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My 2021 Oscar Predictions

April 25, 2021

By John Corrado

This is it, folks. After the longest awards season ever, the 2021 Oscars are happening tonight. I’ve spent the last week catching up with movies, and have seen 40 out of the 41 nominated features, as well as a couple of the shorts. Here are my predictions for what will win in each of the 23 categories, along with my personal choices for the awards and some brief commentary on the tight races.

I’m swinging for the fences on a few of these, namely in the impossible to predict Best Actress category and the two-horse Best Actor race, so please remember that this is all in good fun. I will have a separate post with the winners later tonight.

Best Picture:

Predicted Winner: Nomadland. There is still an outside chance that early frontrunner The Trial Chicago 7 will come back from behind to win, and Promising Young Woman and Minari also have a lot of passionate supporters. But I’m pretty confident in predicting that Nomadland will prevail here, and it’s my own personal favourite of the bunch.

Personal Choice: Nomadland

Best Director:

Predicted Winner: Chloé Zhao – Nomadland. This is one of the closest things we have a lock tonight. Zhao has won practically every directing award, and she deserves to win here as well. I’m confident in predicting that she will.

Personal Choice: Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

Best Actress:

Predicted Winner: Frances McDormand – Nomadland. This is the tightest and most hard to predict race of the night. Theoretically, any one of the five could win (though Vanessa Kirby taking this would be a major upset), since Andra Day won the Golden Globe, Carey Mulligan got Critics Choice, Viola Davis won at the SAGs, and McDormand just won the BAFTA. Logically, it will probably be Davis, but I’m going out on a limb to predict McDormand, mainly because I’m expecting a big night for Nomadland.

Personal Choice: Frances McDormand

Best Actor:

Predicted Winner: Anthony Hopkins – The Father. This race is down to two people – Chadwick Boseman and Anthony Hopkins. In Boseman, you have a beloved actor delivering his final performance before he tragically passed away from cancer. In Hopkins, you have a veteran actor and former Oscar winner delivering maybe the best performance of his career. A lot of people will want to give Boseman a posthumous win, and I will be fine with that if it happens, but I’m sensing a groundswell of support for Hopkins’ emotionally devastating work.

Personal Choice: Anthony Hopkins

Best Supporting Actress:

Predicted Winner: Yuh-jung Youn – Minari. Out of all the awards tonight, this is the one that I’m hoping for the most. She deserves to win this, and I think she will.

Personal Choice: Yuh-jung Youn

Best Supporting Actor:

Predicted Winner: Daniel Kaluuya – Judas And The Black Messiah. I’m confident in predicting that Kaluuya will win for his electrifying portrayal of Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton, and I can’t really argue with that choice. Though if there’s an upset here, Paul Raci would be a welcome surprise winner for his poignant performance in Sound of Metal.

Personal Choice: Daniel Kaluuya or Paul Raci

Best Original Screenplay:

Predicted Winner: Promising Young Woman. At one point, conventional wisdom would have said that Aaron Sorkin will win this for The Trial of the Chicago 7. But I’m predicting Emerald Fennell will win for the twisty, thought provoking screenplay behind her beloved film.

Personal Choice: Promising Young Woman

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Predicted Winner: The Father. I would be fine if Zhao wins this for Nomadland, but I’m actually predicting that Florian Zeller will be awarded for his brilliant script for The Father, which was adapted from his own stage play.

Personal Choice: The Father

Best Animated Feature:

Predicted Winner: Soul. There is an online push for Wolfwalkers to win, fuelled by a backlash against Pixar, but I’m confident that Soul will win and, from where I stand, it fully deserves to.

Personal Choice: Soul

Best Documentary Feature:

Predicted Winner: Crip Camp. This is another tough race. While Collective is the most impactful of these films, and My Octopus Teacher is enough of a crowdpleaser that many are expecting it to prevail, I’m actually going with the inspiring Crip Camp, which, like last year’s winner American Factory, was backed by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company.

Personal Choice: Collective

Best International Feature:

Predicted Winner: Another Round. It’s quite hard to argue against this very good Danish dramedy, especially since Thomas Vinterberg got that surprise Best Director nomination as well. Besides, the film ends on such a high note, which I think will help voters go for it.

Personal Choice: Quo Vadis, Aida?

Best Cinematography:

Predicted Winner: Nomadland

Personal Choice: Nomadland

Best Costume Design:

Predicted Winner: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Personal Choice: Emma.

Best Film Editing:

Predicted Winner: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Personal Choice: The Father

Best Makeup & Hairstyling:

Predicted Winner: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Personal Choice: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Production Design:

Predicted Winner: Mank. David Fincher’s Old Hollywood drama is leading the nominees with a total of ten, and since I’m not really expecting it to upset in the other categories, I think it will win here for its gorgeous production design. Still, a surprise win for The Father, which ingeniously used changing sets to emulate the experience of dementia, would be welcome.

Personal Choice: The Father

Best Sound:

Predicted Winner: Sound of Metal

Personal Choice: Sound of Metal

Best Visual Effects:

Predicted Winner: Tenet. I’m going with Christopher Nolan’s forwards-backwards film, but having just watched all of the nominees, an upset also wouldn’t shock me here.

Personal Choice: Tenet

Best Original Score:

Predicted Winner: Soul

Personal Choice: Soul

Best Original Song:

Predicted Winner: “Io Sì (Seen)” – The Life Ahead. Again, this is another race could go any which way. Leslie Odom Jr. could win for his end credits song from One Night in Miami, but I’m thinking that songwriter Diane Warren will finally win on her record twelfth nomination for her tune from the Italian drama The Life Ahead. But, in a sea of end credits songs, the rightful winner would be the soaring “Husavik (My Hometown),” the only one of the nominees that is actually key to its respective film’s narrative.

Personal Choice: “Husavik (My Hometown)” – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Best Animated Short:

Predicted Winner: If Anything Happens I Love You. This Netflix short is an emotional gut-punch that uses mostly black and white, hand-drawn animation to tell a powerful, wordless story about grief, so I’m expecting it to win. Though maybe I shouldn’t bet against the adorable Pixar SparkShort Burrow, which is on Disney+. Aside from that, these are the only two I’ve seen.

Personal Choice: Burrow or If Anything Happens I Love You

Best Live-Action Short:

Predicted Winner: Two Distant Strangers. This short uses a time-loop to explore the inevitability of a deadly encounter between a Black man and a police officer. I personally found it to feel a bit forced and somewhat exploitative, but the themes are timely and it’s widely available on Netflix, which I why I’m predicting it. This and fellow Netflix nominee The Present, a poignant film from Palestine, are the only two I’ve seen, and I liked that one a lot better. But I’m still giving Two Distant Strangers the edge to win this one.

Personal Choice: The Present

Best Documentary Short:

Predicted Winner: A Concerto Is a Conversation. I’ve admittedly only seen one of the nominees (the Netflix entry A Love Song for Latasha), but this one seems to be the consensus pick, so I’m going with it for my prediction.

Personal Choice: N/A

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