Photo: Oscar Nominations/Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The fact that there will even be an Oscars this year is nothing short of a miracle. It’s hard to believe it was only a little over a year ago we were celebrating ‘Parasite’ basically dominating the 2020 Academy Awards. But that disconcerting feeling only speaks to how difficult 2020 was for the movie industry. We’re talking about many movie theaters closed, films delayed, and productions either struggling or being stalled. And yet in spite of this, the year still managed to see the release of enough high-quality films, many of which will be vying for this year’s Oscars.
Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase remarks on the victory of correctly selecting the nominees for 2021 Oscars, “Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce talent/diversity/authenticity/storytelling/Cinema/Oscars/Academy/Awards as synonyms of each other. Hence, I am incredibly ecstatic regarding the 93rd Oscar nominations which respects my previous statement. In 2021, the Academy has finally gotten it right after 93 years as they have shown respect to talent regardless of their skin color/race/gender/sexuality/religion/nationality/etc., thus allowing authenticity into this merit system just by something as simple as showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. And voila, the Academy Awards is suddenly so much greater just by ALLOWING appreciation of talent in all its shapes, sizes and forms. We are far from done. This year was not without its faults (hinting at Jodie Foster, Spike Lee, Regina King, Aaron Sorkin, Zendaya to name a few), yet there were some major strides and leaps, which we must acknowledge.
I had previously penned an article on how 2019 Oscars had shown us a glimpse of victory in diversity with the victory of Egyptian American Rami Malek for Best Actor for playing the gay superstar Freddie Mercury who was of British-Tanzanian-Indian heritage, Olivia Colman for Best Actress for playing a lesbian Queen, Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor for playing a gay Black pianist, and Regina King for Best Supporting Actress. I wondered and worried if the 91st Oscars in 2019 was just a fluke, a flash in the pan and if the Academy would ever bring that level back for good. I believe with this year’s Oscars and the new rules set in place, talent/diversity/authenticity/storytelling/Cinema/Oscars/Academy/Awards are here to stay as synonyms of each other. Are you listening Academy and Oxford English Dictionary?
I do not believe in tokenism. Both tokenism and lack of diversity are a threat to Cinema, storytelling and any form of art – most importantly, humanity and the human species itself. I do not believe that anyone should be handed an award just due to their skin color/race/gender/sexuality/religion/nationality/etc. alone – no matter what spot on the spectrum they fall on. Having said that, award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE. To be accurate, let me phrase it this way, if a person who is ______________ is immensely talented they should win and/or be nominated for an award regardless of their skin color/race/gender/sexuality/religion/nationality/etc., and a person who is __________________ should not be handed an award and/or be nominated only due to their skin color/race/gender/sexuality/religion/nationality/etc., and an incredibly talented person should not be ignored due to prejudice against their ___________________. (Fill in the blanks with whomever and any demographic term you want).
Hence, thank you to the Academy Awards for the incredibly talented 2021 Oscar nominees who have been recognized for their work regardless of their place on the diversity spectrum. I hope this is only the start of the Academy Awards’ respect for and celebration of talent, diversity and authenticity and that it continues to flourish elevating Cinema to greater Cinema to greater heights and destinies.
Congrats to all the nominees and best of luck. Congrats to all the people who got to make movies and fulfill their dreams, nominated or not. Cinema is important and we are all lucky to be a member of it. Long Live Oscars. Long Live Cinema. Long Live Diversity.”
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It’s officially the beginning of the end of awards season as this morning the nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards, a.k.a the Oscars, were announced, with this year’s announcing duties going to Priyanka Chopra Jonas (who did a little cheer when her own film scored a nomination) and Nick Jonas. The show will take place April 25th from multiple locations in a unique, COVID-19 safe extravaganza. A full two months later than its usual date, this year’s Academy Awards had a different set of criteria for its nominees due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Namely, the Academy allowed films with a release date up to February 28th, 2021, as well as films without a typical theatrical run. The result is an odd awards race with films that have only been released on streaming services and a campaign trail littered with not press junkets and red-carpet events, but online Q&A’s and Zoom conferences. All this is to say that the 2021 Oscars will definitely be one to remember.
