• Stefanos Yoo-Min Florakis

Oscars 2021: Predictions and Winners for the Biggest Awards in Hollywood?


Over a year ago, Parasite made history when it won Best Picture at the Oscars, becoming the first film in a foreign language to win the prestigious award, beating heavyweights like 1917, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. A triumphant win for the Korean author Bong Joon-Ho, who had limitless potential for the following award season, but little did we know how different it was going to be.


Since that night, the world came to an unexpected crisis, with the pandemic affecting every sector of the industry, changing theatrical releases, postponing productions, and causing a rethink to film exhibition as a whole.


All that brought to the inevitable alteration to awards season. Film festivals went virtual, as the award association tried to make ceremonies through zoom calls. On top of that films on streaming that were at one time, ineligible, were now open to consideration (something that the Academy has been trying to avoid since Netflix started acquiring projects).


Big contenders that many of us were expecting to be the frontrunners for many categories this year were pushed away from 2020, and after February of 2021 (the new deadline for films to be eligible for award season). Films such as Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch, Denis Villeneuve's Dune, Leos Carax's Sparks musical Annette with Ada Driver and Marion Cotillard, and even No Time to Die's tune by Billie Eilish was seen as the frontrunner for Original Song.


Though many films have been taken out of slots, there are still a number of great works to be celebrated. This year's Oscar nominations was heralded as the most diverse in the Academy's history. Nine out of the 20 acting nominees are people of colour, and the director's category finally had two female directors (the first time to ever happen). The nomination of Judas and the Black Messiah for Best Picture makes it the first time a team of black producers have had that honour.


While these achievements are something to hail, the Academy (especially after last year's #OscarsSoWhite) is still is a long way to go before achieving pure inclusivity, and it took 92 years to finally break those barriers. Also, I find the BAFTA nominees far more progressive, and it might be something that the Academy should be considering.


As of now, we are getting ready for the big night (even if it is going to be a show filled with webcams and celebrities in their living rooms/offices), I am going to share my thoughts on the nominees and predictions in the big categories for this years Oscars.


Best Supporting Actor

Nominees:

Sacha Baron Cohen - The Trial of the Chicago 7

Prediction - Daniel Kaluuya - Judas and the Black Messiah - WINNER

Leslie Odom Jr. - One Night in Miami

Paul Raci - Sound of Metal

LaKeith Stanfield - Judas and the Black Messiah


Arguably, the strongest category of the year. Each one of these actors stood out in their respective films, a huge achievement as they were part of some of the best acting ensembles of last year.


Leslie Odom Jr. is the clear favourite for the amazing quartet of actors in One Night in Miami. His portrayal of Sam Cooke is one of the main emotional heartbeats in the film, and the Tony-winning actor truly does the role justice, but I expect him to win Original Song for the same film, so the Academy will be able to give the acting award to someone else (which is fine as Speak Now is a very deserving protest anthem).


Sacha Baron Cohen has a great season, as not only has he been nominated for his work as activist Abbie Hoffman, but also he got a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for the Borat sequel (the first-ever person to achieve a double nomination for both acting and writing categories). Although this seems to be his year to win an Oscar, unfortunately, he faces some steep competition, and I believe that out of the outstanding cast from The Trial of the Chicago 7, Cohen seems to be a safe choice, considering Yayah Abdul-Mattin II, Mark Rylance, or Frank Langella would have been better choices.


Sound of Metal's Paul Raci has been a big hope for a lot of film fans, due to his brilliant performance as the sign language mentor (something that he is fluent with as his parents were deaf). He is very settled, and has one of the most emotional moments in the film, meaning any other year I would have him as the frontrunner. If only if he wasn't going against a certain actor...


Ever since the first trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah last September, we knew that Daniel Kaluuya would be a serious contender, and weren't wrong.


His portrayal as Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton is explosive, tender, and as remarkably timely as I hoped for. So far this has given him a win at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice, Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTAs, making him the only actor to win in every televised ceremony. Although, there was one surprise nominee in that category, none other than Kaluuya's co-star - LaKeith Stanfield, for his work as FBI informant Bill O'Neal.


Stanfield wasn't even campaigned for the category, as the film team was pushing him for Leading Actor instead. It is not the first time the Academy has done this kind of switcheroo, as they did the same thing with Kate Winslet for The Reader back in 2009 (which she ended up winning). This indicates they love the film and the performances so much that a big number of members chose to put him with his Get Out alum. Although now the possibilities of an upset are higher than before with Stanfield (as some experts believe there could be a split vote between the two leads and could end up being one of the other nominees),


But Kaluuya is still the favourite and I expect him to come out victorious.


Best Supporting Actress

Nominees:

Maria Bakalova - Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Glenn Close - Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Coleman - The Father

Amanda Seyfried - Mank

Predicted - Youn Yuh-Jung - Minari - WINNER


Possibly the most unpredictable category thus far in the season. Through the span of three months, award experts were in question as to how would this list would look, as each award association were either having different nominees or having some major omissions. In some cases, the award win was even given to someone that was not even in the conversation e.g. Jodie Foster winning the Golden Globe for The Mauritanian.


But after seeing the reactions for each of their represented films, and the overall buzz for each actress, I might have a clear idea.


Before the release of Hillbilly Elegy, Glen Close was believed to finally win an Oscar, as the Academy does have a sickness for such transforming performances based on real-life people (look no further than Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour, or Rami Malik in Bohemian Rhapsody). The trailer for the film was specially tailored to highlight Close's dramatic moments for the Academy, making it all clear Oscar bait. But then the film was released, and it was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics.


All of a sudden that possible win seemed to be fainting away, even to the extent that she wouldn't even get a nomination. Out of all the odds she still managed to get a nomination at the Golden Globes and SAG, but this seems to be far more of a legacy nomination than actually giving ger recognition for the performance (which also got a nomination for Worst Supporting Actress at the Razzies, making Close the third ever person to be nominated for both an Oscar and a Razzie for the same film).


After the damning reviews for Hillbilly Elegy, all the attention went to Mank's Amanda Seyfried, as at that time the film was well regarded and her performance was one of the better qualities in the film. But just like the sanity of Orson Welles' character in Citizen Kane, the winning prospects for her faded away, as the film seemed to be dropping its regard from voters and fans.


Olivia Coleman then seemed the safer choice for her emotional and challenging performance in The Father, but the film seemed to lose traction after the film was still not widely released. With the film's surprising six nominations, including Best Picture, there is still a possibility for her to win her second Oscar (which would be ironic as Coleman's first win for The Favourite was on the year Close was the frontrunner to win for The Wife).


But, there is one unknown young actress that seems to have taken a storm only recently. That is Maria Bakalova or alternatively known as Tutar Sagdiyev, the daughter of Borate Sagdiyen in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (I am not going to type the whole official title). Bakalova not only managed to steal the spotlight from Sacha Baron Cohen in his own film but also become a serious threat for all these now veteran actors. She is the only nominee to get a nomination from the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Association, SAG, and BAFTA, which for any other candidate would definitely make her the frontrunner.


But, unfortunately, there is one setback that might keep her away from that win, and it's the fact that Bo