2021 Oscars Predictions – It’s going to be a tight race across the board!

After a rather chaotic year for the film industry, Hollywood’s night of nights is finally upon us. The 93rd Academy Awards are shaping up to be a big one, despite a number of films being pushed out of the 2020 calendar year. There aren’t too many guaranteed winners this year, with a number of the big awards down to a few strong contenders who will no doubt be duking it out on the night. This year, Mank is the clear frontrunner in terms of nominations with 10, but I can’t see it winning even half of that amount due to the strength of the competition. Behind that, Nomadland, The Father, The Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Minari and Judas and the Black Messiah follows with 6 nominations each. Plus, with Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Promising Young Woman also landing 5 nominations, that should give you an indication of just how tight things are. Without further ado, let’s get into my predictions for this prestigious night in film.

My prediction will be highlighted in RED

My personal pick will be highlighted in GREEN.

If you don’t see an option highlighted in GREEN that’s because it’s the same as my prediction.


Best Picture

The Father

Judas and the Black Messiah

Mank

Minari

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

The Best Picture race may look like it’s going to be a lock-in for something like Nomadland, but I don’t think it’s quite as clear as people think. Nomadland is certainly the favourite, and for very good reason. It’s phenomenally well acted, directed and shot, and all the pieces fall together so elegantly that it’s hard to argue against this winning. People should not be looking past Promising Young Woman, my pick for the win and the one which stands out as feeling most like a ‘contemporary’ entry. The fact that it feels different from everything else puts it in a good spot to take the win. Then with an outside chance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 could be an unexpected big win for Aaron Sorkin’s Netflix film.


Actor in a Leading Role

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black bottom

Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Gary Oldman, Mank

Steven Yeun, Minari

Upon the release of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, it seemed like a 100% guarantee that Chadwick Boseman would be taking home this award and nothing could top this performance. Then Anthony Hopkins comes along in The Father and turns this into a much, much closer race. Honestly, this could go either way. I’m torn between giving this to Boseman or Hopkins. I’ve been flip-flopping ever since seeing both films as to who I would give it to. I think the fact that Chadwick passed away last year will give voters an added incentive to give him the win in recognition of his successful career. However, the recency of The Father releasing so close to the Oscars does play into some recency bias which could push more votes his way. Either way, the win would be very well deserved.


Actress in a Leading Role

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

Another tough race here that could see the award going to Viola Davis, Frances McDormand or Carey Mulligan. Regardless of who takes home the win, they would definitely deserve it. I believe Frances McDormand’s performance is too much of a standout not to win, however, she has taken home an award in this category twice before – so maybe voters decide to share the love. I would love to see Carey Mulligan win this as her performance is the best of the year in my books. Without her, I don’t think Promising Young Woman even gets a Best Picture nomination. Then there’s Viola Davis who was great alongside Chadwick Boseman and could also come from behind to steal it.


Actor in a Supporting Role

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…

Paul Raci, Sound of Metal

Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

This is a tough one to predict, since I haven’t seen any of the nominated performances in this category, but I’m going to go with something I would never do. I’d initially look at this and think Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield will steal votes from each other making it hard for either of them to win, but I’m going to go out on a whim and say Kaluuya will defy the odds to take it home.


Actress in a Supporting Role

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman, The Father

Amanda Seyfried, Mank

Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

This is another category that could have an unexpected result. I’m penning Yuh-Jung Youn to bring this one home for her charming performance in Minari that surely won over the hearts of the voters. Olivia Colman could also bring this one home with her touching performance in The Father, however the strength of Anthony Hopkins’ performance may have overshadowed hers a bit too much. Then there’s an outside shot for Maria Bakalova who stunned audiences with her performance and stunned me even more when she got nominated here. I’d love to see her win as it’s such a crazy performance compared to what you’d usually see up here.


Directing

Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

David Fincher, Mank

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari

Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

A lot of the time, we see the winner for Best Picture also taking home the win for Best Director as the two awards are closely entwined. I believe, in an ideal world, it makes the most sense for that to be the case, but sometimes voters will split the two awards – giving one film Best Picture and one Best Director. In this case, I think Nomadland is too strong and Chloe Zhao’s directing just too incredible to not take this one home. Ideally, my pick would again be Promising Young Woman, as Emerald Fennell hit it out of the park on her debut, but one can only dream.


Cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah

Mank

News of the World

Nomadland

Trial of the Chicago 7

Once again, I’m talking about Nomadland. Joshua James Richards‘ cinematography absolutely mesmerising. I mean, just look above. The way he frames the American Midwest to show off just how beautiful it can be is incredibly well done. I think this is going to be a lock-in, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is Mank’s time to shine. Many of Mank’s technical qualities were great, so it would make sense to potentially recognise it here.


Animated Feature Film

Onward

Over the Moon

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Soul

Wolfwalker

Another year, another Pixar film that is almost certainly going to win in this category. I personally didn’t respond to Soul as highly as many others did, but it seems to be the overwhelming favourite – especially since it has also received nominations in other categories. I’d personally give it to Onward, but this award is as good as decided already.


Film Editing

The Father

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

This will be The Father’s time to shine. As good as the film is, I can’t see it taking home Best Picture. This award, as well as the Oscar for Adapted Screenplay are going to be where this film can leave its mark. I was stunned by the editing in this film and would love to see it be recognised for that. Otherwise, I’m not too sure who else would take it, especially since I haven’t seen the two films at the bottom of the list.


Music (Original Score)

Da 5 Bloods

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Soul

I was stunned to see that Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods didn’t manage to snag a nomination for Best Picture, and even more stunned to see that it only received a single nomination in any category. It was one of the greatest films of the year and deserved so much more love. That being said, I think this is where it sneaks in a win. Terence Blanchard’s score is deeply emotional and enhances the story in ways only a score can do. That being said, I could also see Minari bringing home a win here for how that score also enhanced the emotion-driven scenes.


Music (Original Song)

“Fight For You”, Judas and the Black Messiah

“Hear My Voice”, Trial of the Chicago 7

“Husavik”, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

“Io Sì (Seen)”, The Life Ahead

“Speak Now”, One Night in Miami…

Here’s a tough one to predict. The only song I’ve heard on this list is “Husavik“, from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, and I highly doubt it’s strong enough to win. I love the song and I think it deserves to win, but somehow I just can’t see many people voting for it. So, I’m going to go for a blind pick and say “Fight For You” will be recognised here.


Sound

Greyhound

Mank

News of the World

Soul

Sound of Metal

This is a category that hasn’t had many major standouts in the last year. As a result I’m going to have to play to the odds and pick Sound of Metal because… well… it’s a music film – inevitably giving it the upper hand. The history of sound awards tended to go to either war films, large scale sci-fi films or music films. Now that the Sound Mixing and Sound Editing awards have been combined, I can’t see anything else topping it.


Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

The Father

Nomadland

One Night in Miami…

The White Tiger

The Father is a brilliant example of a stage play adapted for the screen in a way that capitalises on the medium to enhance the narrative. Anthony Hopkins may have delivered every line to perfection, but the minds behind the writing crafted the narrative to where it’s brilliantly engaging and emotional across every minute. I hope this happens, and I think it will.


Writing (Original Screenplay)

Judas and the Black Messiah

Minari

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

In a perfect world, Promising Young Woman would win in every category that it’s nominated for. However, since it will have a tough time bringing home the big one, it must win this one. The writing in this film was astounding – Emerald Fennell really nailed the dialogue and each of the characters was written in a way that made them compelling, even if you didn’t like them. It’s a tight screenplay that deserves the win 100 times over.


Visual Effects

Love and Monsters

The Midnight Sky

Mulan

The One and Only Ivan

Tenet

Being the only really big blockbuster on this list, Tenet is in the prime position to take home this award. There’s no doubting the fact that Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending visuals are a work of art. Especially in Tenet, the scale of the action set-pieces is massive and they’re all brilliantly orchestrated. I don’t see this going any other way.


Predictions in Additional Categories


Production Design

The Father

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Mank

News of the World

Tenet


Costume Design

Emma

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Mank

Mulan

Pinocchio


Documentary (Feature)

Collective

Crip Camp

The Mole Agent

My Octopus Teacher

Time


Documentary (Short Subject)

Colette

A Concerto is a Conversation

Do Not Split

Hunger Ward

A Love Song for Latasha


International Feature Film

Another Round

Better Days

Collective

The Man Who Sold His Skin

Quo Vadis, Aida?


Makeup and Hairstyling

Emma

Hillbilly Elegy

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Mank

Pinocchio


Short Film (Animated)

Burrow

Genius Loci

If Anything Happens I Love You

Opera

Yes-People


Short Film (Live Action)

Feeling Through

The Letter Room

The Present

Two Distant Strangers

White Eye

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