This year’s Oscar nominee list is out, and every year except for 2020 I did a piece predicting who I thought would win and who I thought wouldn’t, based on historical trends and gut feelings built up over years of having been a film critic. Last year I bowed out because I wasn’t feeling it, and this, year — I’m bowing out again!
But not because I’m not feeling it — no, this year, I’m bowing out because I genuinely believe that any historical trends are chucked out the window this year because a) COVID messed with the regular dynamic of the film cycle, b) the status quo of the film industry (and of the Academy) has changed so much in the last few years that I have no faith in the historical voting conventions I used to set store in. 2021 is a whole new world and honestly I don’t know what to think about who is going to win what.
In fact, I’m only going to make one prediction, which is that Chadwick Boseman is the likely frontrunner for Best Actor, not only for his performance but for the general outpouring of goodwill toward him after his passing last year. But even that I’m not super solid on. And otherwise: bwuh? I don’t know! I can’t even pretend to predict.
Except to say that I wouldn’t be surprised if this year’s Oscar broadcast is the least watched in a long time: Whether or not these films, performances and people are worthy, I don’t know that any of the Best Picture nominees set the world of public opinion on fire this year. Streaming or otherwise, it was a very weird, very quiet year in movies, and I think may end up being a collective hole in the mainstream consciousness, which will be reflected by low audience numbers for the show. We’ll see.
But, yeah, I have no idea what’s likely to win and what’s not this year. That’s actually kind of exciting for me, I have to say.