2021 Oscar nominee predictions for the big six

Illustration by Monique Rojas | The Signal

With Oscar nominations approaching and the Golden Globe and SAG ballots already in, the awards race is heating up as we near the biggest night in Hollywood. The ongoing pandemic created much uncertainty around films in 2020. With most notable films being pushed back, the 2021 awards race seemed to lack any real contenders.

Nonetheless, some astounding films were brought to life within the past year and will assuredly be nominated for an Academy Award.

Best Picture

Streaming services produced six out of the ten movies listed as predictions for Best Picture nominations this past year. This is an excellent representation of how the film industry adapted to the pandemic by releasing artisan and blockbuster hits on streaming platforms instead of theaters.

“Mank” seems to have the most buzz around its campaign with several nominations and a likely nod for director David Fincher.

Golden Globe critics poorly received “Minari,” but it was genuinely registered by the SAG awards, making it a probable underdog.

  1. “Mank”
  2. “Promising Young Woman”
  3. “Nomadland” 
  4. “Judas and the Black Messiah”
  5. “Minari”
  6. “One Night in Miami…”
  7. “Soul”
  8. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  9. “The Father”
  10. “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Best Director

Audiences have scrutinized the Best Director category over the years for its lack of female representation. Most recently, audiences took issue with Greta Gerwig’s snub for “Little Women.”

I am delighted but still wary that three out of the five predicted nominees are women. I am worried that the Academy may be dumping all of their female representation into one year, resulting in no representation whatsoever after this triumphant season. After all, they did it before after the “Oscar so white” ordeal.

Two promising names from this list include Emerald Fennell and David Fincher. With Fincher late into his career, he is likely to receive the nod.

  1. Chloé Zhao – “Nomadland”
  2. David Fincher – “Mank”
  3. Regina King – “One Night in Miami…”
  4. Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman”
  5. Aaron Sorkin – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Best Actor

Chadwick Boseman’s filmography and soon-to-be Oscar win will cement his legacy forever. The predicted nominations for Best Actor are quite impressive, to say the least, in terms of their diversity and estate. However, with the recent loss of Chadwick Boseman, he will undoubtedly secure a nomination and win for his remarkable work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

  1. Gary Oldman – “Mank”
  2. Chadwick Boseman – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  3. Anthoney Hopkins – “The Father”
  4. Tahar Rahim – “The Mauritanian”
  5. Riz Ahmed – “The Sound of Metal”

Best Actress

The most competitive category on this list, the Best Actress nominations, saw some of the best work done within any category this year. Carey Mulligan had an outstanding awards campaign and truly has the performance to back it. However, the breakout performance given by Vannessa Kirby is sure to win over several votes.

  1. Viola Davis – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  2. Carey Mulligan – “Promising Young Woman”
  3. Vannessa Kirby – “Pieces of a Woman”
  4. Frances McDormand – “Nomadland” 
  5. Andra Day – “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” 

Best Supporting Actor

Creating the list for Best Supporting Actor nominees was the most challenging out of each category. The Best Actor position traditionally overshadows any coverage the supporting actor may receive during the awards race, making it an underdog category. This group’s standout performance deservedly goes to Daniel Kaluuya, with Jared Leto sneaking into the awards race with two nominations.

  1. Daniel Kaluuya – “Judas and the Black Messiah”
  2. Jared Leto – “The Little Things”
  3. Leslie Odom Jr. – “One Night in Miami…” 
  4. Sacha Baron Cohen – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
  5. Bill Murray – “On the Rocks”

Best Supporting Actress

The Best Supporting Actress predictions are filled with heavy-hitting veterans and newcomers who stand their ground through exceptional supporting roles. The awards race seems to center around 12-year-old Helena Zengel and Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova.

  1. Olivia Coleman – “The Father”
  2. Jodie Foster – “The Mauritanian”
  3. Amanda Seyfried – “Mank”
  4. Maria Bakalova – “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm”
  5. Helena Zengel – “News of the World”