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:
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

UPDATED: Apr. 21, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: It’s swept nearly all the guilds and is the feel-good film of the bunch. The timeliness of “Time” is a factor, but I think it just misses out, along with double nominee “Collective.”

Will win:My Octopus Teacher” – Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed
Could win: “Time”
Should win: “The Mole Agent”
Should have been here: “The Way I See It” (Focus Features) – Dawn Porter

PRECURSORS LEADER:
“Time” (Amazon Studios)
Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021)
2021 Awards Season Calendar


AND THE NOMINEES ARE:

  1. "My Octopus Teacher" (Netflix)
    Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed
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    OSCAR HISTORY:: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed
    SYNOPSIS: A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.
    STARRING: Craig Foster, Tom Foster


  2. "Collective" (Magnolia Pictures and Participant)
    Alexander Nanau, Bernard Michaux, Hanka Kastelicová, Bianca Oana
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    Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Alexander Nanau
    SYNOPSIS: Director Alexander Nanau follows a crack team of investigators at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor as they try to uncover a vast health-care fraud that enriched moguls and politicians and led to the deaths of innocent citizens.
    STARRING: Razvan Lutac, Mirela Neag, Catalin Tolontan


  3. "Time" (Amazon Studios)
    Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn, Garrett Bradley
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Garrett Bradley
    SYNOPSIS: Fox Rich fights for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year sentence in prison.
    STARRING: Rob Rich II, Fox Rich


  4. "Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution" (Netflix)
    Nicole Newnham, James Lebrecht, Sara Bolder Hittman
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    OSCAR HISTORY:: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Nicole Newnham, James Lebrecht
    SYNOPSIS: Down the road from Woodstock, a revolution blossomed at a ramshackle summer camp for teenagers with disabilities, transforming their lives and igniting a landmark movement.
    STARRING: S Larry Allison, Dennis Billups, William Bronston


  5. "The Mole Agent" (Gravitas Ventures)
    Marcela Santibañez, Maite Alberdi
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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Maite Alberdi
    SYNOPSIS: A private investigator in Chile hires someone to work as a mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse.
    STARRING: Romulo Aitken, Sergio Chamy


† = 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

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.


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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.