93rd Academy Awards (2020): The Hopefuls

FINAL: MARCH 13, 2021

Oscar nominations will be announced Monday morning. A season that seemed never-ending now feels like it’s moving too fast. What I tried to do with my predictions, considering the already unpredictable year at the movies, I tried to stick with traditional methods of choosing, with late-breaking films getting decidedly more attention than the critics-honored films did. Films like Judas and the Black Messiah, The Mauritanian, and The United States vs. Billie Holiday emerging as major contenders while once-frontrunners like Da 5 Bloods seem to be losing steam. I also had to look at how some films we didn’t see as big players before, News of the World, Promising Young Woman, The Father, Sound of Metal, and Birds of Prey (yes, that movie), but have now been overperforming. Of course, the films were long in the race, like Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Mank, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, have continued to meet or exceed expectations in some cases (Nomadland) or stick around in spite of shaky starts (Mank).

One more note, I tried very hard to guess where Mank would lose out on a nomination, but still managed to come up with 13 nominations. That’s an irregularly seen result, so there has be somewhere it’s not going to show up to bring it down to a more reasonable 10 to 12 nominations. The four places I could see it shockingly miss are, in order of likelihood, Supporting Actress (Amanda Seyfried), Actor (Gary Oldman), Original Screenplay, and Directing (David Fincher).

Whatever the reasons, I’ve done my best to predict what will happen throwing in some curveballs where the race seems overly fluid. I hope to be completely accurate, but if I were the Amazing Kreskin, I would be rolling in dough. Before we get down to the final hopefuls list, which I tried to liberate of non-entities, here’s a guide to my listing of a film’s chances at a nomination. Obviously, more titles will be in the Borderline and Doubtful Categories, there is a solid mix of all of them.

Lock: It would be a major shock if these selections weren’t nominated. The buzz would be deafening.
Near Lock: These are selections that I think are pretty certain, but I cannot quite declare them as guarantees.
Good: There isn’t much of a chance that this nominee will be left off the list, but stranger things have happened.
Borderline: These are the achievements that I think are fighting for the slots not taken up by the locks, near locks and goods above. None of these selections are safe and could be bumped off by any other title with the “borderline” description.
Doubtful: These are outside contenders that have been in the conversation, but whose prospects have dimmed over time. They remain on the list because sometimes the Academy does some strange stuff.

Everything from Best Picture down through Best Visual Effects have been placed in the order from most to least likely to be nominated. This year, I don’t have much confidence in the order presented as things are very Chaotic this year.

I’ve also removed the Legend of Release Designations because the Academy has released their list of eligible films, that means we know what is and is not eligible. Further, there is one shortlisted Animated Feature that I removed from the list because the studio pulled them from consideration after the shortlist had been announced. The SpongeBob Movie is gone.

Legend of Release Designations

(E) = Eligible
(T) = Tentative
(S) = Streaming
(U) = Unknown
All titles that have been confirmed have had the designation removed

NOMINATIONS

AWARDS

13
9
7
6



4



3

Mank
Minari
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7
The Father
News of the World
One Night in Miami
Tenet
Judas and the Black Messiah
The Midnight Sky
Soul
4
3
2


1








Nomadland
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Promising Young Woman
Soul
Another Round
Boys State
A Concerto Is a Conversation
Feeling Through
Judas and the Black Messiah
One Night in Miami
Out
Sound of Metal
Tenet
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Picture

  • Nomadland – Searchlight (c-9/15, n-9/15, o-1/11) — Lock —
  •  
  • Promising Young Woman – Focus (c-3/6, n-3/6) — Near Lock —
  • Minari – A24 (c-11/15, n-1/11) — Good —
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Paramount (c-3/6, n-3/6) — Good —
  • Mank – Netflix (c-9/15, n-9/15) — Good —
  • One Night in Miami – Amazon (c-9/15, n-1/11) — Good —
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Netflix (c-9/15, n-11/13) — Good —
  • The Father – Sony Pictures Classics (c-11/15, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Sound of Metal – Amazon (c-1/11, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Judas and the Black Messiah – Warner Bros. (c-2/15, n-2/15) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Soul – Disney (c-11/15) — Borderline —
  • The Mauritanian – STX Entertainment (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • News of the World – Universal (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • Da 5 Bloods – Netflix (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – Amazon (c-3/13) — Doubtful —
  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always – Focus (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • First Cow – A24 (c-9/15) — Doubtful —

