Academy Awards Final Predictions 2021: Who Will Win and Should Win?

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Variety 21 April, 2021 - 03:16pm 46 views

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Should You Watch the 2021 Oscars? A Skeptic’s Guide

The Wall Street Journal 21 April, 2021 - 05:00pm

Theaters were the wrong kind of dark. Would-be blockbusters, including some likely awards contenders, were wiped from the calendar. And awards telecasts got cut off at the knees by Zoom-dependent productions and the indifference of pandemic-fatigued audiences, with the most recent Emmys, Golden Globes and Grammys playing to their smallest TV viewerships ever.

The question, this trend suggests, isn’t if April 25 will bring a new bottom to Oscars viewership, but just how low it will be for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC, which has a deal to broadcast the ceremony through 2028.

And yet, the Oscars presents a big opportunity to script the ending of this memorable chapter for the movies. Loosening Covid restrictions allow for a live, in-person affair from Los Angeles, along with hubs in London, Paris and other cities where nominees will join via satellite feed. Plus, the industry’s punch-drunk status gives producers license to reboot some aspects of the ceremony.

“We are just trying to create an experience that has the aesthetics of a film, as opposed to a TV show,” says Steven Soderbergh, the innovative filmmaker (and “Contagion” director) who is producing the telecast with Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher.

Oscars 2021 predictions: who will win and why?

NME.com 21 April, 2021 - 05:00pm

It might be a bit later than planned but there’s no stopping the Oscars. Despite cinemas being kept closed for most of the last 12 months, this has been a vintage year for films – with things looking crowded at the front of the awards race that finishes on April 25. As the Academy gets busy disinfecting its gold statuettes (and as celebrity assistants get busy gluing diamonds to designer face masks), it’s time to take a closer look at the front-runners.

Who will win: Nomadland

If you’re looking for the safest bet of the night, put your money on Sound Of Metal winning Best Sound. But the next surest-thing has to be Nomadland taking Best Picture – a worthy winner that ticks all the right boxes for indie cred, social commentary, stellar performances and cinematic sweep.

Who should win: Nomadland

Nomadland isn’t the best film of the year, but in a shortlist that doesn’t include First Cow, Da 5 Bloods, I’m Thinking Of Ending Things, The Assistant or Never Rarely Sometimes Always, it’s probably the Best Picture. Smarter, subtler and more delicate than a lot of traditional award-winners, a victory for Nomadland will feel like a boon for proper filmmaking.

Who will win: Chadwick Boseman

The tragedy of Chadwick Boseman’s death hits all the harder when you watch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and realise just how good he really was – arguably giving his finest performance in the film he never lived to see released.

Who should win: Anthony Hopkins

As great as Boseman’s final performance was, and as incredible as Riz Ahmed is in Sound Of Metal, the Best Actor of the year is the oldest that’s ever been nominated – with Anthony Hopkins’ tragic, vulnerable turn in The Father marking one of the highlights of his long career.

Who will win: Carey Mulligan

Maybe the closest race of the night, with Viola Davis (who won the SAG award), Andra Day (who took the Golden Globe) and Frances McDormand (BAFTA’s Best Actress) neck and neck with Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman (already bagging a Critic’s Choice statue). Since McDormand won twice already (and since the Oscars think like that), our money is on Mulligan. Just.

Who should win: Frances McDormand

She might already have two Oscars on her mantlepiece but it’s hard to watch Nomadland and not think McDormand deserves a third for a role that feels so honest and real you almost expect her to drive up to the Academy Awards in an old van.

Who will win: Daniel Kaluuya

Something weird happened with this category this year, with only one actor (Paul Raci) actually being nominated for the right thing – everyone else on the list is clearly in a leading role, pushed into the “supporting” bracket to try and stand a better chance of winning. Of the list, Daniel Kaluuya is a clear favourite for his powerhouse turn in Judas And The Black Messiah.

Who should win: LaKeith Stanfield

But what if Judas, instead of The Black Messiah won? Taking even more of a leading role than Kaluuya, the criminally underrated LaKeith Stanfield arguably gives the film’s better performance, getting less to express but more to repress in a character arc that feels infinitely more interesting.

