My Oscar Predictions (Part 2/2), predicting Writing Categories, Leading Actor and Actress and more

This is the second part of my Oscar Predictions and I made these predictions April 11 that I said on the Extra Features Podcast, so consider these my final predictions. These are just how I think these categories will shake out, and in this second part of two prediction articles (Part 1 of predictions can be found here), I’m covering 8 of the 23 categories with the Screenplay categories, Original Song, Cinematography, Documentary, Editing, and the Best Leading categories. Here we go:

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

THE NOMINEES: Will Bereson, Shaka King, Kenneth Lucas and Keith Lucas for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari,” Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman,” Darius Marder, Abraham Marder and Derek Cianfrance for “Sound of Metal,” Aaron Sorkin for “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

I don’t think The Trial of Chicago 7 wins here but if it does win, that makes Best Picture interesting. Trial is my second pick, but I’m going with Emerald Fennell’s screenplay for Promising Young Woman because, as I mentioned earlier my gut is telling me it wins one Oscar and I think it finds it here.

SHOULD WIN/MY PICK: Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman

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Will Ferrell backs up Rachel McAdams in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, nominated for Best Original Song. (Photo credit: John Wilson/NETFLIX © 2020.)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)

THE NOMINEES: Savan Kotecha, Max Grahn and Rickard Göransson For song “Husavik” for “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” H.E.R., D’Mile and Tiara Thomas For song “Fight for You” for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Diane Warren and Laura Pasini For song “Seen” for “The Life Ahead,” Leslie Odom Jr. and Sam Ashworth For song “Speak Now” for “One Night in Miami,” Celeste and Daniel Pemberton For song “Hear My Voice” for “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

I honestly feel like “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of Chicago 7, H.E.R.’s “Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah and even Leslie Odom Jr.’s “Speak Now” for One Night in Miami all sound very similar, but I do remember “Speak Now” in the film (even if it’s a credits song), and I’m with that one because Odom Jr. is also nominated for Best Supporting Actor. “Seen (Io Si)” for The Life Ahead is a good song but I haven’t seen the film and haven’t heard too much about that song.

Though, I do think there’s a backdoor for “Husavik” for Eurovision Song Contest: Story of Fire Saga just because those songs are so similar, and, while the film is my least favourite generally, this is the best song and it’s the only one that’s actually incorporated into the narrative and has the best pay-off. I think McAdams not singing could hurt it (as the vocals are by Molly Sandén), and so that’s why I’m going with “Speak Now.”

MY PICK: Leslie Odom Jr. and Sam Ashworth For song “Speak Now” for “One Night in Miami” (though my heart’s kind-of with “Husavik”).

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Aldis Hodge, Eli Goree and Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night in Miami. (Photo credit: Patti Perret.)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

THE NOMINEES: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern and Nina Pedrad for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland,” Kemp Powers for “One Night in Miami,” Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller for “The Father,” Ramin Bahrani for “The White Tiger.”

I kind-of want Borat Subsequent Moviefilm here because I want them to see if they have to say the entire name on stage. I love all the scripts in this category, even The White Tiger, and it would also be cool to see Kemp Powers win for One Night in Miami.

I reckon Chloé Zhao is one of the frontrunners for Nomadland and as good as that film is, I am really in the corner of Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller for The Father, an adaptation of Zeller’s play. I would love to see that film win here as such an important depiction of dementia, and its structure and storytelling is fantastic, especially with its unreliable narrator. I’m picking that one and that felt risky when I wrote these predictions April 11, though The Father winning the BAFTA for writing gives me more confidence.

SHOULD WIN/MY PICK: Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller for The Father

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

THE NOMINEES: Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana for “Colectiv,” Nicole Newnham, James Lebrecht, Sara Bolder for “Crip Camp,” Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibanez for “The Mole Agent,” Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster for “My Octopus Teacher” and Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn for “Time”

I haven’t seen any of these documentaries, but I’ve heard good things about all of these, especially Crip Camp coming out of Sundance last year and Colectiv being nominated in the Foreign Language category, too. Time would be my second pick based on what I’ve heard, but I’m picking My Octopus Teacher here as the Netflix pick and that being the most readily available.

MY PICK: Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster for My Octopus Teacher

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Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7, a film that is nominated for 6 Oscars, including Film Editing and Best Picture. (Photo credit: Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX © 2020.)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITIING

THE NOMINEES: Alan Baumgarten for “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland,” Frédéric Thoraval for “Promising Young Woman,” Mikkel E.G. Nielsen for “Sound of Metal,” Yorgos Lamprinos for “The Father”

I enjoy that Zhao is the only one of these nominees with a profile picture on IMDb, and I always think it’s impressive when the director edits their own film. The Trial of Chicago 7 had some really flashy editing, especially with the opening montage and the political rallies, and I think that’s what helps it stand out (it also won the top prize at the EDDIE awards). Sound of Metal has great editing as it immerses us into Ruben’s state of mind as he loses his hearing. The Father is also so well-edited in its coherent storytelling even with an unreliable storyteller, and also how that immerses into Anthony’s mind is fascinating. I’ve read about The Father picking up more buzz, and I’d love to study the film just from an editing standpoint. If I were choosing today, I’d either pick The Father or Sound of Metal but I went with The Trial of the Chicago 7 (and have some confidence with it winning the EDDIE).

