2021 Oscars Nominations, Snubs, Analysis

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2021 Oscars Nominations, Snubs, Analysis

The Oscars… I’m not sure exactly how to say this. The Oscars did good? Typically on the morning of Academy Award nominations, there are some big disappointments, major oversights, and egregious miss-licks. In a very off kilter film year, it seems that the Academy voting body mostly got things right. Part of me thinks that’s because everyone had to form their opinions from a distance. In a lot of ways, the campaign season looks differently than it ever has before, meaning that the speculating hobnobbing and wink-winking that happens behind closed doors has been largely shut out.

What you’re left with is a fine list of nominees. Of course, to say there are no shocks or snubs is to be a bit too rose-colored-glasses about the whole thing. Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods got no love in Picture, Director, or the most obvious omission—Delroy Lindo’s nomination in Best Actor. That is probably the hardest slight to overlook. I also would have knocked out Vinterburg for Regina King’s directing in One Night in Miami, but her omission is the least offensive in the bunch.

But in a delicious twist, the Academy also ignored some of the industry’s biggest names. No director nomination for Aaron Sorkin? No screenplay nomination for Mank, which seemed almost created in a factory so that Academy voters would nominate it for Best Screenplay. Absolutely vicious.

Here’s our quick rundown of each category, as well as the official start of the Oscar campaign I will be running to get Eurovision its Best Song Oscar.

Best Picture

The FatherJudas and the Black MessiahMankMinariNomadlandPromising Young WomanSound of MetalThe Trial of the Chicago 7

No major surprises here. After a bit of a dark horse play, it’s nice to see Promising Young Woman and Minari landing where it should be, even if Nomadland is far and away the favorite here.

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Best Director

Thomas Vinterburg, Another RoundDavid Fincher, MankLee Isaac Chung, MinariChloe Zhao, NomadlandEmerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

No Aaron Sorkin is astonishing, and like we said before, it would have been great to see Regina King, but this Chung, Zhao, Fennell line up (with Zhao being a near-lock to win) is just a beautiful sight.

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of MetalChadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black BottomAnthony Hopkins, The FatherGary Oldman, MankSteven Yeun, Minari

In a perfect world, Oldman would fall off this list. Delroy Lindo would be in. I’d wrap the list tightly in a bottle, kiss it, and then send it out to sea with best wishes for Boseman’s undeniable win.

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Best Actress

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black BottomAndra Day, The United States vs. Billie HolidayVanessa Kirby, Pieces of a WomanFrances McDormand, NomadlandCarey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

This is one of the categories that could have gone haywire. Spoilers were abound in Amy Adams and Rosamund Pike, but the most deserving rose to the top.

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen, Trial of the Chicago 7Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black MessiahLeslie Odom Jr., One Night in MiamiPaul Raci, The Sound of MetalLakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Good for Lakeith Stanfield! This is probably the biggest surprise from the nominations. It would have been fun to have seen Alan Kim get the little kid nom for Minari, but this is Kaluuya’s race to lose (with Cohen lurking behind him, just in case).

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Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent MoviefilmGlenn Close, Hillbilly ElegyOlivia Colman, The FatherAmanda Seyfried, MankYuh-Jung Youn, Minari

This is the other category that could have been a bit nutty. Jodie Foster’s performance in The Mauritanian threatened to be a spoiler, but the most predictable five ended up here. Save Close, any of these nominees would make for a wonderful winner.

Best Animated Feature

OnwardOver the MoonA Shaun The Sheep Movie: FarmageddonSoulWolfwalkers

This is going to Soul, thanks so much.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Borat Subsequent MoviefilmThe FatherNomadlandOne Night in MiamiThe White Tiger

Still investigating why Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is here (because it’s a sequel maybe??), but the hilarious oversight here is Mank. Sorry, baby. For the first time in history, Hollywood didn’t love Hollywood back.

Best Original Screenplay

Judas and the Black MessiahMinariPromising Young WomanSound of MetalThe Trial of the Chicago Seven

Stunning line up. Had Sorkin been left off this, I would have been curious if he’d seriously pissed someone off. But with Sorkin, Fennel, and Chung here together, it feels like a very solid line up.

Best Original Song

“Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah“Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7“Husavik” from Eurovision“Io sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead“Speak Now” from One Night in Miami

So many options here. Let’s all say it together: Academy Award winner H.E.R. or Academy Award winner Eurovision! You love to see it. Even a Leslie Odom Jr. win would be fun to continue to Hamilton reign. Likely, this is Diane Warren’s historic Oscar win.

Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.

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