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Year in Advance Oscar Predictions Update: When Will We Get a Feel for the Academy in 2021?

June is not necessarily a time when you’re thinking about the Academy Awards. Especially this year, when the Oscars literally were almost yesterday, award season seems far off in the distance. And yet…the Cannes Film Festival lineup was announced this week. Like it or not, we’re not too far away from paying more attention to what contenders are and aren’t doing. Hell, in four weeks, we’ll be on to the second half of the year. 2021 is truly flying by! Today, we’re going to take a brief moment to check in on my Year in Advance Predictions, which admittedly, have barely changed.

What’s on my mind today is how hard it’ll be to figure out what the Academy is going to be in the mood for. The 2020 (into 2021) version of Oscar largely went for things that could have been seen as longer shots in the past. Nomadland and Promising Young Woman, for example, over-performed in comparison to how that sort of film may have previously done. If we’re continuing on that path, the movies likely to be in contention could be of all shapes and sizes. However, members of the Academy do sometimes like to course-correct. Green Book, anyone? Now, we may be past that, but it won’t be until deeper into this year that we see what’s looking like it can connect with voters.

Netflix

At this stage, hope springs eternal for folks backing odder plays. If you think Dune or Eternals, or even Zola, has a real shot at a Best Picture nomination…why not? They would certainly be more interesting choices than some of the more traditional presumed contenders (and in at least one case, better too). While West Side Story seems destined for a nomination, In the Heights would be the more important musical nomination in Picture. Does that mean it’ll happen? No, but it’s possible. At this stage, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big. As we’ve seen in the fairly recent past, dreams can come true with these new Academy voters.

In my prior update, I had this to say:

What makes this year either more exciting or frustrating to speculate about is how hard the voting body is to pin down now. Especially as Best Picture again becomes a mandatory ten, what will the Academy membership do? Will they continue to cite the smaller and more esoteric fare that benefitted the first time around? Will Oscar voters back bigger and more mainstream titles now, as was initially hoped for? In all likelihood, it’ll be a bouillabaisse of everything, pulling from all circles. As the voters evolve, so too are the nominees, as we’re seeing these past few years.

Eternals

Below, you can once again see my advance Oscar predictions. There still isn’t anything in particular that screams out as an obvious pick, so I stuck with my initial pick, having Adam McKay‘s Don’t Look Up as the big winner. As previously mentioned, I’ve read the script, so I can attest to it being ambitious, and certainly something that Netflix can launch an interesting campaign for. It also doesn’t feel like a winner, though maybe that sort of counter-intuitive feeling is where the smart money is at? We shall see, but this list is sure to change once I give it another update, likely in a month or two…

Here now are my sure to be wrong Year in Advance predictions for the Academy Awards, written out for easy access. Behold:

BEST PICTURE

1. Don’t Look Up
2. Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project
3. Being the Ricardos
4. Coda
5. Canterbury Glass
6. Nightmare Alley
7. West Side Story
8. Stillwater
9. Blue Bayou
10. The Whale

Next in Line: 11. The French Dispatch 12. In the Heights 13. House of Gucci 14. Respect 15. The Last Duel 16. Dune 17. The Eyes of Tammy Faye 18. Blonde 19. Don’t Worry Darling 20. A Journal for Jordan 21. C’mon C’mon 22. The Tragedy of Macbeth 23. King Richard 24. Dear Evan Hanson 25. Spencer 

Also Consider: 26. Three Thousand Years of Longing 27. Cyrano 28. Tick…Tick…Boom! 29. Annette 30. Luca 31. Limbo 32. The Harder They Fall 33. Passing 34. The Lost King 35. Benedetta 36. Mass 37. The Way of the Wind 38. The Card Counter 39. Eternals 40. The Power of the Dog 41. Last Night in Soho 42. Zola 43. Belfast 44. A Hero 45. Next Goal Wins 46. Red Rocket 47. Cry Macho 48. No Time to Die 49. Black Widow 50. A Quiet Place Part II

