LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – 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.
The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and will be displayed next to the revision date.
2021 OSCARS PREDICTIONS: BEST ACTRESS UPDATED: Mar. 4, 2021
AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: The shocks were plentiful from the HFPA’s Golden Globes, as with Andra Day beat out stiff competition for her debut work as Billie Holiday for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” over competitors Viola Davis, Frances McDormand and Carey Mulligan. No leading performance since the introduction of the SAG Awards has won an Oscar without a nomination from the voting body, and Day doesn’t have it. That leaves Critics Choice to either determine a new frontrunner this weekend or double down on Day’s momentum. There’s a vulnerability though in the race now as Day gets in front of Kirby, is the latter now vulnerable to someone like Sophia Loren (“The Life Ahead”), Amy Adams (“Hillbilly Elegy”) or Yeri Han (“Minari”)?
WATCH RECOMMENDATIONS BEFORE VOTING: Elisabeth Moss (“Shirley”), Julia Garner (“The Assistant”), Cristin Milioti (“Palm Springs”), Jessie Buckley (“I’m Thinking of Ending Things”), Kelly O. Sullivan (“Saint Frances”), Margot Robbie (“Birds of Prey”), Nicole Beharie (“Miss Juneteenth”)
PRECURSORS LEADER: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021) 2021 Awards Season Calendar
AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:
Carey Mulligan “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination (2009’s “An Education”) ROLE: Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas – DIRECTOR: Emerald Fennell SYNOPSIS: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who cross her path. STARRING:Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Molly Shannon, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Max Greenfield, Alison Brie, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Connie Britton, Chris Lowell, Adam Brody, Sam Richardson
Frances McDormand “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
OSCAR HISTORY: 5 nominations, 2 wins (1996’s “Fargo” and 2018’s “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”) ROLE: Fern – DIRECTOR: Chlo? Zhao SYNOPSIS: After losing everything in the Great Recession, an old woman embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. STARRING: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie, Bob Wells
Andra Day “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Hulu)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Billie Holiday – DIRECTOR: Lee Daniels SYNOPSIS: Follows Holiday during her career as she is targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by black Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair. STARRING: Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne, Garrett Hedlund, Rob Morgan, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Tyler James Williams
Viola Davis “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
OSCAR HISTORY: 3 nominations, 1 win (2016’s “Fences”) ROLE: Ma Rainey – DIRECTOR: George C. Wolfe SYNOPSIS: Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable “Mother of the Blues”. Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play.. STARRING: Chadwick Boseman, Dusan Brown, Jonny Coyne, Viola Davis, Colman Domingo, Taylour Paige, Michael Potts, Jeremy Shamos, Glynn Turman
Vanessa Kirby “Pieces of a Woman” (Netflix)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Martha – DIRECTOR: Korn?l Mundrucz? SYNOPSIS: When a young mother’s home birth ends in unfathomable tragedy, she begins a year-long odyssey of mourning that fractures relationships with loved ones in this deeply personal story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss. STARRING: Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Ellen Burstyn, Iliza Shlesinger, Benny Safdie, Sarah Snook, Molly Parker
NEXT IN LINE:
Sophia Loren “The Life Ahead” (Netflix)
OSCAR HISTORY: 2 nominations, 1 win (1960’s “La ciociara” plus an honorary Oscar in 1991) ROLE: Madame Rosa – DIRECTOR: Edoardo Ponti SYNOPSIS: In seaside Italy, a Holocaust survivor with a daycare business takes in a 12-year-old street kid who recently robbed her.. STARRING: Sophia Loren, Ibrahima Gueye
Amy Adams “Hillbilly Elegy” (Netflix)
OSCAR HISTORY: 6 nominations ROLE: Bev – DIRECTOR: Ron Howard SYNOPSIS: An urgent phone call pulls a Yale Law student back to his Ohio hometown, where he reflects on three generations of family history and his own future. STARRING: Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Gabriel Basso, Haley Bennett, Freida Pinto, Bo Hopkins, Owen Asztalos
Kate Winslet “Ammonite” (Neon)
OSCAR HISTORY: 7 nominations, 1 win (2008’s “The Reader”) ROLE: Mary Anning – DIRECTOR: Francis Lee SYNOPSIS: 1840s England, acclaimed but overlooked fossil hunter Mary Anning and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever. STARRING: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Fiona Shaw, Gemma Jones, James McArdle
Yeri Han “Minari” (A24)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Monica – DIRECTOR: Lee Isaac Chung SYNOPSIS: A Korean family moves to Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s. STARRING: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan S. Kim, Yuh-jung Youn, Will Patton
Sidney Flanigan “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (Focus Features)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Autumn – DIRECTOR: Eliza Hittman SYNOPSIS: Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn and her cousin Skylar embark across state lines from rural Pennsylvania to New York City on a fraught journey of friendship, bravery and compassion. STARRING: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Th?odore Pellerin
TOP-TIER AWARDS CONTENDERS:
Nicole Beharie “Miss Juneteenth” (Vertical Entertainment)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Turquoise Jones – DIRECTOR: Channing Godfrey Peoples SYNOPSIS: A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the “Miss Juneteenth” pageant. STARRING: Nicole Beharie, Kendrick Sampson, Alexis Chikaeze, Lori Hayes
