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The Oscars have unveiled the 2021 nominations, and it was a historic group that closes the chapter of one of the hardest years for cinema.

After a year in which the Academy announced its divisive inclusion and representation standards, members stepped up to the plate, recognizing the most people of color in the acting categories in history with nine nods. There’s wonderful representation in almost every category, and while there’s still work to do, this is a step in the right direction and the Academy should be applauded for its efforts (Now let’s get our Latinx people on board in a big way next year, please).

In a year dubbed “The Year of the Woman,” it’s poetic to see (in theory) that the only two films that can win best picture, based on Oscar statistical history, are “Nomadland” and “Promising Young Woman,” considering where they landed nominations.

Let’s look through the first initial thoughts on the nominees and predicted winners.

Best Picture

  • “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) – David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers
  • “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros) – Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Producers
  • “Mank” (Netflix) – Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, Producers
  • “Minari” (A24) – Christina Oh, Producer
  • “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) – Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producers
  • “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) – Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, Producers
  • “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios) – Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, Producers
  • “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix) – Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, Producers

Prediction Tally: 8/8 (had “One Night in Miami” in a predicted nine-film lineup)

Netflix’s “Mank” led the fray with 10 nominations but the story of this lineup is Searchlight Pictures’ “Nomadland” and Focus Features’ “Promising Young Woman” nabbing all the “essentials” of a best picture winner including director, acting and editing. With six films garnering six nominations, this may be one of the most widespread list of nominees ever. The ousting of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” may have been surprising to many, but recent conversations with Academy voters led me to believe it was in trouble and might miss out. We also say farewell to a “sliding scale” for best picture, as beginning next year, we are back to a guaranteed 10 nominees in best picture. If we had that this year, I would have expected “Ma Rainey,” “One Night in Miami” or possibly “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” to get the last two spots.

We also saw history with the first all-Black producing team nominated for best picture with “Judas and the Black Messiah.” This also marks the third time that two film directed by women have been nominated; the others were 2010’s “An Education” and “The Hurt Locker” and 2011’s “The Kids Are All Right” and “Winter’s Bone.”

Initial Winner Prediction: “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Director

  • “Another Round” (Samuel Goldwyn Films) – Thomas Vinterberg
  • “Mank” (Netflix) – David Fincher
  • “Minari” (A24) – Lee Isaac Chung
  • “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) – Chloé Zhao
  • “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) – Emerald Fennell

Prediction tally: 3/5 (missing Fincher and Vinterberg for Aaron Sorkin and Florian Zeller)

Two women made the cut in best director, which is a first in the category, with only one first-time filmmaker making the cut (Fennell). Feeling there would be a swell in the European vote, BAFTA nominee Vinterberg makes it over Florian Zeller (“The Father”), which is surprising considering how well it did overall, and Mads Mikkelsen didn’t make the cut in best actor.

Initial Winner Prediction: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Best Actor

  • Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
  • Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  • Anthony Hopkins in “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Gary Oldman in “Mank” (Netflix)
  • Steven Yeun in “Minari” (A24)

Prediction tally: 4/5 (missing Oldman for Tahar Rahim)

The SAG-nominated five ended up being the Oscar five, and the not so shocking but fair assumption is Mads Mikkelsen (“Another Round”) might have been the number six in the lineup. Steven Yeun is the first Asian American to be nominated in the category history while Riz Ahmed is the first Muslim lead actor nominee ever. Anthony Hopkins is the oldest nominee in history at 83, while Chadwick Boseman is the first Black posthumous acting nominee.

Initial Winner Prediction: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)

Best Actress

  • Viola Davis in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
  • Andra Day in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Hulu)
  • Vanessa Kirby in “Pieces of a Woman” (Netflix)
  • Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)

Prediction tally: 5/5

After the Golden Globe win, Andra Day makes the cut, which brings about the second time that two Black women have been nominated in this category since 1972 when Diana Ross (“Lady Sings the Blues”) and Cicely Tyson (“Sounder”) were recognized. Davis is the most nominated Black woman in history with four and McDormand becomes the first woman to be nominated for producing and acting in the same year.

