Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

The blog’s early look at the 2021 Oscar contenders arrives at Best Director. If you didn’t see the posts outlining my initial picks for the acting derbies, take a look here:

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

In 2020, my first estimates in the directorial field yielded 2 eventual nominees: winner Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) and David Fincher (Mank). The three others were not even mentioned: Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), and surprise contender Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round).

Here’s the players as I see it at this July juncture:

EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST DIRECTOR

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Other Contenders:

Pedro Almodovar, Parallel Mothers

Paul Thomas Anderson, Soggy Bottom

Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Leos Carax, Annette

Fran Kranz, Mass

Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

David O. Russell, Canterbury Glass

Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

That leaves only Best Picture and it will be posted in short order!

2020 Final Oscar Predictions

Blogger’s Note (04/23): After ever more careful consideration, I have decided to change my Best Actress prediction again. I am not reverting back to Carey Mulligan instead of Viola Davis. Did I mention this is a tough category??

Blogger’s Note (04/21): After careful consideration, I have decided to change my Best Actress prediction from my original Monday (04/19) post. Carey Mulligan is out in favor of Viola Davis… no other predictions have changed.

And here we go! After 8 months of lots and lots of speculation, it’s time to make my final picks in the races covering feature length films. I have finished up my 33 posts covering the nominees in Best Picture, Director and the four acting races.

The 93rd Academy Awards airs this Sunday evening. A couple of quick note before delving into the forecasts on the 20 categories. There are surefire frontrunners in a lot of competitions this year and that includes Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress (as well as most technical races). The real drama lies in the two leading acting competitions, especially Best Actress.

For each race, I will name my predicted winner and what I believe to be the runner-up. Without further adieu, let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Nominees: The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Analysis: Nomadland has taken all the precursors it needs to: Globes, SAG, Critics Choice, BAFTA. I would say that in most recent years, there’s been some drama in Best Picture. Not this year. If there’s any chance of an upset, it could be Minari or Promising Young Woman. For a Green Book type of upset, that could be The Trial of the Chicago 7 and that’s what I’m picking as my #2. Yet let me be clear: anything not named Nomadland taking the biggest prize would be a huge upset at this point.

Predicted Winner: Nomadland

Runner-Up: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director

Nominees: Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), David Fincher (Mank), Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round), Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)

Analysis: For reasons expressed above, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Chloe Zhao getting the gold. She’s won all the precursors and it’s difficult to even name a runner-up (I’ll go Fincher I suppose).

Predicted Winner: Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Runner-Up: David Fincher, Mank

Best Actress

Nominees: 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)

Analysis: Ugh. This is literally the most head scratching race of all. There is no favorite as the major precursors have split. Andra Day, in an upset, took the Globe. Carey Mulligan won Critics Choice. Viola Davis is the SAG recipient. Frances Mcdormand is the BAFTA victor. All of those precursors have a good or very good record of predicting the eventual Academy winner. Confused yet? Me too.

Vanessa Kirby is the least likely to take this and it’s not out of the question that she could. Day’s omission from SAG makes it tough for me to predict her. So we are left with Davis, McDormand, and Mulligan and they all could certainly be making a podium trip. With Nomadland almost surely taking Pic and Director and McDormand’s BAFTA win, it’s tempting to pick her. However, she’s won twice already and the last time was just three years ago. Promising Young Woman did very well in grabbing 5 nominations. Mulligan is a highly respected actress who’s only been nominated once before and this is a showy role that got a lot of attention. Davis’s SAG victory makes me lean toward her, but the Academy not giving Rainey a Best Picture nod gives me some pause.

So… my final decision is Mulligan… with zero degree of confidence. There’s great narratives for McDormand, Mulligan, and Davis so roll the dice with your pick and see what happens!

