2021 Oscars Predictions – The Period Dramas Set To Win Big

After today’s Oscar shortlist announcements, people are starting to make predictions for this year’s Academy Awards – and I’m getting in on the game.

Firstly, I predict 2021 will finally be Netflix’s year. Secondly, I predict this will be down to some of their great period drama films.

Netflix has yet to win an Oscar for Best Picture, but I predict they wont have to wait much longer.  In 2020, Netflix received more Oscar nominations than any other studio. This included 10 nominations for Scorsese’s The Irishman (another great period period drama from the popular streaming provider).

Also, due to the pandemic, this is the first ever year the Academy will allow streaming titles to be eligible for best picture without having to play in cinemas. While other studios have faced delays and had to adapt to distributing movies in a Covid-19 world, Netflix already had its worldwide streaming platform, giving them the advantage for 2021.

I’ve written before how Netflix have really been pulling it out of the bag period-drama wise the last few years. They’ve snatched the BBCs crown and also delivered some ground-breaking period dramas that have challenged what we expect from the genre (Hollywood and Self Made anyone?). And in a year where we are nostalgically looking to the past to escape the present, I predict a well-crafted period drama could strike just the right note with Academy members.

So here’s the period dramas I predict are going to win big at the 2021 Oscars;

The Shoe-Ins
The Trail of the Chicago 7

The Trial of The Chicago 7 has the potential to be the right film for the right time – its a political period drama that perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the past year. The film follows the a group of anti-Vietnam War protesters charged with conspiracy in late 1969 relating to charges of crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. The evident bias from the political and justice system served to radicalise millions of disaffected Americans – sound familiar?

Nomination Predictions – Expect to see this film in all of the major categories, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. I predict we will also see at least two members of the great ensemble cast up for Best Supporting Actor – and one of them will be Sacha Baron Cohen.

But Will They Actually Win Anything? I reckon it will be a head to head between The Trial of Chicago 7 and Nomadland for best pic.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

A group of musicians gather for a recording session in an adaptation of the play of the same name. Oscar-winning Viola Davis shines as pioneering blues singer and real life figure Ma Rainey, alongside Chadwick Boseman in his final role as an ambitious young trumpet player. If you haven’t watched this film yet please do. Boseman’s final performance will make you cry, laugh, gasp and everything in between.

Nomination Predictions – I expect obligatory nods for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress and Actor nods for Viola Davies and Chadwick Boseman respectively. Also expect the usual nominations for beautifully recreated period dramas – Production Design, Costume, and Hair & Makeup.

But Will They Actually Win Anything? If Chadwick Boseman doesnt win an Oscar for Ma Rainey there is no justice in this world – and not just because it was his final performance. If you’ve watched this film already you will know what I mean – its honestly the best performance of Boseman’s career.


Mank is a biographical film about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and his battles with director Orson Welles over screenplay credit for the iconic movie  Citizen Kane. This film has a stellar ensemble cast. Oscar-winning Gary Oldman plays Mankiewicz, with Tom Burke playing Welles and Charles Dance playing American magnate William Randolph Hearst. Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins and Tuppence Middleton complete the cast.

Nomination Predictions – Expect to see this film shortlisted in all of the major categories, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Oldman will surely get a nod for Best Actor, and Seyfried may edge a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a strong field.

But Will They Actually Win Anything? – Unfortunately, I don’t think this film is going to win anything in one of the major characters. However, I do think this film will sweep the board in technical categories like Sound Editing and Production Design. This film has been crafted to look, feel and even sound like a 1940s film and I think the experts will appreciate that.

One Night In Miami

The only period drama on this list that wasn’t made by Netflix, One Night In Miami is the directorial debut from Regina King. It tells the story of a fictionalized meeting of Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke in a room at the Hampton House in February 1964, celebrating Ali’s surprise title win over Sonny Liston.

Nomination Predictions – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay. Leslie Odom Jr should also get a Best Supporting Actor nod for his stint as legendary soul singer Sam Cooke.

But Will It Win Anything? – Unfortunately I think its got just too much competition in a strong year.

The Wildcards

The United States Vs Billie Holiday

At the time of writing this, momentum is growing behind Andra Day and her portrayal of jazz singer Billie Holiday – and it may be enough to bag her a Best Actress nomination. The film looks at Billie Holiday at the point in her career when she becomes a target by the Federal Department of Narcotics. She then ends up in a love affair with the agent leading the undercover operation.


It says a lot about the quality of films this past year when acting heavyweights Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan are potentially be out of the running this award season.  Ammonite is a period drama about overlooked British palaeontologist Mary Anning (Winslet) and her relationship with Charlotte Murchison. If Winslet gets a Best Actress nod, or Ronan a Best Supporting Actress nod, it will definitely come as a bit of a shock.

The final Oscar nominations will be announced on the 15th of March at a special luncheon, before the big event itself on the 25th of April. So place your bets now, which film do you think is going to nab the big prize of the night?

P.S. If you like this post, why not check out my other period drama posts, or my online period drama guide with all the latest releases!

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