starring Will Smith), “The Power of the Dog” (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), “Belfast” (starring Jude Hill) and “West Side Story” (starring Ariana DeBose) are among the nominees for best picture and other Academy Awards. The final 2022 Oscars edition of the BuzzMeter tracks some wild movement in multiple categories — and all the polls are open.
(Chiabella James/Warner Bros. Entertainment; Kristy Griffin/Netflix; Rob Youngson / Focus Features; Niko Tavernise/20th Century Studios)

Last looks before closing the books: It’s sort of Round 3.1 of the BuzzMeter as several panelists have fine-tuned their Oscar winner predictions following other awards results. So if you’re looking to polish your Oscar-pool picks ... now’s the time!

In one of the most volatile awards seasons in recent memory, a number of top races have seen leads drastically narrow and even change in the last few weeks.

How have the BuzzMeter predictions been lining up with the guilds, and how will they be affected by the critics’ groups? Two categories that have seen a lot of movement recently, and three others are tilting toward new directions.

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As they do each round, the panelists have ranked their picks in each category, with the top choice receiving the most points and the bottom receiving the fewest. Have your own ideas about who and what will get Oscar roses? Fill out your own slates in our polls. This week: We feature our awards geniuses’ winner predictions in another category making large late shifts: best picture.

And now, polls in all 10 categories are open!

Your 2022 Oscar BuzzMeter panel!
Your 2022 Oscar BuzzMeter panel. Top row, from left: Justin Chang (Los Angeles Times), Tim Cogshell (KPCC’s FilmWeek), Dave Karger (Turner Classic Movies). Bottom row, from left: Claudia Puig (KPCC’s FilmWeek), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times).
(Justin Chang, Tim Cogshell, Dave Karger, Claudia Puig, Anne Thompson, Glenn Whipp)

Lady Gaga is out and Kristen Stewart is in for the 2022 Oscars. Here are other major inclusions and omissions.

Benedict Cumberbatch on a horse in "The Power of the Dog"
Toxic masculinity is explored in writer-producer-director Jane Campion’s dark western, “The Power of the Dog.” Benedict Cumberbatch stars as a brutish 1925 cowboy with layers of secrets.
(Netflix)

1. “The Power of the Dog
2. “Belfast
3. “CODA
4. “West Side Story”
5. “Dune
6. “King Richard
7. “Drive My Car
8. “Licorice Pizza”
9. “Don’t Look Up
10. “Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog” is still the leader of the pack, but no longer by consensus — and its pursuers are breathing down its neck.

Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” and Sian Heder’s “CODA” have both closed the gap considerably, though “Dog” did collect the award at both the BAFTAs and the CCAs.

Jane Campion’s noirish investigation of toxic masculinity led all movies with 12 Oscar nominations, including receiving nods in every category the BuzzMeter predicted it would — even adding one to that list (Jesse Plemons’ supporting-actor nod). As panelist Glenn Whipp says, “ ‘The Power of the Dog’ led the field with 12 nominations. Let’s not get too cute here. Unless the bias against streamers runs really deep, Jane Campion’s western will win.”

“CODA” makes a huge jump following its series of wins on the circuit including the SAG ensemble award, from No. 8 to No. 3. After the Round 3.1 BuzzMeter updates, the American adaptation of the French “La Famille Bélier” not only took a number of high-profile writing prizes, but the PGA award. The PGA doesn’t have a great rate of correlation with the best-picture Oscar (only 67% lifetime, and 65% in the last 10 years, counting the 2013 tie between “Gravity” and eventual Oscar winner “12 Years a Slave”), but following that win, the acting awards and a number of writing prizes, bettors have taken notice.

“Dog,” until recently a heavy favorite at -250 at, for instance, Covers.com, has fallen to -140 in the final days before the ceremony. That’s a drop in implied probability from 71% to 57%. “CODA,” meanwhile, has shot solidly into second place at +110, or a 48% implied probability. That’s close. To give some idea of “CODA’s” movement, betting concerns such as OLBG had it at 8% to win in the beginning of the month, and now have it at 44%.

Despite early speculation the film might be “too sweet” for the academy, a number of prognosticators have been wondering publicly if the film’s feel-good emotion might be just the thing to counter “Dog’s” dusty dourness. In short, only days from the Oscars, the best-picture race is suddenly wide open.

After Heder’s film, three others are bunched in the pack: Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “King Richard,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” are separated by just a handful of points.

Making 2022 the fourth year in a row in which a non-English-language film is nominated for best picture is “Drive My Car,” winner of a host of critics’ prizes, including the LAFCA awards for best picture and screenplay, and runner-up for director. The Haruki Murakami adaptation received Oscar noms in all three of those categories, plus one for international feature, giving it a “Parasite"-like sheen — though not likely shiny enough a coat to overcome the power of the “Dog.”

Kristen Stewart is out and the ‘House of Gucci’ cast is in big time, as the SAG Awards nominations throw curveballs into a wild awards season.

The academy declined to include any of 2021’s Top 10 grossers (domestic or worldwide) in the best-picture field, leaving “Dune” the lone blockbuster-ish nominee — unless one counts “Don’t Look Up.” Netflix’s unverified accounting claims that film has logged close to 400 million streaming hours, whatever that means, relative to box office equivalence or even total viewers. Who knows?

“Don’t Look Up” may have split the critics (just above 50% on Rotten Tomatoes), but it’s “Nightmare Alley” distantly bringing up the rear in Round 3. Martin Scorsese may enthusiastically endorse Guillermo del Toro’s dark carnival (and also may be clicking his heels over Marvel not landing a best-picture nomination for “Spider-Man: No Way Home”), but panelist Tim Cogshell scoffs: “That the academy is numb to how much people dislike ‘Nightmare Alley’ is surprising.”

