2021 Critics Choice Nominations: Reaction

The Critics Choice Awards, on the same day the Golden Globes did so, announced their nominations for their best of 2021. This is a particularly tricky group to predict and not for just normal reasons like who’s in and who’s out. The critics group seems to fluctuate the number of contenders in a given race year by year. There’s always ten for Best Picture but it can be anywhere from 5-7 on the others (this explains why I projected more nominees than there were in some competitions).

Belfast and West Side Story led the way with 11 nods apiece with Dune and The Power of the Dog close behind with 10. That foursome likely stands as the top quartet in the Oscars derby for the grand prize.

As I did with the Globes, let’s walk through each category and see how I did. FYI – I made predictions for Best Action and Sci-Fi/Horror Movie yesterday, but the critics apparently jettisoned those races. Overall I went 98 for 132.

Best Picture

Nominees: Belfast, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, Tick Tick… Boom!, West Side Story

How I Did: 9/10

Comments: Only misstep here was having The Tragedy of Macbeth over Boom! For Nightmare Alley, this was a nice bounce back after being completely snubbed by HFPA this morning. The strongest hopeful might be Belfast but it’s no surefire winner.

Best Director

Nominees: Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Guillermo del Toro (Nightmare Alley), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), Denis Villeneuve (Dune)

How I Did: 6/7

Comments: I got all the nominees correct, but I had an extra in there with Joel Coen (The Tragedy of Macbeth). Both the critics and the Globes weren’t kind to Macbeth. I don’t see Anderson or del Toro taking this award. The other four are feasible.

Best Actress

Nominees: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos), Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

How I Did: 5/7

Comments: Once again, I pegged 7 individuals but the number was six. Haim scored a nod over my picks of Jodie Comer (The Last Duel) and Rachel Zegler (West Side Story). This could go four directions in my view – Chastain, Gaga, Kidman, or Stewart.

Best Actor

Nominees: Nicolas Cage (Pig), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Peter Dinklage (Cyrano), Andrew Garfield (Tick Tick… Boom!), Will Smith (King Richard), Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)

How I Did: 6/7

Comments: Just like Director, I had the players right and not the number. My extra was Joaquin Phoenix for C’Mon C’Mon, who’s seeing his viability dwindle. Actor is shaping up to a showdown between Cumberbatch and Smith.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Caitriona Balfe (Belfast), Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), Ann Dowd (Mass), Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog), Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), Rita Moreno (West Side Story)

How I Did: 5/6

Comments: Little surprised that Ruth Negga (Passing) missed with the critics and landed with the Globes. Rita Moreno takes her spot. This is a tough race to call with Balfe and DeBose as soft favorites.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Jamie Dornan (Belfast), Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Troy Kotsur (CODA), Jared Leto (House of Gucci), J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: In this wide open group, Smit-McPhee could reign supreme as he’s picking up early critics notices. I had Jon Bernthal (King Richard) and Jason Isaacs (Mass) in over Leto and Simmons.

Best Ensemble

Nominees: Belfast, Don’t Look Up, The Harder They Fall, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Had CODA and Dune instead of Harder and Pizza. Belfast, Power, and Story all possible with this one.

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: Being the Ricardos, Belfast, Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Picked an extra nominee here too. Ricardos got in over C’Mon C’Mon and Mass. Like the Oscars, this should boil down to Belfast v. Pizza.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: CODA, Dune, The Lost Daughter, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Yet another extra nominee situation and I had The Last Duel (which came up empty-handed) and Macbeth instead of Dune. This race should go to the Dog. 

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: Encanto, Flee, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Raya and the Last Dragon

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: After its Globes snub, Mitchells factors in here. I had Belle as opposed to Raya (which had a good morning with HFPA and this). Encanto or Flee are the two probable takers.

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Drive My Car, Flee, The Hand of God, A Hero, The Worst Person in the World

How I Did: 5/6

Comments: Had an extra selection with Titane (which didn’t score with Globes either). A Hero could win, but Car is coming up strong.

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Belfast, Dune, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

How I Did: 6/6

Comments: Finally got one totally right! Dune v. Dog is the expectation.

Best Costume Design

Nominees: Cruella, Dune, House of Gucci, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Alley continued its better than expected showing to the detriment of Cyrano and The French Dispatch. This one could go to Cruella.

Best Editing

Nominees: Belfast, Dune, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Pizza over my picks of Don’t Look Up and King Richard. This could be a Dune trophy or West Side Story.

Best Hair and Makeup

Nominees: Cruella, Dune, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, House of Gucci, Nightmare Alley

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: Alley over Spencer (which had a subpar day). Gucci could fashion a victory.

Best Production Design

Nominees: Belfast, Dune, The French Dispatch, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story

How I Did: 3/6

Comments: Didn’t pick Belfast or Dispatch. Incorrectly called Cyrano, Last Duel, and Macbeth. I expect this to be between Dune and Alley.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Don’t Look Up, Dune, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, Spencer

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: Didn’t have Don’t Look Up. Did have Dispatch and Macbeth. This goes to either Dune or Dog.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Be Alive” from King Richard, “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, “Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall, “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up, “No Time to Die” from “No Time to Die”

How I Did: 4/6

Comments: “Guns” gets in over “Beyond the Shore” from CODA and (somewhat surprisingly) “Down to Joy” from Belfast. “Alive” and Beyonce could reign supreme.

Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Dune, The Matrix Resurrections, Nightmare Alley, No Time to Die, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

How I Did: 2/7

Comments: Yikes. Where to begin? Only had Dune and Shang-Chi correct. I didn’t think Matrix had screened so therefore it was left off. There were seven nominees last year, but only five in 2021. The five I wrongly called were Don’t Look Up, Eternals, Finch, Free Guy, and Godzilla vs. Kong.

Best Comedy Movie

Nominees: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Don’t Look Up, Free Guy, The French Dispatch, Licorice Pizza

How I Did: 5/6

Comments: Got ’em all but had an extra with Red Rocket. Thinking Pizza sounds good in this one.

Best Young Performer

Nominees: Jude Hill (Belfast), Cooper Hoffman (Licorice Pizza), Emilia Jones (CODA), Woody Norman (C’Mon C’Mon), Saniyya Sidney (King Richard), Rachel Zegler (West Side Story)

How I Did: 6/6

Comments: Ending on a high note! I’ll say Zegler, but don’t discount Hill.

That means these films achieved these numbers of nods:

11 Nominations

Belfast, West Side Story

10 Nominations

Dune, The Power of the Dog

8 Nominations

Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley

6 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, King Richard

4 Nominations

CODA, House of Gucci

3 Nominations

Being the Ricardos

2 Nominations

Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, The French Dispatch, The Harder They Fall, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, Spencer, Tick Tick… Boom!, The Tragedy of Macbeth

1 Nomination

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, C’Mon C’Mon, Cyrano, Drive My Car, Free Guy, The Hand of God, A Hero, Luca, Mass, The Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Pig, Raya and the Last Dragon, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Worst Person in the World

I’ll have final predictions for this show shortly before its airing on January 9th!

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