Friday, April 23, 2021

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Picture

The competition: The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Previous winners: Parasite, Green Book, The Shape of Water, Moonlight, Spotlight, Birdman, 12 Years a Slave
My winner: Promising Young Woman
The facts: Last year, “Parasite” capitalized on its SAG win and took the top prize from “1917,” the expected winner. This year, it’s hard to believe that anything could derail “Nomadland,” which has won the PGA, DGA, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and more, but let’s go through it all anyway. Unlike last year, when four films earned ten or more nominations, just one achieved that this time: “Mank.” Six of the remaining nominees earned six bids each, while “Promising Young Woman” got five. SAG chose “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” but its only competition from this list was “Minari.” Four of these films – “Mank,” “Minari,” “Nomadland,” and “Promising Young Woman” – are nominated for Best Director, while “The Father,” “Nomadland,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Sound of Metal,” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” contend for Best Film Editing, a nomination that in most cases has been a historic necessity to win this prize.

Nomadland” took the top prize at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, BAFTA, PGA, and DGA. It wasn’t nominated at SAG, where “The Trial of the Chicago 7” eclipsed “Minari,” or WGA, where it wasn’t eligible. It’s hard to see anything that would prevent it from winning at this point, though there are three other films that could feasibly be popular enough to potentially overtake it. “Minari” is a real crowd-pleaser and will benefit from positive buzz for supporting actress Yuh-jung Youn, who is the frontrunner to win, but its chances would be much better had it, like “Parasite” last year, won the SAG ensemble prize. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” missed out on a directing nomination, and it likely would have done much better in terms of its total bids if it had a shot at taking home the top award. “Promising Young Woman,” my favorite film of the year, will have plenty of people ranking it as their #1, and it is, aside from “Nomadland,” the only film to score both directing and film editing nominations. But I still argue that there’s nothing going against “Nomadland,” and it feels like the safest winner this category has seen since “12 Years a Slave” back in 2013.

What should win: “Promising Young Woman,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” and “Mank” are my top three films of 2020. Honestly, this list is solid, and I’m fine with “Nomadland” winning even if it wasn’t my number one cinematic experience of the year.
What will win: It’s going to be Nomadland, though I’d pick “Minari” as the potential spoiler if I had to.

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