Prominent absences include “The Lost Daughter,” “Spencer,” “Tick, Tick ... Boom!,” “House of Gucci” and “Being the Ricardos.”

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. “The Power of the Dog”
2. “Belfast”
3. “West Side Story”
4. “Dune”
5. “King Richard”
6. “Don’t Look Up”
7. “Licorice Pizza”
8. “Drive My Car”
9. “CODA”
10. “Nightmare Alley”

“‘Drive My Car’ is a best picture nominee. For the next seven weeks, at least, all is right with the world.”

Tim Cogshell
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. “The Power of the Dog”
2. “King Richard”
3. “Drive My Car”
4. “CODA”
5. “Belfast”
6. “West Side Story”
7. “Dune”
8. “Licorice Pizza”
9. “Nightmare Alley”
10. “Don’t Look Up”

“My hope for ‘Summer of Soul’ (a documentary) in this category not being realized is no surprise; neither are the nominations for ‘King Richard’ and ‘Licorice Pizza.’ The nomination for ‘Drive My Car,’ a first for a Japanese-language film in the category, isn’t surprising either. That the academy is numb to how much people dislike ‘Nightmare Alley’ is surprising. ‘The Power of the Dog,’ Jane Campion’s fifth-best film (‘The Piano,’ ‘Angel at My Table,’ ‘Sweetie’ and ‘Bright Star’ being four of her better films), will likely win.”

Dave Karger
TCM

1. “The Power of the Dog”
2. “Belfast”
3. “CODA”
4. “West Side Story”
5. “Drive My Car”
6. “Licorice Pizza”
7. “Dune”
8. “King Richard”
9. “Don’t Look Up”
10. “Nightmare Alley”

“ ‘The Power of the Dog’s’ strong showing makes it the film to beat. I’d say ‘Belfast’ and ‘CODA’ are the only ones with a shot to upset.”

Claudia Puig
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. “CODA”
2. “Belfast”
3. “The Power of the Dog”
4. “West Side Story”
5. “Licorice Pizza”
6. “Dune”
7. “King Richard”
8. “Drive My Car”
9. “Nightmare Alley”
10. “Don’t Look Up”

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. “The Power of the Dog”
2. “Dune”
3. “CODA”
4. “Belfast”
5. “West Side Story”
6. “King Richard”
7. “Don’t Look Up”
8. “Licorice Pizza”
9. “Drive My Car”
10. “Nightmare Alley”

“With 12 nominations, ‘The Power of the Dog’ should win, even if it’s a dark noir western.”

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. “The Power of the Dog”
2. “Belfast”
3. “CODA”
4. “King Richard”
5. “West Side Story”
6. “Dune”
7. “Drive My Car”
8. “Licorice Pizza”
9. “Don’t Look Up”
10. “Nightmare Alley”

“ ‘The Power of the Dog’ led the field with 12 nominations. Let’s not get too cute here. Unless the bias against streamers runs really deep, Jane Campion’s western will win.”

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"The Power of the Dog" director of photography Ari Wegner and director/adapter Jane Campion.
The nominee and still Campion — Jane Campion (seated) remains the BuzzMeter favorite in the best director category after receiving her second Oscar nomination. Also pictured: “The Power of the Dog” director of photography Ari Wegner.
(Kirsty Griffin/Netflix)

1. Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)
2. Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”)
3. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”)
4. Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”)
5. Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”)

Jane Campion is the first woman to be nominated for best director twice. She’s also one of only two consensus picks to win her category in Round 3 of the BuzzMeter. From all indications, her faux pas at the Critics’ Choice Awards hasn’t significantly dampened her candidacy (at least not among the panelists, none of whom changed their votes for her).

The helmer of “The Power of the Dog” has been on top all awards season long, and the panel continues to think “Dog” could have its day, making its adapter-producer-director the third woman to win in the directing category. It’s funny to think of one of the world’s most respected filmmakers for decades as “this year’s anything,” but Campion’s triple noms this year (including one for screenplay) are analogous to Chloé Zhao’s four-nom feat of last year. If Campion wins in all three of her categories, as the panel expects her to do, she would top Zhao’s win total (in the directing and best picture categories).

Both film and director are heavy favorites among both industry watchers and betting concerns. Covers.com, for instance, has Campion ahead with the widest margin in any category listed (-700 to win, vs. runner-up Steven Spielberg at +850 — a huge gap).

Panelist Anne Thompson calls Campion “a lock”; Dave Karger says “Campion seems assured to follow Chloé Zhao as a winner here” and Justin Chang and Claudia Puig both see echoes of the previous Campion-Spielberg matchup, with a different result: “She is facing off against Steven Spielberg again, as she did in 1993, when he won for ‘Schindler’s List,’ ” says Puig. “Only this time she’ll win.”

Should Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, a longshot (as is everyone whose last name doesn’t rhyme with “champion”), triumph for “Drive My Car,” he’d be the third straight Asian filmmaker to pull off the feat — after none in the previous 90 or so years of the awards. (That’s right, Akira Kurosawa never won a competitive Oscar.)

Of the omissions, Panelist Tim Cogshell says, “I’d swap [‘King Richard’s’ Reinaldo Marcus] Green for several of those nominated, and I’d bump a couple for Maggie Gyllenhaal and her film (‘The Lost Daughter’) in both categories.”

