Frontrunner Friday Oscar Predictions: No ‘Mank’ land


Critics season is here, pandemic be damned. As of today, Boston and New York have announced their winners, while Indiana (and its long, longlists), Florida and Chicago have announced nominations and in them all you’ll notice something rather curious…the near total dismissal of one of this season’s perceived Oscar frontrunners, Mank.

It’s not like the film isn’t well-reviewed, it is. So why is it not clicking with critics groups, even for nominations? David Fincher is in the top tier of cinephile critics’ lists and his films have enjoyed enormous success from them before but there feels like an undercurrent of the most dreaded phrase you can describe a movie with: cold. It’s practically a death knell. But will Academy voters, especially old school ones who might still remember the height of the “Golden Age of Hollywood,” feel differently? We’ve seen many times where actual industry and guild voters have turned the tables on critics’ picks, with Fincher being one of the most memorable recipients of that with 2010’s The Social Network.

Chadwick Boseman, who received supporting actor nominations for Da 5 Bloods from Chicago and Florida and a win from New York today, is looking more and more locked to make Academy Awards history as the first person to earn two posthumous Oscar nominations in the same year. James Dean received two nominations after his death in 1955 but in subsequent years.

While you can sometimes scoff at critics’ picks, the last time three of NYFCC’s acting winners were snubbed by the Oscars was 1998. Only Nick Nolte managed an Oscar nomination, while Cameron Diaz (There’s Something About Mary), Bill Murray (Rushmore), and Lisa Kudrow (The Opposite of Sex) were snubbed. Interestingly enough, all for comedic performances, which have always been notorious gets for acting Oscars. That isn’t the case for three of this year’s NYFCC winners: Lindo, Sidney Flanigan (Never Rarely Sometimes Always) and Boseman. Only Borat‘s Maria Bakalova could fall prey to Oscar’s comedy curse.

Speaking of NYFCC winners, with First Cow taking it this year, looking back at the last decade only one winner there failed to earn a Best Picture nomination – 2015’s Carol. Can it break in? I’m not so sure…yet. But, since 1935, the NYFCC winner for best film has never failed to receive any Oscar nominations. While that sounds loose and open, consider this: no film that has won the org’s top award has failed to be nominated in any major Oscar categories, including picture, director, acting and/or screenplay.

Here are my Frontrunner Friday Oscar predictions for December 18, 2020. For monthly predictions, click on each category title.


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. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Todd Black, Denzel Washington, Dany Wolf (producers)

4. Mank (Netflix)
David Fincher, Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth, Douglas Urbanski (producers)

5. Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)Jon Kilik, Spike Lee, Beatriz Levin, Lloyd Levin (producers) 

6. News of the World (Universal Pictures)
Gary Goetzman, Gregory Goodman, Gail Mutrux (producers)

7. The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
Philippe Carcassonne, Simon Friend, Jean-Louis Livi, David Parfitt, Christophe Spadone (producers)

8. Minari (A24)
Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Christina Oh (producers)

9. Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros)
Charles D. King, Ryan Coogler, Shaka King (producers)

10. One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)
Jess Wu Calder, Keith Calder, Jody Klein (producers)

BEST DIRECTOR (alphabetical by film)

1. Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

2. David Fincher – Mank (Netflix)

3. George C. Wolfe – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

4. Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

5. Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)


1. Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

2. Anthony Hopkins – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)

3. Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)

4. Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)

5. Gary Oldman – Mank (Netflix)


1. Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

2. Frances McDormand – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

3. Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)

4. Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)

5. Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)


1. Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros)

2. Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

3. Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)

4. Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

5. Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)


1. Amanda Seyfried – Mank (Netflix)

2. Olivia Colman – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)

3. Ellen Burstyn – Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)

4. Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)

5. Youn Yuh-jung – Minari (A24)


1. Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
Chloé Zhao (based on the book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” by Jessica Bruder)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (based on the play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” by August Wilson)

3. The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller (based on the play “Le Père” by Florian Zeller)

4. One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)
Kemp Powers (based on the play “One Night in Miami…” by Kemp Powers)

5. First Cow (A24)
Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond (based on the novel “The Half Life” by Jonathan Raymond)