With 10 nominations, David Fincher’s ‘Mank’ leads the pack this year. In other major news, this year also marks the first time in Oscars history that two Asian directors and two female directors will be up for Best Director. And performers of color made up almost half of this year’s acting nominees (nine out 20), making for a pretty diverse acting slate.
Here’s What We Know So Far About This Year’s Oscars
Despite the pandemic there doesn’t appear to be any change as to setting. As it has been for every year since 1958, the ceremony will be held in Los Angeles. It was scheduled to take place again at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. However, there were rumors that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was eyeing Union Station as a possible alternate location due to COVID considerations making large indoor gatherings less feasible (this morning it was confirmed that the Oscars will be broadcast from both Union Station and the Dolby Theatre).
Details on the Oscar telecast are still relatively scarce (we also don’t know yet if they’ll continue to do a hostless show like in the past two years) though we do know that it will still air on ABC. The producers for this year’s ceremony will be Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher, and Steven Soderbergh.
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The Oscars are usually held in February or early March, but last June with the pandemic in full force the Academy made the decision to delay this year’s ceremony to April. Two other major changes were also announced for this year. First, the eligibility period had been expanded: unlike the usual January 1 to December 31 deadline, films released between January 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021, would be eligible for this year’s Oscars.
And secondly, the Academy would also allow films that premiered on streaming services to be eligible for Oscar nominations provided they had plans for a theatrical release until the pandemic scuttled things (usually a film had to premiere in theaters and run for at least a week in both New York and LA to be eligible — something Netflix has done for many of its films); films from this year shown at drive-in theaters would also be allowed to qualify.
Frontrunners & Fan-Favorites
For the most part, thankfully, this year’s Oscar nominees are a diverse bunch. For the first time, two women were nominated for Best Director (Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell), with Zhao being the first woman of color to ever be nominated in the category. Zhao’s success with ‘Nomadland’ is perhaps the most unsurprising of the Oscar nominations, with the film already sweeping award ceremonies left and right.
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Steven Yeun’s nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role is also historic – making him the first Asian American ever to be nominated in the Leading Actor category. In general, the Lead Actor category is quite diverse this year, with nominations for Yeun in ‘Minari’, Riz Ahmed in ‘Sound of Metal’, and Chadwick Boseman in ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ – all audience favorites. Five years after the #OscarsSoWhite movement, this diversity in nominations is quite a relief.
Audiences will also be happy to know that ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’ secured a nomination for Best Original Song with its climactic number, ‘Husavik.’ The news comes after the small town of Husavik launched their own independent Oscar campaign just last week in the hopes of earning a nomination.
Lastly, here are some other general stats of this year’s nominations list. David Lynch’s Citizen Kane inspired film ‘Mank’ leads with 10 nominations, with the rest of the Best Picture nominees (excluding ‘Promising Young Woman’) trailing with six nominations each. Netflix is this year’s leading studio, with a grand 35 nominations to its name.
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Though most of this year’s nominees fit projections and predictions, there are a number of surprises as well. Firstly, is Thomas Vinterberg’s Best Directing nomination for ‘Another Round’ starring Mads Mikkelsen. Though the film was critically acclaimed and praised, it didn’t garner as much Oscar buzz as other films, making his nomination a surprise. Unsurprisingly, though, the film was also nominated for Best International Feature Film.
Maria Bakalova was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for ‘Borat Subsequent Movie Film,’ a surprise as comedies aren’t usually embraced by the Academy Awards, let alone in a leading category. Of course, Bakalova has deservingly been praised throughout this year, receiving accolades at a number of festivals and award shows. It’s more of just a pleasant surprise that the Academy has followed suit and gifted her with a nomination.
Lakeith Stanfield was also nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his work in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ alongside Daniel Kaluuya – giving the film two nominations in the same category. This comes as a surprise as Stanfield was projected to perhaps be nominated in the Leading Actor category instead; nonetheless, this is wonderful recognition for his work.
