Oscars 2021: Karen Peterson Examines Nomination Predictions as ‘Mank’ Leads the Tally

The Academy has spoken! Mank leads the pack with ten nominations. Several films all share six apiece with The Father and Sound of Metal showing very strong support among members. For the first time ever, two women are nominated for Best Director, increasing the Academy’s total number of female directing nominees by 40%. Chloé Zhao scores four nominations and could potentially be the first woman to win four Oscars in one night.

But how about those nomination predictions? How did we do? Let’s take a look.

BEST PICTURE

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “Nomadland” (Searchlight)
  2. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  3. “Minari” (A24)
  4. “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  5. “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
  6. “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)
  7. “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
  8. “Mank” (Netflix)
  9. “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  10. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)

My score: 7/8

One of the things I was going to mention in my predictions was that I thought there were be eight nominees. And because of that, I don’t get to count The Father as a correct prediction. But so close. It’s sad to see One Night in Miami and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom both fall away. But overall, it’s a pretty exciting lineup with two films directed by women and only three out of eight featuring stories about white men. The Academy is changing.

BEST DIRECTOR

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  2. Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  3. Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” (A24)
  4. Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  5. Regina King, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)

My score: 3/5

Where do we start? TWO women in Best Director? A directing lineup with only two white men? A lone director without a Best Picture nominee? I know there will be people who say, “See? Told you Sorkin wasn’t getting in director!” And yes, they turned out to be right. But considering how well The Trial of the Chicago 7 did overall, was it really that obvious? No. In much the same way I should have kept Fincher in my predictions when I consider how many nominations I predicted for Mank. The only real surprise here is Vinterberg, because there are four Best Pictures whose directors were overlooked.

BEST ACTOR

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  2. Anthony Hopkins, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  3. Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
  4. Steven Yeun, “Minari” (A24)
  5. Gary Oldman, “Mank” (Netflix)

My score: 5/5

There really weren’t any surprises here, and weren’t likely to be any. Some thought Oldman might not make it in after the BAFTA miss, but considering the Academy’s overall love for Mank, this was inevitable.

BEST ACTRESS

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  2. Frances McDormand, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  3. Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  4. Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Hulu)
  5. Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman” (Netflix)

My score: 5/5

Just like in some other categories, there were some shifts back and forth in recent weeks, but this is the group that started to feel inevitable this week. Still, it’s a very exciting morning for Andra Day, who might be the winner no one saw coming in December.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)
  2. Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
  3. Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  4. Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon)
  5. Chadwick Boseman, “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)

My score: 4/5

Everyone will be abuzz today with the news of Lakeith Stanfield finding himself nominated alongside his co-star in supporting actor instead of lead. It’s particularly surprising when we consider that both Judas nor the Black Messiah were considered supporting actors. Nonetheless, it shook up the race in a fun way, although Kaluuya probably still has the edge.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Youn Yuh-Jung, “Minari” (A24)
  2. Jodie Foster, “The Mauritanian” (STXfilms)
  3. Olivia Colman, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  4. Amanda Seyfried, “Mank” (Netflix)
  5. Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios)

My score: 4/5

I’ve had Glenn Close in this lineup for a long time and finally moved her down to my 7th spot at the last minute, thinking maybe the last-minute love for The Mauritanian and Foster’s Globes speech might connect with voters. But the Academy loves to invite Close to their parties. Will the eighth time be the charm?

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  2. Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  3. Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” (A24)
  4. Andy Siara, “Palm Springs” (Hulu)
  5. Abraham Marder, Darius Marder, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)

My score: 4/5

This is one of those cases where my love for Palm Springs got in the way of my logic. The five we got all make sense when looking at the overall landscape. Every film nominated in this category made it into Best Picture and even after a conversation with a friend last week where I specifically said, “People are underestimating Judas and the Black Messiah,” I underestimated Judas and the Black Messiah.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  2. Kemp Powers, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
  3. Ruben Santiago-Hudson, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  4. Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  5. Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios)

My score: 4/5

Ramin Bahrani making it in for The White Tiger shouldn’t feel like such a surprise after WGA and BAFTA. In fact, I just moved up to the sixth position but just didn’t think it would manage to break in. It did, and while it’s sad to see an August Wilson adaptation left out, this is a pretty great group.

