The 93rd Academy Awards Predictions, Locks, and Upset Alerts

April 25, 2021 (Last updated: April 26, 2021)
M.N. Miller 0

Well, here we are. It is Oscar Sunday, and this ends one of the longest Oscar campaign seasons in nearly a century. It has been over 14 months since Parasite took home the prize for Best Picture. Tonight, we find out if the Oscars are truly as progressive as Hollywood has claimed to be after one of the most gut-wrenching, look-in-the-mirror years the business has ever lived through. Take a look at each category below and how we break down all the possible scenarios of the 93rd Academy Awards. -M.N. Miller, Ready Steady Cut

Best Picture

“The Father” (David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, producers)

“Judas and the Black Messiah” (Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, producers)

“Mank” (Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, producers)

“Minari” (Christina Oh, producer)

“Nomadland” (Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, producers)

“Promising Young Woman” (Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, producers)

“Sound of Metal” (Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, producers)

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, producers)

Who Will Win: Nomadland

Who Should Win: The Father

Upset Alert: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Reasoning: This may be the most wide-open year since Spotlight took home the prize. It feels like Trial and Nomadland have been trading leads for the past six months. I am almost cheating putting Chicago as an upset because it was the front runner for so long. We could see a scenario where everyone cancels each other out, leaving a small opening for films like Minari and Promising Young Woman to sneak in. I am on record stating The Father is a work of empathetic genius, and of the films nominated, it should be the one to win. But it has virtually no backing from its own studio. That leaves us with a race to the finish that has Nomadland as the critic’s favorite, but Sorkin’s film has the studio giving themselves a pat on the back feel. And we will have to wait until Sunday night to find out.

Best Director

Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”)
David Fincher (“Mank”)
Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”)
Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”)
Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”)

Who Will Win: Chloé Zhao

Who Should Win: Zhao

Upset Alert: Emerald Fennell

Reasoning: No other director is truer to her own sensibilities than Zhao’s work in Nomadland. It’s a stunning piece of American art that proves it does not have to be made in New York City or Los Angeles.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”)
Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”)
Gary Oldman (“Mank”)
Steven Yeun (“Minari”)

Who Will Win: Chadwick Boseman

Who Should Win: Boseman

Upset Alert: Anthony Hopkins

Reasoning: Boseman leaves everything on the floor, with nothing to spare in Rainey. There is a moment in the film that is almost transparent: He wonders how could something so cruel happen to him and his family. It’s a moment you cannot help but wonder if he was drawing inspiration for from his own situation. It’s one of the year’s most powerful and overwhelming.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Andra Day (“The United States v. Billie Holiday”)
Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”)
Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)
Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”)

Who Will Win: Frances McDormand

Who Should Win: Carey Mulligan

Upset Alert: Andra Day

Reasoning: This is a category I have pegged for the most chance of a ripe upset. Why? It has the potential for the European side of the Academy to split votes, McDormand has won it twice before, and Day had a push and release for her brave portrayal.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)
Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”)
Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”)

Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)

Who Will Win: Daniel Kaluuya

Who Should Win: Kaluuya

Upset Alert: Paul Raci

Reasoning: The only reason I have Raci because the voters love to reward under-the-radar veteran actors (he has been working for decades) and there is potential for Stanfield to siphon off some of his castmate’s votes. However, Kaluuya’s turn has perhaps been the most talked-about performance of the year.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Maria Bakalova (‘Borat Subsequent Movie”)
Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Olivia Colman (“The Father”)
Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”)
Yuh-jung Youn (“Minari”)

Who Will Win: Yuh-jung Youn

Who Should Win:Youn

Upset Alert: Maria Bakalova

Reasoning: This a traditionally a category you see an upset, and Bakalova has plenty of support going into the voting process. However, Youn has been the front runner for too long not to take home Oscar.

Best Animated Feature Film

“Onward” (Pixar)
“Over the Moon” (Netflix)
“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Netflix)
“Soul” (Pixar)
Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV Plus/GKIDS)

Who Will Win: Soul

Who Should Win: Soul

Upset Alert: None

Reasoning: Wolfwalkers has plenty of fans, but Soul is a groundbreaking animation classic.

