MoviefiedNYC’s 2021 Oscar Predictions: Who will Win and SHOULD win!

This weekend, the 93rd Academy Awards will FINALLY be announced.  After this interminable awards season, we are finally going to learn who is going to claim Oscar gold. But who is going to win? The MoviefiedNYC team dug deep this year.  We locked ourselves in our homes and watched untold hours of film all for our lovely readers.  It had nothing to do with the pandemic… Managing Editors John David West and Myrna Duarte share their predictions along with Award Season Guru Ariadne Ansbro, and cinephile MoviefiefiedNYC contributor Eddie Mouradian. Below are our picks for who will be victorious and which of the nominees should win.

Best Picture: The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Nomadland

Ari:  Who will Win: Nomadland has this pretty well sewn up. Who Should Win: I liked a lot of the movies this year.  I actually liked most of the other nominees more than Nomadland. The movie that probably stuck with me the most this year was Promising Young Woman, so I will go with that one.

John David: Who will Win: Nomadland. It’s been winning all the top awards this year. A loss would be quite an upset. Who Should Win: Nomadland. Sadly, the other best picture First Cow is missing from this year’s nominations.

Eddie:  Who will Win: Although Minari is nipping at its heels, Nomadland should finish up its very long season as the Best Picture winner. That said, Alan Kim + Swankie Murder Mystery Series when? Who Should Win: Nomadland will find a home and put down some roots on the Oscar stage. I’m genuinely sorry for this.

Myrna: Who will Win: Who will Win: Nomadland has been the frontrunner all season, but I believe The Trial of the Chicago 7 has a good chance of spoiling their night. Who Should Win: Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland a small, personal, but also an epic road movie with stunning desert landscapes, a movie on how to grow old today.

Best Director: Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round, David Fincher, Mank, Lee Isaac Chung, Minari, Chloe Zhao, Nomadland, Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Chloé Zhao directing Nomadland

Ari: Who will Win: Chloe Zhao will become the second woman to win Best Director for Nomadland. Who Should Win: I think I am going to have to go with David Fincher for Mank.  It was such a brilliant ode to old Hollywood. I thought that it was masterfully directed. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to eschew the conventions of modern film making and go back to what is now considered antiquated. 

Eddie:  Who will Win: Chloe Zhao will become only the second female ever to win Best Director. Who Should Win: Chloe Zhao. To me, more than anything, Nomadland feels like a feat of direction.

John David: Who will & Should Win: Making history will be Chloe Zhao.

Myrna: Who will and should win:  It’s impossible to deny the directorial accomplishment of Nomadland. Chloé Zhao‘s win would make history, making her the first woman of color and the second woman ever to win in this category.

Best Actor: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal, Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Anthony Hopkins, The Father, Gary Oldman, Mank, Steven Yeun, Minari

Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Ari: Who will Win: From day one Chadwick Boseman has had this win in the bag.  Get ready to cry during his wife’s acceptance speech. There has been some chatter that Anthony Hopkins could pull an upset, but I would be very surprised if the sentimentality doesn’t win out. Who Should Win: Ever since I saw Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal I was rooting for him to win this award. Unfortunately, there is no way he wins against the sentimental vote for Boseman.  Hopefully, we see Ahmed in this category again in a year when he has the chance of winning.

Eddie:  Who will Win: Remember when this was all sewn up? I think it still goes to Chadwick Boseman, posthumously, for his genuinely electrifying performance. Still, the question remains whether Anthony Hopkins’s late-surge was enough or if the affection for Riz Ahmed could triumph in a vote-split situation. In the end: #AnyoneButOldman. Who Should Win: I don’t know if Chadwick Boseman gave the best performance of the year, but he will be the best Oscar win of the year.

John David: Who will Win: Chadwick Boseman or Anthony Hopkins it’s really a toss-up. Who Should Win: Chadwick Boseman.

Myrna: Who will Win: Chadwick Boseman will win. It will be more of a tribute to life since he passed away in 2020. However he gave an aching performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom that ranges from buoyant to deeply pained. Who Should Win: Chadwick Boseman will win and should, but I feel we are missing Delroy Lindo for Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods in this category; maybe we could have had Gary Oldman sit this one out.

