By Erin Free

After the COVID-induced tedium of The Golden Globes, you have to raise the question of whether movie awards shows should even take place this year? Cinemas in the US have largely been closed due to the pandemic, with most movie watching done at home on streaming services, which makes the Oscars (and all other ceremonies) feel more than a little redundant this year. But despite this, The Academy Awards will roll on, with the ceremony to take place on April 25, pushed back from the original go-date of February 25. Most interestingly, and optimistically, the event is said to be an “in-person” one, taking place at two venues: the traditional location of The Dolby Theatre, and at Los Angeles’ Union Station. The Oscars at a train station? Maybe the organisers are pre-empting the snooze factors and providing attendees with an easy way to back-door it? Hopefully, the ceremony being spread over the two venues will allow for a greater number of actual attendees, and the scratching of The Golden Globes’ let’s-do-it-all-over-Zoom ethos. No host has been named as yet (the ceremony could even be host-less, as with its previous iteration), and very little has been revealed about the event itself, save for its date and locations. So, right now, what will happen with the Oscar remains something of a mystery.

LA’s Union Station

What we do have, however, is the list of nominations, and the strange year in cinema-going (or lack thereof) has led to a decidedly unusual selection of films making the cut, in a similar vein to The Golden Globes. Would these films have been nominated in any other year? Should this year’s Oscar winners have an asterix next to their name? They are valid questions, but they’re also slightly unfair. In short, we’ve got what we’ve got, and there are some fine films in the mix…though admittedly, the Oscar nominations have never so closely mirrored those of The Independent Spirit Awards.

Best Picture nominee Mank.

The major categories are filled with strong, against-the-grain pictures, with the Best Film nominees made up of Mank, Promising Young Woman, Judas And The Black Messiah, The Father, Minari, The Trial Of The Chicago 7, Nomadland and Sound Of Metal. In most years, David Fincher’s Hollywood story Mank (which leads the field with ten nominations) would have been the clear favourite (Hollywood loves nothing more than movies about Hollywood), but after last year’s surprise Best Film win for the brilliant Parasite, anything is possible. Keep your eye on the deeply humanist Minari and Nomadland – which mix plenty of grit in with their hard-earned sentiment – as leading contenders.

Best Picture nominee Minari

There’s a distinct lack of serious star power in the nominations listed below, so expect a very fresh list of winners this year, and one that will be way outside of the Oscars’ usual purview. There is, however, some much discussed diversity this year, with several nominees being people of colour, and (though this might be hard to believe) history being made with, for the first time ever, two women (Chloe Zhao and Emerald Fennell) being featured in the Best Director category. 2020 was no ordinary year, and somewhat fittingly, the Oscar nominations born from it are certainly not ordinary either. Check out the list of major nominations below.

BEST PICTURE

The Father

Judas and the Black Messiah

Mank

Minari

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

BEST ACTRESS

Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Andra Day – The United States vs Billie Holiday

Vanessa Kirby – Pieces Of A Woman

Frances McDormand – Nomadland

Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

BEST ACTOR

Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins – The Father

Gary Oldman – Mank

Steven Yeun – Minari

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman – The Father

Amanda Seyfried – Mank

Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah

Leslie Odom Jr – One Night in Miami

Paul Raci – Sound of Metal

Lakeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah

BEST DIRECTOR

Another Round – Thomas Vinterberg

Mank – David Fincher

Minari – Lee Isaac Chung

Nomadland – Chloe Zhao

Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Judas and the Black Messiah – Will Berson, Shaka King, Will Berson, Kenny Lucas and Keith Lucas

Minari – Lee Isaac Chung

Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell

Sound of Metal – Darius Marder, Abraham Marder, Derek Cianfrance

The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman and Lee Kern

The Father – Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller

The Mauritanian – Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani, MB Traven

Nomadland – Chloé Zhao

The White Tiger – Ramin Bahrani

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Onward

Over the Moon

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Soul

Wolfwalkers

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Collective

Crip Camp

The Mole Agent

My Octopus Teacher

Time

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

Another Round (Denmark)

Better Days (Hong Kong)

Collective (Romania)

The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia)

Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

For a complete of nominations, click here.

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