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Definitive and Considerable Snubs
Some films on the chopping block for the Best Picture race include ‘One Night in Miami’ and ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ – though they were still recognized in a multitude of different categories. On the other hand, Spike Lee’s ‘Da Five Bloods’ was extremely overlooked this year, despite receiving critical acclaim. This is unusual for Lee’s usual reception, with his last film ‘BlacKkKlansman’ receiving six nominations, as well as one win for Adapted Screenplay, in 2019.
‘Malcolm and Marie,’ the Netflix relationship drama from Sam Levison, was also left off of the nomination slate, despite garnering massive Oscar buzz leading up to its release. Though the film was met with mixed reviews, some still considered it to be a phenomenal acting showcase for John David Washington and Zendaya. The film’s elegant and understated cinematography, constrained to the limits of one location, also arguably deserved an Oscar nom.
Aaron Sorkin, acclaimed screenwriter and director of ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7,’ also failed to secure a Best Director nomination. While a nomination wasn’t a lock-in, audiences hoped that the Academy would take a leap and reward his skill as a director after many years of recognizing his screenwriting work (‘The Social Network’). Regina King was also left off of the Best Director nominees list for her directorial debut in ‘One Night in Miami,’ though the film earned three other nominations.
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And lastly, many hoped for 8-year-old Alan Kim to be nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his work in ‘Minari.’ He recently won a Critics Association Award, where he endearingly cried in his acceptance speech, and was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor.
This year’s Academy Awards is a strange one. With the absence of open movie theaters for over a year, blockbusters and tentpole films have completely lost their presence in this year’s nomination slate, making the list a more focused, highbrow celebration of film as an art, rather than a business. The list is a glowing achievement in representation, honoring films and talent that diverse audiences have praised and cheered on throughout the year. This is certainly a great achievement and something to celebrate as we look ahead to the Oscars ceremony on April 25th.
So without further ado…
Oscar Nominations 2021 – Here is the official list of nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards:
(To add some more fun to it – below every category – we will include how many predictions Hollywood Insider got right).
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Picture: 8/8
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Thomas Vinterberg — ‘Another Round’
David Fincher — ‘Mank’
Lee Isaac Chung — ‘Minari’
Chloe Zhao — ‘Nomadland’
Emerald Fennell — ‘Promising Young Woman’
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Director: 4/5
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Riz Ahmed — ‘Sound of Metal’
Chadwick Boseman — ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’
Anthony Hopkins — ‘The Father’
Gary Oldman — ‘Mank’
Steven Yeun — ‘Minari’
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Actor: 5/5
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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’
Carey Mulligan — ‘Promising Young Woman’
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Picture: 4/5
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Sacha Baron Cohen, ‘Trial of the Chicago 7’
Daniel Kaluuya, ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’
Leslie Odom Jr., ‘One Night in Miami…’
Paul Raci, ‘Sound of Metal’
LaKeith Stanfield, ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Actor in a Supporting Role: 4/5
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Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Maria Bakalova, ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’
Glenn Close, ‘Hillbilly Elegy’
Olivia Colman, ‘The Father’
Amanda Seyfried, ‘Mank’
Yuh-jung Youn, ‘Minari’
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Actress in a Supporting Role: 5/5
Best Adapted Screenplay
‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ (Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Nina Pedrad)
‘The Father’ (Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller)
‘Nomadland’ (Chloé Zhao)
‘One Night in Miami’ (Kemp Powers)
‘The White Tiger’ (Ramin Bahrani)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Screenplay: 5/5
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Best Original Screenplay
‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ (Screenplay by Will Berson, Shaka King; Story by Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas)
‘Minari’ (Lee Isaac Chung)
‘Promising Young Woman’ (Emerald Fennell)
‘Sound of Metal’ (Screenplay by Darius Marder, Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance)
‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ (Aaron Sorkin)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Original Screenplay: 5/5
Best Animated Feature Film
‘Over the Moon’ (Netflix)
‘A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon’ (Netflix)
‘Wolfwalkers’ (Apple TV Plus/GKIDS)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Animated Feature Film: 4/5
