In an awards season like no other, the 2021 Best Picture Oscar race has thrown in a number of, what many have claimed to be, unconventional nominees. With this in mind, and the year that we’ve just had, this year’s competition might not be as close as some people might initially think.
Here, as with previous years, I’ll take a detailed look at each of the nominees and analyse their chances of winning the Best Picture Oscar. Not with statistics, odds, masses of spreadsheet data or anything like that. Simply by looking at Academy trends and in the end having a hopeful guess at what film seems to have the most potential voter favour in winning the top prize at the 93rd Academy Awards.
If there’s one film that appears to be the outright frontrunner in this year’s Best Picture race it’s Nomadland. Having won the top prize at a number of awards ceremonies, including both the Producers and Directors Guild Awards, it feels as if rarely a bad word has been said about this film. While some claim that it was made for the big screen and works best that way (arguably the case with every film, not just each of the eight nominees), especially with its visual style, the likelihood of most voters watching on a smaller screen doesn’t seem to have impacted the chances at other ceremonies.
Nomadland was long rumoured to be a potential contender in the top category at this year’s Oscars before its initial release, just after early festival screenings. There’s been strong, almost unanimous, conversation around it for a considerable amount of time, conversation of which seems unlikely to die down in the short amount of time before the winners are announced – and with the ballot deadline having passed on 20th April there’s very little that can change now. It appears that the film is favoured highly in a number of categories, including Chloé Zhao for Best Director, and with this in mind it almost seems as if the book can be closed here and Nomadland announced the winner. However, it should be remembered that Best Picture is voted for with a preferential ballot – more on which later. While the majority may very well put the film in primary placement on the ballot it doesn’t mean that the presumed minority will have it named in the crucial second or third place spots.
Adding to this the themes of loss and isolation could be a bit too much for some voters after the events of the previous year. A film tackling such elements may be less favourable than a more escapist piece – although a number of the nominees this year could easily be linked back to social or political events in 2020. Yet, the way Nomadland takes such elements and links them to the theme of community could help the film along, and even make it more relateable and therefore more effective when viewing the piece. Even these points seem to be scratching the surface of a film that has seemingly received universal praise and plaudits – perhaps voters would like to award something else in this case? One that has been free from controversies – aside from some brief, mild internet discussion relating to the representation of Amazon and the contrast in how it treats its workers in the film compared to recent real-life experiences, leaks and stories from employees in their warehouses, and even this is unlikely to cause a major sway in the vote.
Even the more ‘arthouse’ nature and stylings of the film that are sometimes said to be too niche for Academy voters don’t appear to apply here. You could almost presume that there’s no major thought needed to be put into the rest of this year’s nominees as Nomadland seems a certain lock in, with so little against it.
However, one other film that’s been doing well this awards season is The Trial Of The Chicago 7. Picking up multiple nominations at a number of ceremonies the latest from Academy favourite screenwriter Aaron Sorkin even, unexpectedly for some, won the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild awards – the acting branch of the Academy is the largest and if they’ve already shown large favour towards this film then they may be likely to continue it. With this being said, this Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture win is one of the few major awards the film has won – however, this is an acting award and The Trial Of The Chicago 7 is most notable for it’s large ensemble cast, it perhaps doesn’t reflect the film’s overall chances in the Best Picture category. In most circumstances it’s simply picked up nominations with very few, if not any, wins.
One reason for this could be the fact that it’s release date is the furthest away of all the nominees in this years race (September 25th in the US), meaning that it could have been more likely forgotten by voters, taken over by more recent releases. However, it could also be argued that the fact it’s been remembered and has the nomination is a positive indication that it has a better chance, after being fondly remembered – and that could be reflected by its placement on ballots. After all the film has managed to obtain nominations in the Original Screenplay, Film Editing (an underthought of category that is often crucial to winning Best Picture, it’s rare that a film wins without being nominated in this category) and Supporting Actor categories. The fact that in such a large ensemble cast one performance managed to stand out (Sacha Baron Cohen) says that there’s more memorable about the film that lies in the memories of some voters, and often flashier editing finds itself winning, the film’s montages have gained speculation that this could lead it to a golden statue in this particular category.. Even without a key Best Director nomination for Sorkin the impact of such other elements could be beneficial for his film.
