2021 Oscar Shortlists: Reaction

It’s a big day for us Oscar prognosticators as the shortlists were revealed this afternoon. For the uninitiated, there are seven feature film races where the Academy releases contenders ranging from 10-15 nominees. For Original Score, Song, International Feature Film, and Documentary Feature – we are given 15 hopefuls. In Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound, and Visual Effects – the list is dwindled to 10.

Let’s walk thru them one by one and I’ll talk about some surprises and omissions!

Best Original Score

The 15 Contenders:

Being the Ricardos


Don’t Look Up



The French Dispatch

The Green Knight

The Harder They Fall

King Richard

The Last Duel

No Time to Die

Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog


The Tragedy of Macbeth


Based on my latest Oscar forecast from December 15th, my five predicted nominees (Dune, The Power of the Dog, Spencer, Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth) all made the cut. So did my #7 (The French Dispatch), #9 (Being the Ricardos), and #10 (King Richard). The two omissions from my top 10: (6) Nightmare Alley and (8) Cyrano.

The biggest surprise might be the inclusion of Candyman. 

Best Original Song

The 15 Contenders:

“So May We Start” from Annette

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“Right Where I Belong” from Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road

“Automatic Woman” from Bruised

“Dream Girl” from Cinderella

“Beyond the Shore” from CODA

“The Anonymous Ones” from Dear Evan Hansen

“Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days

“Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

“Here I Am” from Respect

“Your Song Saved My Life” from Sing 2


My only top 10 ditty from 12/15 not on this list is “Believe” from The Rescue. I will note that “Every Letter” from Cyrano just dropped from my 10 last week and that turned out to be the correct call. This race still likely boils down to Beyonce (“Be Alive”) vs. Billie (“No Time to Die”).

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 

The 10 Contenders:

Coming 2 America




The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Nightmare Alley

No Time to Die

The Suicide Squad

West Side Story


A race where Cyrano isn’t left out! Last week I had Spencer in fifth position and it falls out. Same goes for Being the Ricardos (7) and The Last Duel (10). This is a competition that could go for Dune, Gucci, or Tammy as I see it.

Best Sound

The 10 Contenders:



Last Night in Soho

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

A Quiet Place Part II

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Tick Tick… Boom!

West Side Story


My predicted five from six days ago (Dune, West Side Story, Belfast, No Time to Die, Tick Tick… Boom!) are intact as are my #6 (Matrix) and #9 (A Quiet Place Part II). Not so for the films I had at 7, 8 and 10: Nightmare Alley, The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Last Duel). Fresh off its gargantuan box office, the Spidey mention shows potential strength at making the shorter shortlist.

Best Visual Effects

The 10 Contenders:

Black Widow



Free Guy

Ghostbusters: Afterlife 

Godzilla vs. Kong

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Spider-Man: No Way Home


All 4 MCU movies from 2021 make it in as do three Warner Bros spectacles  (Dune, Matrix, Godzilla). I had Don’t Look Up placed fourth but it falls out. So does Finch which I rated seventh. This certainly increases the chances for Marvel to have at least two in the final five, but there’s Dune and then everything else in this race.

Best Documentary Feature

The 15 Contenders:



Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry

Faya Dayi

The First Wave


In the Same Breath




The Rescue

Simple As Water

Summer of Soul

The Velvet Underground

Writing with Fire


It’s tough luck for my #9 (The Lost Leonardo) and #10 (Becoming Cousteau) as this fascinating race plays out between The Rescue, Flee, and Summer of Soul. 

Best International Feature Film

The 15 Contenders:

Compartment No. 6

Drive My Car


The Good Boss

Great Freedom 

The Hand of God

A Hero


I’m Your Man


Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom


Plaza Catedral

Prayers for the Stolen

The Worst Person in the World


Lamb and a Yak walk into the international competition, but the shocker of the day might be France’s Titane (which I had it 7th) not being mentioned. Same goes for #9 Memoria. This could be the category where Flee wins, but A Hero has been my #1. When I update my projections tomorrow, don’t be surprised if the rising Drive My Car from Japan takes over the top spot.

I’ll have fresh estimates in ALL feature categories posted tomorrow!

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