15 March 2021

493rd Annual Oscar Nominations and Predictions!

Okay! This has been up for a while. Now we'll have some actual predictions. This year has been trying. Did you know we were having a tough year? Normally I do try to anticipate predictions a little bit. I didn't get much of a chance to watch any NCAA Basketball to anticipate making a bracket in 2021 nor have I really tuned in to much movie hype.

Who am I kidding, I never prepare. This is a long way of saying it's time to shed our pretensions. I haven't read a single article before or since seeing these nominations. So, this is totally going off our gut. I actually watched most of the shorts last year and amazingly...did well! Crazy how actually watching these helps with predictions. So, without any concept of accuracy, confidence, or trust, here we go.

BEST PICTURE
 
The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7
 
Predicted Winner: Nomadland

This was an early favourite for best of the year, and might be the best of the year of this list from what I've seen, which is admittedly only three. Oof. This is a rough year - none of these are especially culturally or commercially successful, but then again, everything has been dispersed in the Age of Streaming, and that was before COVID-19 obliterated any remaining sense of shared culture. I liked Nomadland a lot more than I thought I would, it's timely without being redundant, well directed and acted, and has certainly stuck in my brain as THE movie of the year.

DIRECTOR
 
Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round
David Fincher, Mank
Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
 
Predicted Winner: Zhao

So, if we were to pay attention to the Academy's track record at all, they would never hand this to an Asian Woman. But Zhao was great, there is buzz for her, and it's a great opportunity to correct a sincere gap in their on-going diversity issue. And if you ignore all that, it can be a great token win for closet racists to use to point to the false fact that the Academy isn't racist! I could see this going to Fincher, he's the kind of director who has had enough high profile projects to never win, but this actually isn't much the case. They've never awarded Tarantino this honor, who is in a similar position.

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
 
Predicted Winner: McDormand

Listen, I know I'm picking a lot of Nomadland, but it's also where a lot of the buzz is. Okay, I already admitted I know no buzz - do you see through the veil of this blog from the past twelve years? Carey Mulligan is there and a favourite, and McDormand also just won, but that has never stopped the Academy before from awarding someone again. This would mean McDormand joins some pretty rarefied company, but that's the way it will go.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
 
Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Youn Yuh-jung, Minari
 
Predicted Winner: Seyfried

I don't think Seyfried does all that great of a job in Mank, but she got early buzz, and oof, as long as nothing from Hillbilly Elegy wins. Bakalova is certainly deserving, but I'm really hard pressed to believe that the Academy takes Borat that seriously. Comedic actors, especially ones in reality or mockumentary movies rarely win, despite this being an obviously much more difficult and impressive acting job. I don't think The Father is well known enough and I don't know a thing about Minari besides Steven Yeun, so there.

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
 
Predicted Winner: Boseman

This is probably just collective grief, I'm not sure what Boseman even does with this role, but losing him in 2020 still really hurts. Riz Ahmed could be a great upset, but this feels like the award that no one would be upset about. Boseman, despite being in a handful of great roles, doesn't really have a long Oscar history, but this feels right.

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
 
Predicted winner: Kaluuya

It's fun that Get Out (2017) alumni Kaluuya and Stanfield are both here (and both in that movie together). Also, they're both Supporting Actors? Like, Academy, this is what we're talking about when we call you racist. I'd love to see Lakeith win this one day, but Kaluuya is a little higher profile. Wouldn't it be fun if two Black Panther (2017) actors won! I was thinking Leslie Odom Jr had some buzz, but this is where we're at.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
 
Borat Subsequent MovieFilm
The Father
Nomadland
One Night in Miami
The White Tiger
 
Predicted Winner: Nomadland

Borat feels weird here - is it even a screenplay? I mean, kudos for their COVID improvisation but awarding it here feels weird. What is it adapted from? Reality? One Night in Miami is just like, exactly the stage play, which is good but not really winning worthy. The only one left is Nomadland again, honestly who has ever heard of these other random films.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
 
Judas and the Black Messiah
Minari
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7
 
Predicted Winner: Promising Young Woman

So, does this go to Sorkin again? It's the only movie here that I watched and thought, "Man this screenplay is great," at which point I didn't even know Sorkin wrote it, to which I thought, "Oh, that makes sense." I don't want it to always go to him. And the Academy won't, either! Promising Young Woman is really the second best film nominated and won't win much else. So, here you go.

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
"lo Sì (Seen)" from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)
"Speak Now" from One Night in Miami...
 
Predicted Winner: "Speak Now"

Wait wait wait....are Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams singing Eurovision at this ceremony? Or better yet.....over zoom?! I know it wasn't really Rachel McAdams in that movie. That's still great. "Speak Now" is legit, though - especially because they somehow made it seem like a genuine Sam Cooke song. Also, read about Sam Cooke, mostly how his widow married Bobby Womack, and then their daughter married Womack's brother. Anyway, I watched that movie and actually listened to the whole song during the credits. It's great, give it a statue.

PRODUCTION DESIGN
 
The Father
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Mank
News of the World
Tenet
 
Predicted Winner: Mank

Ugh, I hate to say it - this category should always go to a big lavish blockbuster like TENET where the production design is really creative, ground-breaking, complex, and integral to the story, but it almost always goes to some random period drama in recent years. Mank fits that bill, and there are enough fogies that reminisce about old Hollywood. It IS good. I guess.

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

It deserves this, there's not really a ton of other competition unless shit gets real random. It really does an amazing job with a distinct variety of locations, temperatures, seasons, and times of day that all looks coherent and awe-inspiring, contrasted with the difficulty of the kind of life the nomads have chosen (or not chosen). This will probably go to Mank or something stupid.

