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Film Fridays: Oscar Predictions

<p><em>Graphic by Carissa Gurgul</em></p>

Graphic by Carissa Gurgul

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.

The Academy Awards nominations will be announced on March 15. The qualifications for films look a little different this year, as COVID-19 complications forced studios to push back their films to later dates. As a result, any movie released between January 2020 and February 2021 will qualify. 

Below are my predictions for the Academy Award nominations in every major category.

Best Picture:

  1. “Nomadland” -- I can’t imagine this not winning. As of now, this is a lock. It has swept every award show prior.
  2. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” -- In the beginning of the race, I thought this had a high chance of winning. But, “Nomadland” started to build momentum, because it was released on Hulu this past February, and “Chicago 7” began to lose steam. A trend of the Academy Awards is to elect films that are more relevant and talked about.
  3. “Mank” — While the film disappointed me, critics seemed to enjoy it enough. The Academy loves films about old Hollywood, and with David Fincher behind the camera, “Mank” is a lock.
  4. “Minari” -- The film has been buzzy ever since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and it swept Best Picture nominations at every major awards show thus far. This would be my dark horse winner, but I am pretty confident that “Nomadland” will take the cake.
  5. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” -- A solid film with outstanding performances. The Academy loves to nominate films based on plays.
  6. “One Night in Miami” -- The same said for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
  7. “Promising Young Woman” -- This isn’t the type of film the Academy nominates, yet it has surprised me at how well it is doing at other award shows. Carey Mulligan may win for best actress, and the screenplay nomination seems like a lock. 
  8. “The Father” -- The film has yet to be released on VOD, so many aren’t aware this film even exists. With that being said, it received a best picture nomination at the BAFTA awards and Golden Globe Awards. Sitting at a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, I see “The Father” as an underdog in the race.
  9. “Judas and the Black Messiah” -- A relevant film that could squeeze in a nomination at the ninth spot. Reviews are exceptional, but my only caveat is that it hasn’t been getting nominated for best picture at other award shows.


“Sound of Metal” -- This is my second favorite film of 2020, and I would love to see it pull off a nomination. It is definitely a longshot but it could happen.

Best Director:

  1. Chloe Zhao: “Nomadland” -- She has been winning at other awards shows and deservedly so. 
  2. David Fincher: “Mank” -- Fincher could pull off the win, because he is an incredible director. But because the film was a bit divisive, I see Zhao likely winning this one. 
  3. Aaron Sorkin: “The Trial of the Chicago 7” -- I think Sorkin’s screenplay should be acknowledged more than his directing, but this seems like a lock.
  4. Emerald Fennell: “Promising Young Woman” -- Her screenplay will go neck and neck with Sorkin’s for the original screenplay win, and I think there is enough momentum for “Promising Young Woman” right now for her to get a nomination.
  5. Lee Isaac Chung: “Minari” -- This is an underdog pick, but I haven’t discounted the prospect of “Minari” overperforming.


Regina King: “One Night in Miami” -- King could easily switch places with Chung or Fennell. 

Best Actor:

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  1. Chadwick Boseman: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” -- He’s won at every other award show and gives the best performance of the year.
  2. Riz Ahmed: “Sound of Metal” -- It is likely that “Sound of Metal” will get robbed in other categories, but Ahmed’s performance is too good not to be recognized.
  3. Anthony Hopkins: “The Father” -- From what I have heard, Hopkins gives one of the best performances of his career and the Academy often nominates him.
  4. Gary Oldman: “Mank” -- One of the best actors working today playing Hollywood icon Herman Mankiewicz. I can’t imagine the Academy overlooking this.
  5. Steven Yeun: “Minari” -- If someone were to be snubbed it would be Yeun, but “Minari” is building enough momentum where I am confident in this pick.

Dark Horse

Delroy Lindo: “Da 5 Bloods” -- This is one of my favorite performances of the year that has been repeatedly getting snubbed at other award shows. Film Twitter has been campaigning heavily for Lindo to get a spot in the best actor category, and I think the Academy might recognize this.

Best Actress:

  1. Carey Mulligan: “Promising Young Woman” -- She won the Critics’ Choice Awards and has been campaigning hard for this. Mulligan will definitely pull off a nomination, and I am cautiously optimistic about a win.
  2. Frances McDormand: “Nomadland” -- McDormand is one of the best actresses working today and with “Nomadland” as a frontrunner in most categories, this is a no-brainer. 
  3. Viola Davis: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” -- While Davis’ performance was overshadowed by Boseman’s, she was still excellent and will be in the conversation. 
  4. Andra Day: “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” -- Day received the best actress award at the Golden Globe Awards which shocked me. I initially thought she wouldn’t score a nomination, but now I am feeling confident. While the movie “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” was underwhelming, there is no denying that Day gave a great performance. 
  5. Vanessa Kirby: “Pieces of a Woman” -- This prediction I am not so confident about, because “Pieces of a Woman” flew under the radar, but Kirby’s performance needs to be recognized. 

Supporting Actor:

  1. Daniel Kaluuya: “Judas and the Black Messiah” -- He’s won at all the major award shows and deservedly so. I can’t imagine anyone else winning.
  2. Sacha Baron Cohen: “The Trial of the Chicago 7” -- Cohen gave the best performance of the ensemble cast of “Chicago 7.” I also think the Academy will nominate him in part because of his “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm” performance. 
  3. Chadwick Boseman: “Da 5 Bloods” -- Boseman could pull off two nominations, and I don’t see why not. He stole the show in “Da 5 Bloods” in every scene he was in. 
  4. Leslie Odom Jr: “One Night in Miami” -- This is a powerhouse performance that has been sweeping nominations at other award shows.
  5. Paul Raci: “Sound of Metal” -- This is more of a personal pick, because I loved Raci’s performance. You never know with the Academy, and I am going with my gut on this one.

Possibility: Bill Murray: “On the Rocks” -- Murray’s performance shined in a so-so film. I personally don’t think he should get nominated, but the Golden Globe Awards did, and Murray is a legend.

Supporting Actress:

  1. Olivia Colman: “The Father” -- This is the hardest category to predict this year, but Colman is the safe pick.
  2. Amanda Seyfried: “Mank” -- Seyfried has been consistently getting nominated at other award shows.
  3. Youn Yuh-jung: “Minari” -- This is the underdog. If she gets nominated, she could win.
  4. Maria Bakalova: “Borat: Subsequent MovieFilm”-- After winning the Golden Globe Award, I am confident that Bakalova will receive a nomination.
  5. Glenn Close: “Hillbilly Elegy” -- While “Hillbilly Elegy” disappointed, Close gave too good of a performance to ignore. 

Dark Horse: Dominique Fishback: “Judas and the Black Messiah” -- While she hasn’t been in the conversation much, critics loved her performance, and she received a BAFTA nomination. I would love to see her get a nomination.

Original Screenplay:

  1. “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
  2. “Promising Young Woman”
  3. “Minari”
  4. “Mank”
  5. “Sound of Metal”

Dark Horse: “Soul”-- The premise of this movie alone is incredible and it's one of the best screenplays of the year. 

Adapted Screenplay:

  1. “Nomadland”
  2. “One Night in Miami”
  3. “The Father”
  4. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  5. “News of the World”

Contact columnist Miles Goldman at

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