Initial Winner Prediction: Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Sacha Baron Cohen in “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  • Daniel Kaluuya in “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros)
  • Leslie Odom, Jr. in “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
  • Paul Raci in “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
  • Lakeith Stanfield in “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros)

Prediction tally: 4/5 (missed Stanfield for David Strathairn)

All hail Paul Raci! It’s incredible to see him make the cut for his work in Darius Marder’s six-time nominated drama. Lakeith Stanfield is the shock of the day but no one is complaining. His work as Bill O’Neal in “Judas and the Black Messiah” is incredibly executed and a nom for him is long overdue. I don’t think he hurts his nominated co-star Kaluuya but it could siphon a few votes, which could open things up for either Baron Cohen or Odom.

Initial Winner Prediction: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Maria Bakalova in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios)
  • Glenn Close in “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix)
  • Olivia Colman in “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Amanda Seyfried in “Mank” (Netflix)
  • Yuh-jung Youn in “Minari” (A24)

Prediction tally: 4/5 (missed Close for Dominique Fishback)

Considering how great “Judas” did with the Academy, it’s surprising to not see Dominique Fishback come in for the ride. The category is still pretty open for a winner, and not sure we’ll know which way it’ll fall on April 25. Youn becomes the first Asian woman to be nominated in this category since Rinko Kikuchi (“Babel”) from 2006. Close joins the likes of Geraldine Page as an eight-time nominee who won on her final outing for “The Trip to Bountiful” (1985). If she loses, she joins Peter O’Toole, who went zero for eight in his career. SAG will be very telling for this category.

Initial Winner Prediction: Olivia Colman, “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Best Original Screenplay

  • “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Amazon Studios) – Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King; Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas
  • “Minari” (A24) – Written by Lee Isaac Chung
  • “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) – Written by Emerald Fennell
  • “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios) – Screenplay by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance
  • “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix) – Written by Aaron Sorkin

Prediction tally: 5/5

The posthumous nomination for Jack Fincher (“Mank”) was pushed out in favor of “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “Sound of Metal.” The SAG ensemble category could strangely hold some weight in this category. Since “Nomadland” is not nominated for the ensemble, the top prize at SAG could help momentum for either “Minari” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” — both of which are in direct competition with “Promising Young Woman.”

Initial Winner Prediction: “Promising Young Woman”

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios) – Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad
  • “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) –  Screenplay by Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller
  • “Nomadland” (Searchlight PIctures) – Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao
  • “One Night in Miami…” (Amazon Studios) – Screenplay by Kemp Powers
  • “The White Tiger” (Netflix) – Written for the screen by Ramin Bahrani

Prediction tally: 4/5 (missed “Borat” for “The Mauritanian”)

A lesson for Oscar predictors…trust your gut. This was the five since the Writers Guild Award nominations were announced but the big BAFTA day for “The Mauritanian” pushed me elsewhere. This could be a nice spot for “The Father” to pull a “Gods and Monsters” type of win here or “One Night in Miami” to get a consolation prize after missing best picture. However, this looks preordained for “Nomadland.” Ramin Bahrani’s inclusion is welcomed in this year of diversity while “Borat” breaks the all-time screenwriting record with nine of its team making the cut, beating out the seven-person record held by “Toy Story” in 1995.

Initial Winner Prediction: “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Animated Feature

  • “Onward” (Pixar) – Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae
  • “Over the Moon” (Netflix) – Glen Keane, Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou
  • “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Netflix) – Richard Phelan, Will Becher and Paul Kewley
  • “Soul” (Pixar) – Pete Docter and Dana Murray
  • “Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV Plus/A24) – Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young and Stéphan Roelants

Initial Winner Prediction: “Soul” (Pixar)

Best Production Design

  • “The Father” Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone
  • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton
  • “Mank” Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale
  • “News of the World” Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan
  • “Tenet” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

