My Final Predictions for the 93rd Academy Awards

The latest episode of A Night at the Opera (if you happened to catch it, I haven’t posted it here yet as I’ve moved the hosting to Anchor and I’m still figuring out the issue with embedding from there) saw Britt, Erickh, and myself providing predictions to tomorrow’s Oscar ceremonies, but as that was before I finished watching ALL the nominees (as I now have), I was kind of non-committal about my predictions and I’m sure it was obvious for all that you could hear me mumbling.

Now that I’m up and familiar with all of these nominees deeply, I feel a lot more confident in providing my final predictions for tomorrow’s ceremony… the deathly wrap-up of a deathly year showcasing the deathly offerings. Let’s get this year buried.


  • The Father
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Mank
  • Minari
  • Nomadland
  • Promising Young Woman
  • Sound of Metal
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

My Prediction: Nomadland

My Favourite: The Father

Snubs: First Cow, Emma., Tenet

My certainty in Nomadland‘s win here has been diminishing a bit as the conversation has sort of faded, but that feels more of a byproduct of this year’s ceremony feeling so much less of an EVENT in the wake of the year and the enthusiasm drying out. Besides which it feels like any major competitors it has – Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Minari, and Sound of Metal feeling like the most aggressive ones – will be spending more time splitting each others votes than stealing it. I’m not looking forward to it: Nomadland was among my most unpleasant watches of the past year and it’s getting harder and harder not to respond to continuing praise with “Oh come on!”.


  • Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
  • Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
  • David Fincher – Mank
  • Thomas Vinterberg – Another Round
  • Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

My Prediction: Zhao

My Favorite: Fennell, though this is a remarkably unimpressive slate where none of the nominees feel strong to me.

Snubs: Kelly Reichardt, Christopher Nolan

Now this is a category where the confidence in my prediction hasn’t lowered one bit (in fact, I’m sure Disney is holding on the Eternals trailer just so they can attach an “Academy Award Winner Chloé Zhao” to it). And intellectually, I do believe it’s been about time that a woman of color has won the Best Director Academy Award in the 93 years since it’s existed but I just can’t root for a movie I vehemently disliked. It feels condescending and performative to all parties.


  • Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
  • Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Anthony Hopkins – The Father
  • Gary Oldman – Mank
  • Steven Yeun – Minari

My Prediction: Boseman

My Favorite: Ahmed

Snub: Delroy Lindo, probably the biggest snub of the whole ceremony in my eyes.

Just the most obvious narrative to hand it over to Boseman posthumously in recognition of his accomplishments during a much-too-short career.


  • Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday
  • Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
  • Frances McDormand – Nomadland
  • Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

My Prediction: Mulligan

My Favorite: Davis by a country mile

Snub: Anya Taylor-Joy

Now this is actually a 50/50 chance for me: it felt so certain early in the season that McDormand would get a three-peat Oscar (especially given that Nomadland was her passion project) but Mulligan has the awards season momentum that truly seems to be threatening that assuredness. Guess that wave Mulligan has been making finally caught up to me with my final prediction going to her.


  • Sacha Baron Cohen – The 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

My Prediction: Kaluuya

My Favorite: Odom Jr.

I don’t really have a snub for this. I guess Aldis Hodge would count (I do like Odom Jr. in the movie but it is really wild to me that he has been getting more attention than Hodge), but he seems more a co-lead in One Night in Miami…. Which is to say the same of Odom Jr., Kaluuya, Cohen and Stanfield all being co-leads in their respective movies making this a hotbed of category fraud (I guess the Oscars think Jesse Plemons is the lead of Judas and the Black Messiah), but you know what? It is what it is and it’s that lack of true competition that ensures Kaluuya is set to win.


  • Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Olivia Colman – The Father
  • Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy
  • Amanda Seyfried – Mank
  • Youn Yuh-Jung – Minari

My Prediction: Youn

My Favorite: Youn

Snub: Helena Zengel

Momentum drive for Youn here, sorry Glenn.


  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Minari
  • Promising Young Woman
  • Sound of Metal
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

My Prediction: Promising Young Woman

My Favorite: Minari

Snub: Wolfwalkers

I think this could go any possible direction really. Promising Young Woman and The Trial of the Chicago 7 are the ones most obviously “WRITTEN” so that would be the safest direction to go and Promising Young Woman has a hype brigade that Trial of the Chicago 7 doesn’t.


  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • The Father
  • Nomadland
  • One Night in Miami…
  • The White Tiger

My Prediction: Nomadland

My Favorite: The Father by a country mile

Snub: First Cow

Very few Best Picture statues are lonely by the end of the night.


