UPDATE 10/21: Netflix announced late Wednesday morning that Chadwick Boseman will indeed be submitted and pushed in Best Actor for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Doing things a bit different this month and coupling supporting actor and best actor as the two categories are especially fluid this year, as I detail in my new supporting actor prediction piece.
Can Chadwick Boseman Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and unseat frontrunner Anthony Hopkins? Netflix seems to think so. Boseman is front and center in the film’s poster and first trailer and of course, his passing will be looming large over the film upon its release. It also gives the streamer a chance for Oscar history – the first time an actor earns two posthumous nominations in the same year. It feels like a stretch, a pretty far one, when they have some security with Delroy Lindo in lead (for Da 5 Bloods) but it also now gives them a shot at Boseman in supporting for Da 5 Bloods. Not to mention a clear lead role and push for Gary Oldman in Mank is a given. It’s a big risk to push Boseman here (and go for a Da 5 Bloods supporting nod against stronger competition from his own co-stars) but one that could pay off handsomely and historically.
Speaking of Gary Oldman, I almost have a weird feeling that he could end up being one of this year’s high-profile snubs. You know what I’m talking about, the person that nabs SAG, Golden Globe, Critics Choice and BAFTA and then, even in a Best Picture nominee, finds themselves on the outside on Oscar nomination morning. I dunno, just a feeling.
Adding even more to the Netflix conundrum is the possibility of either Eddie Redmayne or Sacha Baron Cohen going lead for The Trial of the Chicago 7. They’re the screentime standouts in the film but I’m not sure how the streamer can expect much more out of this category, especially if Boseman becomes a thing. I’m knocking Cohen back down into Other Contenders this month since his chances in supporting are so much better. But we’ll see how category placement shakes out soon, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) submission deadline is November 20 and after that (if not before) we’ll know.
UPDATE 10/23: It was announced by A24 on Friday, October 23 that Steven Yeun will be campaigned in lead for Minari. He is now off the supporting actor chart and will be moving forward, and I have edited.
Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Best Actor for October.
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – new entry this month
- Anthony Hopkins – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
- Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
- Tom Hanks – News of the World (Universal Pictures)
- Steven Yeun – Minari (A24)
- Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
- Gary Oldman – Mank (Netflix)
- Trevante Rhodes – The United States vs Billie Holiday (Paramount Pictures)
- Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)
- Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros)
Other Contenders: Ben Affleck – The Way Back (Warner Bros), Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix), Gabriel Basso – Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix), Winston Duke – Nine Days (Sony Pictures Classics), George Clooney – The Midnight Sky (Netflix), Colin Firth – Supernova (Bleecker Street), Max Harwood – Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (20th Century), Tom Holland – Cherry (Apple TV+), Dev Patel – The Personal History of David Copperfield (Searchlight), LaKeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros), Mark Wahlberg – Good Joe Bell (Solstice Studios)
This article has been updated since its original publication.