Oscars 2021: Nominations Open, Animation Race Tightens as Guilds Weigh In

As noted earlier this week, we officially have a new frontrunner as Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland continues to dominate the season. Last week’s Golden Globes, in spite of controversy that only gets deeper by the day, sparked many conversations that have further shaped the direction the season is headed. This weekend, the Hollywood Critics Film Awards and the Critics Choice Awards will each lend added attention to Oscar hopefuls in a weekend when Academy members have ballots in hand.

Academy News

The nomination ballots are out and voters will start returning them today, Friday, March 5. The deadline to submit is March 10 and nominations will be announced on March 15.

The Academy has confirmed 366 films are eligible for Best Picture this year. The extended calendar and relaxed rules meant films which normally would not have been able to compete are now eligible. Where before all films were required to be released in a commercial theater for a minimum of seven days in LA, this year the rule was waived, allowing films that were intended for theatrical distribution to go straight to streaming as theaters in LA and NY have now been closed for nearly a full year. It remains to be seen if this will become a permanent rule change.

Precursor Updates

Annie Awards

The Animation Guild announced their nominees for the 48th Annual Annie Awards. These awards celebrate animation in film, television, and other media. Wolfwalkers and Soul led the way with ten each. The guild’s strong support of both films reveal this race is as tight as we expected. Onward, The Croods: A New Age, and The Willoughbys also made strong showings with animators.

Art Directors Guild Nominations

The Art Directors Guild also revealed their nominees this week. The celebrated period films went strong for Netflix, which took three of the five spots with Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Mulan and News of the World rounded out that category. Netflix also picked up three nominations in the contemporary category with Da 5 Bloods, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, and The Prom. Those three are joined by Palm Springs and Promising Young Woman. Adding their voices to animation, the art directors selected A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Onward, Soul, The Croods: A New Age, and Wolfwalkers for their top choices. And for fantasy films, they chose Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), Pinocchio, Tenet, The Midnight Sky, and Wonder Woman 1984.

Costume Designers Guild

Also weighing in this week, the Costume Designers Guild announced their nominees. For period film, the designers liked Emma., Judas and the Black Messiah, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, and One Night in Miami. Contemporary selections were Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), Da 5 Bloods, Promising Young Woman, and The Prom. And for Sci-Fi and Fantasy, the costumers picked Dolittle, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, Mulan, Pinocchio, and Wonder Woman 1984.

Next week, look for the Critics Choice, LEJA, and HCA winners, plus nominations from the Producers Guild, the American Society of Cinematographers, and the ACE Eddies.

Movie Releases

Here are the films releasing this week:

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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