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Oscar Futures: After Globe and SAG Noms, the Race Finally Gets Real

Photo-Illustration: Vulture, Netflix and Warner Bros.

Every week between now and March 15, when the Academy Award nominations are announced, Vulture will consult its crystal ball to determine the changing fortunes of this year’s Oscars race. In our “Oscar Futures” column, we’ll let you in on insider gossip, parse brand-new developments, and track industry buzz to figure out who’s up, who’s down, and who’s currently leading the race for a coveted Oscar nomination.

Best Picture


The Trial of the Chicago 7

After a quiet run through the critics’ awards, Chicago 7 showed up everywhere it needed to this week, earning Best Drama, Best Director, and Best Screenplay nominations from the Golden Globes and a Best Ensemble nom from SAG. (Sacha Baron Cohen got Supporting Actor love from both too.) Aaron Sorkin’s courtroom drama also showed up someplace no one had expected: in SAG’s Best Stunt Ensemble category, the kind of unusual nomination that can portend a budding groundswell. Is this our new Best Picture front-runner?



Not getting a Best Ensemble nom from SAG isn’t the death blow it used to be: Green Book and The Shape of Water won Best Picture after snubs there, and La La Land came awfully close. What all those movies had in common was that their major players were taken care of elsewhere on the SAG ballot, and you could argue that’s true of Nomadland as well, since the film rests entirely on the shoulders of Frances McDormand. Still, that’s a notable miss for this ostensible heavyweight.

Current Predix

Da 5 Bloods, The Father, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director


Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman didn’t land a SAG Ensemble nod either, but otherwise, I think Team PYW has got to be jazzed about this week’s results. Not only did the dark comedy crack the Globes’ Screenplay race, but, even more impressive, Fennell nabbed a berth in the Best Director category, ensuring a majority-female directing slate for the first time ever. Can she crack the DGA lineup, too, or will voters there consider the First-Time Feature nod enough?


Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods

What a difference a week makes. Seven days ago, Lee was flying high thanks to Best Picture and Best Director honors from the National Board of Review; now, Da 5 Bloods got completely shut out at the Globe noms, and Lee was markedly absent on BAFTA’s 15-strong Best Director longlist, the latest snub from a body that had never nominated him before BlacKkKlansman. That SAG Ensemble nod is proof that Da 5 Bloods has life in it yet, but with this movie seeming slightly less regarded than Lee’s previous one, the filmmaker may not have enough juice to break through here.

Current Predix

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari; David Fincher, Mank; Regina King, One Night in Miami; Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7; Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Best Actor


Steven Yeun, Minari

Minari got only that controversial Foreign-Language Film nomination at the Globes, but it did much better with SAG, the first group with a substantial number of Academy members to weigh in: The A24 drama tied Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for the most total SAG nominations, including Yeun in Best Actor. That the Guild found room for this low-key performance is a sign Minari is striking an emotional chord with viewers, and Yeun’s chances of becoming the first Asian American nominated in Best Actor look strong.


Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods

A brutal week for the NYFCC winner, who missed out at both the Globes and SAG. We’ve spent a long time wondering how the unprecedented nature of this season would affect the race, and if these nominations are anything to go by, voters appear to be gravitating toward big names with established Oscar pedigrees. That’s bad news for a character actor like Lindo, whose slot at the moment seems to be occupied by fellow Netflix leading man Gary Oldman.

Current Predix

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal; Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Anthony Hopkins, The Father; Gary Oldman, Mank; Steven Yeun, Minari

Best Actress


Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy

Those of us who assumed Hillbilly Elegy was dunzo after January 6 are eating a lot of crow this week, as the critically reviled drama managed to score a handful of key nominations, including two seats in SAG’s Best Actress lineup for Adams and her wig. I’m not yet ready to predict her for Oscar nomination No. 7: The Guild’s taste skews more, shall we say, basic than the other precursors, and this feels more like an Emily Blunt–in–Girl on the Train–style outlier than a sign of things to come.


Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday

The core four of Davis, Kirby, McDormand, and Mulligan feel locked and loaded for Oscar, but who will get the fifth spot? In Actress in a Drama, the Globes went for Day, whose gutsy turn in Lee Daniels’s biopic could easily nab an Oscar nom as well. Momentum for this late-breaking performance may be hard to come by, though: The R&B singer was left off the longlist at the BAFTAs, ensuring someone else will fill out that lineup during a prime voting period. Is that Kate Winslet’s music?

Current Predix

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday; Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman; Frances McDormand, Nomadland; Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor


Jared Leto, The Little Things

I’ll admit, when an awards publicist informed me that Warner was mounting a campaign for this January thriller, I scoffed a little bit. But here we are — Jared Leto is a Globe and SAG nominee, and I’m still an asshole with a keyboard. Chalk up these dual nominations to three factors: (1) Leto’s status as a past winner, (2) the ready availability of The Little Things on HBO Max, and (3) what was reportedly a committed amount of Zoom campaigning by the star. Credit to Team Little Things — they saw an opening, and they went for it. Still, I suspect Leto is the likeliest of this week’s nominees to drop off with Oscar.


Paul Raci, Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal’s buzz doesn’t appear to be translating into votes for Raci, who couldn’t ride Riz Ahmed’s coattails into any recognition on his own. I’m holding out hope he can jump into the Leto spot, but this may turn out to be only a critics’ thing.

Current Predix

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7; Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods; Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah; Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami; Paul Raci, Sound of Metal

Best Supporting Actress


Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

They’re really gonna do it, aren’t they? Close pulled off the double this week, and after Mank’s Amanda Seyfried missed the cut at SAG, the seven-time Oscar nominee suddenly has all the heat in this race. And you know what, if it means more delightful Instagram content from Close, I’m fine with it. With The Father’s Olivia Colman also showing up well, the opportunity to restage the 2018 Best Actress race may be too juicy a narrative to resist.


Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman

At least Seyfried can rest easy knowing the HFPA’s love for Mank could mean good news for her on Globes night. After blanking this week, Burstyn has quietly receded into the background of this race, and it seems likely her co-star Vanessa Kirby will be Pieces of a Woman’s sole nomination.

Current Predix

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm; Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy; Olivia Colman, The Father; Amanda Seyfried, Mank; Yuh-jung Youn, Minari

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Oscar Futures: After Globe and SAG Noms, the Race Gets Real