Predicted Winner: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Runner-Up: Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Actor

Nominees: Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank), Steven Yeun (Minari)

Analysis: For the duration of the precursor season, the late Chadwick Boseman appeared on a glide path to Oscar coronation. That’s until Anthony Hopkins took the BAFTA and made this race considerably more interesting. I will also say that Riz Ahmed has his supporters, but this is a two person race. I do truly believe Hopkins has a very good shot, but I ultimately just can’t pick against Boseman.

Predicted Winner: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Runner-Up: Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), Amanda Seyfried (Mank), Yuh-jung Youn (Minari)

Analysis: This was a wide open category for a while, but Yuh-jung Youn’s recent victories at SAG and BAFTA came at the right time. There is upset potential from both Maria Bakalova and the eight times nominated and never won Glenn Close, but Youn is the safest pick.

Predicted Winner: Yuh-jung Youn, Minari

Runner-Up: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Best Supporting Actor

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)

Analysis: Daniel Kaluuya has steamrolled through precursors and this is definitely the easiest pick of the acting derbies. I’m not even the least bit worried about his costar Lakeith Stanfield splitting votes.

Predicted Winner: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Runner-Up: Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (I guess)

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Analysis: If Mulligan doesn’t win Best Actress (which is quite possible), Promising should still walk away with a win here. Minari and Trial are threats, but feeling pretty confident with this one.

Predicted Winner: Promising Young Woman

Runner-Up: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, The Father, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, The White Tiger

Analysis: While Nomadland looks like a shoo-in in Picture, I could see The Father threatening it in this race. I’m really tempted to go with it, but I’m sticking with Nomadland. Don’t be surprised if The Father takes this though.

Predicted Winner: Nomadland

Runner-Up: The Father

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: Onward, Over the Moon, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Soul, Wolfwalkers

Analysis: Not wasting much word count here. Pixar is dominant in this category. Soul has dominated the other shows.

Predicted Winner: Soul

Runner-Up: Wolfwalkers

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees: Collective, Crip Camp, The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher, Time

Analysis: My Octopus Teacher has surprisingly emerged as the favorite due to precursor wins. There’s certainly a narrative for its win as the other more serious selections could split votes. That said, while Octopus is the safe pick, I’m going for a bit of an upset with the acclaimed Time. For those filling out ballots for work and friend pools, Octopus might be the way to go.

Predicted Winner: Time

Runner-Up: My Octopus Teacher

Best International Feature Film

Nominees: Another Round, Better Days, Collective, The Man Who Sold His Skin, Quo Vadis, Aida?

Analysis: It’s going to be Another Round. It’s wrapped up the precursors it needs and it would be foolish to pick against it.

Predicted Winner: Another Round

Runner-Up: Quo Vadis, Aida?

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, News of the World, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Analysis: Mank could be and should be a trendy upset choice, but Nomadland is most likely to grab this.

Predicted Winner: Nomadland

Runner-Up: Mank

Best Costume Design

Nominees: Emma, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, Mulan, Pinocchio

Analysis: Another sturdy frontrunner here with Ma Rainey.

Predicted Winner: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Runner-Up: Emma

Best Film Editing

Nominees: The Father, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Analysis: For some time, it looked like this might be the one award Trial would receive. And then Sound of Metal started winning the big precursors. Sound is probably a little ahead by most standards, but I’m still leaning Trial for its flashier editing. This is essentially a coin flip in my view.

Predicted Winner: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up: Sound of Metal

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees: Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, Pinocchio

Analysis: Another tech race where Rainey seems way out in front.

Predicted Winner: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Runner-Up: Pinocchio

Best Original Score

Nominees: Da 5 Bloods, Mank, Minari, News of the World, Soul

Analysis: Like in Animated Feature, Soul has killed it in the precursors. This is not a tough choice.

