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Awards Season Update: Could ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ Be the New ‘Spotlight’ in Best Picture?

For a significant portion of the year, my predicted winner in Best Picture has been The Trial of the Chicago 7. Aaron Sorkin‘s film has been in the pole position, Oscar prediction-wise, for months now. However, as the season has evolved, some of its potential wins have slipped away, to the point where I now only have it winning one other Academy Award. Yes, I would have it following in the footsteps of a movie like Spotlight. How realistic is this? What other possibilities exist for the flick? And where do we stand? Those are some of the questions I’ll be addressing today in this update.

If you recall, Spotlight won Best Picture with only a Best Original Screenplay win to pair with it. Here, I have The Trial of the Chicago 7 taking Picture and Best Film Editing. Now, two wins, including Picture, is rare. Aside from Spotlight, it was last done with The Greatest Show on Earth in 1952. That being said, things are changing. 12 Years a Slave, Argo, Crash, Green Book, and Moonlight all recently won the top prize with a grand total of three victories. Last year, Parasite was looking like it could do the same, before it wound up with a bigger total. The days of the Academy giving a half dozen or more prizes to their Best Picture winner seem to be over. Now, they spread their Oscar love around. So, while this slim win total may seem like a warning sign to some, it’s not to me.

How else could things go for Sorkin’s flick? Obviously, an upset for him in Best Director would settle a lot of stomachs at Netflix, as well as holding off challengers in Best Original Screenplay. However, I think the place to watch out is in Best Supporting Actor. Daniel Kaluuya is riding a hot hand right now for Judas and the Black Messiah, but Sacha Baron Cohen is likely to be the film’s only acting representation. If that branch truly loves the movie, they may end up backing what now seems like an upset play. Especially if The Trial of the Chicago 7 takes SAG Ensemble, this potential surprise is one to keep in the back of your mind.


Elsewhere, you’ll notice a big jump up for Emerald Fennell‘s Promising Young Woman. Why? Well, I think after The Trial of the Chicago 7, Best Picture can only really go to Nomadland, but Promising Young Woman is making a case for itself. It captured the zeitgeist, hasn’t really proven to be controversial, will have the Academy’s younger vote, and may go into the final category with wins in Best Actress for Carey Mulligan (beating Nomadland‘s Frances McDormand) and Best Original Screenplay for Fennell (beating Sorkin). Especially if Fennell gets into the Best Director field, watch out.

Once again, predictions have been updated, and not just for the Academy Awards, either. Yes, in addition to Oscar, we have Film Independent Spirit Award winner predictions, with the same going 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 Writers Guild 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:

Searchlight Pictures

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)

Focus Features

Stay tuned for another article next week, as well as updated predictions!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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