Others who didn’t make the cut despite strong credentials include Denis Villeneuve, whose “Dune” received 10 nominations including best picture, and who had received a DGA nom; Pedro Almodóvar; and the other three directors whose movies are in the best picture field: Sian Heder (“CODA”), Adam McKay (“Don’t Look Up”) and Guillermo del Toro (“Nightmare Alley”).

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)
2. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”)
3. Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”)
4. Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”)
5. Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”)

“The Jane Campion vs. Steven Spielberg rematch is happening — and to those of us with vivid memories of ‘The Piano’ vs. ‘Schindler’s List,’ the prospect couldn’t be more exciting, even as Campion’s victory seems certain.”

Tim Cogshell
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)
2. Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”)
3. Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”)
4. Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”)
5. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”)

“There is no nomination for Reinaldo Marcus Green, director of ‘King Richard.’ Of course, there are several films nominated for best picture whose directors are not; it’s the nature of the category (10 best pictures vs. five best directors). Still, I’d swap Green for several of those nominated, and I’d bump a couple for Maggie Gyllenhaal and her film (‘The Lost Daughter’) in both categories.”

Dave Karger
TCM

1. Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)
2. Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”)
3. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”)
4. Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”)
5. Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”)

“Even if ‘The Power of the Dog’ doesn’t pull off a best picture win, Campion seems assured to follow Chloé Zhao as a winner here.”

Claudia Puig
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)
2. Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”)
3. Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”)
4. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”)
5. Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”)

“Definitely the best director Oscar will go to Jane Campion. She is facing off against Steven Spielberg again, as she did in 1993, when he won for ‘Schindler’s List.’ Only this time she’ll win. (Last time he did.)”

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)
2. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”)
3. Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”)
4. Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”)
5. Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”)

“Jane Campion, the first woman to be nominated twice as director, is a lock to become the third to win.”

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)
2. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”)
3. Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”)
4. Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”)
5. Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”)

“Campion is the only woman to be nominated twice as director. This time she’ll prevail.”

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Oscar nominee (and previous winner) Olivia Colman of "The Lost Daughter."
Oscar nominee (and previous winner) Olivia Colman of “The Lost Daughter” holds on to the top spot in the BuzzMeter’s assessment of the lead-actress race — but her competitors are close behind.
(Netflix)

1. Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”)
2. Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”)
3. Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”)
4. Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”)
5. Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”)

In what has been the most volatile of all the races the BuzzMeter tracks, the favorites just a couple of weeks ago now have a new No. 2 contender among them: Jessica Chastain of “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”

Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”), Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”) and Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”), the top three after the noms were announced, remain tightly bunched — even more so with Chastain shoehorning her way into the pack. After Colman, just three points separate the other four contenders, including Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”). However, Stewart has fallen to the fifth position.

Colman retains the top spot in this sort-of Round 3.1, but splits the No. 1 picks evenly among the panelists — three picked her; three picked Chastain. Why the extreme movement, Chastain jumping from No. 5 to No. 2 on the BuzzMeter? Because of her big wins at the SAGs and CCAs. The BAFTAs provided no clarity for the category, as in a rarity, there was no overlap at all between their nominations and the Oscars’ (Joanna Scanlan won for “After Love”).

How close is the race? Many betting concerns still have no clear favorite (no one in “minus money”), with the top two (for instance, Kidman at +120 and Stewart at +175 at one site) hardly separated at all. However, Pete Watt of Covers.com says Chastain was "+500 (16.7% implied probability) ... [and] is now as short at -150 (60% IP).” In other words, the betting community has taken notice as well.

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Panelist Justin Chang sums up the competition’s “clarity” thus: “A race of utterly devilish complexity, made even more so by Lady Gaga’s startling omission. Trust no one who says they know what’ll happen. That said … Olivia Colman. No, Nicole Kidman. No, Kidman Stewart. Yes, Stewart. Stewart, for sure. I think. I hope.”

There was some question whether Stewart would make the final five, following her omissions from prominent lists including SAG and BAFTA, but the BuzzMeter never doubted her. The panel correctly predicted all five nominees, including Cruz, another surprising SAG snub.

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”)
2. Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”)
3. Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”)
4. Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”)
5. Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”)

“A race of utterly devilish complexity, made even more so by Lady Gaga’s startling omission. Trust no one who says they know what’ll happen. That said … Olivia Colman. No, Nicole Kidman. No, Kidman Stewart. Yes, Stewart. Stewart, for sure. I think. I hope.”

Tim Cogshell
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”)
2. Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”)
3. Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”)
4. Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”)
5. Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”)

“My smart choice was Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin in ‘Respect.’ She was not nominated. My excellent choice, Colman, and my dark horses, Cruz and Stewart, are nominated. So is Chastain, for a bad performance in an even worse movie. So Jennifer was also snubbed.”

Dave Karger
TCM

1. Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”)
2. Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”)
3. Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”)
4. Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”)
5. Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”)

“Kidman and Colman are within striking distance but Chastain’s late-season wins (and her film’s hair and makeup nomination) give her the edge.”

Claudia Puig
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”)
2. Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”)
3. Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”)
4. Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”)
5. Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”)

“Lead actress is more of a competitive race [than for lead actor], though I think Olivia Colman will slightly edge out the competition, for her complicated turn in ‘The Lost Daughter.’ Though I’d like to see it go to Penélope Cruz.”

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”)
2. Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”)
3. Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”)
4. Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”)
5. Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”)

“Olivia Colman could play catch-up with Frances McDormand by winning her second Oscar for ‘The Lost Daughter.’”