Winners of the Best Picture Oscar in recent years seem to have become much more diverse, interesting and less easily defined than they may have been once before. This is, of course, with the infamous exception of Green Book. Green Book went back to the rule that a Best Picture winner is what is safe and conventional; The Trial Of The Chicago 7 ticks both of these boxes, a more traditional feature that could very well work with older voters. It’s believed that older voters were the ones who managed to get Green Book the top prize (and Best Original Screenplay!) something which could happen again if such figures, and the acting branch, go back to this trend. With events from the last year lightly linking to this particular nominee a culturally relevant push could give this safe feature an advantage. If we see a repeat of the Green Book win – if the Academy didn’t learn from the response to that award, it’s easy to forget that it happened; remember Crash? – then it’s very likely that this particular feature is the primary choice, even with more socially inspired films in contention, which give the impression that this isn’t going to be a ‘Green Book year’ and that that instance was simply an anomaly.
Perhaps the diversity of the other nominees could mean there’s a split between their placements on the ballots, The Trial Of The Chicago 7 is the only one with consistent enough placements to have a chance of winning – it would just need to have those placements be high enough on the ballot. Considering the amount of groups that the film seems to have been, and might be, successful for there’s a large group of voters that may look favourably on it and give it enough of a push to gradually make all those nominations at previous ceremonies lead to a much bigger win.
As opposed to films that have gained traction and become frontrunners through consistent awards success The Father was a surprise that after good word of mouth from festivals has continued to snowball into a potential awards hit. Early discussions have turned into reality as Anthony Hopkins could very well be on his way to his second Oscar – there’s a chance that he could beat out Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for this year’s Leading Actor award. Alongside this nomination for Hopkins the film also finds nods in most key categories (excluding Director for Florian Zeller), including a Supporting Actress nomination for Olivia Colman (while she’s not overly likely to win, wouldn’t it be great to see her make another speech?), showing multiple memorable strong performances, and even a mention in Production Design. This might seem like a small thing, however, it shows that the technical aspects of the film are being remembered and have an effect. Last year Parasite’s only technical nod (outside of Film Editing) was in this same category. And with the set design being so important to the way that The Father works, putting you into the deteriorating mind of the character, this could be a big push for the film.
In regards to the themes of the film, throughout we see Hopkins character suffer from worsening dementia, they could very well connect with a number of voters on a personal level. The emotion could form a strong connection with them and cause the film to stay in their minds, especially with the realism that’s present in a number of scenes – in the US the release date is also one of the closest to the ceremony (26th February) meaning that it could be fresher in some minds. Perhaps a boost for some after the film’s premiere at Sundance in January 2020 was an initial kickstart to early rumblings and conversation around potential Oscar nominations for the film. For a film that’s been in awards conversation – even if initially very quietly – this long there could be a fair deal of steam behind the film, it certainly seems to have just kept growing over time and done it a fair deal of good.
Realism may be a prevalent element of the film however, not to spoil anything, there are some creative details within the narrative (adapted from Zeller’s stage play of the same name) that enhance the themes and put you into the mind of the central figure. It’s very much a personal experience. Yet, perhaps it is one of the quieter nominees, it’s about the personal, emotional response which perhaps not everyone will feel. But, more importantly, the simplicity of some scenes may mean that it doesn’t quite stand out amongst the crowd. It is perhaps one of the safer contenders, the type of character based drama that, if with a more direct route and one or two less creative details, would fit right in with the Best Picture winners of the 80’s such as Ordinary People, Kramer Vs. Kramer and Rain Man. This feeling could give it a boost with older voters, however considering the stance on The Trial Of The Chicago 7 it’s likely that this would be more favoured for its various aspects above The Father – still, in this scenario it could still gain placements towards the upper end of the ballots.
