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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.

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE COLLECTIVE.

2021 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST DIRECTOR

UPDATED: Oct. 29, 2020 (PRE-SEASON)

George C. Wolfe (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and Shaka King (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) make headway this week and both could be formidable forces in what could become one of the most diverse directing lineups in Oscar history.

† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories


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Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

  1. Chloé Zhao
    "Nomadland" (Searchlight Pictures)

  2. David Fincher
    "Mank" (Netflix)

  3. Regina King
    "One Night in Miami" (Amazon Studios)

  4. George C. Wolfe
    "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (Netflix)

  5. Shaka King
    "Judas and the Black Messiah" (Warner Bros.)

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Courtesy of Universal Pictures/YouTube

NEXT IN LINE CONTENDERS:

  1. Aaron Sorkin
    "The Trial of the Chicago 7" (Netflix)

  2. Lee Isaac Chung
    "Minari" (A24)

  3. Spike Lee
    "Da 5 Bloods" (Netflix)

  4. Paul Greengrass
    "News of the World" (Universal Pictures)

  5. Florian Zeller
    "The Father" (Sony Pictures Classics)

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    Melinda Sue Gordon

TOP-TIER AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. Christopher Nolan
    "Tenet" (Warner Bros.)

  2. Ryan Murphy
    "The Prom" (Netflix)

  3. Sofia Coppola
    "On the Rocks" (A24/Apple TV Plus)

  4. Kelly Reichardt
    "First Cow" (A24)

  5. Ramin Bahrani
    "The White Tiger" (Netflix)

  6. Emerald Fennell
    "Promising Young Woman" (Focus Features)

  7. Lee Daniels
    "The United States vs. Billie Holiday" (Paramount Pictures)

  8. Armando Iannucci
    "The Personal History of David Copperfield" (Searchlight Pictures)

  9. George Clooney
    "The Midnight Sky" (Netflix)

  10. Francis Lee
    "Ammonite" (Neon)

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Screen Media

ALSO IN CONTENTION:

  1. Harry Mcqueen
    "Supernova" (Bleecker Street)

  2. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
    "Cherry" (Apple TV Plus)

  3. Rod Lurie
    "The Outpost" (Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment)

  4. Charlie Kaufman
    "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" (Netflix)

  5. Kornél Mundruczó
    "Pieces of a Woman" (Netflix)

  6. Max Barbakow
    "Palm Springs" (Hulu/Neon)

  7. Darius Marder
    "Sound of Metal" (Amazon Studios)

  8. Edson Oda
    "Nine Days" (Sony Pictures Classics)

  9. Azazel Jacobs
    "French Exit" (Sony Pictures Classics)

  10. Channing Godfrey Peoples
    "Miss Juneteenth" (Vertical Entertainment)
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Photo courtesy of Focus Features

MORE AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. Julia Hart
    "I'm Your Woman" (Amazon Studios)

  2. Ron Howard
    "Hillbilly Elegy" (Netflix)

  3. John Patrick Shanley
    "Wild Mountain Thyme" (Bleecker Street)

  4. Niki Caro
    "Mulan" (Disney Plus)

  5. Josephine Decker
    "Shirley" (Neon)

  6. Jonathan Butterell
    "Everybody's Talking About Jamie" (20th Century Studios)

  7. Radha Blank
    "The Forty-Year-Old Version" (Netflix)

  8. Eliza Hittman
    "Never Rarely Sometimes Always" (Focus Features)

  9. Aaron Schneider
    "Greyhound" (Apple TV Plus)

  10. Reinaldo Marcus Green
    "Good Joe Bell" (Solstice Studios)

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Courtesy of Sea Change Media

UNRANKED AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  • Judd Apatow, “The King of Staten Island” (Netflix)
  • Kenneth Branagh, “Death on the Nile” (20th Century Studios)
  • Scott Cooper, “Antlers” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Michael Angelo Covino, “The Climb” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Autumn de Wilde, “Emma.” (Focus Features)
  • Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, “Soul” (Pixar)
  • Sean Durkin, “The Nest” (IFC Films)
  • Clea DuVall, “Happiest Season” (Hulu)
  • Heidi Ewing, “I Carry You With Me” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Mona Fastvold, “The World to Come” (Bleecker Street)†
  • Coky Giedroyc, “How to Build a Girl” (IFC Films)
  • Kitty Green, “The Assistant” (Bleecker Street)
  • John Lee Hancock, “The Little Things” (Warner Bros.)
  • Chad Hartigan, “Little Fish” (IFC Films)
  • Patty Jenkins, “Wonder Woman 1984” (Warner Bros.)†
  • Miranda July, “Kajillionaire” (Focus Features)
  • Glen Keane, “Over the Moon” (Netflix)
  • Phyllida Lloyd, “Herself” (Amazon Studios)
  • Joe Mantello, “The Boys in the Band” (Netflix)
  • Pietro Marcello, “Martin Eden” (Kino Lorber)
  • Tara Miele, “Wander Darkly” (Lionsgate)
  • Carlo Mirabella-Davis, “Swallow” (IFC Films)
  • Ekwa Msangi, “Farewell Amor” (Wavelength Productions)
  • Gavin O'Connor, “The Way Back” (Warner Bros.)
  • Gina Prince-Bythewood, “The Old Guard” (Netflix)
  • Marjane Satrapi, “Radioactive” (Amazon Studios)
  • Dan Scanlon, “Onward” (Pixar)
  • Steven Soderbergh, “Let Them All Talk” (HBO Max)†
  • Fisher Stevens, “Palmer” (Apple TV Plus)†
  • Julie Taymor, “The Glorias” (Roadside Attractions)
  • Leigh Whannell, “The Invisible Man” (Universal Pictures)
  • Benh Zeitlin, “Wendy” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • Robert Zemeckis, “The Witches” (HBO Max)

† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The best director category has solidified cinema’s most prolific filmmakers. John Ford is the most awarded director in history with four Oscars while Frank Capra and William Wyler garnered three each. Wyler is the most nominated director in Academy history with 12 while Martin Scorsese and Billy Wilder currently place behind him with 9 and 8 mentions respectively. The late Clarence Brown is the most nominated filmmaker to not win an Academy Award with six (his last was for 1947’s “The Yearling”).

Academy Awards Predictions (All Categories)