Awards Predictions

Update: Feb 6

Best Picture

01. Nomadland
02. The Trial of the Chicago 7

03. Mank
04. Minari
05. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

06. Promising Young Woman
07. Judas and the Black Messiah
08. The Father
09. Da 5 Bloods

10. One Night in Miami

Alt: Soul, News of the World


The biggest takeaways from SAG and Golden Globes:

First, the Minari team probably had a brief panic on Golden Globes morning, but that quickly dissipated after it over performed on SAG-nomination day. I have said for months I could not see Yuh-Jung Youn being the sole-acting nominee from Minari. Her nomination would come with the baggage of loving the movie as evidenced by Steven Yeun reentering the Best Actor race this week. Together they are a powerful coattail couple. It’s a movie that will generate passionate support from the biggest branch in the Academy– the actors. It’s also one of the few small and hip indies this year that voters can be passionate about, the other being Nomadland. You can find weaknesses with just about every potential Best Picture nominee besides Nomadland and The Trial of the Chicago 7. In the end, I think Minari will end up a top 5 motion picture because of this. Mank’s shortcomings side with general American audiences as it received a strong showing at the Golden Globes and should have a strong showing most of the Guilds and BAFTA. The last spot in Best Picture I have is between Da 5 Bloods and One Night in Miami. Here’s my thought process on why I’m dropping Miami beyond it underperforming at the Golden Globes: Bloods should make American Cinema Editors, American Society of Cinematographers and probably Directors Guild of America Awards. Miami, on the other hand, will struggle to land these technical nominations, and especially at the bro-centric DGA. Miami is also the dictionary definition of a lower-tier BP nominee on its best day. Lacking that support outside the acting and writing branches, I think the movie will ultimately struggle in this field to achieve a Best Picture nomination.

Best Directing
01. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
02. David Fincher, Mank
03. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7
04. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
05. Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

alt: Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods and Florian Zeller, The Father


Minari potentially being a Top 5 movie spells good news for director Lee Isaac Chung. It should potentially follow in the same footsteps as past A24 nominee Room and potentially underwhelm with the guilds, but over-perform on Oscar morning. On the other hand, Spike Lee had a pretty rough week missing the Golden Globes nomination for Best Director and not making the BAFTA Director shortlist. An important quality of being nominated for Best Director is having international appeal, but the passion for the Da 5 Bloods seems strictly American. Not to mention Bloods has very low general audience scores. Even if Spike Lee makes the Directors Guild, it could leave him in a vulnerable position. Emerald Fennell, on the other hand, is in a pretty comfortable spot. She topped the Director’s list at regionals while also landing a Best Director nomination at the Golden Globes with her debut movie Promising Young Woman. She also seems likely to land BAFTA and DGA, something that Todd Phillips did not accomplish with Joker last year. 

Best Actor in a Leading Role
01. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
02. Anthony Hopkins, The Father
03. Gary Oldman, Mank
04. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
05. Steven Yeun, Minari

alt: Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods


With the resurgence of Minari, Steven Yeun is in a very comfortable position. Assuming Minari will make it to Best Picture and be a Top 5 contender, we can assume Steven Yeun is looking good for his first ever Oscar nomination. Delroy Lindo, on the other hand, missed both SAG and Globes. BAFTA coming up is also an unlikely possibility, so he will only end up with his critic prizes in the end. In a less competitive year for the category, that may have been enough, but my gut instinct says he will be unable to overcome any of the current five contenders who have fewer cons against him. In the end, Bloods should’ve had its best moment at SAG, so the fact Lindo is not making these early awards shows is not a very promising sign. It’s a shame, really, because he possibly could have won had he been campaigned in the supporting category. In Leading, he was overshadowed by Netflix’s other big central contender, Chadwick Boseman, and the pandemic robbed Lindo of proper campaigning. 

Best Actress in a Leading Role

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

alt: Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy, Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead


The United States vs. Billie Holiday is not living to my self-prophesied expectations, but that isn’t stopping Andra Day from campaigning her brains out. She’s eerily taking campaign tactics straight from Cynthia Erivo’s Harriet playbook last year, headlining articles such as Andra Day Lost 39 Pounds and Infused Her Voice With Pain to Play Billie Holiday. Andra Day is also taking the same awards as Erivo as well. She received both a Leading Actress – Drama and Song Golden Globes nomination for The United States vs. Billie Holiday, and is now the recipient of the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Awards. Thanks to her campaign and Billie Holiday being a biographical role, her current nominations and the impact from Lee Daniels directing should be enough to convince voters to watch the movie. This poses a problem for contenders like Zendaya and Sophia Loren, who both missed two important precursor awards. Sophia Loren may still get a BAFTA nomination, but it feels too little too late to convince an awards body to watch The Life Ahead which wasn’t embraced by critics or earlier awards. Andra Day’s central competition to me will be Amy Adams for Hillbilly Elegy if Glenn Close can actually pull off a Supporting Actress win.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
01. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
02. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
03. Leslie Odom, Jr, One Night in Miami
04. Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods
05. Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7

