The long wait is over. We’ve reached the finish line. The 2021 Oscars are finally upon us.
It still hasn’t hit me that the 93rd Academy Awards are in late-April this year as opposed to February. The ghost of 2020 is still haunting the world as the film community is rewarding films that came out well over one year ago. Blame COVID, not the industry.
As someone who adores the Oscars, it’s tough for me to get excited about this year’s ceremony because of what’s going on in the world. I’m going to watch every minute of the ceremony, but my excitement won’t be nearly as high as years prior. I also didn’t see any of the nominated films in a theater. Boy does that suck.
Enough of the pity party though. I love making predictions and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Let’s end the film year with an 80% success rate on my picks. Here we go.
- The Father
- Judas and the Black Messiah
- Promising Young Woman
- Sound of Metal
- The Trial of the Chicago 7
As someone who loves and appreciates everything about the film industry, I have to be honest about this year’s Best Picture race. A lot of these films are good, but not great. It pains me to type that, but it’s the truth. I’m going to blame the pandemic for thwarting the entire 2020 movie release schedule. Many of these films would have been better off being seen in a theater, which would have increased my positivity.
Compared to last year, this year’s crop of nominees is significantly weaker. That was bound to happen considering last year’s ceremony had a stacked lineup of films from extraordinary filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon-ho, and Greta Gerwig.
When the best movie I saw in 2020 isn’t eligible for a nomination (Mangrove from Steve McQueen), you’re going to run into some problems. Out of the eight nominees, Judas and the Black Messiah captivated my attention the most. It would get my first-place vote. However, Nomadland, which I enjoyed, will cap off a dominate awards season with the ceremony’s top prize.
Who Should Win: Judas and the Black Messiah
Who Will Win: Nomadland
- Thomas Vinterberg – Another Round
- David Fincher – Mank
- Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
- Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
- Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
I would argue that the 93rd Oscars features good films with great directors. All five of these directors are great in their own way. I would love nothing more than to award David Fincher with the Oscar he deserves, but it won’t happen this year. Chloé Zhao will become the second female to ever win Best Director. A well-deserved victory for a thoughtful and compassionate filmmaker.
Who Should Win: Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
Who Will Win: Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
- Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal as Ruben Stone
- Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Levee Green
- Anthony Hopkins – The Father as Anthony
- Gary Oldman – Mank as Herman J. Mankiewicz
- Steven Yeun – Minari as Jacob Yi
Don’t let the BAFTA win for Anthony Hopkins throw off your predictions. Chadwick Boseman should win this award. Chadwick Boseman deserves to win this award. Most importantly, Chadwick Boseman will win this award. We miss you, King.
Who Should Win: Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Levee Green
Who Will Win: Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Levee Green
- Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Ma Rainey
- Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday as Billie Holiday
- Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman as Martha Weiss
- Frances McDormand – Nomadland as Fern
- Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman as Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas
Out of all the acting categories, Best Actress is the hardest to predict. All of the nominees besides Kirby won Best Actress at key ceremonies. Day won the Golden Globe, Davis won the SAG, Mulligan won the Critics’ Choice, and McDormand won the BAFTA. In other words, it’s as close to a toss-up as you can get. My personal pick would be Mulligan, but if I’m guessing who the voters will choose, it’s between Davis and McDormand. Since Nomadland is due for a big night, I’ll take McDormand for the win.
Who Should Win: Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman as Cassandra Thomas
Who Will Win: Frances McDormand – Nomadland as Fern
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7 as Abbie Hoffman
- Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah as Fred Hampton
- Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night in Miami… as Sam Cooke
- Paul Raci – Sound of Metal as Joe
- Lakeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah as William “Bill” O’Neal
Daniel Kaluuya should and will win at the Oscars. He’s a stud that consistently turns in captivating performances. I’m a big Kaluuya fan. However, this has to be category fraud, right? I would say that Kaluuya and Stanfield are co-leads, but I understand why he’s in supporting because no one is beating Chadwick nor should anyone beat Chadwick. Paul Raci is the only guy in this category who’s truly a supporting actor so by default, he should win. How can you not love Raci? The guy is so damn cool. (Raci receiving a nomination was one of my favorite moments this season.)
Who Should Win: Paul Raci – Sound of Metal as Joe
Who Will Win: Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah as Fred Hampton
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm as Tutar Sagdiyev
- Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy as Bonnie “Mamaw” Vance
- Olivia Colman – The Father as Anne
- Amanda Seyfried – Mank as Marion Davies
- Youn Yuh-jung – Minari as Soon-ja
I love Youn Yuh-jung. She’s been such a delight to watch on the awards circuit. Watching her call British people “snobs” was one of the best laughs I’ve had in months. She’s going to win at Oscars, but I wish it went to Maria Bakalova. Her performance in Borat 2 was out-of-this-world good. To steal the show from Sacha Baron Cohen seemed downright impossible, but Bakalova easily won the movie.
