Oscars 2021: A Look at the Crafts Categories Including Costume Design, Editing, and Sound

With the 93rd Academy Awards just two days away, today let’s dive into the craft nominees, from Cinematography to Visual Effects.

Cinematography

Conventional wisdom would say that when you have the option, you should align your Cinematography pick with your Best Picture winner. This rule isn’t hard and fast. Just last year, Roger Deakins won for 1917 and we know what happened next. But Parasite wasn’t nominated for Cinematography. So while it isn’t an absolute, it is a good guideline for those who want to play it safe with their ballots. If we assume Nomadland is winning Best Picture (which it still could lose), Joshua James Richards is a good choice. He won BAFTA, Critics Choice, and a Spirit Award. We can’t totally ignore Erik Messerschmidt and Mank, though, a highly regarded nominee who won both the American and British Society of Cinematographers Awards.

Predicted to Win: Joshua James Richards, Nomadland
Could Win: Erik Messerschmidt, Mank

Costume Design

After winning the Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence in Period Film, and the BAFTA for Costume Design, it looks as though Ann Roth is finally about to win her second Academy Award, this time for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. This is a fantastic lineup with truly stunning costume artistry, but the wave of support for Roth and Ma Rainey seems basically unbeatable.

Predicted to Win: Ann Roth, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Could Win: 

Film Editing

Whomever you have selected for Sound should probably also be your choice for Film Editing. And with Sound of Metal walking into the night as the presumptive Sound winner, it would make sense to predict it here, after Mikkel E.G. Nielsen won the BAFTA. The last time a film won Editing without winning either of the sound categories was Argo in 2012, and it was nominated for both but lost to the tying Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty, plus Les Misérables. The ACE Eddies through folks for a loop last week when they selected Alan Baumgarten for The Trial of the Chicago 7, and if that is your pick to win Best Picture, it’s not a bad guess.

What I’m about to suggest has no precedent, at least not recently. The Academy loves The Father, and this feels like more of a “share the wealth” year than we’ve maybe ever seen. It was nominated for six Oscars overall, and aside from its actors, Yorgos Lamprinos’ editing is what really makes the film work so well. The most recent example of a movie winning Film Editing without any Sound nomination was Crash in 2007, except that also went on to win Best Picture. But stats are made to be broken, and if The Father is going to win anywhere, this is one of its best bets.

Predicted to Win: Yorgos Lamprinos, The Father
Could Win: Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, Sound of Metal

Makeup and Hairstyling

This is another category where the race has essentially settled onto the team behind the gorgeous work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. After winning the BAFTA and the Makeup & Hairstyling Guild Award for Period Film, Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, and Jamika Wilson are poised to win the Oscar too. If voters are paying attention, the artistry of Pinocchio is unmatched, and Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli, and Francesco Pegoretti should be vying for the prize. The character makeup in the Italian film is incredibly complex and bursting with creative ambition. But industries have spoken and Ma Rainey is going to walk away with at least two Oscars.

Predicted to Win: Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, and Jamika Wilson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Could Win: Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli, and Francesco Pegoretti, Pinocchio

Production Design

The Art Directors Guild likes Mank, BAFTA likes Mank, and after the film snagged ten Academy Award nominations, Donald Graham Burt and Jan Pascale are on track to win for their glamorous recreation of 1930s Hollywood. There is still room for another to pull off a surprise. If we tie Production Design into other crafts then Mark Ricker, Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton are very much in the mix with Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The same goes for Peter Francis and Cathy Featherstone if The Father is really winning for Editing. And we can’t count out Nathan Crawley and Kathy Lucas for Tenet, who also won an ADG Award for Fantasy Film. But given the seemingly open nature of this race, we have to look to the precursors, where Mank is the clear leader.

Predicted to Win: Donald Graham Burt and Jan Pascale, Mank
Could Win: Mark Ricker, Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Sound

It was a bit of a stunner when Sound of Metal didn’t win any of its three nominations at the Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards. Instead, honors went to Soul, Tenet, Greyhound, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. But since Sound of Metal won BAFTA and has five other nominations — including Best Picture — the Golden Reel results shouldn’t be enough to break against the film with Sound literally in its title. It’s a category of great nominees, but this certainly feels like Sound of Metal‘s to lose.

Predicted to Win: Nicolas Becker, Maria Carolina Santana Caraballo-Gramcko, and Michelle Couttolenc, Sound of Metal
Could Win: Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders, David Wyman, Greyhound

Visual Effects

All season long, Tenet has been the presumptive winner for Visual Effects. It didn’t win with the Visual Effects Society, but did pick up the BAFTA, and will probably win the Oscar. But this is a strong lineup that doesn’t include a single Best Picture nominee. And, in fact, only Tenet and Mulan are nominated in other categories. If anything is going to beat the Tenet team, look to Netflix’s nominee, The Midnight Sky for the upset. Although, really, any of these could do it and make sense.

Predicted to Win: Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley, and Scott R. Fisher, Tenet
Could Win: Matt Kasmir, Chris Lawrence, Max Solomon, and David Watkins, The Midnight Sky

What are your favorite crafts nominees and are you predicting any surprises? Comment below and share!

Written by
Karen Peterson is the Awards Editor for We Live Entertainment. She previously worked as the Assistant Editor at Awards Circuit, now owned by Variety. Her work can also be found at Citizen Dame and at the Watch and Talk podcast. Her non-awards season hobbies include Angels baseball, taking pictures of other peoples' pets, and tweeting about The Bachelor franchise.

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