Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.
The 2021 Oscar Season is only ten months long, making the end of July the halfway point. Movies released this early are not quite focused on by the eye of Oscar but there are always some that slip through the cracks and stand out.
One of the most prominent films to come out of the first five months in terms of awards buzz is In the Heights. It’s chances of scoring a Best Picture are rather low considering its summer release, low box office score, and the accusations of colorism. However, the movie still has a chance of rising above all these things for a Best Picture Nomination especially if it gets a few technical nominations. Best Sound is common for a musical and the film also worked hard with Production Design, Editing, Costume, and Cinematography. Hopefully, Heights will grab some of those nominations.
Anthony Ramos was a charming lead, but with what will probably be a crowded race in the Best Actor category, he will probably miss the nomination. Olga Merediz has a better chance for a Best Supporting Actress Nomination as someone who knocks the role out of the park and also was the original performer in the Broadway show which will be a hit with the Academy.
In terms of the above-the-line categories, these will usually be explored further in the second half of the year. There are three actors who have a chance of a nomination this year, but it will be tough to hold the attention for the rest of the Oscar season. Reid Miller gave an emotional, powerhouse performance for his role in Joe Bell, made several waves coming out of the festival circuit as the film’s stand out, and could possibly get a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Zola came and went this summer which does not help its chances of a nomination with a lack of attention but the interesting origins of the film could capture a Best Screenplay nomination. Also, Riley Keough delivers a terrific performance in Zola that walks a very difficult line between culture and character. However, the campaign would have to be much more powerful for people to remember this movie come time for nominations.
This next nomination prediction could be a long shot considering the actor, but when this actor gives a good performance, people tend to take note of it as he is a cult favorite. Nicolas Cage has been getting a rightful amount of attention and praise for his film Pig. Critics and audiences will be talking about it, campaigning for him, and shooting for him to at least be recognized at the end of the year.
The Animated Feature has three solid nominations, but they can be bumped out with many solid prospects coming up. Raya and the Last Dragon is the go-to Disney Animated film and is also a beautiful film. However, its early-in-the-year release can hurt it especially going up against Encanto which looks amazing and is another Disney animated film being released closer to awards time. Luca is this year’s Pixar film, which usually means an automatic nomination and win, but Luca did not garner the attention it deserved or needed to be a definite lock as the designated Pixar nomination. Finally, The Mitchells vs. The Machines is the offbeat Sony Pictures nomination that everyone loved (which worked well for Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse). There are a few other animated films on the horizon, but these three will definitely be the most considered thus far.
For a handful of other movies seeing summer releases, they are most likely to receive technical nominations, especially Visual Effects and Sound. A Quiet Place Part 2 obviously wows in the department of Sound, but not Visual Effects as there is nothing new from the last movie. The Tomorrow War would be an interesting nomination for Visual Effects and should be able to get it for its interesting monster design alone, but the film did not give itself enough popularity to have staying power come Oscar time.
Most Fast and the Furious movies are strangers to the Oscars, especially the technical categories, but a nomination for Sound seems quite possible for F9. Black Widow is a Marvel win and with that comes a Visual Effects and Sound nomination, but it’s overblown final act and lack of other effects in the movie could hinder it’s chances. Army of the Dead was a popular film that has the Snyder touch, so Visual Effects and Sound could be possible, but it’s not likely to stick. Many of these contenders are likely, but Godzilla vs Kong is a definite lock for Visual Effects and Sound with it being one of the more popular summer blockbusters and doing a great job with both.
Best Make Up is another technical award that has two possible prospects. Coming 2 America may be using the same make up from the first film, but they aged it even further and gave it updates with a few new characters in the same kind of makeup. Another possible nomination that is less likely is Army of the Dead which gives a close up look at a more original zombie and while this is a long shot, it’s still a possibility.
Finally, Cruella has been considered a fairly divisive movie in its quality, but everyone loves the costumes and it would seem almost insane if the film didn’t receive at least a nomination for Best Costume Design.
The majority of the films in the first half of the year don’t scratch the surface of Oscar nominations, but when some break through, it helps reflect a full year of movies.