Who will win: Yuh-jung Youn

The wonderful Minari runs a risk of being bested in most categories, but Yuh-jung Youn is pretty sure to get Best Supporting Actress, so far winning 30 gongs for her beautiful turn as everyone’s favourite grandma, including a BAFTA and a SAG award.

Who should win: Yuh-jung Youn

Maria Bakalova definitely deserves an award for making Rudy Giuliani stick his hand down his pants on camera in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, and it would have been nice to see the industry recognise just how good Amanda Seyfried is in Mank, but this feels like Yuh-jung Youn’s year, and deservedly so.

Who will win: Chloé Zhao

When Chloé Zhao wins Best Director (not if, when), she’ll be only the second female winner in Oscars history. More significantly, she’ll be the first Asian woman to win the award, helping to drag the Academy out of the stone age with her beautifully wrought rust-belt refugee drama.

Who should win: Chloé Zhao

David Fincher turned his passion project into a perfectionist masterpiece with Mank, but Zhao’s film has more heart; moving with something that feels uniquely honest and real. It should be a great moment for filmmakers of all genders and ethnic identities when Zhao finally lifts the little gold man.

Who will win: My Octopus Teacher

There’s no greater love than that between a deep-sea diver and an octopus. Filmmaker Craig Foster chronicles his long relationship with a mollusc – gaining its trust, playing games, fighting off sharks – and makes a beautifully shot documentary that’s sweet enough for Academy members to sit through, and poignant enough to get their vote.

Who should win: Time

My Octopus Teacher is a nice film, but it’s not a great one. If you want to watch a documentary that really punches its weight, check out director Garrett Bradley’s Time. Following one woman’s fight to get her husband released from prison, Bradley pokes his camera into all the holes in the American justice system while telling a powerful story about love and family. It’s unmissable, but it also doesn’t have an octopus in it.

Who will win: Promising Young Woman

Likely to miss out on the bigger gongs, Emerald Fennell is expected to get recognised for her screenplay, following the same pattern we saw at the BAFTAs and the Critic’s Choice Awards. Seeing as she’s up against Aaron Sorkin, Hollywood’s own long-standing poet laureate, it should still feel like a huge win.

Who should win: Minari

Promising Young Woman tells you how to feel, but Minari lets you feel it. So much of Lee Isaac Chung’s script seems to be written between the lines – making a small story feel big without ever underlining the weight of the emotion.

Who will win: Nomadland

Another tough call, with three or four nominees all practically neck-and-neck. But since the Academy almost always face a difficult decision by sticking down another vote for their favourite film, expect Nomadland to chalk up another win here.

Who should win: One Night In Miami

Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller’s intricately woven script for The Father deserves a lot of praise, but not quite as much as Kemp Powers’ One Night In Miami – a fictional four-way biopic that covers politics, music, sport, celebrity and ego at the sharp end of the civil rights movement. That Powers wrote this and Soul in the same year is seriously impressive stuff.

Who will win: Soul

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross stand two chances of winning for Best Original Score – for Mank, and for Soul (alongside jazz composer Jon Batiste). Both scores are very worthy winners but Soul feels like the kind of collaborative soundtrack that doesn’t happen often – an obvious choice for anyone who loves jazz, hip-hop, Celeste, new-age electronica, or… Nine Inch Nails.

Who should win: Soul

The best Pixar score since Toy Story? Probably. John Batiste’s jazz tracks feel like they belong on a whole other album from Reznor/Ross’ ambient score, but at the same time they don’t – mirroring the film’s parallel path from life to death and back again. Stick on ‘Falling’, ‘Earthbound’ or ‘Just Us’ and float away to Disney’s existential happy place.

Who will win: ‘Speak Now’ from One Night In Miami

Leslie Odom Jr.’s best musical moment in One Night In Miami comes when he pulls off a perfect rendition of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’, but since he didn’t write that song he can only hope it helps him win Best Supporting Actor instead. Sounding powerful, relevant and radio-friendly over the end credits, ‘Speak Now’ ought to make sure Odom Jr. doesn’t leave empty handed.

Who should win: ‘Husavik’ from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga was funny but forgettable, but there’s no chance you’re ever getting ‘Husavik’ out of your head. Managing to sound like a parody and a classic at the same time, if Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams entered the real Eurovision with this they’d get a clean sweep of douze points.