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

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Ari: Who will Win: This has been a tough category this year.  I am going to have to give the edge to Viola Davis, even though she was only in the movie for 26 minutes.  Don’t get me started on how actors are categorized. Who Should Win: I would love it if Carey Mulligan were to pull out a surprise win in this category. There is no way this happens, but I can dream.

Eddie: Who will Win: I’ve been rooting for Viola Davis, sight unseen, since the announcement of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and I’m not going to stop now. Who Should Win: I mean, flip a goddamn coin.

John David: Who will Win: Carey Mulligan. Who Should Win: Viola Davis.

Myrna: Who will Win: This may be the year’s hardest category to predict. Frances McDormand is likely to win for her realistically portrayal of a woman on the road in Nomadland, only possibly to be dethroned by Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman. Who Should Win: Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for an uncompromising and physically transformative performance as the swaggering “Mother of the Blues”.

Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actor: Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah, Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami, Paul Raci, Sound of Metal, LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah.

Ari: Who will Win: Daniel Kaluuya is totally getting this one.  If he doesn’t the Academy voters will go to the sunken place… (Get Out throwback). Who Should Win: I am pretty sure that David and Myrna will want to throw tomatoes at me for this one, but I would say Sacha Baron Cohen.  This could have been such a calamity, having him play the over-the-top Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman.  However, he nailed it with some over-the top antics, but a sincere passion for the cause.

Eddie:  Who will Win: Daniel Kaluuya. It feels like the only foregone conclusion of the evening. Who Should Win: Daniel Kaluuya, if for no other reason than I want him to have an Oscar so badly I can taste it (It tastes like metal – Oscars don’t taste good).

John David: Who will Win: Daniel Kaluuya for his Best Actor performance. Who Should Win: Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami. Does it feel like Supporting Actor/Actress category has essentially become the remaining 6 –10 that didn’t fit into best actor category? Paul Raci, Sound of Metal is the only real supporting actor here.

Myrna: Who will Win: The clear front-runner to win the whole thing for his incendiary performance in Judas and the Black Messiah was Daniel Kaluuya. Who Should Win:  Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah, but I can’t stop thinking about Paul Raci’s soulful performance in Sound of Metal.

Best Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy, Olivia Colman, The Father, Amanda Seyfried, Mank, Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari.

Yuh-Jung Youn (center) in Minari

Ari:  Who will Win: Another tough category.  I think this one will ultimately got to Yuh-Jung Youn for her portrayal of the foul-mouthed granny in Minari.  What is it about foul-mouthed grannies that is so endearing? I want to be one when I grow up. Who Should Win: I have been saying this for years and I will die on this hill: GLENN CLOSE NEEDS TO WIN AN OSCAR!!!!! I don’t care if the movie sucked, she was fabulous!

Eddie: Who will Win: Yuh-Jung Youn. I wasn’t convinced until someone said she was South Korea’s Meryl Streep. Who Should Win: There’s a huge part of me that wants Glenn Close to win just so we can be done with this particular narrative, but her winning for Hillbilly Elegy is the embodiment of Not_Like_This_Matrix_dot_gif. And if she (and Coleman) can be as happy for Yuh-Jung Youn as they seem in every single Zoom grid, who am I to argue?

John David: Who will Win: Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari. Who Should Win: The best thing about Mank (other than the cinematography) is Amanda Seyfried.

Myrna: Who will Win: Yuh-Jung Youn as the blunt yet warm grandma in Minari, will win and should. Just because I want another extra charming acceptance speech from her.  Who Should Win: Maria Bakalova, newcomer, proved that she could be as quick-witted and daring as Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, The Father, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, The White Tiger.

The Father

Ari: Who will Win: Probably Nomadland.  Consider it part of Chloe Zhao’s dominance this year. Who Should Win: I will get on the Nomadland bandwagon in this category.  It is hard to make a book like this into a compelling (aka not boring) film.

Eddie: Who will Win: The Academy seems to have a deep well of love for The Father, and this seems like the best place to reward it. Who Should Win: One Night in Miami. For my money, it was the most successful stage-to-screen adaptation of the year.

John David – Who will Win: The Father. Who Should Win: One Night in Miami.

