2020 Oscar Predictions: January 14th Edition

For the past several years, the magic number has traditionally been nine when it comes to Best Picture nominees. It can fluctuate anywhere between 5 and 10 according to the rules, unlike every other category. This changes to a finite 10 starting in 2022. And since August when I began these (mostly) weekly estimates, I’ve kept it at 9.

However, I am expanding it to ten this week as I believe Judas and the Black Messiah could easily make the cut and I just couldn’t take any of the other nine films out. Obviously this may change as we move closer to nomination morning, but that’s where I stand today.

In the major categories, other changes are Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods) entering the Best Director mix for the first time and that takes out George C. Wolfe for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In Supporting Actor, I have yet again switched the 5 spot with Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) in and Mark Rylance (The Trial of the Chicago 7) out.

Zendaya’s work in Malcolm & Marie goes from unranked status all the way to #5 and this displaces Andra Day for The United States vs. Billie Holiday. 

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 6)

6. One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

7. Minari (PR: 5)

8. The Father (PR: 7)

9. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 12)

10. Promising Young Woman (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

11. News of the World (PR: 11)

12. Soul (PR: 13)

13. Sound of Metal (PR: 12)

14. First Cow (PR: 14)

15. Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 2)

3. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 7)

5. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

7. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: 6)

8. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

9. Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Darius Marder, Sound of Metal

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 3)

4. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

5. Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

7. Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 7)

8. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 5)

9. Sophia Loren, The Life Ahead (PR: 8)

10. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Robin Wright, Land

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 4)

4. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 3)

5. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: 6)

7. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 8)

8. Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

9. Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round (PR: 9)

10. John David Washington, Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Tom Hanks, News of the World

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 1)

2. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 2)

3. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 3)

4. Youn Yuh-jung, Minari (PR: 5)

5. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 7)

7. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 8)

8. Olivia Cooke, Sound of Metal (PR: 9)

9. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 6)

10. Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 3)

3. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

4. Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

7. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 8)

8. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 7)

9. Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 9)

10. Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Stanley Tucci, Supernova

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Promising Young Woman (PR: 3)

3. Minari (PR: 4)

4. Mank (PR: 2)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Soul (PR: 6)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

8. Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Sound of Metal (PR: 8)

10. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

The Forty-Year-Old Version

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. One Night in Miami (PR: 3)

3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

4. The Father (PR: 2)

5. First Cow (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 6)

7. News of the World (PR: 7)

8. The White Tiger (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 9)

10. French Exit (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Emma

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Wolfwalkers (PR: 2)

3. Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. Onward (PR: 4)

5. Earwig and the Witch (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Willoughbys (PR: 6)

7. The Croods: A New Age (PR: 7)

8. Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (PR: 8)

9. Connected (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Demon Slayer (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Bombay Rose

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Time (PR: 2)

2. The Dissident (PR: 4)

3. Totally Under Control (PR: 1)

4. Dick Johnson Is Dead (PR: 3)

5. All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Boys State (PR: 5)

7. Collective (PR: 9)

8. Crip Camp (PR: 7)

9. Welcome to Chechnya (PR: 8)

10. The Truffle Hunters (PR: 10)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Another Round (PR: 1)

2. Quo Vadis, Aida? (PR: 2)

3. Night of the Kings (PR: 3)

4. Collective (PR: 7)

5. Dear Comrades! (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Sun (PR: 5)

7. I’m No Longer Here (PR: 4)

8. My Little Sister (PR: 6)

9. Never Gonna Snow Again (PR: 9)

10. Notturno (PR: 10)

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees

1. Nomadland (PR: 2)

2. Mank (PR: 1)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 4)

5. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 6)

7. Minari (PR: 7)

8. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 8)

10. Malcolm & Marie (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Trial of the Chicago 7

The United States vs. Billie Holiday 

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

2. Mank (PR: 1)

3. Mulan (PR: 5)

4. Emma (PR: 3)

5. News of the World (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 6)

7. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 4)

8. Ammonite (PR: 10)

9. The Glorias (PR: 9)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 8)

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Nomadland (PR: 3)

4. The Father (PR: 4)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

7. News of the World (PR: 5)

8. One Night in Miami (PR: 9)

9. Tenet (PR: 10)

10. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

Minari

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 6)

4. Birds of Prey (PR: 3)

5. Pinocchio (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 4)

7. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 7)

8. Mulan (PR: 8)

9. Emma (PR: 10)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

News of the World

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Minari (PR: 4)

5. The Midnight Sky (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 8)

7. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 5)

