Oscars under the lens: McWhorter, Krogmeier offer Academy Award predictions, perspectives

Oscars under the lens: McWhorter, Krogmeier offer Academy Award predictions, perspectives

The Academy Awards, an annual celebration of cinematic excellence, captivate audiences worldwide. For Community’s English teachers, Mr. Tyler McWhorter and Mr. Paul Krogmeier, the Oscars are the biggest stars of awards season. 

As the anticipation mounts for the 96th Academy Awards, airing on ABC on Sunday, March 10, McWhorter and Krogmeier shared their thoughts on Hollywood’s biggest night, offering their seasoned perspective on the show’s “big six” categories. 

McWhorter has tuned in to the Oscars since he was a sophomore in high school, when “American Beauty,” his all-time favorite film, swept 2000’s ceremony.

McWhorter prides himself on being able to pick Oscars upsets. He said he traditionally wins his annual Oscars pool because of the skill.

“That’s what got me watching,” McWhorter said. “I loved that movie, and so then when it got all the nominations, I started paying attention to awards.” 

And he has every year since. 

McWhorter hasn’t missed a moment–not when John Travolta introduced Adele Dazeem to perform “Frozen’s” “Let it Go” instead of Idina Menzel, not when “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as a Best Picture in place of real victor “Moonlight” and definitely not last year’s infamous “Oscar slap“ incident. 

“We rewound it over and over and over,“ McWhorter said. “Try[ing] to figure out if it was staged or not. Like, ‘that really just happened?’”

When Hollywood stages its celebration of “the arts and sciences of moviemaking,” McWhorter believes he has a proven strategy for picking the winners. 

“For [Best] Actor and Actress,” McWhorter said, “it’s about what’s happening in the quiet moments.” 

“If you want to know [who will] win in Supporting Actor or Actress, go for who has the biggest, showiest role.”

The Best Picture winner, McWhorter said, will be “Oppenheimer,” but wouldn’t be surprised if “Barbie” edges out the Christopher Nolan film. 

“I think there’s enough backlash against [“Barbie“ director] Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie not getting nominated,” McWhorter said, “that some of the voting members could push Barbie over the edge for Best Picture, as a protest vote.” 

Internal politics, what happens behind the scenes, McWhorter believes, influence the awards more than what viewers see on screen. 

Examples, McWhorter said, are when “Crash,” a movie that “felt like a TV movie” won over “Brokeback Mountain” and when Heath Ledger won for “Dark Knight,” the year he passed away. 

That Best Supporting Actor Award, McWhorter said, was “basically to honor his career.” 

Internal politics play a role in the lack of actors of color recognized at the Oscars. 

From 1929 to 2022, 36 Black actors have been nominated in the Best Actor or Actress category, with just six taking home the trophy: 1964 – Sidney Poitier in 1964, Denzel Washington in 2002, Halle Berry in 2002, Jamie Foxx in 2005, Forest Whitaker in 2007 and Will Smith in 2022.

And while 16 Black actors have won in the Supporting categories, a 43-year gap exists between 1940 – Hattie McDaniel’s 1940 win for “Gone with the Wind” and Louis Gossett Jr.’s 1983 win for “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

“The Academy has finally gotten to a point where they’ve acknowledged that there’s been an incredible amount of bias over the years,” McWhorter said. 

“They’ve taken steps in the last three or four years to try and make that right. But it’s only been three or four years for an organization that’s been around for 90-something. 

“But I do think they’re taking steps slowly in the right direction to diversify the voting pool.” 

Krogmeier’s relationship with the Academy Awards began when he started to teach Literature of the Silverscreen a decade ago. 

That was a class at first he felt under qualified to teach. 

“I felt very inadequate to teach it. I was like, ‘This is a beast; this is so different from a regular English class. Like I don’t know what I’m getting myself into.’”

It was veteran Theatre director and former teacher of the class, Mrs. Kevin Yale Vernon, who got Krogmeier out of that headspace. 

“She is brilliant,” Krogmeier said. “She taught me everything I know about analyzing film.”

Krogmeier’s film studies course annual runs a contest where he and students make Oscars predictions against each other.

And while Krogmeier always loved film, he said he has become a much more “intense movie watcher over the last 10 years.”

Now, the Oscars are mandatory viewing. 

“I’ve made it a personal mission for the last six years to watch all the Best Picture nominees,” Krogmeier said.

That feat isn’t easy (McWhorter, at the time of his interview, had not seen “Poor Things.”

When the Best Picture Nominations are announced, “you only have like eight weeks to go watch 10 movies if you haven’t watched them already,” films that might no longer be in theaters and not yet on streaming services. 

But Krogmeier thinks doing that homework has paid off. 

“See[ing] the best films of the year” has influenced his perspective on movies, helping him understand “what critics value.

But critics’ values aren’t always Krogmeier’s values. 

“The biggest pet peeve I have about awards and criticism right now is that there is lot of social politics” involved. 

“‘Yeah, I like “Barbie” because it pushes the feminism narrative I think we need as a country right now.’ Or ‘I like “Coda,”’ which won Best Picture two years ago, ‘because it’s a happy movie [and] we needed something happy after COVID.’ 

“These are not film criticism ideas. These are things that are societal discussions. ‘Coda’ was a great film. The actress was incredible: the way she sang … the interpretations and sign language. She was a great actress…

But, Krogmeier continued, “in any other year that would not have won Best Picture.”

It’s the analysis of film as film, not as social commentary on the time when it was released, where Krogmeier often feels most disconnected with the Oscar nominees and winners.  

Despite this, though, the Oscars are an honor like no other. 

The Emmys and Grammys, Krogmeier said, give out too many awards. 

The Academy Awards, though, have “a real prestige.” 

“There’s only 23 of them a year…,” voted on by guilds of the very artists and actors who work in the industry. 

Other major award shows, Krogmeier said, don’t do that. 

The Academy, an artist’s peers and “experts in their craft,” adds more respectability to the award. 

As the curtain rises on Hollywood’s biggest night, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, McWhorter and Krogmeier will be tuning in to catch the snubs, the surprises, the upsets and unforgettable moments. 

Let the English teachers’ expertise serve as a guiding light through the glitz and glamor of Hollywood’s most prestigious night. Check out their picks for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Picture below.  

Best Picture

McWhorter’s who will win: Oppenheimer

McWhorter’s who should win: “Killers of the Flower Moon”


Krogmeier’s who will win: “Oppenheimer

Krogmeier’s who should win: Oppenheimer

Best Director

McWhorter’s who will win: Christopher Nolan

McWhorter’s who should win: Christopher Nolan


Krogmeier’s who will win: Christopher Nolan

Krogmeier’s who should win: Christopher Nolan

Best Actor

McWhorter’s who will win: Cillian Murphy

McWhorter’s who should win: Cillian Murphy or Paul Giamatti


Krogmeier’s who will win: Cillian Murphy

Krogmeier’s who should win: Paul Giamatti

Best Actress

McWhorter’s who will win: Lily Gladstone

McWhorter’s who should win: Lily Gladstone


Krogmeier’s who will win: Lily Gladstone

Krogmeier’s who should win: Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor

McWhorter’s who will win: Robert Downey Jr.

McWhorter’s who should win: Robert De Niro


Krogmeier’s who will win: Robert Downey Jr.

Krogmeier’s who should win: Ryan Gosling

Best Supporting Actress

McWhorter’s who will win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph

McWhorter’s who should win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph


Krogmeier’s who will win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph

Krogmeier’s who should win: Emily Blunt

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