Oscar Picks: 15 Jan 2021

Da 5 Bloods
The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
One Night in Miami…
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Falling off: News of the World
Rising star: Promising Young Woman
The skinny: It’s still a little weird that only three of these movies will have a traditional rollout, and all three won’t be out until February. Half of these will have hit Netflix, and one hits Amazon Prime today. This really will be the weirdest year for film ever, and there may not be any going back. News of the World barely made any noise with its Christmas Day release, so it (and its other possible nominees) are off the board, replaced by The Father, which seems to be picking up momentum beyond its guaranteed Best Actor nomination. The only problem? Sony Pictures Classics notorious fumbling of its Oscar contenders.

Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods
David Fincher, Mank
Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Regina King, One Night in Miami…

Falling off: None
Rising star: Florian Zeller, The Father
The skinny: These five remain for now, with Zhao in the lead as she’s picked up nearly every critics’ prize so far. Still seems odd a movie as small and intimate as Nomadland is the frontrunner, but here we are. Zeller’s transfer from stage to screen might be enough to propel him into the slate, but the same can also be said of George C. Wolfe’s adaptation of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

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

Falling off: Tom Hanks, Steven Yeun
Rising star: Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami…
The skinny: There’s still a chance Yeun could make it, but he and A24 have had a bad run of luck with the Oscars as of late. (The studio has only earned one nomination in each of the past two years after a huge showing in 2017, and Yeun was snubbed for his tremendous turn in Burning.) A posthumous win for Boseman seems like a done deal, and he’s certainly deserving. Kingsley Ben-Adir is earning raves for his turn as Malcolm X, but Amazon will have to make an even bigger push for the film.

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

Falling off: Amy Adams
Rising star: Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie
The skinny: And Hillbilly Elegy is officially dead. Amy Adams is gone, replaced by Carey Mulligan. Along with Kirby, they’ll give McDormand a run for her money. And Netflix now has another ace up its sleeve. They paid a pretty penny for Malcolm & Marie, which shot during lockdown and is earning raves. Fresh off her Emmy win, she’s a major challenger.

Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr, One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7
David Strathairn, Nomadland

Falling off: Chadwick Boseman, Charles Dance
Rising star: Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
The skinny: As much love as there is for Chadwick Boseman, I’m less convinced he’ll be the rare double nominee. That opens the field up, with Paul Raci from Sound of Metal as our front-runner for the moment. Warner Bros. takes advantage of the extended eligibility calendar to get Judas and the Black Messiah out in time, with Kaluuya a seeming lock for his portrayal of activist Fred Hampton. The question for The Trial of the Chicago 7 is which of its vast ensemble will be the lone nominee here. I still have Rylance, who won in this category five years ago. But there’s a lot of goodwill for Cohen, who’s been politically outspoken the last few months, and also has the well-regarded Borat sequel. And we can’t count out Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who’s also a recent Emmy winner.

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Youn Yuh-jung, Minari

Falling off: Glenn Close, Helena Zhengel
Rising star: Candice Bergen, Let Them All Talk
The skinny: This really feels like our final five, but since Close is Close, I wouldn’t count her out entirely. If anyone new emerges, it would be nice to see Candice Bergen, who steals Let Them All Talk as the money-hungry friend of Meryl Streep and Dianne Wiest.

Promising Young Woman
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Falling off: Da 5 Bloods, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Rising star: Palm Springs
The skinny: While Never Rarely Sometimes Always has been picking up some critics’ notices, it’s a less showy work that the Academy may not appreciate. Promising Young Woman feels like it’s on a hot streak, but this race is far from over. It would be nice to get some comedy in here, and Palm Springs is pretty much the only chance. But it’s on the outside looking in for now.

The Father
First Cow
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
One Night in Miami…

Falling off: None
Rising star: News of the World
The skinny: I think our five here are set. But while News of the World has fallen out of the major categories, I could easily see it picking up a nomination here, in one of those “You’re a well-regarded movie, but we didn’t have space for you anywhere else” consolation spots.

This entry was posted in Awards, Film, Oscars, Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.