Oscar Week: Film critic Tom Santilli makes Acting category predictions

Oscars 2021
Posted at 12:47 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2023-03-12 13:48:59-04

(WXYZ) — Tom Santilli is a professional film critic, TV personality, host and the Executive Producer of Movie Show Plus.

As you may have heard by now,The 93rd Annual Academy Awards - The Oscars - will air live this Sunday, April 25th, 2021, at 8pm EDT on ABC. Our Oscar Week coverage continues with a look at the four "major" acting categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.


​And the nominees are:

Notable: Both Steven Yeun and Riz Ahmed made Oscar history with their nominations this year: Yeun is the first-ever Asian-American actor to be nominated for Best Actor and Ahmed is the first-ever Muslim actor nominated in the category. Chadwick Boseman, who died during post-production on "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," landed his first-ever nomination...he's the seventh to receive a posthumous nomination and if he wins he would become the second-ever posthumous winner (Peter Finch in 1976's "Network" has this current distinction). A Boseman win would also make him the fifth African-American Best Actor winner (joining Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker). Meanwhile, Anthony Hopkins becomes the oldest-ever Best Actor nominee, at age 83.

My Vote: Obviously there are some amazing performances in this category, and seeing the likes of Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins appear yet again becomes quite boring, but Anthony Hopkins in "The Father" is absolutely tremendous, giving a career-best performance...and that is saying something given his legendary career. If I was casting a vote (and I'm not), it would go to Hopkins.

Who will win: While there's a chance that Hopkins could win, this award will almost undoubtedly go to Chadwick Boseman, who is not only being awarded for his incredible, emotional work in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," but for his entire stellar yet all-too-brief career.


​And the nominees are:

Notable: Viola Davis earned her fourth overall nomination, making her the most-nominated African-American actress in Oscar history, and the only one to score TWO Best Actress nods. Davis and Andra Day's nominations mark only the second time in Oscar history that two African-American actresses have been in this category in the same year...the first-ever was in 1972 when Cicely Tyson and Diana Ross shared the category. Ironically, Ross was nominated for the same role as Andra Day: The legendary blues artist, Billie Holiday. Frances McDormand becomes the third woman and 20th person overall to be nominated twice in the same year (she is also a producer on the Best Picture nominee, "Nomadland"). Overall, it was a record-breaking year for women, with 70 different women receiving 76 total nominations, records for any given year.

My Vote: Sadly, little attention has been given to Vanessa Kirby's devastating performance in "Pieces of a Woman," but she just barely edges out Carey Mulligan, who is also most-deserving for her tour de force performance as a single woman hellbent on revenge.

Who will win: This is a wide-open category this year, meaning that the winner will most likely come as a surprise. Kirby and Day have nearly a zero percent chance of winning, and Carey Mulligan has been shut-out of several of the precursor award shows, making this a showdown between Davis and McDormand...and I think that Viola Davis will come out ahead. If both Davis and Chadwick Boseman win in their categories, it will be only the sixth time in Oscar history that Best Actor and Best Actress were from the same film.


​And the nominees are:

Notable: This is the first time in Oscar history that three African-Americans were nominated in this category in the same year and first-time multiple African-American nominees came from the same film. Only once before had there been more than one African-American nominated (in 1987 when both Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman were nominated for different films). Leslie Odom Jr. is double-nominated this year, as the first male ever to be nominated in an acting category as well as Best Song.

My Vote: Daniel Kaluuya's powerful portrayal as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton is the stand-out here, with my runner-up being the soft, tender performance of Paul Raci.

Who will win: It's the only acting category this year that seems to be fully predictable, so mark my words: Daniel Kaluuya will win.


​And the nominees are:

Notable: Just as Steven Yeun was the first-ever Korean-born Best Actor nominee, Yuh-jung Youn becomes the first-ever Korean-born actress nominee. Glenn Close is the prototypical Oscar bridesmaid (and never the bride), as this is her 8th overall Oscar nomination (she's never won). The last time Close was nominated - for Best Actress in 2019 - she also shared the category with Olivia Colman (who won that year).

My Vote: Olivia Colman is terrific in "The Father," but no performance touched me in the way that Yuh-jung Youn's did this year. She's my pick and the one I'll be most rooting for during the telecast as well.

Who will win: Amanda Seyfried and Maria Bakalova were great but are still a bit young for a voting body that tends to recognize career-achievement as well as the role in question. Glenn Close is the front-runner if you consider that fact alone, but "Hillbilly Elegy" was too divisive a film for this to lead to her crowning moment. And while the Academy clearly loves Olivia Colman - and don't get me wrong, she could definitely win this year - I think all signs point to Yuh-jung Youn taking home the Supporting Actress trophy.