The Father is certainly a film that lodges itself in your mind. Its themes, details and ideas linger there, especially Anthony Hopkins’ performance. And all of these combined could be enough to leave a strong, positive memory of the film in voters minds. If it lasts longer, or, more importantly, the memory remains stronger, than the other eight nominees, especially if the viewing was more recent, then there’s a potentially strong chance that even if it’s not placed at the top spot The Father has enough top three placements on ballots that it manages to inch itself towards a Best Picture win.
Speaking of films that started out at festivals, if there’s one nominee this year that completely came out of nowhere it’s Sound Of Metal. After getting good reviews and word of mouth on the circuit it’s found itself to be an awards season smash that has simply skyrocketed into endless praise, rarely has a bad word been said about this film. While it seems multiple sources claim this to be an outsider that only just gained a nomination (there’s a chance the latter could be true), the fact that it got into the eight contenders is certainly a feat, and it means it has a chance of winning. And, because of the preferential ballot there’s a strong chance that consistent high placements could lead it to a surprise win. In fact, I personally would claim it to be one of the films with the best chances of winning the final prize of the night.
Perhaps the film did just slip in to the category, this would certainly confirm the comments that it’s an unconventional nominee. However, this appears to be a year of ‘unconventional’ nominees. It simply displays the changing landscape of both Academy votership and the awards as a whole. We are continuing to enter a new generation of bolder recognitions, more ‘artistic’ pieces that are also managing to gain wins. Often the winner of Best Picture – and even the last few years have proved this – is the film most people agree on, as stated by film critic Mark Kermode predicted Lady Bird to win in 2018, eventually The Shape Of Water would win, however, Kermode’s point still stands, it’s hard to argue against. And Sound Of Metal has had plenty of almost unanimous praise, love and excellent word of mouth. It isn’t the one that perhaps the most people love, but the one they certainly agree on. In an age where films are winning just because they’re deserving, just because they’re good – once again, Parasite’s win last year for example – Sound Of Metal could continue that trend.
While it lacks a Best Director nomination for Darius Marder (although this is his narrative debut, however Emerald Fennell is nominated for her debut Promising Young Woman) there are nominations in all other key categories, even what some saw as an initially surprise nomination for Riz Ahmed in Leading Actor (marking the both the achievements of being the first Muslim and person of Pakistani-origin to be nominated in the category). Despite this the focus for this film is, perhaps unusually, in the technical categories. Marder’s debut is a frontrunner in the Film Editing and Sound categories. Sound is, of course, an essential element to the film and the fact that it’s been so effective as to be a lead contender in that category potentially speaks highly of the film and the effect that it’s had on the viewer.
In terms of Film Editing the Academy tend to go for flashier editing; think the race sequences in Ford V Ferrari (still the better title over Le Mans ’66), the Live Aid and other concert sequences in Bohemian Rhapsody and all of Mad Max: Fury Road. In this case the montages of The Trial Of The Chicago 7 are the main challenge to Sound Of Metal. However, the fact that the latter is rumoured to be a frontrunner, likely simply because of the way it allows the story to flow and the effect that it has on putting the viewer in the shoes of the central character – Ahmed himself isn’t a leading contender in the Leading Actor race. Emphasis on such technical aspects within the film, that are so integral to the way that it works and the effect it has on the viewer, could reflect in the general response of voters to the final product as a whole.
Sound Of Metal hasn’t received the credit that it deserves as a major contender in this year’s Best Picture race. It has a strong chance of potentially winning. There are so many elements that work for it and have clearly made a lasting impact that has led to its growing praise and love as a word of mouth hit, from festival to awards circuit. Such factors could be enough for the film to be viewed with enough favour and consideration that its placed consistently high on ballots, winning the big award at the end of the night simply because enough people really liked it.
If Sound Of Metal and The Father have grown in praise since festival debuts the nominee with the most consistent word of mouth is undeniably Promising Young Woman. After facing multiple delays throughout 2020, and hit festival screenings at the start of that year this has been a much discussed debut feature from Emerald Fennell for well over a year now. It was said at that point to be a potential awards contender, but not much else was discussed. After having been placed in a prime awards season spot in the States (mid-late-December) the film’s chances at Oscar wins have vastly increased. Not only has it secured nods in all major categories – although nothing outside of them – it’s a frontrunner in one or two of them as well.
