‘Mank,’ ‘Minari,’ ‘Nomadland’ Top 2021 Academy Award Nominations

Article Image
Photo Source: "Mank": Netflix

Nominations for the Academy Awards were unveiled March 15 by Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, signaling the final leg of an unusually elongated film awards race. While COVID-19 played a role in disrupting the entertainment industry and delaying the 93rd annual ceremony until April 25, this year’s Oscar nominees prove that Hollywood movie magic is as compelling and resilient as ever.

In the running for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ most prestigious honor, the Oscar for best picture, are eight contenders: Amazon Studios’ “Sound of Metal,” Searchlight Pictures’ “Nomadland,” Netflix’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Mank,” A24’s “Minari,” Focus Features’ “Promising Young Woman,” Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Father,” and Warner Bros.’ “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

“Mank” led the Oscar nominations tally with 10, including recognition for leading actor Gary Oldman and supporting actress Amanda Seyfried. Echoing results of the preceding Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Producers Guild Awards—and a year of audiences watching films at home rather than movie theaters—streaming distributors had a stronger showing than traditional studios. Netflix totaled a leading 38 nods (a significant increase from last year’s 24), followed by Amazon with 12.

Making history in the Oscars’ directing category, which before now had seen only five female filmmakers nominated in the awards’ nonagenarian history, are Emerald Fennell, writer-director of “Promising Young Woman” (and first woman to be nominated for her feature-length directing debut) and Chloé Zhao, the multihyphenate behind “Nomadland” (and first woman of color recognized in the category). If either takes home the statuette, she would be the second-ever woman to do so after Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010. Overall this year, a record-breaking 70 women were nominated for a total of 76 nominations, according to the Academy.

Also nominated for director are Thomas Vinterberg for Danish film “Another Round,” David Fincher for “Mank,” and Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari.” Earning recognition in the Academy’s original and adapted screenplay categories are “Judas,” “Minari,” “Promising,” “Sound of Metal,” “Chicago 7,” Amazon Studios’ “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and “One Night in Miami,” “Father,” “Nomadland,” and Netflix’s “The White Tiger.”

Notable in the Academy’s acting races this year are the high number of first-time nominees, among them Seyfried, Vanessa Kirby for Netflix’s “Pieces of a Woman,” Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci for “Sound of Metal,” Maria Bakalova for “Borat,” Leslie Odom Jr. for “One Night in Miami” (also nominated in the original song category for that film’s “Speak Now”), Lakeith Stanfield for “Judas,” and Steven Yeun and Yuh-Jung Youn for “Minari.” Also on that list are Andra Day, whose performance in the title role of Hulu’s “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” joins the ranks of Oscar-nominated film lead debuts, and Chadwick Boseman, posthumously honored for Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” who made history at this year’s SAG Awards with a record-breaking four film nominations.

Former Oscar winners back in the running this year are Oldman, Frances McDormand of “Nomadland” (also nominated in the best picture category as one of the film’s producers), Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman of “The Father,” and Viola Davis of “Ma Rainey’s” (now the most Oscar-nominated Black actress ever, with four). Sacha Baron Cohen is among the list’s double nominees, for supporting actor in “Chicago 7” and adapted screenplay for “Borat.” 

AMPAS voters in 17 branches will vote on the 2021 Oscar nominees April 15–20. The ceremony taking place April 25 is expected to combine virtual elements with a live broadcast from both the Dolby Theatre and Union Station in Los Angeles. For a full list of nominees and more, click here. Happy Oscar season!

Check out Backstage’s film audition listings!

Author Headshot
Jack Smart
Jack Smart is the awards editor at Backstage, where he covers all things Emmy, SAG, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also produces and hosts Backstage’s awards podcast “In the Envelope” and has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.
See full bio and articles here!