The time has come; the 93rd Academy Awards are upon us, thus bringing to a close another awards season. It was as exciting and insufferable as ever, but as of tonight, the cards will be on the table. And we will have our winners. But whos’ going to take home the gold? Some awards seem like they’re set in stone, others are impossible to say….So without further ado, here are our predictions for tonight’s Oscars. Bear in mind, we don’t have a crystal ball so please don’t bet your mortgage on anything I have to say here – This is just the field as it looks to me, and there’s always going to be a surprise or two – And these picks don’t necessarily reflect our personal favourites, just the ones we think will win.
Best Supporting Actor – Daniel Kaluuya
A stacked category that seems like a foregone conclusion, Kaluuya is one of Britain’s finest actors working at the moment, who was previously nominated for his star-making turn in the Oscar winning Get Out. In Judas and the Black Messiah, Kaluuya plays activist Fred Hampton, a role he’s received critical acclaim for as well as a Golden Globe and a SAG award. There is a chance the voters could be split between him and co-star Lakeith Stanfield, leading to a win for Sacha Baron Cohen, but it seems pretty certain that Kaluuya will take it home.
Best Animated Feature – Soul
Time for the Disney award! As worthy of a winner as Soul is, it is awfully boring that Disney/Pixar have such a stronghold in this category. Every year just feels incredibly unfairly weighted towards them. Soul is an excellent film and deserves to take it, but there are many viewers who would rather see Wolfwalkers win the award.
Best Animated Short – If Anything Happens I Love You
This years nominees were all very strong and, whilst maybe something like Opera deserves to win based on the strength of it’s gorgeous animation and ambition, If Anything Happens I Love You is a timely and haunting piece about a very real issue that is still too frequent in America. Since it dropped on Netflix last November, it’s had plenty of time to sink in with voters and the power of its subject matter is likely to bring it forward.
Best Original Screenplay – Promising Young Woman
A film that’s made waves since it’s release, Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman has divided audiences with its climax, but a gutsy move like that could be what propels it forward. A strong character piece that functions much like a genre film tackling important themes, very similar to the 2018 winner Get Out, and makes it stand out against the other nominees. There could potentially be an upset from The Trial of the Chicago 7, but I think the Academy will lean towards the more daring choice.
Best Adapted Screenplay – The Father
While the WGA favoured Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (No, I don’t know why), both The Father and Nomadland were nowhere to be seen in their nominations. As such, Florian Zeller’s heartbreaking, complex character piece takes more of an advantage. Nomadland isn’t out of the question at all, given that it’s the favourite for Best Picture and the Screenplay/Picture awards often overlap, but with The Father unlikely to win in some of it’s other categories, I think the Academy will at least honour it here as opposed to letting it go empty handed.
Best Live Action Short Film – Two Distant Strangers
Two Distant Strangers is another film that has proved divisive, and there’s an argument that it’s approach to the subject of police brutality is problematic to say the least. That said, it’s undeniably creative and well intentioned, and with this being such a hot button topic for 2020, I imagine the Academy will want to appear that they’re in tune with what’s going on in the world.
Best Production Design – Mank
It’s no secret that Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood, and Mank scratches that itch for them. Whilst it mostly likely won’t show up in any of the major categories, the aesthetic and atmosphere of 1940s Hollywood is sure to win over Academy voters. That said, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom isn’t out of the running, given how much that film’s setting feels like a central character of the film.
Best Costume Design – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Speaking of which, the costume design of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has been critically acclaimed and is looking good to take this award home. From the dresses worn by Ma and her girlfriend to the slick suits of the band, and of course, Levee’s shoes (For the love of God, don’t step on them), Ann Roth’s costume design is authentic and full of character.
Best Documentary Feature – My Octopus Teacher
While in some categories I think the Academy will want to tune in with what’s important, this is one where I think they’ll aim for levity. With heavier subjects being tackled in films like Crip Camp and Time, the Academy may choose to lean towards a film that offers something far lighter and more entertaining, combatting the reputation of this category as being “depressing” or “intense”. If they’re looking to award that, then look no further than….
Documentary Short Subject – Hunger Ward
The documentary short category has a similar reputation, and this year’s nominees are living up to the task. Hunger Ward presents perhaps the most extreme and enraging case of all the films, featuring horrifying footage of malnourished and deceased children. It’s difficult to stomach but important to watch, and I think that’s what will win the Academy’s favour in this category.
Best Supporting Actress – Yuh-jung Youn
Best Supporting Actress is a category that doesn’t have a dominant front runner, but Yuh-jung Youn is the closest to it. Her touching performance as the kooky grandmother in Minari has already brought her a BAFTA award and a SAG award. She doesn’t face too much heavy competition, save for a potential career Oscar for Glenn Close who famously lost out for The Wife, which was predicted to finally get her the gold. It’s just a question of whether the Academy wants to reward Hillbilly Elegy of all things…
Best Sound – Sound of Metal
…It just has to be, right? Sound is an essential component of Sound of Metal, the story of a drummer learning to adapt to losing his hearing. The use of sound in the film is key to involving the audience in this journey, making clear what he’s going through and putting the audience in his shoes. It’s a strong favourite for this award and I don’t think there’s much contest.