Michelle Pfeiffer “French Exit” (Sony Pictures Classics)
OSCAR HISTORY: 3 nominations ROLE: Frances Price – DIRECTOR: Azazel Jacobs SYNOPSIS: An aging Manhattan socialite living on what’s barely left of her inheritance moves to a small apartment in Paris with her son and cat. STARRING: Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, Tracy Letts, Valerie Mahaffey, Susan Coyne, Imogen Poots, Danielle Macdonald, Daniel di Tomasso
Zendaya “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Marie – DIRECTOR: Sam Levinson SYNOPSIS: A director and his girlfriend’s relationship is tested after they return home from his movie premiere and await critics’ responses STARRING: John David Washington, Zendaya
Julia Garner “The Assistant” (Bleecker Street)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Jane – DIRECTOR: Kitty Green SYNOPSIS: A searing look at a day in the life of an assistant to a powerful executive. As Jane follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the insidious abuse that threatens every aspect of her position. STARRING: Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Kristein Froseth, Clara Wong
Robin Wright “Land” (Focus Features)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Edie Mathis – DIRECTOR: Robin Wright SYNOPSIS: A bereaved woman seeks out a new life, off the grid in Wyoming. STARRING: Robin Wright, Demi?n Bichir, Kim Dickens, Warren Christie
Elisabeth Moss “The Invisible Man” (Universal Pictures)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Cecilia Kass – DIRECTOR: Leigh Whannell SYNOPSIS: When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see. STARRING: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Harriet Dyer, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman
Anya Taylor-Joy “Emma.” (Focus Features)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Emma Woodhouse – DIRECTOR: Autumn de Wilde SYNOPSIS: In 1800s England, a well meaning but selfish young woman meddles in the love lives of her friends. STARRING: Anya Taylor-Joy, Angus Imrie, Letty Thomas, Gemma Whelan, Bill Nighy
Radha Blank “The Forty-Year-Old Version” (Netflix)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Radha – DIRECTOR: Radha Blank SYNOPSIS: Radha is a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, who is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. Reinventing herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater in order to find her true voice. STARRING: Radha Blank, Peter Kim, Oswin Benjamin, Imani Lewis, Antonio Ortiz, Haskiri Velazquez, T.J. Atoms
Meryl Streep “The Prom” (Netflix)
OSCAR HISTORY: 21 nominations, 3 wins (1979’s “Kramer vs. Kramer,” 1982’s “Sophie’s Choice” and 2011’s “The Iron Lady”) ROLE: Dee Dee Allen – DIRECTOR: Ryan Murphy SYNOPSIS: A troupe of hilariously self-obsessed theater stars swarm into a small conservative Indiana town in support of a high school girl who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom. STARRING: Meryl Streep, Jo Ellen Pellman, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Ariana DeBose, Kerry Washington, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells. Tracey Ullman
Jessie Buckley “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (Netflix)
OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Young woman – DIRECTOR: Charlie Kaufman SYNOPSIS: Full of misgivings, a young woman travels with her new boyfriend to his parents’ secluded farm. Upon arriving, she comes to question everything she thought she knew about him, and herself. STARRING: Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, David Thewlis, Toni Collette
+ = 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. Katharine Hepburn has the most awards in this category with four. In contrast, 13 women have won two each – Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Olivia de Havilland, Glenda Jackson, Vivien Leigh, Frances McDormand, Luise Rainer, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank and Elizabeth Taylor. Streep has the most nominations in this category with 17, while Hepburn has 12, and Davis has 10. The oldest winner is Jessica Tandy at 80 for “Driving Miss Daisy,” and the oldest nominee is Emmanuelle Riva at 85 for “Amour.” The youngest winner at 21 is Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God”), and the youngest nominee at 9 is Quvenzhan? Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”).
Academy Awards Predictions (All Categories)
2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Director 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Adapted Screenplay 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Animated Feature 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Production Design 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Cinematography 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Costume Design 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Film Editing 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Makeup and Hairstyling 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Sound 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Visual Effects 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Score 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Song 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Feature 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best International Feature 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Animated Short 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Short 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Live-Action Short
2021 Golden Globes Predictions (Film)
Best Motion Picture – Drama Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language Best Motion Picture – Animated Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Best Director – Motion Picture
2021 SAG Awards Predictions (Film)
Best Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Best Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
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
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