If there was a time when the Grammys were relevant as an Oscar prognostiscator, I cannot think of when. They have an asynchronous eligibility period where fall releases for one year show up in the nominations the following year. That is particularly true of this year’s slate. eleven films out of nineteen nominations were released in 2019 (the year of release is marked below). We also have a rare situation where one of the nominees won’t release until next year. “No Time to Die,” the title track to the latest James Bond film has been pushed back to 2021, but the single by Billie Eilish was already released, thus its nomination. It could be a very early prediction for the 94th Oscars.
As to the 93rd Oscars, of the remaining seven films, there’s very little likelihood of any of them making it to the Oscars. Here are the reasons. The Best Compilation Soundtrack category is for a compilation of songs used in a film. While four of the films nominated would have pulled most of their soundtrack from elsewhere, Frozen II is entirely original. It’s possible that songs from either Bill & Ted or Eurovision Song Contest could be considered for the Original Song category, none of these titles were or are going to be Oscar nominees in Original Score.
The contenders in that category, can more often be found in the Best Score Soundtrack category where four of the five nominees were 2019 films and of those films, three (Joker, 1917, and Star Wars) were Oscar nominees while Ad Astra was not. Does that mean the only 2020 nominee on the list is a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination? Not likely. The film was barely seen and came out prior to the pandemic, meaning most everyone has forgotten about it and I don’t suspect it will have a leg-up against several other contenders.
In Best Song, three of the nominees are 2019 releases, two of which were Oscar nominees (“Into the Unknown” and “Stand Up”). One nominee is a 2021 release and there’s no reason to doubt the James Bond title song won’t be Oscar nominated in a year’s time. That leaves Onward‘s song “Carried Me with You” as a potential Oscar nominee. Its chances are good with so few competitors this year and there’s little chance Disney won’t push it and a song from “Soul” into the race for Best Original Song.
The final category is the Best Music Film. The only category this could tie itself to is Best Documentary Feature and this also happens to be the only category where a majority of the nominees were current-year releases. The only 2019 nominee, Linda Ronstadt, wasn’t nominated by the Academy and there’s a reason for that. The Academy is not enamored with music documentaries. They have nominated precious few in their history and that’s with widely popular acts at the center of those documentaries. Beastie Boys doesn’t seem like a group the Academy would love; Black Is King is a video film based off the soundtrack for The Lion King, definitely not a contender; and finally, there’s We Are Freestyle Love Supreme, which also doesn’t seem like the kind of hard-hitting documentary the Academy tends to favor.
Ultimately, it doesn’t look like anything but two Best Song nominees, one from a film released in 2020 and one from a film to be released in 2021, will be predictive of this year’s Oscar contenders.
(2) Frozen II