Mank (2020) - Courtesy of Netflix
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Awards Season Update: Wither the Below the Line Categories

Earlier this week, the Academy announced their shortlists in nine Oscar categories. This now annual tradition is yet another point in the season which delineates a moment where things are heating up. As I never miss a chance to say, however, this season is unlike any other. So, while knowing a bit more about these below the line categories are helpful, it comes during a time where spectacle type films are in short supply. So, while we know who and what are in contention, it’s harder than ever to gauge what kind of a mood voters will be in, in regards to these categories. Will they embrace the smaller nature of things? Will they default to the largest scale movie wherever possible? We simple do not know yet, even though my updated predictions from a few days ago certainly tries to make sense of it all.

The shortlists are somewhat of a cheat sheet, as you all know. More than anything else, they confirm what we suspect, or occasionally clue us in to a potential surprise or two. This time around, frankly, nothing stood out to me in a major way. Sure, it was disappointing to see “Everybody Cries” from The Outpost (which I made the case for here) miss in Best Original Song, but that category has long been a crapshoot. Other than not, nothing left me really scratching my head or my mouth agape. Call me jaded, perhaps, but it felt largely routine. There are still some interesting possibilities for the Academy, but it does sort of feel like the usual suspects for this awards season, overall.

(from left) Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) in News of the World, co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass.

Predictions have been updated again (including the Shorts categories), and not just for the Academy Awards, like I mentioned last week. Yes, in addition to Oscar, we have winner predictions for the Golden Globes and SAG, along with initial picks for the Directors Guild and Producers Guild awards. So, be sure to look at those DGA and PGA predictions, as well. Plus, this week’s new addition is Film Independent Spirit Award winner predictions! Have at it, folks, and as always, we’re not far out from another update…

For easy reference, here are my current Oscar picks:

Focus Features

Best Picture
 – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Second Spot: Nomadland)

Best Director – Chloe Zhao for Nomadland (Second Spot: David Fincher for Mank)

Best Actor – Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Second Spot: Anthony Hopkins for The Father)

Best Actress – Carey Mulligan for Promising Young Woman (Second Spot: Viola davis for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)

Best Supporting Actor – Daniel Kaluuya for Judas and the Black Messiah (Second Spot: Sacha Baron Cohen for The Trial of the Chicago 7)

Best Supporting Actress – Glenn Close for Hillbilly Elegy (Second Spot: Maria Bakalova for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)

Best Original Screenplay – Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman (Second Spot: Aaron Sorkin for The Trial of the Chicago 7)

Best Adapted Screenplay – Kemp Powers for One Night in Miami… (Second Spot: Chloe Zhao for Nomadland)

Best Animated Feature – Soul (Second Spot: Wolfwalkers)

Best Production Design – Mank (Second Spot: Tenet)

Best Cinematography – Nomadland (Second Spot: Mank)

Best Costume Design – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Second Spot: Emma.)

Best Film Editing – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Second Spot: Tenet)

Best Makeup & Hairstyling – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Second Spot: Mank)

Best Sound – Sound of Metal (Second Spot: Tenet)

Best Visual Effects – Tenet (Second Spot: The Midnight Sky)

Best Original Score – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for Soul (Second Spot: James Newton Howard for News of the World)

Best Original Song – Diane Warren – lo Si (Seen) from The Life Ahead (Second Spot: Leslie Odom Jr. and sam Ashworth – Speak Now from One Night in Miami…)

Best Documentary Feature – Dick Johnson is Dead (Second Spot: Crip Camp)

Best International Feature – Another Round (Second Spot: I’m No Longer Here)

Best Animated Short Film – If Anything Happens I Love You (Second Spot: Out)

Best Live Action Short Film – The Human Voice (Second Spot: Two Distant Strangers)

Best Documentary Short Subject – A Love Song for Latasha (Second Spot: Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa)


Stay tuned for updated predictions next week!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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