Despite one or two mild controversies, especially around the divisive nature of the plot and its treatment of sexual assault the film has still managed to not just pick up nominations but also a number of wins at various awards ceremonies this season. Even more impressive as this is a debut in terms of both feature writing and directing, perhaps even more reason for voters to place this towards the top of their ballots. The divisive nature of the film could damage its chances, such reasons are often cited for films either being placed low on the ballot, or in some cases not at all, however there’s also the argument that the social aspect could give it better chances. After events of the past few years, particularly within the Academy and its push for better representation and inclusion, alongside the changing face of Hollywood thanks to movements such as Time’s Up and Me Too, there could be a large backing behind Promising Young Woman that opposes against the, understandable, backlash.
Believed to be a frontrunner, and by some the potential winner, in the Original Screenplay and Leading Actress (Carey Mulligan) categories there are strong reasons to believe that some potential wins, particularly Original Screenplay, could pair up with Best Picture. Although the, already mentioned, lack of technical nods showing a potential lack of memorable extra details within the film could mean that there’s more in the favour of the other nominees than there is in Promising Young Woman, despite ticking all the key boxes. The film has done well in terms of winning screenplay awards – it won Original Screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards – but not much else. But, once again, the Academy is a much larger group, and Best Picture is voted for in a much different way.
It’s a strong piece of work that tackles a number of modern issues in a genre light – genre, the thing the Academy once turned it’s back against is now becoming something easily identifiable within more recent winners. Parasite and The Shape Of Water both blended multiple genres together, Promising Young Woman combines revenge thriller with dark satire and even finds room for hints of rom-com and it’s Film Editing nod appears to say that it doesn’t feel inconsistent and the changes in tone don’t feel too dramatic or get in the way.
After having stayed in the awards conversation for so long, and proving to still have legs, Promising Young Woman has shown itself to be one of the strongest contenders of this awards season. It’s been talked about and discussed for such a long time with very little, if no, conversation about it being tired or no longer out of contention that there’s a very serious chance that such large amounts of positive awards press could be beneficial for its Best Picture chances. There are a handful of different elements and pushes that all combine to create a stronger force behind the film, adding on to the fact that, aside from a vocal group showing the film’s divisive nature, it’s been generally well-received. There are plenty of sources that claim this nominee to be a major potential winner, and it’s understandable why. There are plenty of elements pushing behind it that appear to heighten its chances, meaning that it could very well be Promising Young Woman that, maybe surprisingly depending on who you ask, is crowned by the Academy as the best film of 2020 (and the first two months of 2021) – by US release date.
Meanwhile, moving on to different fields (literally), perhaps the most universal nominee this year is the one that the Golden Globes ruled wasn’t eligible for its biggest prize due to largely being in Korean. Minari may very well be mostly spoken in a foreign language yet it feels like a very traditional American story – perhaps connecting strongly with both American (which most Academy members are) and older voters. And, even while having themes of the American Dream at heart Minari is a universal tale about family. There’s something there to connect with everyone, and therefore may potentially cover the largest base of voters. The argument of the film being largely subtitled can’t really be made now after Parasite’s monumental win, and Minari itself is still an American film – it just happens to be mostly spoken in Korean. To add to this point, as Bong Joon-ho himself said at the Golden Globes in 2020, which the world appeared to agree with, “Once you get past the one inch tall barrier of subtitles you will be introduced to so many more amazing worlds”.
Joon-ho notably won Best Director last year, beating out expected winner Sam Mendes for 1917. While Minari might not have a Film Editing nod it certainly ticks all other boxes, including a Best Director nod for Lee Isaac Chung. However, where the true strength for the film could potentially lie is in its acting nominations. It’s rare that a foreign language performance gets nominated at the Oscars, and lesser seen is a win for such performances. Minari finds itself nominated for both Best Leading Actor (Steven Yeun – the first Asian-American nominee in this category) and Best Supporting Actress (Yuh-Jung Youn) – and Youn is currently the favourite to win in what was once considered to be one of the closest categories this year. The fact that performances have stood out this much in the film is likely to be a big boost for it – not just because it shows favour from the largest Academy branch – but because it shows there’s been a strong connection with the characters and the family nature that’s so integral to the heart of the piece.
