Variety’s Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars from Film Awards Editor Clayton Davis. Following Academy Awards history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar predictions are updated regularly with the current year’s contenders in all categories. Variety’s Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. Eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and will be displayed next to revision date.
To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE COLLECTIVE
DRAFT>>>PRE SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON
UPDATED: Mar. 4, 2021
AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: With “Nomadland” solidifying its frontrunner status for Searchlight Pictures, it begs the question, will any of the streamers be able to go the distance with AMPAS this year? Although not nominated by the Globes, Amazon’s “Sound of Metal” from debut filmmaker Darius Marder has performed well with critics groups. It has momentum for lead actor Riz Ahmed, who has won the most critics’ awards this season along with his co-star Paul Raci. Netflix has done everything humanly possible to keep their slate at the top of minds but it’s still not clear if the passion goes beyond Sorkin’s picture. I’m also of the mind, we may see six or seven best picture nominees this year (which I feel we discuss at one point every season). This year, “passion” doesn’t run deep, and we could be in store for a lower number than usual in this final year of the “sliding scale.”
WATCH RECOMMENDATIONS BEFORE VOTING: “Boys State” (A24/Apple TV Plus), “I Carry You With Me” (Sony Pictures Classics), “The Climb” (Sony Pictures Classics), “The King of Staten Island” (Universal Pictures), “On the Rocks” (A24/Apple TV Plus), “The Mauritanian” (STXfilms), “Miss Juneteenth” (Vertical Entertainment), “The Outpost” (Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment), “The Prom” (Netflix), “Saint Frances” (Oscilloscope Laboratories), “Totally Under Control” (Neon)
PRECURSORS LEADER: “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021) 2021 Awards Season Calendar
PRODUCERS: Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao DIRECTOR: Chloé Zhao SYNOPSIS: After losing everything in the Great Recession, an old woman embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. STARRING: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie, Bob Wells
PRODUCERS: Stuart M. Besser, Matt Jackson, Marc Platt, Tyler Thompson DIRECTOR: Aaron Sorkin SYNOPSIS: The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. STARRING: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong
PRODUCERS: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Christina Oh DIRECTOR: Lee Isaac Chung SYNOPSIS: A Korean family moves to Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s. STARRING: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan S. Kim, Yuh-jung Youn, Will Patton
PRODUCERS: Gary Goetzman, Gregory Goodman, Gail Mutrux DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass SYNOPSIS: A Civil War veteran agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. They travel hundreds of miles and face grave dangers as they search for a place that either can call home. STARRING: Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel, Elizabeth Marvel, Mare Winningham, Michael Angelo Covino, Ray McKinnon
PRODUCERS: Ben Browning, Emerald Fennell, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Josey McNamara, Ashley Fox DIRECTOR: Emerald Fennell SYNOPSIS: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who cross her path. STARRING: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Molly Shannon, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Max Greenfield, Alison Brie, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Connie Britton, Chris Lowell, Adam Brody, Sam Richardson
PRODUCERS: Jess Wu Calder, Keith Calder, Jody Klein DIRECTOR: Regina King SYNOPSIS: A fictional account of one incredible night in 1964, where four icons of activism, sports and music – Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke – gathered, discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the ’60s. STARRING: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom, Jr.