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Best Animated Short Film
‘Burrow’ (Disney Plus/Pixar)
‘Genius Loci’ (Kazak Productions)
‘If Anything Happens I Love You’ (Netflix)
‘Opera’ (Beasts and Natives Alike)
‘Yes-People’ (CAOZ hf. Hólamói)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Animated Short Film: 2/5
Best International Feature Film
‘Another Round’ — Denmark
‘Better Days’ — Hong Kong
‘Collective’ — Romania
‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ — Tunisia
‘Quo vadis, Aida?’ — Bosnia and Herzegovina
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best International Film: 1/5
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Best Live Action Short Film
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Live Action Short Film: 2/5
Best Documentary Feature
‘Collective’ (Magnolia Pictures and Participant)
‘Crip Camp’ (Netflix)
‘The Mole Agent’ (Gravitas Ventures)
‘My Octopus Teacher’ (Netflix)
‘Time’ (Amazon Studios)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Documentary Feature: 2/5
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Best Documentary Short Subject
‘Colette’ (Time Travel Unlimited)
‘A Concerto Is a Conversation’ (Breakwater Studios)
‘Do Not Split’ (Field of Vision)
‘Hunger Ward’ (MTV Documentary Films)
‘A Love Song For Latasha’ (Netflix)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Short Documentary: 1/5
Best Original Score
‘Da 5 Bloods’ – (Terence Blanchard)
‘Mank’ – (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross)
‘Minari’ – (Emile Mosseri)
‘News of the World’ – (James Newton Howard)
‘Soul’ – (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Original Score: 5/5
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Best Original Song
“Fight For You” — ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’
“Hear My Voice” — ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’
“Husavik” — ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’
“Io Sì (Seen)” — ‘The Life Ahead’
“Speak Now” — ‘One Night in Miami’
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Original Song: 5/5
‘Greyhound’ (Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman)
‘Mank’ (Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin)
‘News of the World’ (Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett)
‘Soul,’ (Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker)
‘Sound of Metal’ (Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Sound: 4/5
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‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ (Sean Bobbitt)
‘Mank’ (Erik Messerschmidt)
‘News of the World’ (Dariusz Wolski)
‘Nomadland’ (Joshua James Richards)
‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ (Phedon Papamichael)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Cinematography: 5/5
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
‘Emma’ (Marese Langan, Laura Allen, Claudia Stolze)
‘Hillbilly Elegy’ (Eryn Krueger Mekash, Patricia Dehaney, Matthew Mungle)
‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ (Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson)
‘Mank’ (Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams, Colleen LaBaff)
‘Pinocchio’ (Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli, Francesco Pegoretti)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Original Makeup and Hairstyling: 5/5
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Best Costume Design
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Costume Design: 5/5
Best Production Design
‘The Father’ (Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone)
‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ (Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton)
‘Mank’ (Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale)
‘News of the World’ (Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan)
‘Tenet’ (Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Production Design: 5/5
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Best Film Editing
‘The Father’ (Yorgos Lamprinos)
‘Nomadland’ (Chloé Zhao)
‘Promising Young Woman’ (Frédéric Thoraval)
‘Sound of Metal’ (Mikkel E.G. Nielsen)
‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ (Alan Baumgarten)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Film Editing: 5/5
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Best Visual Effects
‘Love and Monsters’ (Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox)
‘The Midnight Sky’ (Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins)
‘Mulan’ (Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram)
‘The One and Only Ivan’ (Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez)
‘Tenet’ (Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher)
Hollywood Insider Predictions for 2021 Oscars – Best Visual Effects: 3/5
Congrats and best of luck to all the nominees.
The 93rd Academy Awards will take place and be broadcast on April 25, 2021 on ABC.
By Mario Yuwono and Lana Nguyen
Click here to read Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Black Lives Matter, in which he tackles more than just police reform, press freedom and more – click here.
An excerpt from the love letter: Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard. Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”
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