The last year is likely to have impacted all of the nominees and the ways in which audiences, let alone voters, are likely to view them. In the case of Minari the family that the piece centres around could well reflect how many have got on with their own families during the pandemic – or perhaps reminded them of that close familial bond and had a bigger emotional hit from being apart from them.
Alongside this, going back to another point that could be said for almost every nominee this year – just proving how close a race it actually is in the Best Picture category this year – there could be consistently high placements on ballots for the film. It’s clearly had an impact on people and seems to be well-regarded amongst people. Much like Sound Of Metal, it could well find itself placed in the top three of ballots just because of the generally positive reception that it’s had.
Since the growing awards attention more people have been brought to the film, there’s a chance that some voters may have only recently been introduced to it and therefore it’s fresher in their minds. Minari does have the chances of being a quiet competitor – but could the quiet nature of it also be damaging, especially if other nominees are louder, and in this case perhaps more powerful? Although, the quietness could be down to the lack of controversy, the universality, the fact that almost everyone seems to have got on with the film and there’s not been an overly vocal backlash or bout of negativity surrounding the piece could mean that it’s positive quietness. A surprise win, maybe? But, a potentially likely one for a film that’s had nothing but encouraging conversation around it. It covers a lot of the votership and therefore could be the film to pick up the top gong of the night on Sunday.
Minari may be a universal story, but if there’s one film this year that gets to the heart of Hollywood it’s Mank. As mentioned in multiple years the film industry loves a story about itself. By following Herman J. Mankiewicz as he deals with alcoholism while struggling to write his vision of Citizen Kane (which lost out on Best Picture in 1942 to How Green Was My Valley) the film seems like pure Oscar bait. Even down to the nominated direction of David Fincher, perhaps he’s due an Oscar? While he’s nominated for Best Director that category seems to be locked in for Chloé Zhao for Nomadland. Perhaps voters will lean towards his film then if he isn’t going to be winning Best Director?
It’s certainly a possibility, especially as there’s clearly a lot of love for Mank across the Academy votership. The film has the most nominations this year, ten in total – four more than the second place films in terms of total nominations. Often this many nominations, especially with a lead like this, is a good sign of Best Picture chances due to the favour of multiple Academy branches – and the recognised technical detail of the film, in addition to ticking the key boxes of the major categories. Even Gary Oldman, who was a point of deliberation as to whether he would get a nod for his lead performance of not, managed to secure a nomination for his role as someone 20 years younger than him – which has been a bone of contention for a number of people, including within the Academy (thanks anonymous voter articles!) This is an element that has lead to an impact on the film overall – alongside the time-jumping aspect of the film, made up of various flashbacks, which some have apparently found confusing on initial viewing.
Despite the love that Mank appears to have on the surface it’s possibly the nominee with the most middling/ average responses. While it was tipped for Oscar success back in December during it’s initial Netflix release – screening on the platform possibly meaning that there’s more chance voters might have seen the film – the film seemed to lose steam within a matter of weeks. Other films took over in terms of potential nominees and in the race as a whole and Mank seems to have been left in the dust behind them, it’s perhaps the nominee that people have talked about the least over the course of this season, at since the nominations.
Yet, the fact that it has received the nominations, and so many of them, indicates staying power and that it has stayed in the minds of a wide range of Academy members. It targets them and is a film that a number of voters may likely connect with easily because of the Hollywood setting. Such films often do well at the Oscars and the push behind the film hints at the fact that it could do well, it could well be underestimated on surface value, or maybe by overestimating the competition. There are plenty of Oscar-bait details within Mank and its production that all shout serious Best Picture contender. Meaning that it could find itself doing very well, including picking up that very award, on Oscar night.