BEST DIRECTOR

1. Paul Thomas Anderson – Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project
2. David O. Russell – Canterbury Glass
3. Guillermo del Toro – Nightmare Alley
4. Adam McKay – Don’t Look Up
5. Steven Spielberg – West Side Story

Next in Line: 6. Justin Chon – Blue Bayou 7. Darren Aronofsky – The Whale 8. Ridley Scott – House of Gucci (or The Last Duel) 9. Aaron Sorkin – Being the Ricardos 10. Tom McCarthy – Stillwater

Also Consider: 11. Wes Anderson – The French Dispatch 12. Mike Mills – C’mon C’mon 13. Justin Lin – In the Heights 14. Denis Villleanuve – Dune 15. Denzel Washington – A Journal for Jordan 16. Andrew Dominik – Blonde 17. Sian Heder – Coda 18. Joel Coen – The Tragedy of Macbeth 19. Olivia Wilde – Don’t Worry Darling 20. Pablo Larrain – Spencer 21. Leos Carax – Annette 22. George Miller – Three Thousand Years of Longing 23. Terrence Malick – The Way of the Wind 24. Taika Waititi – Next Goal Wins 25. Joe Wright – Cyrano

BEST ACTOR

1. Will Smith – King Richard
2. Michael B. Jordan – A Journal for Jordan
3. Matt Damon – Stillwater
4. Leonardo DiCaprio – Don’t Look Up
5. Brendan Fraser – The Whale

Next in Line: 6. Justin Chon – Blue Bayou 7. Joaquin Phoenix – C’mon C’mon 8. Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth 9. Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos 10. Peter Dinklage – Cyrano

Also Consider: 11. Michael Fassbender – Next Goal Wins 12. Clifton Collins Jr. – Jockey 13. Adam Driver – Annette (or The Last Duel) 14. Christian Bale – Canterbury Glass 15. Idris Elba – Three Thousand Years of Longing 16. Oscar Isaac – The Card Counter 17. Sklyer Gisondo – Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project 18. Andrew Garfield – The Eyes of Tammy Faye 19. Timothee Chalamet – Dune 20. Anthony Ramos – In the Heights

BEST ACTRESS

1. Ana de Armas – Blonde
2. Kristen Stewart – Spencer
3. Jennifer Lawrence – Don’t Look Up
4. Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos
5. Jennifer Hudson – Respect

Next in Line: 6. Frances McDormand – The Tragedy of Macbeth 7. Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye 8. Florence Pugh – Don’t Worry Darling 9. Emilia Jones – Coda 10.  Lady Gaga – House of Gucci

Also Consider: 11. Tilda Swinton – Three Thousand Years of Longing 12. Rachel Zegler – West Side Story 13. Marion Cotillard – Annette 14. Tessa Thompson – Passing 15. Charlotte Rampling – Benedetta 16. Taylour Paige – Zola 17. Anya Taylor-Joy – Last Night in Soho 18. Haley Bennett – Cyrano 19. Angelina Jolie – Those Who Wish Me Dead 20. Scarlet Johansson – Black Widow 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

1. Bradley Cooper – Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project (or Nightmare Alley)
2. Bradley Whitford – Tick…Tick…Boom!
3. J.K. Simmons – Being the Ricardos
4. Mark Rylance – Don’t Look Up
5. Colman Domingo – Zola

Next in Line: 6. Ben Affleck – The Last Duel 7. Corey Hawkins – The Tragedy of Macbeth 8. Adam Driver – House of Gucci 9. Bill Murray – The French Dispatch 10. Idris Elba – The Harder They Fall 

Also Consider: 11. Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog 12. Simon Helberg – Annette 13. Ben Mendelsohn –Cyrano 14. Lin-Manuel Miranda – In the Heights 15. Mark O’Brien – Blue Bayou 16. Brian D’Arcy James – West Side Story 17. Eugenio Derbez – Coda 18. Jalon Christian – A Journal for Jordan 19. Harry Styles – Don’t Worry Darling 20. Jason Isaacs – Mass 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1. Abigail Breslin – Stillwater2. Marlee Matlin – Coda
3. Alicia Vikander – Blue Bayou
4. Nina Arianda  – Being the Ricardos
5. Cate Blanchett – Nightmare Alley