  • Collective
  • Crip Camp
  • The Mole Agent
  • My Octopus Teacher
  • Time

My Prediction: My Octopus Teacher

My Favorite: Time

Snub: Dick Johnson Is Dead

Going with the nicest and most agreeable picks would lean The Mole Agent or My Octopus Teacher and one of these happens to be in English. The Mole Agent is better though.


  • Onward
  • Over the Moon
  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
  • Soul
  • Wolfwalkers

My Prediction: Soul

My Favorite: Wolfwalkers

Snub: Ride Your Wave

I mean, this was set a long time ago. Still hoping for an upset from Wolfwalkers, though.


  • Another Round
  • Better Days
  • Collective
  • The Man Who Sold His Skin
  • Quo Vadis, Aida?

My Prediction: Another Round

My Favorite: Quo Vadis, Aida?

Like Animated Feature, this was set for certain forever ago and given that Best Director nomination, less chance of an upset here.


  • The Father
  • Nomadland
  • Promising Young Woman
  • Sound of Metal
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

My Prediction: Sound of Metal

My Favorite: The Father by a country mile

Snubs: Tenet, First Cow

This is definitely the hardest to lay it on. Early in the season, I would have predicted Zhao would be the first person to win 4 Oscars in one night since Walt Disney but now it looks like it’s a real horse race here. Going for the “MOST EDITING” would assume we pick out Metal, Chicago 7, or Woman and the two bloggers I most follow on Oscar stuff have both leant on Metal so I guess I’ll follow their lead.


  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Mank
  • News of the World
  • Nomadland
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

My Prediction: Nomadland

My Favorite: News of the World

Snubs: First Cow, Tenet, Emma.


  • The Father
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Mank
  • News of the World
  • Tenet

My Prediction: Mank

My Favorite: Mank

Snubs: Pinocchio, Emma.


  • Emma.
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Mank
  • Mulan
  • Pinocchio

My Prediction: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

My Favorite: Emma.

Snubs: Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984

Maybe the only category where I could look at it and nod at the selections in approval.


  • Emma.
  • Hillbilly Elegy
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Mank
  • Pinocchio

My Prediction: Hillbilly Elegy

My Favorite: Pinocchio

Snub: Promising Young Woman

It’s that “make actors” ugly thing that I’m guessing by.


  • Greyhound
  • Mank
  • News of the World
  • Soul
  • Sound of Metal

My Prediction: Sound of Metal

My Favorite: Soul

Snubs: Tenet, First Cow

I forgot they made it one category now and I’m just shaking my head.


  • Da 5 Bloods
  • Mank
  • Minari
  • News of the World
  • Soul

My Prediction: Soul

My Favorite: Mank, but it’s the same composers anyway.

Snub: Tenet


  • Love and Monsters
  • The Midnight Sky
  • Mulan
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • Tenet

My Prediction: Tenet

My Favorite: Tenet

Snub: Monster Hunter

Outside of Mulan, this ain’t a bad slate either.


  • Colette
  • A Concerto Is a Conversation
  • Do Not Split
  • Hunger Ward
  • A Love Song for Latasha

My Prediction: A Concerto Is a Conversation

My Favorite: A Love Song for Latasha


  • Feeling Through
  • The Letter Room
  • The Present
  • Two Distant Strangers
  • White Eye

My Prediction: Two Distant Strangers

My Favorite: White Eye


  • Burrow
  • Genius Loci
  • Opera
  • If Anything Happens I Love You
  • Yes-People

My Prediction: If Anything Happens I Love You

My Favorite: Genius Loci

I normally don’t have any idea what I’m doing with the short categories, but given recent wins, I have taken this ceremony to mostly picking my least favorite of the bunch as my prediction (which bodes hecking bad for Live Action Short: Two Distant Strangers may challenge Skin as my least favorite Oscar winner ever if it lands). That doesn’t factor for Best Animated Short as my least favorite is the VERY Icelandic Yes-People so instead I will go with my second least favorite If Anything Happens I Love You, which has the benefit of “relevant so social material”.


  • “Fight for You” – Judas and the Black Messiah
  • “Hear My Voice” – The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • “Io Sì (Seen)” – The Life Ahead
  • “Husavik” – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
  • “Speak Now” – One Night in Miami…

My Prediction: “Speak Now”

My Favorite: “Husavik”

Now more than ever, I cannot bring myself to care about this category.

