2020 Oscar Predictions

Updated January 14th, 2021

Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

1. Chloe Zhao – Nomadland

A woman in her sixties after losing everything in the Great Recession embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

2. David Fincher - Mank

Mank follows screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s tumultuous development of Orson Welles’ iconic masterpiece Citizen Kane (1941).

3. Aaron Sorkin - The Trial of the Chicago 7

What was intended to be a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The organizers of the protest–including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale–were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot and the trial that followed was one of the most notorious in history.

4. Spike Lee - Da 5 Bloods

Four African American Vietnam veterans return to Vietnam. They are in search of the remains of their fallen squad leader and the promise of buried treasure. These heroes battle forces of humanity and nature while confronted by the lasting ravages of the immorality of the Vietnam War.

5. Regina King - One Night in Miami

In the aftermath of Cassius Clay’s defeat of Sonny Liston in 1964, the boxer meets with Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown to change the course of history in the segregated South.

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6. George C. Wolfe – Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey. Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious trumpeter Levee – who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry – spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives.​

7. Lee Isaac Chung – Minari

It’s the 1980s, and David, a seven-year-old Korean American boy, is faced with new surroundings and a different way of life when his father, Jacob, moves their family from the West Coast to rural Arkansas. His mother, Monica, is aghast that they live in a mobile home in the middle of nowhere, and naughty little David and his sister are bored and aimless. When his equally mischievous grandmother arrives from Korea to live with them, her unfamiliar ways arouse David’s curiosity. Meanwhile, Jacob, hell-bent on creating a farm on untapped soil, throws their finances, his marriage, and the stability of the family into jeopardy.

8. Paul Greengrass - News of the World

A Texan traveling across the wild West bringing the news of the world to local townspeople, agrees to help rescue a young girl who was kidnapped.

9. Shaka King – Judas and the Black Messiah

The story of Fred Hampton, deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party, who was assassinated in 1969 by a Cook County tactical unit on the orders of the FBI and Chicago Police Department.​​

10. Emerald Fennell - Promising Young Woman

An American oil-rig rough neck from Oklahoma travels to Marseille to visit his estranged daughter who is in prison for a murder she claims she did not commit. Confronted with language barriers, cultural differences, and a complicated legal system, Bill makes it his personal mission to exonerate his daughter. In the process, he develops a friendship with a local woman and her young daughter and embarks on a personal journey of discovery and a larger sense of belonging in the world.

11. Florian Zeller - The Father

Faced with sudden doubts about her marriage, a young New York mother teams up with her larger-than-life playboy father to tail her husband.

12. Eliza Hittman - Never Rarely Sometimes Always

A pair of teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek out medical help after an unintended pregnancy.

13. Christopher Nolan - Tenet

Armed with only one word – Tenet – and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.

14. Darius Marder - Sound of Metal

A heavy-metal drummer's life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.

15. Kornél Mundruczó - Pieces of a Woman

A grieving woman embarks on an emotional journey after the loss of her baby.

Also Considered:

16. Kelly Reichardt - First Cow

A skilled cook has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant also seeking his fortune. Soon the two collaborate on a successful business.

17. Rod Lurie – The Outpost

A small unit of U.S. soldiers, alone at the remote Combat Outpost Keating, located deep in the valley of three mountains in Afghanistan, battles an overwhelming force of Taliban fighters in a coordinated attack. The Battle of Kamdesh became the bloodiest American engagement of the Afghanistan War in 2009, and Bravo Troop 3-61 CAV became one of the most decorated units of the 19-year conflict.

18. Ramin Bahrani - The White Tiger

The epic journey of a poor Indian driver who must use his wit and cunning to break free from servitude to his rich masters and rise to the top of the heap.

19. Sam Levinson - Malcolm & Marie

A director and his girlfriend's relationship is tested after they return home from his movie premiere and await critics' responses.

20. Kevin Macdonald - The Mauritanian

A detainee at the U.S military's Guantanamo Bay detention center is held without charges for over a decade and seeks help from a defense attorney for his release.