Predicted Winner: Soul

Runner-Up: Minari

Best Original Song

Nominees: “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 si (Seen)” from The Life Ahead, “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami

Analysis: This is a tough choice. I’ve had this nagging feeling that if “Husavik” got in, it could definitely win and I still feel that way. Then there’s Diane Warren who’s behind “lo si”. She’s been nominated 12 times without a win and the overdue factor is real. “Speak Now” is probably the safe choice. I really believe that we could see a surprise here, but I’ll reluctantly stick with Leslie Odom Jr. getting an Oscar for the One Night in Miami track.

Predicted Winner: “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami

Runner-Up: “lo si (Seen)” from The Life Ahead

Best Production Design

Nominees: The Father, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, News of the World, Tenet

Analysis: This is absolutely where Mank should win and that means I think it goes 1/10.

Predicted Winner: Mank

Runner-Up: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Sound

Nominees: Greyhound, Mank, News of the World, Soul, Sound of Metal

Analysis: Sound of Metal has had this wrapped up for some time. Plain and simple.

Predicted Winner: Sound of Metal

Runner-Up: Soul

Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Love and Monsters, The Midnight Sky, Mulan, The One and Only Ivan, Tenet

Analysis: This appears to be a two picture battle between The Midnight Sky and Tenet, but the latter seems to have moved fairly comfortably in front.

Predicted Winner: Tenet

Runner-Up: The Midnight Sky

That means I believe the following pictures will walk away with these numbers in terms of victories:

4 Wins

Nomadland

3 Wins

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

2 Wins

Promising Young Woman, Soul

1 Win

Another Round, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, One Night in Miami, Sound of Metal, Tenet, Time, The Trial of the Chicago 7

For the 8 Best Picture hopefuls, I’m projecting that only The Father will go home completely empty-handed (though it could certainly happen to Trial as well).

I will, of course, have a recap up with my thoughts on the show and how I did shortly after Sunday’s ceremony. Stay tuned!

Oscars 2020: The Case of Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan’s performance in Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman wraps up my Case Of posts for the five Best Actress contenders. If you missed the first four, they can be read here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/27/oscars-2020-the-case-of-viola-davis/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/03/oscars-2020-the-case-of-andra-day/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/09/oscars-2020-the-case-of-vanessa-kirby/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/12/oscars-2020-the-case-of-frances-mcdormand/

The Case for Carey Mulligan

Earning her second nomination following 2009’s An Education, Mulligan’s work here was part of Promising‘s five nominations. She’s managed nods in all the major precursors (with the surprising exception of BAFTA) and won the Critics Choice Award.

The Case Against Carey Mulligan

I predicted Mulligan to take the Golden Globe and she lost to Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday). I predicted her for the SAG Award and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) took the prize. The wide open Best Actress race is hard to pin down.

The Verdict

Mulligan absolutely could win next week, but so could do Davis, Day, or McDormand. I’ll be going back and forth on this one until I make my final predictions on Wednesday.

My Case Of posts will continue with Steven Yeun in Minari…

2020 BAFTAs: The Nomadland Train Keeps Rolling

The road for Nomadland to Best Picture coronation at the Oscars keeps rolling today thanks to the BAFTAs (the United Kingdom’s version of the Academy Awards). Meanwhile, the Actor and Actress derbies got a bit more interesting while the supporting players continued its recent narrative.

Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland won Best Film and Director in what has become a common theme. However, Frances McDormand’s victory in Actress is her first major precursor in an Oscar race that has truly become a tossup. To break it down, the four significant precursors have all produced different results: McDormand for BAFTA, Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) at SAG, Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) at Critics Choice, and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) at the Globes. Bottom line: it’s going to be quite a chore to make a final predictions for the Academy’s ceremony two weeks from today.

Chadwick Boseman’s work in Ma Rainey had swept all the precursors, but that was interrupted this afternoon by Anthony Hopkins in The Father. This is not a huge upset since Hopkins is British royalty. Yet it does establish him as the surefire runner-up to Boseman and a potential threat.

The supporting races followed the SAG path with Yuh-jung Youn (Minari) in Supporting Actress and Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) continuing his sweep in Supporting Actor. Both can be considered favorites at the Oscars (especially the latter).