Best Animated Film

  • Soul – Pixar (c-3/6, n-3/6, o-3/6) — Lock —
  •  
  • Wolfwalkers – Gkids (c-3/6, n-1/11) — Lock —
  • Onward – Pixar (c-3/6, n-3/6) — Lock —
  • Over the Moon – Netflix (c-3/6, n-11/13) — Near Lock —
  • The Croods: A New Age – DreamWorks (c-3/6, n-11/13) — Good —
  •  
  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon – Aardman (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • The Willoughbys – Netflix (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • Ride Your Wave – Gkids (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Lupin III: The First – Gkids (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • Earwig and the Witch – Gkids (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • Calamity – Unknown (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • Trolls World Tour – DreamWorks (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus – Kaos (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Bombay Rose – Netflix (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Demon Slayer -Kimetsu No Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train – FUNimation (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Dreambuilders – Unknown (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Kill It and Leave This Town – Unknown (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Mosley – Unknown (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • My Favorite War – Unknown (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • No.7 Cherry Lane – Unknown (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Nos Ili Zagovor Ne Takikh – Unknown (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • On-Gaku: Our Sound – Gkids (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs – Lionsgate (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Scoob! – Warner Bros. (c-3/6) — Doubtful —
  • Terra Willy – Viva Pictures (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • A Whisker Away – Netflix (c-1/28) — Doubtful —

All of the Animated Films listed here are Official Selections of the Academy and the final five nominees will come only from these selected contenders. The fifteen films separated at the bottom are not organized in order of likelihood as they are unlikely to get nominated anyway.

Best Directing

  • Nomadland – Chloé Zhao (c-9/15, n-9/15, o-1/11) — Lock —
  •  
  • Minari – Lee Isaac Chung (c-11/15, n-1/11) — Good —
  • Mank – David Fincher (c-9/15, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin (c-3/6, n-11/13) — Borderline —
  • Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell (c-3/6, n-1/11) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Another Round – Thomas Vinterberg (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • One Night in Miami – Regina King (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Sound of Metal – Darius Marder (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • The Father – Florian Zeller (c-11/15) — Borderline —
  • Da 5 Bloods – Spike Lee (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Judas and the Black Messiah – Shaka King (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • News of the World – Paul Greengrass (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – George C. Wolfe (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always – Eliza Hittman (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • First Cow – Kelly Reichardt (c-9/15) — Doubtful —

Best Actor

  • Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (c-3/6, n-11/15, o-3/13) — Lock —
  •  
  • Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal (c-1/11, n-2/15) — Lock —
  • Anthony Hopkins – The Father () — Lock —
  • Steven Yeun – Minari (c-11/15, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Gary Oldman – Mank (c-9/15, n-9/15) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Mads Mikkelsen – Another Round (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • Tahar Rahim – The Mauritanian (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Tom Hanks – News of the World (c-3/6) — Doubtful —
  • Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night in Miami (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • Ben Affleck – The Way Back (c-3/6) — Doubtful —
  • Sacha Baron Cohen – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (c-3/13) — Doubtful —
  • Adarsh Gourav – The White Tiger (c-3/13) — Doubtful —

Best Actress

  • Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (c-3/6, n-3/6, o-3/6) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • Frances McDormand – Nomadland (c-9/15, n-9/15) — Lock —
  • Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (c-3/6, n-3/6) — Lock —
  • Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman (c-11/15, n-1/11) — Good —
  • Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday (c-2/15, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • Elisabeth Moss – The Invisible Man (c-2/15) — Doubtful —
  • Zendaya – Malcolm & Marie (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • Nicole Beharie – Miss Juneteenth (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • Jessie Buckley – I’m Thinking of Ending Things (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • Sophia Loren – The Life Ahead (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • Carrie Coon – The Nest (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • Elisabeth Moss – Shirley (c-9/15) — Doubtful —