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The Oscars Are Completely Useless And This Breakdown Of Undeserving Best Picture Winners Is All The Proof You Need

BroBible 21 April, 2021 - 05:00pm

Earlier this week, yet another in a long line of the Thirsty Tweets on the prowl for that sweet, sweet engagement popped up on my timeline.

The website behind it had turned to the tried-and-true “You Can Only Pick X” formula in an attempt to lure people in and capitalize on the upcoming Academy Awards by challenging those who came across it to pick the three “Best Picture” winners from the past four decades that deserved the Oscar more than any of the others.

The #Oscars are almost upon us. Our challenge: Pick just 3 films to keep from the last 40 Best Picture winners… pic.twitter.com/q2eE94Xl1e

— That Shelf (@ThatShelf) April 16, 2021

It seems like most movie enthusiasts have a fairly complicated relationship with the Academy Awards. However, as much as they may want to totally ignore a show that rightfully gets plenty of flak for being a masturbatory exercise, the fact that the Oscars are the most prestigious ceremony Hollywood has to offer means it’s hard to dismiss them entirely.

With that said, I think that’s exactly what needs to happen after taking a closer look at just how many miscarriages of justice have occurred at the ceremony over the years—and if you need proof, I ask you to accompany me on a journey to see just how often the “Best Picture” of the year is anything but that.

Before we kick things off, I should note that I’ve decided to limit this investigation to titles that have come out in the last 20 years. I’m also only going to weigh the merits of the movies that managed to earn a nomination in the category so I don’t have to deal with Letterboxd power users hopping into the comments to let me know the best picture of the year was actually a four-hour Polish arthouse film.

With that out of the way, let’s do this.

Gladiator has aged incredibly well and is arguably the most impressive modern take on the historical epics that have become a bit of a dying breed. As a result, it deserved to slay the competition just like Maximus did at the Colosseum.

What Should Have Won: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

A Beautiful Mind is a super original film about a troubled genius burden by their brilliance who’s forced to grapple with both his inner demons and the reality that the society he wants to be accepted by will never truly embrace him. However, the fact that it had been done way too many times before didn’t stop it from taking home a trophy it shouldn’t have gotten.

You could argue that every single Lord of the Rings film deserved to win Best Picture, and in this case, I don’t see how you can argue it shouldn’t have.

What Should Have Won: Basically anything but Chicago

There’s no denying “All That Jazz” is a certified jam, but those catchy show tunes and set pieces shouldn’t have been enough to top a film about a guy playing some slightly less uplifting music in the city of Warsaw, the best installment in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and a movie Martin Scorsese might’ve actually won Best Picture for it he hadn’t cast Cameron Diaz.

I like to think Peter Jackson had a bunch of catapults ready to fling flaming boulders at the Dolby Theater if he hadn’t won Best Picture for The Return of the King, and it honestly would’ve been pretty hard to blame him.

What Should Have Won: Ray…I guess?

To paraphrase the immortal words of Kevin McCallister: 2004. Your movies. Oof.

This was an incredibly lackluster year where the real winner was anyone who didn’t waste their time watching the ceremony. Jamie Foxx got the Best Actor Oscar he earned thanks to his portrayal of Ray Charles, and while I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch Ray, I wouldn’t have to think twice if my options were limited to these five.

What Should Have Won: Literally any other movie that came out that year

There is perhaps no moment in the history of the Oscars where the Academy managed to absolutely slaughter its credibility than when it handed Crash (a.k.a. “The Racism Is Bad” movie) the Best Picture trophy in 2005.

Brokeback Mountain and Munich are basically neck-and-neck when it comes to the movie I think was the most worthy of winning, but the only nomination Crash deserved was for the Razzie that Catwoman won.

This one is a no-brainer that rivals the shot that got fired when the elevator opened.

[See previous entry but replace it with a reference to the weapon Anton Chigurh uses]

I have to give credit where credit is due to the Oscars for closing out the first decade of the new millennium with a pretty solid run. As was the case with 2004, none of these are really remembered too fondly, but I think Slumdog Millionaire was the right choice.

2009 was the first year the Best Picture category was expanded to allow up to 10 nominees to get in on the action, which gave the Academy a chance to butcher things in a more spectacular fashion than ever before.