In the screenplay competition, The Father took Adapted over Nomadland in what could be a two picture race in two weeks. Promising Young Woman took Original honors (besting The Trial of the Chicago 7, which came up empty across the pond). Promising also took home Best British Film.

Unlike the other precursors, the BAFTAs cover most of the down ticket categories and I’ll simply say that all the victors below stand decent to very strong chances at repeating at the Oscars:

Animated Film: Soul

Documentary: My Octopus Teacher

Film Not in the English Language: Another Round

Cinematography: Nomadland

Costume Design: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Editing: Sound of Metal

Makeup & Hair: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Original Score: Soul

Production Design: Mank

Sound: Sound of Metal

Special Visual Effects: Tenet

My final Oscar predictions will be before you know it! Stay tuned…

Oscars 2020: The Case of David Fincher

My Case Of posts for nominees at the 93rd Academy Awards reaches its third director with David Fincher for Mank. If you missed my previous two posts covering Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), they can be found here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/26/oscars-2020-the-case-of-lee-isaac-chung/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/02/oscars-2020-the-case-of-emerald-fennell/

The Case for David Fincher

For over a quarter century, Fincher has been one of the most acclaimed and commercially successful filmmakers on the scene. His pictures have received a collective 40 Oscar nods. However, he’s yet to win himself for his direction despite two previous nods for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network. In other words, there’s an overdue factor at play.

The Case Against David Fincher

Despite Mank leading in terms of total nominations (10) at the upcoming ceremony, it missed out in key categories like Original Screenplay and Editing. Of the 8 Best Picture nominees, it actually has the lowest (83%) Rotten Tomatoes score. While Fincher has landed mentions in the significant precursors, he’s lost at each turn to Chloe Zhao for Nomadland and she stands as the heavy favorite to take the Academy’s gold.

The Verdict

He may be overdue, but expect that to continue for Fincher as Zhao may well have this race wrapped up.

My Case Of posts will continue with Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman…

Oscars 2020: The Case of Emerald Fennell

Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) is the second filmmaker up in my Case Of posts for Best Director at the Oscars. If you missed my first writeup for Lee Isaac Chung work in Minari, you can find it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/26/oscars-2020-the-case-of-lee-isaac-chung/

The Case for Emerald Fennell

The actress turned multi-hyphenate (who served as a show runner for the acclaimed Killing Eve) drew widespread acclaim for her debut feature. She’s the first female Brit to garner a direction nod. Promising Young Woman is looked at as a potential spoiler to front-running Nomadland in Best Picture. The film could also emerge victorious in Actress (Carey Mulligan) and for Fennell herself in Original Screenplay.

The Case Against Emerald Fennell

Fennell’s inclusion here marks the first time in Academy history that two women are up in the category. Unfortunately for her, the other one is Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) and she’s considered the strong favorite to take this award.

The Verdict

Fennell has a terrific opportunity to win an Oscar on April 25th, but it’s for her screenplay and not likely here.

My Case Of posts will continue with Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday…

Oscars 2020: The Case of The Trial of the Chicago 7

My Case Of posts for the 8 Best Picture nominees concludes with Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7. If you missed the previous seven entries on the other contenders, you can peruse them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/16/oscars-2020-the-case-of-the-father/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/17/oscars-2020-the-case-of-judas-and-the-black-messiah/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/18/oscars-2020-the-case-of-mank/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/21/oscars-2020-the-case-of-minari/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/21/oscars-2020-the-case-of-nomadland/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/22/oscars-2020-the-case-of-promising-young-woman/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/22/oscars-2020-the-case-of-sound-of-metal/

The Case for The Trial of the Chicago 7:

When the Netflix drama began streaming in October, Sorkin’s sophomore directorial effort became an immediate player in the Oscar discussion and was considered a soft frontrunner for weeks. Along with The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, and Sound of Metal, it scored six nominations. This is also the kind of effort that seems tailor-made for Academy attention. Sorkin is already a gold winner for his 2010 screenplay for The Social Network.

