Awards Watch With MathTeacherMovies – January 11th, 2021

Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.

Another week closer to the 2021 Oscars! Sean here from @mathteachermovies and this week I’ll break down the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay races.

The Best Picture race has a few major players but the two leads are Nomadland and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Nomadland is the critical darling, while Trial is a crowd pleaser and because of last week’s events at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., popularity is rising due to those looking for a movie that is political yet hopeful. Other contenders are Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Mank. They are popular picks, but Mank is losing steam as time passes. 

One Night in Miami, The Father, Minari, and News of the World are also receiving buzz. Cinephiles are chomping at the bit to view these films as they are not yet available for streaming in the U.S. and received a limited release in theaters due to Covid.  There has been a late resurgence for Da 5 Bloods as a potential Best Picture nominee. Finally, Soul is the animated favorite this year and Pixar often gets a nomination for the top award of the star-studded evening. 

Other possible nominations could include Promising Young Woman and Sound of Metal. Young Woman might be too offbeat, but it is still generating conversation and serious attention. Metal tragically fell below movie-goers’ radar, but its two magnetic performances from Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci make this film a Best Picture contender

Best Director is a bit easier to predict with fewer contenders. The current front runner is Chloe Zhao for Nomadland (especially if Best Picture goes to The Trial of the Chicago 7). Aaron Sorkin will receive a directing nomination for Trial, even though his direction is not the standout in that movie. Regardless, it’s safe to say that the Best Picture and Best Director awards won’t go to the same movie this year. 

Zhao’s biggest threat is David Fincher for Mank. Fincher will probably run a campaign on the narrative that he has not won an Oscar which is pretty baffling and many voters will agree…. and Mank is about Hollywood and Hollywood loves nothing more than a movie about Hollywood.

Regina King will be grabbing a nomination for One Night in Miami in honor of being a first time director. She won’t win because the movie’s stage-to-screen transition is receiving criticism. The blame typically falls on the director for this type of blunder. 

Lee Isaac Chung is also getting buzz for Minari which is a movie that everyone seems to love. Meanwhile, Spike Lee can come knocking at the door with Da 5 Bloods in hand if the popularity of that film continues to rise. 

When it comes to Best Adapted Screenplay, this is the year for play adaptations: One Night in Miami and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will see nominations on the horizon, but play adaptations can get tricky. Still, Nomadland is the clear frontrunner due to all the weight it is carrying with all of its other buzz. News of the World and The Father are easy choices, while I’m Thinking of Ending Things is the riskier yet more interesting choice. 

For Best Original Screenplay, like Nomadland, Trial of the Chicago 7 is pretty much unstoppable due to its popularity in the top awards. The fact that it was written by legendary Aaron Sorkin doesn’t hurt either. Mank could be an emotional favorite as a posthumous win for Jack Fincher…and the movie’s about Hollywood. 

Minari is heartwarming and crowd pleasing while Promising Young Woman seems more challenging, both of which make for terrific screenplays. Soul is the prestige Pixar film of the year which usually means a definite screenplay nomination and Da 5 Bloods has a chance at a nomination with its recent surge in popularity. 

While most of these films were technically “released” in 2020, many will be released online this week to the delight of streaming customers (read: me!!) and public opinion does manage to shape the decisions of voters. Listen for the buzz this week as this is the chance for a few more surprises to spring up along the way. 

Next Week: The Performance Awards are up!!

Let me know what you think of my projections at @mathteachermovies on Instagram.

Follow Sean on Instagram at @MathTeacherMovies

What Do You Think?

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