Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars from Film Awards Editor Clayton Davis. Following Academy Awards history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar predictions are updated regularly with the current year's contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. Eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and will be displayed next to revision date.
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2021 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
UPDATED: Apr. 21, 2021
AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: Your Oscar pool’s success will likely bank on this category. Ultimately, any of the five could win it. Still, even with a different winner at each televised awards ceremony, the informal polling of Oscar voters suggests this could be down to Frances McDormand and Andra Day. By a hair, McDormand — the BAFTA winner — could emerge victorious, becoming the only three-time lead actress winner and just one trophy behind Katharine Hepburn’s record.
Will win: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
Could win: Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
Should win: Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”
Should have been here: Yeri Han, “Minari”
AND THE NOMINEES ARE:
"Nomadland" (Searchlight Pictures)
THE "OSCAR SCENE"
"I’ve been thinking a lot in the past year about why I didn’t just leave Empire when my husband Beau died. I could’ve left and started a new life sooner. But... I think I somehow made up my mind that if I just packed up and left, it would be as if Beau never existed. You see... Beau never knew his parents and we never had kids. But he loved Empire. He loved being there. He loved his work. Everybody loved him. So I stayed. Same town, same house. It’s like my dad used to say ‘what’s remembered, lives’. I might’ve spent too much of my life just... remembering. Know what I mean, Bob?" - Frances McDormand (Fern talking to Bob)
OSCAR HISTORY: 5 nominations, 2 wins (1996's "Fargo" and 2018's "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri")
DIRECTOR: Chloé Zhao
SYNOPSIS: After losing everything in the Great Recession, an old woman embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.
STARRING: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie, Bob Wells
"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (Netflix)
THE "OSCAR SCENE"
"If you colored and can make them some money then you all right with them. Otherwise you just a dog in the alley. I done made this company more money from my records than all the other recording artists they got put together. And they wanna balk about how much this session is costing them." - Viola Davis (Ma Rainey talking to Cutler)
OSCAR HISTORY: 3 nominations, 1 win (2016's "Fences")
ROLE: Ma Rainey
DIRECTOR: George C. Wolfe
SYNOPSIS: Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable "Mother of the Blues". Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson's play..
STARRING: Chadwick Boseman, Dusan Brown, Jonny Coyne, Viola Davis, Colman Domingo, Taylour Paige, Michael Potts, Jeremy Shamos, Glynn Turman
"The United States vs. Billie Holiday" (Hulu)
THE "OSCAR SCENE"
"You think I’m going to stop singing that song? Your grandkids’ll be singing STRANGE FRUIT! Y’all motherfuckers think you got me? You don’t! You stupid bitches don’t got shit on me...Suck my black ass!" - Andra Day (Billie Holiday in the HOSPITAL SCENE)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated
ROLE: Billie Holiday
DIRECTOR: Lee Daniels
SYNOPSIS: Follows Holiday during her career as she is targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by black Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair.
STARRING: Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne, Garrett Hedlund, Rob Morgan, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Tyler James Williams
"Promising Young Woman" (Focus Features)
THE "OSCAR SCENE"
"Shhh. I want you to know what she was like, ok? But she’s so difficult to explain because she was just so completely herself. Even when she was four years old. She was fully formed from day one. Same face. Same walk. And funny like a grown up was funny. Kind of, shrewd. Perceptive. So smart. I was just in awe of her. I couldn’t believe she wanted to be my friend! She didn’t give a fuck what anyone else thought, except for me. Because she was just...Nina. And then she wasn’t. Suddenly, she was something else, she was yours. It wasn’t her name she heard when she was walking around, it was yours. Your name all over her. All around her. All the time. And it just...squeezed her out. So when I heard your name again. Your filthy fucking name. I wondered when was the last time someone had said hers. Or thought it even. Apart from me. And it made me so sad. Because, Al, you should be the one with her name all over you." - Carey Mulligan (Cassie talking to Al Monroe)
OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination (2009's "An Education")
ROLE: Cassandra "Cassie" Thomas
DIRECTOR: Emerald Fennell
SYNOPSIS: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who cross her path.
STARRING:Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Molly Shannon, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Max Greenfield, Alison Brie, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Connie Britton, Chris Lowell, Adam Brody, Sam Richardson
"Pieces of a Woman" (Netflix)
THE "OSCAR SCENE"
"There might be a reason for what happened but we are not going to find it here in this room. And if I stand here and ask for compensation or money, than I'm saying I can be compensated and I can't. I can't bring her back. No money or verdicts or sentences can bring back what...how can i give this pain to someone else? Someone who's already suffered, and I know she would not want that...at all. That is not why my daughter came into this world for the time that she did." - Vanessa Kirby (Martha in the COURTROOM)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated
DIRECTOR: Kornél Mundruczó
SYNOPSIS: When a young mother's home birth ends in unfathomable tragedy, she begins a year-long odyssey of mourning that fractures relationships with loved ones in this deeply personal story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss.
STARRING: Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Ellen Burstyn, Iliza Shlesinger, Benny Safdie, Sarah Snook, Molly Parker
† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in the lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories
AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Actress)
The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The biggest Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each. Katharine Hepburn has the most awards in this category with four. In contrast, 13 women have won two each – Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Olivia de Havilland, Glenda Jackson, Vivien Leigh, Frances McDormand, Luise Rainer, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank and Elizabeth Taylor. Streep has the most nominations in this category with 17, while Hepburn has 12, and Davis has 10. The oldest winner is Jessica Tandy at 80 for “Driving Miss Daisy,” and the oldest nominee is Emmanuelle Riva at 85 for “Amour.” The youngest winner at 21 is Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God”), and the youngest nominee at 9 is Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”).
Academy Awards Predictions (All Categories)
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Director
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Adapted Screenplay
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Animated Feature
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Production Design
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Cinematography
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Costume Design
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Film Editing
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Makeup and Hairstyling
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Sound
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Visual Effects
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Score
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Song
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Feature
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best International Feature
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Animated Short
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Short
- 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Live-Action Short
2021 Golden Globes Predictions (Film)
- Best Motion Picture – Drama
- Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
- Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
- Best Motion Picture – Animated
- Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama)
- Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical)
- Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama)
- Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical)
- Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
- Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
- Best Director – Motion Picture
2021 SAG Awards Predictions (Film)
- Best Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture
- Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture
- Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture
- Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
- Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
- Best Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
About the Academy Awards (Oscars)
The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners are selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). 17 branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.
- The Oscars are scheduled for Sunday, April 25, 2021.
About the Golden Globes
The Golden Globes Awards, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is held annually with 93 members since 1944. The group recognizes excellence in film and television across drama and comedy or musical categories. Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” holds the record for the most awards won by a single film with seven. Milos Forman’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and Alan Parker’s “Midnight Express” are next in line with six each. Robert Altman’s “Nashville” has the record for most nominations received by a film with 11 while Colin Higgins’ “Foul Play,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part III” and Mike Nichols’ “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” share the record for receiving the most nominations and not winning a single award at seven.
- The Golden Globes are scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021.
About the SAG Awards
The Screen Actors Guild Awards, hosted by SAG-AFTRA, is an annual award show that has become one of the most important and key indicators for the Oscars. Four films have won the most SAG awards with three: 1999’s “American Beauty,” 2002’s “Chicago,” 2011’s “The Help” and 2017’s “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Three movies have been nominated for the most SAG awards with five: 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago” and 2008’s “Doubt.”
- The SAG Awards are scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 4, 2021