The Case Against The Trial of the Chicago 7:

Well… it’s grown recently. Trial couldn’t manage a Golden Globe or Critics Choice victory over Nomadland, which has become the favorite. In fact, all of its major nominations appear in jeopardy. Sacha Baron Cohen’s chances in Supporting Actor are behind Daniel Kaluuya’s for Judas and the Black Messiah. Original Screenplay seems iffy with Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman surging. Perhaps most notably, Sorkin missed the cut in Best Director.

The Verdict

While other nominees like Minari, Promising Young Woman, and Sound of Metal have gained momentum in recent weeks, Trial appears to be going in the opposite direction. There is a legitimate chance that it walks away with zero wins come Oscar night (Film Editing might be its best hope). I wouldn’t completely count out its chances to take Best Picture, but its prospects have undoubtedly dwindled.

My Case Of posts for Best Picture have wrapped up, but now it’s time for the directing and acting players. That begins with Lee Isaac Chung for Minari and that will be posted tomorrow…

Oscars 2020: The Case of Promising Young Woman

My Case Of posts covering the nominees for Best Picture continues with Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut Promising Young Woman. This is my sixth write-up for the 8 nominated films. If you missed any of the previous entries, you may find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/16/oscars-2020-the-case-of-the-father/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/17/oscars-2020-the-case-of-judas-and-the-black-messiah/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/18/oscars-2020-the-case-of-mank/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/21/oscars-2020-the-case-of-minari/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/03/21/oscars-2020-the-case-of-nomadland/

The Case for Promising Young Woman

Like The Father and Minari, this jet black revenge dramedy premiered over a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival where it earned rave reviews. It landed five Oscar nods and that includes its director, Carey Mulligan in Actress (where she’s considered a soft frontrunner), Original Screenplay, and Film Editing. The screenplay and editing nods are precisely the nominations a picture needs to be considered a threat to win it all. Furthermore, Fennell’s script just took the Writers Guild of America honor. Promising Young Woman has done what it needs to do to establish itself a genuine threat to the favored Nomadland.

The Case Against Promising Young Woman

While it’s come on strong lately, Nomadland still enjoys its status as the movie to beat this season. If the PGA goes for an upset this week and picks this (or Minari or anything else for that matter), look for that narrative to shift. As of today, however, a Promising victory would be a pretty major upset.

The Verdict

Promising Young Woman could be assisted by its movie of the moment feel. That said, victories in Actress and Original Screenplay are more likely than the grand prize.

My Case Of posts will continue with Sound of Metal…

2020 Oscar Nominations Reaction

To Oscar prognosticators like yours truly, today was like Christmas morning as nominations were unwrapped early for the 93rd Annual Academy Awards, airing April 25th. Some things never change with the prediction game. There were categories where I was perfect (3 of them) and, as has become tradition, a dreaded race where I whiffed at 2/5.

As was the most likely scenario, Mank led all films with 10 nominations. Yet it did so by missing some key races that are usually needed to nab a Best Picture victory. This was followed by six pictures garnering six mentions: The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Sound of Metal, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Some of those over performed. Others – not so much.

Overall this blogger went 80/104 on estimates and in this topsy turvy year, I’ll take it. Let’s break it down race by race, shall we?

Best Picture

Nominees: The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7

How I Did: 7/9

The magic number of nominees ended up being 8 and I projected 9. I’ll say again… I’m very happy that the Academy is going with a set 10 again beginning in 2022. This means it was Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and One Night in Miami that missed and The Father (which had a solid showing) in. Judas, Minari and Sound of Metal proved their anticipated status as late bloomers making the cut.

