Han Ye-ri and Steven Yeun in Minari

It was a light morning for shockers but a great morning for representation when nominations for the 93rd Annual Academy Awards were announced earlier today – and such a great morning that it's easy to applaud the Oscars' historic showing of diversity without being hugely embarrassed by the Best Picture omissions of the widely predicted One Night in Miami … and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. [Scroll past the commentary for the full list of contenders.]

Not long into Priyanka Chopra's and Nick Jonas' televised reveal of the contenders, which began at roughly 7:20 a.m. CT, there actually was a bombshell dropped when we learned that, along with his co-star Daniel Kaluuya, Judas & the Black Messiah's LaKeith Stanfield made the lineup for Best Supporting Actor. I think it's safe to say that no one, likely not even Stanfield, thought this was a possibility. Not only had the wholly-deserving-of-recognition Stanfield not wound up on Supporting Actor precursor rosters with the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, et cetera, he was being campaigned for Judas as a leading actor, a strategy – and the more appropriate one – Academy members collectively chose to ignore. (For what it's worth, I think Stanfield and Kaluuya should both have been considered leads, but better to have them in the wrong category than no category at all.) Adding One Night in Miami …'s Leslie Odom Jr. to the mix, this marks the first time three Black performers were cited for Best Supporting Actor in the same year, and also the first time two Black male actors were nominated for the same movie. Oscars history made, and most of us hadn't had our coffee yet.

Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

But unless you were one of the producers or directors of Miami (sorry, Regina) and Ma Rainey's (sorry, Denzel), or were hoping that the late Chadwick Boseman would score two nods instead of the one he was assured of (disappointingly, only composer Terence Blanchard wound up acknowledged for Da 5 Bloods … sorry, Chadwick and Delroy and Spike ...), the news regarding diversity continued to be good throughout Chopra's and Jonas' announcements. Boseman did indeed receive his inevitable Best Actor nod for Ma Rainey's, becoming the first posthumous acting nominee since The Dark Knight's Heath Ledger, and the first in that category since Il Postino's Massimo Troisi a quarter-century ago. Among Best Actress contenders, Ma Rainey's star Viola Davis and The United States vs. Billie Holiday's Andra Day both made the lineup, making this the first time two Black performers landed in that category in an astonishing/mortifying 48 years. (Back in 1973, Cicely Tyson was cited for Sounder and Diana Ross for Lady Sings the Blues, a movie in which – just like Day! – its star portrayed Billie Holiday.) Davis, earning her fourth career nod, also became the most-nominated Black female of all time, as well as the first Black female in Oscar history – following her 2012 acknowledgment for The Help – to score a second nomination for Best Actress. Wonderful news for Davis on both counts. But equally astonishing/mortifying.

Riz Ahmed, a British Best Actor contender for Sound of Metal, became the first person of Pakistani descent cited for an acting Oscar, as well as the first Muslim. His fellow Best Actor nominee Steven Yeun and Supporting Actress inclusion Youn Yuh-jung, both from Minari, became the first performers born in South Korea to be up for acting Oscars. Their Minari helmer Lee Isaac Chung – like Yeun, a Korean-American – was cited for both his direction and his screenplay. As everyone anticipated, so was Chinese-American Chloë Zhao for Nomadland, doubling those two nominations with added nods for Best Picture and Film Editing. (For added coolness, Zhao is the first woman ever to receive four Oscar nods in a single year.) Zhao's inclusion in the Best Directing category, meanwhile, combined with Emerald Fennell's acknowledgment for Promising Young Woman, makes them only the sixth and seventh female nominees in the 93-year history of Best Directing. Zhao is also the first woman of color nominated here, Fennell the first woman nominated for her feature-film debut, and, it should go without saying by this point, this is the first time more than one woman has ever been cited for Best Directing in the same year.

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

You want more stats? 'Cause I got 'em! Nomadland's Frances McDormand, in an unsurprising yet historic feat, became the first woman cited for both Best Actress and as one of the producers of a Best Picture nominee. Hamilton 's Tony Award winner Odom augmented his One Night in Miami … intake by also scoring recognition as one of the composers of Best Original Song nominee “Speak Now.” Sacha Baron Cohen double-dipped, as well, earning Oscar nods for both The Trial of the Chicago 7, where he's competing for Best Supporting Actor, and Adapted Screenplay, where he and an octet of co-collaborators are acknowledged for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. All told, it's a great day to be Baron Cohen, considering he had been campaigning even harder for Best Supporting Actress contender and Moviefilm co-star Maria Bakalova – and she made it in, too! Huzzah!

At age 83, The Father's Anthony Hopkins is the oldest Best Actor nominee of all time, as well as the Oscars' seventh-oldest contender over 93 years of acting races. Denmark's Thomas Vinterberg, for Another Round, became only the third helmer in the last decade to make the Best Directing lineup without his film scoring a corresponding Best Picture nod – though the second in three years (after Cold War's Pawel Pawlikowski) whose movie was up for Best International Feature Film. Glenn Close, a Best Supporting Actress contender for Hillbilly Elegy, received her eighth career nod for acting, continuing her run as the most-nominated living performer to not yet win an Oscar. (Don't remind her. Or one of her fellow nominees, The Father's Olivia Colman, either. We all remember how that showdown worked out for Glenn last time, right?) Yet Close can at least take solace in knowing that she's now one of the Oscars' two most-nominated living female performers – the other one's name rhymes with Shmeryl Shtreep – as well as one of the five most-nominated female actors of all time, right up there with Geraldine Page (also eight), Bette Davis (10), Katharine Hepburn (12), and Shmeryl Shtreep (21). Not bad company to be in.