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”)
2. Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”)
3. Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”)
4. Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”)
5. Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”)

“Colman won just four years ago, but the industry loves her and voters may not be able to resist her cutting, empathetic turn as the mother in ‘The Lost Daughter.’”

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Will Smith, Demi Singleton and Saniyya Sidney as Richard, Serena and Venus Williams in "King Richard."
Will Smith, Demi Singleton and Saniyya Sidney as Richard, Serena and Venus Williams in “King Richard.” Smith is considered a top contender for a lead-acting Oscar.
(Warner Bros.)

1. Will Smith (“King Richard”)
2. Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
4. Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick…Boom!”)
5. Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos)

The panel sees this race tightening considerably between Will Smith (“King Richard”) and Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”).

Smith holds serve for the lead, but Cumberbatch closes the gap, likely due to the not-inconsiderable goodwill the academy showed “Dog” (12 nominations). Smith, however, has been sweeping the awards circuit (wins from the SAGs, BAFTA and CCAs, among many others), solidifying his candidacy.

Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos), Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick…Boom!”) and Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth) are also nominated.

Nicolas Cage (“Pig”), Clifton Collins Jr. (“Jockey”), Bradley Cooper (“Nightmare Alley”), Hidetoshi Nishijima (“Drive My Car”), Adam Driver (“Annette” and “House of Gucci”) Mahershala Ali (“Swan Song”) are not, with Peter Dinklage (“Cyrano”) among the more surprising omissions.

Panelist Justin Chang says, “ ‘Benedict Cumberbatch and Will Smith will split the majority vote, allowing Andrew Garfield to sneak through’ is the kind of ridiculous theory that never pans out. That said … I sort of hope it does?”

While panelist Tim Cogshell says, “To not be nominated most often means one was just not nominated; it does not necessarily mean that one was snubbed. That said ... Peter Dinklage was not nominated for his phenomenal performance in ‘Cyrano’ — he was snubbed!”

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Will Smith (“King Richard”)
2. Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick … Boom!”)
4. Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
5. Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”)

“ ‘Benedict Cumberbatch and Will Smith will split the majority vote, allowing Andrew Garfield to sneak through’ is the kind of ridiculous theory that never pans out. That said … I sort of hope it does?”

Tim Cogshell
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Peter Dinklage (“Cyrano”)
2. Will Smith (“King Richard”)
3. Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick…Boom!”)
4. Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
5. Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”)

“I don’t care for the notion of snubs as applied to Academy Awards nominations. To not be nominated most often means one was just not nominated; it does not necessarily mean that one was snubbed. That said, Peter Dinklage was not nominated for his phenomenal performance in ‘Cyrano’ — he was snubbed! It will be Cumberbatch or Will Smith.”

Dave Karger
TCM

1. Will Smith (“King Richard”)
2. Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick … Boom!”)
4. Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
5. Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”)

“Twenty years after losing this category to Washington, Will Smith should finally score his first Oscar on his third career nomination.”

Claudia Puig
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Will Smith (“King Richard”)
2. Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
4. Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”)
5. Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick … Boom!”)

“Lead actor will go to Will Smith, hands down, for ‘King Richard.’ He’s been nominated twice before, but never won an Oscar. It’s his year.”

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Will Smith (“King Richard”)
2. Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick … Boom!”)
4. Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
5. Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”)

“It’s a duel of career-best performances from Will Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch for the win.”

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Will Smith (“King Richard”)
2. Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
4. Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick … Boom!”)
5. Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”)

“It’s close between Smith and Cumberbatch, but Smith’s charismatic, complex work in ‘King Richard’ seems like the perfect chance to give him his first Oscar.”

The Boss — Ariana DeBose (center) brings the heat as Anita in Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story" remake.
(Photo by Niko Tavernise/Niko Tavernise)

1. Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”)
2. Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”)
4. Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”)
5. Judi Dench (“Belfast”)

Ariana DeBose remains a strong favorite for her renewal of Rita Moreno’s previously Oscar-winning role in “West Side Story,” with Kirsten Dunst also receiving a lot of love from the panel for her work in “The Power of the Dog.”

DeBose, who has been racking up wins from critics’ groups including the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association, also took the SAG, BAFTA and CCA, which bodes very well for her candidacy. Since Kate Winslet took the SAG Awards’ supporting prize for “The Reader” in 2009 while collecting the lead trophy for the same film from the Oscars, the guild and the academy have only failed to align in this category once (2018). DeBose stands to join some awfully exclusive clubs (along with Moreno), should she triumph.

Panelist Claudia Puig confidently picks her for her “brilliant performance,” saying, “It’s certainly time for another Latina to win an acting Oscar, though it would be nice if it wasn’t always for the same role.”

Meanwhile, panelist Tim Cogshell says while he was “smitten” with DeBose’s work, “Kirsten Dunst is still very much in the mix.”

Aunjanue Ellis (‘King Richard’) makes the cut, as expected, along with two who weren’t in the upper echelon of the BuzzMeter’s Round 2 list: Judi Dench (“Belfast”) and Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”).

Among those omitted, including favorite Caitríona Balfe (“Belfast”), Riley Keough (“Zola”), Saniyya Sidney (“King Richard”), Olga Merediz (“In the Heights”), one favorite solicited a particularly pained comment: “Ruth Negga, like ‘Passing,’ is too good for the Oscars,” said panelist Justin Chang of the actress and film the academy completely, um, passed over.

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”)
2. Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”)
4. Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”)
5. Judi Dench (“Belfast”)

“Ruth Negga, like ‘Passing,’ is too good for the Oscars.”

