OPINION: Let’s talk about the 2021 Oscar nominations


Steven Yuen in “Minari”. “Minari” has 6 Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor for Yuen. Photo courtesy of A24.

Bradley Hinkson

The day has come to see who has been nominated at this year’s Academy Awards and to finally make whatever predictions we can about who will win in April. While of course there were some surprises and snubs this year, as there usually is, and I’ll get into some last year due to the pandemic, more stronger films could get nominated. Even then, there were still some nominees left in the dust.

Best Picture

“The Father”

“Judas and the Black Messiah”




“Promising Young Woman”

“Sound of Metal”

“The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Predictions: “Nomadland” has the easiest chance to win the major prize. It’s been the biggest player at other awards and has a fairly unanimous love for it. I would love to see it win but a surprise win of some of the other films would not leave me mad. Seeing “Minari” win would be exciting to see, seeing as that film is probably the closest in terms of getting the same amount of love as “Nomadland” has. 

Though a win for “The Trial of the Chicago 7” would not be as exciting. That film feels the most Oscar-y with less of an emphasis on actual quality and more of just getting a big cast of actors to try to tell some kind of socially relevant story. I can’t imagine most people remembering it once award season is over.

RELATED: OPINION: How deserving were the 2021 Golden Globe Award winners?

The biggest snubs were “Da 5 Bloods” and “One Night in Miami” which I think had an easy chance of getting nominated and would have deserved them. Also, justice for “First Cow”.

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Best Actor

Riz Ahmed – “Sound of Metal”

Chadwick Boseman – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Anthony Hopkins – “The Father”

Gary Oldman – “Mank”

Steven Yuen – “Minari”

Predictions: I think Chadwick Boseman has the best chance here to get a posthumous award. It’s a stellar performance from an actor who continues to be missed since his unfortunate passing in late 2020. 

But it’s still up in the air since most of the actors nominated here had outstanding performances, so a win from them would still be worthy. Riz Ahmed, Anthony Hopkins, and the wonderful surprise of Steven Yuen could easily win as well and just be as deserving. Gary Oldman could have easily been replaced with Delroy Alonso for “Da 5 Bloods”and this category would have been perfect, how could you not nominate that performance? Same with a nomination for Mads Mikkelsen for “Another Round”.

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Best Actress

Viola Davis – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Andra Day – “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”

Vanessa Kirby – “Pieces of a Woman”

Frances McDormand – “Nomadland”

Carey Mulligan – “Promising Young Woman”

Predictions: This is a tough one to figure out because, well, it could be anyone. After the Golden Globes, Andra Day has a chance to win, especially with the praise coming towards her performance. Viola Davis and Frances McDormand are probably the ones with the biggest chance with not only the praise for these performances but the Academy’s love for these actresses, and who can blame them. Who knows though, Carey Mulligan could come in for a surprise.

Justice for Sidney Flanigan in “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”.

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Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Daniel Kaluuya – “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Leslie Odom Jr. – “One Night in Miami”

Paul Raci- “Sound of Metal”

Lakeith Stanfield – “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Predictions: Daniel Kaluuya has got this in the bag. The amount of praise he has gotten for his incredible performance as Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah” puts him on an easy track towards victory. Though with Lakeith Stanfield also being nominated for that film in this category it creates the confusion of who the lead of that film is then.

I have to shout out the surprise nomination of Paul Raci who I loved in “Sound of Metal” and I am more than happy to see in this category. In my opinion, he gave one of the most human and tender performances of last year. Leslie Odom Jr. is a huge talent so it’s great to see him here as well, though I would have picked Kingsley Ben-Adir as the actor to be nominated for “One Night in Miami”. But all four leads in that film are equally stellar.

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Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova – “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Glenn Close – “Hillbilly Elegy”

Olivia Colman – “The Father”

Amanda Seyfried – “Mank”

Yuh-Jung Youn – “Minari”

Predictions: Again, like the main actress lineup this is a tough one. Glenn Close could be the winner since actors who are constantly nominated usually win for one of their least deserving, for example Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant” (fight me), and Close’s performance as Mamaw seems fitting for that. It also would be the closest that film will get to any kind of award. Though maybe we’ll get a repeat of 2019 and expect Close to win and then all of sudden there’s a surprise Olivia Colman win. And just like that year, no one will be mad. Or maybe Amanda Seyfried could win, she’s the best thing about “Mank”. 

Though a win for Maria Bakalova or Yuh-Jung Youn is what I’m hoping for. Two wildly different performances but for me they have the strongest chances just for the critical love of those performances.

I am bitter that Candice Bergen had no awards buzz for her performance in “Let Them All Talk”. A true crime right there.

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Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung – “Minari”

Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman”

David Fincher – “Mank”

Chloé Zhao – “Nomadland”

Thomas Vinterberg – “Another Round”

Predictions: It’s Chloe Zhao. She’s been winning many other awards and has just been a critical darling. I have absolutely no complaints about it either. I love seeing Lee Issac Chung here and Thomas Vinterberg taking what many thought was going to be Aaron Sorkin’s spot is a great surprise to see. Love to see some love for “Another Round”. 

Where’s the nomination for Spike Lee for “Da 5 Bloods” or Regina King for “One Night in Miami”? I love David Fincher but I would have no issue with his nomination being replaced with one of them.

Best Original Screenplay

“Judas and the Black Messiah”


“Promising Young Woman”

“Sound of Metal”

“The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Predictions: We’re probably looking at a win for  “The Trial of the Chicago 7” here. You’ve got the Aaron Sorkin script with, albeit failed, political relevance. It’s the kind of script the Academy will eat up. Though I would be fine with any of the other nominees winning here. There’s some really great stuff nominated that any win would be deserving. Just not Sorkin, sorry. If I had to choose one of the others I think has a chance of winning, it would be “Promising Young Woman”. 

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Best Adapted Screenplay

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

“The Father”


“One Night in Miami”

“The White Tiger”

Predictions: I think “Nomadland” has the strongest chance mostly due to how well it can do in some of the other categories but I would love to see “One Night in Miami” get the win here. No surprise that a film that was originally a stage play has a strong script, same with “The Father”.

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Other nominations

Best Animated Feature – Look I know “Soul” is going to win but I just want to hold to some sort of hope that “Wolfwalkers” could walk away with the gold, no matter how small that chance is.

Best Documentary – If “Time” doesn’t win, we riot.

Best Sound – Very surprised to see this be only one category this year instead of being split between sound editing and mixing but “Sound of Metal” has no competition. Truly extraordinary sound design in that film.

Best International Feature – Would love to see “Another Round” win here but where’s my boy “Martin Eden”?

Best Score – Give it to “Minari” but they can remember “Da 5 Bloods” here but not for Delroy Lindo in Best Actor? Make it make sense.