Myrna: Who will Win: Nomadland will win again, because turning Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book into a documentary-like drama was a huge feat. Who Should Win: Kemp Powers adaptation of his stage play One Night in Miami is a solid screenplay driven by brotherhood and race, with Regina King’s assured vision at the helm this is just pure cinematic joy. 

Best Original Screenplay: Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Promising Young Woman

Ari: Who will and should win: Promising Young Woman definitely, all the way.  Emerald Fennell made the perfect black comedy which only improves with repeat viewings (I may or may not speak from experience…). There could also be a The Trial of the Chicago 7 upset, and I would NOT be disappointed. #AaronSorkinCanNarrateMyLife.

Eddie:  Who will Win: Promising Young Woman. See above about The Father. Who Should Win: I had some problems with Promising Young Woman, but ultimately it is a screenwriting triumph. Sound of Metal would be a good runner up.

John David: Who will Win: The Trial of the Chicago 7, the Academy seems love this film and here’s where they can award it. Who Should Win: I would love to see The Sound of Metal win.

Myrna: Who will Win: The Trial of the Chicago 7 is the heaviest hitter in the race. Aaron Sorkin, who was notably snubbed in the directing category as he should have been, will win here instead. Who Should Win: Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman is this season’s freshest screenplay.

Best Animated Feature: Onward, Over the Moon, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Soul, Wolfwalkers

Soul

Ari: Who will Win: Consider Pixar’s dominance to continue in this category with a win for Soul. Who Should Win: A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon!!!!  Honestly, when I am feeling low I enjoy the antics of Shaun and friends. Come on!  The sheep can weld!  How is that not awesome?!?

Eddie:  Who will Win: Soul. It was fine! Who Should Win: Everyone loves Wolfwalkers but I didn’t see it, so I’m still going to say Soul.

John David: Soul will and should win.

Myrna: Who will Win: Pixar’s Soul, a warm film about embracing life, has run away with this 2021 awards season. Who Should Win: Wolfwalkers beautiful and stylized. The hand-drawn frames of this fairy-tale adventure are a work of art.

Best Animated Short: Burrow, Genius Loci, If Anything Happens I Love You, Opera, Yes-People.

If Anything Happens I Love You

Ari: Who will and should win: OperaDefinitely.

Eddie:  Who will Win: Abstain!

John David:  Who will Win: This year they nominated a very good batch of animated shorts. If the adorable Burrow doesn’t take it, the winner will be If Anything Happens I Love You. Who Should Win: Sadly, If Anything Happens I Love You is a movie of our time. I loved Opera as well.

Myrna: Who will and should win: If Anything Happens I Love You, grief told via hand-drawn animation, heartbreaking.

Best Cinematography: Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, News of the World, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Mank

Ari: Who will Win: Nomadland will probably pick this one up.  The beautiful sweeping landscapes will speak to a lot of Academy voters. Who Should Win: There are so many small details about Mank that give it that feel of an old Hollywood film.  The cinematography is one of the most obvious ones.  The beautiful black and white really sets the tone of the film. 

Eddie: Who will Win: Nomadland is an absolutely stunning film and will deserve every inch of its Oscar here. Who Should Win: Nomadland, but while I didn’t love love love Mank, it was beautifully shot.

John David: Who will and should Win: Its classic Hollywood shot in gorgeous black and white who else could possibly but Mank.

Myrna:  Who will and should win: Nomadland has the best chance of winning. Oh those desert landscapes. But Mank’s lush black-and-white compositions are dangerously close to the gold.

Best Costume Design: Emma, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, Mulan, Pinocchio.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Ari: Who will Win: This will most likely go to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for its flapper aesthetic. But don’t be surprised if Mulan pulls an upset. Who Should Win: Hillbilly Elegy’s oversized t-shirts really speak to the soul of…just kidding.  Emma – I’m a sucker for a Georgian costume film.

Eddie:  Who will Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. It’ll be interesting to see MRBB open up the show with a couple of wins in technical categories, getting people to scramble to adjust their ballots. Who Should Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the deserved winner here, but Amanda Seyfried in that band uniform as Marion Davies is true chef’s kiss work.