Tim Cogshell
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”)
2. Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”)
3. Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”)
4. Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”)
5. Judi Dench (“Belfast”)

“In my previous prognostication for this category, I wrote, “Aunjanue Ellis and Will Smith winning Oscars for “King Richard” would mark something notable for the Academy.’ That is still true and, with each of them nominated, possible. I was smitten by the explosive performance of Ariana DeBose, and Kirsten Dunst is still very much in the mix.”

Dave Karger
TCM

1. Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”)
2. Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”)
3. Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”)
4. Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”)
5. Judi Dench (“Belfast”)

“There’s just something about Anita. Sixty years after Rita Moreno’s Oscar-winning performance as the iconic character, DeBose seems set to take the same category for her star-making turn.”

Claudia Puig
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”)
2. Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”)
3. Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”)
4. Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”)
5. Judi Dench (“Belfast”)

“Supporting actress will surely go to Ariana DeBose for her brilliant performance as Anita in ‘West Side Story.’ And there’s history there, since Rita Moreno won for the same role 61 years ago. Somehow that seems auspicious. It’s certainly time for another Latina to win an acting Oscar, though it would be nice if it wasn’t always for the same role.”

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”)
2. Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”)
4. Judi Dench (“Belfast”)
5. Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”)

“Broadway star Ariana DeBose hits Anita out of the park in ‘West Side Story,’ as Rita Moreno did before her.”

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”)
2. Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”)
4. Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”)
5. Judi Dench (“Belfast”)

“ ‘West Side Story’ has always belonged to the actress playing Anita. Rita Moreno won an Oscar for the role six decades ago; now it’s DeBose’s turn.”

Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin and Daniel Durant in “CODA”
Troy Kotsur (with Emilia Jones, left, Marlee Matlin right-center, and Daniel Durant, right) has firmly grasped the lead in the supporting-actor Oscar race for his work in “CODA.” He would be the first male deaf actor to win (costar Matlin was the first female deaf actor to win an Oscar, for “Children of a Lesser God”).
(Apple TV+)

1. Troy Kotsur (“CODA”)
2. Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”)
4. J.K. Simmons (“Being the Ricardos”)
5. Jesse Plemons (“The Power of the Dog”)

There’s a new leader in the clubhouse. Kodi Smit-McPhee had been the favorite since Round 1 for his work in “The Power of the Dog,” and held that spot until now — but following big wins on the circuit, Troy Kotsur as the freewheeling dad in “CODA” is now No. 1, according to the BuzzMeter.

“Smit-McPhee has had people talking for months now, but ‘CODA’ has made a late surge, including high-profile victories for Kotsur,” says panelist Dave Karger. “So I’m expecting [Kotsur] to have a history-making victory.”

After becoming the first male deaf actor to receive an Oscar nomination, Kotsur told The Times, “With subtitles and sign language, [‘CODA’ is] an inclusive story that can give the folks a new perspective. … So don’t limit yourselves, Hollywood. You need to break down these barriers and be fearless and do something new. There’s no rules in art, are there?”

Also on the side of Kotsur’s candidacy: While the surprise nomination of Jesse Plemons may be evidence of the academy’s fondness for “Dog,” it also presents a vote-splitting scenario that could benefit the “CODA” star. However, while that may have been a factor in the BAFTA results (won by Kotsur over Smit-McPhee and Plemons, et al), Plemons wasn’t nominated and Kotsur prevailed over Smit-McPhee (et al) anyway at the Critics’ Choice Awards and perhaps the most important predictor: The SAGs. Only twice since 2007 have the SAGs and Oscars not aligned in this category. (The CCAs have the same rate of alignment, but not the same membership overlap with the academy as the SAGs)

The betting community seems to agree. “Kotsur’s chances have tripled from +400 a month ago (20% implied probability) into -150 (60%),” according to Pete Watt of Covers.com.

Smit-McPhee had led all season for good reason: Claudia Puig calls his portrayal “haunting”; Anne Thompson calls it “riveting”; Glenn Whipp says the movie “belongs to Smit-McPhee. He’s the reason you probably watched it more than once.”

The other nominees: Ciarán Hinds for “Belfast” and previous winner J.K. Simmons for “Being the Ricardos.”

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”)
2. Troy Kotsur (“CODA”)
3. Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”)
4. Jesse Plemons (“The Power of the Dog”)
5. J.K. Simmons (“Being the Ricardos”)

“Jesse Plemons is to Kodi Smit-McPhee what Lakeith Stanfield was to Daniel Kaluuya last year: the surprisingly (but deservedly) nominated co-star who reveals the strength of the movie’s support.”

Tim Cogshell
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. J.K. Simmons (“Being the Ricardos”)
2. Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”)
3. Troy Kotsur (“CODA”)
4. Jesse Plemons (“The Power of the Dog”)
5. Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”)

“Hinds and Kotsur are delightful in their performances as quirky, bedraggled older men who exist in the real world with lives most people understand. Plemons, Simmons, and Smit-McPhee are good in their proscribed roles as characters in more rarefied stories. In the case of Simmons, an actual character, Fred Mertz, and the actor who played him, William Frawley. Nicely done, sir. I like the old men playing old men.”

Dave Karger
TCM

1. Troy Kotsur (“CODA”)
2. Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”)
4. J.K. Simmons (“Being the Ricardos”)
5. Jesse Plemons (“The Power of the Dog”)

” Smit-McPhee has had people talking for months now, but ‘CODA’ has made a late surge including high-profile victories for Kotsur. So I’m expecting him to have a history-making victory.”

