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Awards Season / Oscar Predictions Update: New Frontrunners Emerging As the Academy Votes?

Voting is officially open for the Academy Awards today. Folks, this is where decisions are made. If you’re a member of the Academy, you may have been considering your ballot for weeks. I’ve spoken to multiple voters who have a solid idea who and what they like. However, it’s also clear from this unprecedented year that plenty of Oscar voters are not nearly as keyed in as usual. What does that mean for the nominations? It’s impossible to say, but the same two possibilities continue to loom large. Either Oscar will be closer than ever to the precursors, and especially the Guilds, or we’re in for some wild picks no one can see coming.

Right now, the tide may well be turning in Best Picture. We won’t know for a bit, but while it’s certainly possible that Nomadland winning Best Drama at the Golden Globes means nothing, it may mean a ton, too. Not the Globe win, specifically, but seeing this smaller film win with a group that tends to go for the bigger and shinier movie. Critics Choice this weekend could follow suit, and in that case, it may really be the case that Nomadland has pulled ahead of The Trial of the Chicago 7. At this very moment, I think they’re 1A and 1B, however you want to slice it, with Promising Young Woman lurking behind. Sources close to the campaign are high on their chances, seeing a potential upset brewing with CCA. If that does happen, there’s your springboard for that flick. Especially if that happens as Oscar voters are beginning to turn in their ballots, that could be huge. Members of the Academy are starting to vote with the knowledge that Nomadland has a win on the board, The Trial of the Chicago 7 feels like an easier win, and that anything is possible. That sense of mystery could really help something like Promising Young Woman. Time will tell…

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It’s a very interesting time, to be sure. In my write up of the immediate Golden Globe aftermath (here), I had this to say:

Not only did they spread the love (Borat Subsequent MoviefilmNomadland, and Soul each won two Globes), they were surprising shutouts for Mank and Promising Young Woman. But wait, there’s more. While there were upsets and unexpected winners in several categories, there really wasn’t anything that changed the nature of the Oscar race. I’ll tackle it more on Friday in an Awards column, but for example, Nomadland beat The Trial of the Chicago 7 in Best Motion Picture – Drama, but the Globes rarely predict the winner there. So, Aaron Sorkin‘s film may have held serve, actually. Weird, right? Don’t get me wrong, Nomadland is in a good spot that any other flick would likely be happy to trade into, but a lot is still to be decided. If nothing else, it does seem to signal that it’s a two horse race for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. More soon, but now, check out the winners below.

So, where do we stand? Basically, we’re waiting to see if the impending Critics Choice Awards this weekend show whether the Globes were course-correcting after bad publicity or starting a trend. Then, the Producers Guild of America will reveal on Monday essentially what the Best Picture finalists are with their nominees. Things are happening, ladies and gentlemen. In a few days, we’ll have more information. In the meantime, Academy members have their ballots, so pay attention to what happens now!


As a reminder, predictions have been updated yet again, and not just for the Oscar, either. Yes, in addition to the Academy Awards, we have Film Independent Spirit Award winner predictions, with the same going for SAG, along with picks for the Directors Guild and Producers Guild awards, the latter of which announces on Monday. So, be sure to look at those DGA and PGA predictions, as well. Plus, Writers Guild winner predictions are here as well! Have at it, folks, and as always, we’re not far out from another update…


For easy reference, here are my current Oscar picks:

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

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: Youn Yuh-jung for Minari)

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

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

Best Animated Feature – Soul (Second Spot: Wolfwalkers)

Best Production Design – Mank (Second Spot: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)

Best Cinematography – Nomadland (Second Spot: Mank)

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

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

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

Best Sound – Sound of Metal (Second Spot: News of the World)

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 another update next week!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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