2021 Oscar Predictions Reflection

The 93rd Academy Awards aired this past weekend, and it was pretty different from most shows they’ve done in the past thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. There were dramatic moments, some funnier ones, and some genuine surprises. It was overall a great show, and it’ll be exciting to see things go back to how they’re normally run next year. 

For this year’s Oscars, I made some predictions as to who the winners could be, so let’s take a look as to how each of my picks did.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Prediction: Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy”

Winner: Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari”

This must have been an incredibly difficult choice for those who voted on the nominees for this category. I still stand by the fact that Glenn Close completely disappeared into her role and gave a truly memorable performance. That being said, Yuh-jung Youn perfectly captured the emotions her character went through while bonding with her grandson. Youn gave a beautiful performance. Honestly, both probably deserved the award this year. It’s also worth noting that Youn is the first Korean actress to take home the award for this category. 

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Prediction: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Winner: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

There’s no surprise here. I think everyone had their money on Daniel Kaluuya winning this one. It had to be him. His performance in Judas and the Black Messiah is moving and stands out above most other performances for any film this past year. He steals all the attention in the film. It would have been utterly shocking if he somehow didn’t win. 

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

Prediction: “Another Round” – Denmark

Winner: “Another Round” – Denmark

Another one that’s not much of a surprise. Another Round seemed like the clear frontrunner for this category. It’s both fun and emotional, Mads Mikkelson gives a tremendous performance, and Thomas Vinterberg captured impressive shots. Also, the film being dedicated to Vinterberg’s late daughter makes this win feel even more important. 

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

Prediction: “A Concerto Is a Conversation”

Winner: “Colette”

This one caught me off guard a bit. I thought for sure it would go to A Concerto is a Conversation based on its important message and fantastic production quality. Don’t get me wrong, Colette is an incredible and emotional documentary. It’s hard not to shed a tear when watching it. I can absolutely see how it won the award. However, I still expected A Concerto is a Conversation to take the win, and still think maybe it should have. 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Prediction: “My Octopus Teacher”

Winner: “My Octopus Teacher”

This one could have gone a few ways, as Time and Crip Camp seemed to be frontrunners for this category. However, I figured this award would be given to My Octopus Teacher because of its incredible underwater production and perfectly timed shots. Plus, it’s genuinely interesting to learn how  two different species can bond over time. This documentary was entertaining, informative, and even a bit emotional at times. It was a hard one to beat. 

ORIGINAL SONG

Prediction: “Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”

Winner: “Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah” 

I definitely picked the underdog to win this one, so I’m not too surprised, but it would have been fun to see an unexpected victory. “Fight For You” is a powerful song with an important message. Plus, it has a great beat. What makes it stand out from other nominees with similar themes, though, is that the song’s style and sound match those of music from the 1960s when Judas and the Black Messiah takes place. I would have enjoyed a Will Ferrel film getting an Oscar, but this award definitely went to a nominee who deserved it. 

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Prediction: “Soul”

Winner: “Soul”

Soul was a clear winner for this one. If it had come out a different year, then perhaps Onward or Over the Moon would have taken it, but it’s difficult to watch Soul without immediately seeing why it’s Academy Award worthy. I personally had a little more fun with Onward because it felt like if Pixar made a Dungeons & Dragons movie, but my inner critic recognized Soul for the animated masterpiece that it is. It has an important message for both kids and adults, blends different animation styles perfectly, and has some of the most well-written and fleshed out characters seen in an animation in a long time. Any other ominee winning this one would have been at least a little bit of a surprise. 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Prediction: “One Night in Miami”

Winner: “The Father”

One Night in Miami was guided by its outstanding dialogue, so I thought it would be a shoo-in for the Adapted Screenplay category. I haven’t seen The Father yet, so I can’t be too surprised I suppose. The brief clips I’ve seen of Anthony Hopkins’ performance does prove that the dialogue in that film is also masterfully-written, so it does appear this one went to a worthy nominee. 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Prediction: “Promising Young Woman”

Winner: “Promising Young Woman”

This one was a tough one to predict, but it looks like I was actually right. The nominees in this category are all fantastic, but Promising Young Woman certainly deserved the win due to its clever dialogue, important themes, and twisted humor. I’m excited to see what Emerald Fennell will write next. 

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Prediction: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Winner: Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”

Again, I have yet to see The Father, but the clips of Hopkins’ acting that I have seen since the Academy Awards have proven how great he was in that role and how much he deserves this win. Between Hopkins, Boseman and Steven Yeun, this one could have gone to anyone of them. There have been some rather upset people online (shocking) that Chadwick Boseman did not win despite this being his final role. Even though his performance was amazing, it’s worth noting that someone passing does not guarantee a win. 

The producers of the awards show itself did make a big mistake, though, by having the award for Best Actor be the final one given out instead of Best Picture per usual. They clearly intended on ending on a Chadwick Boseman tribute, but instead the award went to someone who wasn’t there, and there was no speech. One one hand, it proves that those producers don’t even know who the winners are until they are revealed. On the other, that anticlimax fueled the flames of the Internet outrage. Either way, Hopkins did deserve it, so congratulations to him. 