Best Adapted Screenplay

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Nina Pedrad
“The Father,” Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller
Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao
“One Night in Miami,” Kemp Powers
“The White Tiger,” Ramin Bahrani

Who Will Win: The Father

Who Should Win: The Father

Upset Alert: Nomadland

Reasoning: The Father is one of the great adapted screenplays in recent memory, but Nomadland’s impressive combination of the non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century is remarkably mindful, stoic, and just so beautiful.

Best Original Screenplay

“Judas and the Black Messiah.” Screenplay by Will Berson, Shaka King; Story by Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas
“Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung
“Promising Young Woman,” Emerald Fennell
“Sound of Metal.” Screenplay by Darius Marder, Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance
“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Aaron Sorkin

Who Will Win: Promising Young Woman

Who Should Win: Promising Young Woman

Upset Alert: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Reasoning: Fennell’s brave and ambitious script for Promising Young Woman is a mix of revenge thrills and pitch-black dark comedy perfectly sums up the #MeToo movement.

Best Original Song

“Fight for You,” (“Judas and the Black Messiah”). Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas
“Hear My Voice,” (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”). Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite
Húsavík,” (“Eurovision Song Contest”). Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson
“Io Si (Seen),” (“The Life Ahead”). Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini
“Speak Now,” (“One Night in Miami”). Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

Who Will Win:“Speak Now,” (“One Night in Miami”).

Who Should Win: “Speak Now”

Upset Alert: Húsavík,” (“Eurovision Song Contest”)

Reasoning: The Academy loves a good comedic song, but as much as I have rewatched Eurovision’s delightfully sweet and funny rendition, One Night in Miami’s “Speak Now” is of the moment.

Best Original Score

“Da 5 Bloods,” Terence Blanchard
“Mank,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
“Minari,” Emile Mosseri
“News of the World,” James Newton Howard
“Soul,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste

Who Will Win: “Soul”

Who Should Win: “Soul”

Upset Alert: “Minari”

Reasoning: Reznor is nominated twice and that could split votes and allow Mosseri’s deeply felt score to take home an award for Minari.

Best Sound

“Greyhound,” Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman
“Mank,” Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin
“News of the World,” Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett
“Soul,” Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker
“Sound of Metal,” Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh

Who Will Win: “Sound of Metal”

Who Should Win: “Sound of Metal”

Upset Alert: “Greyhound”

Reasoning: Giving Metal an award for turning off the sound then back up again is head-scratching, but here we are. Do not get me wrong, it’s a fantastic film and this will be the one way to honor it tonight.

Best Costume Design

“Emma,” Alexandra Byrne
“Mank,” Trish Summerville
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Ann Roth
“Mulan,” Bina Daigeler

“Pinocchio,” Massimo Cantini Parrini

Who Will Win: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Who Should Win: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Upset Alert: “Emma”

Reasoning: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the most impressive-looking film to come out this year and the reason for that is Ms. Summerville’s lustrous designs.

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow” (Disney Plus/Pixar)
“Genius Loci” (Kazak Productions)
“If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix)
“Opera” (Beasts and Natives Alike)
“Yes-People” (CAOZ hf. Hólamói)

Who Will Win: “If Anything Happens I Love You”

Who Should Win: “If Anything Happens I Love You”

Upset Alert: None

Reasoning: Netflix’s animated short is a pensive exercise about love, loss, and grief while packing a powerful punch that leaves an indelible mark.

Best Live-Action Short Film

“Feeling Through”
“The Letter Room”
“The Present”
“Two Distant Strangers”
“White Eye”

Who Will Win: “Two Distant Strangers”

Who Should Win: “The Letter Room”

Upset Alert: “Feeling Through”

Reasoning: Two Distant Strangers is the Green Book of live-action shorts.