This year is honestly really tough to judge. Kathryn Bigelow definitely deserved to win the award Point Break somehow wasn’t even nominated for thanks to the palpable tension that defined The Hurt Locker, however, it has some stiff competition thanks to Inglourious Basterds, which is arguably Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, and I also have to give props to Up even though it never had a chance of actually securing the big prize.

As a result, I’m going to call this one a push (not to be confused with the novel by Sapphire.)

What Should Have Won: Inception

Brace yourselves, folks. It’s all downhill from here, and the ride is a very, very bumpy one.

The King’s Speech is one of the most forgettable Best Picture winners on this list, which is an especially grievous crime considering the nominees it was up against.

There are a few of them that rise above the pack, including The Fighter and David Fincher’s examination of the origins of Facebook, which was incredibly prescient considering the untamable beast the platform has transformed into since The Social Network was released.

However, Christopher Nolan got absolutely shafted here. Inception was an incredibly original blockbuster that managed to put the insanity of Black Swan to shame, and it’s a true shame that what I think is his best work failed to get the recognition that still eludes him at the Academy Awards.

What Should Have Won: Midnight in Paris

More like The Fartist! Amirite????

The underwhelming nature of this entire lineup gives the 2004 ceremony a run for its money, as they honestly could’ve just skipped the Best Picture award based on how weak this year’s offerings were.

With that said, my vote goes to Midnight in Paris. It’s not exactly a masterpiece, but it’s a simply delightful movie filled with a compelling premise, fantastic performances, and some great subtle humor sprinkled throughout.

Ben Affleck learned how to direct! Uh oh!

Unlike the previous year, basically every movie that got the nod deserved the honor—just like Argo deserved to walk away with the Oscar at the end of the night.

What Should Have Won: Nebraska 

This is also a pretty stacked crew. I think you could lobby for every single one based on just how terribly 12 Years a Slave measures up in hindsight, and I’m going to lobby for Nebraska. It might have never been a real contender, but it should’ve been.

I was very here for the arrival of the Keatonaissance, and while Birdman goes to great lengths to remind you that you’re watching a film as opposed to a movie, it manages to do so without suffocating itself with its insufferability.

Whiplash did what it could to hold its own, but it’s hard to argue with the end result here.

What Should Have Won: Mad Max: Fury Road

Spotlight is a great movie, but I don’t know if there’s an adjective in the English language capable of describing the two hours of unadulterated insanity that is Mad Max: Fury Road.

I also don’t know if there’s a single title I’ve enjoyed watching in a theater more than George Miller’s wildest ride. It’s not just a movie; it’s an experience that still hasn’t gotten old after rewatching it more times than I can count.

What Should Have Won: La La Land

I know. I know. Just bear with me.

There are plenty of people out there who thought Moonlight got robbed when Faye Dunaway announced La La Land had won Best Picture shortly before the people that took the stage were similarly robbed of their trophies at the end of the most infamous ceremony in the history of the Academy Awards.

The battle lines between advocates of both of those films were already drawn well before the ceremony, and even though I can’t say Moonlight wasn’t deserving, as a proud member of Team La La Land, I feel obligated to come to its defense.

As someone with a general disdain for musicals and the general vibe of the city of Los Angeles, I didn’t exactly have high hopes heading into the theater. However, when the credits rolled, I spent five minutes trying to process what I’d just experienced after being overcome with a tsunami of emotions I did not see coming.

I’ve long maintained that the odd divisiveness of La La Land stems from the fact that it’s one of the more misunderstood movies in recent memory. Its haters love to criticize it for being a self-indulgent Hollywood circlejerk that centers around a white dude trying to save jazz, but if you dig below the surface, it’s pretty evident that it’s a fairly scathing indictment of the entertainment industry hidden under a celebratory facade.

I know I’m not going to change the minds of any of the members of Moonlight Mafia, but this is a cinematic hill I’m willing to die on more than any other.

What Should Have Won: Lady Bird

This is easily the most stacked line of nominees the Oscars has seen over the past two decades, which is why is particularly baffling that The Movie Where The Lady Bangs A Fishperson got the W.

Call Me by Your Name, Get Out, and Dunkirk all racked up a ton of praise, but Lady Bird was one of the best depictions of the high school experience that I’ve ever seen. It struck a perfect balance between the humor derived from some painfully relatable situations and some very real emotions, and it’s a shame it didn’t get a trophy in exchange.

