It’s January, and that means new awards bodies present their annual year-end awards for the best films for 2021. With precursor season in full bloom, let’s update the Oscar race!
The Power of the Dog and Belfast jumped to the top of most Oscar lists the day they premiered. Of all the films in contention, those two have emerged as the big threats to win Best Picture and have stayed that way. I currently have nine predicted nominations for both films.
As far as the late-breaking films, Licorice Pizza and West Side Story pounced on astonishing critical success to throw their hats in the ring. Both films are from wildly respected directors with nostalgia factors adding to the mix. While their nomination totals might not reach that of the other two, they still can factor in the race for Best Picture.
The International Feature race could have some of the most acclaimed films of the year among their ranks. But, how much will those films factor into other races? A Hero, The Hand of God, Flee, Drive My Car, and The Worst Person in the World feel like the sure-fire five, but will those translate anywhere else? Flee seems primed to break into both Documentary and Animated Feature, while A Hero and Drive My Car could find their way into their Screenplay races.
Drive My Car has been the runaway critical darling and has a bit of momentum for both Best Picture and Best Director. I am not predicting either at this time, but it wouldn’t surprise me as more people watch the film.
Many of the acting lineups have emerged as the “destined” five, but it’s never that easy. Best Actress seems the most solidified, but Alana Haim and Rachel Zegler have been hanging on the outskirts since their films debuted. Best Actor has three spots locked in, with Denzel Washington probably in as well. Four or five actors are jockeying for that last spot, but I have Peter Dinklage making his way in for the underseen Cyrano.
Supporting Actress has a locked-in top 4, but that fifth spot is going to be a bloodbath between Ann Dowd, Ruth Negga, Judi Dench, and others. Supporting Actor almost has the same story, with no clear fifth spot but a well-established top four.
The SAG nominations are right around the corner, so that should put things in a much clearer picture. Oscar nomination morning is on February 8th, so I’ll give another update just before. Enjoy watching this year’s exceptional slate of films!