2021 Oscar Nominations: My Birby Thoughts

The biggest award show of the year happens on April 25th. Here are some of my opinions on this year’s biggest nominees

By Sean Blanford

So the 2021 Academy Award nominations were announced on Monday, and since I am a person on the internet who likes to give my opinion on all things cinema, I have some thoughts on the nominees. DISCLAIMER: I have not seen every film nominated, so I will ensure that any negative opinions will be saved for those who truly deserve it (I’m looking at you Glenn Close). Now that The Father has been released nationwide, I will be seeing it sooner than later. Also, these opinions are expressly my own, but if you have differing opinions I would love to hear them in a loving and respectful manner. With that out of the way, onto the show!

Best Picture: With this being that last year of Oscar Maths, where we have no fewer than five nominees but no more than ten, we land on eight nominations. Of the eight nominees, only Sound of Metal is one I would consider a surprise, as it didn’t receive a similar nomination at the Golden Globes, BAFTA’s for Independent Spirit (although it was nominated for a Spirit Award for Best First Feature). However, I am happy that it did get nominated, as it was my personal #3 film of 2020. If they were going to go to ten nominations, I would have loved to have seen two of those spots go to any of First Cow, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Da 5 Bloods, or One Night in Miami… but nothing in this list screams undeserving. Nomadland has all of the momenta, but look out for Judas and the Black Messiah to be a dark horse.
The nominees are: The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, and The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Who I want to win: Promising Young Woman– It would be weird if I didn’t put my favorite film of 2020 in this spot.
Who I think will win: Nomadland– It’s sweeping up everything in its path, and it would be quite an upset if it didn’t win

Best Actor: With the decision to have both LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya in the supporting spots for Judas and the Black Messiah, these five were going to be your most likely nominees. I liked Gary Oldman in Mank, but Delroy Lindo should have been nominated for his chilling performance in Da 5 Bloods. I am guessing that given how many nominations that Mank and Chicago 7 received (16 total), that Da 5 Bloods overall wasn’t made a priority in terms of an Oscars push.
The nominees are: Riz Ahmed, Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman, and Steven Yuen
Who I want to win: Riz Ahmed- This was a transformative performance and the best of his career.
Who I think will win: Chadwick Boseman- If he was nominated for supporting for his role in Da 5 Bloods, I would have maybe given him that spot, but this makes for a good story receiving this award posthumously for potentially the best performance of his career.

Best Actress: Absolutely zero surprises in this category. Five deserving women for five amazing performances. These were the five that were nominated for the Golden Globes, with Audra Day taking that award. If you would have asked me three months ago, I thought this would have been Frances McDormand’s to lose, but this could legitimately go to any of these five taking the trophy home. yeah, it’s disappointing that someone like Elizabeth Moss wasn’t nominated for The Invisible Man, but if there’s anything we’ve learned from Lupita Nyong’o and Toni Collette not being nominated in their respective years, the Oscar’s don’t nominate great performances in genre films. Oh well…
The nominees are: Frances McDormand, Audra Day, Carey Mulligan, Vanessa Kirby, and Viola Davis
Who I want to win and who I think will win: Frances McDormand. I still think she’s the frontrunner, but we will see what happens after the SAG awards…

Best Director: I’m not going to lie, I was pleasantly surprised with the nomination of Thomas Vinterberg for Another Round, but to be fair this spot could have gone to so many people, including Aaron Sorkin (Chicago 7), Regina King (One Night in Miami), Florian Zeller (The Father), Shaka King (Judas and the Black Messiah) or Darius Marder (Sound of Metal). That being said, these are historic times. Two women being nominated in this category for the first time is massive and hopefully isn’t a one-off, but rather a continuing step in the right direction.
The nominees are: Thomas Vinterberg, David Fincher, Lee Isacc Chung, Chloe Zhao, and Emerald Fennell
Who I want to win and who I think will win: Chloe Zhao- She deserves it *clap clap clapclapclap*

Predictions and thoughts on other categories: Let’s get this out of the way and focus on the positive. I get it, Hillbilly Elegy was a film that you loved or hated, and Glenn Close has been gobbling up nominations for her role. I really, really didn’t like this film, and I would have rather seen someone like Olivia Cooke for Sound of Metal getting her spot. There, rant over. Supporting Actress sees potentially a surprising nomination for Maria Bakalova in Borat 2, and I won’t be shocked if she wins, but I’m rooting for Yuh-Jung Youn for Minari. In the same vein, good on the Academy for nominating Paul Raci for Sound of Metal, but for Supporting Actor I’m going with Daniel Kaluuya. Soul seems like an obvious choice for Best Animated Feature, but a small part of me is pulling for Wolfwalkers.

Biggest disappointments: Zero nominations for First Cow or Never Rarely Sometimes Always. Much sadness…

The Oscars will be live on April 25th. Will you be watching? Who do you think will take home the big awards? Comment below!

Author: Sean Blanford

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