What a strange 14 and a half months since I last found myself writing about the Oscars, right before that incredible night where Parasite produced big shocks to claim a famous upset and win Best Picture. Well, despite a global pandemic really putting a halt on film releases for a lot of the year we do find ourselves with an award season, and one of the most interesting for a few years, with a number of incredibly hard to call categories. So let’s get into this year’s Oscar predictions.

Best Picture: It is hard to see past Nomadland at this point, a film I have a lot of respect for, and the craft behind it, but really wasn’t my cup of tea, Nomadland has been cleaning up at the award shows this year, and I expect it to be no different on Oscar night after it won at the Globes, the BAFTAs, The Critic’s Choice, and the PGA Awards. As for what I think should win, well I was a fan of Promising Young Woman, Judas and the Black Messiah, and Sound of Metal, but my favourite has to be Minari, which was stunningly beautiful.
Will Win: Nomadland
Most Likely Upset: Promising Young Woman
Should Win: Minari

Best Director: This one looks like a cert for Chloé Zhao for her work on Nomadland, although both Emerald Fennell and Lee Isaac Chung did brilliant work on Promising Young Woman and Minari. However I don’t think anyone would be able to question Zhao’s win, because she is the driving force behind Nomadland and is, to my mind at least, the reason that film works at all.
Will Win: Chloé Zhao
Most Likely Upset: Emerald Fennell
Should Win: Chloé Zhao

Best Actor: The acting categories this year are absolutely stacked, particularly Best Actor, although the snub of Delroy Lindo still stings. The favourite is probably still Chadwick Boseman after he claimed the prize at the SAG Awards, but Anthony Hopkins is still the outside bet. For me however it is Steven Yeun and Riz Ahmed that really blew me away in this category.
Will Win: Chadwick Boseman
Most Likely Upset: Anthony Hopkins
Should Win: Riz Ahmed

Best Actress: Wow what a race. 4 of the 5 nominees have picked up major award wins so far – Andra Day won at the Globes, Carey Mulligan at the Critic’s Choice, Viola Davis at the SAG Awards, and Frances McDormand at the BAFTAs. That makes this such a hard race to call, but as cool as it would be I don’t think Vanessa Kirby can make it 5. It seems like the race is between Davis and Mulligan, which is nearly impossible to call, and whilst my gut is screaming Davis, I’m going to follow my heart and pick my favourite, Carey Mulligan.
Will Win: Carey Mulligan
Most Likely Upset: Viola Davis
Should Win: Carey Mulligan

Best Supporting Actor: Let me just start by saying that both Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya’s performances in Judas and the Black Messiah are leading ones, and I know the people behind the film would have wanted them in separate categories. Thankfully though this shouldn’t hurt Daniel Kaluuya’s chances of winning because his performance is out of this world.
Will Win: Daniel Kaluuya
Most Likely Upset: Leslie Odom Jr.
Should Win: Daniel Kaluuya

Best Supporting Actress: Whilst Maria Bakalova was the early frontrunner for her performance in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm after her Critics’ Choice win, the momentum has really shifted over to Youn Yuh-jung who claimed victory at both the BAFTAs and the SAG Awards. This would be such a well deserved win as well, because Youn Yuh-jung is incredible in Minari and her relationship with the young actor Alan Kim is incredible.
Will Win: Youn Yuh-jung
Most Likely Upset: Maria Bakalova
Should Win: Youn Yuh-jung

Best Adapted Screenplay: Whilst it looks set to win Best Picture Nomadland doesn’t have a screenplay win locked up. It did win at the Critics’ Choice, but The Father won at the BAFTAs and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won at the Writers Guild of America Awards. I think Nomadland might still be the favourite, but I’m actually going to go with The Father, which would be a deserving winner in my book, although I really loved One Night in Miami.
Will Win: The Father
Most Likely Upset: Nomadland
Should Win: One Night in Miami

Best Original Screenplay: What a stacked category. Best Original Screenplay has all 4 of my favourite Best Picture Nominees this year, alongside the Golden Globe Best Screenplay winner The Trial of the Chicago 7. In terms of what will actually win, Promising Young Woman claimed victory at the WGAs, Critics’ Choice, and BAFTAs, so I wouldn’t put my money anywhere else.
Will Win: Promising Young Woman
Most Likely Upset: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Should Win: Promising Young Woman

Best Animated Feature Film: Whilst Wolfwalkers was a wonderful film, with Tomm Moore’s beautiful distinctive style that sadly hasn’t won him an Oscar yet, this is Soul’s year. It continued Pixar’s recent exploration of fascinating less tangible ideas, like emotions and death. It will be yet another deserving winner for Pixar.
Will Win: Soul
Most Likely Upset: Wolfwalkers
Should Win: Soul

Best International Feature Film: When an international film is popping up for other awards it tends to be a safe bet in the International Film category. That’s why this year I’ve got to go with Another Round, which picked up a surprise best director nomination for Thomas Vinterberg. Whilst I haven’t seen any of these films, I am a big enough Mads Mikkelsen stan to say Another Round should win.
Will Win: Another Round
Most Likely Upset: Quo Vadis, Aida?
Should Win: Another Round

