Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jan. 8-10, 2021

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

One Night in Miami

To have two stage-to-screen adaptations release in one year is a rare feat, especially two that are getting some incredibly strong reviews. It’s entirely possible that both One Night in Miami and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom both compete at the Oscars and I don’t doubt that both films will come away with more than a half-dozen nominations. The question is which film will dominate.

For Best Picture, both films are competing in a stripped-down year with few competitors, but most of them strong. It’s entirely possible that both films land coveted Best Picture berths, but One Night in Miami director Regina King has a slight edge over Ma Rainey’s George C. Wolfe for a directing citation, though both will probably be left off.

In terms of acting, Ma Rainey is almost guaranteed to pick up two with a third seemingly likely at this juncture. Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis getting lead acting nominations seem assured while Glynn Turman is quietly amassing acclaim that could land him a supporting spot. One Night in Miami has only four actors with any real screen time to merit consideration. Kingsley Ben-Adir and Eli Goree are going lead while Leslie Odom Jr. and Aldis Hodge are going support. I could definitely see Ben-Adir and Odom Jr. landing Oscar nominations, though the other two are going to be out of luck and even Ben-Adir might struggle with such a bountiful slate of leading actor contenders in the offering.

Both are in the race for Adapted Screenplay citations and both seem likely to score them. Meanwhile, neither has much of a chance at an Original Score nomination, though either Branford Marsalis (Ma Rainey) and Terence Blanchard (One Night) could see themselves nominated with Blanchard having the edge. Both have original songs in contention and both could see their songs nominated. That said, I honestly think “Speak Now” is the only one likely to score a nod.

As for tech categories, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom should be a competitor in Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, and Sound while One Night in Miami competes for Film Editing, Production Design, and Sound. Ultimately, Ma Rainey will pick up two for sure (costumes & makeup), with a third (production design) highly possible. One Night in Miami, however, is unlikely to pick up any of those potential nods.

In the end, Ma Rainey will probably pick up awards for Boseman in lead, Costume Design, and Makeup & Hairstyling while One Night in Miami is likely to pull of a win for Supporting Actor (Odom Jr.) and nothing else.

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