Surprises are always possible when Academy members vote — but miracles aren’t and that’s what most of Oscar’s 8 best picture noms need to win.
After Golden Globes/Drama, Critics Choice, PGA & BAFTA wins for picture & directing (DGA winner Chloe Zhao), NOMADLAND (6 noms) is the frontrunner. It and PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN are the only 2 contenders with key directing, screenplay & film editing noms. But it’s not diversity driven. Frances McDormand’s one big lead actress win was BAFTA. If Oscar weren’t known for surprises – like PARASITE beating 1917 last year – NOMADLAND could relax.
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (5 noms) has resonated best for lead actress (Carey Mulligan) & original screenplay (Emerald Fennell). But it could win if it’s widespread #2 choice in preferential voting.
MINARI‘s (6 noms) challenge is being an acclaimed Korean-American film following 2020’s acclaimed Korean best picture winner PARASITE.
TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (6 noms) has had its ups & downs (mostly). No directing nod for Aaron Sorkin & no lead-acting noms to drive it. But winning SAG best cast (picture) helps since actors are the Academy’s biggest voting branch.
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Long shots sometimes win, so we shouldn’t totally count out these 4 best picture noms.
With the most noms of all (10) & a screenwriting storyline, MANK should be a hot contender, but it’s been ice cold all season. It has a directing nod (David Fincher), but isn’t up for film editing — or screenwriting! Not being diversity driven doesn’t help.
Despite being critically acclaimed (RT: 98%), THE FATHER (6 noms) has been in the shadows all season, aside from Anthony Hopkins’ lead actor BAFTA win. There’s no directing nod for Florian Zeller, but it’s in the adapted screenplay & film editing races. With preferential voting, never say never.
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (6 noms) has been driven by ongoing supporting actor wins for Daniel Kaluuya (GG, BAFTA, SAG, CC), who’s now the Oscar frontrunner. It’s diversity driven and has an original screenplay nod, but it’s not up for directing or film editing.
SOUND OF METAL (6 noms) is another contender that’s resonated best on the acting front – for lead actor Riz Ahmed (National Board of Review win + many noms). No directing nod, but it’s competing for original screenplay & film editing.