We’ll say it again: it’s been a long, strange awards season. And yet we’re about to enter the home stretch and learn just how the Academy Awards will look during a global pandemic. With the ceremony pushed to April 25, nominations are set to be announced March 15 and here is where the major races stand following nominations from the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards. Again, a reminder that any season is impossible to truly predict, particularly this extended one where the rules have changed. But here are some guesses based on industry accolades, buzz and old-fashioned gut instinct.
The Overall Picture
The films that appear to be top contenders to secure a best picture nomination include: “The Father,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Globe winner “Nomadland,” “Mank,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Minari,” “One Night in Miami,” “News of the World,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Sound of Metal” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”
But there are several films with strong support that wouldn’t be a surprise to see here, from critical faves including “Another Round,” “Da 5 Bloods,” “First Cow” and “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” to later entries in the race such as “The Mauritanian” or “Malcolm & Marie.” And while comedies generally don’t get the respect they deserve at Oscars, don’t count out Golden Globe winner “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” or “Palm Springs,” both very funny, but also very powerful and timely, entries.
A Direct Path
The director race is abuzz with the possibility that female nominees might dominate, as they did in the Golden Globe nominations with critical favorite and Globe winner Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”), Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) and Regina King (“One Night in Miami”) all snaring nods. David Fincher (“Mank”) and Aaron Sorkin (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) were also nominated at Globes and these five could be the Oscar lineup as well. But don’t count out later arrivals including Shaka King for “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Also, look to films that feature lauded performances – George C. Wolfe is all but guaranteed to see two of his “Ma Rainey” actors nominated, as is Florian Zeller for “The Father” and Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari.” And never count out previous nominees such as Spike Lee for “Da 5 Bloods” or Paul Greengrass for “News of the World.”
In the Lead
When the season began, the lead actor category was largely perceived to be a race between Anthony Hopkins for “The Father” and Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” who just won the Golden Globe. But then audiences took to Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal,” and he began picking up accolades and praise from critics and viewers. Previous Oscar winner Gary Oldman has landed both Globe and SAG noms while Steven Yeun has only gained steam for his role in “Minari” — landing an individual SAG nod was a huge coup. Those five make up the SAG lineup, but there are still eyes on critical fave Delroy Lindo for “Da 5 Bloods,” Mads Mikkelson for “Another Round,” Tom Hanks for “News of the World,” Ben Affleck for “The Way Back,” and Globe nominees Tahar Rahim for “The Mauritanian” and Sacha Baron Cohen for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” who picked up a Globe win.
On the actress side, four slots seem to be locked: Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”), Frances McDormand (“Nomadland) and Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) all landed both Globe and SAG Award nominations and have been in the conversation all season. The fifth slot could go to Andra Day, who won the Golden Globe for “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” or Amy Adams, a SAG nominee for “Hillbilly Elegy.”United States Or there could be a stealth contender, from critical fave Sidney Flanagan to Yeri Han (“Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and “(“Minari,” respectively) Kate Winslet (“Ammonite”), Zendaya (“Malcolm & Marie”), Sophia Loren (“The Life Ahead”), or a later arrival such as Robin Wright (“Land.”)
The SAG Award nominees for female actor in a supporting role could very well be in the Oscar lineup: Maria Baka-lova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”), Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”), Olivia Colman (“The Father”), Yuh-Jung Youn, (“Minari”) and Helena Zengel (“News of the World”). But there are plenty of other terrific actors who could still break in, starting with Amanda Seyfriend (“Mank”), whom many had assumed was a lock for a SAG nom. Though she missed there, she landed a Golden Globe nomination and her film will probably have broad support amongst voters. Past winners including Ellen Burstyn (“Pieces of a Woman”) and Globe winner Jodie Foster (“The Mauritanian”) could also factor into the race, as could Dominique Fishback (“Judas and the Black Messiah”), whose film is picking up more and more steam.
On the supporting actor side, those recognized by the SAG Awards are: Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”), Chadwick Boseman (“Da 5 Bloods”), Globe winner Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) Jared Leto (“The Little Things”) and Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”). But don’t count out critics’ group leader Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”) or Globe nominee Bill Murray (“On the Rocks”). Or you could see an another actor from a popular ensemble breaking in, such as Mark Rylance or Frank Langella from “Chicago 7” or Aldis Hodge from “Miami,” as well as those in “Ma Rainey,” David Strathairn of “Nomadland,” or 7-year-old “Minari” breakout Alan S. Kim.