We’re at the last Oscar predictions of the ‘pre-season’ with the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice all announcing nominations next week. This last week gave us the National Board of Review and AFI Top 10a, and Spirit Award nominations. Let’s see how those wins and lists impact our contenders now, and historically.
Only three times in the last 30 years has the National Board of Review Best Film winner missed out on a Best Picture Oscar nomination: 2014’s A Most Violent Year, 2000’s Quills and 1998’s Gods and Monsters. While Quills and Gods and Monsters earned other Oscar nominations (Gods and Monsters won Adapted Screenplay), only A Most Violent Year got zero (“very disrespectful”). That bodes well for Da 5 Bloods, which was already a major contender. It also landed an AFI mention but its budget prohibited it from Spirit Awards contention. I’ve already moved Spike Lee up in Director and now Da 5 Bloods moves up here as well. The only films to win the Best Picture Oscar this century after missing NBR’s Top 10 were 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, 2017’s The Shape of Water and 2019’s Parasite, the latter of which won Foreign Film. That potentially spells trouble for The Trial of the Chicago 7 unless it becomes either an industry like the first two or a passion pick like Parasite come Oscar winner voting time.
Five films have hit AFI, NBR and the Spirit Awards and still missed a Best Picture nomination: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), The Florida Project (2017) and Eighth Grade, First Reformed, If Beale Street Could Talk (2018). What else all of those films have in common? They all missed PGA. While Nomadland is probably assured a nomination there, Minari will need it to not become the sixth film on that list. The A24 connection can’t be ignored; since winning Best Picture with 2016’s Moonlight, their record has been mixed at best. 2017’s Lady Bird got all three and made it in but of those five who missed, three are A24 releases (TFP, EG, FR). Get to work, A24!
One thing about that AFI/NBR/Spirit Awards list: Sound of Metal made it in Best First Feature, along with The Forty-Year Old Version, giving them a leg up there. Sound of Metal is the bigger beneficiary as its also a major player in Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Sound. Amazon Studios has been doing an outstanding job dual promoting Sound of Metal and One Night in Miami and there is a chance both could get in.
What happens next week with SAG, the Globes and Critics’ Choice will set the path for those two films, and the rest, until we get to the Producers Guild nominations on March 8.
Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Best Picture for January.
Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – new entry this month
1. Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Chloé Zhao (producers)
2. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Stuart M. Besser, Matt Jackson, Marc Platt, Tyler Thompson (producers)
3. Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Jon Kilik, Spike Lee, Beatriz Levin, Lloyd Levin (producers)
4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Todd Black, Denzel Washington, Dany Wolf (producers)
5. Mank (Netflix)
David Fincher, Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth, Douglas Urbanski (producers)
6. News of the World (Universal Pictures)
Gary Goetzman, Gregory Goodman, Gail Mutrux (producers)
7. Minari (A24)
Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Christina Oh (producers)
8. One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)
Jess Wu Calder, Keith Calder, Jody Klein (producers)
9. Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros)
Charles D. King, Ryan Coogler, Shaka King (producers)
10. Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
Tom Ackerley, Ben Browning, Emerald Fennell, Ashley Fox, Margot Robbie (producers)
Other Contenders (alphabetical)
Another Round (Samuel Goldwyn Mayer)
Kasper Dissing, Sisse Graum Jørgensen (producers)
The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
Philippe Carcassonne, Simon Friend, Jean-Louis Livi, David Parfitt, Christophe Spadone (producers)
First Cow (A24)
Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly (producers)
Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani (producers)
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)
Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy (producers)
The Prom (Netflix)
Adam Anders, Dori Berinstein, Chad Beguelin, Bill Damaschke, Bob Martin, Ryan Murphy, Scott Robertson, Matthew Sklar, Alexis Martin Woodall (producers)
Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Bill Benz, Cathy Benz (producers)
Dana Murray (producer)
Tenet (Warner Bros)
Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas (producers)
The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu)
Lee Daniels, Jordan Fudge, Tucker Tooley, Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum, Pamela Oas Williams (producers)
One Night in Miami image courtesy of Amazon Studios