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

 

Predicted Nominees: 

  1. “Another Round” (Denmark)
  2. “Quo Vadis, Aida?” (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  3. “La Llorona” (Guatemala)
  4. “Two of Us” (France)
  5. “A Sun” (Taiwan)

My score: 2/5

Such havoc! It’s very sad to see La Llorona fall short. And how strange to see an International Feature without films from France or Italy or Spain? Collective becomes a double nominee and Tunisia scores their very first nomination with The Man Who Sold His Skin. This is the second nomination for Bosnia and Herzogovina, who won their first in 2001. Can they do it again?

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “Soul” (Disney/Pixar)
  2. “Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV+/GKIDS)
  3. “Onward” (Disney/Pixar)
  4. “The Croods: A New Age” (Universal Pictures)
  5. “Over the Moon” (Netflix)

My score: 4/5

The Croods looked like they could do it, but in the end, the team behind the Shaun the Sheep movies prove once again, they shouldn’t be counted out. Netflix and Disney each nab two nominations. Does this mean GKIDS and Apple TV+ could split the difference?

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “Time” (Amazon Studios)
  2. “Dick Johnson is Dead” (Netflix)
  3. “Crip Camp” (Netflix)
  4. “The Truffle Hunters” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  5. “Welcome to Chechnya” (HBO)

My score: 2/5

Oof, this one was rough, but in the best way possible. Two international features made it and Collective and The Mole Agent are both very worthy nominees. My Octopus Teacher has been a favorite among the folks who have see it and in the year we’ve had, having a group with so many emotionally satisfying docs makes sense.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Joshua James Richards, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  2. Erik Messerschmidt, “Mank” (Netflix)
  3. Dariusz Wolski, “News of the World” (Universal Pictures)
  4. Sean Bobbitt, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)
  5. Phedon Papamichael, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)

My score: 5/5

We can see the Academy settling around a few very specific films and that really becomes evident here. While I was still holding out some hope for Tami Reiker to become the second woman nominated for Cinematography, this is a strong category and anything could happen.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Ann Roth, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  2. Trish Summerville, “Mank” (Netflix)
  3. Alexandra Byrne, “Emma.” (Focus)
  4. Bina Daigeler, “Mulan” (Disney)
  5. Suzie Harman, Robert Worley, “Personal History of David Copperfield” (Searchlight Pictures)

My score: 4/5

I really didn’t see Pinocchio coming. That one didn’t even crack my list of ten. Does this mean Massimo Cantini Parrini has a surprise in store? Or will we finally be able to say two-time Academy Award winner Ann Roth?

BEST FILM EDITING

 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Alan Baumgarten, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
2. Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
3. Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon)
4. Ben Smithard, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
5. Kirk Baxter, “Mank” (Netflix)

My score: 4/5

Say it all together, everyone: Four-Time Oscar Nominee Chloé Zhao. Four out of five isn’t bad here. Mank earned the most nominations overall with 10, so missing Film Editing is a surprise.

