10 minuti

In a year unlike any other, The Hollywood Reporter’s awards expert Scott Feinberg and chief film critic David Rooney hash out the likely winners and the most deserving ahead of Sunday’s show.

  • Best PictureFrances McDormand NomadlandEverett’Nomadland’
  • WILL WIN: Nomadland
  • The Academy’s preferential ballot has caused numerous recent surprises and makes it tempting to
    pick a down-the-middle crowd-pleaser like The Trial of the Chicago 7, which Netflix has pushed hard. But Searchlight’s Nomadland captured the zeitgeist as much as Trial; swept the season, save for the top SAG Award; and has the directing Oscar locked.  — SF
  • SHOULD WIN: Minari Lee Isaac Chung’s intensely personal account of a young Korean immigrant family grasping for their modest piece of the American Dream is both a return to the domestic heartland dramas that were once a studio staple and a reclamation of those stories as a cross-cultural experience, imbued with delicacy, grit and affecting warmth by an unimpeachable cast.
  •  Best DirectorChloe ZhaoCourtesy of Universal
  • WILL WIN: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
  • Options include breakouts Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) and vets David Fincher (Mank) and Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round). But, for her latest exploration of America’s West, Nomadland’s Chinese helmer will become the second woman, and first woman of color, to win this award. — SF
  • SHOULD WIN: Chloé Zhao, NomadlandIn a year of memorable work from women directors — Kelly Reichardt, Eliza Hittman, Regina King, Emerald Fennell — Chloé Zhao cements her place as a lyrical chronicler of the new American West with this haunting character study, which organically folds Frances McDormand’s resilient refugee of capitalism into a poetic landscape of real people and places.  — DR
  •  Best ActorBoseman’s final film role was in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, streaming on Netflix beginning Dec. 18.David Lee/NetflixBoseman’s final film role was in ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ streaming on Netflix beginning Dec. 18.
  • WILL WIN: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black BottomThe Father’s Anthony Hopkins (BAFTA’s pick) and Mank’s Gary Oldman are past winners, while Sound of Metal’s Riz Ahmed and Minari’s Steven Yeun are probably future winners. But this Oscar night will belong to Chadwick Boseman, who died in August, leaving a legacy of great performances, and this one last master class still in the can.  — SF
  • SHOULD WIN: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black BottomAnthony Hopkins and Riz Ahmed delivered superbly nuanced work, as did Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods, an omission from the nominees that still rankles. But the posthumous opportunity to recognize Chadwick Boseman for the crowning achievement of his too-short career is both fitting and entirely merited. — DR https://2914259b89387862bb577a3bfd680114.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
  •  Best ActressFrances McDormand NomadlandEverett’Nomadland’
  • WILL WIN: Frances McDormand, NomadlandPieces of a Woman’s Vanessa Kirby was Venice’s victor, Billie Holiday’s Andra Day grabbed a Globe, Promising Young Woman’s Carey Mulligan won at Critics Choice, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’s Viola Davis surprised at the SAG Awards and Nomadland’s Frances McDormand got a BAFTA bounce. Edge to the star of the year’s most admired film, even if she’s won twice before. — SF
  • SHOULD WIN: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young WomanAny one of the five nominees would be a deserving winner. But after watching Mulligan build a screen persona primarily out of restrained characterizations in period pieces, it was a thrill to watch her tear down that facade playing a fiercely contemporary woman, an avenging angel driven as much by pain as rage. — DR 
  •  Best Supporting ActorJudas and the Black MessiahCourtesy of Sundance Film FestivalLaKeith Stanfield (front) and Daniel Kaluuya in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’
  • WILL WIN: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black MessiahThree years after his Get Out nom, Daniel Kaluuya is poised to win for Judas and the Black Messiah, having swept the precursors. The only thing giving hope to Trial’s Sacha Baron Cohen, Metal’s Paul Raci and One Night in Miami’s Leslie Odom Jr.: Kaluuya’s competition, for the first time, includes a co-star, LaKeith Stanfield. — SF
  • SHOULD WIN: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black MessiahLeaving aside the debate about category fraud for what’s essentially a lead role, British actor Kaluuya brings smoldering charisma and soulfulness to Illinois Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton, juxtaposing the activist’s blazing power as an orator with his still-evolving path as a man, just 21 at the time of his assassination. — DR 
  •  Best Supporting ActressMinari Youn Yuh-jungEverett
  • WILL WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
