Oscars 2021: Lucien’s Final Predictions

Lucien WD
Lucien WD
Apr 23 · 5 min read

Sunday night is Hollywood’s biggest night! And this year, literally, because it’s the first time many nominees will have been in a crowded space of any kind for at least a year. But, all potential Covid safety issues aside, it’s a good year for the Academy Awards, with a genuinely above-average selection of nominated films. And here are my customary predictions in the major categories!

Best Picture

Should win: Nomadland

Biggest snub: The Assistant

What a genuinely lovely year for Oscar-nominated films. Not a single bad one on the list. At best, we have sensitively constructed rural poems by talented filmmakers of colour; at worst, complex and colourful dramas about the civil rights era. Not a Joker or a Bohemian Rhapsody in sight. I’d frankly be happy to see any of the films nominated win; the seemingly stodgy The Father is genuinely fantastic, and as much as a win for Trial of the Chicago 7 would feel very lazy and very white, it’s a good film by one of my favourite creatives, Aaron Sorkin. So a win-win, to be honest.

Chances

Winner | Nomadland — 60%

Minari — 15%

The Trial of the Chicago 7–10%

Mank — 7%

Promising Young Woman — 5%

Judas and the Black Messiah — 1%

The Father — 1%

Sound of Metal — 1%

Best Director

Should win: Lee Isaac Chung (Minari)

Biggest snub: Miranda July (Kajillionaire)

If Mank was 10% more beloved I think this would have been Fincher’s year, but it just feels like giving him “his Oscar” for it, in a strange year, would have an underwhelming vibe versus awarding an up-and-coming woman of colour, a really positive symbol in a year of deafening calls for racial progress. Also, Nomadland is extremely well directed and Zhao is an incredible talent who deserves this wholeheartedly.

Chances

Winner | Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) — 90%

David Fincher (Mank) — 5%

Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) — 5%

Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) — 0%

Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) — 0%

Lead Actor

Should win: Anthony Hopkins (The Father)

Biggest snub: Stanley Tucci (Supernova)

Anthony Hopkins has been taken for granted, and conforming to a somewhat lazy pretext of what constitutes an “Anthony Hopkins performance”, for so long that to see him be genuinely remarkable in a film is more of a shock than if a ‘lesser’ actor was doing the same work. He carries the brilliant The Father almost singlehandedly as a dementia-stricken pensioner. I’d be thrilled to see him win another Oscar for this, but I still think Boseman has it based on the shifting demographics of the Academy and the adoration shown for Black Panther just two years ago.

Chances

Winner | Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) — 75%

Anthony Hopkins (The Father) — 23%

Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) — 1%

Steven Yeun (Minari) — 1%

Gary Oldman (Mank) — 1%

Lead Actress

Should win: Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

Biggest snub: Bukky Bakray (Rocks)

A strong lineup this year, with two veteran previous winners — McDormand and Davis — likely to split the ‘safe choice’ vote in my opinion despite some earlier wins, and hand it to Promising Young Woman’s wonderful Mulligan. I will quite likely turn out to be wrong, and it’s certainly alarming not to have seen Mulligan win a single major award so far, but I just can’t see McDormand getting her second Oscar in four years for what is a very, very quiet performance, when Mulligan has gone unrecognised a number of years now.

Chances

Winner | Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) — 35%

Frances McDormand (Nomadland) — 25%

Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) — 15%

Andra Day (The United States vs Billy Holliday) — 15%

Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman)— 10%

Supporting Actor

Should win: Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)

Biggest snub: Richard Jenkins (Kajillionaire)

It only took Daniel Kaluuya four years to become one of the best actors on the planet, and after his nomination for Get Out and outrageous snub for Widows, he’s almost certainly going to win on Sunday for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah as Fred Hampton, which totally carries the film. Baron Cohen is not the strongest performance in Chicago 7 and I’m unsure why he was selected as the film’s golden boy for awards season. Stanfield being here is category fraud, and Paul Raci being here is an absolute delight (he even liked my tweet last week! Such a cool dude).

Chances

Winner | Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) — 80%

Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7) — 10%

LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah) — 5%

Leslie Odom Jr (One Night in Miami) — 5%

Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) — 0%

Supporting Actress

Should win: Youn Yuh-jung (Minari)

Biggest snub: Gina Rodriguez (Kajillionaire)

And here we have the best performance of the year, I would argue, by Youn Yuh-jung as the delightfully youthful grandmother in Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, who brings Korean tradition to the repatriated US home of her grandchildren as well as a sense of genuine wonder and worldly experience. This could go five ways easily, a Colman win wouldn’t even knock me back that much, but I think the 73-year old has been charming enough on the awards circuit to knock the slightly more off-kilter Bakalova performance from the top spot. If Glenn Close wins, which she might, all my worst beliefs about the Academy will have come true.

Chances

Winner | Youn Yuh-jung (Minari) — 25%

Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) — 20%

Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy) — 20%

Amanda Seyfried (Mank)— 20%

Olivia Colman (The Father) — 15%

Original Screenplay

Should win: Promising Young Woman

Biggest snub: Kajlillionaire

Will win: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Adapted Screenplay

Should win: The Father

Will win: Nomadland

Animated Feature

Should win: Soul

Biggest snub: The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run

Will win: Wolfwalkers

Luwd Media

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