Best Director

Nominees: Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), David Fincher (Mank), Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round), Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)

How I Did: 4/5

The Academy made history today when they nominated two women in Director for the first time. This was expected, but it is worth noting that Regina King (One Night in Miami) was a contender who missed the cut. That’s not where I went wrong as Vinterberg came out of nowhere to get a spot. While Another Round is expected to emerge victorious in International Feature Film, its director became the rare nominee to get in without a Best Picture slot. And despite being nominated for his writing, Aaron Sorkin (Trial) couldn’t get into this one.

Best Actress

Nominees: 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)

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

I can’t put myself on the back too much here. This was widely seen as the most probable quintet and it remained true to form. Potential surprise picks like Sophia Loren (The Life Ahead) and Golden Globe Musical/Comedy winner Rosamund Pike (I Care a Lot) didn’t materialize.

Best Actor

Nominees: Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank), Steven Yeun (Minari)

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

Again, no shockers here. Any late momentum by Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round) or Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian) was squashed and Boseman stands tall as the major frontrunner.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), Amanda Seyfried (Mank), Yuh-jung Youn (Minari)

How I Did: 4/5

For the past couple of weeks, there have been six likely nominees and only five spots. I went with Golden Globe winner Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian) over Seyfried. Fun fact: Foster is the first Globe winner from this category in 44 years to not land an Oscar mention. This is a wide open acting race (more so than the others by far).

Best Supporting Actor

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)

How I Did: 4/5

The morning’s biggest surprise is the inclusion of Stanfield with his Judas costar Kaluuya. That has nothing to do with performance itself as Warner Bros. actually campaigned for Stanfield in Best Actor. The Academy simply ignored that and chose to put him here. In other words, this is the nomination that nobody saw coming. His inclusion prevented Boseman from being a double nominee for Da 5 Bloods (which had an almost nonexistent showing).

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7

How I Did: 4/5

No Mank is the headline here as Sound of Metal grabbed the spot. This omission is what makes a Mank BP victory highly doubtful.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, The Father, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, The White Tiger

How I Did: 3/5

Ma Rainey‘s bleaker than expected morning continued with no love here. Same goes for The Mauritanian (which goose egged today). In their place? Borat and The White Tiger.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: Onward, Over the Moon, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Soul, Wolfwalkers

How I Did: 4/5

It was Sheep over The Croods: A New Age in a competition where Disney/Pixar’s Soul should dominate.

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees: Collective, Crip Camp, The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher, Time

How I Did: 3/5

This category (unpredictable usually) was a real head scratcher in 2020. I had Dick Johnson Is Dead and Welcome to Chechnya in over Crip Camp and The Mole Agent. This is a toughie to project, but I’ll say Time might have an edge.

Best International Feature Film

Nominees: Another Round, Better Days, Collective, The Man Who Sold His Skin, Quo Vadis, Aida?

How I Did: 2/5 (ugh)

The dreaded 2/5 came here with Better Days, double nominee Collective, and the charmingly titled The Man Who Sold His Skin in over my picks of Dear Comrades!, La Llorona, and Two of Us. This looks like Round‘s race to lose at press time.

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, News of the World, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7

How I Did: 4/5

Judas over Minari was where I went wrong, but not shocking considering the former’s very good day. You may have noticed this is the first mention of News of the World, which picked up four tech nods but got zilch in the big derbies.

Best Costume Design

Nominees: Emma, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, Mulan, Pinocchio 

How I Did: 4/5

Not many were saying Pinocchio would play here, but it nosed out my Ammonite selection.

Best Film Editing

Nominees: The Father, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7

How I Did: 4/5

This is another high profile miss for Mank as The Father was selected instead. Of its six nods, this and Original Screenplay is where Trial has the best shot at gold.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees: Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, Pinocchio

How I Did: 4/5

And here’s a scenario where I was saying Mank would miss. It didn’t as it edged out Birds of Prey, which was called out zero times this morning.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Da 5 Bloods, Mank, Minari, News of the World, Soul

How I Did: 4/5

Here marks the sole mention for Bloods in a race where it wasn’t anticipated. It got in over my pick of The Midnight Sky. Like Animated Feature, expect Soul to reign supreme here.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “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 Si” from The Life Ahead, “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami

How I Did: 4/5

The chances of Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams belting out their ballad from the Netflix comedy Eurovision became a reality! It makes the cut over “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy (which also missed Documentary Feature).