Best Documentary Feature: The only one of these I’ve heard of is My Octopus Teacher, so I have to go with that name recognition and momentum it has from a BAFTA win. On top of that, having actually seen My Octopus Teacher I can confirm that it is a really great documentary. The general consensus seems to be that if something does cause an upset it will be Time.
Will Win: My Octopus Teacher
Most Likely Upset: Time
Should Win: My Octopus Teacher

Best Original Score: What a year for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, not only a nomination for Mank, but they will almost certainly be winning for their score for Soul alongside Jon Batiste. Emile Mosseri’s score for Minari is also fantastic, but won’t be beating out Soul for this one.
Will Win: Soul
Most Likely Upset: Minari
Should Win: Soul

Best Original Song: When you’ve got Leslie Odom Jr. up for a musical award he sure as hell better be winning it, that’s the guy who played Aaron Burr in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton. That said, whilst it won at the Critics Choice awards, ‘Seen’ actually won at the Globes, so it probably isn’t a done deal.
Will Win: “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami…
Most Likely Upset: “Io sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead
Should Win: “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami…

Best Production Design: Production designer Donald Graham Burt and set decorator Jan Pascale look set to claim the Oscar after their wins at the BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice Awards, and I’m sure the Oscar voters will be really looking forward to rewarding them for perfectly capturing that old Hollywood feeling.
Will Win: Mank
Most Likely Upset: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Should Win: Mank

Best Cinematography: The cinematography in Nomadland is stunning and it feels as though Joshua James Richards is heading for an Oscar win right now. I’ve said plenty of times that whilst I don’t love the film there is a lot to admire and appreciate there, and the cinematography is up there.
Will Win: Nomadland
Most Likely Upset: Mank
Should Win: Nomadland

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: It looks like Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be taking home both the makeup and costume awards. I think this one is a more interesting debate, as the makeup work in Pinocchio is brilliant, and the hairstyling in Emma was probably only outshadowed by the costumes and Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance.
Will Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Most Likely Upset: Pinocchio
Should Win: Pinocchio

Best Costume Design: I think the costumes in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom are one of its strongest aspects, but Emma was the costumes, they are what made the film. Still Ma Rainey is the film with some award heat because of the acting, and that has translated to technical success at the BAFTAs, and probably the Oscars too.
Will Win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Most Likely Upset: Emma
Should Win: Emma

Best Film Editing: A toss up that is really hard to call. Mikkel E.G. Nielsen took home a BAFTA for Sound of Metal, and just recently Alan Baumgarten won at the Eddies (The American Cinema Editors awards) for The Trial of the Chicago 7. Most crazily at the Critics’ Choice Awards the pair actually tied. So without those predictors where do you go? Well the editing in Chicago 7 is a bit flashier and more noticeable, and often that can be what swings it for the voters who don’t have expertise in the editing, but it could easily go either way, so I’m not confident.
Will Win: The Trial of the Chicago 7
Most Likely Upset: Sound of Metal
Should Win: Sound of Metal

Best Visual Effects: Let’s wrap this one up pretty quick, Tenet will be walking away with the visual effect award. Yes there’s been a focus away from the Blockbuster films recently in this category, but I can’t see The Midnight Sky or Love and Monsters stealing this one.
Will Win: Tenet
Most Likely Upset: The Midnight Sky
Should Win: Tenet

Best Sound: As a predictor I cannot tell you how much better it is for the two sound categories, I’m sure it will be a little disappointing to those in the field as Mixing and Editing are very different skills. But with a single category and can now confidently predict that Sound of Metal will be taking home the sound prize, and not need to worry about Mank stealing one of the two.
Will Win: Sound of Metal
Most Likely Upset: Mank
Should Win: Sound of Metal

Best Live Action Short Film: My usual tactic with the shorts is if I’ve heard of one, pick that, but it seems like a close race this year. Two Distant Strangers has the important, and timely, subject matter of the policing of black american communities, whilst The Letter Room has serious star power for a short, with Oscar Isaac and Alia Shawkat. A few years ago I would have gone with the star power, but the Oscars have stopped shying away from films that really tackle difficult issues recently, so I’m going for Two Distant Strangers.
Will Win: Two Distant Strangers
Most Likely Upset: The Letter Room
Should Win: N/A

Best Animated Short Film: There seems to be a strong consensus with the Animated short category that If Anything Happens I Love You is the heavy favourite, and you can see why, with Netflix distribution making it very accessible, as well as the acclaim it garnered. Your second best bet is Pixar’s Burrow, but without being shown in front of Soul it probably doesn’t have the reach of most Pixar shorts.
Will Win: If Anything Happens I Love You
Most Likely Upset: Burrow
Should Win: N/A

Best Documentary Short Subject: Simply the two I’ve seen some buzz for in researching this is A Concerto Is a Conversation and A Love Song for Latasha. A quick look at the summaries, and the fact it is showing on Netflix, and I’m going to go for A Love Song for Latasha, but I could easily be wrong on any of these shorts, as they are generally the hardest part to call of the Oscars.
Will Win: A Love Song for Latasha
Most Likely Upset: A Concerto Is a Conversation
Should Win: N/A