Best Supporting Actor

  • Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah (c-2/9, n-2/15, o-3/13) — Lock —
  •  
  • Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night in Miami (c-9/15, n-11/13) — Near Lock —
  • Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (c-1/11, n-2/15) — Near Lock —
  • Paul Raci – Sound of Metal (c-1/11, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Alan Kim – Minari (c-3/13, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Jared Leto – The Little Things (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • Bill Murray – On the Rocks (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Frank Langella – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Bo Burnham – Promising Young Woman (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • Glynn Turman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • Brian Dennehy – Driveways (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • David Strathairn – Nomadland (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • Colman Domingo – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (c-2/15) — Doubtful —
  • Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • Aldis Hodge – One Night in Miami (c-9/15) — Doubtful —

Best Supporting Actress

  • Amanda Seyfried – Mank (c-9/15, n-11/15, o-1/11) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Olivia Colman – The Father (c-9/15, n-9/15) — Good —
  • Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy (c-9/15, n-2/15) — Borderline —
  • Yuh-jung Youn – Minari (c-1/11, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (c-1/11, n-1/11) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Jodie Foster – The Mauritanian (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Dominique Fishback – Judas and the Black Messiah (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Ellen Burstyn – Pieces of a Woman (c-11/15) — Borderline —
  • Helena Zengel – News of the World (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • Toni Collette – I’m Thinking of Ending Things (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (c-2/15) — Doubtful —

Best Original Screenplay

  • Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell (c-3/6, n-9/15, o-1/11) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin (c-3/6, n-3/6) — Near Lock —
  • Minari – Lee Isaac Chung (c-11/15, n-1/11) — Good —
  • Sound of Metal – Darius Marder, Abraham Marder (c-2/15, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Mank – Jack Fincher (c-9/15, n-2/15) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Judas and the Black Messiah – Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenneth Lucas, Keith Lucas (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Palm Springs – Andy Siara (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Soul – Pete Docter, Mike Jones, Kemp Powers (c-11/15) — Borderline —
  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always – Eliza Hittman (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Da 5 Bloods – Danny Bilson, Paul Demeo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • The Forty-Year-Old Version – Radha Blank (c-9/15) — Doubtful —

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Nomadland – Chloé Zhao (c-9/15, n-9/15, o-11/13) — Lock —
  •  
  • The Father – Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller (c-11/15, n-11/15) — Lock —
  • One Night in Miami – Kemp Powers (c-9/15, n-1/11) — Good —
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Ruben Santiago-Hudson (c-9/15, n-11/15) — Good —
  • News of the World – Luke Davies (c-3/6, n-2/15) — Borderline —
  •  
  • The Mauritanian – M.B. Traven, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Charlie Kaufman (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • First Cow – Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt (c-9/15) — Doubtful —

Best Original Song

  • Speak Now – One Night in Miami (c-1/11, n-1/11, o-1/11) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • Hear My Voice – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (c-1/11, n-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Fight for You – Judas and the Black Messiah (c-2/9, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Io Si (Seen) – The Life Ahead (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Rain Song – Minari (c-2/9, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Green – Sound of Metal (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Husavik – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Wuhan Flu – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Turntables – All In: The Fight for Democracy (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Loyal Brave True – Mulan (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Make It Work – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (c-2/9) — Doubtful —
  • Show Me Your Soul – Mr. Soul! (c-2/9) — Doubtful —
  • Free – One and Only Ivan (c-2/9) — Doubtful —
  • Never Break – Giving Voice (c-2/9) — Doubtful —
  • See What You’ve Done – Belly of the Beast (c-2/9) — Doubtful —

All of the Songs listed here are Official Selections of the Academy’s Music branch and the final five nominees will come only from these selected contenders.

Best Original Score

  • Soul – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jonathan Batiste (c-3/6, n-11/13, o-3/13) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • Mank – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross (c-9/15, n-9/15) — Near Lock —
  • The Midnight Sky – Alexandre Desplat (c-1/11, n-1/11) — Borderline —
  • News of the World – James Newton Howard (c-3/6, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Minari – Emile Mosseri (c-1/11, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Tenet – Ludwig Goransson (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • Da 5 Bloods – Terence Blanchard (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Mulan – Harry Gregson-Williams (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Daniel Pemberton (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • The Little Things – Thomas Newman (c-2/9) — Doubtful —
  • The Invisible Man – Benjamin Wallfisch (c-2/9) — Doubtful —
  • The Life Ahead – Gabriel Yared (c-2/9) — Doubtful —
  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey – John Debney, Michael Diskint (c-2/9) — Doubtful —
  • Ammonite – Volker Bertelmann, Dustin O’Halloran (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • Blizzard of Souls – Lolita Ritmanis (c-2/9) — Doubtful —

All of the Scores listed here are Official Selections of the Academy’s Music branch and the final five nominees will come only from these selected contenders.