  • Winners tend to be first-time nominee breakouts, like Mank’s Amanda Seyfried and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’s Maria Bakalova, or vets, like Hillbilly Elegy’s Glenn Close, now on nomination No. 8, and Minari’s Yuh-Jung Youn, Korea’s Meryl Streep. If Hillbilly were better, Close would finally win. But Youn’s SAG and BAFTA wins suggest unstoppable momentum. — SF
  • SHOULD WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn, MinariThe stealth linchpin of a finely tuned ensemble, the distinguished Korean screen veteran introduces an element of mischief, of renegade vitality into the drama’s fraught family dynamic. But her wily grandmother character also brings unquestioning love, threading the connection between traditional roots and a stubbornly resistant new frontier.  — DR https://2914259b89387862bb577a3bfd680114.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
  •  Best Original ScreenplayEmerald Fennell Promising Young Woman BTSEverett
  • WILL WIN: Emerald Fennell, Promising Young WomanTrial’s Aaron Sorkin is widely regarded as today’s greatest screenwriter and could well win a second statuette a decade after The Social Network. But Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman beat Trial at the WGA and BAFTA awards and, like numerous recent winners of this Oscar, feels inventive, quirky, daring and urgent. — SF 
  • SHOULD WIN: Lee Isaac Chung, MinariThis loosely autobiographical account of the director’s childhood in rural Arkansas has the foundations of an assimilation story. But what stayed with me as much as the clear-eyed view of a Korean immigrant family’s struggles was the quiet eloquence with which it refutes rigid xenophobic notions of who gets to call themselves American. — DR 
  •  Best Adapted ScreenplayNomadlandEverett
  • WILL WIN: Chloé Zhao, NomadlandMany find One Night in Miami too like a play and assume Borat is heavily improvised. The Father won at BAFTA and could easily repeat here, given that it feels more scripted than Nomadland. But I suspect that Nomadland, like eight of the past 10 best picture winners, will also claim a screenwriting prize. — SF 
  • SHOULD WIN: Kemp Powers, One Night in MiamiIt’s no easy feat retooling a talk-driven play for the screen, especially one that confines four men to a motel room. Working in seamless harmony with first-time director Regina King, the playwright gives his characters and themes ample space to breathe, exploring the humanity of the famed friends while subtly tying their struggle to America’s ongoing racial reckoning. — DR 
  •  Best Documentary FeatureMy Octopus TeacherCourtesy of Netflix
  • WILL WIN: My Octopus Teacher
  • This initially looked like a race between Time and Crip Camp, either of which could still prevail. But the late-breaking favorite is My Octopus Teacher, a visually stunning and emotionally moving love letter to animals and to the great outdoors, which has struck a chord after a year
    in which we were all trapped inside. — SF
  • SHOULD WIN: TimeThe year’s best doc for me was Spike Lee’s life-giving performance capture of David Byrne’s American Utopia. But since the Academy seems oblivious to concert films, I’ll go with Garrett Bradley’s compassionate, ultimately cathartic record of a Louisiana matriarch’s fight to keep her family united through her husband’s long incarceration. — DR
  •  Best International FeatureAnother RoundEverett
  • WILL WIN: Another Round
  • From a formidable field of five contenders representing three continents, the clear favorite is Another Round, Danish master Thomas Vinterberg’s ode to booze, a dramedy that has been more widely seen and admired than any of its fellow nominees. It would be Denmark’s fourth winner, leaving it trailing only Italy and France. — SF
  • SHOULD WIN: Quo Vadis, Aida? I won’t be mad about a win for frontrunner Another Round if Mads Mikkelsen re-creates his exuberant dance finale at the Oscars. But the towering achievement here is Jasmila Zbanić’s scalding dramatization of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, observed through the horrified eyes of a U.N. translator. It’s an uncommonly lucid, unsparing account of war and of the impotent failure of the peacekeepers. — DR 
  •  Best Animated FeatureSoul Still 1 - Disney Pixar Publicity-H 2019Courtesy of Disney/Pixar
  • WILL WIN: Soul 
  • No disrespect to Wolfwalkers, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Over the Moon or Onward, but the night’s safest bet is that Soul — which probably didn’t miss a best picture nomination by much — will win this award, making Pixar chief Pete Docter this 19-year-old category’s first three-time winner and marking his company’s 11th win. — SF
  • SHOULD WIN: WolfwalkersWhile the annual rubber-stamping of the chief Pixar contender points to Soul as the preordained winner, recognition for Irish boutique Cartoon Saloon’s work preserving the noble art of hand-drawn animation is overdue. Its enchanting storytelling, folkloric world-building and painterly beauty lift this one head and shoulders above the field. — DR
Walter Nicoletti
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