Claudia Puig
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Troy Kotsur (“CODA”)
2. Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”)
4. J.K. Simmons (“Being the Ricardos”)
5. Jesse Plemons (“The Power of the Dog”)

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Troy Kotsur (“CODA”)
2. Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”)
4. Jesse Plemons (“The Power of the Dog”)
5. J.K. Simmons (“Being the Ricardos”)

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Troy Kotsur (“CODA”)
2. Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”)
3. Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”)
4. Jesse Plemons (“The Power of the Dog”)
5. J.K. Simmons (“Being the Ricardos”)

“All four of the primary actors from ‘The Power of the Dog’ earned noms, but the movie belongs to Smit-McPhee. He’s the reason you probably watched it more than once.”

Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim in "Licorice Pizza."
Valley girl (and boy) — Cooper Hoffman, left, and Alana Haim, right, in “Licorice Pizza.” Paul Thomas Anderson’s original screenplay is a top Oscar contender, according to the BuzzMeter.
(Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc.)

1. “Licorice Pizza”
2. “Belfast
3. “King Richard
4. “The Worst Person in the World
5. “Don’t Look Up

Two odes to auteurs’ hometowns comfortably top the list: Paul Thomas Anderson’s fantasia on the ‘70s Valley, “Licorice Pizza”; and Kenneth Branagh’s fond remembrance of the environs of his youth, “Belfast.” They’re close in the points totals, but the panel gives the edge to “Licorice.”

“Paul Thomas Anderson now has 11 Oscar nominations. I’d say he’s overdue for a trophy,” says panelist Glenn Whipp, echoing the sentiment of several.

On the other hand, panelist Dave Karger says, “Paul Thomas Anderson could very well win for his love letter to L.A., but I’m thinking Kenneth Branagh will finally win an Academy Award after eight nominations spanning an astonishing seven different categories.”

“King Richard” lands a spot, and as those sneaky Buzz People suspected it might, Sweden’s “The Worst Person in the World” gets one as well. Perhaps to the chagrin of some, “Don’t Look Up” grabs a nom, but it couldn’t have been that big a surprise — it also earned a WGA nod.

Notably not on the list: Wes Anderson’s love letter to literary journalism, “The French Dispatch”; Mike Mills’ “C’mon C’mon,” Pedro Almodóvar’s “Parallel Mothers” and the highly regarded “Luca” from Disney-Pixar.

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. “Licorice Pizza”
2. “Belfast”
3. “The Worst Person in the World”
4. “King Richard”
5. “Don’t Look Up”

“After 11 nominations (three for directing, three for producing and five for screenwriting), Paul Thomas Anderson looks poised to finally — finally — win his first Academy Award. Hope he gets an ovation. Also, hooray for Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt for ‘The Worst Person in the World.’”

Tim Cogshell
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. “Licorice Pizza”
2. “Belfast”
3. “King Richard”
4. “The Worst Person in the World”
5. “Don’t Look Up”

“ ‘Belfast’ and ‘Licorice Pizza’ are fine films, but they’re both just guys telling stories of their youth recalled through rose-colored glasses. Lovely, but that’s all they are. No ‘Red Rocket,’ no ‘Pig,’ but ‘Don’t Look Up’ is great writing — this is ridiculous. ‘The Worst Person in the World’ is an excellent original screenplay, and I hope it wins.”

Dave Karger
TCM

1. “Belfast”
2. “Licorice Pizza”
3. “Don’t Look Up”
4. “King Richard”
5. “The Worst Person in the World”

“Paul Thomas Anderson could very well win for his love letter to L.A., but I’m thinking Kenneth Branagh will finally win an Academy Award after eight nominations spanning an astonishing seven different categories.”

Claudia Puig
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. “Licorice Pizza”
2. “Belfast”
3. “King Richard”
4. “The Worst Person in the World”
5. “Don’t Look Up”

“Original screenplay to Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Licorice Pizza.’ ”

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. “Licorice Pizza”
2. “Belfast”
3. “Don’t Look Up”
4. “King Richard”
5. “The Worst Person in the World”

“Long overdue for a win, Paul Thomas Anderson’s best shot is for writing popular best-picture entry ‘Licorice Pizza.’ ”

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. “Licorice Pizza”
2. “Belfast”
3. “The Worst Person in the World”
4. “King Richard”
5. “Don’t Look Up”

“Paul Thomas Anderson now has 11 Oscar nominations. I’d say he’s overdue for a trophy.”

"The Power of the Dog" (starring Benedict Cumberbatch) is the BuzzMeter's favorite to win the adapted-screenplay Oscar.
Smell this, cowboy — it smells like victory. “The Power of the Dog” (starring Benedict Cumberbatch, center) is the BuzzMeter’s favorite to collect the adapted-screenplay Oscar. Some panelists think it’ll be one of three Jane Campion will take home Oscar night.
(Netflix)

1. “The Power of the Dog
2. “The Lost Daughter
3. (tie) “CODA
3. (tie) “Drive My Car
5. “Dune

Jane Campion’s adaptation of Thomas Savage’s novel, “The Power of the Dog” remains the favorite — she’s a previous winner in the original screenplay category, for “The Piano” — but “Drive My Car,” by director/co-writer Ryûsuke Hamaguchi and co-writer Takamasa Oe, and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s novel, “The Lost Daughter,” are not far behind.

Panelist Dave Karger says, “March 27 stands to be an unforgettable night for Jane Campion — this is one of three Oscars I expect her to win that evening.”

In Round 3.1, “The Lost Daughter” climbs to the No. 2 spot and “CODA” moves into a tie for No. 3 with “Drive My Car,” despite some of the panelists’ most passionate support being for the Japanese film. “Drive My Car” not only expands a Haruki Murakami short story into a multilayered, three-hour feature, but mines two other Murakami stories and uses the unique device of a multilingual theatrical production of “Uncle Vanya” to plumb the depths of Chekhov’s text.

