The 2020 Grammy for Album of the Year was historic (Billie Eilish broke records by winning for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” at age 18). Will the recording academy set any new milestones this year? Thousands of Gold Derby users have spent months predicting this year’s race. Those predictions have been combined to generate our official racetrack odds. Here are the eight albums we think will make the cut when the contenders are announced on Tuesday, November 24.
1. “After Hours” by The Weeknd — 9/2 odds
The album has been a mainstay on the charts since it was released in March, it got The Weeknd some of his best reviews and it produced one of the year’s most ubiquitous hits, “Blinding Lights.” True, it has been more than a decade since a Black artist won this award (the last was Herbie Hancock for “River: The Joni Letters” in 2008), but this album’s pop/R&B style is reminiscent of a more recent winner, Bruno Mars‘s “24K Magic” (2018).
2. “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” by Fiona Apple — 6/1 odds
It’s not the bestseller in contention, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more critically acclaimed album this year. And though Apple has only ever won one Grammy (for her breakthrough hit “Criminal” in 1998), she has been nominated for at least one award for every single album she has released. She has never been nominated in this category before, but the academy may feel it’s time to finally celebrate the alternative queen, kind of like they did when they gave top honors to Beck‘s “Morning Phase” in 2015.
3. “Folklore” by Taylor Swift — 13/2 odds
If she hadn’t won this award twice already (for “Fearless” in 2010 and “1989” in 2016), Swift might be a shoo-in this year, but her last win was somewhat controversial (she beat the critically adored “To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar), so it’s hard to tell if the academy will embrace her again or keep her at arm’s length like they did with her last two albums, “Reputation” and “Lover,” which underperformed in nominations. That said, this is the most acclaimed album of Swift’s career, and the first million-selling album of the year, so it may be too big to fail.
4. “Future Nostalgia” by Dua Lipa — 15/2 odds
She’s undefeated at the Grammys thus far, winning both of her nominations in 2019 (Best New Artist and Best Dance Recording for “Electricity”). She outdid herself in 2020 with her highest-charting single (number-two hit “Don’t Start Now”) and one of the year’s most acclaimed pop albums. She even released a second album of “Future Nostalgia” remixes with various A-list collaborators ranging from DaBaby to Madonna. A nomination here would give the academy a chance to reaffirm the confidence in her they showed when they gave her the New Artist prize.
5. “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial” by Roddy Ricch — 13/1 odds
The breakthrough rapper isn’t eligible for Best New Artist this year since he already won a Grammy in 2020 as a featured artist on the late Nipsey Hussle‘s “Racks in the Middle,” so this might be a good place for the academy to celebrate one of the year’s biggest success stories. Ricch has spent more time at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 than any other artist in 2020 (11 weeks with “The Box,” seven weeks with “Rockstar” alongside DaBaby), which could help make him the academy’s choice to represent hip-hop in the top category.
6. “Fine Line” by Harry Styles — 14/1 odds
The Grammys never nominated Styles when he was a member of One Direction, and they didn’t nominate him for his self-titled solo debut album, but the acclaim for “Fine Line” (Stevie Nicks even compared it to her band Fleetwood Mac‘s landmark “Rumours”) and the enduring success of his singles “Adore You” and “Watermelon Sugar” might finally convince hesitant voters that he’s the real deal as a musical artist.
7. “Hollywood’s Bleeding” by Post Malone — 18/1 odds
He has managed two straight nominations for Record of the Year (“Rockstar” in 2019, “Sunflower” in 2020) and one for Album of the Year (“Beerbongs and Bentleys” in 2019) despite not being critics’ cup of tea. But “Hollywood’s Bleeding” earned him his best reviews, and its single “Circles” is his most adult-contemporary-friendly hit, so if voters have felt any ambivalence about the pop-rap-rock star in the past (he has yet to actually win a Grammy, after all), they might not anymore.
8. “Chromatica” by Lady Gaga — 18/1 odds
She hit number-one with both this album and her Ariana Grande collab “Rain on Me,” won multiple prizes at the MTV Video Music Awards, and reasserted herself as a dance music juggernaut after a few years of detours into pared-down singer-songwriter pop (“Joanne”) and Oscar-nominated acting (“A Star is Born”). To date she has won 11 Grammys, but never in the general field, so she’s overdue. It just depends on whether the academy wants to nominate two similar dance recordings (this and the aforementioned “Future Nostalgia”), or if they might choose one or the other so they can spread the wealth to other genres.
Dark Horses: “The Highwomen” by The Highwomen (28/1 odds), “Gaslighter” by The Chicks (28/1 odds), “Jaime” by Brittany Howard (44/1 odds), “RTJ4” by Run the Jewels (50/1 odds), “Rough and Rowdy Ways” by Bob Dylan (56/1 odds), “Ungodly Hour” by Chloe x Halle (92/1 odds)
Be sure to make your Grammy predictions so that record executives and top name stars can see how their music is faring in our Grammy odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until nominees are announced. And join in the fierce debate over the 2021 Grammys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.