Best Cinematography

“Judas and the Black Messiah,” Sean Bobbitt
“Mank,” Erik Messerschmidt
“News of the World,” Dariusz Wolski
Nomadland,” Joshua James Richards
“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Phedon Papamichael

Who Will Win: “Nomadland

Who Should Win: “Nomadland

Upset Alert: “Mank” or “Trial”

Reasoning: Mank has the that Hollywood zing and Trial’s film ending tracking shot is still talked about. However, Nomadland’s stunning shots and all-encompassing views beautifully sum up a generation’s loss that as time goes on leaves the rest of us behind.

Best Documentary Feature

“Collective,” Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana
“Crip Camp,” Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder
“The Mole Agent,” Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez
“My Octopus Teacher,” Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster
“Time,” Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn

Who Will Win: My Octopus Teacher

Who Should Win: “Collective

Upset Alert: None

Reasoning: This was a fantastic year for documentary films and still speechless that films like Father Soldier Son, City Hall, and MLK/FBI are left standing in the cold while a guy who swam with an octopus is going to take home the Oscar.

Best Documentary Short Subject

“Colette,” Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard
“A Concerto Is a Conversation,” Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers
“Do Not Split,” Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook
“Hunger Ward,” Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman
“A Love Song for Latasha,” Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

Who Will Win: A Concerto Is a Conversation

Who Should Win: A Love Song for Latasha

Upset Alert: A Love Song for Latasha”

Reasoning: Perhaps no other film, even full-length features, is more current than A Love Song for Latasha, and it has the added bonus of taking an approach that is devastating.

Best Film Editing

“The Father,” Yorgos Lamprinos
Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao
“Promising Young Woman,” Frédéric Thoraval
“Sound of Metal,” Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Alan Baumgarten

Who Will Win: Sound of Metal,

Who Should Win: The Father

Upset Alert: “Trial”

Reasoning: You still need to explain to me how sound editing adds up to a film editing award, and Trial is a film that Hollywood traditionally loves to applaud (its impressive ending has a tracking shot that steals voter’s hearts). But how could you ignore The Father’s seamless scene integration when Hopkin’s Father’s dementia keeps kicking into hyperdrive?

Best International Feature Film

“Another Round” (Denmark)

“Better Days” (Hong Kong)
“Collective” (Romania)

“The Man Who Sold His Skin” (Tunisia)
“Quo Vadis, Aida?”(Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Who Will Win: “Another Round

Who Should Win: “Collective

Upset Alert: Quo Vadis, Aida?

Reasoning: Around is an overall crowd favorite, but there has been a strong push of appreciation for Quo Vadis, Aida?. For me, Collective is the kind of vehemently told film that offers a searing look at international politics and actually has the power to change things.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Emma,” Marese Langan, Laura Allen, Claudia Stolze
“Hillbilly Elegy,” Eryn Krueger Mekash, Patricia Dehaney, Matthew Mungle
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson
“Mank,” Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams, Colleen LaBaff
“Pinocchio,” Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli, Francesco Pegoretti

Who Will Win: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Who Should Win: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Upset Alert: Mank

Reasoning: There is nothing that Hollywood loves more than patting themselves on the back for recreating the world of the golden age of Hollywood. The European side of the Academy could siphon off a few votes for Emma.

Best Production Design

“The Father.” Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton
“Mank.” Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale
“News of the World.” Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan
“Tenet.” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

Who Will Win: “Mank

Who Should Win: “Mank

Upset Alert: None

Reasoning: There is nothing that Hollywood loves more than patting themselves on the back for recreating the world of the golden age of Hollywood. In this case, they are actually right.

Best Visual Effects

“Love and Monsters,” Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox
“The Midnight Sky,” Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins
“Mulan,” Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram
“The One and Only Ivan,” Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez
“Tenet,” Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley, and Scott Fisher

Who Will Win: “Tenet

Who Should Win: “Tenet

Upset Alert: None

Reasoning: I may have issues with Tenet‘s painfully obvious plot twist, but you cannot argue with its awe-inspiring set-pieces and innovative take on special effects.

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