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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

my picks for tonight’s 93rd Academy Awards (the Oscars for 2020’s films) (winners indicated)

UPDATE: Winners are now indicated. I correctly guessed 11 out of the 24 23 categories, which is slightly better than last year.

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Academy Awards OscarsThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — of which I am, alas, not a member — will announce the winners of its 2021 awards tonight. The full list of Oscar nominees is below. Links here go to my reviews, with reviews to come for most if not all those I haven’t yet reviewed.

I’ve now seen as many of the nominated films as I will be able to before tonight’s ceremony, and it’s not as many as I would have liked. (Pandemic brain is real, folks. I have found it extremely difficult to focus on work this past year, including finding headspace for movies and the subsequent headspace for reviews.) So my guesses this year about which films will win — indicated by Xes on the lefthand side — are, more than ever, about trying to put myself in the mindset of how the Academy thinks about movies. Which is often not about any pretense toward determining “objective” quality but about peer pressure; which nominee is “owed” an award after a long career of, perhaps, being slighted at awards season; and the like. Often we hear on the sly about how some Academy members don’t even bother to watch many of the nominees but vote anyway. We’re all in the bullshit game this year.

Check out my still ongoing, not yet completed ranking of 2020’s films, and my barely begun ranking of 2021’s films (some of which are included among these nominees because of the extended Oscars eligibility period).

(See the Academy’s site at Oscars.org and ABC’s site at Oscars.com for your further Oscar needs.)


Best Picture
[    ] The Father
[    ] Judas and the Black Messiah
[    ] Mank
[    ] Minari
[ X ] Nomadland WINNER
[    ] Promising Young Woman
[    ] Sound of Metal
[    ] The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director
[    ] Thomas Vinterberg – Another Round
[    ] David Fincher – Mank
[    ] Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
[ X ] Chloé Zhao – Nomadland WINNER
[    ] Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman

Best Actor in a Leading Role
[    ] Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
[ X ] Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
[    ] Anthony Hopkins – The Father WINNER
[    ] Gary Oldman – Mank
[    ] Steven Yeun – Minari

Best Actress in a Leading Role
[    ] Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
[    ] Andra Day – The United States v. Billie Holiday
[    ] Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
[    ] Frances McDormand – Nomadland WINNER
[ X ] Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
[ X ] Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
[    ] Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah WINNER
[    ] Leslie Odom Jr – One Night in Miami…
[    ] Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
[    ] Lakeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
[ X ] Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
[    ] Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy
[    ] Olivia Colman – The Father
[    ] Amanda Seyfried – Mank
[    ] Yuh-jung Youn – Minari WINNER

Best Animated Feature Film
[    ] Onward
[    ] Over the Moon
[    ] A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
[    ] Soul WINNER
[ X ] Wolfwalkers

Best International Feature Film
[    ] Another Round (Denmark) WINNER
[    ] Better Days (Hong Kong)
[    ] Collective (Romania)
[    ] The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia)
[ X ] Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Best Documentary Feature
[    ] Collective
[    ] Crip Camp
[    ] The Mole Agent
[ X ] My Octopus Teacher WINNER
[    ] Time

Best Adapted Screenplay
[    ] Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
[    ] The Father WINNER
[    ] Nomadland
[ X ] One Night in Miami…
[    ] The White Tiger

Best Original Screenplay
[    ] Judas and the Black Messiah
[    ] Minari
[ X ] Promising Young Woman WINNER
[    ] Sound of Metal
[    ] The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Cinematography
[    ] Judas and the Black Messiah
[ X ] Mank WINNER
[    ] News of the World
[    ] Nomadland
[    ] The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Costume Design
[    ] Emma.
[    ] Mank
[ X ] Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom WINNER
[    ] Mulan
[    ] Pinocchio

Best Film Editing
[ X ] The Father
[    ] Nomadland
[    ] Promising Young Woman
[    ] Sound of Metal WINNER
[    ] The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Animated Short Film
[    ] “Burrow”
[    ] “Genius Loci”
[    ] “If Anything Happens I Love You” WINNER
[ X ] “Opera”
[    ] “Yes-People”

Best Live-Action Short Film
[    ] “Feeling Through”
[    ] “The Letter Room”
[    ] “The Present”
[ X ] “Two Distant Strangers” WINNER
[    ] “White Eye”

Best Documentary Short Subject
[    ] “Colette” WINNER
[    ] “A Concerto Is a Conversation”
[    ] “Do Not Split”
[ X ] “Hunger Ward”
[    ] “A Love Song for Latasha”

Best Original Song
[    ] “Fight for You” – Judas and the Black Messiah WINNER
[    ] “Hear My Voice” – The Trial of the Chicago 7
[ X ] “Húsavík” – Eurovision Song Contest
[    ] “Io Si (Seen)” – The Life Ahead
[    ] “Speak Now” – One Night in Miami…

Best Original Score
[    ] Da 5 Bloods
[    ] Mank
[    ] Minari
[    ] News of the World
[ X ] Soul WINNER

Best Sound
[    ] Greyhound
[    ] Mank
[    ] News of the World
[    ] Soul
[ X ] Sound of Metal WINNER

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
[    ] Emma.
[    ] Hillbilly Elegy
[ X ] Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom WINNER
[    ] Mank
[    ] Pinocchio

Best Production Design
[    ] The Father
[ X ] Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
[    ] Mank WINNER
[    ] News of the World
[    ] Tenet

Best Visual Effects
[    ] Love and Monsters
[    ] The Midnight Sky
[    ] Mulan
[    ] The One and Only Ivan
[ X ] Tenet WINNER


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