1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Aaron Sorkin

2. Mank (Netflix)
Jack Fincher

3. Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee

4. Minari (A24)
Lee Isaac Chung

5. Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
Emerald Fennell


1. Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
Chloé Zhao

2. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Alan Baumgarten

3. Mank (Netflix)
Kirk Baxter

4. News of the World (Universal Pictures)
William Goldenberg

5. Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros)
Kristan Sprague


1. Mank (Netflix)
Erik Messerschmidt

2. Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
Joshua James Richards

3. Tenet (Warner Bros)
Hoyte van Hoytema

4. News of the World (Universal Pictures)
Dariusz Wolski

5. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Phedon Papamichael


1. Mank (Netflix)
Donald Graham Burt (production designer), Jan Pascale (set decorator)

2. Mulan (Walt Disney Pictures)
Grant Major (production designer), Anne Kuljian (set decorator)

3. The Midnight Sky (Netflix)
Jim Bissell (production designer), John Bush (set decorator)

4. News of the World (Universal Pictures)
David Crank (production designer), Elizabeth Keenan (set decorator)

5. Emma. (Focus Features)
Kave Quinn (production designer), Stella Fox (set decorations)


1. Mank (Netflix)
Trish Summerville

2. Emma. (Focus Features) 
Alexandra Byrne

3. Mulan (Walt Disney Pictures)
Bina Daigeler

4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Ann Roth

5. The Personal History of David Copperfield (Searchlight Pictures)
Suzie Harman, Robert Worley


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

2. Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
Nominees TBD

3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Nominees TBD

4. Bill & Ted Face the Music (Orion Pictures)
Nominees TBD

5. Pinocchio (Roadside Attractions)
Nominees TBD


1. Soul (Pixar)
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (and John Batiste, if eligible)

2. Mank (Netflix)
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

3. News of the World (Universal Pictures)
James Newton Howard

4. Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Terence Blanchard

5. Minari (A24)
Emile Mosseri


1. “lo Sì” (Seen)” from The Life Ahead (Netflix)
Written by Diane Warren 

2. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon (Netflix)
Written by Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield & Helen Park

3. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)
Written by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

4. “Husavik (My Hometown)” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Netflix)Written by Atli Örvarsson

5. “Just Sing” from Trolls: World Tour (DreamWorks Animation)
Written by Justin Timberlake, Ludwig Göransson, Max Martin and Sarah Aarons


1. Soul (Pixar)
Nominees TBD

2. Tenet (Warner Bros)
Nominees TBD

3. Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
Nominees TBD

4. The Midnight Sky  (Netflix)
Nominees TBD

5. Mank (Netflix)
Nominees TBD


1. The Midnight Sky (Netflix)
Nominees TBD

2. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros)
Nominees TBD

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

4. Mulan (Disney+)
Nominees TBD

5. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount Pictures)
Nominees TBD


1. Soul (Pixar)
Pete Docter, Dana Murray

2. Wolfwalkers (Apple TV+/GKIDS)
Stéphan Roelants, Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young, Nora Twomey

3. Over the Moon (Netflix)
Glen Keane, Peilin Chou, Gennie Rim

4. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (Netflix)
Richard Phelan, Will Becher

5. Onward (Pixar)
Dan Scanlon, Kori Rae


1. Collective (Magnolia Selects)
Alexander Nanau

2. Welcome to Chechnya (HBO Documentary Films)
David France

3. Time (Amazon Studios)
Garrett Bradley

4. Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (Netflix)
James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham

5. The Truffle Hunters (Sony Pictures Classics)
Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw


1. Another Round (Denmark)

2. Night of the Kings (Ivory Coast)

3. Collective (Romania)

4. A Sun (Taiwan)

5. Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

December 11, 2020: Frontrunner Friday Oscar Predictions: Juda-as! Juda-ah-as! Judas! Ka-luu-ya!

December 4, 2020: Frontrunner Friday Oscar Predictions: No Country for Nice Men

November 20, 2020: Frontrunner Friday Oscar Predictions: When the Levee Broke

November 13, 2020: Frontrunner Friday Oscar Predictions: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Glenn Close

November 6, 2020: Frontrunner Friday Oscar Predictions: Lady Sings the Blues

October 30, 2020: Frontrunner Friday Oscar Predictions: The landscape, it is a changin’

Erik Anderson

Erik is the founder/owner and Editor-In-Chief of AwardsWatch and thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. He is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, a member of the International Cinephile Society (ICS) and The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics (GALECA) and calls the Bay Area his home.

Recent Posts

Walt Disney/Pixar’s ‘Elemental’ gets fiery new trailer, ‘Carl’s Date’ short announced

Walt Disney and Pixar Animation have released the first full trailer of their newest upcoming animated feature, Elemental, an all-new… Read More

March 28, 2023

AwardsWatch Podcast #175: ‘John Wick 4’ review and our favorite action sequels

On episode 175 of The AwardsWatch Podcast, AwardsWatch Executive Editor Ryan McQuade is joined by AwardsWatch contributors Sophia Ciminello and… Read More

March 27, 2023

66th SFFILM Festival: Celine Song’s ‘Past Lives,’ Boots Riley’s ‘I’m a Virgo’ and more

SFFILM today announced the full lineup for the 66th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM Festival), the longest-running film festival in… Read More

March 22, 2023

‘Succession’ season 4 review: The stakes are high as the end of the riveting, Emmy-winning Shakespearean saga draws nigh

The rubble has barely settled on a house ever divided as the eagerly-awaited fourth, and final, season of Succession begins.… Read More

March 22, 2023

29th Chlotrudis Awards: ‘After Yang,’ ‘Aftersun’ among top winners, Dale Dickey named Best Actress

The 29th annual Chlotrudis Awards were announced this past weekend, where Kogonada’s sophomore film, After Yang garnered 4 wins, including Best… Read More

March 21, 2023

Bleecker Street partners with New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) for scholarship program

Bleecker Street and New York Women in Film & Television announced today that Bleecker will award three scholarships as part… Read More

March 21, 2023

This website uses cookies.