Awards Watch With MathTeacherMovies – February 15th, 2021

Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.

We are one month away from learning which films and performances will be nominated for an Oscar! At this point in the awards season, we typically know which ones are sure to be nominated. But, every year there inevitably are some surprises. This week, we will get into the long shots of some of the main categories.  Who knows? Maybe one of them will sneak into the nomination slot by March 15th. 

Best Picture

Sound of Metal, my favorite film of the year, has been a critical darling, but hasn’t picked up the popularity of other that other potential award nominations have. However, it can still swing on the momentum of the buzz of several performance nominations.

Soul was gearing up to be the single animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture due to its certainty of winning Best Animated Feature. Even if it has fallen in popularity, it can still ride to Best Picture on several other nominations. 

Judas and the Black Messiah is coming out quite late which can both help and hinder a movie’s chances at the big win. However, this movie caught quite a bit of attention this weekend and therefore has the chance of a few nominations with Kaluuya being a certainty at this point. 

Best Director 

The Globes made history by nominating three women for Best Director. It once seemed like a long shot for Chloe Zhao for Nomadland and Regina King for One Night in Miami, but now they seem locked. Additionally, there is still a chance that Emerald Finnell could still be nominated for Promising Young Women.

The most satisfying arc of this Oscar season has been the resurgence of Da 5 Bloods with a solid possibility of Spike Lee being nominated for Best Director, not just because of legacy, but because he created an incredible film. 

News of the World has a shot of one of the lower tier Best Picture nominations and director Paul Greengrass also has a famous name and created a film that has a beautiful look despite its weak script. 

Best Actor

Even though Delroy Lindo was inexplicably snubbed in both the Golden Globes and SAG Awards and may seem like a long shot, it would be wild if he was not nominated for an Oscar at this point because of how popular the film is and how much attention his performance is getting from other awards contests. 

Steven Yeun is garnering more and more attention with his performance in Minari while Kingsley Ben-Adir is also gaining more favorability for One Night in Miami. While the five nominations are pretty much set, these two have the best chance of knocking one out of the running in an upset.

Best Actress

Sophia Loren is an absolute legend with a dynamite performance in The Life Ahead. Meanwhile, Zendaya has been a popular performer and she was garnering quite a bit of support for many of her roles but especially for Malcolm and Marie. Neither of these ladies have received nominations in the SAGs and Globes, but either could make a  jump in a category that has conceivably one slot open. 

Amy Adams did receive a SAG nomination for her performance in Hillbilly Elegy, but it was barely talked about. Her Oscar nomination seems unlikely but this is the prolific Adams and she’s playing a drug addict in poverty which is Oscars Bingo.  

Best Supporting Actor

Jared Leto shocked the world last week with his SAG and Globe nominations for The Little Things. While that kind of attention spells a nomination, the critical and public backlash and the slight difference of opinion of the Academy still makes Leto a long shot. 

There are many performances in Trial of the Chicago 7 that deserve nominations and while Sacha Baron Cohen has the best chance of being nominated, Mark Rylance’s nomination is a strong possibility. As I’ve said before, the Academy likes a nominee with a narrative: Rylance is a past Oscar winner and he is starring in a film that will most likely be nominated for best picture.

The last time we saw Bill Murray at the Oscars was in a Sofia Coppola film. Now, Coppola directed Murray to another wonderful performance garnering a lot of buzz with the possibility of a nomination if momentum shifts and the Academy remembers how much they love him. 

Best Supporting Actress

This is the most unique category in that there are three long shots. Ellen Burstyn’s performance in Pieces of a Woman was one of the front runners but was not nominated for a SAG or a Golden Globe, so an Oscars nominated is a long shot. 

Helena Zengel was much more successful in awards nominations and she plays a challenging role but she is still not as well-known which could hinder her chances in the campaigning department. 

Finally, there is Maria Bakalova who has been getting buzz, praise, and nominations for her role in Borat: Subsequent Movie Film. However, there is a chance that the Academy will think her movie is too silly for a nomination.

Best Adapted Screenplay

With the Adapted Screenplay category almost completely locked in, there are still two movies that have the chance of jumping into the race. First Cow has a unique structure and messaging and the Academy would love to honor a critically praised film.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things was an interesting adaptation of a beloved book and that it was written by Charlie Kaufman gives it a good chance for a nomination for screenplay. But, it’s long shot status remains due to its divisive and potentially confusing narrative. 

Best Original Screenplay

The film Never Rarely Sometimes Always has been considered one of the best films of the year including it’s screenplay, but it’s flying so low under the radar that it’s practically unseen by voters. If this film gets an Oscar nomination at all, it will be for this category.

Da 5 Bloods will receive several nominations and it has the potential to coast on its popularity with a screenplay nomination, especially due to the ingenuity of this story structure. Sound of Metal is a bit more straightforward in the story department but is beloved and popular in many other above-the-line categories. 

When the nominations are announced, it’s guaranteed that there will be snubs and surprises. Some of them will be enraging and others will be exciting. It’s just another part of the excitement of the Oscars!

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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