Oscar Predictions 2021 | Festivals & Awards

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 Women”

The winner: Carey Mulligan
Possible upset: Viola Davis
Here is where I listen to my heart. Nominated only once before for her lead as a precocious schoolgirl in 2009’s “An Education,” Mulligan was often underestimated in such roles as 2011’s “Shame” and 2013’s “Inside Llewyn Davis.” But “Promising Young Woman” probably required double the acting and emoting than her fellow nominees, given that her character pulls a ruse every night to teach men who prey on vulnerable inebriated women a lesson. Mulligan injected just the right bite to her role to encapsulate the #MeToo era. It also didn’t hurt that she hosted “Saturday Night Live” and had another admired role in “The Dig.” As much as I admire Davis, especially the scene when diva-esque blues legend holds up the recording process in the studio by demanding several bottles of ice-cold Coca-Cola, this isn’t my favorite of her roles. But I think the fact that she only sings one tune herself is a drawback. Also, her movie was overlooked in the Best Picture line-up. Plus, she already has an Oscar for her supporting role in 2016’s “Fences.”

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”

The winner: Daniel Kaluuya
Possible upset: Paul Raci
In a close race, Kaluuya benefited from the fact that his flashy role as Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton was in a 2021 release and felt fresher than the movies that came out last year. The British performer previously earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his work in the 2017 horror film “Get Out.” Considering he has already won a Golden Globe, a Critics Choice Award, a SAG award and a BAFTA, he’s the clear frontrunner here. And he did a bang-up job of showing his humorous side by recently hosting “Saturday Night Live.” Then there’s the dark horse Raci, a 73-year-old character actor with four decades of experience, who was raised as a child of deaf adults and is fluent in American sign language, and used his experience to play a deaf mentor to Riz Ahmed’s heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing. His role being a true supporting effort might give him an edge over the others.

Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, “The Father”
Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”

The winner: Yuh-Jung Youn
Possible spoiler: Glenn Close
After winning a SAG honor as well as a BAFTA trophy, 73-year-old Youn—known as the Korean Meryl Streep—stumbled while trying to thank the British contingent who honored her by declaring them to be “snobbish.” Her innocent flub on camera made her speech one of the highlights of the Oscar season so far. She currently carries the honor of being the first Korean performer to be up for Best Supporting Actress. Her chemistry with Alan S. Kim as her eight-year-old grandson, both of whom are hooked on Mountain Dew, helps elevate her performance to the next level. It comes down to the war of the grandmothers. Close is clearly the best reason to watch Ron Howard’s sub-par film version of “Hillbilly Elegy.” But she was also nominated for a Razzie for her feisty “Terminator”-loving senior citizen known as Mamaw as well. Sadly, she will likely tie the late Peter O’Toole’s record of eight losses with no wins on Sunday night.

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