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Prediction: Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

Winner: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

I may have predicted incorrectly here, but I’m not too shocked whatsoever. Frances McDormand completely carries Nomadland as the entirety of the film focuses on her. Her performance is grounded and real. Plus, despite her character being someone who holds back emotion, you can often tell what she’s feeling or thinking. Carey Mulligan definitely did a fantastic job, but I can see how I predicted wrong. 

DIRECTOR

Prediction: Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

Winner: Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

There were a few of the nominees in the directing category that stood out to me, but the winner simply had to be Nomadland. The shots were serene and beautiful, and the backgrounds told part of the story on their own. This win was definitely deserved. Congratulations to Chloé Zhao on being the second woman to ever win the Oscar for Best Director. 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Prediction: “Mank”

Winner: “Mank”

This one was tough, especially since the Production Design in Tenet and News of the World was so good, but Mank’s sets blew the others out of the water. The structures built match the time period perfectly, and add so much extra detail for the sake of immersion. From the stage at election night to the structure that Amanda Seyfried is introduced on, this production team really worked their butts off. 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Prediction: Erik Messerschmidt, “Mank”

Winner: Erik Messerschmidt, “Mank”

Messerschmidt recreated iconic shots from Citizen Kane while telling a story of his own. The lighting perfectly captured the tone of every scene. For those reasons, he absolutely deserved the win. I knew I predicted this one correctly.

COSTUME DESIGN

Prediction: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Winner: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

I knew I predicted this one correctly as well. Ma Rainey wears several extravagant, eye-catching dresses. Plus, the suits the other characters wear match the time period and stand out from each other. Some of the attire, like Levee’s shoes, are prominent points in the dialogue. The costume design stands out so much more here than it does with any of the nominees, so it had to win. 

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND

Prediction: “Sound of Metal”

Winner: “Sound of Metal”

The film is called Sound of Metal, so how could it not win for Achievement in Sound? Joking aside, this film should be used as the go-to example for sound design. Having the audience hear everything the same way Ruben does as he loses his hearing and after he receives the cochlear implant is a unique way of using the film’s sound to tell part of the story. This was probably the most obvious winner of the night. 

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Prediction: “If Anything Happens I Love You”

Winner: “If Anything Happens I Love You”

The other nominees were good, but nothing stood out as emotional or unique asIf Anything Happens I Love You. The hand-painted style is tremendous, the mechanic of using shadows to show emotions is like nothing I’ve seen before, and the theme is very real for the world we live in. It’s also hard to watch without your jaw dropping. A film like this simply had to win. 

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

Prediction: “Two Distant Strangers”

Winner: “Two Distant Strangers”

I was unsure if this one would win over Feeling Through or The Present, but with themes that draw attention to an extremely important real-world issue and the credits listing names of victims of police brutality, it won me over. I’m happy I predicted correctly, but wouldn’t have been too surprised if one of the others took home the award. 

ORIGINAL SCORE

Prediction: “Mank”

Winner: “Soul”

I was genuinely going to pick Soul, I swear. Well, I was stuck between Soul, Mank, and Minari, but settled on Mank because of the variety of it’s music. It does make sense for Soul to win, though, where it uses a unique sound and the music is actually important to the plot. Plus, a lot of the background music plays a major role in the film’s tone. 

VISUAL EFFECTS

Prediction: “Tenet”

Winner: “Tenet”

I was originally going with Love and Monsters before I actually wrote the article because of how well it blended traditional effects with CGI for its monster designs. However, when I considered how much Tenet stuck to using traditional effects, to the point where they crashed a real plane into a building, I had to go with that. Plus, the visual effects are the main element of the movie audiences will remember after seeing it. I definitely wouldn’t have been surprised if Love and Monsters won, but I’m happy I managed to predict this one correctly. 

FILM EDITING

Prediction: “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Winner: “Sound of Metal”

This one actually did surprise me a bit. I really enjoyed Sound of Metal, but nothing in the editing really wowed me like the editing in The Trial of the Chicago 7. I genuinely assumed The Trial of the Chicago 7 would win based on how well they crosscut real footage of the events within the film. 

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Prediction: “Hillbilly Elegy”

Winner: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Another big surprise in my opinion, as the only impressive makeup in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was on Ma Rainey herself. The makeup in Hillbilly Elegy was used to show characters at different ages and even bury actors in their roles so much they were unrecognizable. Hillbilly Elegy definitely deserved this one, but huge congratulations to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

BEST PICTURE

Prediction: “Minari”

Winner: “Nomadland”

This was perhaps one of the biggest surprises on the night for me. I had a hard time deciding between Minari, Judas and the Black Messiah, and The Trial of the Chicago 7, and I would have been wrong regardless of which one I picked. Nomadland is definitely great. The directing and acting are phenomenal, the story is grounded and emotional, and its themes about running from grief and what it means to feel at home are rather interesting. That being said, the other nominees also hit on very real issues while also being extremely entertaining. Nomadland, while great enough it deserves multiple viewings, does feel a bit dull compared to the others. I see what makes it Best Picture worthy, I’m just surprised it came out on top over some of the other nominees that released this past year. 

It looks as though I was right about 13 out of 23 nominees, which isn’t too bad. That’s about tied with my personal record. I definitely aim to beat that in future years. How did your Oscar predictions pan out? 

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