Who Should Win: Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm as Tutar Sagdiyev
Who Will Win: Youn Yuh-jung – Minari as Soon-ja
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
- Judas and the Black Messiah – Screenplay by Will Berson and Shaka King; Story by Berson, King, Keith Lucas and Kenny Lucas
- Minari – Lee Isaac Chung
- Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
- Sound of Metal – Screenplay by Abraham Marder and Darius Marder; Story by Derek Cianfrance and D. Marder
- The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin
Since 2019, Emerald Fennell created Killing Eve Season 2, acted in The Crown, and wrote/directed Promising Young Woman. That’s a hell of a two-year stretch. Fennell’s picked up major wins at the BAFTAs and WGAs so I don’t see her losing this category. Promising Young Woman also had one of the best plot twists of the last five years.
Who Should Win: Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
Who Will Win: Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
- Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Jena Friedman, Anthony Hines, Lee Kern, Dan Mazer, Erica Rivinoja and Dan Swimer; Story by Baron Cohen, Hines, Nina Pedrad and Swimer; Based on the character by Baron Cohen
- The Father – Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, based on the play by Zeller
- Nomadland – Chloé Zhao, based on the book by Jessica Bruder
- One Night in Miami… – Kemp Powers, based on his play
- The White Tiger – Ramin Bahrani, based on the novel by Aravind Adiga
It’s Chloé Zhao’s night.
Who Should Win: Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
Who Will Win: Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
- Onward – Kori Rae and Dan Scanlon
- Over the Moon – Peilin Chou, Glen Keane and Gennie Rin
- A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon – Will Becher, Paul Kewley and Richard Phelan
- Soul – Pete Docter and Dana Murray
- Wolfwalkers – Tomm Moore, Stéphan Roelants, Ross Stewart and Paul Young
I said this last year and I’ll say it again,. When in doubt, choose Pixar. Soul in a landslide.
Who Should Win: Soul – Pete Docter and Dana Murray
Who Will Win: Soul – Pete Docter and Dana Murray
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
- Another Round (Denmark)
- Better Days (Hong Kong)
- Collective (Romania)
- The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia)
- Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Mads, let’s get drunk.
Who Should Win: Another Round (Denmark)
Who Will Win: Another Round (Denmark)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
- Crip Camp
- The Mole Agent
- My Octopus Teacher
I didn’t see My Octopus Teacher, but it won the BAFTA and the PGA. It’s the leader in the clubhouse. However, I’m going with the upset and picking Time.
Who Should Win: Time
Who Will Win: Time
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
- Da 5 Bloods – Terence Blanchard
- Mank – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
- Minari – Emile Mosseri
- News of the World – James Newton Howard
- Soul – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste
TENET WAS ROBBED! JUSTICE FOR LUDWIG!
If Ludwig can’t win, I have no problems with Trent and Atticus winning more Oscars with the help of Mr. Jon Batiste.
Who Should Win: Tenet – Ludwig Göransson (not nominated)
Who Will Win: Soul – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
- “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah – Music by D’Mile and H.E.R.; lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas
- “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Music by Daniel Pemberton; lyric by Celeste and Pemberton
- “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – Music and lyric by Rickard Göransson, Fat Max Gsus and Savan Kotecha
- “Io sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead – Music by Diane Warren; lyric by Laura Pausini and Warren
- “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami… – Music and lyric by Sam Ashworth and Leslie Odom Jr.
Can’t say I’ve revisited these songs like I did with “Shallow.” A Eurovision win would be fun and in a COVID year, maybe a fun song is exactly what we need. I’ll go with the safer pick and choose Leslie Odom Jr. If Odom wants to perform “The Room Where It Happens” from Hamilton, I wouldn’t be opposed.
Who Should Win: “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – Music and lyric by Rickard Göransson, Fat Max Gsus and Savan Kotecha
Who Will Win: “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami… – Music and lyric by Sam Ashworth and Leslie Odom Jr.
- Judas and the Black Messiah – Sean Bobbitt
- Mank – Erik Messerschmidt
- News of the World – Dariusz Wolski
- Nomadland – Joshua James Richards
- The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Phedon Papamichael
Mank received 10 nominations. They have to win some Oscars, right? The technical categories is where Mank can do some damage. Nomadland is the favorite after it’s BAFTA win, but I’m going with Mank, who won the ASC, in a slight upset.
