The 2021 Oscars Nominations and Our Scattered Thoughts on Them

Posted on March 15, 2021

Let’s get argumentative, kittens! The nominations for the 2021 Oscars are here and it’s considered tradition that we all spend the day up in arms over who got snubbed and which undeserving nominee should be shunned. We don’t think we’re overstating things when we say this past year has been probably the strangest one on record for the film industry and we’re heading into an Oscars ceremony with an audience that’s probably not as invested in the outcomes as they would be in a so-called “normal” year. This has also been a period of reckoning for the entertainment industry generally and the entertainment awards complex specifically, as various academies and nominating groups have come in for a lot of criticism regarding the diversity of their organizations and how that affects the nomination process. We’re going to have a lot more to say about what the Oscars need to do to maintain an audience this year and even more about the nominations themselves in tomorrow’s POP STYLE OPINIONFEST podcast, but for now, let’s do first impressions.


Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari


No real surprises here. We suspect this comes down to Seyfried and Bakalova, although Colman’s buzz has been rising of late.


Best Costume Design
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

We wrote a piece on the costume design for Emma. last year, so we’re probably a little partial to it, but we think it’s Ma Rainey‘s to win.



Best Original Score
Da 5 Bloods
News of the World

It’s got to be Soul, right?



Best Adapted Screenplay
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Peter Baynham, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jena Friedman, Anthony Hines, Lee Kern, Dan Mazer, Erica Rivinoja & Dan Swimer)
The Father (Christopher Hampton & Florian Zeller)
Nomadland (Chloé Zhao)
One Night in Miami (Kemp Powers)
The White Tiger (Ramin Bahrani)


Some really interesting choices here, but we think it’s likely to come down to Nomadland and One Night in Miami.



Best Original Screenplay
Judas and the Black Messiah (Will Berson, Shaka King, Keith Lucas & Kenny Lucas)
Minari (Lee Isaac Chung)
Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell)
Sound of Metal (Derek Cianfrance, Abraham Marder & Darius Marder)
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Aaron Sorkin)


Promising Young Woman has the most buzz here, but Minari and Judas and the Black Messiah shouldn’t be counted out.



Best Animated Short Film
Genius Loci
If Anything Happens I Love You


No thoughts here! Supply your own!


Best Live-Action Short Film
Feeling Through
The Letter Room
The Present
Two Distant Strangers
White Eye




Best Actor in a Supporting Role
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

Oooh, this one looks like anyone’s game at the moment. Sacha Baron Cohen seems like the safest, most traditional choice, but who knows? It’s just great to see three Black actors in the same category. We’re gonna predict Leslie Odom, Jr., though.



Documentary Feature
Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher


Documentary Short Subject
A Concerto is a Conversation
Do Not Split
Hunger Ward
A Love Song for Latasha



International Feature Film
Another Round
Better Days
The Man Who Sold His Skin
Quo Vadis, Aida?



News of the World
Sound of Metal

We honestly don’t see how Sound of Metal doesn’t take this.



Production Design

The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
News of the World


Maybe Tenet will get some love, but we think this goes to Ma Rainey.


Film Editing
The Father
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7


We think Promising Young Woman might snag this based on the last five minute alone.


Judas and the Black Messiah
News of the World
The Trial of the Chicago 7


News of the World and Nomadland were both stunning to look at.



Visual Effects
Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
The One and Only Ivan

It’s gotta be Tenet, right?




Makeup and Hairstyling
Hillbilly Elegy
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


We are frightened that the Academy will pick Hillbilly Elegy just because it loves actresses who are “brave” enough not to appear in full glamour makeup, but we think it’s a tossup between Ma Rainey and Mank.



Animated Feature Film

Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon




“Fight For You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
“Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7
“Husavik,” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Io sì (Seen), The Life Ahead
“Speak Now,” One Night in Miami


What? No “Ja Ja Dingdong?”


Actor in a Leading Role
Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari


LOVE to see this kind of diversity in the acting noms. Steven Yeun made history with his nomination, as did Riz Ahmed. It’s anyone’s game at this point, although we doubt Gary Oldman’s in the running.


Actress in a Leading Role
Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDorman, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman


Another history-making nomination in this group as Viola Davis becomes the most nominated Black actress of all time. It’s probably down to her and Carey Mulligan for this one.


Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round
David Fincher, Mank
Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman


Yet another history-making round of nominees, with two women and two Asian directors getting the nod. We think it’s down to Zhao and Fennell for this one. Insane that Regina King got not love here.



Best Picture
Judas and the Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
Trial of the Chicago 7


It’s anyone’s game, but we’d be surprised if the Best Director and Best Picture were awarded to the same film this year. They’re gonna split the vote and we suspect something like Minari or Judas and the Black Messiah will get the nod.


Much  more thoughts on all of the above in this week’s podcast!



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