Oscars Predictions: Best Picture – Streamers and Studios Bring Robust Slates For Returning to the Movies

Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars ceremony from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Academy Awards predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of 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. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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DRAFT>>>PRE-SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON

2021 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST PICTURE

UPDATED: May 3, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: A tradition for the past 16 years, I’ve always thrown shots in the dark in the week immediately following the Academy Awards. For the first time, my year-in-advance top pick, Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” won picture and director. Can lightning strike twice?

The last two years have included thoughts that 2019’s “Harriet” from Kasi Lemmons would have a big Academy debut, with top spots for eventual nominee Cynthia Erivo, but the love ending there. In 2018, I suspected “The Irishman” from Martin Scorsese would arrive in time, but alas, it was pushed to 2019.

Other past choices have included 2017’s “Phantom Thread” (then untitled), 2016’s “Silence” (although I did have “Moonlight” in the predicted 10), 2015’s “The Good Dinosaur” (Pixar has to be inching toward a moment, right?), 2014’s “Inherent Vice” (why not another try for Paul Thomas Anderson?), 2013’s “The Counselor” (always circling the Ridley Scott overdue narrative), 2012’s “Lincoln” (probably the runner-up to “Argo,” which was also predicted) and 2011’s “War Horse” (Steven Spielberg is never a bad choice).

While it’s thrilling to be a promising awards contender, no one likes to be the frontrunner this early, so I should preface this with: we don’t know anything yet.

I should also stress, credited producers, release dates, and rankings are subject to change…in other words, let’s not take this too seriously.


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CODA CODA/Courtesy of Sundance Institute

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

  1. "House of Gucci" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
    Giannina Facio, Mark Huffam, Ridley Scott, Kevin J. Walsh (producers)

  2. "Nightmare Alley" (Searchlight Pictures)
    J. Miles Dale, Guillermo del Toro (producers)

  3. "Tick, Tick...Boom!" (Netflix)
    Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Julie Oh (producers)

  4. "The Harder They Fall" (Netflix)
    Lawrence Bender, Jay-Z, James Lassiter, Jeymes Samuel (producers)

  5. "Being the Ricardos" (Amazon Studios)
    Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch (producers)

  6. "Blue Bayou" (Focus Features)
    Poppy Hanks, Charles D. King, Kim Roth (producers)

  7. "Don't Worry Darling" (Warner Bros)
    Roy Lee, Olivia Wilde, Miri Yoon (producers)

  8. "CODA" (Apple TV Plus)
    Fabrice Gianfermi, Philippe Rousselet, Patrick Wachsberger (producers)

  9. "Encanto" (Walt Disney Pictures)
    Yvett Merino Flores, Clark Spencer (producers)

  10. "Flee" (Neon)
    Natalie Farrery, Signe Byrge (producers)

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Courtesy Amazon

NEXT IN LINE CONTENDERS:

  1. "A Journal for Jordan" (Sony Pictures)
    Todd Black, Denzel Washington, Michael B. Jordan, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch, Aaron L. Gilbert (producers)

  2. "Annette" (Amazon Studios)
    Adam Driver, Charles Gillibert, Paul-Dominique Win Vacharasinthu (producers)

  3. "The Power of the Dog" (Netflix)
    Jane Campion, Iain Canning, Roger Frappier, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman (producer)

  4. "The Tragedy of Macbeth" (A24)
    Joel Coen (producers)

  5. "Eternals" (Marvel Studios)
    Kevin Feige (producers)

  6. "In the Heights" (Warner Bros)
    Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Scott Sanders, Anthony Bregman, Mara Jacobs (producers)

  7. "Don't Look Up" (Netflix)
    Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, Scott Stuber, Betsy Koch, Todd Schulman (producers)

  8. "The Northman" (Focus Features)
    Lars Knudsen, Mark Huffam, Arnon Milchan (producers)

  9. "Dear Evan Hansen" (Universal Pictures)
    Marc Platt, Adan Siegel (producers)

  10. "West Side Story" (20th Century Studios)
    Kristie Macosko Krieger, Kevin McCollum, Steven Spielberg (producer)

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DUNE, from left: from left: Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, 2020. ph: Chiabella James / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection Courtesy Warner Bros

TOP-TIER AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. "The Last Duel" (20th Century Studios)
    Jennifer Fox, Ridley Scott, Kevin J. Walsh, Nicole Holofcener (producers)