Who Should Win: Nomadland – Joshua James Richards
Who Will Win: Mank – Erik Messerschmidt
- Greyhound – Beau Borders, Michael Minkler, Warren Shaw and David Wyman
- Mank – Ren Klyce, Drew Kunin, Jeremy Molod, Nathan Nance and David Parker
- News of the World – William Miller, John Pritchett, Mike Prestwood Smith and Oliver Tarney
- Soul – Coya Elliot, Ren Klyce and David Parker
- Sound of Metal – Jaime Baksht, Nicolas Becker, Philip Bladh, Carlos Cortés and Michelle Couttolenc
There’s a movie with the word “sound” in its title. Enough said.
Who Should Win: Soul – Coya Elliot, Ren Klyce and David Parker
Who Will Win: Sound of Metal – Jaime Baksht, Nicolas Becker, Philip Bladh, Carlos Cortés and Michelle Couttolenc
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
- The Father – Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Sroughton
- Mank – Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale
- News of the World – Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan
- Tenet – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas
Mank is pulling a Mad Max: Fury Road at the Oscars with these technical wins.
Who Should Win: Tenet – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas
Who Will Win: Mank – Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
- Emma. – Laura Allen, Marese Langan and Claudia Stolze
- Hillbilly Elegy – Patricia Dehaney, Eryn Krueger Mekash and Matthew W. Mungle
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson
- Mank – Colleen LaBaff, Kimberley Spiteri and Gigi Williams
- Pinocchio – Dalia Colli, Mark Coulier and Francesco Pegoretti
Emma winning here would be a delight. Watch out for Hillbilly Elegy. I’ll go with the 1920s drama that made me want to crush a Coke.
Who Should Win: Emma. – Laura Allen, Marese Langan and Claudia Stolze
Who Will Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
- Emma. – Alexandra Byrne
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Ann Roth
- Mank – Trish Summerville
- Mulan – Bina Daigeler
- Pinocchio – Massimo Cantini Parrini
The last film to win in both the makeup and costume categories was Mad Max: Fury Road. Can Ma Rainey do the same at this year’s Oscars? I don’t think so. I’m riding the Mank train for the technical categories and going with the upset.
Who Should Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Ann Roth
Who Will Win: Mank – Trish Summerville
BEST FILM EDITING
- The Father – Yorgos Lamprinos
- Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
- Promising Young Woman – Frédéric Thoraval
- Sound of Metal – Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
- The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Alan Baumgarten
Three of last five winners of the ACE Eddie Award for editing went on to win Oscars in the same category. The Trial of the Chicago 7 won the ACE Eddie. That’s the pick here.
Who Should Win: Sound of Metal – Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
Who Will Win: The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Alan Baumgarten
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
- Love and Monsters – Genevieve Camailleri, Brian Cox, Matt Everitt and Matt Sloan
- The Midnight Sky – Matthew Kasmir, Chris Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins
- Mulan – Sean Andrew Faden, Steve Ingram, Anders Langlands and Seth Maury
- The One and Only Ivan – Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez
- Tenet – Scott R. Fisher, Andrew Jackson, David Lee and Andrew Lockley
The best movie on this list is Tenet. The Academy loves Nolan films from a technical side. That trend will continue Sunday night.
Who Should Win: Tenet – Scott R. Fisher, Andrew Jackson, David Lee and Andrew Lockley
Who Will Win: Tenet – Scott R. Fisher, Andrew Jackson, David Lee and Andrew Lockley
For the final three categories, I’m not going to pretend I know anything about them. I haven’t seen any of the shorts. I wish they were more accessible throughout the year instead of making them available in one virtual theater before the ceremony. Since I didn’t see any of these films, I’ll only pick “who will win.”
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
- Colette – Alice Doyard and Anthony Giacchino
- A Concerto Is a Conversation – Kris Bowers and Ben Proudfoot
- Do Not Split – Charlotte Cook and Anders Hammer
- Hunger Ward – Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Shueuerman
- A Love Song for Latasha – Sophia Nahali Allison and Janice Duncan
Who Will Win: A Love Song for Latasha – Sophia Nahali Allison and Janice Duncan
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
- Feeling Through – Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski
- The Letter Room – Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan
- The Present – Ossama Bawardi and Farah Nabulsi
- Two Distant Strangers – Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe
- White Eye – Shira Hochman and Tomer Shushan
Oscar Isaac was in The Letter Room. Let’s do that.
Who Will Win: The Letter Room – Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
- Burrow – Michael Capbarat and Madeline Sharafian
- Genius Loci – Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise
- If Anything Happens I Love You – Michael Govier and Will McCormack
- Opera – Erick Oh
- Yes-People – Arnar Gunnarsson and Gísli Darri Halldórsson
Who Will Win: If Anything Happens I Love You – Michael Govier and Will McCormack
Thank you for reading my discussions about the Oscars all year. I really appreciate it. Follow me on Twitter, @danny_giro.
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