Amanda’s Picks: Oscars 2021 Predictions

Happy Oscar Sunday everyone! After a very long Oscar season, we are finally ready to award some great films. Truly never thought this season would be over. The work never stops though because we are always planning for the next season. I am very happy for all the nominees this year because there are some films that would normally fly under the radar and now they are getting recognition.

WHO WILL WIN WILL BE HIGHLIGHTED IN GOLD

WHO SHOULD WIN WILL BE HIGHLIGHTED IN PURPLE

So without further ado, here are my predictions:

Best Visual Effects

“Love and Monsters”

“The Midnight Sky”

“Mulan”

“The One and Only Ivan”

“Tenet”

PREDICTION: Tenet is the clear frontrunner here because of the practical effects. Love and Monsters is also something that could come in and swipe that away.

Best Director

Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”)

David Fincher (“Mank”) 

Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”) 

Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”) 

Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) 

PREDICTION: Chloé Zhao has been sweeping award season and there is no doubt about it that she will be making history tonight with this win.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) 

Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) 

Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”

Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”) 

Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)

PREDICTION: Daniel Kaluuya hands down. His performance in Judas and the Black Messiah is one for the history books.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Maria Bakalova (‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) 

Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”) 

Olivia Colman (“The Father”) 

Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”) 

Yuh-jung Youn (“Minari”) 

PREDICTION: Yuh-jung Youn has had an incredible award season and her performance stole my heart!

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) 

Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 

Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”) 

Gary Oldman (“Mank”) 

Steven Yeun (“Minari”) 

PREDICTION: Chadwick Boseman is going to win and deserves to win because his performance was on another level this year. It was incredibly moving and very emotional. You could feel his passion for the words through the physicality in his performance.

Best Animated Feature Film

“Onward” (Pixar) 

“Over the Moon” (Netflix) 

“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Netflix) 

“Soul” (Pixar) 

“Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV Plus/GKIDS) 

PREDICTION: Soul is the obvious frontrunner because it is a beautiful Pixar film and the animation is stunning. However, Wolfwalkers is unique and there is an appreciation for the three-dimensional hand-drawn elements in its animaton. So it is a close one.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 

Andra Day (“The United States v. Billie Holiday”) 

Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) 

Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) 

Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) 

Prediction: This is such a tough category and it is impossible to predict this year! I would be happy with either Davis or Mulligan winning but the edge on Mulligan.

Best Adapted Screenplay

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”
Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Nina Pedrad

“The Father,”
Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller

“Nomadland,”
Chloé Zhao 

“One Night in Miami,”
Kemp Powers 

“The White Tiger,”
Ramin Bahrani 

PREDICTION: The Father had a very strong script but I personally don’t think the execution elevated it at all. One Night in Miami is dialogue heavy and keeps you engaged from beginning to end.

Best Original Screenplay

“Judas and the Black Messiah.”
Screenplay by Will Berson, Shaka King; Story by Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas

“Minari,”
Lee Isaac Chung 

“Promising Young Woman,”
Emerald Fennell 

“Sound of Metal.”
Screenplay by Darius Marder, Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,”
Aaron Sorkin 

PREDICTION: The TOUGHEST category because they are all strong in their own way. Since Emerald Fennell has been getting traction off her WGA win, it’s only fair to assume that she has sealed the deal. Personally Judas and the Black Messiah had an incredible screenplay because of how intricate the story was and the dialogue.

Best Original Song

“Fight for You,” (“Judas and the Black Messiah”).
Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas

“Hear My Voice,” (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”). 
Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite

“Húsavík,” (“Eurovision Song Contest”)
Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson

“Io Si (Seen),” (“The Life Ahead”). 
Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini

“Speak Now,” (“One Night in Miami”). 
Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

PREDICTION: Solely because of its Golden Globe win it is entirely possible that they follow suit. However, Leslie Odom Jr. created a beautiful song for One Night in Miami and if this movie wins anything, it needs to be this category.

