Ahead of Sunday’s 93rd Academy Awards, the best thing to note is how this year’s list of nominees are far from basura. The work that April Reign has done with the #OscarsSoWhite campaign has sparked Hollywood and the Academy to include more filmmakers of color and thereby influenced healthy growth within the industry. There’s no Bombshell or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood duds on this list. Instead, there are some really soul-stirring films that are nominated for a pristine little gold man.
So, with that in mind, who will win?
Airing live on Sunday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC, EBONY shares predictions for the Oscars, focusing on the big-name categories like Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, Best Original Screenplay, etc. Although there are room for surprises, if everything goes according to these forecasts—this could be a historic awards ceremony.
Best Original Screenplay
Judas and the Black Messiah, Will Berson & Shaka King
Minari, Lee Isaac Chung
Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell
Sound of Metal, Darius Marder & Abraham Marder
The Trial of the Chicago 7, Aaron Sorkin
Who Should Win: Judas and the Black Messiah
Who Will Win: Promising Young Woman
Like Issa Rae, we are rooting for everybody Black, and Judas and the Black Messiah is worthy of this award. Crafted from a story by The Lucas Bros., Black Messiah directly speaks to the issues still going on within America. And since the Academy loves a writer-director (see: Jordan Peele’s Get Out) — it is ideal that Shaka King circumvent the frontrunning WGA and CCA wins of Emerald Fennell and the hype surrounding heavy hitter Aaron Sorkin — to win his first Oscar and become the second Black screenwriter to earn the award.
Best Music (Original Score)
Da 5 Bloods
News of the World
Who Should Win: Soul
Who Will Win: Soul
While Terence Blanchard (Da 5 Bloods) and Emile Mosseri’s (Minari) respective scores are gorgeous and melodious. There isn’t anyone more deserving of a little golden man than the trio of Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor, and Atticus Ross for Soul. The Jamie Foxx-led Pixar film was impressively emotive and memorable. And since Renzor and Ross were also nominated for Mank, their inclusion can only help Batiste, a virtuoso jazz pianist, win his first Oscar for the 2020 animated comedy.
Judas and the Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Who Should Win: Judas and the Black Messiah
Who Will Win: Minari
The Best Picture race is full of some stellar cinematic experiences. From a heavy-metal drummers’ descent into freefall to the story of seven people who led an uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago — there are a host of films that push resiliency and defiance against systemic racism. While everyone may be in love with Nomadland, Judas and the Black Messiah is lightning-in-a-bottle that speaks to our times and should win. Despite all that—the achingly beautiful Minari will be the one to watch win an award on Oscars night.
Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari
Who Should Win: Chadwick Boseman
Who Will Win: Chadwick Boseman
Arguably, this is the surest prediction that has been made across the board. This year’s Oscars cannot deny the cinematic impact of Chadwick Boseman, awarding him his first Academy Award, and rightfully so. Don’t let the posthumous postulation cloud the fact that Boseman deserves the honor, having delivered a tour de force in Ma Rainey, his final performance. Having left it all on-screen, Boseman will complete his Golden Globe, Critics Choice Award, and SAG Award set, with an Oscar.
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
Who Should Win: Viola Davis
Who Will Win: Viola Davis
Readers will agree that Viola Davis put her entire feet into the titular role of Ma Rainey. It is almost like if you place the Oscar Award winner in an August Wilson story, the two are guaranteed to win the gold. In a pandemic-struck year, where a clear frontrunner would have been declared by now, Nomadland and Promising Young Woman are two films that lead most critics’ predictions. But with Davis already holding the SAG Award, Award-show watchers would be remiss if they didn’t have her winning the Best Actress prize on their Oscars BINGO card.
Kevin L. Clark is an editor and screenwriter who covers the intersection of music, pop culture and social justice. Follow him @KevitoClark.