Best Production Design

Nominees: The Father, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, News of the World, Tenet

How I Did: 3/5

This is where Mank stands its greatest chance at a victory among the ten nods. The Father and Tenet (both kind of unexpected here) get in over The Midnight Sky and The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Best Sound

Nominees: Greyhound, Mank, News of the World, Soul, Sound of Metal

How I Did: 5/5 (!)

I’ll take it and the winner will probably be the one with the category name in its title.

Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Love and Monsters, The Midnight Sky, Mulan, The One and Only Ivan, Tenet

How I Did: 3/5

The One and Only Ivan was my runner-up. Love and Monsters, on the other hand, was not expected. They get in over Mank and Welcome to Chechnya. 

To recap, the following pictures nabbed these numbers in terms of nominations:

10 Nominations

Mank

6 Nominations

The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7

5 Nominations

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Promising Young Woman

4 Nominations

News of the World

3 Nominations

One Night in Miami, Soul

2 Nominations

Another Round, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Collective, Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, Mulan, Pinocchio, Tenet

1 Nomination

Better Days, Crip Camp, Da 5 Bloods, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Greyhound, The Life Ahead, Love and Monsters, The Man Who Sold His Skin, The Midnight Sky, The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher, The One and Only Ivan, Onward, Over the Moon, Pieces of a Woman, Quo Vadis, Aida?, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Time, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, The White Tiger, Wolfwalkers

Quick tidbits:

  • 12 of the 20 acting nominees are first-timers (Day, Kirby, Ahmed, Boseman, Yeun, Bakalova, Seyfried, Youn, Cohen, Odom, Raci, Stanfield)
  • 3 are previous nominees (Mulligan, Close, Kaluuya)
  • 5 are previous winners (Davis, McDormand, Hopkins, Oldman, Colman)
  • Of the five directors, only Fincher has been nominated before and none have won

So this begins the next phase of my Oscar predicting as I will do a “Case Of” post individually for all the Picture, Director, and acting nominees. Yes, that means 33 posts in the next several weeks where I outline the pros and cons of each nominee taking the gold or coming up cold. Stay tuned!

2020 FINAL OSCAR PREDICTIONS

Well… here we are. After about seven months of (mostly) weekly predictions and trying to put the puzzle piece together that is the 2020 Oscar season, my final predictions have arrived. The Academy’s picks will be revealed on Monday morning in a crazy year that includes selections from January and February of 2021. This is the last year where there can be anywhere from 5-10 Best Picture nominees. Next year that shifts to a fixed 10 (thank goodness). I’m sticking with nine since that’s been the average number, but who knows what’ll happen?

In this wild COVID time frame, it’s something to look back at my initial predictions back in August. How many nominations will Dune and The French Dispatch receive? Will Jennifer Hudson nab her second nod for Respect? Can Joaquin Phoenix make it back to back with C’Mon C’Mon? How will West Side Story do? Of course, all of those titles and more have been pushed back to the next Oscar season in a schedule that was ever shifting.

We are left with plenty of serious contenders and some races (the Supporting Acting ones come to mind) that seem especially tricky to project this time around. For each race, I’m revealing my predicted nominees as well as my first and second runners-up. On Monday, I’ll have my reaction to the nominees and how I did. One thing is likely: there will be surprises and snubs. There always are.