Best Picture

“The Father”

“Judas and the Black Messiah”

“Mank”

“Minari” (SHOULD WIN)

“Nomadland” (WILL WIN)

“Promising Young Woman”

“Sound of Metal”

“The Trial of the Chicago 7″

PREDICTION: Nomadland has become the Oscar darling but it is not a well-rounded film. The technical aspects are the most important part of the film but the story was lacking. Minari was a well-rounded all American film with a beautiful family dynamic and it should be the winner this year.

Best Original Score

“Da 5 Bloods,” Terence Blanchard 

“Mank,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross 

“Minari,” Emile Mosseri 

“News of the World,” James Newton Howard 

“Soul,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste 

PREDICTION: Soul has it in the bag because of the mixture of jazz and electronic dance music. Truly some of Reznor and Ross’ best work.

Best Sound

“Greyhound”

“Mank”

“News of the World”

“Soul”

“Sound of Metal”

PREDICTION: Sound of Metal is a lock because of how they switched the frequency when Reuben was losing his hearing. You could understand what he was going through because you could heard the shift. Incredible work.

Best Costume Design

“Emma”

“Mank”

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

“Mulan”

“Pinocchio”

PREDICTION: Realistically the competition is between Ma Rainey’s and Emma because they are period pieces and they looked beautiful on-screen. Do not keep Mank out of the conversation because it is old Hollywood glam.

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow” (Disney Plus/Pixar)

“Genius Loci” (Kazak Productions) 

“If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix) 

“Opera” (Beasts and Natives Alike) 

“Yes-People” (CAOZ hf. Hólamói) 

Best Live-Action Short Film

“Feeling Through” 

“The Letter Room” 

“The Present” 

“Two Distant Strangers” 

“White Eye” 

Best Cinematography

“Judas and the Black Messiah,” Sean Bobbitt 

“Mank,” Erik Messerschmidt 

“News of the World,” Dariusz Wolski 

“Nomadland,” Joshua James Richards 

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Phedon Papamichael 

PREDICTION: As I said the technical aspects in Nomadland will take the gold for sure and the cinematography was beautiful. She really captured the scenic landscapes across the country. I did think Judas and the Black Messiah had such a unique style and camera work was very strong.

Best Documentary Feature

“Collective”

“Crip Camp”

“The Mole Agent”

“My Octopus Teacher”

“Time”

Best Documentary Short Subject

“Colette”

“A Concerto Is a Conversation”

“Do Not Split”

“Hunger Ward”

“A Love Song for Latasha”

Best Film Editing

“The Father”

“Nomadland”

“Promising Young Woman”

“Sound of Metal”

“The Trial of the Chicago 7″

PREDICTION: Again, it is Nomadland’s to lose because of the technical aspects. However, when it comes to editing pieces of music or instrumental scenes, I feel like Sound of Metal would be the better choice. Also, we can’t cancel out The Father either because of the cycle of consciousness fading in and out for the protagonist.

Best International Feature Film

“Another Round” (Denmark) 

“Better Days” (Hong Kong)

“Collective” (Romania) 

“The Man Who Sold His Skin” (Tunisia)

“Quo Vadis, Aida?”(Bosnia and Herzegovina) 

PREDICTION: Another Round has been taking the season by storm and the director is also nominated so that is saying a lot. However, after watching Better Days and interviewing the director, Derek Tsang, the execution and honest storytelling should give it the edge.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Emma”

“Hillbilly Elegy” 

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

“Mank”

“Pinocchio”

PREDICTION: Viola Davis was completely transformed as Ma Rainey, so it’s only fitting that it would take this category. I can see Emma steal it here as it did have some good qualities about it.

Best Production Design

“The Father.” 

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

“Mank.”

“News of the World.”

“Tenet.”

PREDICTION: The reason why The Father could win is because of how the production design changing paralleled the lead character’s descent into his illness. But, Ma Rainey’s design just felt rich in its colours and decoration with the only two rooms they had to work with. Again, do not count Mank out of the conversation.

If you haven’t voted yet, here is a prediction ballot link for the Oscars, thanks to The Academy. This is what it generated for me the other night. Yes, there are some changes but it’s still so difficult to choose.