Nice View

I’ve made this clear enough but from where I stand 2020 was definitely an anemic movie year based on worldwide circumstances and I regret that 2021 seems to be just as poor a movie year where I haven’t been able to witness a single masterpiece just yet. But it hasn’t been absent of any of its great joys and certainly some movies I hope to see re-released in cinemas so I can rewatch them with a crowd of strangers on the same wavelength as I. For Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, the second writing collaboration between Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (following Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids), is exactly that sort of movie that invites you to share its anarchic sense of humor, driven by first narrative feature director Josh Greenbaum. Which is one of several arenas in which Barb and Star differs from the more “grounded” Bridesmaids, another major arena being in how despite the go-for-broke non-stop laughs of Barb and Star, it feels pretty obvious that most of the jokes on the screen existed on the page with Greenbaum having none of Feig’s bothersome habit of lingering on one ad-lib session for too long beating a dead comic horse. Which I imagine is the going to be the result when the screenwriters are also the stars of the movie and so probably thought through exactly what they wanted to say as they wanted to say it.

Mumolo and Wiig are portraying the eponymous Barb and Star respectively, of course. They’re a pair of middle-aged Midwestern women with a deep friendship that saw them through their past marriages and are now facing a new crisis after losing their job and friends group in rapid succession. Star’s solution to this is to follow the rejuvenated “soul douche” of their friend Mickey (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and visit the Florida town of Vista Del Mar. This decision unfortunately coincides with the murderous plot of Sharon Gordon Fisherman (also played by Wiig in what looks like an albino parody of a Cate Blanchett in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), sending her deeply pining henchman Edgar (Jamie Dornan) to set up a receiver for fatal mosquitos in that very same small town.

It is to the phenomenal go-for-broke credit of Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar that these two plots converge in a natural sense rather than interrupt each other (possibly might help that we meet Fisherman before we meet Barb and Star). Both threads are of the same manic energy exerted by Greenbaum, Wiig, Mumolo, and the rest of their collaborators on this film throughout, something that makes sense that this turns into a surprise musical at least a full act in, something that fires off non-stop jokes and an insistence on having cartoonish fun that could understandably be exhausting to a different type of viewer (especially since not every joke is a bullseye and the movie is kind of pushing its welcome at only 107 minutes). But for my type of viewer – the kind that needed a real shot to the system to stay interested in contemporary cinema – it’s a breath of fresh air.

See, there’s several different types of mainstream comedies that just don’t get made as much these days and Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar embodies most of them. We’ve already acknowledged this as the kind of movie where the makers just opted to throw every idea to the wall and seeing what sticks, the sort of indulgent “take a studio’s money and run” production that I always have room for in my life, but so rarely seems to be done with studio comedies. That is has the discipline to so with the precise focus of running through this buddy plot and maintaining a singular buoyant attitude is of the deepest credit to Greenbaum as a director as well as Wiig and Mumolo not necessitating the cast to improvise because they structured their scripted jokes with a discipline I haven’t seen since Community. Everybody in the cast gives the vibe of having a tremendously fun time while playing the absurdities as straight-faced as possible (including Richard Cheese as a background pianist singing endlessly about boobs), having their cake and eating it by inviting us to be in on the joke.

The other kind of studio comedy that we just don’t see these is one that cares about the actual cinematic craft of it and this is very much where Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar excels. Certainly it’s filling in the cracks between verbal jokes with visual gags based on the cutting and distortion with varying intensities of fever dreams or warm flashbacks, but it’s also just a bubbly and bright looking film as it gives us all that resort town vibes by boldly suffocating us with marine-like pinks and turquoise in the walls and costumes all around. And how could one ignore the costumes of a movie that opens with the definition of “culotte” and makes culottes and belt buckles an outright plot element. It’s no less eye-catching in its vision of this beachside, seafood-obsessed tacky resort as it is gut-busting and maybe the only excuse ever to give me characters that would willingly go to Florida (I respect Barb and Star too much to let that go off-hand).

All of this comes in service of a story deeply sincere about the relationship between its two characters and their desire to feel alive in the throes of middle-age once again, feeling like something entirely driven by the relationship of Wiig and Mumolo behind their writing. Which makes it all the more enjoyable to share it with them and root for their lovable if absent-minded characters finding new joie de vivre and falling in love (it says particularly a whole lot that even in the middle of the excellent comic timing Dornan displays here, he’s had a lot better chemistry with his romantic screen partner here than in the 50 Shades trilogy or Wild Mountain Thyme) and most particularly reinstating the benefit of just having friends. The direction that even the supervillain plot goes even begins to lean on this and it leads to Barb and Star as a movie really tying itself off in an organic and satisfying way.

So that’s just what I needed in the early months of “The Long 2020”, a breezy comedy that cares about how it’s built, getting as many jokes out there, and making the viewer feel good. And it does all of these things. Imperfectly, but in a manner that we just don’t see enough comedies these days try for and it deserves all that credit for. I like to dream of some time soon getting to rewatch Barb and Star with my friends in a house watch or maybe running into a midnight screening of a movie that definitely deserves the cult it is destined to build. It’s a really great time, “a real tit-flapper” if you will.