93rd Academy Award nomination predictions

Daisy Friedman, Editor in Chief

As the COVID-19 Pandemic rages on throughout the United States, movie theaters have been closed to ensure the health and safety of our country. Nevertheless, the show must go on. Movies are still being produced and then streamed on platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and more. With the ability to continue watching movies comes the ability to hold award shows like the Oscars. Even amidst a global pandemic, the 93rd Academy Awards will be hosted on April 25 at the Dolby Theatre. As Oscar nomination predictions are rolling out in every major entertainment publication, here are my top three predictions for a few categories in the 2021 Academy Awards. 


Amidst this deeply political year that the United States has just had, there is no question that many of the feature documentary films that will be nominated for Academy Awards this season will be political. Amazon Studio’s film, All In: The Fight for Democracy, is the first on my list. Starring Stacey Abrams, this film takes a deep dive into the history of voter suppression and the hidden barriers many people experience when going to the polls. The footage of people being turned away from polls juxtaposed with the stark historical facts of voter ineligibility in this country tells a compelling narrative about our country’s democratic shortcomings. The next film, Crip Camp, tells the story of a summer camp for teens with disabilities, and the journey of many of the campers who became activists in the disability rights movement of 1990. This film showcases the comradery of the disabled community and their resilience in fighting for their rights. Incorporating interviews with famous disability rights activist Judy Heuman, this film is a powerful testament to the human spirit. Finally, The Way I See It, directed by Dawn Porter, tells the story of the former official White House photographer Pete Souza, and his experience with total security clearance in the White House. In his photos, Souza tells the two separate stories of America during the Obama administration and the Trump administration. His keen eye and inside look into the White House are alluring for any audience member watching. 


Oscars for best performance are often the ones people remember after the award show is over. This year, the competition is tough, and the performances are immaculate. As an actress myself, I always look very critically at the performances of the women in the Best Actress category. Viola Davis is the first pick in my book for Best Actress for her performance as Ma Rainey, often coined the “Mother of the Blues,” in the new film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Not only did Viola Davis sing some of the music in the film, but she also gained weight to play the character. Viola Davis’s performance is multifaceted as we see her go through the highs and lows of being a black entertainer in the 1920s. Next up, Carey Mulligan forPromising Young Woman. In this film, Mulligan plays a young woman with a history of sexual abuse who seeks revenge on men who try to hurt her. Mulligan showcases strength and ferocity in her performance that we don’t often see from victims of sexual assault in film. Finally, Sophia Loren delivers the best performance of her career inThe Life Ahead. This film tells the story of Madam Rosa, a Holocaust survivor who takes a young boy whose parents are sex workers. Loren delivers a painfully human character who hides her inner demons to better the lives of the young boy, Momo. 


The Best Actor category is often inundated with acclaimed young men whose faces we see on the silver screen time and time again. This year is no different, but the Academy may have to decide whether or not they’ll allow an actor who has passed away to be nominated for an award. Chadwick Boseman delivers the performance of his career as Levee in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. He plays the saxophone player in Ma Rainey’s backup band. Boseman did not hold back in this role. His constant yearning to do his best as a musician mixed with his troubling childhood trauma leads to a culmination of epic emotional proportion. This is a performance you don’t want to miss. Next up is Eddie Redmayne for his role as Tom Hayden in The Trial of the Chicago 7. Known for playing complex characters, Redmayne takes his abilities one step further for this role. He not only adopted a striking American accent for the film, but he also adopted Hayden’s mannerisms and expressions perfectly. Redmayne has a fiery passion that leaves the audience wanting more. Finally, Riz Ahmed blew me away with his performance in The Sound of Metal. Ahmed plays Ruben, a heavy metal drummer who begins to lose his hearing. The internal and external torture of the character can be felt in Ahmed’s every move and phrase. As an audience member, I felt like I was losing control of my body as he was. 


Finally, the most sought-after award of them all: Best Picture. The Trial of the Chicago 7, directed by Aaron Sorkin, is my first pick. This film tells the story of social activists like Abbie Hoffman and Tom Hayden who go on trial for the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The script intricately unfolds each characters’ motivations and reservations as their political movement rises and then falls both in the courtroom and out. Each actor holds their own and tells an integral part of the story. I was especially impressed by the coordination and manpower of the protest and riot scenes that must’ve taken an immense amount of time and effort. Next, we have One Night in Miami, directed by Regina King. This movie is about Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown coming together for one night in a hotel room to discuss the qualms of civil rights in the 1960s. This film is so simplistic that it relies on the raw emotions of the actors alone. Only taking place in a few locations, the emotional intensity of the dialogue drives the story along. Each characterization of the powerful black men is told with a different emotional nuance based on their back story. I cannot wait to see what praise this film gets. To round out the predictions, I think Minari will be another top pick for the Oscars. Directed by Lee Isaac Chung, this is the story of a Korean family that immigrated to start a farm in the 1980s. A24 films are always moving, but this one is especially heartfelt. Chung’s childhood experiences with immigration form the main action of the plot. The writing reminded me of what it feels like to be an outsider in a new place and gave me a new level of empathy for those coming to this country from a foreign place. 


Overall, there were many wonderful films that debuted this season, and I will be very excited to see which ones inevitably earn nominations and wins.