Best Editing

  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Alan Baumgarten (c-3/6, n-9/15, o-1/11) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • Nomadland – Chloé Zhao (c-9/15, n-1/11) — Good —
  • Mank – Kirk Baxter (c-9/15, n-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Sound of Metal – Mikkel E.G. Nielsen (c-1/11, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Promising Young Woman – Frederic Thoraval (c-3/6, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Tenet – Jennifer Lame (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • Palm Springs – Andrew Dickler, Matthew Friedman (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Minari – Harry Yoon (c-11/15) — Borderline —
  • The Father – Yorgos Lamprinos (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Judas and the Black Messiah – Kristan Sprague (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • Da 5 Bloods – Adam Gough (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • News of the World – William Goldeberg (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • One Night in Miami – Tariq Anwar (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Time – Gabriel Rhodes (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Andrew Mondshein (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Robert Frazen (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • The Invisible Man – Andy Canny (c-2/15) — Doubtful —
  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always – Scott Cummings (c-9/15) — Doubtful —

Best Cinematography

  • Nomadland – Joshua James Richards (c-9/15, n-11/13, o-1/11) — Lock —
  •  
  • Mank – Erik Messerschmidt (c-9/15, n-11/13) — Near Lock —
  • News of the World – Dariusz Wolski (c-3/6, n-2/15) — Good —
  • Da 5 Bloods – Newton Thomas Sigel (c-9/15, n-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Tenet – Hoyte Van Hoytema (c-3/6, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Cherry – Newton Thomas Sigel (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Minari – Lachlan Milne (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • The Midnight Sky – Martin Ruhe (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • First Cow – Christopher Blauvelt (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Phedon Papamichael (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • The Forty-Year-Old Version – Eric Branco (c-9/15) — Doubtful —

Best Production Design

  • Mank – Donald Graham Burt; Jan Pascale (c-9/15, n-9/15, o-11/13) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Mark Ricker; Karen O’Hara, Diana Stoughton (c-9/15, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Tenet – Nathan Crowley; Emmanuel Dells, Kathy Lucas (c-3/6, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • News of the World – David Crank; Elizabeth Keenan (c-3/6, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Birds of Prey – K.K. Barrett; Florencia Martin (c-1/11, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Emma. – Kave Quinn; Stella Fox (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Shane Valentino; Andrew Baseman (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • Rebecca – Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Mulan – Grant Major; Anne Kuljian (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • The Personal History of David Copperfield – Cristina Casali; Charlotte Dirickx (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • The Midnight Sky – Jim Bissell, John Bush (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Judas and the Black Messiah – Sam Lisenco; Rebecca Brown (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • One Night in Miami – Page Buckner (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Promising Young Woman – Michael Perry, Rae Deslich (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Ammonite – Sarah Finlay; Sohpie Hervieu (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey – Gavin Bocquet; Rob Cameron (c-2/15) — Borderline —
  • First Cow – Anthony Gasparro; Vanessa Knoll (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Molly Hughes; Mattie Siegal (c-1/11) — Doubtful —

Best Costume Design

  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Ann Roth (c-9/15, n-11/13, o-11/13) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • Emma. – Alexandra Byrne (c-3/6, n-3/6) — Near Lock —
  • Mank – Trish Summerville (c-9/15, n-11/13) — Borderline —
  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey – Michael Wilkinson (c-2/15, n-2/15) — Borderline —
  • Promising Young Woman – Nancy Steiner (c-2/15, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Mulan – Bina Daigeler (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • The Personal History of David Copperfield – Suzie Harman, Robert Worley (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • Birds of Prey – Erin Benach (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • News of the World – Mark Bridges (c-3/6) — Doubtful —
  • Ammonite – Michael O’Connor (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • First Cow – April Napier (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • Judas and the Black Messiah – Charlese Antoinette Jones (c-2/15) — Doubtful —
  • One Night in Miami – Francine Jamison-Tanchuck (c-9/15) — Doubtful —

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (c-9/15, n-11/13, o-11/13) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • Hillbilly Elegy (c-2/9, n-3/13) — Good —
  • Pinocchio (c-2/9, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Mank (c-9/15, n-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Birds of Prey (c-3/6, n-1/11) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • One Night in Miami (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Emma. (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • The Glorias (c-2/9) — Doubtful —
  • The Little Things (c-2/9) — Doubtful —

All of the Films listed here are Official Selections of the Academy’s Makeup branch and the final three nominees will come only from these selected contenders.

