FINAL 2021 OSCAR PREDICTIONS

Ryan Garasich

4/23/21


It feels strange to be talking about the Oscars in April, but does anything really feel normal anymore? This Sunday 8:00 Eastern on ABC, the Academy Awards will kick off its 93rd ceremony, with a full audience, for better or worse. The Super Bowl of the film industry is usually primed for a few surprises, and this year is a particularly muddy field. This is welcome, as it makes for better theater. So lets put my reputation on the line and make my formal and final predictions on who is getting the gold. 


BEST PICTURE: 

The Father

Judas and the Black Messiah

Mank 

Minari

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

Trial of the Chicago 7


WILL WIN: Nomadland

MIGHT STEAL: Trial of the Chicago 7

SHOULD WIN: Minari

SNUBBED: I was a bit surprised to see Ma Rainey's Black Bottom left off. That and Never Rarely Sometimes Always or One Night in Miami could have rounded out the 10 noms.

ANALYSIS: While many other categories this year are much more fraught with intrigue, this one has boiled town to a typical "favorite VS. a couple of longshots" story. After winning nearly every viable precursor award with the exception of SAG ensemble, it looks like Nomadland will be the 93rd film to be crowned Best Picture. Trial of the Chicago 7's SAG Ensemble win and its favorability in the preferential ballot format gives is a punchers chance, but without a Best Director nod I can't see it. The year's ACTUAL Best Picture, Minari, has a true dark horse narrative, but I don't see any surprise here. 



BEST DIRECTOR:

Lee Isaac Chung - Minari

Emerald Fennell - Promising Young Woman

David Fincher - Mank

Thomas Vinterberg - Another Round

Chloe Zhao - Nomadland


WILL WIN: Chloe Zhao

MIGHT STEAL: David Fincher (Kinda, I guess, but not really)

SHOULD WIN: Probably Zhao 

SNUBBED: I would have liked to see Shaka King in here for Judas and the Black Messiah over Vinterberg, but I don't hate it

ANALYSIS: This one's in the bag, or should I say bucket. Zhao's movie is beautifully shot and to get what she got from non-actors is spectacular. Nomadland is probably 90% likely to win Best Picture and Zhao is even more likely than that to win here.



BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:

Viola Davis - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Andra Day - The US V. Billie Holiday

Vanessa Kirby - Pieces of Woman

Frances McDormand - Nomadland

Carey Mulligan - Promising Young Woman


WILL WIN: Carey Mulligan 

MIGHT STEAL: Viola Davis

SHOULD WIN: Great Question. Probably McDormand

SNUBBED: I can't see any of these not being here

ANALYSIS: This is the best and most intriguing race of the 4 acting awards. Viola Davis is predictably fantastic but this one seems a little thinner by her own lofty standards. It would be strange that she would win her 2nd Oscar for another August Wilson play adaptation considering that she is nominated for Lead here, whereas she won Supporting for Fences, and she felt more like the the lead of that movie more than this one. What's in a name? All that said, I think she is the front runner coming in, but I'm calling the mini upset for Mulligan. Funniest of all is that Frances McDormand absolutely had the best female performance of the year, but she has 2 already, and one very recently. 



BEST 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 Yuen - Minari


WILL WIN: Chadwick Boseman

MIGHT STEAL: Anthony Hopkins maybe, but I don't think so

SHOULD WIN: Riz Ahmed gives the objectively better performance to me. But I would never take this away from Boseman

SNUBBED: Since both Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya are arbitrarily in Supporting (more on that later), this is the right call

ANALYSIS: Chadwick Boseman will win and it will be one of the great moments of the night. For my money, Riz Ahmed's full bore performance in Sound of Metal was incrementally better, but as one of my astute friends pointed out, Ahmed will have another chance at this, Boseman tragically won't. So anything less than a Boseman win would feel like a bit of a shame. Write it in pen. 



BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Maria Bakalova - Borat 2

Glenn Close - Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman - The Father

Amanda Seyfried - Mank

Yuh-Jung Youn - Minari


WILL WIN: Yuh- Jung Youn

MIGHT STEAL: Olivia Colman

SHOULD WIN: Youn

SNUBBED: Dominique Fishback for Judas and the Black Messiah could be here

ANALYSIS: Another pretty wide open race here. I think Youn has pushed herself to front of the pack with the SAG win, but Olivia Colman pulled off a much bigger upset before when winning Best Lead for the Favourite a few years back. You can't ever count out the British branch from shaking things up, but I think Youn will hold here. 



BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Sacha Baron Cohen - 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


WILL WIN: Daniel Kaluuya

MIGHT STEAL: Leslie Odom Jr. 

SHOULD WIN: Daniel Kaluuya or Lakeith Stanfield

SNUBBED: As much as I didn't like Da 5 Bloods, Delroy Lindo gave a terrific performance

ANALSIS: Can someone tell me who the lead in Judas and the Black Messiah is? Because the Judas and the Messiah are both nominated for Supporting. The performances are uniformly terrific, the logic of the category is a mess. That said, we play the hand we are given and Kaluuya wins this in a runaway. Quick shoutout to Delroy Lindo who should probably be nominated here for his work in Da 5 Bloods. 



BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

Judas and the Black Messiah

Minari

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

Trial of the Chicago 7


WILL WIN: Promising Young Woman

MIGHT STEAL: Trial of the Chicago 7

SHOULD WIN: Minari or Promising Young Woman

SNUBBED: Never Rarely Sometimes Always deserved a nod here. Soul was also excellent.

ANALYSIS: The writing categories often bring intrigue to the ceremony and this year in no different. Sorkin is always a threat to win, and some may feel bad about his directing miss for Trial of the Chicago 7. But I also think Promising Young Woman has it's best shot to get rewarded here. I'm calling it a 55/45 split for PYW but this can definitely go either way. 



BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

Borat 2

The Father

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

White Tiger


WILL WIN: The Father

MIGHT STEAL: Nomadland

SHOULD WIN: The Father

SNUBBED: No Ma Rainey's Black Bottom here is probably the biggest headscratcher of the year.

ANALYSIS: Honestly, where is Ma Rainey here? The reason the movie missed on Best Picture is likely because it reads too much like a play, so how doesn't it get the love for writing? Whatevs. The father should win this but best picture front runners can always go on big runs, so Nomadland can't be officially ruled out despite its script not being the film's strong suit. 



BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Sean Bobbitt - Judas and the Black Messiah

Eric Messerschmidt - Mank

Dariusz Wolski - News of the World

Joshua James Richards - Nomadland

Phedon Papamichael - Trial of the Chicago 7


WILL WIN: Nomadland

MIGHT STEAL: Mank

SHOULD WIN: Nomadland

SNUBBED: No love for Minari here? 

ANALYSIS: Some good looking films this year, for sure but this is locked in for Nomadland. The landscapes are so crucial to the mood of the film that this movie could have won if it wasn't even any good. But it just so happens its likely to win the top honors of the night as well, so its a powerhouse here. Mank has the only real shot to upset but gorgeous black and white is, historically, a pathway to a nomination but not a win. 



BEST EDITING:

The Father

Nomadland

Promising young Woman

Sound of Metal

Trial of the Chicago 7


WILL WIN: Sound of Metal

MIGHT STEAL: Nomadland or Trial of the Chicago 7

SHOULD WIN: Sound of Metal

SNUBBED: This is fine

ANALYSIS: Riding that Whiplash, some voters think that editing means volume of cuts and not quality. However flawed the logic, they land on the correct conclusion this year. Sound of Metal is likely the best edited film of the year. you can't rule out Nomadland and Trial of the Chicago 7 is certainly slick, but I think Sound of Metal wins this pretty easily. Its possible however, that some people might not like the movie at all. We'll see. 



BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:

Onward

Over the Moon

Shawn the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Soul

Wolfwalkers


WILL WIN: Soul

MIGHT STEAL: Wolfwalkers

SHOULD WIN: Soul

SNUBBED: I'm good with it.

ANALYSIS: Wolfwalkers is awesome but Pixar is Pixar. And Wolfwalkers doesn't have the seismic following of previous films that managed to topple the Big Lamp (IE Into the Spiderverse). So this one is pretty set in stone for the, truthfully, excellent Soul. 



BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM (Formerly best foreign film):

Another Round

Better Days

Collective

The Man Who Sold His Skin

Quo Vadis, Aida?


WILL WIN: Another Round

MIGHT STEAL: Collective

SHOULD WIN: Tough one, but I'll go with Another Round

SNUBBED: I don't think I saw any other foreign films this year

ANALYSIS: If you're a foreign film nominated for Best Picture, usually you win best Foreign Film. This one is pretty much that simple. Collective being a documentary certainly puts a wrinkle in the system, but if anything it hurt the film's chances to upset because they can both be rewarded now. 



BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

Collective

Crip Camp

The Mole Agent

My Octopus Teacher

Time


WILL WIN: My Octopus Teacher

MIGHT STEAL: Collective or Time

SHOULD WIN: Collective

SNUBBED: Dick Johnson is Dead, Boys State, The Truffle Hunters, weird noms this year. 

ANALYSIS: There is a vocal minority that think Dick Johnson is Dead was not only the best documentary of the year but the best FILM of the year. I won't go that far, but its omission in confounding. This and Ma Rainey's snub in Adapted Screenplay are the biggest surprises of the night. But that also opens this up to be a real nail-biter. I'll go with My Octopus Teacher which seems to be cresting at the right time. They botched this category, but at least it will be fun. 



EDUCATED GUESSES


BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

WILL WIN: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

ANALYSIS: I mean, they just looked so great, don't you think? Maybe Mank can mess around and get a steal, but I'm more confident in this pick than I have been in years.



BEST HAIR AND MAKE UP:

WILL WIN: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

ANALYSIS: Ditto the last answer for this, except Hillbilly Elegy might get in on this one instead. That's right, it could win an Academy Award, gang.



BEST SOUND:

WILL WIN: Sound of Metal.

ANALYSIS: ITS IN THE TITLE, GUYS!



BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:

WILL WIN: Soul

ANALYSIS: Wide open as always but Soul, being a movie about music, among other things, really nails this. Its my favorite of the year so I'm picking it.



BEST ORIGINAL SONG:

WILL WIN: Speak Now (One Night in Miami)

ANALYSIS: Husavik from the underrated Eurovision movie is super fun and I'm glad its here. Best Original Song always leads to the most outcasted noms and sometimes can break up the inherent stuffiness of the Oscars. No one here is really a fish out of water, but it at least gives some character. Speak Now wins though and Leslie Odom gets even more much deserved recognition. 



BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

WILL WIN: Tenet

ANALYSIS: Closed theatres meant no blockbusters meant a pretty pedestrian Visual Effects category. Can Nolan overcome his foot in mouth moments from this past year to still get some gold? Probably. 



BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

WILL WIN: Mank

ANALYSIS: Very competitive category this year but Mank is just sumptuous and its probably going home empty handed otherwise, so I can see this as a surprisingly safe bet. Hollywood loves Hollywood and especially Olde Hollywood. 



BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT:

WILL WIN: Two Distant Strangers

ANALYSIS: I saw this one. Thanks Netflix!



BEST ANIMATED SHORT:

WILL WIN: If anything happens, I love you.

ANALYSIS: I saw this one too. Thanks again, Netflix!



BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT:

WILL WIN: A Concerto is a Conversation

ANALYSIS: 2 out of 3 isn't bad, Netflix.






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