The 93rd Annual Academy Awards - The Oscars - will air live this Sunday, April 25th, 2021, at 8pm EDT on ABC. Our Oscar Week coverage continues with the two biggies: Best Director and Best Picture. The winners of these two awards are often intertwined...but will they be this year?
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And the nominees are:
Notable: This marks the first-time in Oscar history where more than one female director has been nominated in the same year...a stunning statistic given the Academy Awards are closing in on 100 years. Prior to this year, only five women have been nominated in the category, with Kathryn Bigelow (2010's "The Hurt Locker") being the only winner. Chloé Zhao breaks all kinds of records this year. In addition to being the first non-white woman to be nominated for Best Director, she also is the only woman to receive four nominations in a single year (she is also nominated for Editing, Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture). Emerald Fennell is the first woman to earn a nomination with her debut film. All candidates in the category are first-time nominees, save for David Fincher, who now has three total noms and zero wins (previously nominated in 2009 for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and in 2011 for "The Social Network").
Prediction/Analysis: Vinterberg was a big surprise, but you'd have to go back to 1929 (!!) - yes, Oscar's very first year - to find someone who wins Best Director without their film even being nominated for Best Picture. So Vinterberg? A long-shot at best. Same goes for David Fincher, whose film ultimately just doesn't have momentum behind it. Lee Isaac Chung is a dark horse in the category, but the winner will come down to either Fennell or Zhao...and judging by her impressive wins with the Directors Guild, Golden Globes, Critics Choice and BAFTAs, Chloé Zhao seems like a solid pick to win...she also would be my personal pick.
And the nominees are:
Notable: "Mank" led all films with 10 nominations, and along with "The Trial of the Chicago 7," is a Netflix film...Netflix led all distributors with 35 nominations in all, quite impressive when you consider that heading into the 2018 Academy Awards, the company had a TOTAL of just seven nominations ever. Flash-forwards just a few years and they now have 89 total nominations with eight total wins...their 35 noms this year was close to the all-time record set by United Artists back in 1941, when they landed 45 noms in all. "Judas and the Black Messiah" becomes the first Best Picture nominee in Oscar history produced by an all-Black production team. Overall, the film has 10 Black nominees, the most ever for a film, beating the previous record holder, "The Color Purple," which had seven.
Prediction/Analysis: Of the 92 previous Best Picture Oscars that have been handed out, 65 have also won Best Director. That bodes well then, for "Nomadland," should Chloé Zhao win top directorial honors. That means that just 26 times in history has the Best Picture winner not also won for Best Director. That being said, the "split" has happened more frequently in recent years...eight times since 2000 to be exact.
Factoring history into the equation, the biggest prize of the night should still go to "Nomadland," a well-deserved honor and a strong favorite, unless someone other than Zhao were to win Best Director. If there is any drama at all (I'm still stung by what happened to "La La Land" a few years back), it will come from "Promising Young Woman" or "Minari," but I just don't see there being any big surprises in this category this year.
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OSCAR WEEK Coverage Continues! Stay tuned to Movie Show Plus for new Oscar content every day this week leading up to Oscar Sunday, including news, predictions and what to expect on this year's telecast.
Also check out:
Oscar Week: Where to watch this year's Oscar nominated films
Oscar Week: Predicting the Acting categories
Oscar Week: Screenplay, Animated Feature, Intl. Feature, Documentary Feature
Oscar Week: Navigating the technical categories
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