ALT: Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Paul Raci, Sound of Metal


Paul Raci has found himself in a very vulnerable position. Sound of Metal underperformed with the industry branch that should’ve embraced it most– the actors. BAFTA would have to go out of their way not to give a British acting Mark Rylance a BAFTA Supporting Actor nomination for The Trial of the Chicago 7 which might be enough for him to coattail off a Motion Picture that’s likely Top 2 in the race (hello—Jacki Waver, Silver Linings Playbook), but

watch out for the off chance of Frank Langella claiming this distinction instead because a) Unlike Rylance, Langella is campaigning, i.e. Interviews and many Zoom Q&As B) Frank Langella is an overdue acting legend and his hostile performance as the Judge is distinctly memorable. It would also be great irony Langella getting a nomination for Trial the same year as Anthony Hopkins when he originated the leading role in The Father c) Langella was probably the closest of getting nominated at the Golden Globes for it as evidenced by this HFPA voter’s ballot.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
01. Olivia Colman, The Father
02. Amanda Seyfried, Mank
03. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
04. Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
05. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman

ALT: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm


Many feared the worst when critical darling Yuh-Jung Youn missed the Golden Globe nomination for Minari, but she received a nomination at the Screen Actors Guild on top of the movie’s overall embrace. As long as Minari is a Best Picture nominee, Youn should be in. This means your last spot is between Maria Bakalova and Ellen Burstyn which should be a tight race. Maria Bakalova is running a strong campaign, but voters are guaranteed to watch Pieces of a Woman due to the overall security of Vanessa Kirby’s nomination. An essential next step for Bakalova is receiving a BAFTA nomination which would give her far too strong of a televised awards run to bet against. As I theorized months ago, Burstyn is following in similar footsteps to Laura Dern in Wild. Unlike Dern, Burstyn has an even showier performance. In addition to that, Burstyn is an acting legend and has a path to ride the waves as a coattail nominee of Vanessa Kirby. Maria Bakalova’s weaknesses include Academy voters who will not take Borat seriously as a contender considering it is now a somewhat-dated comedy. Most voters on the other hand will check out Pieces of a Woman, but far less will turn out for Borat. It’ll be a close race, though, but my bets are still on Ellen Burstyn for Pieces of a Woman. 

In terms of the win, Amanda Seyfried for Mank endured a considerable setback missing a Screen Actors Guild Nomination. SAG Voters clearly were not fond of Mank but respected Gary Oldman enough to nominate him. It will be an interesting race between Colman v. Seyfried v. Close. All three respectively could take Awards Show wins (BAFTA, Globes, SAG). There is even a possibility Amanda Seyfried can pull a card from Regina King for  If Beale Street Could Talk and still win the Oscar. This would require Seyfried to win both the Globe and BAFTA (a nomination Regina King did not receive even), which is not outside the realm of possibility. 

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
01. Promising Young Woman
02. The Trial of the Chicago 7
03. Mank
04. Judas and the Black Messiah
05. Minari
alt: Soul


Minari secured its Original Screenplay nomination after proving to us it is likely a top Best Picture contender after its Screen Actors Guild Ensemble Nomination. Pixar’s Soul is looking like it’s just going to miss the top 5 and follow an awards path more similar to Coco than Inside Out, which is unfortunate, but it’s a very competitive category this year. To stay in the thick of competition Soul would need to land a nomination at the Producers Guild Awards. What remains is who’s winning between The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Promising Young Woman? Promising probably has the edge at the Golden Globes since they just gave Sorkin the award for Steve Jobs, so the WGA Awards will be imperative on which contender is ahead. They are neck and neck, but my optimism will lean Promising Young Woman for the moment!

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
01. Nomadland
02. The Father
03. One Night in Miami 
04. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
05. I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Alternate: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, First Cow


Not much has changed in this category. Nomadland and The Father will be ineligible at the WGA, but both movies can still win the Oscar and BAFTA respectively despite the disqualification.