Oscars 2021: Karen Peterson’s Predictions in All Categories

Here are Karen Peterson’s predicted nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards. (Updated Monday, February 8.)

BEST PICTURE

As we saw last week, Netflix is well positioned to see a record number of nominations overall this year. With four strong contenders for Best Picture, the company saw one of their films move into “frontrunner” position with five Golden Globe nominations and three from SAG. As hard as critics’ groups have tried to stop it, Aaron Sorkin’s courtroom drama, The Trial of the Chicago 7, has proven it has strong support in the industry. Of course, frontrunner at this point doesn’t mean everything, and Nomadland, One Night in Miami, and Minari are nipping at its heels. But as of today, the numbers are with Chicago 7.

Predicted Nominees:

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

Runner-Up Predictions:

11. “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
12. “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
13. “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Paramount)
14. “Pieces of a Woman” (Netflix)
15. “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix)
16. “Soul” (Disney/Pixar)
17. “First Cow” (A24)
18. “Palm Springs” (Hulu)
19. “On the Rocks” (Apple TV+/A24)
20. “French Exit” (Sony Pictures Classics)

BEST DIRECTOR

The alignment between Best Picture and Best Director has been roughly 50/50 since the Best Picture category expanded from five to ten in 2009. Perhaps there won’t be a split at all. After all, just last year, most thought Sam Mendes and Bong Joon-ho would share the wealth before Parasite dominated the night. Perhaps this year the two categories will match. But if there is a split, the most likely scenario at the moment, assuming Chicago 7 wins Best Picture, is for Chloé Zhao, a favorite of critics groups and now a Golden Globe nominee, to become the second woman to win Best Director. There is a lot of love for Nomadland, which could ultimately prevail for the top prize too. Regardless of what happens there, Zhao is the favorite to win statistically and emotionally.

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  2. Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  3. Spike Lee, “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
  4. David Fincher, “Mank” (Netflix)
  5. Regina King, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
7. Paul Greengrass, “News of the World” (Universal)
8. Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” (A24)
9. Shaka King, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)
10. Florian Zeller, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)

BEST ACTOR

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

There was a time, during the fall festivals to be specific, when many were ready to declare Anthony Hopkins the winner for his truly remarkable performance in The Father. But with Hopkins and the film all but invisible from campaigning at the moment, Hopkins still seems a likely nominee, now at a distant second to Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Boseman’s final performance is also his greatest and while we refuse to use the word “lock,” it would be unwise to bet against him. Minari is also doing very well with precursors, including 10 Critics Choice nominations, strengthening the argument in favor of Steven Yeun. The same goes for Gary Oldman, who has so far been recognized everywhere he needs to for Mank. Judging by the numbers, the fifth slot should theoretically go to Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal. But that film seems mostly like a critical favorite and with the glaring omission of Delroy Lindo’s performance from Da 5 Bloods, he seems the most likely to swipe the spot from Ahmed.

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  2. Anthony Hopkins, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  3. Steven Yeun, “Minari” (A24)
  4. Gary Oldman, “Mank” (Netflix)
  5. Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
7. Tom Hanks, “News of the World” (Universal Pictures)
8. Kingsley Ben-Adir, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
9. Tamir Rahim, “The Mauritanian” (STX Films)
10. George Clooney, “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix)

BEST ACTRESS

Carey Mulligan stars as ‘Cassandra’ in director Emerald Fennell’s PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN — Courtesy of Focus Features

Two years after Frances McDormand won her second Oscar, could she be about to win a third? It’s a strong possibility, particularly if Nomadland has strong support for Best Picture. Strong waves of support for Carey Mulligan and Viola Davis make this a fierce 1-2-3 and any of them could really emerge as the winner. Davis also has an Oscar, for a Supporting role that could have also been considered a lead. Mulligan has a previous nomination, but the first-timer narrative in a bold #metoo era film may put her over the top. The fourth and fifth spots are a bit tougher to pin down. Vanessa Kirby is likely, since she has earned the precursor support necessary. Zendaya has yet to find recognition for her work, but the late entry could be exactly what’s needed to get her into the lineup ahead of Amy Adams and Andra Day.

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. Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman” (Netflix)
  5. Zendaya, “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Hulu)
7. Amy Adams, “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix)
8. Jodie Foster, “The Mauritanian” (STX Films)
9. Sophia Loren, “The Life Ahead” (Netflix)
10. Michelle Pfeiffer, “French Exit” (Sony Pictures Classics)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

LESLIE ODOM JR. stars in ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI; Photo: Patti Perret — Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Some surprising moves happened this week when Jared Leto managed Golden Globe and SAG nominations for his role in The Little Things. Meanwhile, critical favorite Paul Raci has only a CCA nomination from among the traditionally televised groups. And in a lineup of six, that doesn’t give him the boost it should. There does seem to be a consensus building around four actors, with the fifth spot open to a few possible scenarios. Given the recent surge for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and the very likely nominations in the two lead categories, Glynn Turman could come along with them. In such an ensemble, it’s sometimes hard to pick the most standout of the performers and Colman Domingo is equally great. But Turman’s work is so deliberately and perfectly intertwined with Boseman’s that he is impossible to miss.

