Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton are the most nominated artists at the 2021 Academy of Country Music Awards, and they’ll also be the biggest winners, according to the combined predictions of Gold Derby users. But we think someone else will get the night’s top prize, Entertainer of the Year. Scroll down for our ACM predictions in 10 categories, listed by artist.
Morris is predicted to win four awards out of her six nominations. She’s the front-runner for Female Artist of the Year, where she’s the defending champion. She’ll face a tough challenge there from Miranda Lambert, though; Lambert has won the award a record nine times in the last 11 years. We’re also betting on Morris to best Lambert in two other categories: Single of the Year and Song of the Year, where her crossover hit “The Bones” has the advantage. Since Morris is a performer and songwriter on “The Bones,” she’ll be awarded there twice.
Stapleton is predicted to win three of his six nominations. He’s the front-runner for Male Artist of the Year, which he previously won in 2016 and 2018, though he’s up against the men who beat him in the last two years: 2019 winner Thomas Rhett and 2020 champ Luke Combs. Elsewhere, Stapleton is favored to win Album of the Year for “Starting Over,” for which he would be awarded as both the artist and producer; it would be his third victory in that category following wins for “Traveller” (2016) and “From A Room: Volume 1” (2018).
Stapleton is also nominated for Entertainer of the Year, but we anticipate that Combs will get the better of him there. It would be Combs’s first victory in that category on his second consecutive nomination, and it’s only been two years since his career breakthrough in 2019 when he won New Male Artist of the Year. If we’re right, it would be quite a rapid ascent to the top of the country music industry for the chart-topping artist.
Female Artist of the Year
Single of the Year — “The Bones” (as artist)
Song of the Year — “The Bones” (as artist and songwriter)
Male Artist of the Year
Album of the Year — “Starting Over” (as artist and producer)
LEE BRICE and CARLY PEARCE
Music Event of the Year — “I Hope You’re Happy Now”
Duo of the Year
Entertainer of the Year
Video of the Year — “Bluebird”
Group of the Year
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