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!

2021 Critics Choice Awards Predictions

As if the Golden Globe nominations coming tomorrow morning weren’t confusing enough to figure out, we also have the nods on the same day for the Critics Choice Awards. They’re frequently a reliable indicator of which way the Academy could go. However, there’s a caveat. While both branches choose ten pictures, the other races can fluctuate between 5-7 nominees. Generally Director and the lead acting races are seven while supporting and the screenplay derbies are six. The rest are a rather (needlessly unpredictable) mix. This show also contains some categories not seen in others like Best Ensemble, action, comedy, and sci-fi/horror pics, and Young Performer.

Here’s my best shot at projecting what the critics will do. The ceremony itself hits January 9th… the same day as the Globes. And as I did with the Globes, I’ll name runners-up and second alternates…

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Tick Tick… Boom!

Second Alternate: The Last Duel

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Runner-Up: Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Second Alternate: Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Nicolas Cage, Pig

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Ann Dowd, Mass

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Ruth Negga, Passing

Runner-Up: Marlee Matlin, CODA

Second Alternate: Rita Moreno, West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Jon Bernthal, King Richard

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Jason Isaacs, Mass

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Second Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Best Ensemble

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: King Richard

Second Alternate: Mass

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

C’Mon C’Mon

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Mass

Runner-Up: Being the Ricardos

Second Alternate: The Worst Person in the World

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

CODA

The Last Duel

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Dune

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

Belle

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Runner-Up: Raya and the Last Dragon

Second Alternate: The Summit of the Gods

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

The Hand of God

A Hero

Titane

The Worst Person in the World

Runner-Up: Parallel Mothers

Second Alternate: I’m Your Man

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Spencer

Second Alternate: The French Dispatch

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Spencer

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Editing

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Tick Tick… Boom!

Second Alternate: Licorice Pizza

Best Makeup

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Spencer

Runner-Up: The Last Duel

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

Cyrano

Dune

The Last Duel

Nightmare Alley

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: The French Dispatch

Second Alternate: Belfast

Best Score

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Cyrano

Best Song

Predicted Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Beyond the Shore” from CODA

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Runner-Up: “Every Letter” from Cyrano

Second Alternate: “Here I Am” from Respect

Best Visual Effects (note that it is unlikely that The Matrix Resurrections or Spider-Man: No Way Home screened in time for inclusion)

Predicted Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Eternals

Finch

Free Guy

Godzilla vs. Kong

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Runner-Up: The Green Knight

Second Alternate: The Suicide Squad

Best Action Movie

Predicted Nominees:

Black Widow

Dune

The Harder They Fall

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The Suicide Squad

Runner-Up: Nobody

Second Alternate: Eternals

Best Comedy

Predicted Nominees:

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Don’t Look Up

Free Guy

The French Dispatch

Licorice Pizza

Red Rocket

Runner-Up: Cruella

Second Alternate: Zola

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Predicted Nominees:

Candyman

Dune

Finch

Free Guy

A Quiet Place Part II

Runner-Up: The Suicide Squad

Second Alternate: Titane

Best Young Performer

Predicted Nominees:

Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza

Jude Hill, Belfast

Emilia Jones, CODA

Woody Norman, C’Mon C’Mon

Saniyya Sidney, King Richard

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Millicent Simmonds, A Quiet Place Part II 

Second Alternate: Demi Singleton, King Richard

This list means I’m projecting the following number of nominations for these movies:

12 Nominations

Dune

11 Nominations

Belfast, West Side Story

10 Nominations

The Power of the Dog

8 Nominations

King Richard

7 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth

6 Nominations

CODA

5 Nominations

Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley

3 Nominations

C’Mon C’Mon, Cyrano, Free Guy, The French Dispatch, House of Gucci, The Last Duel, Mass, Spencer

2 Nominations

Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

1 Nomination

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Being the Ricardos, Belle, Black Widow, Candyman, Drive My Car, Eternals, Finch, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, The Harder They Fall, A Hero, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Passing, Pig, A Quiet Place Part II, Red Rocket, The Suicide Squad, Tick Tick… Boom!, Titane, The Worst Person in the World

Reaction (along with that for the Globes) up tomorrow!