What Should Have Won: The Favourite

I probably don’t need to tell you there’s been a bit of a focus on increasing diversity and representation at the Academy Awards in recent years, but giving Green Book Best Picture ain’t it, chief.

Movies like Moonlight and Get Out prove that you can examine racism without slapping viewers across the face with the heaviest hand imaginable, but the fact that Green Book almost makes Crash look good tells you everything you need to know.

Hell, BlacKkKlansman and even Black Panther managed to pull it off better than the eventual “Best” Picture did, and I honestly wouldn’t have been mad if the former had won. With that said, I’m backing The Favourite here.

The surrealist absurdity that defines the works of Yorgos Lanthimos may not be for everyone, and while he did exercise some restraint when it came to examining the late days of Queen Anne, he still let his freak flag fly while subverting the period piece formula to a point where it was hard not to be intrigued even when you didn’t really know what the hell was going on.

After screwing things up four years in a row, the Academy Awards managed to bounce back last year when Parasite rightfully became the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture.

If we take the 2009 tossup out of the equation, by my count, the Oscars have been batting a pathetic .421 over the course of the past 20 years, as only eight films were actually the best picture as opposed to the 11 that probably should’ve lost. Even if you disagree with some of my choices, the fact that the Academy would still be right around half of the time even if you gave a few more picks the seal of approval should tell you everything you need to know about how much we should really care about its opinion.

Oscars: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

Hollywood Reporter 21 April, 2021 - 08:30am

by Scott Feinberg and David Rooney

Lee Isaac Chung’s intensely personal account of a young Korean immigrant family grasping for their modest piece of the American Dream is both a return to the domestic heartland dramas that were once a studio staple and a reclamation of those stories as a cross-cultural experience, imbued with delicacy, grit and affecting warmth by an unimpeachable cast.  — DR

WILL WIN: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Options include breakouts Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) and vets David Fincher (Mank) and Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round). But, for her latest exploration of America’s West, Nomadland’s Chinese helmer will become the second woman, and first woman of color, to win this award. — SF

SHOULD WIN: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

In a year of memorable work from women directors — Kelly Reichardt, Eliza Hittman, Regina King, Emerald Fennell — Chloé Zhao cements her place as a lyrical chronicler of the new American West with this haunting character study, which organically folds Frances McDormand’s resilient refugee of capitalism into a poetic landscape of real people and places.  — DR

SHOULD WIN: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

The Father’s Anthony Hopkins (BAFTA’s pick) and Mank’s Gary Oldman are past winners, while Sound of Metal’s Riz Ahmed and Minari’s Steven Yeun are probably future winners. But this Oscar night will belong to Chadwick Boseman, who died in August, leaving a legacy of great performances, and this one last master class still in the can.  — SF

WILL WIN: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins and Riz Ahmed delivered superbly nuanced work, as did Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods, an omission from the nominees that still rankles. But the posthumous opportunity to recognize Chadwick Boseman for the crowning achievement of his too-short career is both fitting and entirely merited. — DR 

WILL WIN: Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Pieces of a Woman’s Vanessa Kirby was Venice’s victor, Billie Holiday’s Andra Day grabbed a Globe, Promising Young Woman’s Carey Mulligan won at Critics Choice, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’s Viola Davis surprised at the SAG Awards and Nomadland’s Frances McDormand got a BAFTA bounce. Edge to the star of the year’s most admired film, even if she’s won twice before. — SF

SHOULD WIN: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Any one of the five nominees would be a deserving winner. But after watching Mulligan build a screen persona primarily out of restrained characterizations in period pieces, it was a thrill to watch her tear down that facade playing a fiercely contemporary woman, an avenging angel driven as much by pain as rage. — DR 

WILL WIN: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Three years after his Get Out nom, Daniel Kaluuya is poised to win for Judas and the Black Messiah, having swept the precursors. The only thing giving hope to Trial’s Sacha Baron Cohen, Metal’s Paul Raci and One Night in Miami’s Leslie Odom Jr.: Kaluuya’s competition, for the first time, includes a co-star, LaKeith Stanfield. — SF

SHOULD WIN: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Leaving aside the debate about category fraud for what’s essentially a lead role, British actor Kaluuya brings smoldering charisma and soulfulness to Illinois Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton, juxtaposing the activist’s blazing power as an orator with his still-evolving path as a man, just 21 at the time of his assassination. — DR 