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
  2. Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)
  3. Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  4. Chadwick Boseman, “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
  5. Glynn Turman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
7. Jared Leto, “The Little Things” (Warner Bros.)
8. David Strathairn, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
9. Bill Murray, “On the Rocks” (Apple TV +)
10. Stanley Tucci, “Supernova” (Bleecker Street)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Youn Yuh-jung stars in MINARI — Courtesy of A24

Some inclusions and exclusions made this category a bit more difficult to pin down as Glenn Close added to her collection of Golden Globe, SAG, and CCA nominations and Seyfried, an early favorite, was left out at SAG. Maria Bakalova has been the welcome surprise and her strong support with both groups and with critics makes her a very strong contender that most considered unlikely just a few weeks ago. Just like Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman has also been quiet when it comes to campaigning. But if the film manages to find its way into voters consciousness, it seems unthinkable that she wouldn’t be nominated. With an individual SAG nomination, plus the cast ensemble, Minari’s Youn Yuh-jung clearly has the support she needs, as long as the Academy is paying attention.

Predicted Nominees:

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

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Helena Zengel, “News of the World” (Universal Pictures)
7. Ellen Burstyn, “Pieces of a Woman” (Netflix)
8. Dominique Fishback, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)
9. Jodie Foster, “The Mauritanian” (STXfilms)
10. Olivia Cooke, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

If Picture and Director are going to split, Aaron Sorkin needs to win here. Sorkin is known and loved for his written word, but with three nominations, he has only won the Oscar once, ten years ago. He faces tough competition. There were some really great original scripts this year and Emerald Fennell and Lee Isaac Chung will put up a fight. If nominated, Jack Fincher, who died in 2003, would join a very small group of posthumous nominees who passed away more than a decade before their films were released. He would be only the second writer after August Wilson won for Fences in 2016. The fifth spot could go a lot of different ways, but the edge goes to Da 5 Bloods, the remaining contender with the strongest chance of a Best Picture nomination.

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  2. Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  3. Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” (A24)
  4. Jack Fincher, “Mank” (Netflix)
  5. Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee, “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Andy Siara, “Palm Springs” (Hulu)
7. Will Berson and Shaka King, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)
8. Sofia Coppola, “On the Rocks” (Apple TV +)
9. Abraham Marder, Darius Marder, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
10. Eliza Hittman, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (Focus Features)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Chloé Zhao doesn’t need to win in Screenplay to win Best Director, but it wouldn’t hurt. Kemp Powers beautifully transitioned his stage play for the screen with One Night in Miami, and love for the film could make this one of the places to reward it. A lot of critics are hoping Kelly Reichardt finally gets some attention with her beautiful old west tale, but it seems that the shift is in other places, such as Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s adaptation of August Wilson’s play. One film that once seemed on track to surprise (for better or worse) is News of the World. But it has been fairly quiet thus far, save for attention to co-star Helena Zengel, who may not be able to translate her nominations to Oscar. Another quasi sleeper is Eleanor Catton’s adaptation of the beloved Jane Austen novel, Emma. It may seem like a long shot, but with likely nominations in other categories, a year after Little Women, this very well could sneak in.

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. Luke Davies, Paul Greengrass, “News of the World” (Universal Pictures)
  5. Eleanor Catton, “Emma.” (Focus Features)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond, “First Cow” (A24)
7. Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
8. Kata Wéber, “Pieces of a Woman” (Netflix)
9. Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin, “The Prom” (Netflix)
10. Mark L. Smith, “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix)

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

The Academy will release its shortlist of 10 international features this week. The clear leader is currently Denmark’s Another Round. With 93 submissions, these are the ten which have been the most visible in recent weeks and months, although the shortlist almost always includes very surprising hits and misses. One that is at risk of not making it is Quo Vadis, Aida?, which has still not secured US distribution.

Predicted Nominees: 

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

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. “I’m No Longer Here” (Mexico)
7. “Night of the Kings” (Ivory Coast)
8. “My Little Sister” (Switzerland)
9. “Collective” (Romania)
10. “Notturno” (Italy)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

We’ve talked about this before and nothing has really changed in animation, save for the very quiet reception of Earwig and the Witch, which had a lackluster debut on HBO Max. The top four seem to have settled in, although there is still room for shifting. But the last couple of weeks have been good for Universal and their sequel, The Croods: A New Age, and that may well continue with a nominating committee comprised of a spectrum of Academy members.

