Oscars Predictions: Best Visual Effects – ‘Tenet’ Is the Frontrunner But ‘Mulan’ Could Crash the Party

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UPDATED: Apr. 21, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: With the production design nomination, “Tenet” has the edge, and it has won BAFTA and almost every other prize out there. VES Guild went with “The Midnight Sky,” but I don’t think it was enough to make a difference. “Mulan” also has support that could shake things up a bit.

Will win: “Tenet” (Warner Bros) – Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley, Santiago Colomo Martinez
Could win: “Mulan”
Should win: “The Midnight Sky”
Should have been here: “Welcome to Chechnya” – Ryan Laney, Maxwell Anderson, Johnny Han, Piers Dennis

“Tenet” (Warner Bros) – Mike Chambers, Scott R. Fisher, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley
Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021)
2021 Awards Season Calendar


  1. "Tenet" (Warner Bros.)
    Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley, Scott R. Fisher, Mike Chambers

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    Jackson - 1 nomination (2015's "Mad Max: Fury Road")
    Lockley - 2 nominations, 2 wins (2010's "Inception" and 2014's "Interstellar")
    Fisher - 1 nomination, 1 win ("Interstellar")
    Chambers - Never nominated
    DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan
    SYNOPSIS: Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
    STARRING: John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Robert Pattinson, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh

  2. "Mulan" (Walt Disney Pictures)
    Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury, Steve Ingram

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Niki Caro
    SYNOPSIS: A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father.
    STARRING: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Tzi Ma, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, Yosan An, Rosalind Chao

  3. "The Midnight Sky" (Netflix)
    Matt Kasmir, Chris Lawrence, Dave Watkins, Max Solomon

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    Kasmir- Never nominated
    Lawrence - 3 nominations, 1 win (2013's "Gravity")
    Watkins - Never nominated
    Solomon - Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: George Clooney
    SYNOPSIS: This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine, a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.
    STARRING: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, Tiffany Boone, Caoilinn Springall

  4. "Love and Monsters" (Paramount Pictures)
    Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox

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    DIRECTOR: Michael Matthews
    SYNOPSIS: In a monster-infested world, Joel learns his girlfriend is just 85 miles away. To make the dangerous journey, Joel discovers his inner hero to be with the girl of his dreams.
    STARRING: Dylan O'Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker

  5. "The One and Only Ivan" (Disney Plus)
    Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones, Santiago Colomo Martinez

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Thea Sharrock
    SYNOPSIS: A gorilla named Ivan tries to piece together his past with the help of an elephant named Ruby as they hatch a plan to escape from captivity..
    STARRING: Bryan Cranston, Sam Rockwell, Phillipa Soo, Chaka Khan, Mike White, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Danne DeVito, Ron Funches

† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories
††† = official eligible nominees not yet determined by AMPAS


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. The magnificent Dennis Muren has a stellar 6 Oscars in this category which include “The Abyss,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “Jurassic Park.” He also 2 Special Achievement Oscars for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” of the “Star Wars’ series. Gordon Jennings and Ken Ralston have five wins each.

Academy Awards Predictions (All Categories)

2021 Golden Globes Predictions (Film)

2021 SAG Awards Predictions (Film)

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