Here in the final stages of the 2021 Oscars season, several Academy Awards voters told Gold Derby who they voted for — and why. They asked us not to reveal their identities, but they were otherwise eager to share their views of the year’s best films. Now that voting has concluded, we’ll share a few with you. The comments below by Voter #1 for each category are part of the thought process in choosing these potential winners.
BEST PICTURE: “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
It was beautifully written and crafted. I thought the editing was extraordinary, and it can’t always be easy to edit Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue and make it sing the way it does. There were huge riot scenes along with intimate scenes. The acting from the ensemble cast was really terrific. Second place is “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Third place is “Sound of Metal.”
BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher (“Mank”)
Almost all of the directors accomplished something here. It’s hard to make a movie, and the hardest one of these to direct was “Mank.” There are other movies I like more in contention than I liked “Mank,” but this is supposed to be about achievement. It’s not the People’s Choice Awards; it’s the Oscars! What Fincher did on “Mank” was extraordinarily accomplished and nuanced.
BEST ACTRESS: Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”)
Her performance anchored that movie completely. If there was an actress doing that role that didn’t hit the tone exactly right, that movie wouldn’t have been plausible. She nailed it! Frances McDormand and Viola Davis have won recently, and I sometimes do take that into consideration when all of the performances are equally outstanding.
BEST ACTOR: Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
He gave an exquisite performance. It wasn’t one of my favorite films, but his performance was outstanding. I have a soft spot for Chadwick, and he was taken from us so young. We won’t ever have a chance to honor him again.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”)
She was such a standout in that movie and was so lovely and darling. I really loved Olivia Colman, but again with her winning so recently, I like to see new people recognized.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
I’m a Sacha Baron Cohen person! I think he’s had an incredible year, and I’ve never before had such exposure to who he really is. I watched a couple of Q&A’s for the film and learned some very interesting things about him. He’s a really serious, smart guy… and nailed the cadence of Abbie Hoffman plus the visceral intelligence and anger and humor.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Ramin Bahrani (“The White Tiger”)
To be fair, I was not a giant fan of “Nomadland.” “Borat” wasn’t my favorite movie and so much of that wasn’t scripted. “One Night in Miami” and “The Father” were plays first and were excellent. But “The White Tiger” stood out to me, and I was surprised by it.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Aaron Sorkin (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
No contest. Aaron Sorkin is a genius, and nobody writes dialogue like him. It was an inspiring story, and he just captures that time period and the way people spoke. I don’t think there is even a question about it.
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