Next in Line: 6. Saoirse Ronan – The French Dispatch 7. Toni Collette – Nightmare Alley 8. Samantha Morton  – The Whale 9. Jodie Comer – The Last Duel 10. Ruth Negga – Passing

Also Consider: 11. Martha Plimpton – Mass 12. Olga Merediz – In the Heights 13. Ariana DeBose – West Side Story 14. Meryl Streep – Don’t Look Up 15. Vanessa Hudgens –Tick…Tick…Boom! 16. Julianne Nicholson – Blonde 17. Riley Keough – Zola 18. Ann Dowd – Mass 19. Olivia Wilde – Don’t Worry Darling 20. Rita Moreno – West Side Story 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1. Coda
2. Blue Bayou
3. Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project
4. Don’t Look Up
5. Being the Ricardos

Next in Line: 6. The French Dispatch 7. The Whale 8. Stillwater 9. C’mon C’mon 10. Canterbury Glass

Also Consider: 11. Spencer 12. Annette 13. King Richard 14. The Card Counter 15. Last Night in Soho 16. The Eyes of Tammy Faye 17. Three Thousand Years of Longing 18. Red Rocket 19. The Northman 20. Mass

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

1. A Journal for Jordan
2. House of Gucci
3. West Side Story
4. Nightmare Alley
5. Zola

Next in Line: 6. The Last Duel 7. Blonde 8. The Tragedy of Macbeth 9. Next Goal Wins 10. Dear Evan Hanson

Also Consider: 11. Those Who Wish Me Dead 12. The Power of the Dog 13. Tick…Tick…Boom! 14. In the Heights 15. Dune 16. Cyrano 17. Cry Macho 18. Clerks III 19. No Time to Die 20. Eternals

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

1. Luca
2. The Mitchells vs. the Machines
3. Apollo 10 ½
4. Encanto
5. Flee

Next in Line: Coming Soon

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

1. Nightmare Alley
2. West Side Story
3. Dune
4. Being the Ricardos
5. The Last Duel

Next in Line: 6. House of Gucci 7. The French Dispatch 8. The Tragedy of Macbeth 9. No Time to Die 10. Canterbury Glass

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

1. House of Gucci
2. West Side Story
3. Canterbury Glass
4. Dune
5. Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project

Next in Line: 6. The Last Duel 7. Don’t Look Up 8. Nightmare Alley 9. The Whale 10. The Tragedy of Macbeth

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

1. House of Gucci
2. Don’t Worry Darling 
3. Being the Ricardos
4. The Last Duel
5. West Side Story

Next in Line: 6. Belfast 7. Last Night in Soho 8. Nightmare Alley 9. Blonde 10. Eternals

BEST FILM EDITING

1. Don’t Look Up
2. Being the Ricardos
3. Dune
4. Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project
5. No Time to Die

Next in Line: 6. Nightmare Alley 7. House of Gucci 8. The Whale 9. Canterbury Glass 10. Eternals

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

1. Being the Ricardos
2. Dune
3. The Suicide Squad
4. No Time to Die
5. Eternals

Next in Line: 6. West Side Story 7. Blonde 8. The Tragedy of Macbeth 9. Cyrano 10. Old

BEST SOUND

1. West Side Story
2. Dune
3. Top Gun: Maverick
4. In the Heights
5. No Time to Die

Next in Line: 6. Eternals 7. Tick…Tick…Boom! 8. A Quiet Place Part II 9. Nightmare Alley 10. Respect

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1. Dune
2. Eternals
3. No Time to Die
4. The Suicide Squad
5. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Next in Line: 6. Black Widow 7. Spider-Man: No Way Home 8. BIOS 9. Top Gun: Maverick 10. The Tomorrow War

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

1. Don’t Look Up
2. Dune
3. The Power of the Dog
4. Nightmare Alley
5. Canterbury Glass

Next in Line: 6. Luca 7. No Time to Die 8. The French Dispatch 9. Zola 10. Eternals

*The rest are TBD…*

In the Heights

Stay tuned for an update as the summer wraps up!

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Written by Joey Magidson

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