MY PICK: Alan Baumgarten for The Trial of Chicago 7

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Frances McDormand and Director/Writer Chloé Zhao on the set of Nomadland, nominated for six Oscars. (Credit: Joshua Richards.)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

THE NOMINEES: Sean Bobbitt for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Erik Messerschmidt for “Mank,” Dariusz Wolski for “News of the World,” Joshua James Richards for “Nomadland” and Phedon Papamichael for “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Nomadland was always a gorgeously shot film by Joshua James Richards, and even when I was close to bored, that was always one of the best aspects of this film. Erik Messerschmidt for Mank could be a dark horse, but I think this is another win for Nomadland.

SHOULD WIN/MY PICK Joshua James Richards for Nomadland

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Chadwick Boseman as Levee in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, nominated for five Oscars, including Best Actor. (Photo Credit: David Lee/NETFLIX©)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

THE NOMINEES: Anthony Hopkins for “The Father,” Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Gary Oldman for “Mank,” Riz Ahmed for “Sound of Metal,” and Steven Yeun for “Minari”

Even if Chadwick Boseman were still with us, I reckon he would still be the frontrunner for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Anthony Hopkins has been picking up steam after taking home the BAFTA (and, interestingly, he has been nominated two years in a row after The Two Popes after not being nominated for 22 years). I still think it’s Boseman, even though I really love Steven Yeun in Minari and Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal (and he’s my favourite performance here).

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

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Chadwick Boseman as Levee, Colman Domingo as Cutler, Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, Michael Potts as Slow Drag and Glynn Turman as Toledo in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, nominated for five Oscars. (Credit: David Lee/NETFLIX.)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

THE NOMINEES: Andra Day for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” Carey Mulligan for “Promising Young Woman,” Frances McDormand for “Nomadland,” Vanessa Kirby for “Pieces of a Woman,” Viola Davis for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

This is such an unpredictable category that my original draft of this category was 754 words (chopped down to 450 words), and that’s why I saved it for last. I thought Mulligan would be the frontrunner before Viola Davis won the SAG for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and then Frances McDormand won the BAFTA for Nomadland, so this is going to be a fun category.

Vanessa Kirby had a good performance, especially for those opening 30 minutes, but I’ve counted her out. Frances McDormand is so natural and becomes Fern, and I could be eating my own words here, but I just can’t imagine one of her very memorable speeches for her win. My gut’s just thinking that she gets her Oscar as producer on Nomadland. Andra Day is super interesting as the underdog for The United States vs. Billie Holliday, especially as this is her first substantial film role as she’s primarily known as a singer before this (for her single “Rise Up”). This is the only film in this category I haven’t seen in its entirety as I got bored 20 minutes in, but this is an interesting pick for Oscar pools as this is the risky, go-for-gold pick.

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Carey Mulligan as Cassie and Bo Burnham as Ryan in Promising Young Woman, nominated for five Oscars, including Best Actress. (Photo credit: Merie Weismiller Wallace/ Focus Features.)

The logical part of my brain says it’s between Viola Davis as Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom or Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman. First, for Davis, she won the SAG and that often goes hand in hand with the Oscar, and since the 2011 ceremony (for 2010 film year), the Oscar and SAG winners have differed twice, most recently with Olivia Colman winning the Oscar for The Favourite and Glenn Close for the SAG with The Wife. Before that was the year where Meryl Streep won for The Iron Lady for the 2011 film year, and Viola Davis won the SAG as Aibeleen Clark in The Help.

This is where I love narratives, and the first one that I see is that Davis is a good bet with SAG, especially as the Academy doesn’t award comedies all that often, though Promising Young Woman is so relevant right now, even though I prefer Mulligan’s performance. History repeating itself is also an interesting thing statistically if Davis loses, though the odds are against that. However, I really think Promising Young Woman only wins one Oscar and I don’t think it’s here. That’s just a gut thing.

The third narrative is The Iron Lady being nominated for just two Oscars – Make-Up and Actress – and winning both, and those are also two Oscars that Ma Rainey are nominated for, though it has five nominations (Leading Actor, Leading Actress, Make-Up, Costume Design and Production Design) and I see it winning four of them.

MY PICK: Viola Davis for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

So there you have it, my Oscar predictions! I’m very curious what will happen tomorrow night, and who are you rooting for?

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