Whipp says, “ ‘Drive My Car’ is the clear standout, a screenplay that retains the intimacy of its source material while expanding it to a grand, simmering story of love and regret.”

While Chang says, “Here’s hoping academy voters (ahem) Chekhov ‘Drive My Car’ on their ballots.”

CODA” writer-director Sian Heder populated her American version of the French film “La Famille Bélier” with memorable characters and relationships. And for his tactile, atmospheric adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic science-fiction novel “Dune” (10 nominations), writer-director Denis Villeneuve embraced the book’s sociopolitical themes and characters, and showed the wisdom to not try to squeeze the whole thing into one film.

Perhaps the most surprising omission: Tony, Pulitzer and Emmy winner Tony Kushner‘s “West Side Story” update, which greatly deepens the context of the story’s environs and several characters’ backstories, and which was surely a key component to the success of the best-picture nominee.

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. “Drive My Car”
2. “The Power of the Dog”
3. “The Lost Daughter”
4. “Dune”
5. “CODA”

“Here’s hoping academy voters (ahem) Chekhov ‘Drive My Car’ on their ballots.”

Tim Cogshell
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. “The Power of the Dog”
2. “CODA”
3. “The Lost Daughter”
4. “Drive My Car”
5. “Dune”

“ ‘The Lost Daughter’ is still a good bet for this category. ‘Drive My Car’ I expected; ‘Dune’ I did not. ‘The Power of the Dog’ is the likely winner, though ‘CODA,’ which is a feel-good film, may surprise everyone - because it feels good.”

Dave Karger
IMDb and TCM

1. “The Power of the Dog”
2. “The Lost Daughter”
3. “Drive My Car”
4. “CODA”
5. “Dune”

“March 27 stands to be an unforgettable night for Jane Campion — this is one of three Oscars I expect her to win that evening.”

Claudia Puig
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. “The Power of the Dog”
2. “The Lost Daughter”
3. “Drive My Car”
4. “CODA”
5. “Dune”

In addition to best picture, best director and supporting actor: “Adapted screenplay will likely go to ‘Power of the Dog’ as well.”

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. “Drive My Car”
2. “The Power of the Dog”
3. “The Lost Daughter”
4. “CODA”
5. “Dune”

“The voters maybe tempted to give Maggie Gyllenhaal’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s ‘The Lost Daughter’ a win, assuming best-picture nominee ‘Drive My Car’ takes international.”

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. “The Lost Daughter”
2. “CODA”
3. “Drive My Car”
4. “The Power of the Dog”
5. “Dune”

“ ‘Drive My Car’ is the clear standout, a screenplay that retains the intimacy of its source material while expanding it to a grand, simmering story of love and regret.”

Hidetoshi Nishijima (left) and Tōko Miura (right) in "Drive My Car," a contender in several Oscar categories.
Hidetoshi Nishijima (left) and Tōko Miura (right) in “Drive My Car,” a contender in several Oscar categories including international feature.
(Janus Films)

1. “Drive My Car” (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Japan)
2. “The Worst Person in the World” (Joachim Trier, Norway)
3. “Flee” (Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Denmark)
4. “The Hand of God” (Paolo Sorrentino, Italy)
5. “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” (Pawo Choyning Dorji, Bhutan)

Drive My Car” is, of course, the strong frontrunner here, considering its support from the panel in so many other categories — not to mention its nominations in three other major Oscar categories (adapted screenplay, director and picture). It has been a behemoth all awards season long and the second of two consensus picks in Round 3 of the BuzzMeter.

While the panelists acknowledge the film’s juggernaut status (Justin Chang writes, “There’s no suspense over whether ‘Drive My Car’ will win here. The question is whether that’s all it will win.”), both Tim Cogshell and Anne Thompson see “Worst Person in the World” as viable competition. Thompson says, “‘Drive My Car,’ with director, screenplay, and best picture nominations, should handily take this, but the more accessible ‘The Worst Person in the World’ also landed a screenplay nod.”

“Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” may have the best title among the nominees, but the panel does not expect it to put a Bhutan its competition’s backside: It ranks last in Round 3. Meanwhile, “Flee” makes Oscar history by being nominated in three feature categories: International, Animated and Documentary.

Panelist Dave Karger says, “This is an easy win for the beloved ‘Drive My Car.’ ‘Flee,’ meanwhile, will have the distinction of losing in three different best feature categories.”

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Japan, “Drive My Car”
2. Norway, “The Worst Person in the World”
3. Denmark, “Flee”
4. Italy, “The Hand of God”
5. Bhutan, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”

“In keeping with past international juggernauts like ‘Parasite,’ ‘Roma,’ ‘Amour’ and ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,’ there’s no suspense over whether ‘Drive My Car’ will win here. The question is whether that’s all it will win.”

Tim Cogshell
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Japan, “Drive My Car”
2. Norway, “The Worst Person in the World”
3. Italy, “The Hand of God”
4. Denmark, “Flee”
5. Bhutan, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”

“ ‘Flee’ is nominated in this category and for animated feature [as well as documentary feature], while ‘Drive My Car’ is nominated both here and for best picture. Excellent. Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Hero’ is not nominated (though not snubbed), which is surprising. My choice is still ‘The Worst Person in the World,’ from my favorite Norwegian director, Joachim Trier.”

