Oscars 2021: Karen Peterson’s Final Oscar Predictions

We thought we’d gotten tired of the word “unprecedented” after Parasite took its place in history. And then 2020 continued on and everything changed.

With shifted release dates, industry shutdowns, theatrical closures, and new eligibility rules, the 93rd Academy Awards will be new, different, and in some ways very exciting. There probably aren’t a lot of surprises coming our way, but that doesn’t mean it will be a boring show. Hollywood is prepared to do what Hollywood does best: give us a great show.

Here are my final Oscar predictions, presented without commentary. The rankings here are not my personal preferences, but rather my honest assessment of each race, based on precursors, chatter, conversations with industry insiders and more. For a closer look inside each category, click here.

Best Picture

Frances McDormand is “Fern” in NOMADLAND — Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

  1. “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  2. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  3.  “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  4. “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  5. “Sound of Metal” (Amazon)
  6. “Minari” (A24)
  7. “Mank” (Netflix)
  8. “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)

Best Director

Frances McDormand and Chloé Zhao on the set of NOMADLAND — Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

  1. Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  2. Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  3. David Fincher, “Mank” (Netflix)
  4. Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” (A24)
  5. Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round” (Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Best Actor

Chadwick Boseman is “Levee” in MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM” — Courtesy of Netflix

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

Best Actress

Frances McDormand is “Fern” in NOMADLAND — Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

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

Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Kaluuya is “Fred Hampton” in JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH — Courtesy of Warner Bros.

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

Best Supporting Actress

Image from BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM — Courtesy of Amazon Studios

  1. Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari” (A24)
  2. Olivia Colman, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  3. Amanda Seyfried, “Mank” (Netflix)
  4. Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix)
  5. Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon)

Best Original Screenplay

(l to r) Carey Mulligan, writer/director Emerald Fennell, Laverne Cox and Bo Burnham on the set of the new movie “Promising Young Woman.”

  1. Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  2. Darius Marder & Abraham Marder, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon)
  3. Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  4. Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” (A24)
  5. Will Berson & Shaka King, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins star in THE FATHER — Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

  1. Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  2. Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  3. Kemp Powers, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon)
  4. Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon)
  5. Ramin Bahrani, “The White Tiger” (Netflix)

Best International Feature Film

Mads Mikkelson stars in ANOTHER ROUND

  1. “Another Round” – Denmark (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
  2. “Quo Vadis, Aida?” – Bosnia and Herzogovina (Super LTD)
  3. Collective” – Romania (Magnolia/Participant)
  4. “Better Days” – Hong Kong (Well Go USA)
  5. “The Man Who Sold His Skin” – Tunisia (Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Best Animated Feature Film

Image from SOUL — Disney/Pixar

  1. “Soul” (Disney/Pixar) – dir. Pete Docter and Kemp Powers
  2. “Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV+/GKIDS) – dir. Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart
  3. “Onward” (Disney/Pixar) – dir. Dan Scanlon
  4. “Over the Moon” (Netflix) – dir. Glen Keane and John Kahrs
  5. “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Netflix) – dir. Will Becher and Richard Phelan

Best Documentary Feature Film

Craig Foster and the Octopus in MY OCTOPUS TEACHER — Courtesy of Netflix

  1. “My Octopus Teacher” (Netflix) – dir. Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed
  2. “Collective” (Magnolia Pictures) – dir. Alexander Nanau
  3. “Crip Camp” (Netflix) – dir. James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham
  4. “Time” (Amazon Studios) – dir. Garrett Bradley
  5. “The Mole Agent” (Gravitas Ventures) – dir. Maite Alberdi


NOMADLAND — Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

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

Costume Design

Viola Davis stars in MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM — Courtesy of Netflix

  1. Ann Roth, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  2. Trish Summerville, “Mank” (Netflix)
  3. Massimo Cantini Parrini, “Pinocchio” (Roadside Attractions)
  4. Alexandra Byrne, “Emma.” (Focus Features)
  5. Bina Daigeler, “Mulan” (Netflix)

