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2021 Oscar Predictions

The following table provides predictions for the four main categories for the 2021 Academy Awards to be presented on April 25, 2021. The nominees are presented in order of expected probability to win, with the probabilities (in percentages) given in the second column.

In a nutshell, the predictions are based on a statistical analysis of past Oscar history. In particular, I identify the influence of factors associated with past winners (such as other Oscar nominations, total number of Oscar nominations, previous Oscar nominations/wins, Golden Globe wins, Guild wins). I then calculate a score for each current nominee based on these factors - nominees with a higher score have more chance of winning (see the notes column in the table). For further details of how the predictions were made click here.

Picture: Nomadland looks to be on track to add the Best Picture Oscar to its Producer's Guild and Golden Globe (Drama) wins (although that's what I said last year about 1917 and remember what happened then). Mank has the most nominations (10) of all the nominated films and is the next most likely to win. These two films also have Best Director nominations, as do Promising Young Woman and Minari, which therefore also have a small chance of winning (although higher than last year's probability of Parasite winning). It's very unlikely that any of the remaining four nominated films will win.
Nomadland 83%
Mank 5
Promising Young Woman 5
Minari 4
Judas and the Black Messiah 1
Sound of Metal 1
The Father 1
The Trial of the Chicago 7 1
Director: The director of Nomadland, Chloé Zhao, is also well placed to win the Best Director Oscar. She's in a strong position as she's already won the Director's Guild and Golden Globe Director awards. David Fincher has been nominated twice before (for 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and 2010's The Social Network), so there's a chance it could be third time lucky for him this year. Emerald Fennell and Lee Isaac Chung have an outside chance of upsetting the odds, but Thomas Vinterberg would be a surprising winner (as Bong Joon Ho was last year).
Chloé Zhao for Nomadland 91%
David Fincher forMank 4
Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman 3
Lee Isaac Chung for Minari 2
Thomas Vinterberg for Another Round <1
Actor in a Leading Role: Chadwick Boseman is a strong favourite for being awarded a posthumous Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. He's already won the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe (Drama) Best Actor awards. Interestingly, the film he and Viola Davis are nominated for, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, does not have a Best Picture nomination, although it does have five nominations in total. The other four lead actor nominees are in films with Best Picture nominations. However, while Steven Yeun and Riz Ahmed have a small chance of winning, both Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman are unlikely to win this year as they have both won before (Hopkins for 1991's The Silence of the Lambs and Oldman for 2017's Darkest Hour).
Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom 94%
Steven Yeun in Minari 3
Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal 2
Anthony Hopkins in The Father 1
Gary Oldman in Mank <1
Actress in a Leading Role: This appears to be the tightest of these four races, with three nominees in with a good shout of winning. Viola Davis has the edge given her Screen Actors Guild win, but Andra Day isn't too far behind after winning the Golden Globe (Drama) Best Actress award. Carey Mulligan is right on Day's tail as she's nominated for her performance in a Best Picture nominated film that has other key nominations (Best Director, Screenplay, and Editing). Frances McDormand is also nominated for her performance in a Best Picture nominated film, but it's less likely that she'll win this year as she has won twice previously (for 1996's Fargo and 2017's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).
Viola Davis in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom 36%
Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday 26
Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman 26
Frances McDormand in Nomadland 7
Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman 5

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