By John H. Foote

On March 15, the Academy Award nominations will begin the countdown to the biggest night of the year in Hollywood. Wildly late, and leaned down due to the pandemic, this year’s Oscars are going to be the strangest on record. So many films, major works set for release last year, were bumped to 2021 and in most cases are still awaiting release.

With the studios bumping their big Oscar films to the following year it gave the smaller independent films and the streaming networks the opportunity to step in and release their films with Oscars in their eyes. After the 10 nominations last year for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, the year’s best film despite its poor showing at the Oscars, this year I do not see how the Academy can possibly ignore or try to humiliate Netflix given their outstanding showing. It seemed that the Academy nominated the greatest living filmmaker only to embarrass him with a complete shutting out of his film. With no less than potentially four films in the running for Best Picture, and a multitude of other awards, this could be the year that streaming films are welcomed to the Academy Awards.

From Netflix this year came Mank, The Trial of the Chicago 7, The Midnight Sky, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Spike Lee’s brilliant Da Five Bloods. Not a bad output at all, and the studios cannot compare.

High time.

It will be an interesting year, one for the ages, I just wish I could get more excited about it. Anyway, here are my predictions. I intentionally left out the Best Documentary Feature and Short, as well as the Short Films, live action and animation and International Feature because I simply have not seen enough of them this year given the limited screening access.

Bear in mind there a single award for Sound this year, the two previous having been combined.

Expect two nominations for the late Chadwick Boseman and at least a single win, maybe two. Who knows? And there could be sentimental awards to Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy (no one thinks she deserves this do they?) and Sophia Loren in The Life Ahead.

Here we go. Oh yeah, the alternate, the one that might bump one of the first five is in brackets at the end of each category.

BEST PICTURE
Frances McDormand in Nomadland.
  • NOMADLAND
  • THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
  • MANK
  • PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
  • DA FIVE BLOOD
  • THE FATHER
  • MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
  • NEWS OF THE WORLD
  • MINARI
  • ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
BEST DIRECTOR
Spike Lee (left) and the cast of Da Five Bloods.
  • EMERALD FENNELL FOR PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
  • DAVID FINCHER FOR MANK
  • AARON SORKIN FOR THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
  • CHLOE ZHAO FOR NOMADLAND
  • SPIKE LEE FOR DA FIVE BLOOD

(PAUL GREENGRASS FOR NEWS OF THE WORLD)

BEST ACTOR
Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
  • CHADWICK BOSEMAN IN MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
  • GARY OLDMAN IN MANK
  • ANTHONY HOPKINS IN THE FATHER
  • DELROY LINDO IN DA FIVE BLOODS
  • RAZ AHMED IN SOUND OF METAL

(TOM HANKS IN NEWS OF THE WORLD)

BEST ACTRESS
Sophia Loren in The Life Ahead.
  • FRANCES MCDORMAND IN NOMADLAND
  • CARY MULLIGAN IN PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
  • VIOLA DAVIS IN MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
  • VANESSA KIRBY IN PIECES OF A WOMAN
  • SOPHIA LOREN IN THE LIFE AHEAD

(ROSAMUND PIKE IN I CARE A LOT)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7.
  • CHADWICK BOSEMAN IN DA FIVE BLOODS
  • BILL MURRAY IN ON THE ROCKS
  • DANIEL KALUUYA IN JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
  • JARED LETO IN THE LITTLE THINGS
  • SACHA BARON COHEN IN THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

(LESLIE ODOM JR. IN ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amanda Seyfried in Mank.
  • GLENN CLOSE IN HILLBILLY ELEGY
  • AMANDA SEYFRIED IN MANK
  • MARIA BAKALOVA IN BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
  • OLIVIA COLMAN IN THE FAVOURITE
  • ZENGEL IN NEWS OF THE WORLD 

(OLIVIA COOKE IN SOUND OF METAL)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
  • MINARI
  • MANK
  • DA FIVE BLOODS
  • PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
  • THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

(SOUND OF METAL)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
  • NOMADLAND
  • ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
  • MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
  • NEWS OF THE WORLD
  • THE FATHER

(BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
  • MANK
  • TENET
  • DA FIVE BLOODS
  • NEWS OF THE WORLD
  • NOMADLAND

(THE MIDNIGHT SKY) 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
  • EMMA
  • MANK
  • MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTON
  • THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
  • THE MIDNIGHT SKY

(NEWS OF THE WORLD)

BEST FILM EDITING
  • MANK
  • THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
  • TENET
  • SOUND OF METAL
  • NEWS OF THE WORLD

(MULAN)

BEST MUSICAL SCORE
  • SOUL
  • MANK
  • NEWS OF THE WORLD
  • THE MIDNIGHT SKY
  • DA FIVE BLOODS

(TENET)

BEST MAKEUP/ HAIRSTYLING
  • MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
  • EMMA
  • BIRDS OF PREY
  • HILLBILLY ELEGY
  • MANK

(BIRDS OF PREY)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
  • MANK
  • EMMA
  • MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
  • NEWS OF THE WORLD
  • MULAN

(PROMISING YOUNG GIRL)

BEST SOUND
  • SOUND OF METAL
  • TENET
  • MANK
  • NEWS OF THE WORLD
  • DA FIVE BLOODS

(MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
  • BIRDS OF PREY
  • TENET
  • THE MIDNIGHT SKY
  • MULAN
  • MANK
BEST SONG
  • “SPEAK NOW”  IN ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
  • “NEVER BREAK” IN GIVING VOICE
  • “HEAR MY VOICE” IN THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
  • “LOYAL LOVE BRAVE” IN MULAN
  • “FIGHT FOR YOU” IN JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

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