Best Sound

  • Sound of Metal (c-2/16, n-2/16, o-3/13) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • Soul (c-3/6, n-1/11) — Good —
  • Mank (c-9/15, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Tenet (c-3/6, n-3/6) — Borderline —
  • The Midnight Sky (c-1/11, n-1/11) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Nomadland (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Greyhound (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • News of the World (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • Mulan (c-3/6) — Borderline —
  • Da 5 Bloods (c-9/15) — Borderline —
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (c-3/13) — Borderline —
  • One Night in Miami (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (c-1/11) — Doubtful —
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (c-3/6) — Doubtful —
  • Birds of Prey (c-3/6) — Doubtful —
  • The Outpost (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • The Invisible Man (c-9/15) — Doubtful —
  • The Prom (c-9/15) — Doubtful —

Best Visual Effects

  • Tenet (c-3/6, n-3/6, o-11/13) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • The Midnight Sky (c-1/11, n-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Mank (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Mulan (c-3/6, n-9/15) — Borderline —
  • Welcome to Chechnya (c-2/9, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  •  
  • The One and Only Ivan (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Birds of Prey (c-1/11) — Borderline —
  • Soul (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Love and Monsters (c-2/9) — Doubtful —
  • Bloodshot (c-2/9) — Doubtful —

All of the Films listed here are Official Selections of the Academy’s Visual Effects branch and the final five nominees will come only from these selected contenders.

Best International Feature

  • Another Round – Denmark (c-1/28, n-1/29, o-1/29) — Near Lock —
  •  
  • Collective – Romania (c-1/28, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • La Llorona – Guatemala (c-1/28, n-1/29) — Borderline —
  • Quo Vadis, Aida? – Bosnia and Herzegovina (c-1/28, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Two of Us – France (c-1/28, n-1/29) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Better Days – Hong Kong (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Charlatan – Czech Republic (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Dear Comrades! – Russia (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • Hope – Norway (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • I’m No Longer Here – Mexico (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • The Man Who Sold His Skin – Tunisia (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • The Mole Agent – Chile (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • Night of the Kings – Ivory Coast (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • A Sun – Taiwan (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • Sun Children – Iran (c-1/28) — Doubtful —

All of the Films listed here are Official Selections of the Academy’s Foreign Language Film branch and the final five nominees will come only from these selected contenders.

Best Documentary Feature

  • Boys State (c-1/28, n-1/29, o-1/29) — Good —
  •  
  • Collective (c-1/28, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Dick Johnson Is Dead (c-1/28, n-1/29) — Good —
  • My Octopus Teacher (c-1/28, n-3/13) — Borderline —
  • Time (c-1/28, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  •  
  • 76 Days (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • All In: The Fight for Democracy (c-1/28) — Good —
  • Crip Camp (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • Gunda (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • MLK/FBI (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • The Mole Agent (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • Notturno (c-1/28) — Doubtful —
  • The Painter and Thief (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • The Truffle Hunters (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  • Welcome to Chechnya (c-1/28) — Borderline —
  •  

All of the Documentary Features listed here are Official Selections of the Academy and the final five nominees will come only from these selected contenders.

Best Documentary Short Subject

  • A Concerto Is a Conversation (c-2/9, n-2/9, o-2/9) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Colette (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Do Not Split (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • A Love Song for Latasha (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Call Center Blues (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Hunger Ward (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Hysterical Girl (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • The Speed Cubers (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • What Would Sophia Loren Do? (c-2/9) — Borderline —

All of the Short Subjects listed here are Official Selections of the Academy and the final three to five nominees will come only from these selected contenders.

