Fri. Oct 30th, 2020

2021 Oscar Predictions: SOUND (September)

With the announcement that Sound Editing and Sound Mixing would revert to a single category for the first time since 1982, it was met with mixed reactions, with sound specialists in both fields offering their thoughts. Some were on board with the unifying decision while others saw the two fields as requiring uniquely specific skills that should have remained separated. The number of Oscar nominees will remain the same; up to six statuettes may be awarded.  Eligible recipients may include one production sound mixer, two supervising sound editors and three rerecording mixers. It also marks the first time a category has been removed from the Oscars since Original Dramatic Score and Original Musical or Comedy Score merged in 1999 to become simply Original Score. 

With the ever-changing release schedules (I was literally re-editing this week’s predictions due to Disney’s moving major Oscar players off this season’s map), listing predictions right now almost seems in vain. With a categories like Sound or Visual Effects, those tent pole releases didn’t happen this year, and might not still. The fate of MGM/UA’s No Time to Die and Warner Bros’ Dune hang in the balance, which opens the door to a few films that might not have been top contenders to take their place if they also move off the calendar.

At the moment, Columbia Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life is the highest grossing film at the box office this year. Voters will be looking for visible hits to represent the sound category and we could also see the return of animated films here, which used to dominate the sound categories. Disney/Pixar’s Soul is at the top of that list. Amazon’s Sound of Metal is literally all about sound and might find a spot. Even with 20th Century’s West Side Story gone we’ll still a musical in Netflix’s The Prom plus three major music biopics for voters to listen to: MGM/UA’s Respect, Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Paramount’s The United States vs. Billie Holiday. While musicals had been easy nominations for sound mixing, sound editing was far more elusive until recently when 2016’s La La Land earned nominations in both and 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody actually won both, a first for a film of its kind, beating out traditional action fare that usually wins this award.

Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Sound for September.

1. Soul (Pixar)
Nominees TBD

2. Tenet (Warner Bros)
Nominees TBD

3. Dune (Warner Bros) [moved to October 2021]
Nominees TBD

4. Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
Nominees TBD

5. Mank (Netflix)
Nominees TBD


Other Contenders

Bad Boys for Life (Columbia Pictures)
Nominees TBD

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (Warner Bros)
Nominees TBD

Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Nominees TBD

The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures)
Nominees TBD

Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros)
Nominees TBD

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Nominees TBD

Mulan (Walt Disney Pictures)
Nominees TBD

News of the World (Universal Pictures)
Nominees TBD

No Time to Die (MGM/UA)
Nominees TBD

The Prom (Netflix)
Nominees TBD

Respect (MGM/UA)
Nominees TBD

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Nominees TBD

The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Paramount Pictures)
Nominees TBD

Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros)
Nominees TBD

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