Things are starting to heat up for the 2021 Oscar race, and it’s only May! Films get moved, films get seen and life moves forward. Let’s dive in.
Films on the way up
Buzz stands for a lot in the Oscar race and the buzziest of titles is Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley. The film features Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette and Richard Jenkins as the heavy hitters. I have been bullish on the film compared to others, just because del Toro is so hit or miss with the Academy. That being said, I have moved it into the Best Picture top ten.
Advanced screenings of Disney’s Cruella have propelled it up in below-the-line awards, especially Best Makeup/Hairstyling and Best Costume Design. In the Heights is also garnering great buzz, and I don’t have it in the top 20 yet. It’s not that I think it won’t be good, but more that I think it won’t last the next six months to stick in the minds of Oscar voters, especially with other more prominent stuff coming along.
Darren Aronofsky is returning to screens with a story about an 800-pound man trying to reconnect with his daughter, called The Whale. This might prove controversial, but Aronofsky has never been one to steer away from problematic material. I have put Brendan Fraser, who plays the titular character, into the Best Actor lineup as a result.
Films on the way down
As someone who has seen Nine Days, I don’t want to throw it out of most of my predictions, but here we are. The film will come out in a few months and I feel it will just be too weird and earthy for the Academy to embrace. I will still be holding out hope.
I had originally penned Luca into the Best Picture lineup, but the resulting Pixar rumblings about its placement on Disney+ have softened its buzz. I still have it firmly in the Animated Feature race.
Unknowns or pushed to 2022
Robert Eggers’ The Northman was officially moved to 2022, so we can move that out of all our predictions. Additionally, there are a few other films sitting on the precipice of eligibility that we can’t count on those films. That includes Baz Luhrmann’s Untitled Elvis Film. On the flipside, Joe Wright’s musical Cyrano with Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett and Kevlin Harrison Jr. has confirmed a 2021 release date, so expect to see that on the predictions soon.
Check out all of my updated 2021 Oscar predictions here.