Film Editing

(l-r) Imogen Poots, Olivia Colman, and Anthony Hopkins star in THE FATHER — Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

  1. Yorgos Lamprinos, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  2. Mikkel E. G. Nielsen, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon)
  3. Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  4. Alan Baumgarten, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  5. Frédéric Thoraval, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)

Makeup and Hairstyling

(l-r) Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Viola Davis, Michael Potts, and Glynn Turman star in MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM — Courtesy of Netflix

  1. Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  2. Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli and Francesco Pegoretti, “Pinocchio” (Roadside Attractions)
  3. Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle and Patricia Dehaney, “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix)
  4. Marese Langan, Laura Allen and Claudia Stolze, “Emma.” (Focus Features)
  5. Gigi Williams, Kimberley Spiteri and Colleen LaBaff, “Mank” (Netflix)

Music – Original Score

Image from SOUL — Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

  1. Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste, “Soul” (Disney/Pixar)
  2. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “Mank” (Netflix)
  3. James Newton Howard, “News of the World” (Universal)
  4. Emile Mosseri, “Minari” (A24)
  5. Terence Blanchard, “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)

Music – Original Song

EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: The Story of Fire Saga- (L-R) Will Ferrell as Lars Erickssong, Rachel McAdams as Sigrit Ericksdottir. Cr. John Wilson/NETFLIX © 2020

  1. “Hùsavìk” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” – Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson
  2. “Speak Now”  from “One Night in Miami” – Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth
  3. “Io Sì” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)” – Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini
  4. “Fight for You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah” – Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas
  5. “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7” – Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite

Production Design

Scene from MANK — Courtesy of Netflix

  1. “Mank” (Netflix) – Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale
  2. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix) – Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton
  3. “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) – Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone
  4. “Tenet” (Warner Bros.) – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas
  5. “News of the World” (Universal) – Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan


Riz Ahmed stars in SOUND OF METAL — Courtesy of Amazon Studios

  1. “Sound of Metal” (Amazon) – Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh
  2. “Greyhound” (Apple TV+) – Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman
  3. “Soul” (Disney/Pixar) – Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker
  4. “News of the World” (Universal) – Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett
  5. “Mank” (Netflix) – Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin

Visual Effects

John David Washington stars in TENET — Courtesy of Warner Bros.

  1. “Tenet” (Warner Bros) – Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher
  2. “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) – Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins
  3. “Love and Monsters” (Paramount) – Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox
  4. “The One and Only Ivan” (Disney) – Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez
  5. “Mulan” (Disney) – Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram

Best Animated Short Film

Image from “If Anything Happens I Love You” — Courtesy of Netflix

  1. “If Anything Happens I Love You” – dir. Michael Govier, Will McCormack
  2. “Opera” – dir. Erick Oh
  3. “Burrow” – dir. Madeline Sharafian
  4. “Genius Loci” – dir. Adrien Merigeau
  5. “Yes-People” – dir. Gísli Darri Halldórsson

Documentary Short Subject

Image from “A Love Song for Latasha” — Courtesy of Netflix

  1. “A Love Song for Latasha” – dir. Sophia Nahli Allison
  2. “A Concerto Is a Conversation” – dir. Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers
  3. “Hunger Ward” – dir. Skye Fitzgerald
  4. “Do Not Split” – dir. Anders Hammer
  5. “Colette” – dir. Anthony Giacchino

Short Film – Live Action

Image from “Feeling Through” — Courtesy of Doug Roland Films

  1. “Feeling Through” – dir. Doug Roland
  2. “Two Distant Strangers” dir. Travon Free, Martin Desmond Roe
  3. “The Letter Room” – dir. Elvira Lind
  4. “The Present” – dir. Farah Nabulsi
  5. “The White Eye” – dir. Tomer Shushan

The 93rd Academy Awards will be held Sunday, April 25.

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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