The 2021 Oscars: Who Should Win, Who Will In

The Oscars are Sunday night and somewhat surprisingly, they have some quality movies to hand out awards to. For a while there, things looked bleak and it was going to be a toss-up between Palm Springs and Extraction for Best Picture. But then all of these streaming services realized the pandemic wasn’t running out of gas anytime soon and waiting for it to do so and for theaters to open up was a pipe dream. Thus we have an Oscars where the bulk of the films are widely available to stream. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now for me personally, watching Oscar-nominated films is typically a struggle because so many of them are still in theaters by the time the ceremony rolls around, and getting out to see them is tough business. That’s not the case this year and I can proudly say that I’ve seen all but one of the nominees for Best Picture. I’m sorry The Father. You look depressing. Thanks, but no thanks.

And wait, shouldn’t Palm Springs have been nominated for something, whether it was the script or the performances of Andy Samberg and/or Christin Milioti? Eh, maybe it is in another loop.

Here’s who I think should win on Sunday and who will win. I’m going to be proven wrong on most of these. Consider yourself warned.

Best Picture

“The Father”
“Judas and the Black Messiah”
“Mank”
“Minari”
“Nomadland”
“Promising Young Woman”
“Sound of Metal”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Who Should Win: Nomadland
Who Will Win: Nomadland

I felt obligated to watch Nomadland because it seemed like a shoo-in to clean up at this year’s Oscars and I’m nothing if not a person that likes to be on top of things. Nomadland seemed like it’d be fine, but not necessarily my cup of tea.

My friends, I was wrong. Nomadland is really, really, really good. It’s essentially a piece of creative non-fiction in that it tells a very real story through the lens of fiction. It never drags or has any lulls and at the very least, makes you ask yourself if you too could pack everything up in a van and live that #vanlife. It also has you asking yourself if you really want to see Frances McDormand shit in a bucket. Probably an easier question answer.

If Minari wins, I won’t be mad at all, though.

Best Director

Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”)
David Fincher (“Mank”)
Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”)
Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”)
Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) 

Who Should Win: Lee Isacc Chung
Who Will Win: Chloé Zhao

If they want to give this award to Zhao, that’s fine. I’m 100% cool with that. However, Chung directed the shit out of Minari, and in a foot race, he just edges out Zhao. Chung made Minari feel both wide and open and tight and intimate. Damn near every second of that movie was perfect and so well put together.

I don’t know. Maybe Minari should win Best Picture.

Best 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”) 

Who Should Win: Riz Ahmed
Who Will Win: Chadwick Boseman

Again, if they want to give this one to the late Chadwick Boseman, you’ll get no argument from me. But man, Ahmed was so damn good in Sound of Metal. He was electric and you couldn’t take your eyes off of him. He took that movie to places it really had no place being. To say he merely elevated from a good movie to an almost great movie is almost doing him a disservice, but it’s also true.

On paper, there’s nothing that makes Sound of Metal especially unique but a high tide lifts all boats and in this case, Ahmed was a super full moon tide.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Andra Day (“The United States v. Billie Holiday”)
Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”)
Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)
Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) 

Who Should Win: Frances McDormand
Who Will Win: Frances McDormand

There is no Nomadland without McDormand and there isn’t another actor alive that could have pulled the role of Fern off. McDormand is able to inhabit a genuine sense of realness that so many actors can only dream of doing. Her level of believability is off the charts. She’s reaching Daniel Day-Lewis territory in that she’s doing the kind of work only she is able to do.

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”)

Who Should Win: Damn, this is a tough one
Who Will Win: Uh…

The only person who shouldn’t win is Sasha Baron Cohen but even there you could make a case for him winning and it would make sense. He was really good in The Trial of the Chicago 7 even if the person he was playing was some 20 years his junior. Cohen made it work.

But how do you pick between Kaluuya, Stanfield, Odom Jr., and Raci? It almost doesn’t seem fair.

Odom Jr. was good, but he was fourth place good. Kaluuya and Stanfield almost cancel each other out. Plus, wouldn’t one of them be considered the lead of Judas and the Black Messiah? Someone has to be and it’s definitely not Jesse Plemmons. That leaves Raci and sitting here thinking about it, he should win and I think he will win. He was the anchor of Sound of Metal.

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”)

Who Should Win: Maria Bakalova
Who Will In: Yuh-jung Youn

Bakalova most likely won’t win for her role in the Borat sequel and that’s a shame because she should totally win for her role in the Borat sequelThe fact that it’s already being talked about in such a light highlights the problems the Oscars has with comedies. They seem to be the last organization out there that refuses to take them seriously. It’s ridiculous. Bakalova went toe-to-toe with Cohen and in such cases, actually came out on top. And then in addition to her comedic chops, she basically owned the last third of the movie even when she wasn’t on screen because she had become the movie’s heart, helping it become something more than I’m sure Cohen and the Borat team intended.

Bakalova or we riot Academy.

Best Animated Feature Film

“Onward” (Pixar)
“Over the Moon” (Netflix)
“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Netflix)
“Soul” (Pixar)
Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV Plus/GKIDS) 

Who Should Win: “Soul”
Who Will Win: “Soul”

I’d love to talk about Soul but I’m still thinking about Soul despite having seen it weeks ago and my thoughts are a mess and I’m questioning my life a lot now and my actions and my dreams and my relationship with jazz and fuck man, just give this award to Soul.

Best Adapted Screenplay

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
“The Father”
Nomadland
“One Night in Miami”
“The White Tiger”

Who Should Win: “One Night in Miami”
Who Will In: “Nomadland”

One Night in Miami was a perfect dialogue-driven script and in this house, we support dialogue-driven scripts. Conversations and confrontations drove that movie in truly special ways.

But alas, Nomadland is going to be a wrecking ball come Sunday.

Best Original Screenplay

“Judas and the Black Messiah”
“Minari”
“Promising Young Woman”
“Sound of Metal”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7″

Who Should Win: “Minari”
Who Will Win: “Minari”

You trigger all the feels, you get yourself an Oscar. Them’s the rules.



Categories: Movies

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