Predicting the Best Picture nominees for the 2021 Oscars 4 months ago

Predicting the Best Picture nominees for the 2021 Oscars

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It is obviously very premature, but we'd still wager a lot of these will be on the list in 12 months time.

Yes, we're just a few days out from the 2020 Oscars, so this isn't to be taken TOO seriously, just a well-educated bit of fun.

There is every chance that some other movie will arrive out of nowhere to sweep the awards - did any of us hear of Parasite or 1917 this time last year? No, no we did not - but these are the 10 (and then some more) movies that are likely already on the Academy's radar for next year's ceremony.

BLONDE

Who? Ana De Armas (Knives Out), Bobby Cannavale (The Irishman) and Julianne Nicholson (The Outsider). Directed by Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).

Why? De Armas is taking on the role of none-other than Marilyn Monroe herself, although the movie is set to tell a fictionalised version of the actress' life.

The Academy loves a good biopic and we've yet to get one on one of Hollywood's most famous and most tragic figures. Plus, between Knives Out and the upcoming No Time To Die, De Armas is red hot right now.

DUNE

Who? Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible), Timothée Chalamet, Jason Momoa, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, Dave Bautista (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men). Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario).

Why? The Oscars usually allow one - AND ONLY ONE! - big budget movie into their Best Picture club every year and our guess is that this will be 2021's entry.

Villeneuve has continued to blow everyone away with his huge sci-fi visions (see also: Blade Runner 2049), and with that insanely stacked cast telling the story of a galaxy-wide war, the odds are good this will continue his astounding run.

THE FRENCH DISPATCH

Who? Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Elisabeth Moss, Lea Seydoux (Spectre), Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Benicio del Toro (Sicario), Adrien Brody, Rupert Friend (Homeland) and Owen Wilson. Directed by Wes Anderson.

Why? Seven-time Oscar-nominee Anderson has yet to actually win one but this love-letter to American journalists working from a fictional French city in the early 20th century could be the one to finally nab him the big win.

HILLBILLY ELEGY

Who? Amy Adams, Gabriel Basso (Super 8), Glenn Close and Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire). Directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind).

Why? Based on the multi-award winning memoir, this is ticking so many Oscar boxes including biopic, based on a hit book, amazing awards-magnet cast and Howard returning to directing an Oscar-bait movie for the first time since 2008's Frost/Nixon.

KING RICHARD

Who? Will Smith and Jon Berenthal (The Punisher). Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Top Boy).

Why? Smith is playing Richard Williams, the father of tennis sensations Venus and Serena, with the movie focussing on who they became due to his coaching of them.

Smith has been nominated for Best Actor twice. Tied in to the fact that it is (A) a biopic, (B) Venus and Serena are hugely-loved right now and (C) the Academy clearly loves Big Will, this could be a major contender provided that the relatively-unknown director can bring the goods.

MACBETH

Who? Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, and Brendan Gleeson. Directed by Joel Coen (Fargo, No Country For Old Men).

Why? Are you kidding? The Coens are Oscar royalty (although, admittedly, this is the first time they aren't directing as a duo) and they're taking on one of Shakespeare's best and most popular plays with a stellar leading cast.

This seems like a no-brainer, provided they can actually finish the film in time for the Oscars.

MANK

Who? Gary Oldman, Lily Collins (Cinderella), Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls) and Charles Dance (Game Of Thrones). Directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network).

Why? It has been six long years since Fincher's last movie (Gone Girl), and he is directing a screenplay written by his father before he passed away. The story centres on screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz's tumultuous development of Orson Welles' iconic masterpiece Citizen Kane so it couldn't get more Hollywood if it tried.

The only issue is that it will be a Netflix release and after The Irishman and Marriage Story's relative failure at this year's Oscars, you could guess that maybe the Academy isn't totally ready to give the streaming service the top award just yet.

NIGHTMARE ALLEY

Who? Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Colette, Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Willem Dafoe and Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers). Directed by Guillermo del Toro (The Shape Of Water, Pan's Labrynth).

Why? Del Toro's first movie since winning Best Picture with The Shape Of Water with an incredibly stacked cast. This is a period-mystery-thriller (all of the genres!) in which a corrupt con-man teams up with a female psychiatrist to trick people into giving them money.

Up against a wave of biopics, this could be the well-made genre movie that gets everyone's attention next year (ala Parasite this year).

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Who? J.C. MacKenzie (October Faction), Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong (Succession), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne and Mark Rylance (Ready Player One). Directed by Aaron Sorkin (Molly's Game).

Why? Sorkin's career as a director is still relatively fresh but his career as a writer is well-established thanks to the likes of The Social Network, Steve Jobs, Moneyball, A Few Good Men and The West Wing.

Here, he is tackling the story of seven people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding an uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a massive black spot on the ledger of the American legal system. If done right, this will have a lot of people talking.

WEST SIDE STORY

Who? Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), Corey Stoll (House Of Cards), Rita Moreno (Oz) and Maddie Ziegler (the girl from those Sia videos!). Directed by Steven Spielberg (you know who Steven Spielberg is).

Why? Again, you know who Steven Spielberg is and he's taking on a remake of the 1957 musical. The Oscars love Spielberg and the Oscars love musicals and the Oscars love being reminded of the Golden Age of Hollywood. This has all of that, so it would really need to be baaaaaaad not to get the love.

west side story

In case any of the above completely flub it, we've got a shortlist of potentials that could also get a Best Picture nomination:

THE FATHER

You've read it here first: Anthony Hopkins is going to win Best Actor for this next year, playing an ageing father suffering from dementia. Whether the rest of the film will get the same level of attention as his performance remains to be seen.

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

Scorsese's next one - with DiCaprio AND De Niro - dealing with the mysterious murder of a tribe of Native Americans and the subsequent FBI investigation into it. However, it might not be finished in time for the awards race.

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Tom Hanks re-teams with his Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass, dealing with a kidnapped girl and a man tasked to bring her home, all set during the Civil War.

Sounds like prime Oscar'y stuff, except Greengrass' last two movies (22 July and Jason Bourne) haven't been up to his usual standard. Fingers crossed that this a return to form for him.

NO TIME TO DIE

Skyfall was nominated for five Oscars and won two of them, but while there was talk that it would also land a Best Picture nomination, that never materialised.

If Dune doesn't quite work out the way we think it will and if Bond 25 turns out to be the very best one yet, then don't be surprised to see this one make the breakthrough.

RESPECT

Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin seems like a lock for a Best Actress nomination but the film around her could either go the way of Ray (nominations for everything) or the way of Judy (nominations just for the standout performance).

SOUL

Out of the two Pixar movies coming in 2020, Soul seems the more likely to get Oscar attention, while Onward seems more likely to make more bank.

The spiritual sister to Inside Out, it could join Beauty & The Beast (the original Disney animation, not the recent live action remake), Up and Toy Story 3 in the small group of animated movies to get a Best Picture nomination.

TENET

Christopher Nolan has been nominated five times. Two of his movies - Dunkirk and Inception - have been nominated for Best Picture.

Much like Dune and No Time To Die, this is in that category of 'Blockbusters It Is Okay To Nominate', so it will all come down to how Oscar-friendly it is and if it is better/more Oscar-friendly than those other two.

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