Oscars 2021 – Winner Predictions

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”

Who will win: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Alternate: Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
Analysis: Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton may just be the easiest call of the night.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Olivia Colman, “The Father”
Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy”
Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”

Who will win: Yuh-Jung Youn
Alternate: Amanda Seyfried
Analysis: It was a long uphill battle for Yuh-Jung Youn to reach frontrunner status after being snubbed of a Golden Globe nomination. You have to go way back to 1988 when Geena Davis won Best Actress for The Accidental Tourist to have that happening, and even further to 1976’s Network with Beatrice Straight for the Supporting Actress category. Still, after SAG and BAFTA, it would come as a shock for Youn to lose at this point. If there were an upset, it would be Amanda Seyfried’s scene-stealing performance as Marion Davies in Mank.

SOUND

“Greyhound”
“Mank”
“News of the World”
“Soul”
“Sound of Metal”

Who will win: Sound of Metal
Alternate: Soul
Analysis: The first year this category has been combined will undoubtedly go to the Best Picture nominee with sound in the title, “Sound of Metal,” which showcased easily the most innovative sound design.

COSTUME DESIGN

Alexandra Byrne, “Emma”
Bina Daigeler, “Mulan”
Trish Summerville, “Mank”
Ann Roth, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Massimo Cantini Parrini, “PInnoccio”

Who will win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Alternate: Mank
Analysis: BAFTA probably liked Ma Rainey’s Bottom the least and still went with it over British nominees, that’s what we call a done deal, and it’s quite deserving.

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, “Soul”
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, “Mank”
Emile Mosseri, “Minari”
James Newton Howard, “News of the World”
Terrance Blanchard, “Da 5 Bloods”

Who will win: Soul
Alternate: Minari
Analysis: The foundation of Soul is music, so it shouldn’t be a huge shock; this one’s been steamrolling all season, even if this writer far prefers Reznor/Ross’ work in Mank.

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

“Burrow”
“Genius Loci”
“If Anything Happens I Love You”
“Opera”
“Yes-People”

Who will win: “If Anything Happens I Love You.”
Alternate: “Burrow”
Analysis: If Anything Happens I Love You is about grieving parents struggle with the loss of their daughter after a school shooting, and it’s ripping the heartstrings right out of the chest of anyone who watches, not to mention it’s from Netflix and easily the most highly publicized contender.

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

“Feeling Through”
“The Letter Room”
“The Present”
“Two Distant Strangers”
“White Eye”

Who will win: Two Distant Strangers
Alternate: Feeling Through
Analysis: There’s potential for an upset from Feeling Through as it has a thematic pairing to Best Picture nominee Sound of Metal and pulls strongly on the heartstrings, but you go to go with Two Distant Strangers, which is about police brutality with a time-loop twist. It’s unsubtle, relevant, hard-hitting, delivers a powerful message, and just the type of contender that will win.

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

“Colette”
“A Concerto is a Conversation”
“Do Not Split”
“Hunger Ward”
“A Love Song for Latasha”

Who will win: A Concerto is a Conversation
Alternate: Colette
Analysis: I have never switched back and forth in this set of predictions more than these two contenders. Both movies tackle themes that sway Oscar voters, but A Concerto is a Conversation is packaged in a slightly more accessible form, is in English, and is backed by Ava DuVernay. Holocaust Doc Shorts rarely lose, but flip a coin. I’ll give the edge to the Green Book composer! Check back if I switched back to Colette before tomorrow night!

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
“The Father”
“Nomadland” Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao
“One Night in Miami”
“The White Tiger”

Who will win: The Father
Alternate: Nomadland
Analysis: One of the toughest categories to predict of the night. Nomadland has won the USC Scripter, the Best Picture frontrunner, and would’ve won the WGA had it been eligible. Still, the execution on screen of its screenplay leaves the effect it was improvised which is the polar opposite of BAFTA-winner The Father, where its dialogue and unique structure bleeds on screen. The movie is also based on a popular Broadway Play from the same playwright and is surging at just the right moment. Nomadland losing this award defies statistics, but this is not an ordinary year nor an ordinary Best Picture winner.

