2021 Oscars preview: How the Golden Globes affects the Academy Awards

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 05: Oscar statue at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on February 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 05: Oscar statue at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on February 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images) /

Last week’s Golden Globes ended with Netflix as the clear victor, as far as accolades per studio went. The TV awards were almost unilaterally favorable to series The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit, reinforcing the obvious sentiment that the Globes value buzz over all else.

On the movies side, however, the awards were handed out to a wider variety of nominees and studios.

The key factors playing into those decisions included (again, primarily) buzz, the confounding rule dividing some categories into Drama and Comedy/Musical sections, and the Globes nomination process just making little sense overall.

The winners of most of the movie categories were fairly anticipated, with the notable exception of all three actress categories going to less favored winners. Netflix emerged with wins in Best Actor for the late Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (a lock for the rest of awards season – I’ll address that in a later post), Best Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Best Original Song for “Io Sì” from The Life Ahead.

Will Netflix win the Oscars after dominating Golden Globes?

The lack of gold in other categories, despite Netflix’s deserving retinue of films this year in particular, lead me to believe that awards groups are still leaning toward rewarding movies that are distributed theatrically more out of pride than anything else. A lot of this pride is well-founded, especially this year with the pandemic leading to clamor to save theater chains, and when the future of theatrical distribution is crumbling before our news-scrolling eyes.

But it can also feel like heel-dragging in the face of acknowledging a progressive perspective that, for better or for worse, will come to define moviegoing in the future – it’s not like Netflix or other services are purporting subpar films by any means. It’s also a tad backhanded to require films to qualify for awards by having a theatrical release when, without a doubt, Academy voters are watching Nomadland on Hulu or Judas and the Black Messiah on HBO Max, not in cinemas.

With that in mind, let’s return to a survey of some other Oscars categories and where Netflix could score noms come March 15!

2021 Best Original Screenplay contenders on Netflix

This is my favorite category at the Oscars, as it tends to land a nom or two for underseen, deserving movies that may not stack up to Best Picture standards. Beyond Aaron Sorkin’s Globes-winning The Trial of the Chicago 7 screenplay, expect the Globes-nominated Mank script penned by the late Jack Fincher to get a nomination. Perhaps the sprawling Da 5 Bloods script co-authored by Oscar winner Spike Lee and Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, and Kevin Willmott will make an appearance as well.

Because I more or less have to, I’ll shout out a personal favorite script of mine from this year: Lee Isaac Chung’s depiction of the Asian-American immigrant experience Minari. This movie is nothing short of brilliant, and I behest you to seek out the recent Globe winner immediately – it’s available for your viewing pleasure on VOD and worth every penny.

2021 Best Adapted Screenplay contenders on Netflix

Similarly, this category is excellent at featuring less popular, typically better work based on other media. Hopefully, Ruben-Santiago Hudson’s pensive adaptation of August Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom lands a nom, along with Charlie Kaufman’s genre-bending take on Iain Reid’s novel i’m thinking of ending things. Kata Wéber’s film adaptation of her own play Pieces of a Woman also shouldn’t be counted out.

I’m going to give lip service here to the deeply personal and heartening First Cow adaptation by Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond of the latter’s book, available on VOD. A delicate, rustic tall tale, it’s an extremely sweet story surrounding two friendly travelers attempting to achieve the American dream together against the landscape of the nascent nation in the 1820s.

2021 Best Cinematography contenders on Netflix

Netflix movies sure have some outstanding cinematography this year. Look forward to noms for Erik Messerschmidt’s muscular work in Mank and Tobias A. Schliessler melodic craft in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Hopefully, Newton Thomas Sigel could squeeze in for his nostalgic camerawork in Da 5 Bloods.

My personal pick is another Netflix original movie: Łukasz Żal’s work on i’m thinking of ending things was simply incredible. Nominated for two Academy Awards for his work on Paweł Pawlikowski’s Ida and Cold War, he’s one of those undersung talents that makes a statement with every shot in all his projects.

2021 Best Sound contenders on Netflix

This year, just as an incredible roster of sound design-focused movies was released, the Academy melded Sound Mixing and Sound Editing into one category. Expect the teams from Mank and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom to show up here, with a possible addition of the stellar team from i’m thinking of ending things.

For my personal pick, I’m choosing Sound of Metal, a film that necessitates exemplary sound work in its portrayal of a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing and must reckon with his values going forward as a deaf man. It’s on Amazon Prime now.

2021 Best Editing contenders on Netflix

Kirk Baxter’s stylized editing work in Mank is undoubtedly a frontrunner in this category, with Alan Baumgarten’s hyperactive edits in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Adam Gough’s tone-melding work in Da 5 Bloods just as deserving.

Soon-to-be-name-brand Jennifer Lame deserves a nomination for her thrilling editing work in Tenet, which you can stream on VOD now.

2021 Best Production Design contenders on Netflix

Molly Hughes gave one of the biggest flexes of this year for her work in i’m thinking of ending things, and her work should go recognized by the Academy for being one of the most creative expressions put to film last year. Mark Ricker’s evocation of 1920s Chicago in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Donald Graham Burt’s swoony detailing of old Hollywood in Mank were simply fantastic as well.

Another choice not to be counted out is Barry Robison for his tense design for Amazon Prime movie One Night in Miami, effectively supporting the high stakes permeating the movie’s proceedings.

2021 Best Costume contenders on Netflix

Trish Summerville’s glamorous work on Mank is wonderful, and so is that of Ann Roth in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. This also might be the category where The Prom shows up, with Lou Eyrich designing a sequined fabulousness that the Academy could take hotly to.

The candy-coated confection engrained throughout Nancy Steiner’s design for Promising Young Woman provides a brilliant surface-level offset for the weighty issues at the core of the movie, on VOD. The Oscars would do very well to see the craft in this movie.

Next. 50 best Netflix movies to watch right now. dark