There's so much to talk about in terms of this year's nominees that I've managed to get more than 1,000 words into this commentary without mentioning the title that earned the most nominations: David Fincher's Mank, which leads the pack with 10. (One of those citations was not, however, for Fincher's late father Jack, who missed out, somewhat unexpectedly, for his admittedly divisive original screenplay.) A full half-dozen other films, all of them fellow Best Picture nominees, tied for second place with six: The Father, Judas & the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Sound of Metal, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. And the eighth and final Best Picture nominee, Promising Young Woman, landed five, as did Best Picture no-show Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, which probably would have made the cut had voters collectively cited nine titles instead.

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman

Regarding my own predictions, I had Ma Rainey's and One Night in Miami … in the Best Picture race at the expense of my number-10 choice Judas, and am inordinately proud of myself for forecasting all five Best Supporting Actress contenders, considering that was the most head-scratching category I'd confronted in a good five years. Aside from that, though, I had my traditionally mediocre showing – 71 correct guesses out of 103 – and now have a lot of catching up to do, as I still need to see four Best International Feature Film selections and four Documentary Feature contenders and nominated titles The White Tiger and Greyhound and Love & Monsters and The One & Only Ivan and Wolfwalkers and A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon and Disney's Mulan … . (Do I have to see Mulan?)

But those many hours of cinematic homework come later. In the meantime, let's get happy! Kaluuya and Stanfield! Ahmed and Supporting Actor nominee Paul Raci! Maria freakin' Bakalova, the first Bulgarian ever nominated for an acting Oscar! Emma.'s and Pinocchio's costume design and makeup/hairstyling! Dual Original Score contenders Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for Mank and (alongside Jon Batiste) Soul! A first nomination, as Supporting Actress in Mank, for Amanda Seyfried! No Best Sound nod for the largely unintelligible Tenet!

And in last week's predictions piece, I mentioned that the only thing I wanted for Christmas this year was a Best Original Song nomination for “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga … and it actually happened! That's awesome. Also kind of a bummer, because I was gonna ask Santa for an iPhone, but whatever … .

The following are our 2021 Academy Awards nominees, with the boldface citations the nominations I correctly predicted. I promise, alas, that the boldface will not use up all the ink in your printer cartridge.

LaKeith Stanfield in Judas & the Black Messiah


The Father

Judas & the Black Messiah




Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7



Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

David Fincher, Mank

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari

Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman



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



Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Gary Oldman, Mank

Steven Yeun, Minari



Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman, The Father

Amanda Seyfried, Mank

Youn Yuh-jung, Minari

Paul Raci and Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal


Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Daniel Kaluuya, Judas & the Black Messiah

Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami …

Paul Raci, Sound of Metal

LaKeith Stanfield, Judas & the Black Messiah



Judas & the Black Messiah, Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenneth Lucas, Keith Lucas

Minari, Lee Isaac Chung

Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell

Sound of Metal, Darius Marder, Abraham Marder, Derek Cianfrance

The Trial of the Chicago 7, Aaron Sorkin



Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazar, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern, Nina Pedrad

The Father, Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller

Nomadland, Chloé Zhao

One Night in Miami …, Kemp Powers

The White Tiger, Ramin Bahrani




Over the Moon

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon





Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, “Husavik”

Judas & the Black Messiah, “Fight for You”

The Life Ahead, “Io Si (Seen)”

One Night in Miami …, “Speak Now”

The Trial of the Chicago 7, “Hear My Voice”

Frances McDormand in Nomadland



Crip Camp

The Mole Agent

My Octopus Teacher




Another Round, Denmark

Better Days, Hong Kong

Collective, Romania

The Man Who Sold His Skin, Tunisia

Quo Vadis, Aida?, Bosnia & Herzegovina



Judas & the Black Messiah


News of the World


The Trial of the Chicago 7



The Father


Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman in Mank


The Father

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom


News of the World





Ma Rainey's Black Bottom








News of the World


Sound of Metal



Da 5 Bloods



News of the World


Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, and Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7


Love & Monsters

The Midnight Sky


The One & Only Ivan





Hillbilly Elegy

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom






A Concerto Is a Conversation

Do Not Split

Hunger Ward

A Love Song for Latasha



Feeling Through

The Letter Room

The Present

Two Distant Strangers

White Eye




Genius Loci

If Anything Happens I Love You



Maria Bakalova in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Total Number of Nominations

Mank – 10

The Father – 6

Judas & the Black Messiah – 6

Minari – 6

Nomadland – 6

Sound of Metal – 6

The Trial of the Chicago 7 – 6

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom – 5

Promising Young Woman – 5

News of the World – 4

One Night in Miami … – 3

Soul – 3

Another Round – 2

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – 2

Collective – 2

Emma. – 2

Hillbilly Elegy – 2

Mulan – 2

Pinocchio – 2

Tenet – 2

Better Days – 1

Crip Camp – 1

Da 5 Bloods – 1

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – 1

Greyhound – 1

The Life Ahead – 1

Love & Monsters – 1

The Man Who Sold His Skin – 1

The Midnight Sky – 1

The Mole Agent – 1

My Octopus Teacher – 1

The One & Only Ivan – 1

Onward – 1

Over the Moon – 1

Pieces of a Woman – 1

Quo Vadis, Aida? – 1

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon – 1

Time – 1

The United States vs. Billie Holiday – 1

The White Tiger – 1

Wolfwalkers – 1

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