PRODUCERS: Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Bill Benz, Kathy Benz DIRECTOR: Darius Marder SYNOPSIS: A heavy-metal drummer’s life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing. STARRING: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Mathieu Almaric, Lauren Ridloff
PRODUCERS: Philippe Carcassonne, Jean-Louis Livi, David Parfitt DIRECTOR: Florian Zeller SYNOPSIS: A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality. STARRING: Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Anthony Hopkins, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams
PRODUCERS: Charles D. King, Ryan Coogler, Shaka King DIRECTOR: Shaka King SYNOPSIS: The story of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and his fateful betrayal by FBI informant William O’Neal. STARRING: Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya, Dominique Fishback, Jesse Plemons, Martin Sheen, Dominique Thorne, Algee Smith, Lil Rel Howery, Jermaine Fowler
PRODUCERS: Todd Black, Denzel Washington, Dany Wolf DIRECTOR: George C. Wolfe SYNOPSIS: Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable “Mother of the Blues”. Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play.. STARRING: Chadwick Boseman, Dusan Brown, Jonny Coyne, Viola Davis, Colman Domingo, Taylour Paige, Michael Potts, Jeremy Shamos, Glynn Turman
PRODUCER: Dana Murray DIRECTOR: Pete Docter, Kemp Powers SYNOPSIS: A musician who has lost his passion for music is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself. STARRING: Jamie Foxx, Angela Bassett, Daveed Diggs, Quest Love, Phylicia Rashad, Tina Fey, Graham Norton
PRODUCERS: Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth, Douglas Urbanski DIRECTOR: David Fincher SYNOPSIS: 1930s Hollywood is re-evaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane for Orson Welles. STARRING: Tom Burke, Lily Collins, Joseph Cross, Charles Dance, Monika Gossman, Ferdinand Kingsley, Jamie McShane, Tuppence Middleton, Toby Leonard Moore, Gary Oldman, Tom Pelphrey, Amanda Seyfried, Sam Troughton
PRODUCERS: Sacha Baron Cohen, Monica Levinson, Anthony Hines DIRECTOR: Jason Woliner SYNOPSIS: A satire on Trump’s America that follows a Kazakh journalist who’s sent to America to deliver a gift from his government to Vice President Mike Pence. Along the way, his worldview is turned upside down and steadfast beliefs are challenged by his teenage daughter. STARRING: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova
PRODUCERS: Jon Kilik, Spike Lee, Beatriz Levin, Lloyd Levin DIRECTOR: Spike Lee SYNOPSIS: Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide. STARRING: Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Jonathan Majors, Chadwick Boseman, Isiah Witlock, Jr,, Norm Lewis
PRODUCERS: Chris Parker, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Dylan Sellers, Becky Sloviter, Jorma Taccone DIRECTOR: Max Barbakow SYNOPSIS: When carefree Nyles and reluctant maid of honor Sarah have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated as they are unable to escape the venue, themselves, or each other. STARRING: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons, Peter Gallagher, Meredith Hagner, Camila Mendes, Tyler Hoechlin
PRODUCERS: Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani DIRECTOR: Kelly Reichardt SYNOPSIS: A skilled cook has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant also seeking his fortune. Soon the two collaborate on a successful business. STARRING: John Magaro, Orion Lee
PRODUCERS: Adam Ackland, Leah Clarke, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lloyd Levin, Beatriz Levin, Mark Holder, Christine Holder, Branwen Prestwood Smith, Michael Bronner DIRECTOR: Kevin Macdonald SYNOPSIS: A detainee at the U.S military’s Guantanamo Bay detention center is held without charges for over a decade and seeks help from a defense attorney for his release. STARRING: Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, Shailene Woodley
PRODUCERS: Sofia Coppola, Youree Henley DIRECTOR: Sofia Coppola SYNOPSIS: A young mother reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York. STARRING: Rashida Jones, Bill Murray, Marlon Wayans, Jessica Henwick, Jenny Slate
PRODUCERS: Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Kasper Dissing DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg SYNOPSIS: Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood. STARRING: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang
PRODUCERS: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Karen Lunder Woodall DIRECTOR: Ron Howard SYNOPSIS: An urgent phone call pulls a Yale Law student back to his Ohio hometown, where he reflects on three generations of family history and his own future. STARRING: Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Gabriel Basso, Haley Bennett, Freida Pinto, Bo Hopkins, Owen Asztalos
† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible †† = could be campaigned in the lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories
The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The biggest Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each.
The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners are selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). 17 branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.
The Golden Globes Awards, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is held annually with 93 members since 1944. The group recognizes excellence in film and television across drama and comedy or musical categories. Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” holds the record for the most awards won by a single film with seven. Milos Forman’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and Alan Parker’s “Midnight Express” are next in line with six each. Robert Altman’s “Nashville” has the record for most nominations received by a film with 11 while Colin Higgins’ “Foul Play,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part III” and Mike Nichols’ “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” share the record for receiving the most nominations and not winning a single award at seven.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards, hosted by SAG-AFTRA, is an annual award show that has become one of the most important and key indicators for the Oscars. Four films have won the most SAG awards with three: 1999’s “American Beauty,” 2002’s “Chicago,” 2011’s “The Help” and 2017’s “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Three movies have been nominated for the most SAG awards with five: 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago” and 2008’s “Doubt.”