Finally, the film that has possibly been talked about most this Oscar season, especially in the days after the nominations were announced; Judas And The Black Messiah. The film were the two title characters have both been labelled as support. While it was long talked about that Daniel Kaluuya would be nominated in Supporting Actor for his role as Illinois Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, LaKeith Stanfield as infiltrator turned member Bill O’Neal was deemed by many to be less likely to gain a Leading Actor nod (although the pair are equally leads these seemed to be the category placements that made sense). However, both actors managed to get nominated in support, which was something more of a surprise. While this shows favour towards the performances in the film, and perhaps the feature as a whole, there are worries that it could split the vote for the film in this category – although it seems as if Kaluuya will still win fairly comfortable.
Judas And The Black Messiah is a film elevated by its performances that truly push the power that it holds. Shaka King’s film is already great, and the strong performances within it perhaps mean that it stays in the mind even longer – good central performances are said to be what led Green Book to its win, although this film is a fair deal better than Green Book. Take into consideration the more recent release date (12th February in the US – also available on HBO Max as well as in cinemas, meaning there may have been more opportunity for voters to see it). While it has an Original Screenplay nomination it lacks nods for Best Director and Film Editing – which could prove damaging to its chances. The film appears to have lost its name in the crowd since the nominations were announced, the most discussion around it has been Kaluuya’s performance, and the odd placement of both actors in the Supporting category.
Even at other awards ceremonies the film hasn’t picked up many wins. Then again it hasn’t overly been nominated at some of them. Therefore the fact that it’s received Oscar nominations (six in total, across five categories) and has been in the conversation with such limited numbers in most categories (five nominees total, apart from Best Picture which this year has eight – next year will be the first year where the number is a round ten instead of up to ten) does show hope for it. It’s been remembered and talked about, and maybe some voters will feel they owe it something after the acting category confusion – although unlikely.
What may lead voters to place it high on their ballots is the way the film relates to modern day events. Particularly relating to events and movements in the past year critics and audiences have referred to this as a timely film – and events in the build-up to Academy voting have only increased this feeling. It could increase the emotional impact and the power that the film already has and therefore leave a stronger impression in the minds of voters. It may not have been in the conversation as much as other nominees but its power may have increased and personally risen up a number of ballots – if not already highly placed.
There are plenty of natural, within film elements that give Judas And The Black Messiah a strong reason to be a potential Best Picture winner. It’s strong performances and already great nature give it a good chance of winning. The fact that it seems timely or may have a bigger impact because of events in the last year are just reasons that may give it a larger push that could just be big enough to lead it to the Best Picture prize that it’s been nominated for.
But now, onto the main point of this incoherent, poorly written ramble. Predicting the film that the 9,000+ members of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences will award the 2021 Best Picture Oscar to.
As already discussed it’s a much closer race than it might initially seem this year, there are plenty of films that may benefit from the preferential ballot system of voting. Therefore it seems that now is a good time to go over the annual recap of preferential voting. The preferential ballot means that voters rank the nominated films as they view them from best to least-best (or in some cases worse). If a film receives the least first place votes then it is eliminated and the voters who voted for it have their second place film become their first. This goes on, descending down the ballots, until a film gains at least 51% of first place votes. Therefore it’s often more important that a film receives more consistent second and third place positions than first, so that it’s more likely to get to that important 51% mark. For the sake of this I’m going to presume that all voters have watched all eight films and fill in the ballot completely – not leaving out one or two films in protest or because they haven’t watched them, or simply just writing down the name of the film they liked best and nothing else.
When it comes to what films should be eliminated from contention first, and which ones are actually strong competition, it’s difficult to choose. If we were looking at what I seem to have labelled as a ‘Green Book year’ then The Trial Of The Chicago 7 would likely win. If this were a more conventional year and the Academy didn’t seem to be on a changing face then I would easily claim The Trial Of The Chicago 7 to be this year’s Best Picture winner. But, while I could have seen that being a frontrunner a couple of weeks ago, and would have gladly said this, that just doesn’t seem to be the case now when looking at all the other nominees present in this category. The Father would also appear to have better chances. However, when you look at the style and themes of all the other nominees, how much more diverse and different they are to what once were standard Best Picture nominees it doesn’t look like we’re looking at such a year. The Best Picture landscape is changing, and so are nominees across all categories. Green Book seems to have been an anomaly and that means that these two safer, more conventional films can be taken out of contention.
