Oscar Nominations 2021 Predictions: Who Will Get a Nod This Year?

The temperature is rising, the vaccines are flowing…and, finally, the Oscars are returning. Enter Vanity Fair’s Oscar nominations 2021 predictions, in which our crack team of experts attempts to divine which films, actors, directors, and more will be nominated in nearly every Oscar category during this most unusual awards season. (We’re excluding short films; even we aren’t confident enough to predict those.)

Below, find our Oscar nominations 2021 predictions—the people and movies we believe might end up on top when the Oscars reveal their picks Monday, March 15, in a virtual announcement hosted by Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas. The Oscar ceremony itself will take place April 25, live once more from the Dolby Theatre. (Perhaps nature really is healing!)

Best Picture

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Judas and the Black Messiah
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
One Night in Miami…
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

We could see this category actually going to a full 10 films this year, as—other than perhaps Nomadland—there doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus on which should actually win. We’re putting Borat on the list in light of its nomination for a Producers Guild Award, which would indicate strong support within the industry. Borat and maybe Judas could be the swing entries, potentially swapped out for The Father or Da 5 Bloods, or darker horses like News of the World, The White Tiger, or The Mauritanian. We could also see a possibility where Mank—technically appreciated but not exactly beloved—fails to get a best-picture nomination to complement its many below-the-line nods, and Pixar’s Soul gets subbed in instead. —Richard Lawson

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods
Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

The DGA nominations provided plenty of insight into where this race is headed—and given the way Nomadland has been sweeping up awards lately, it’s hard to deny that Chloé Zhao is at the top of the pack. Beyond her, there’s an interesting split between exciting up-and-comers like Lee Isaac Chung and Emerald Fennell and a crop of respected veterans whose films aren’t nearly as much at the center of current conversation—Spike Lee, David Fincher, and Aaron Sorkin. Though the Directors Guild went for Fincher, we’re swapping him from that list for Lee, who has been on a late press push recently for Da 5 Bloods and has been building momentum since his screenplay win for BlacKkKlansman to maybe finally win a best-director statue. The bright side is that pretty much no matter who makes it in, this year’s director lineup will make history for both racial diversity and gender balance. —Katey Rich

Best Actress

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

The best-actress category is packed with strong performances, each of which would make a worthy Oscar winner. In Promising Young Woman, Carey Mulligan plays an unapologetic avenger of toxic men in pastels, while Frances McDormand channels a wistful wanderer in Nomadland. Vanessa Kirby has been campaigning hard for Pieces of a Woman, which opens with a mind-blowing sequence—in which the actor portrays the heart-wrenching roller coaster of a tragic at-home birth. Academy voters traditionally give extra credit to actors who (1) play real-life characters, (2) sing while slaying, and (3) star in poignant projects featuring timely issues—and both Viola Davis and Andra Day do all that, summoning, respectively, the early blues singer and the iconic, ill-fated jazz singer. While Davis only provided vocals for one song in her film, Day—who is fresh off her Golden Globe win—belted out each and every Holiday song in hers. —Julie Miller

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods
Gary Oldman, Mank

This year’s best-actor category is filled with foregone conclusions. Gary Oldman playing legendary screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz in David Fincher’s ode to Hollywood’s golden age was an instant sure thing; the same goes for Delroy Lindo, whose Oscar buzz began the moment his character launched into that brilliantly delirious jungle monologue in Spike Lee’s Vietnam War epic. The late Chadwick Boseman delivered the performance of his career in his showy August Wilson adaptation, making him the favorite to actually take home the trophy when the Oscars roll around in April. If there’s a surprise in this batch, expect it to come in the form of Steven Yeun in A24’s charming and vital Minari or Mads Mikkelsen in Another Round, Denmark’s weighty offering. —Yohana Desta

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

Source: Oscar Nominations 2021 Predictions: Who Will Get a Nod This Year?

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