COSTUME DESIGN
 
Emma
Ma Rainey's Blackbottom
Mank
Mulan
Pinocchio
 
Predicted Winner: Emma

C'mon, this is such an Emma category. It's just so random and frustrating. Ma Rainey would be fun, would the Academy give this to the Black Period Piece? I mean, why trust them now? Also, there was a Pinocchio movie this year?!

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND
 
Greyhound
Mank
News of the World
Soul
Sound of Metal
 
Predicted Winner: Sound of Metal

They finally combined the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing categories, which doesn't seem fair to mixers and editors, especially because there hasn't actually been a ton of overlap recently. Will this actually go to the movie where sound is critical? This is far from a guarantee, but should be the no brainer, so here we go.

ORIGINAL SCORE
 
Da 5 Bloods
Mank
Minari
News of the World
Soul
 
Predicted Winner: Soul

Yeah. It should probably be Soul. The fun jazzy soundtrack fits the theme, narrative, and characters, and it's engaging enough without being overbearing. I've seen Da 5 Bloods and Mank from this list, and neither really stands out. This is again the no brainer choice, but that's not always clear cut.

VISUAL EFFECTS
 
Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
The One and Only Ivan
Tenet
 
Predicted Winner: TENET

I hate the visual effects category so much. Never once going to a Star Wars, Marvel, or Transformers film (Spider-Man 2 [2004] doesn't count). Anyway, this all means it's not going to Mulan. Any of these could actually pull an upset, but considering Inception and Interstellar both won, TENET has some clear precedent. It's also truly deserving and crafted with unique practical effects.

FILM EDITING
 
The Father
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7
 
Predicted Winner: Chicago 7

Sound of Metal or Nomadland could get this, but in our fractured cultural landscape right now I don't think any film is dominating. The editing of Chicago 7 drives the story forward and reveals more as it goes. Some of that may be the screenplay, but it feels engaging and crisp. I dunno, this could go to anyone. This is more a way for more films to win something, which I think will happen.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
 
Emma
Hillbilly Elegy
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Mank
Pinocchio
 
Predicted Winner: Hillbilly Elegy

This is purely on the fact that some truly, truly terrible films have won this award in recent years. Most of those films are more about how that film's whole deal was the make-up. Obviously, this means it should go to Borat. But yeah, making Glenn Close and Amy Adams look like weird gross Ohio people will probably take the cake and everyone will be like WHAAAA?! Everyone but me! Go Buckeyes!

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
 
Another Round - Denmark
Better Days - Hong Kong
Collective - Romania
The Man Who Sold His Skin - Tunisia
Qu Vadis, Aida? - Bosnia and Herzegovina
 
Predicted Winner: Another Round

This is that weird situation that Parasite (2019) had, where, okay, isn't the only film nominated in another category (Best Director) clearly going to already be the best Foreign Film? This is also the most notable foreign film of the year, with a weird and compelling premise that has tended to elevate it above whatever other random collection of international movies here. Also, note the category change, so no Minari or Lord of the Rings I guess.

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
 
"Feeling Through"
"The Letter Room"
"The Present"
"Two Distant Strangers"
"White Eye"
 
Predicted Winner: "Two Distant Strangers"

Time loops and cops killing black people are in right now and "Two Distant Strangers" has both! Might we be fatigued of both? I mean, I know we are, but that doesn't stop anyone. 

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
 
Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers
 
Predicted Winner: Soul

Pixar has doubled its chances to win this year. Seriously, Pixar vs. Pixar - what the hell? Soul is more recent in memory, and probably the better film. It certainly has the edge. Shaun the Sheep isn't an unfamiliar franchise, but if you were a betting person, Pixar is the animated film to go with. Obviously, the true great film here is Wolfwalkers, but that would be a sincere longshot that goes against the populous grain that his category has long settled into.

ANIMATED SHORT FILM
 
"Burrow"
"Genius Loci"
"If Anything Happens I Love You"
"Opera"
"Yes-People"
 
Predicted Winner: "Opera"

I'll give "Genius Loci" credit for being a living Picasso film, but it's too weird. "Burrow" is too lame, "If Anything Happens" too traumatic, "Opera" to vague to Google, and "Yes-People" way too pointy noses. "Opera" actually seems okay, let's go with that one.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
 
Collective
Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
Time
 
Predicted Winner: Collective

You know, there were some really compelling docs this year. None I guess are good enough! As much as I want a cripple camp film to win, Collective had some good end of year buzz for general greatness. I was disappointed to see that My Octopus Teacher was not about some half-man / half-octopus hybrid, or at least some kind of Octo-dad posing as my dad. I feel like every documentary is good. We can't watch all these documentaries. Also, name your documentary something better, you know how hard it is to just search Google for Time? At least now I know what time it is.

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)
 
"Colette"
"A Concerto Is a Conversation"
"Do Not Split"
"Hunger Ward"
"A Love Song For Latasha"

Predicted Winner: "Do Not Split"

I don't know. I mean, whatever. This is probably the most relevant, and liberals love voting for things that make them feel like they're making an effort to protest without actually protesting. That fits that bill! Everything else just looks the same.

So there you have it, people. Our iron-clad, 100% accurate Oscar Predictions. There is no way we will have upsets this year because our normal yearly routine has been interrupted, right?! We will be in perfect shape and nothing will go wrong. Hopefully people liked Nomadland.

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