Oscar 2021 Predictions: Who Will Win – Forbes

The 93rd annual Academy Awards will take place this Sunday, and while the votes are already in, the bookies—and the virtual-water-cooler gamblers—are just heating up. 

Every year, movie business insiders and pundits spend months debating who has the best shot at winning, while studios court voters with parties, freebees and exclusives. Of course, this year’s Oscars—like most everything impacted by the pandemic—are getting a rewrite. The moviemakers are still campaigning for votes, just doing it without the lavish parties that usually go with their efforts. Likewise the eligibility window, which was extended through the end of February 2021. 

But the guessing game around the race for the gold hasn’t missed a beat. 

The experts at the awards prediction website GoldDerby have put Nomadland, which recently collected the Golden Globe for best drama and the BAFTA for best film, as the favorite for a number of Sunday’s big prizes, including Best Picture and Best Director. It has a tighter contest for other categories, including for Best Actress, where it has Viola Davis and Carey Mulligan neck and neck, and Best Original Screenplay, which names Promising Young Woman and The Trial of the Chicago 7 as top contenders.

Last year, professional gamblers correctly predicted 21 out of 24 categories, but missed on two of the biggest categories: Best Picture and Best Director—so put money down at your own risk.

Below are the current favorites to win, in bold, and click here for a complete list of nominees. This year’s Academy Awards will take place on April 25 at 8 p.m. EDT, airing on ABC and streaming on ABC and Hulu.

Best Picture: Nomadland

The Father


Judas and the Black Messiah



Promising Young Woman

Nomadland has almost swept the 2021 awards season, picking up a Golden Globe, BAFTA, Producers Guild Award and Directors Guild Award, among others. The quiet and cinematic on-the-road film’s toughest competition comes from Netflix’s NFLX Aaron Sorkin drama Trial of the Chicago 7, which won the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)

Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)

Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday)

Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman)

Frances McDormand (Nomadland)

While previous awards shows have been split on this, experts predict Carey Mulligan will take home the award for starring in critical favorite Promising Young Woman, a performance which earned her a Critics Choice Award. While Frances McDormand has won more awards—including the Golden Globe and BAFTA—for her turn as a modern American nomad in Nomadland, Viola Davis, who won an Oscar four years ago for another August Wilson adaption, is Mulligan’s top competition. 

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Chadwick Boseman, (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)

Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal)

Anthony Hopkins (The Father)

Gary Oldman (Mank)

Steven Yeun (Minari)

Chadwick Boseman was working on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom during his final days in his very private battle with colon cancer, making his wide-ranging performance even more impressive. The film was released posthumously, and the role is the Academy’s last opportunity to reward the beloved actor, making his win an almost sure thing. His performance as a 1920s trumpeter has already earned him a Golden Globe, Critic’s Choice Award and Screen Actors Guild Award.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Yuh-jung Youn (Minari)

Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)

Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy)

Olivia Colman (The Father)

Amanda Seyfried (Mank)

The charming performance by the South Korean actress was among the most heartwarming parts of Minari and has earned her both a Screen Actors Guild Award and BAFTA. Her main sources of competition, Glenn Close and Maria Bakalova, are right behind her. This is Close’s eighth Oscar nomination and Bulgarian actress Bakalova’s first. 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)

Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7)

Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami)

Paul Raci (Sound of Metal)

Lakeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah)

In a jam-packed category that sees Daniel Kaluuya up against his costar, he is still the favorite to win. Kaluuya, who was previously nominated for an Oscar for his star turn in Get Out, has collected a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA for his depiction of Black Panther activist Fred Hampton.

Best Director: Chloé Zhao (Nomadland)

Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round)

David Fincher (Mank)

Lee Isaac Chung (Minari)

Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)

For the first time ever, two women are nominated in the Best Director category, and Zhao is favored to win after collecting a series of awards for her work on Nomadland. If she wins, she will be only the second woman and first woman of color to win the top directing prize.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Nomadland

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

The Father

One Night in Miami

The White Tiger

Best Original Screenplay: Promising Young Woman

Judas and the Black Messiah


Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Cinematography: Joshua James Richards (Nomadland)

Sean Bobbitt (Judas and the Black Messiah)

Erik Messerschmidt (Mank)

Dariusz Wolski (News of the World)

Phedon Papamichael (The Trial of the Chicago 7)

Best Costume Design: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom





Best Film Editing: Sound of Metal

The Father


Promising Young Woman

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


Hillbilly Elegy

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom



Best Production Design: Mank

The Father

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

News of the World


Best Original Score: Soul

Da 5 Bloods



News of the World

Best Original Song: “Speak Now” (One Night in Miami)

“Fight For You” (Judas and the Black Messiah)

“Hear My Voice” (The Trial of the Chicago 7)

“Husavik” (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga)

“Io Sì (The Life Ahead)” (Seen)

Best Sound: Sound of Metal



News of the World


Best Visual Effects: Tenet

Love and Monsters

The Midnight Sky


The One and Only Ivan

Best Animated Feature Film: Soul


Over the Moon

Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon


Best Documentary Feature: My Octopus Teacher


Crip Camp

The Mole Agent


Best International Feature Film: Another Round

Better Days


The Man Who Sold His Skin

Quo Vadis, Aida?

Best Animated Short Film: If Anything Happens I Love You


Genius Loci



Best Documentary Short Film: A Love Song for Latasha


A Concerto Is a Conversation

Do Not Split

Hunger Ward

Best Live Action Short Film: Two Distant Strangers

Feeling Through

The Letter Room

The Present

White Eye

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