Yet after this topsy-turvy Oscar season and thousands of words dedicated to piecing the puzzle together, here’s where I have landed!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

Judas and the Black Messiah

Mank

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Minari

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

1st Runner-Up: The Father

2nd Runner-Up: News of the World 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

David Fincher, Mank

Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

1st Runner-Up: Regina King, One Night in Miami

2nd Runner-Up: Florian Zeller, The Father

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

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

1st Runner-Up: Rosamund Pike, I Care a Lot

2nd Runner-Up: Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Gary Oldman, Mank

Steven Yeun, Minari

1st Runner-Up: Tahar Rahim, The Mauritanian

2nd Runner-Up: Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman, The Father

Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian

Yuh-jung Youn, Minari

1st Runner-Up: Amanda Seyfried, Mank

2nd Runner-Up: Helena Zengel, News of the World

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted 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

David Strathairn, Nomadland

1st Runner-Up: Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods

2nd Runner-Up: Alan Kim, Minari

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

Judas and the Black Messiah

Mank

Minari

Promising Young Woman

The Trial of the Chicago 7

1st Runner-Up: Sound of Metal

2nd Runner-Up: Soul

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

The Father

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

The Mauritanian

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

1st Runner-Up: News of the World

2nd Runner-Up: The White Tiger

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

The Croods: A New Age

Onward

Over the Moon

Soul

Wolfwalkers

1st Runner-Up: The Willoughbys

2nd Runner-Up: Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

Collective

Dick Johnson Is Dead

My Octopus Teacher

Time

Welcome to Chechnya

1st Runner-Up: All In: The Fight for Democracy

2nd Runner-Up: Boys State

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

Another Round

Dear Comrades!

La Llorona

Quo Vadis, Aida?

Two of Us

1st Runner-Up: Collective

2nd Runner-Up: Night of the Kings

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

The Trial of the Chicago 7

1st Runner-Up: Judas and the Black Messiah

2nd Runner-Up: Cherry

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

Ammonite

Emma

Mank

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Mulan

1st Runner-Up: News of the World

2nd Runner-Up: The Personal History of David Copperfield

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

Minari

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

1st Runner-Up: Mank

2nd Runner-Up: The Father

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

Birds of Prey

Emma

Hillbilly Elegy

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Pinocchio

1st Runner-Up: Mank

2nd Runner-Up: The Glorias

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

Mank

The Midnight Sky

Minari

News of the World

Soul

1st Runner-Up: Tenet

2nd Runner-Up: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

“Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah

“Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7

“lo Si” from The Life Ahead

“Speak Now” from One Night in Miami

“Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy

1st Runner-Up: “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

2nd Runner-Up: “Rain Song” from Minari

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

Mank

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

The Midnight Sky

News of the World

The Trial of the Chicago 7

1st Runner-Up: Mulan

2nd Runner-Up: Tenet

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

Greyhound

Mank

News of the World

Soul

Sound of Metal

1st Runner-Up: Nomadland

2nd Runner-Up: Tenet

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

Mank

The Midnight Sky

Mulan

Tenet

Welcome to Chechnya

1st Runner-Up: The One and Only Ivan

2nd Runner-Up: Soul 

And this equates to a final tally showing these movies getting these numbers in terms of nominations:

10 Nominations

Mank

8 Nominations

Minari, The Trial of the Chicago 7

7 Nominations

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Nomadland

5 Nominations

Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal

4 Nominations

Judas and the Black Messiah, News of the World, One Night in Miami

3 Nominations

The Father, The Midnight Sky, Soul

2 Nominations

Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, The Mauritanian, Mulan, Welcome to Chechnya

1 Nomination

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Ammonite, Another Round, Birds of Prey, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Collective, The Croods: A New Age, Dear Comrades!, Dick Johnson Is Dead, Greyhound, La Llorona, The Life Ahead, My Octopus Teacher, Onward, Over the Moon, Pieces of a Woman, Pinocchio, Quo Vadis, Aida?, Tenet, Time, Two of Us, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Wolfwalkers

Be sure to check back Monday for my thoughts on what transpires on nomination morning!