Best Animated Short Film

  • Out (c-2/9, n-2/9, o-2/9) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Burrow (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • If Anything Happens I Love You (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • To Gerard (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Traces (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Genius Loci (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Kapaemahu (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Opera (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • The Snail and the Whale (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Yes-People (c-2/9) — Borderline —

All of the Animated Short Films listed here are Official Selections of the Academy and the final three to five nominees will come only from these selected contenders.

Best Live Action Short Film

  • Feeling Through (c-2/9, n-2/9, o-2/9) — Borderline —
  •  
  • The Human Voice (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • The Letter Room (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • The Present (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  • White Eye (c-2/9, n-2/9) — Borderline —
  •  
  • Bittu (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Da Yie (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • The Kicksled Choir (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • Two Distant Strangers (c-2/9) — Borderline —
  • The Van (c-2/9) — Borderline —

All of the Live Action Short Films listed here are Official Selections of the Academy and the final three to five nominees will come only from these selected contenders.

NEW: March 6, 2020

It’s time to start another year. March is awfully early to make these things and the end result feels very sparse and unfocused. Hell, there were so few known quantities at this point that even the Best Supporting Actress roster is exceptionally vacant.

UPDATED: September 17, 2020

With theaters finally opening back up, the Oscar landscape is beginning to take shape. Sort of. The Academy introduced new rules regarding streaming and release dates, extending two months into 2021 and potentially causing problems for critics groups who will largely work off the calendar year model. That said, we have a good idea of what films will be jockeying for consideration, yet there are several films that are still big questions marks and with theaters struggling to draw audiences back, what is currently scheduled may not be scheduled the closer to the end of the year we get.

Since there is so much confusion over what could be eligible and what might not be, I’ve labeled every title in this list with a letter designation in parentheses. This designation should help give you an idea of how influx this season is.

Anything labeled with an (E) is Eligible. These are films that have confirmed theatrical releases and box office numbers to track that. Whether all of them played in the requisite theaters is an unknown since New York and California have largely kept their theaters closed. The label (T) is a film that is tentatively scheduled for release in 2020. They have a specified release date and, unless the studios play pick-up sticks with their release schedules, which seems likely at this point, they could drop off altogether and shift to 2021 like a number of films already have. (S) will designate any film that released streaming instead of theatrically. These come from the normal culprits like Netflix, but also other services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney Plus and likely others. The question with these films is whether they met the Academy’s regulations for streaming in lieu of theatrical releases. So, these films, although they have already released, might be ruled ineligible at any time between now and the end of the year/February of next year. Finally, we have (U). These titles are thought to be 2020 releases, but have either had their release dates pulled in the interim or which have not gotten scheduled yet. These titles could play in 2020 or could shift to 2021, it’s impossible to know right now.

Now, onto my scattered but quick thoughts. I struggled with a lot of these choices. Some films (On the Rocks, Judah and the Black Messiah, and a handful of other titles) don’t really strike me as Oscar-friendly movies. That said, I could be entirely wrong on them. Some films have tumbled with mediocre reviews (Tenet) while others have burst onto the scene with late-season film festival releases (Ammonite, Nomadland, and One Night in Miami for example). Right now, things are too influx to get a good read on things, but some films seem better poised for Oscar nominations than others at this juncture and I hope most of my choices reflect that. I also feel that I may have overdone some categories with far too many nominees, but at this point, I suspect the list will dwindle to a manageable level once movies start departing for 2021.

UPDATED: November 13, 2020

As the pandemic worsens, it looks like theaters will be shuttering again and with so many tentpoles having vacated 2020, a lot of changes were made below. I updated all of the tentative, eligible, streaming, and unknown ratings for the films on the list, pushing out films like The French Dispatch, No Time to Die, and Dune, which have all moved to sunnier pastures. I had to change at least two nomination predictions in each category and, for the first time in years, the Best Visual Effects category is looking very slim indeed.

UPDATED: November 15, 2020

This was a minor update. I hadn’t realized that I still had Boys in the Band slotted anywhere since the film just didn’t get good enough reviews. Beyond that, I added some other films I had forgotten or not considered in my prior update.

UPDATED: January 12, 2021

With precursors starting to come out hot and heavy, I thought it was time to update my list. This is an extensive re-aligning list, so there’s no way I can encompass all of the numerous changes in one post, so just look through it all because nothing is the same as it was two months ago.

