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Awards Radar Community: Are We Sleeping on First Half Contenders?

As with most years, we seem to be building up to a final quarter of the 2021 cinematic year that’s filled with awards contenders. From September (and especially October) until the end of the year, Oscar hopefuls will all but litter the film landscape. Aside from a few big popcorn flicks, that will be a lot of what gets released. None of that is unusual, but most years do seem to have a movie or two from the first half or even first quarter/third that potential could spark the Academy’s fancy. Today, I want to ask if there’s any earlier titles from 2021 that you expect to contend for major awards season love.

If you ask me, the two main obvious ones are In the Heights and, go with me here…Zola. The former certainly has the potential to be a big deal again come the precursor season, but so too does the latter. In the Heights will have to contend with a lot of other musicals this year, but Zola is kind of its own thing, and with the right targeted campaign, can contend in Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. If you check my predictions (here or here), I actually have it doing well there, with WB’s musical just outside of several categories.

Next in line are the two animated titles in Luca and The Mitchells vs the Machines, both of which are early frontrunners for Best Animated Feature. They’re limited elsewhere, but technically, these might be the safest bets from the pre-fall film season.

Other movies you might consider for this answer would rely on targeted campaigns, but they’re out there. They include Cruella, A Quiet Place Part II, and maybe even Shiva Baby. Plus, it won’t happen with Oscar, but Bo Burnham: Inside may well show up in several spots…

So, the question goes to you all now: are we sleeping on any first half contenders, and if so, what are they? Feel free to refer to my piece on the best of the first half (here). I, along with the rest of the staff, will be very curious to see what you think. Be sure to tell us below in the comments section, and as always, thanks for reading!

Do you think we’re sleeping on first half contenders? Let us know


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Written by Joey Magidson

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