8. Tenet (PR: 6)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

10. One Night in Miami (PR: 10)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami (PR: 1)

2. “Seen” from The Life Ahead (PR: 2)

3. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon (PR: 3)

4. “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

5. “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Only the Young” from Miss Americana (PR: 6)

7. “Wear Your Crown” from The Prom (PR: 7)

8. “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (PR: 9)

9. “The Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (PR: 10)

10. “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“Poverty Porn” from The Forty-Year-Old Version

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 2)

3. Mulan (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 7)

5. Emma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Midnight Sky (PR: 6)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

8. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 4)

9. Tenet (PR: 8)

10. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Sound of Metal (PR: 1)

2. Tenet (PR: 2)

3. Mank (PR: 3)

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 5)

5. Soul (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. News of the World (PR: 7)

7. Da 5 Bloods (PR: Not Ranked)

8. The Midnight Sky (PR: 6)

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 10)

10. Greyhound (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

The Prom

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 1)

2. The Midnight Sky (PR: 2)

3. Mulan (PR: 4)

4. The Invisible Man (PR: 5)

5. Greyhound (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Birds of Prey (PR: 3)

7. Sonic the Hedgehog (PR: 7)

8. Mank (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Call of the Wild (PR: 10)

10. Wonder Woman 1984 (PR: 6)

Dropped Out:

Dolittle

And that equates to the following pictures garnering these numbers in terms of nominations:

12 Nominations

Mank

8 Nominations

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

7 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods

6 Nominations

The Father, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7

4 Nominations

Minari, News of the World, One Night in Miami

3 Nominations

Judas and the Black Messiah, Mulan, Promising Young Woman, Soul, Sound of Metal

2 Nominations

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, The Midnight Sky, Over the Moon, Pieces of a Woman, Tenet

1 Nomination

Another Round, Birds of Prey, Collective, Dear Comrades!, Dick Johnson Is Dead, The Dissident, Earwig and the Witch, First Cow, Greyhound, The Invisible Man, The Life Ahead, Malcolm & Marie, Night of the Kings, Onward, Pinocchio, Quo Vadis, Aida?, Time, Totally Under Control, Wolfwalkers

Oscar Watch: The United States vs. Billie Holiday

As the latecomers for awards consideration are getting their industry screenings, the Oscar picture is becoming a bit more clear for several contenders. In the case of The United States vs. Billie Holiday (hitting Hulu on February 26), the verdict is not encouraging. The biopic of singer Billie Holiday has yet to have its official review embargo lifted, but word of mouth indicates many think this is a misfire.

The pic comes from director Lee Daniels, whose 2009 effort Precious picked up six Academy nominations and victories in Supporting Actress for Mo’Nique and its Adapted Screenplay. Based on early buzz, the only performer with any shot of recognition is Andra Day in the title role for Best Actress. The supporting cast that includes Natasha Lyonne, Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph appear to be non-factors.

As I have discussed on the blog previously, Best Actress is a crowded field with four likely slots filled: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman). The fifth spot does appear up for grabs and some pundits have lauded Day’s work as a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing experience. However, I find it more plausible that the Academy could go for anyone from Zendaya (Malcolm & Marie) to Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit) to Sophia Loren (The Life Ahead), to name just three. Last week, I had Day in the mix at #5. Expect her to drop when I release my new estimates this Thursday.

Down the line races such as Production and Costume Design (and perhaps Makeup and Hairstyling) could be possibilities here, but I have a hunch Holiday could also be blanked come nomination morning. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Malcolm & Marie

As if Netflix doesn’t have enough competitors this Oscar season, a new one comes into the fold in the form of Malcolm & Marie. The drama comes from director Sam Levinson, who’s best known for creating the acclaimed HBO series Euphoria. Shot this year in COVID-19 times and hitting Netflix on February 5, the title characters are played by John David Washington and Euphoria star Zendaya (who earned a surprise Emmy last year for the series).

While the official review embargo is not up, social media reactions are out and they’re encouraging. Most of all, the buzz suggests a first Oscar nod could be coming for Zendaya. The general feeling (and one I concur with at press time) is that four slots could be filled already: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman). We now have another strong contender in the mix. I had yet to list her even in my top ten thus far and that will certainly change when my new estimates hit on Monday.

As for Washington, I’m far less certain. It all depends on just how hard Academy voters fall for the picture as a whole. If they do, Picture, Director, and especially Original Screenplay could be possibilities. If they don’t, the attention could focus solely on Zendaya. And there’s time for the chatter to increase with the extra two months before nominations are revealed.

Bottom line: Malcolm & Marie has immediately established itself as a player in Best Actress and maybe more. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…