Well there you have it! My full list of predictions. Let’s hope I get some right tonight. Let’s face it, even though we complain about the season, we always love to watch on Oscar Sunday.

‘The Father’ Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

The Father written and directed by Florian Zeller dives into the mind of an elderly man suffering with dementia. Anne (Olivia Colman) takes care of her father Anthony (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and begins to notice that he is slipping further away into this illness. She doesn’t know how to care for him properly, so she must find a way to make him as comfortable as possible and help him adapt to his surroundings. Zeller’s script would be interesting to read. After all, it is his play that he adapted to screen and I’m sure it is executed differently onstage. Even though the performances were absolutely brilliant, there was something that was lacking.

There were very strong moments between Coleman and Hopkins, very natural, emotional moments that candidly presented the illness. However, due to the execution of this script and the editing of the film, those moments got lost in the execution of the film. Of course, I can appreciate and understand what Zeller was attempting to do. He showed Anthony switch in-and-out of consciousness throughout the film but unfortunately, it hurt the narrative and the emotional connection to these characters. The film is more of a character piece than a clear narrative and that is completely fine but it doesn’t work as a film.

I truly would have loved to see this onstage because it would have had minimal production value and maybe even a smaller cast. It wouldn’t rely on the visual storytelling in regards to Anthony’s internalized mental struggle. The editing and the production design did work for the story Zeller was trying to tell and I commend him for trying something different. As we see Anthony fall into the depths of this illness, his surroundings begin to change; the flat that he lives in is slowly stripped away to reveal where he is actually living, in a care facility. It is a very interesting watch because of those elements, I just wish I could have connected to these characters a bit more.

The Father had incredible performances, especially from Sir Anthony Hopkins but the execution was flawed. The final scene of this film, where he attempted to explain what he was going through, was what should have been explored a bit more throughout. It felt like the conversations with his daughter Anne, took hold of his own emotional suffering and it would have been more effective to show that as well. That final scene brought me to tears and it is some of Hopkins’ best work as an actor. As someone who has seen what this illness can do firsthand, it did accurately show what happens to everyone involved in an interesting way and I respect what was done.

‘Pink Opaque’ Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

A young man named, Travis Wolfe (Elijah Boothe) lives in Los Angeles, as a film student. He roams the streets of Hollywood, struggling to finish his thesis documentary project for film school before he can graduate. In Pink Opaque, Wolfe navigates a budding romance in his final year of college and reconnecting with his estranged uncle, which eventually leads to an unfamiliar look at his family history. The final year of college is always a struggle for young adults because there is so much pressure in moving forward, while still assessing your past and how you got to where you are. If college teaches us anything, it is how to handle pressure and persevere through very unlikely circumstances.

As Wolfe continues to date his girlfriend, Kristen (Ruby Park) against her older brother Bobby’s (Daniel C.) wishes. She is a dreamer just like Wolfe and you can see the genuine love and chemistry they had. Wolfe also had to deal with his uncle Robin (Chaim Dunbar). He is a veteran television producer who is struggling in his career and going down a very bad path. Wolfe needs to come to terms with this, while also processing his father’s suicide. There are so many emotional and mental obstacles that Wolfe needs to overcome during his final year of college and it seemed like everything was coming up to the forefront in order for him to cleanse his mind and soul, before graduating. Almost like a set up for a clean slate in the future.

Courtesy of Hot Buttered Content

The film is beautifully shot and director-writer Derrick Perry really captures the key emotional moments quite well. The film has such great moments to highlight the psychological and emotional state that the characters are in. Seeing Wolfe process everything in his final year of college is something everyone can resonate with, even if audiences do not share the same exact story. Everyone must process their past in order to move forward and placing Wolfe in his final year of college made the struggle very realistic. Everything can come to a head sooner or later if you do not deal with your demons as soon as possible. It shows that we have to face things head on, no matter how difficult it is.