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

“Judas and the Black Messiah”
“Minari”
“Promising Young Woman,”
“Sound of Metal”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Who will win: Promising Young Woman
Alternate: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Analysis: Promising Young Woman‘s script is the most daring, smart, important, socially relevant, and ORIGINAL of them all. There is a potential for an upset by Aaron Sorkin, but losing the Oscar after winning both WGA and BAFTA is a rarity these days. One of the few cases of that was Up in the Air losing to Precious which I consider one of the most surprising awards upsets in Oscars’ history.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Gary Oldman, “Mank”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
Steven Yeun, “Minari”

Who will win: Anthony Hopkins
Alternate: Chadwick Boseman
Analysis: The campaign push for Chadwick Boseman’s performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom shows fatigue in the last lap. Boseman has lost both the BAFTA and the Independent Spirit Award in recent weeks. There is still an aura of industry momentum rooting for him to take the award posthumously, but the film is not beloved. It missed two critical Oscar nominations in both the Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay categories. Acting Oscars and Best Picture typically go hand in hand unless it’s undeniable. On the other hand, Anthony Hopkins is in a more beloved movie, and audiences are passionate about his performance, which is easily his strongest performance since The Silence of Lambs. There’s no denying it’ll be a photo finish between the two performances.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”
Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”

Who will win: Carey Mulligan
Alternate: Frances McDormand
Analysis: Everyone is calling this the most uncertain award of the night, but I think it’s one of the easiest calls. It’s a character finding justice in a post-Me Too era. Carey Mulligan would’ve EASILY won the Best Actress award at BAFTA had her snub not have been determined by a small jury. She’s won major critic awards, one of the few contenders in a Best Picture nominee, has intentional support and she recently took the Spirit Award over her central competition. I do not expect a SAG repeat, and boy, will Mulligan’s win be deserving as it is satisfying.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

“Onward”
“Over the Moon”
“Soul”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”
“Wolfwalkers”

Who will win: “Soul.”
Alternate: Wolfwalkers
Analysis: Thank you, next.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Joshua James Richards, “Nomadland”
Erik Messerschmidt, “Mank”
Phedon Papamichael, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Dariusz Wolski, “News of the World”
Sean Bobbitt, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Who will win: Nomadland
Alternate: Mank
Analysis: While the ASC went with Mank‘s groundbreaking cinematography work, the BAFTA didn’t budge. A small chance it could be a repeat of No Country For Old Men losing despite winning Best Picture and BAFTA, but you still have to go with the BAFTA winner as Mank‘s cinematography didn’t show any heat besides ASC this entire season.

DIRECTING

Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”
Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
David Fincher, “Mank”
Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”
Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round”

Who will win: Chloe Zhao
Alternate: David Fincher
Analysis: Congrats to Chloe Zhao; you deserve this one.

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

“Collective”
“Crip Camp
“The Mole Agent”
“My Octopus Teacher”
“Time”

Who will win: “My Octopus Teacher”
Alternate: Crip Camp
Analysis: It’s sweeping and extremely audience accessible. Hard to predict any other Documentary contender taking it.

FILM EDITING

“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
“Sound of Metal”
“Promising Young Woman”
“Nomadland”
“The Father”

Who will win: Sound of Metal
Alternate: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Analysis: The Father is the most deserving, but Sound of Metal triumphed it on home turf. Sound of Metal also beat out the very showy The Trial of the Chicago 7, and BAFTA is very susceptible to rewarding editing contenders like Trial.

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

“Another Round” (Denmark)
“Better Days” (Hong Kong)
“Collective,” (Romania)
“The Man Who Sold His Skin,” (Tunisia)
“Quo Vadis, Aida?” (Bosnia and Herzegonova)

Who will win: “Another Round”
Alternate: “Quo Vadis, Aida?”
Analysis: BAFTA nominations and its Best Director nomination proves Another Round has all the support and more to win this.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Emma”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
“Hillbilly Elegy”
“Mank”
“Pinocchio”

Who will win: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Alternate: Hillbilly Elegy
Analysis: A small chance Hillbilly Elegy wins as it’s probably the most deserving and transformative, but I predict BAFTA will repeat with Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

“Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah

“Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7

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

“Io Sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)

“Speak Now” from One Night in Miami

Who will win: Husavik
Alternate: Speak Now
Analysis: My heart says Husavik, but my brain says Speak Now. I’m going to go with my heart.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

“The Father”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
“Mank”
“News of the World”
“Tenet”

Who will win: Mank
Alternate: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Analysis: Mank gets an Oscar! It’s not The Irishman. Hooray!

VISUAL EFFECTS

“Love and Monsters”
“The Midnight Sky”
“Mulan”
“Tenet”
“The One and Only Ivan”

Who will win: Tenet
Alternate: The Midnight Sky
Analysis: The most seen and most liked movie almost always wins this one which will be BAFTA Winner-Tenet.

BEST PICTURE

“The Father”
“Judas and the Black Messiah”
“Mank”
“Minari”
“Nomadland”
“Sound of Metal”
“Promising Young Woman”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Who will win: “Nomadland”
Alternate: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Analysis: If The Trial of the Chicago 7 had taken the WGA, I would see a potential for an upset with its SAG-Ensemble win, but without it? Absolutely not.

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