Oscar Nominations 2021 — Thoughts, Snubs, & Predictions
The Oscars are back.
After an unprecedented year for film, the 93rd Academy Awards are around the corner. Everything from the year 2020 (which wasn’t that much) to the first two months of 2021 were eligible for consideration, and the Oscar nominees are finally out.
So I will go through some of the categories, provide the nominations for each one, and give some thoughts and predictions for which films will be victorious at the 2021 Oscars.
Nominees: Greyhound, Mank, News of the World, Soul, Sound of Metal
This year, the Oscars are combining their Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing categories into one: Best Sound. While all of these nominees had fantastic sound, the frontrunner here is Sound of Metal, as the brilliant sound design perfectly puts us in the head of a protagonist who is losing his hearing.
Nominees: Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, News of the World, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Cinematography is one of the most crucial aspects of making a film look like a film. My personal favorite of these nominees is Nomadland, but David Fincher’s Mank received ten nominations this year, and with its black-and-white 1940s aesthetic, it is my prediction for the Best Cinematography winner.
Snubs: Tenet, Minari, Da 5 Bloods
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees: Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank), Steven Yeun (Minari)
This year was a major milestone for diversity in the Oscars. For the first time, the nominees in this category are not majority-white. Yeun is the first Asian-American to receive a nomination for the category, and Ahmed is the first Muslim to do so as well.
While all of these performances were incredible, I think Chadwick Boseman will be taking home a posthumous Oscar for his incredible performance as Levee Green in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Snubs: Ben Affleck (The Way Back), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), John David Washington (Malcolm & Marie)
Nominees: Another Round (Thomas Vinterberg), Mank (David Fincher), Minari (Lee Isaac Chung), Nomadland (Chloé Zhao), Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell)
The fact that we have two Asian filmmakers and two women in this category is outstanding. The directors in this category have done phenomenal work, but my prediction for Best Director will be Chloé Zhao for her fantastic direction in Nomadland.
Snubs: Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee), Tenet (Christopher Nolan)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominees: Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan), Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), Amanda Seyfried (Mank), Yuh-Jong Youn (Minari)
All of these actresses gave great performances. Bakalova’s performance as Tutar was fun and daring, and Youn was a very likable presence in her film. But I think the winner here will be Olivia Colman in The Father, who gives such an excellent dramatic performance that feels so grounded in the reality of her character’s situation.
Best Visual Effects
Nominees: Love and Monsters, The Midnight Sky, Mulan, The One and Only Ivan, Tenet
The Best Visual Effects category is usually the category that allows for more popular Hollywood action blockbusters. Love and Monsters was a welcome surprise from 2020, but easily the film with the best effects in this category is Tenet, a dazzling film that goes forward and backward, sometimes at the same time.
Snubs: The Invisible Man
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominees: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Andra Day (The United States v. Billy Holiday), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)
It’s difficult to pick one actress which stands out over all the rest. All of these performances were excellent, but if I had to choose, Carey Mulligan delivers a career-best performance in Promising Young Woman, a film that deals with important women’s issues, and she sells her scenes masterfully.
Snubs: Elisabeth Moss (The Invisible Man), Sarah Paulson (Run), Zendaya (Malcolm & Marie)
Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Every film in this category has incredible writing. Judas and Promising Young Woman deal with timely issues in wonderful fashion while Minari and Sound of Metal are gripping character dramas. But Aaron Sorkin’s script for The Trial of the Chicago 7 is my pick for Best Original Screenplay, for its rapid-fire dialogue and modern parallels.
Snubs: Soul, Da 5 Bloods
Best Animated Feature Film
Nominees: Onward, Over the Moon, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Soul, Wolfwalkers
2020 gave us some great animated films. While many are in support of a Wolfwalkers victory and absolutely no one cares about Shaun the Sheep, the victor will likely be Soul, Pixar’s most mature character study yet. It is my favorite film of 2020 and it deserves the win.
Best Original Score
Nominees: Da 5 Bloods, Mank, Minari, News of the World, Soul
Music makes a movie great, and I think all of these nominees are worthy contenders for the best original score of the year. But the film that deserves the Oscar for Best Original Score the most is the movie about a musician, and that is, once again, Pixar’s Soul.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, The Father, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, The White Tiger
This is an interesting set of nominees for the category. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm was primarily improvised, so the nomination is strange. While The White Tiger was a nice film that went under the radar, the other three are the frontrunners, and my prediction will be Nomadland.
Snubs: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees: 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)
Cohen’s performance as Abbie Hoffman is a wonderful surprise from the comedic actor, and Raci and Odom, Jr. were fantastic in their roles. But Judas and the Black Messiah had the most wonderful performances in recent memory and between Stanfield and Kaluuya, Daniel Kaluuya deserves the Oscar.
Nominees: The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7
In a year without many great movies, these nominees were some of the best the industry had to offer. My favorite film of the bunch would be The Father, which I watched over the weekend, but I think Nomadland has the best chance of winning Best Picture and if it does, it would be well-deserved.
Snubs: Da 5 Bloods
But I still have a few more predictions for the remaining categories!
Best Costume Design: Emma
Best Documentary Feature: Time
Best Documentary Short: A Love Song for Natasha
Best Editing: The Father
Best International Feature Film: Another Round
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Best Original Song: “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami
Best Production Design: Mank
Best Animated Short Film: Burrow
Best Live-Action Short Film: The Letter Room