Dave Karger
IMDb and TCM

1. Japan, “Drive My Car”
2. Denmark, “Flee”
3. Italy, “The Hand of God”
4. Norway, “The Worst Person in the World”
5. Bhutan, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”

“This is an easy win for the beloved ‘Drive My Car.’ ‘Flee,’ meanwhile, will have the distinction of losing in three different Best Feature categories.”

Claudia Puig
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. Japan, “Drive My Car”
2. Norway, “The Worst Person in the World”
3. Denmark, “Flee”
4. Bhutan, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”
5. Italy, “The Hand of God”

“International feature film will have to go to ‘Drive My Car,’ given its nomination for best picture as well.

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Japan, “Drive My Car”
2. Norway, “The Worst Person in the World”
3. Denmark, “Flee”
4. Italy, “The Hand of God”
5. Bhutan, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”

“ ‘Drive My Car,’ with director, screenplay, and best picture nominations, should handily take this, but the more accessible ‘The Worst Person in the World’ also landed a screenplay nod.”

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Japan, “Drive My Car”
2. Norway, “The Worst Person in the World”
3. Denmark, “Flee”
4. Italy, “The Hand of God”
5. Bhutan, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”

“Only one of the films is also nominated for best picture. Only one of the films is actually the year’s best picture.”

‘Summit of the Gods’ climbs the sheer face of human drive; ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ trusts that it can change the cultural conversation; ‘Belle’ updates ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with wild anime twists.

“Encanto” introduces the Madrigals, a magical family who live in a charmed place in the mountains of Colombia.
Family snapshot — “Encanto” introduces the Madrigals, a magical family who live in a charmed place in the mountains of Colombia. Fourth from left is Maribel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz), the only ordinary child in the brood. The animated film is steeped in magical realism and new music by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
(Disney/Pixar)

1. “Encanto”
2. “The Mitchells vs. the Machines”
3. “Luca”
4. “Raya and the Last Dragon
5. “Flee”

The Lin-Manuel Miranda/magical realism-powered “Encanto” holds onto the top spot (“I think ‘Encanto’ is going to charm the Academy as much as it delighted me,” says panelist Claudia Puig), but “The Mitchells vs. the Machines,” the off-kilter, freewheeling saga of an imperfect family battling perfect robots, creeps even closer in Round 3.1.

Panelist Glenn Whipp thinks the Disney film’s other Oscar nods are indicative of the academy’s mood: “ ‘Encanto’ picked up nominations for score and song as well, a sign of its popularity. It’s a sure thing.”

And that’s not to mention its massive success on the music chartsall eight of Miranda’s songs charted at the same time and the soundtrack is the most successful in years. Its eight nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 (so far) make it one of only three albums of any kind to notch that many in the last five years, according to Billboard. That popular groundswell can’t hurt its Oscar chances. Plus, it won the BAFTA.

However, “Mitchells” won the CCA and dominated the Annies with eight awards, including best feature.

Rounding out the Top 5: international feature contender “Flee,” Pixar’s “summer reverie,” as panelist Anne Thompson describes “Luca” and Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon.”

Among the major titles left off the final list: Anime master Mamoru Hosoda’s wild reimagining of “Beauty and the Beast” in the cyber age, “Belle,” and the French mountain-climbing drama, “The Summit of the Gods.” Tim Cogshell says, “‘The Summit of the Gods’ was the most thrilling and engaging animated film this year, but ‘Belle’ is the most delightful and my favorite.”

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. “The Mitchells vs. the Machines”
2. “Encanto”
3. “Raya and the Last Dragon”
4. “Flee”
5. “Luca”

“‘Flee’ has the unprecedented honor of being nominated for animated, international and documentary feature. I hope it wins at least one of them, though sometimes multiple nominations can be a curse in disguise.”

Tim Cogshell
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. “Encanto”
2. “Raya and the Last Dragon”
3. “The Mitchells vs. the Machines”
4. “Luca”
5. “Flee”

” I am a little surprised that ‘Sing 2' did not make the academy cut, but not surprised that ‘Raya’ and ‘Encanto’ did. One of those two will win. ‘Flee’ and ‘Luca’ are both films you should see; they are excellent and compelling.”

Dave Karger
TCM

1. “Encanto”
2. “Luca”
3. “The Mitchells vs. the Machines”
4. “Flee”
5. “Raya and the Last Dragon”

“Pixar runs the risk of splitting the vote between ‘Encanto’ and ‘Luca,’ but ‘Encanto’s’ infectious soundtrack and adorable lead character should lead to a victory.”

Claudia Puig
KPCC’s FilmWeek

1. “Encanto”
2. “Luca”
3. “The Mitchells vs. the Machines”
4. “Flee”
5. “Raya and the Last Dragon”

“I think ‘Encanto’ is going to charm the Academy as much as it delighted me. The wonderful songs by Lin Manuel Miranda, the sweetly engaging story with its artful blend of humor and drama and the beautiful look of it should push it to the top.”

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. “Encanto”
2. “The Mitchells vs. the Machines”
3. “Raya and the Last Dragon”
4. “Flee”
5. “Luca”

“While Denmark’s ‘Flee’ is the first film to land in the three categories animated, international and documentary feature, that does not mean it will win them all. Producers Phil Lord & Chris Miller’s ‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines’ is the favorite.”

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. “Encanto”
2. “The Mitchells vs. the Machines”
3. “Luca”
4. “Flee”
5. “Raya and the Last Dragon”

“ ‘Encanto’ picked up nominations for score and song as well, a sign of its popularity. It’s a sure thing.”

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