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix)
  2. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  3. Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” (Warner Bros.)
  4. “Emma.” (Focus Features)
  5. “Mank” (Netflix)

My score: 4/5

Another one of those heart over head situations. Warner Bros. hadn’t even added Birds of Prey to its FYC site until it nabbed spots on two separate shortlists. For those who have seen Pinocchio, it makes sense to see it recognized here. As we’ve seen many times over the years, anything could happen in the Makeup category.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “Soul” (Disney Plus)
  2. James Newton Howard, “News of the World” (Universal Pictures)
  3. Alexandre Desplat, “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix)
  4. Daniel Pemberton, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  5. Emile Mosseri, “Minari” (A24)

My score: 3/5

Double nominees Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross? A single nomination for Da 5 Bloods? No love for Alexandre Desplat? It’s all unexpected and yet it’s all very expected.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
  2. “Fight for You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)
  3. “Io Si (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead” (Netflix)
  4. “Turntables” from “All In: The Fight for Democracy” (Amazon Studios)
  5. “Húsavík” from “Eurovision Song Contest” (Netflix)

My score: 4/5

The Trial of the Chicago 7 doesn’t make it in Score, but does for Original Song. All In: The Fight for Democracy goes empty-handed. And Eurovision manages to hold on to a spot. The real question is: Will we finally say Academy Award winner Diane Warren?

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Donald Graham Burt, Jan Pascale “Mank” (Netflix)
  2. Mark Ricker, Karen O’Hara, and Diana Stoughton “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  3. David Crank, Elizabeth Keenan “News of the World” (Universal Pictures)
  4. Shane Valentino, Andrew Baseman, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  5. Cristina Casali, Charlotte Dirickx “Personal History of David Copperfield” (Searchlight Pictures)

My score: 3/5

The Father is a welcome and very deserving surprise. In retrospect, Tenet isn’t that much of a shock when paired with that Visual Effects nomination. It’s disappointing that the two most beautifully and whimsically designed films of the year, Emma. and The Personal History of David Copperfield went completely ignored, but we can enjoy the fact that they exist.

BEST SOUND

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
  2. “News of the World” (Universal Pictures)
  3. “Nomadland” (Focus Features)
  4. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  5. “Mank” (Netflix)

My score: 3/5

Never count out big budget war movies. And yet, I counted out Greyhound. Soul becomes the first animated film nominated for Sound since Toy Story 3 in 2010. And Tom Hanks stars in two films in the Sound category in the same year? But the fact is, Sound of Metal is tailor-made for this award.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix)
  2. “Mank” (Netflix)
  3. “Tenet” (Warner Bros.)
  4. “Welcome to Chechnya” (HBO)
  5. “Mulan” (Disney+)

My score: 3/5

This could have gone in so many different directions and there were times when both Love and Monsters and The One and Only Ivan looked like possibilities. In the end, they were. With Welcome to Chechnya not landing in the Documentary lineup, it makes sense for it to miss in Visual Effects, but that would have been a great nomination. With this group, it’s anybody’s guess which direction it will go. Tenet is probably the likely winner, but more on that another day.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix)
  2. “The Snail and the Whale” (Magic Light Pictures)
  3. “Kapaemahu” (The Animation Showcase)
  4. “Burrow” (Disney+)
  5. “Out” (Disney+)

My score: 2/5

I had “Genius Loci” in my predictions for weeks and took it out at the last minute. As for the rest, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do and can’t really say which of these, if any, are surprising.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa” (Topic)
  2. “A Love Song for Latasha” (Netflix)
  3. “Hunger Ward” (MTV Documentary Films)
  4. “A Concerto Is a Conversation” (Breakwater Studios)
  5. “Do Not Split” (Field of Vision)

My score: 4/5

Full disclosure: I hadn’t seen any of the shortlisted documentary short films so this was a lot of lucky guessing. I don’t know much about “Colette” either, so this will be an intriguing category to dive into.

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Da Yie” (Salaud Morisset)
2. “Two Distant Strangers” (Dirty Robber, NowThis)
3. “The Human Voice” (Sony Pictures Classics)
4. “The Letter Room” (Salaud Morisset, Topic)
5. “Feeling Through” (Doug Roland Films)

My score: 3/5

Again, a lot of lucky guessing. It will be exciting to dive into these nominees.

Overall accuracy: 74%

How did you do on your Oscar nomination predictions? Share some of your biggest No Guts/No Glory payoffs or your biggest misses!

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