Initial Winner Prediction: “Mank” (Netflix)

Best Cinematography

  • “Judas and the Black Messiah” Sean Bobbitt
  • “Mank” Erik Messerschmidt
  • “News of the World” Dariusz Wolski
  • “Nomadland” Joshua James Richards
  • “The Trial of the Chicago 7” Phedon Papamichael

Initial Winner Prediction: “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Costume Design

  • “Emma” (Focus Features) – Alexandra Byrne
  • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix) – Ann Roth
  • “Mank” (Netflix) – Trish Summerville
  • “Mulan” (Walt Disney Pictures) – Bina Daigeler
  • “Pinocchio” (Roadside Attractions) – Massimo Cantini Parrini

Initial Winner Prediction: “Emma.” (Focus Features)

Best Film Editing

  • “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) – Yorgos Lamprinos
  • “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) – Chloé Zhao
  • “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) – Frédéric Thoraval
  • “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios) – Mikkel E. G. Nielsen
  • “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix) – Alan Baumgarten

Initial Winner Prediction: “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Emma” (Focus Features) – Marese Langan, Laura Allen and Claudia Stolze
  • “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix) – Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle and Patricia Dehaney
  • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix) – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson
  • “Mank” (Netflix) – Gigi Williams, Kimberley Spiteri and Colleen LaBaff
  • “Pinocchio” (Roadside Attractions) – Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli and Francesco Pegoretti

Initial Winner Prediction: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)

Best Sound

  • “Greyhound” (Apple TV Plus) – Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman
  • “Mank” (Netflix) – Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin
  • “News of the World” (Universal Pictures) – Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett
  • “Soul” (Pixar) – Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker
  • “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios) – Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh

Initial Winner Prediction: “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)

Best Visual Effects

  • “Love and Monsters” (Sony Pictures) – Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox
  • “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) – Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins
  • “Mulan” (Walt Disney Pictures) – Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram
  • “The One and Only Ivan” (Disney Plus) – Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez
  • “Tenet” (Warner Bros) – Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher

Initial Winner Prediction: “Tenet” (Warner Bros)

Best Original Score

  • “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix) – Terence Blanchard
  • “Mank” (Netflix) – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
  • “Minari” (A24) – Emile Mosseri
  • “News of the World” (Universal Pictures) – James Newton Howard
  • “Soul” (Pixar) – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste

Initial Winner Prediction: “Soul” (Pixar)

Best Original Song

  • “Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”
    Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas
  • “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
    Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite
  • “Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
    Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson
  • “Io Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)”
    Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini
  • “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami…”
    Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

Initial Winner Prediction: “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)

Best Documentary Feature

  • “Collective” Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana
  • “Crip Camp” Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder
  • “The Mole Agent” Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez
  • “My Octopus Teacher” Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster
  • “Time” Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn

Initial Winner Prediction: “Time” (Amazon Studios)

Best International Feature

  • “Another Round” Denmark
  • “Better Days” Hong Kong
  • “Collective” Romania
  • “The Man Who Sold His Skin” Tunisia
  • “Quo Vadis, Aida?” Bosnia and Herzegovina

Initial Winner Prediction: “Another Round” (Denmark)

Best Documentary Short Subject

  • “Colette” Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard
  • “A Concerto Is a Conversation” Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers
  • “Do Not Split” Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook
  • “Hunger Ward” Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman
  • “A Love Song for Latasha” Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

Initial Winner Prediction: “A Concerto is a Conversation”

Best Animated Short Film

  • “Burrow” Madeline Sharafian and Michael Capbarat
  • “Genius Loci” Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise
  • “If Anything Happens I Love You” Will McCormack and Michael Govier
  • “Opera” Erick Oh
  • “Yes-People” Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson

Initial Winner Prediction: “If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix)

Best Live Action Short

  • “Feeling Through” Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski
  • “The Letter Room” Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan
  • “The Present” Farah Nabulsi
  • “Two Distant Strangers” Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe
  • “White Eye” Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman

Initial Winner Prediction: “Two Distant Strangers”