John David: Who will Win: The Oscars love a good British period piece and Emma has this one sewn up. Who Should Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Myrna:  Who will and should win: Ann Roth’s, transformative designs for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. At age 89, Roth would become one of the oldest Oscar winners ever.

Best Documentary: Collective, Crip Camp, The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher, Time.

Time

Ari: Who will Win: My Octopus Teacher has the momentum behind it.  It will probably win. To be completely honest, I did not see this documentary.  I saw all of the others, but not this one.  Octopuses freak me out.  I couldn’t watch a whole movie about one. Sorry guys. Who Should Win: This was a tough year.  All of the documentaries I did see were very compelling.  I would have to give the edge to Collective.  It was amazing to see the journalists of a sports newspaper report on a health care scandal that cost many young burn victims their lives.  The Mole Agent was awesome too.

Eddie: Who will Win: One of these have the Obamas backing but I’m too lazy to Google it, but that one might win. Who Should Win: Everyone’s talking about My Octopus Teacher so that’s my choice!

John David: Who will and should Win: Time…although My Octopus Teacher was pretty perfect.

Myrna: Who will Win:  Time, Garrett Bradley’s love versus the prison industrial complex. Who Should Win: Collective could be a Hollywood conspiracy thrillers about journalists exposing horrific government corruption. This doc is as tense and shocking as any of them.

Best Film Editing: The Father, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7.

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Ari: Who will Win: It is in the technical categories that Sound of Metal is going to shine. Who Should Win: Courtroom dramas are a notoriously hard genre.  It can be difficult to create tension and excitement in such an arena.  The Trial of the Chicago 7 did so with both its script and the editing.  

Eddie: Who will Win: Nomadland. Who Should Win: Sound of Metal

John David: Who will Win: The Trial of the Chicago 7. Who Should Win: The Father.

Myrna: Who will Win: The Trial of the Chicago 7, seamlessly weaves together a story across multiple timelines and points of view.  Who Should Win: Sleeper favorite Sound of Metal, is a technically dazzling film.

Best International Feature: Another Round, Better Days, Collective, The Man Who Sold His Skin, Quo Vadis, Aida?

Another Round

Ari: Who will Win: I would be very surprised if Another Round doesn’t win in this category. Usually, if an international film scores a Best Director nomination, it will win Best International Feature award. Who Should Win: Collective.  See my feelings about the film in the Documentary section.

Eddie:  Who will Win: Another Round. Who Should Win: Another Round – we’re mad for Mads!

John David: Who will and should Win: Another Round in the bag.

Myrna: Who will Win: Another Round, the clearly relatable story of an alcohol-soaked midlife crisis. If there was a most likely to be a Hollywood remake category Another Round would be a shoe in.  Who Should Win: Collective, a brilliant conspiracy thriller.

Best Documentary ShortColette, A Concerto Is a Conversation, Do Not Split, Hunger Ward, A Love Song for Latasha.

A Love Song for Latasha

Ari: Who will Win: A Love Song for Latasha. Who Should Win: Colette

Eddie:  Who will Win: Abstain!

John David: Who will Win: not a clue!

Myrna: Who will Win: A Concerto Is a Conversation, uplifting, filled with  beauty and gratitude for those on whose shoulders we stand. Who Should Win: A Love Song for Latasha, the story of Latasha Harlins, the 15-year-old girl whose death helped ignite the 1992 L.A. Riots.

Best Live Action Short: Feeling Through, The Letter Room, The Present, Two Distant Strangers, White Eye.

Two Distant Strangers

Ari: Who will Win:  This is always a tough category for me, so I have to go with my gut. I think Two Distant Strangers is a very timely film. I would think that the Academy goes for it. Who should Win: I really enjoyed The Letter Room.

Eddie: Who will Win: Abstain!

John David: Who will Win: Not a clue this year!

Myrna: Who will and should win: Two Distant Strangers, a Groundhog Day–inspired film about a young Black man who gets shot over and over again by a white cop, no matter which route he takes home.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Emma, Hillbilly Elegy, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank. Pinocchio

Hillbilly Elegy

Ari: Who will Win: Everyone is saying Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for this category, but I just don’t get it. I actually found the makeup distracting.  Makeup and hairstyling should enhance the film, not take away from the experience. Who Should Win: Hillbilly Elegy, obviously!  Did you see Glenn Close’s wig?! Masterful!!!

