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“Nomadland” director Chloe Zhao (left) shares a moment with star Frances McDorman on the film’s set. Searchlight Pictures
I’ve filled out my ballot and you can fill out yours for the chance to win a fabulous prize package. As usual, there are some prohibitive favorites, most notably Chadwick Boseman to win a posthumous best actor award for his brilliant and bold and heartbreaking performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and Chloe Zhao to win best director for “Nomadland,” which remains the front-runner in the best picture category.
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But even in best picture, which has eight nominees and thus makes it more likely for an underdog to slip across the finish line first, there’s an outside chance Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” could pull off the upset. It’s the kind of traditional, historical message-movie that wins awards. (It’s also damn good and spiritually faithful to events, and though Sorkin won’t win for his direction, he could win another Oscar for his screenplay.)
Let’s take a look at the glamour categories.
In the case of stellar works such as “The Father,” “Sound of Metal,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Mank” and “Promising Young Woman,” it really is an honor just to be nominated. As mentioned, “Nomadland” remains the heavy favorite at -600 on the online betting sites (meaning that if you were inclined to wager, you’d have to bet $600 to win $100), but “Chicago 7” has an outside chance — and if you’re looking for a real upset, “Minari” at 12-1 just might capture enough hearts and minds of voters.
It will be an enormous upset if anyone but Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland”) wins. It WAS an enormous upset when director Thomas Vinterberg was nominated for his dark comedy “Another Round,” but it’s great to see a spotlight shining on this Danish film, which is nominated for best international feature film and should win.
Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”), Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Gary Oldman (“Mank”) and Steven Yeun (“Minari”) all did fine work, but Chadwick Boseman is the runaway winner. It’s nearly impossible to imagine a scenario in which Boseman’s name isn’t called.
Carey Mulligan plays a vigilante avenging sexual predators in “Promising Young Woman.” Focus Features Best actress
Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) is a long shot and probably doesn’t have a chance of winning (but you should see the movie and take in her shattering performance), and groundbreaking four-time nominee Viola Davis has only an outside chance, mostly because she’s getting into that Meryl Streep territory where voters know she’ll be back, again and again.
That leaves us with three strong contenders. Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) has won twice before and Andra Day’s performance in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” is better than the movie, so I’m going with Carey Mulligan for her searing and stunningly good performance in “Promising Young Woman.”