UPDATED: February 15, 2021

With all of the shortlists released and most of the precursors left to announce are guilds (all except SAG, which has already announced), this list is the closest yet to what the final list will look like. Best Picture was incredibly difficult to select as there are about 12 or 13 films vying for up to 10 slots. Next year, there will be no fewer than 10, but for now, it’s a rather challenging race to predict.

I also modified the legend below as to which films are eligible. Any title that has appeared on a short list is most definitely eligible, so all of those titles have had the (E) or (S) or whatever mark stripped from them.

19 Comments

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  1. Just read that SpongeBob pulled out of the animated race and the Russian film is now going by its translated title, “The Nose or the Conspiracy of Mavericks.” The whole animated has been upended! (I’m joking)

    Loving the look of these predictions, hoping for a strong set of nominees. I’m thinking Judas might have a shot at Original Screenplay. Sound of Metal I’m hoping for a sound nomination. I don’t think Beanpole can compete in anything this year because it was up for International Film last year. I remember City of God didn’t compete in Foreign Film so that it could score nominations the following year (good call for that movie). Have the released the eligibility list yet? I haven’t come across it.

    1. They haven’t released the full reminder list of eligible films yet. I believe it will come out closer to the nominations voting period beginning.

      I kept forgetting Sound of Metal in sound, but I have added it since. I get a Quiet Place kind of vibe from it. I also apparently forgot to put Judas in any of the screenwriting categories. I’ll have to go in and rectify that, but that’s partly because WGA came out after our deadline for predictions. Will probably wait until all the guild precursors are out before updating one last time.

  2. Any idea when we will see an updated set of predictions, especially from the entire CS crew? I’ve been coming here for years and you always have the best track record on predictions over the long haul for noms. And I track 55 different pundits/sources. I’m a geek…what can I say?

    1. We are working on them right now and should have our next update out this week.

  3. Guess it’s time to start considering Jared Leto for supporting actor. It’s weird, I’ve seen the movie, and it’s a fine thriller, nothing we haven’t seen before, and Leto is good in it. But it never once occurred to me that people would consider it an award-worthy performance.

    1. I hope he isn’t nominated again. The only time I ever thought he was nomination worthy was Requiem for a Dream.

      1. Me either, it’s just such a nothing performance in a nothing movie.

        Daniel Kaluuya also has a really good shot at getting in, and I hear that’s a much better movie.

  4. Less than a month now until the short lists are out! I hate this long season, they should’ve just left it alone.

  5. So, I have some possibilities for Best Hair & Make-Up:

    – Bill & Ted Face the Music
    – Borat: Subsequent Moviefilim

    Just think with this year and how we’re used to seeing oddball finalists in this category, these two could sneak in to at least the finalists. Hell, we had Jackass’ Bad Grandpa become a nominee.

  6. Respect has been moved back to August I think. I think the next update is going to look VERY different!

    1. Did not see this comment. I just updated the day after you posted.

      1. Yeah good timing! Always excited for your updates so I can add new stuff to my watch list. I’ve watched things like Babyteeth and Premature and Miss Juneteenth after seeing them on your list. The only really disappointing movie I’ve seen off this list was Devil All the Time. Pattinson is barely in it, and the movie is kind of a bummer overall. Holland is quite good though.

        1. Yeah. That movie had some solid reviews, but not the kind that keep it going.

          1. Might be time to consider Sound of Metal, buzz on that one is growing. Also Wolfwalkers seems like a great bet for animated. This is usually when we’d be starting to see the short lists and it feels weird to know they’re still two months away.

            1. I honestly thought I had Sound of Metal on here. For animation, I tend to wait for the final eligibility list to include, though I probably should update some.

  7. French Dispatch is 2021 too. It’s gonna be a really weird year.

    1. That is a quandary, though. Everything I’ve heard is that French Dispatch may release early 2021, which would still fit into the Academy’s extended eligibility window for this year…

  8. Awesome update, just added a bunch of stuff to my watch list! Children of the Sea and Marona were actually on the animated list last year, but it reminded me I want to see them both.

    And then, Disney went and pushed Black Widow, West Side Story, and some other non-contenders into next year. D’oh.

    1. And the hits keep coming with Dune vacating 2020 as well. This list is already out of date.

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