2021 Oscar Nomination Predictions

by Brennan Dubé

This year’s awards season has been somewhat chaotic. From the wildness of the Golden Globes to the BAFTA Jury selections, and even the steady rise of Borat 2, this awards season has been far from normal. However, that’s the fun of it all, and a year like 2020 was far from normal so it is only fitting that its Oscar season is the same.

Below I will lay out my predictions for most of the Academy Awards categories that are being unveiled by tomorrow morning. (I say “most” because I won’t be predicting for any of the short film categories.) Without further ado, I will rank list these predictions on a scale of safe bet, likely lock, on the border, to hail mary.

Let’s have some fun!

Best Picture

Nomadland (safe bet)

Minari (safe bet)

Promising Young Woman (safe bet)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (safe bet)

Mank (likely lock)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (likely lock)

One Night in Miami (likely lock)

Sound of Metal (on the border) — if there are only 8 nominations

Judas and the Black Messiah (on the border) — if there are only 9 nominations

The Father (on the border) — if there are 10 nominations

While I’m mostly confident with this list of films, The Father has been losing steam lately due to a poor release by Sony Pictures Classics and a clear difficulty of getting the film out there for people to see it. I’d keep my eye out on News of the World which could very easily land a nomination as well. Other films that could potentially make a surprise here are Da 5 Bloods, The Mauritanian, and… yes, keep an eye out for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Best Director

Chloe Zhao — Nomadland (safe bet)

Aaron Sorkin — The Trial of the Chicago 7 (likely lock)

David Fincher — Mank (likely lock)

Emerald Fennell — Promising Young Woman (likely lock)

Lee Isaac Chung — Minari (likely lock)

I decided it’d be wise to go with the PGA lineup here. Regina King is certainly on the fringes for her work on One Night in Miami, and the Academy tends to throw us a curveball in this category. Think Paweł Pawlikowski for Cold War at the 2019 Oscars.

Best Actress

Frances McDormand — Nomadland (safe bet)

Carey Mulligan — Promising Young Woman (safe bet)

Vanessa Kirby — Pieces of a Woman (likely lock)

Viola Davis — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (likely lock)

Andra Day — The United States Vs. Billie Holliday (on the border)

I’ve become increasingly wary of Vanessa Kirby’s chances as of late, but I won’t go against the grain here. Andra Day’s Golden Globe victory might be enough to put her over the line.

Best Actor

Anthony Hopkins — The Father (likely lock)

Chadwick Boseman — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (likely lock)

Riz Ahmed — Sound of Metal (likely lock)

Steven Yeun — Minari (on the border)

Gary Oldman — Mank (on the border)

While I go with Oldman and Yeun here, this category has many interchangeable individuals in that 4-7 range. Hopkins, Boseman, and Ahmed seem to be unstoppable.

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova — Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (likely lock)

Yuh-Jung Youn — Minari (likely lock)

Amanda Seyfried — Mank (on the border)

Jodie Foster — The Mauritanian (on the border)

Glenn Close — Hillbilly Elegy (on the border)

This category has been a mess since the start of the season, and that’s why it’s the one I’m most excited for. While I ultimately chose these five, keep an eye out for Olivia Colman and the fast-rising Dominique Fishback, or heck, even Helena Zengel. Bottom line is, no one is a safe lock for this one.

Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Kaluuya — Judas and the Black Messiah (safe bet)

Leslie Odom Jr. — One Night in Miami (safe bet)

Sacha Baron Cohen — The Trial of the Chicago 7 (likely lock)

Chadwick Boseman — Da 5 Bloods (on the border)

Paul Raci — Sound of Metal (on the border)

While Kaluuya is a heavy favorite to win here, the real challenge is predicting who comes after him.

Best Original Screenplay

Promising Young Woman (safe bet)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (safe bet)

Mank (likely lock)

Minari (on the border)

Sound of Metal (on the border)

There seems to be a battle gearing up between the two safe bets in this category!

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nomadland (safe bet)

One Night in Miami (safe bet)

The Father (on the border)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (on the border)

The Mauritanian (on the border)

Aside from the top two in contention, there’s a wide-open race here for the bottom three slots. Look out for The White Tiger as well.

Best Animated Feature

Soul (safe bet)

Wolfwalkers (safe bet)

Onward (likely lock)

The Croods: A New Age (on the border)

Over the Moon (on the border)

This seems like the likely five. I do anticipate a curveball, though.

Best Documentary Feature

Collective (likely lock)

Time (likely lock)

The Truffle Hunters (on the border)

Welcome to Chechnya (on the border)

Dick Johnson is Dead (hail mary)

I listed Dick Johnson is Dead as a hail mary prediction simply because of how quirky and out there it may potentially be for the Academy. It would be quite an inspired nomination, though.

Best Editing

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (safe bet)

Nomadland (likely lock)

Minari (likely lock)

Sound of Metal (likely lock)

Promising Young Woman (on the border)

Best Cinematography

Nomadland (safe bet)

Mank (safe bet)

Judas and the Black Messiah (on the border)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (on the border)

Da 5 Bloods (hail mary)

Best Original Score

Mank (safe bet)

Soul (safe bet)

News of the World (on the border)

Minari (on the border)

Tenet (hail mary)

Best Original Song

“Io sì (Seen)” — The Life Ahead (safe bet)

“Speak Now” — One Night in Miami (safe bet)

“Fight for You” — Judas and the Black Messiah (likely lock)

“Turntables” — All In: The Fight for Democracy (on the border)

“Husavik” — Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (hail mary)

Best Production Design

Mank (safe bet)

News of the World (likely lock)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (likely lock)

Mulan (on the border)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (hail mary)

Best Costume Design

Emma. (safe bet)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (safe bet)

Mank (likely lock)

Mulan (likely lock)

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (hail mary)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (safe bet)

Hillbilly Elegy (likely lock)

Mank (on the border)

Birds of Prey (on the border)

Pinocchio (hail mary)

Best Visual Effects

The Midnight Sky (safe bet)

Tenet (safe bet)

Mank (on the border)

Mulan (on the border)

Welcome to Chechnya (hail mary)

Best Sound

Sound of Metal (safe bet)

Mank (likely lock)

Greyhound (on the border)

News of the World (on the border)

Nomadland (on the border)


I’ll be up bright and early tomorrow when all the Oscar nominees are unveiled at 8:00 am EST. If you want to make sure to follow along with the awards season and all MovieBabble has to offer, listen to our podcast series, MovieBabble Presents: the Road to the 2021 Oscars below!

Episode 4: The Road to the 2021 Oscars: Episode 4 (Critics Choice and BAFTA Reactions)

Episode 3: The Road to the 2021 Oscars: Episode 3 (Golden Globe Reactions)

Episode 2: The Road to the 2021 Oscars: Episode 2

Episode 1: The Road to the 2021 Oscars


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edwardramos24 March 14, 2021 - 1:54 pm

Here’s what I would like to see with the Oscars nominations:

Paul Raci gets a nomination for Supporting Actor. I think he stole the show in “Sound of Metal”. I would love to see this character actor finally get some recognition.
Da 5 Bloods get a few nominations. It’s a shame that this fantastic film, especially Delroy Lindo, are getting overlooked this awards season.
NO JARED LETO. Why did he get a Golden Globes and SAG nomination? The only thing Jared Leto should get nominated for is for a Razzie.
Soul gets a nomination for Best Picture. This one is a long shot. While there is almost little to no chances of this film getting a Best Picture nod, but this amazing film deserves this slot.

Nick Kush March 14, 2021 - 1:26 pm

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