Pink Opaque has a great cast, beautiful camerawork and a really emotional story. It is a film that shows how to process one’s past in order to move forward. It shows how to balance your work, love life and family all in one, while still developing individual character stories. We have all struggled with our past and we can relate to Wolfe, especially in regards to family issues because at one time or another, we have all experienced something like it. This is a very authentic depiction of Los Angeles and it really felt like you were there with these characters on this personal journey.

Pieces Of A Woman Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

Pieces of a Woman is a heartbreaking film about the loss of a new life. It also puts into perspective how fragile we are as humans. Director Kornél Mundruczó shows the raw emotion and physical journey of a woman in labor. There are natural ways to give birth and Martha (Vanessa Kirby) wanted a home birth. There are horror stories that you often hear about, in regards to home births, but you never quite see the the aftermath. Mundruczó showed everything. It was uncomfortable, and rather painful to watch but the emotional connection established with Martha is incredibly strong.

The film is more of a character study centered on Martha. We see her quirkiness, energy and light in the beginning of the film. As she struggles to push the newborn out of her (for the first 20 minutes of the film) Kirby gives a very raw performance, one that you would see in acting classes. Mundruczó creates so much tension during the birth, that you feel something bad is about to happen, especially when the midwife begins to panic. There is a small moment of happiness, of complete elation when the birthing process is complete and then, it feels like someone rips your heart out and crushes it with their bare hands.

Vanessa Kirby
Courtesy of Bron Studios and Netflix

It has such a strong story and the performances from everyone, especially Ellen Burstyn were extremely strong. The structure and the pacing are the only issues with this film. It started off very strong and then there’s a lull in the middle. Kirby’s performance is internal and you can see the stages of grief as the film goes on. There are other issues that come up in regards to their child that move the story forward but it was extremely slow. Kirby’s performance carries the entire film until the very end, as she has minor confrontations with her mother Ellen Burstyn. The scenes are executed almost like a stage play, meaning the dialogue was heavy and the scenes were static.

The important thing that can be noted from watching Pieces of a Woman is that technology has allowed everything to be safer during the birthing process. There is a conversation between Martha and her mother, that was really eye-opening because they discuss how some mothers from older generations gave birth without the help of doctors in hospitals. They all had a midwife and had home births because there was no other option. The film explores the stages of grief, depression and anxiety from a mother’s perspective after the loss of her child. It is a very heavy film but it is a story that needs to be told in order to help further understand what can go wrong during the birthing process.

Wolfwalkers Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

Wolfwalkers is another pleasant surprise this year!

The story is about a young apprentice hunter, named Robyn (Honor Kneafsey) and her father Bill (Sean Bean), who journey to Ireland to wipe out the last wolf pack. The pair of them are seen as outcasts and they try to keep to themselves as best they can. Robyn is rather adventurous and does not follow her father’s rules. One day Robyn ventures into the forest with her little bow and arrow, and she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe.

The story is such a magical tale but it’s the animation that makes it soar into the hearts of audiences. It is so beautifully detailed and is designed to create an atmosphere that changes with the emotions of the characters. There are such rich colours that change from scene to scene, depending on the dialogue being exchanged and what it evokes. The magic presented by the wolfwalkers is stunning and is a prominent yellow that glows to heal any person, or animal.

Courtesy of Cartoon Saloon

What was so lovely about the film was the relationship between Robyn and Mebh Óg MacTíre (Eva Whittaker), they were so playful with one another. It was great to see two very different characters adapt to each other and help each other in the end. Wolfwalkers is about friendship and how much power it holds through the symbolism of magic. Mebh saved Robyn and then Robyn did the same in the end. The power of friendship is a strong theme in any film but animation just elevates the theme to another level.

The film is beautiful to watch and there are plenty of moments that will leave you appreciating the depths of the animation. The way the animation is structured almost gives it a three-dimensional look, while it is designed as a two-dimensional ground. The images are stacked upon one another to create this depth and it was so interesting to see the difference from scene to scene. There was also fluidity with the animation of the wolves, which had a pack mentality, even through the movements. Wolfwalkers is the most magical animated film of the year. It has beautiful imagery, impressive animation and a well-written story about acceptance.