WILL WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

Winners tend to be first-time nominee breakouts, like Mank’s Amanda Seyfried and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’s Maria Bakalova, or vets, like Hillbilly Elegy’s Glenn Close, now on nomination No. 8, and Minari’s Yuh-Jung Youn, Korea’s Meryl Streep. If Hillbilly were better, Close would finally win. But Youn’s SAG and BAFTA wins suggest unstoppable momentum. — SF

SHOULD WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

The stealth linchpin of a finely tuned ensemble, the distinguished Korean screen veteran introduces an element of mischief, of renegade vitality into the drama’s fraught family dynamic. But her wily grandmother character also brings unquestioning love, threading the connection between traditional roots and a stubbornly resistant new frontier.  — DR 

WILL WIN: Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Trial’s Aaron Sorkin is widely regarded as today’s greatest screenwriter and could well win a second statuette a decade after The Social Network. But Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman beat Trial at the WGA and BAFTA awards and, like numerous recent winners of this Oscar, feels inventive, quirky, daring and urgent. — SF 

SHOULD WIN: Lee Isaac Chung, Minari

This loosely autobiographical account of the director’s childhood in rural Arkansas has the foundations of an assimilation story. But what stayed with me as much as the clear-eyed view of a Korean immigrant family’s struggles was the quiet eloquence with which it refutes rigid xenophobic notions of who gets to call themselves American. — DR 

WILL WIN: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Many find One Night in Miami too like a play and assume Borat is heavily improvised. The Father won at BAFTA and could easily repeat here, given that it feels more scripted than Nomadland. But I suspect that Nomadland, like eight of the past 10 best picture winners, will also claim a screenwriting prize. — SF 

SHOULD WIN: Kemp Powers, One Night in Miami

It’s no easy feat retooling a talk-driven play for the screen, especially one that confines four men to a motel room. Working in seamless harmony with first-time director Regina King, the playwright gives his characters and themes ample space to breathe, exploring the humanity of the famed friends while subtly tying their struggle to America’s ongoing racial reckoning. — DR 

WILL WIN: My Octopus Teacher

SHOULD WIN: Time

The year’s best doc for me was Spike Lee’s life-giving performance capture of David Byrne’s American Utopia. But since the Academy seems oblivious to concert films, I’ll go with Garrett Bradley’s compassionate, ultimately cathartic record of a Louisiana matriarch’s fight to keep her family united through her husband’s long incarceration. — DR

WILL WIN: Another Round

From a formidable field of five contenders representing three continents, the clear favorite is Another Round, Danish master Thomas Vinterberg’s ode to booze, a dramedy that has been more widely seen and admired than any of its fellow nominees. It would be Denmark’s fourth winner, leaving it trailing only Italy and France. — SF

SHOULD WIN: Quo Vadis, Aida? 

I won’t be mad about a win for frontrunner Another Round if Mads Mikkelsen re-creates his exuberant dance finale at the Oscars. But the towering achievement here is Jasmila Zbanić’s scalding dramatization of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, observed through the horrified eyes of a U.N. translator. It’s an uncommonly lucid, unsparing account of war and of the impotent failure of the peacekeepers. — DR 

WILL WIN: Soul 

No disrespect to Wolfwalkers, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Over the Moon or Onward, but the night’s safest bet is that Soul — which probably didn’t miss a best picture nomination by much — will win this award, making Pixar chief Pete Docter this 19-year-old category’s first three-time winner and marking his company’s 11th win. — SF

SHOULD WIN: Wolfwalkers

While the annual rubber-stamping of the chief Pixar contender points to Soul as the preordained winner, recognition for Irish boutique Cartoon Saloon’s work preserving the noble art of hand-drawn animation is overdue. Its enchanting storytelling, folkloric world-building and painterly beauty lift this one head and shoulders above the field. — DR

Best Cinematography: Nomadland

Best Costume Design: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Best Film Editing: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Production Design: Mank

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Best Score: Soul

Best Song: "Io Sì (Seen)," The Life Ahead

Best Sound: Sound of Metal

Best Visual Effects: Tenet

Best Animated Short: If Anything Happens I Love You

Best Documentary Short: A Concerto Is a Conversation

Best Live-Action Short: Two Distant Strangers

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