Eddie:  Who will Win: Pinocchio. LOL could you imagine? It’ll be Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Who Should Win: The make-up and hairstyling in Ma Rainey is so perfect, it’s almost a concern that it wouldn’t get the attention it deserves because it’s not flashy enough. Glad to see that won’t happen here.

John David: Who will and should Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Myrna: Who will Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Who Should Win: The not nominated, fanciful Birds of Prey.

Best Original Score: Da 5 Bloods, Mank, Minari, News of the World, Soul

News of the World

Ari: Who will Win: Probably SoulThe jazzy score will speak to Academy voters. Who Should Win: Again, so many elements made Mank such a great film.  The score was  another of those components.  It evoked the Max Steiner sweeping scores of the 30s and 40s.

Eddie:  Who will and should Win: I’m going to say Da 5 Bloods, because it’s criminal that this is the only award it’s nominated for.

John David: Who will and should Win: Soul and it should.

Myrna: Who will Win: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste will win for their collaboration on Soul. Who Should Win: The score by Emile Mosseri for Minari is gorgeous.

Best Original Song:

 “Fight For You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
“Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7
“Husavik,” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Io Si (Seen),” The Life Ahead
“Speak Now,” One Night in Miami

The Life Ahead

Ari:  Who will Win: “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami. Who Should Win: The song that I think deserves to be in this category but isn’t is “Tigress & Tweed” from The United States vs Billie Holiday. 

Eddie:  Who will Win: “Husavik” or I burn everything to the ground. Who Should Win: Rachel McAdams (via Molly Sandén) performing “Husavik” in the climax of Eurovision is the most emotional film moment of the year. I love it so much.

John David: Who will Win: “Speak Now” from One Night in MiamiWho Should Win: My personal fav is “Husavik.” 

Myrna: Who will Win: One Night in Miami’s “Speak Now”. This also a chance to recognize Leslie Odom Jr., nominated in the best supporting actor category. Who Should Win: “Husavik,” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga just because.

Best Production Design: The Father, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, News of the World, Tenet.

Mank

Ari: Who will Win: I have a new found respect for production design.  This is where Mank will finally prove victorious. Who Should Win: I agree that Mank should pick up this prize, but the subtle changes to the set design in The Father added to the feeling of losing one’s sense of place and self. Quick shout out to not nominated Promising Young Woman in this category.  I loved the Bubble-gum-pink-pastel world that juxtaposed with the seriousness of the story.

Eddie: Who will Win: Boldly predicting Mank doesn’t go 0 for 10. Who Should Win: The Father owes a lot of its impact to the production design.

John David:  Who will Win: Mank. Who Should Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Promising Young Woman is missing from this nomination.

Myrna: Who will Win: Mank, the recreation of the Hearst Castle is stunning and the Academy loves stories about themselves. Who Should Win: Promising Young Woman, I am still in shock over this snub.

Best Sound:  Sound of Metal, GreyhoundMank, News of the World, Soul

Sound of Metal

Ari: Who will Win: I don’t know if I ever truly appreciated what goes into creating the sound for a film until I saw Sound of Metal.  Allowing the audience to hear what Ruben was hearing allowed us to feel his growing despair, desperation, anger, and acceptance. Who Should Win: See above

Eddie: Who Will and Should Win: Sound of Metal, the film that really made sound a part of the process.

John David: Who will Win: Sound of Metal. Who should Win: Soul

Myrna: Who will and should win: Sound of Metal a film about a rock musician losing his hearing, is an immersive audio experience. This should be a lock. 

Best Visual Effects: Love and Monsters, The Midnight Sky, Mulan, The One and Only Ivan, Tenet

The Midnight Sky

Ari: Who will Win: Tenet. Who Should Win: The Midnight Sky

Eddie: Who will and Should Win: I’m not even sure most of these films are real. Tenet, I guess?

John David: Who will Win: um…. Tenet. Who Should Win: The Midnight Sky.

Myrna: Who will and should win: The time-bending Tenet.

Be sure to check back with us on Monday for Ari’s post Oscars wrap up.

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