Predicted Nominees:

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

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. “Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train” (Funimation)
7. “Earwig and the Witch” (GKIDS/Studio Ghibli)
8. “Trolls: World Tour” (Universal Pictures)
9. “Lupin III: The First” (GKIDS)
10. “Kill It and Leave This Town” (Outside Pictures)

BEST DOCUMENTARY

This week’s shortlist announcement will include 15 documentary features and it’s an embarrassment of riches with 238 submissions. With non-fiction stories from around the world, this is on track to be the most exciting documentary competition the Academy has given us in its history.

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “Time” (Amazon Studios)
  2. “Dick Johnson is Dead” (Netflix)
  3. “The Way I See It” (Focus Features)
  4. “The Painter and the Thief” (Neon)
  5. “Collective” (Magnolia Pictures/Participant)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. “The Truffle Hunters” (Sony Pictures Classics)
7. “All In: The Fight for Democracy” (Amazon Studios)
8. “Welcome to Chechnya” (HBO)
9.“Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution” (Netflix)
10.  “Boys State” (Apple TV+)

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. Tami Reiker, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
  5. Sean Bobbitt, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Hoyte van Hoytema, “Tenet” (Warner Bros.)
7. Lachlan Milne, “Minari” (A24)
8. Christopher Blauvelt, “First Cow” (A24)
9. Newton Thomas Sigel, “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
10. Martin Ruhe, “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Predicted Nominees:

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

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Francine Jamison-Tanchuck, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
7. Mark Bridges, “News of the World” (Universal)
8. Paolo Nieddu, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Paramount)
9. Sandy Powell, “The Glorias” (Roadside Attractions)
10. Charlese Antoinette Jones, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)

BEST FILM EDITING

Predicted Nominees:

1. Alan Baumgarten, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
2. Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
3. Tariq Anwar, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
4. Ben Smithard, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
5. Kirk Baxter, “Mank” (Netflix)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Andrew Mondshein, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
7. Kristan Sprague, “Judas and The Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)
8. Hoyte van Hoytema, “Tenet” (Warner Bros.)
9. Frédéric Thoraval, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
10. Harry Yoon, “Minari” (A24)

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix)
  2. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  3. “Bill and Ted: Face The Music” (UA Releasing)
  4. “The Prom” (Netflix)
  5. “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Hulu)
7. “Mank” (Netflix)
8. “The Little Things” (Warner Bros.)
9. “Judas and The Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)
10. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)

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. Emile Mosseri, “Minari” (A24)
  5. Daniel Pemberton, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “Mank” (Netflix)
7. Terence Blanchard, “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
8. Ludwig Göransson, “Tenet” (Warner Bros.)
9. Anthony Willis, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
10. Elliot Goldenthal, “The Glorias” (Roadside Attractions)

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. “Tigress and Tweed” from “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Paramount)
  5. “Husavik” from “Eurovision: Song Contest” (Netflix)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. “Uh Oh” from “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
7. “Rain Song” from “Minari” (A24)
8. “Turntables” from “All In: The Fight for Democracy” (Amazon Studios)
9. “Wuhan Flu” from “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios)
10. “I Love Boobies” from “Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar” (Lionsgate)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Donald Graham Burt, Jan Pascale “Mank” (Netflix)
  2. Cristina Casali, Charlotte Dirickx “Personal History of David Copperfield” (Searchlight Pictures)
  3. Kave Quinn, Stella Fox “Emma” (Focus Features)
  4. David Crank, Elizabeth Keenan “News of the World” (Universal Pictures)
  5. Page Buckner, Janessa Hitsman “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. Mark Ricker, Karen O’Hara, and Diana Stoughton “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
7. Jim Bissell, John Bush “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix)
8. Jamie Walker Call, “The Prom” (Netflix)
9. Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas “Tenet” (Warner Bros.)
10. Grant Major, Anne Kuljian “Mulan” (Disney Plus)

BEST SOUND

Predicted Nominees:

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

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. “Tenet” (Warner Bros.)
7. “The Invisible Man” (Universal Pictures)
8. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
9. “Nomadland” (Focus Features)
10. “The Prom” (Netflix)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Predicted Nominees:

  1. “Tenet” (Warner Bros.)
  2. “The Invisible Man” (Universal Pictures)
  3. “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix)
  4. “Mank” (Netflix)
  5. “Sonic The Hedgehog” (Paramount Pictures)

Runner-Up Predictions:

6. “Greyhound” (Apple TV+)
7.  “Mulan” (Disney+)
8.  “Wonder Woman 1984″ (Warner Bros.)
8. “News of the World” (Universal)
9. “Bill & Ted Face the Music” (UA Releasing)
10. “Welcome to Chechnya” (HBO)

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

Predicted Nominees:

1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
5. TBD

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Predicted Nominees:

1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
5. TBD

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT

Predicted Nominees:

1. TBD
2. TBD
3. TBD
4. TBD
5. TBD

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