This year the Oscars have been pushed back to April and many films have had small releases in the USA or on the festival circuit whilst still remaining unseen in the rest of the world, meaning the next few months are set to be jam packed with awards-worthy films! Here are our early predictions of who and what to watch out for on those nomination lists!
Due to the pandemic, streaming only releases will be eligible for the first-time giving Netflix and Amazon a real shot at some statues.
Mank – David Fincher writes and directs a movie about movie making starring Gary Oldman as the titular screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. This film couldn’t be more Oscar bait if it tried. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amanda Seyfried nominated for her luminous supporting role as the Hollywood starlet Marion Davies. You can read our review of Netflix’s Mank right here
Mank is streaming on Netflix now
Nomadland – Two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand (Fargo, Three Billboards) stars in Chloe Zhao’s modern odyssey about a 21st century nomad giving up everything to live life on the road in the American West. Nomadland was a smash hit at film festivals around the world and is tipped to garner some attention for the indie director who’s recently been scooped up by Marvel
Nomadland is out in the UK on 19th February
Minari – The Walking Dead’s Steven Yuen stars in this ”American Dream” story about a Korean family moving to rural Arkansas in the 1980s. It’s charmed both audiences and critics on the festival circuit and though it might not be a big name feature, writer/director Lee Isaac Chung could well find himself with a couple of nods. Controversially Minari has been shut out of the ”Best Picture” category at the Golden Globes due to being largely in Korean and is only eligible for ”Best Foreign Language,” despite being about, made by and starring Americans. It’ll be curious to see how it fares at a post-Parasite Oscars
Minari is out in the UK on 19th March
The Father – French playwright Florian Zeller adapts his own award-winning play into a film which is currently sitting at a glowing 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It stars Anthony Hopkins as a man suffering from dementia and Olivia Colman as his daughter who moves in to care for him. It promises stellar performances from both and whilst I think it might be too soon for Colman to snag another Oscar after The Favourite, Hopkins is already hotly tipped for Best Actor. (Which would be his second after The Silence of the Lambs)
The Father is out in the UK on 12th March
Judas and the Black Messiah – It’s premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival next month, so few people have seen Judas yet, but already there’s a hell of a lot of buzz about this feature from director Shaka King. Daniel Kaluuya stars as Black Panther Party activist Fred Hampton and LaKeith Stanfield as the FBI informant who betrayed him. Could Kaluuya snatch a second-Best Actor nomination following the incredible Get Out? He’s certainly got the talent for it and at only 31 his star continues to rise
Judas and the Black Messiah is out in the UK on 26th Feb
The Sound of Metal – Possibly a dark horse of the competition Darius Marder’s drama about a drummer losing his hearing was a surprise hit with US critics and audiences late last year. Powered by an incredible central performance from Riz Ahmed and an innovative use of sound design in its storytelling, The Sound of Metal could well sneak in there. Our review is right here
The Sound of Metal is out in the UK on 29th January
Ammonite – Another victim of pandemic delays Francis Lee’s second feature Ammonite is still to get a wide scale release but scored well at film festivals. Star Kate Winslet could well find herself nominated for her stunning turn in this beautiful Victorian lesbian romance. Co-star Saoirse Ronan has received four nominations in only 12 years so I wouldn’t be surprised to see her there again, she is possibly the best actress of her generation. We reviewed Ammonite as part of the BFI London Film Festival
Ammonite is out in the UK on 26th March
Supernova – If the Academy can possibly find space for two great films about dementia in one year (the other being The Father as mentioned above) then Supernova should deservedly be on their list. Both Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci give career best performances in this heartbreaking film about a couple dealing with a dementia diagnosis. One of the best British films of the year, our full review of Supernova can be found here
Supernova is out in the UK on 5th March
One Night in Miami – An underdog of the competition is this directorial debut from actress Regina King. Imagining a fictional night together with friends Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown it features some great up and comers playing iconic roles. Star making turns from British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir and Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr could get some attention. Kal reviewed One Night in Miami here
One Night in Miami is streaming now on Amazon Prime
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Let’s make one thing clear – yes, Viola Davis is almost certain to get a nomination for her portrayal of the titular blues singer, but if Chadwick Boseman doesn’t win Best (or Supporting) Actor for his turn as trumpet player Levee I’ll eat my hat. Both shine in this sultry adaption of the August Wilson play about a 1920s diva recording an album. Boseman gives the performance of his career and recognising this incredible work posthumously almost seems like a done deal. While they’ve a few entries in this list, Ma Rainey seems like Netflix’s safest bet on bagging some Oscars
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is streaming on Netflix now
Another Round – Director Thomas Vinterberg and star Mads Mikkelsen have featured heavily in awards seasons before and are back together with this Danish tragicomedy about four schoolteachers who decide to start drinking every day. An exquisitely well-balanced film about drinking culture and four men having a midlife crisis, it’s ensemble cast are enormously good fun. A shoe in for ”Best International Film,” it could even find itself in Best Picture territory following Parasite’s win
Another Round is out on the UK on 5th March
Da 5 Bloods – Director Spike Lee has had a storied past with the Academy ignoring much of his celebrated and deserving early work, but finally bagged his first Oscar for screenwriting BlacKkKlansmen in 2018. This film about a group of Vietnam war veterans returning to Vietnam to find a buried treasure could well find him back on that list, whilst star Delroy Lindo has been tipped for a Best Actor nomination.
Da 5 Bloods is streaming on Netflix now
Never Rarely Sometimes Always – This low budget indie may not have been seen by a wide audience but much like Barry Jenkins breakout Moonlight in 2017 it’s getting talked about in all the right circles. Sidney Flanigan stars in this timely tale about a teenage girl from a rural town travelling to New York City to get an abortion. Who knows where this could have ended up had it been able to have a wider release?
Never Rarely Sometimes Always is available to purchase from VOD services now
First Cow – This period Western about two new settlers trying to make ends meet in the Pacific Northwest in the 1820s made A LOT of critics Top 10 lists for 2020.However, it’s a ponderously slow film with no big campaign behind it, so we’ll have to wait and see if it makes the lists of the notoriously attention deficit Academy voters.
First Cow is available to purchase from VOD services now
Promising Young Woman – This revenge thriller is a career highlight for star Carey Mulligan and an exciting debut for writer/director Emerald Fennell and both their names are already appearing widely on critics’ awards lists. In the wake of the #MeToo movement will it resonate with the Academy? You can find our review right here
Promising Young Woman is out in the UK on 12th February
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – No one does big ensemble dramas quite like the supremely talented writer/director Aaron Sorkin and this adaption of a real courtroom drama could see him back in awards contention following The Social Network, Moneyball and Molly’s Game. Sacha Baron-Cohen is a standout of a very strong cast and could nudge the film into contention for acting awards. Netflix is reportedly campaigning hard. Matt reviewed it last year
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is streaming now on Netflix