  2. "Dune" (Warner Bros)
    Cale Boyter, Joe Caracciolo Jr, Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve (producers)

  3. "Belfast" (Focus Features)
    Laura Berwick, Celia Duvall, Becca Kovacik, Tamar Thomas (producers)

  4. "Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
    Paul Thomas Anderson, Sara Murphy, JoAnne Sellar, Daniel Lupi (producers)

  5. "A Hero" (Amazon Studios)
    Asghar Farhadi, Alexandre Mallet-Guy (producers)

  6. "King Richard" (Warner Bros)
    James Lassiter, Will Smith, Tim White, Trevor White (producers)

  7. "Blonde" (Netflix)
    Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Tracey London, Brad Pitt, Scott Robertson (producers)

  8. "Official Competition" (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Jaume Roures (producers)

  9. "Last Night in Soho" (Focus Features)
    Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Nira Park, Edgar Wright (producers)

  10. "Passing" (Netflix)
    Nina Yang Bongiovi, Rebecca Hall, Margot Hand, Forest Whitaker (producers)

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The French Dispatch Searchlight Pictures

ALSO IN CONTENTION:

  1. "The Humans" (A24)
    Eli Bush (producers)

  2. "The Card Counter" (Focus Features)
    Braxton Pope, Lauren Mann, David Wulf (producers)

  3. "The Lost Daughter" (No U.S. Distribution)
    Charlie Dorfman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Osnat Handelsman-Keren, Talia Kleinhendler (producers)

  4. "Mass" (No U.S. Distribution)
    Fran Kranz, Dylan Matlock, Casey Wilder Mott, J.P. Ouellette (producers)

  5. "The French Dispatch" (Searchlight Pictures)
    Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales (producers)

  6. "Zola" (A24)
    Kara Baker, David Hinojosa, Christsine Vachon, Gia Walsh, Elizabeth Haggard, Dave Fanco (producers)

  7. "The Electrical Life of Louis Wain" (Amazon Studios)
    Adam Ackland, Ed Clarke, Leah Clarke, Guy Heeley (producers)

  8. "Swan Song" (Apple TV Plus)
    Todd Stephens, Tim Kaltenecker, Rhet Topham, Stephen Israel, Erick Eisenbrey (producers)

  9. "No Time to Die" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
    Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli (producers)

  10. "Madres Paralelas" (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Pedro Almodóvar (producer)

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Bruised..Directed by Halle Berry..Halle Berry’s directorial debut follows a former MMA fighter struggling to regain custody of her son and restart her athletic career. Courtesy of TIFF

MORE AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. "Bruised" (Netflix)
    Basil Iwanyk, Brad Feinstein, Guymon Casady, Linda Gottlieb, Erica Lee (producers)

  2. "C'mon C'mon" (A24)
    Chelsea Barnard, Andrea Longacre-White, Lila Yacoub (producers)

  3. "The Tender Bar" (Amazon Studios)
    George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Ted Hope (producers)

  4. "The Hand of God" (Netflix)
    Paolo Sorrentino, Lorenzo Mieli (producers)

  5. "Women Talking" (Orion Pictures)†
    Frances McDormand (producers)

  6. "Next Goal Wins" (Searchlight Pictures)
    Garrett Basch, Jonathan Cavendish, Taika Waititi (producers)

  7. "The Duke" (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Nicky Bentham (producers)

  8. "Respect" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
    Scott Bernstein, Harvey Mason, Jr. (producers)

  9. "The Guilty" (Netflix)
    Jake Gyllenhaal, Riva Marker, Antonie Fuqua, Kat Samick, Scott Greenberg, Michel Litvak, Gary Michael Walters, David Litvak, Svetlana Metkina, David Haring (producers)

  10. "The Way of the Wind" (No U.S. Distribution)
    Josh Jeter (producers)

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Dev Patel in” The Green Knight” from David Lowery Eric Zachanowich

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS (UNRANKED):

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Picture)

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.


2022 Academy Awards Predictions

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Supporting Actor
  • Best Supporting Actress
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Animated Feature
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Sound
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Original Song
  • Best Documentary Feature
  • Best International Feature
  • Best Animated Short
  • Best Documentary Short
  • Best Live-Action Short

2021 Oscars predictions are here.

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

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 date for the 94th Oscars has yet to be announced.

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