The same could also be said for Mank, while it’s an Oscar-baity film and ticks the Hollywood/ film industry box the it’s steam simply died down far too quickly it seems. It also feels like a slightly more traditional piece and therefore, alongside The Father and The Trial Of The Chicago 7, a less likely winner in this new Academy age. Mix in the fact that it possibly has the most middling views, aside from the love that has led to its nominations, and its possibly going to find itself towards the lower half of a number of ballots (even if around fourth or fifth place), resulting in an unlikely win.
Much like Mank, Judas And The Black Messiah appears to have lost its name in the conversation. While it could benefit from the voting period, and being strong in the minds of voters, it just doesn’t seem to have had the same amount of conversation (aside from early questions about the acting categories) as the other nominees. This could mean that it slips in with a win. Various anonymous Oscar voter articles seem to suggest that it’s been sitting around the top three of some voter’s ballots, however this is only a group of around 15-20 voters out of a 9,000+ group. But, with the talk around other contenders and the wins and nominations that they’ve been receiving at other ceremonies – admittedly with less votership – a win seems unlikely, therefore leading it to drop out of the running.
Now comes the final four, where the mix begins to get closer and thus more difficult. I think if there are three films that are most going to benefit from the preferential ballot because of the praise and love that they have had over the course of this season they are; Minari, Nomadland and Sound Of Metal. Promising Young Woman is a strong contender, and will possibly pick up at least one win on the night – it’s rightfully a frontrunner in a couple of categories – however, the divisive nature may slightly affect the chances that it has of winning Best Picture. However, more so is the fact that on ballots it may appear around the midway point or consistently in one particular spot, but that means that it could get stuck around here and find that its too late to build up to the number one spot – depending on what’s in front of it – to cross the 51% threshold.
Therefore the competition is between, as already mentioned, Minari, Nomadland and Sound Of Metal. It might not be everyone’s instant final three – in fact it’s likely going to be disagreed upon by most – yet, I still stick to the belief that the voting system will help them along. Sound Of Metal will perhaps drop out at this point. It certainly hasn’t ever been the favourite to win and likely doesn’t have the favour or push behind it that the other two films certainly do. It’s a strong competitor and will likely pick up a technical win or two, but that’s about it. The suggestion that it may have just slipped in with its nomination is perhaps right, and while it still has chances (as I believe fairly good ones) of winning, it does seem overall unlikely when compared to the rest of the competition.
Thus the race is brought down to two tales of universality. Thank you very much for sticking around throughout this lengthy piece, if you’ve read all of it; or even just skimming through it, perhaps you’ve just scrolled to the end. Either way thank you very much and I’m sorry for how long it’s been. However, now we finally do arrive at the main point at hand.
Nomadland appears to be the favourite to win for most sources and prediction hubs, while Minari a slight outside for most. Yet, it’s appeal shouldn’t be underestimated and could give it a strong push. It’s likely to have consistent placements in the top 3 of ballots and that could have a big impact on it and quietly lead it to a win.
Looking at other categories and what’s likely to win, unlike previous years, you can’t overly use them to try and predict Best Picture. Winners seem to be quite mixed across the board this year, reflecting the continually mentioned changing landscape of the Oscars. Nomadland seems to be certain for a Best Director win, and is still believed to be a leader in the Adapted Screenplay, and for some Leading Actress, race. These are key races that could also be of key merit to the film’s Best Picture chances.
If Nomadland wins Best Adapted Screenplay then it would seem more likely to win Best Picture this year – it appears the main competition in this category is The Father. However, it already seems like the lead in Best Picture, perhaps Adapted Screenplay is just the confirmation that I’d be looking out for?
With this in mind, and thinking about which nominee is most likely to be consistently placed in the top three of voter’s preferential ballots, there’s one film that I feel is likely to cross the 51% mark with more ease than the other. Therefore, this year I’m going to predict that the Best Picture Oscar winner will be Nomadland.