Predicted Winners Odds Graph
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Nomadland has maintained its lead in the Best Picture race since Oscar season began last fall. Among its accolades and precursor wins include Best Drama at the Golden Globes, Best Picture from the Critics Choice Awards, and a victory at the Producers Guild Awards. More recently, Nomadland won Best Picture at the BAFTA Awards and earned the top prize from the Directors Guild of America for Chloe Zhao. Remember, unlike other Oscar races which ask voters to pick just one winner, Best Picture uses a preferential ballot; in this category, academy members rank their top-five choices, allowing for a consensus to form. The result has caused big surprises in recent years.
Much like her film, Nomadland director Chloe Zhao has held firm as the overwhelming choice to win Best Director at the Oscars. Zhao has earned precursor awards from nearly every single significant group, winning Best Director at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, BAFTA Awards, and also the top prize from the Directors Guild of America. That award is significant: since aligning its awards with the academy, only eight DGA winners have failed to covert a corresponding Oscar victory for Best Director.
Despite what the odds may lead one to believe, this has become the most chaotic category at the 2021 Oscars. While Promising Young Woman star has maintained a lead since the nominations, she hasn\'t translated that edge into actual victories. Mulligan won only the Critics Choice Award for Best Actress this year, losing at the Golden Globes to Andra Day and the Screen Actors Guild Awards to Viola Davis. (Mulligan wasn\'t nominated at the BAFTA Awards, where Frances McDormand emerged victoriously.) That leaves four viable contenders up for the award (Vanessa Kirby, who has received nominations at every stop along the way, remains a long-shot).
Whereas Best Actress is a bit of a scrum, the Oscar race for Best Actor has stayed focused on the late Chadwick Boseman throughout awards season. Boseman won Best Actor at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Those looking for an upset might consider Anthony Hopkins, whose odds have ticked up following his surprise victory at the BAFTA Awards.
Best Supporting Actress
Once as scattered as Best Actress, the race for Best Supporting Actress has seemingly solidified around Minari star Yuh-Jung Youn. The veteran actress won awards in this category at both the Screen Actors Guild Awards and BAFTA Awards, and while she was not nominated at the Golden Globes, the winner in that category (Jodie Foster) failed to even make the academy final five.
Best Supporting Actor
The only acting front-runner to win every precursor this awards season is Daniel Kaluuya. The Judas and the Black Messiah star has won Best Supporting Actor from the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and BAFTA Awards, and it is expected he\'ll complete the sweep at the Oscars on April 25.
Best Adapted Screenplay
In addition to Best Director and Best Picture (where she is a producer), Chloe Zhao is also heavily favored to win Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2021 Oscars. Should those results come to fruition, Zhao would tie Lord of the Rings filmmaker Fran Walsh for the most Oscars won by a woman in a single year. Looming as a potential upstart, however, is The Father writer-director Florian Zeller, who adapted his own play for the acclaimed film (and won in this category at the BAFTA Awards).
Best Original Screenplay
Only two films this year received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Editing, and best writing: Nomadland and Promising Young Woman. The Emerald Fennell film is favored to win Best Original Screenplay, with Fennell having won comparable awards at the Critics Choice Awards, Writers Guild of America Awards, and BAFTA Awards. Her fiercest competition would come from Aaron Sorkin, a previous Oscar winner who also won Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes this year.
Nomadland cinematographer Joshua James Richards has won near unanimous praise from critics and awards voters alike for his work with partner Chloe Zhao on the Best Picture front-runner. He\'s expected to win his first Oscar for the film on April 25.
Best Costume Design
Ann Roth, a five-time nominee who previously won Best Costume Design for The English Patient at the 1997 ceremony has held firm as the odds-on favorite in this category since the nominations were announced.
Best Film Editing
Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7 ran neck and neck in the immediate aftermath of the Oscar nominations, but Sound of Metal editor Mikkel E.G. Nielsen has pulled ahead thanks to a strong showing on the precursor circuit as well as the category tilt toward films about music. Past winners in Best Editing included Bohemian Rhapsody, Whiplash, and Chicago.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
To play the title character in Ma Rainey, star Viola Davis transformed thanks to makeup and hairstyling work from Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, and Jamika Wilson. The result has kept that trio firmly ahead in the Oscar race heading into April 25.
Best Production Design
The David Fincher film Mank led all movies at the 2021 Oscars with 10 nominations, but the best chance it has at winning on Oscar night is in Best Production Design.
Based on the odds, it appears Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will receive their second Oscars on April 25. The composers are overwhelming favorites, along with Jon Batiste, to win Best Score for Soul. But were the Pixar film to lose, it would likely fall to the score from Mank -- which was also composed by Reznor and Ross.
Following in the footsteps of Cynthia Erivo, Lady Gaga, and Mary J. Blige, One Night in Miami actor Leslie Odom Jr. received two Oscar nominations this year: Best Supporting Actor and Best Song. He stands as the favorite to win an Oscar here, though 12-time nominee Diane Warren is looming as an upstart contender for her track from The Life Ahead.
Sound design plays a large part of telling the story in Sound of Metal, which focuses on a heavy metal drummer who experiences rapid hearing loss. This marks the first Oscars since the two sound categories (Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing) were consolidated into one.
Best Visual Effects
Despite failing to compete in a number of below-the-line categories, the Christopher Nolan film Tenet did score a Best Visual Effects nomination and is heavily favored to win the Oscar in this category as well.
Best Animated Feature
Barring a major upset, Soul is widely expected to become the 11th Pixar film to win in the Best Animated Feature category since its inception. The animation giant won in this category last year with Toy Story 4.
Best Documentary Feature
While Time jumped out of the gate as an odds-on favorite to win the Oscar for Best Documentary, the critical favorite has been surpassed in this race by My Octopus Teacher. The feel-good Netflix film has won a number of plaudits, including Best Documentary at the BAFTA Awards.
Best International Film
Normally, when a Best International Film nominee receives an additional bit of academy recognition, it stands as the front-runner. That is the case this year, where Another Round is favored to win, thanks in part due to the nomination filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg received for Best Director.
Best Animated Short
Celeste and Jesse Forever co-writer Will McCormack co-directed the animated short If Anything Happens I Love You, which is widely expected to win in this category at the Oscars. The film is available to watch on Netflix.
Best Documentary Short
Available on Netflix, A Love Song for Latasha has maintained a strong lead in the Best Documentary Short category since the nominations were announced.
Best Live Action Short
Directed by Elvira Lind and starring her husband, actor Oscar Isaac, The Letter Room has stayed just ahead of the mind-bending science-fiction drama Two Distant Strangers in the odds.