Best Cinematography – Nomadland
Another category that seems like a lock, Nomadland’s cinematography has received heaps of praise for it’s gorgeous, yet bleak look. Joshua James Richards has already received a handful of awards for his work on the film and, given his work on Zhao’s previous films Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Rider, it seems this collaboration will pay off.
Best Film Editing – The Father
Bookies are favouring the flashy, invigorating editing of The Trial of the Chicago 7, but The Father presents the most unique and interesting editing style of all the nominees. Told from the perspective of a man with dementia as he loses his grip on what’s real, the scenes are interwoven together in a manner that’s just as alarming for the audience as it is for him. The scenes are cut together seamlessly, and I think this will wow voters more than what Trial has to offer.
Best Visual Effects – Tenet
It’s amazing how eclectic the nominees were this year, a year without many blockbuster releases. Where we’d normally have Star Wars or Marvel, we have Love and Monsters and the The One and Only Ivan, of all things. Still, Tenet boasts the slickest and most effective special effects, ones that seem more low key than the competitors but that’s something the Academy has awarded before (Ex Machina and First Man) over the stand fare.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Once again, it mostly comes down to the incredible look of Viola Davis for this award. Ma’s eye makeup, particularly those signature dark circles, the hairdos of her and her girlfriend, and the smooth looks of Chadwick and the band will prove impressive enough to get this team an Oscar. Mank, Emma and Hillbilly Elegy aren’t out of the question either, but this takes the advantage.
Best International Feature – Another Round
It’s not uncommon in recent years for one foreign language film to strike a chord on release and steamroll it’s way to an Oscar, and Another Round is no exception. The Mads Mikklesen drama has received endless acclaim, and has been talked about more than any of the other nominees. A surprise Best Director nomination for Thomas Vinterberg seemingly seals the deal for this win.
Best Original Score – Soul
In addition to the great themes and animation, many came away from Soul commenting on just how wonderful the score is. The involvement of Trent Reznor certainly bodes well for it, and is definitely the most popular of the nominees. That said, I wonder if they might give it to Da 5 Bloods as recognition that they ignored it in all other categories when so many were hoping for a good turn out. Maybe that’s *too* optimistic…
Best Original Song – Speak Now (One Night in Miami)
If this were a popular vote, I have no doubt the award would go straight to Eurovision’s Husavik, a song that made an impact even when the film failed to. However, Speak Now is the song that’s done the best this awards season and will likely cap it off with an Oscar for One Night in Miami where it seems like it won’t do so well in any other categories.
Best Director – Chloe Zhao
One female director winning an Oscar in 93 years is objectively absurd, and two nominations for women in the category this year is hopefully a sign from the Academy that they’re beginning to understand their problems with representation. Zhao has won several precursors and has long been the favourite, but would make history not only as the second woman to win a Best Director Oscar but the first Asian woman to do so as well, and the impact that will have is unspeakable.
Best Actor – Chadwick Boseman
Best Actor has proven one of the toughest categories this year, with 4 beloved performances that would all be met with warm reception if they won. There’s a great deal of love for Anthony Hopkins and he’s certainly not out of it, but all signs point to Chadwick who tragically passed away last August. Some will say it’s a pity award for his death but, whilst his death has an undeniable influence on it, it won’t come down to pity but rather a sense of duty. Chadwick Boseman was just getting started, and if he didn’t win this year, he probably would have in the next 10 years. The Academy are presented with an Oscar worthy performance and a man who deserves to win but will never get the chance to again. That’s something worth honouring, and I think that’s what they’ll do.
Best Actress – Andra Day
Of all the acting categories, Best Actress has been the hardest to predict by far, with all the major precursors so far going to different nominees. Viola Davis has a good chance with a SAG award under her belt, and Carey Mulligan could win this if Trial of the Chicago 7 takes Best Original Screenplay but, if Promising Young Woman is awarded in that category, I think the love from here will go straight to Andra Day. It doesn’t help that The United States vs Billie Holiday has received poor reviews and hasn’t been represented anywhere else, but it’s agreed that Day breathes life into the iconic musician, and I think her surprising win at the Golden Globes will have brought her to the attention of many Academy voters and may have even won them over.
Best Picture – Nomadland
Last but certainly not least, it seems all but confirmed that Nomadland will take home the biggest prize of the night. The film was critically acclaimed as one of, if not the best film of 2020 by so many, and its impact has been long lasting. With such an impressive turn out amongst audiences, critics, and other awards bodies, Nomadland faces very little competition from its fellow nominees.
Those are our predictions for the 93rd Academy Awards. Do you think we’re bang on the money or completely out of our minds? Either way, it’s certainly going to be an interesting night.