Oscars 2021: Irish film Wolfwalkers nominated as best animated feature

Cartoon Saloon’s fourth nomination puts Kilkenny studio in race with Pixar’s Soul

Wolfwalkers, made by Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon, has been nominated for an Oscar. Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart’s Wolfwalkers, produced in Kilkenny, has been nominated as best animated feature for the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards.

This is the Irish studio’s fourth nomination in the category and, locked in an apparent two-horse race with Pixar’s Soul, offers them their best chance yet to win the prize.

Moore told The Irish Times: “I’m delighted on behalf of all our wolfpack here in Kilkenny and in France and Luxembourg – it’s a fantastic achievement for the studio. Ross and myself are delighted all our hard work on the three movies based on Irish folklore have been recognised by the academy.” The film completes Moore’s folklore trilogy, which began with The Secret of Kells and continued with Song of the Sea.

Frances McDormand will have fierce competition for best actress from Carey Mulligan, who, savage as a wronged woman in Promising Young Woman, is the bookies' favourite

For the first time, two women have been nominated for best director: Chloé Zhao is up for Nomadland and Emerald Fennell (who plays Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown) competes for Promising Young Woman. Zhao is favourite to become – after Kathryn Bigelow – only the second woman to take the prize


Mank, David Fincher’s examination of the creation of Citizen Kane, topped the charts with 10 nominations when Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas stepped before cameras in London. Other best picture contenders include Nomadland, a raw road movie; Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, a talky examination of the United States’ 1960s discontents; Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, a touching tale set in the US-Korean community and Fennell’s searing, fiercely timely Promising Young Woman.

Front-runner for the top prize since winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in early September is Nomadland, which stars Frances McDormand as a financially embarrassed baby boomer adrift in a damaged US. Were McDormand to win best actress she would become only the second woman to win three or more awards in that category. (Katharine Hepburn clocked up four)

But she will have fierce competition from Carey Mulligan, who, savage as a wronged woman in the feminist revenge thriller Promising Young Woman, is currently the bookies’ favourite for that prize. Following an odd series of nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts last week, Mulligan stands to be the first best-actress winner at the Oscars not to get a nod from her home body.

Chadwick Boseman, who died last August at the age of 43, looks set to become only the second posthumous winner of best actor – after Peter Finch, for Network, in 1977. Boseman is nominated for his role as a troubled jazz musician in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Among those challenging him are Anthony Hopkins as a man with dementia in The Father and Riz Ahmed as a drummer suffering hearing loss in Sound of Metal.

In recent years, awards bodies have been under pressure to deliver a racially diverse array of nominations, particularly in acting categories. There has already been some muttering about the exclusion of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and One Night in Miami, two films with ensemble black casts, from best picture, but, with nine actors of colour nominated, the Academy will not be at the end of any #oscarsowhite boycotts this year.

The British actor Daniel Kaluuya is favourite in the best-supporting-actor category for his role as Fred Hampton, head of the Illinois Black Panthers, in the thrilling historical drama Judas and the Black Messiah.

Best supporting actress is less easy to predict. Youn Yuh-jung is much admired as an awkward grandmother in Minari. Olivia Colman could win a second Oscar for her role as the protagonist’s daughter in The Father. Despite some withering reviews, Glenn Close is there for Hillbilly Elegy. There was no nomination for Saoirse Ronan in this category. Her performance in Francis Lee’s Ammonite was praised on the film’s premiere last autumn, but it has picked up little traction with precursor awards.

There were few enormous shocks in Monday’s announcement. Judas and the Black Messiah may have performed slightly beyond expectations with LaKeith Stanfield joining Kaluuya in the best-supporting-actor race. That film also landed in best song, best cinematography, best original screenplay and best picture.

Some pundits wondered if the Academy would go for a film as raw and profane as the sequel to 2006’s Borat, but Maria Bakalova, a hitherto unknown Bulgarian performer, did indeed score a best-supporting-actress nomination and the film also figured in best adapted screenplay. Hilariously, the Jonases were twice required to read out the film’s complete title: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

Like so much else in the cultural world, the Oscars have been turned on their head by Covid. The academy changed the rules to admit certain films that went straight to video without playing in cinemas. The ceremony – expected to be largely virtual – will take place on April 25th, almost 2½ months later in the year than the 2020 event. This is the latest the show has taken place since 1932.

Oscars 2021: the nominees

Best picture
The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best director
Another Round, Thomas Vinterberg
Mank, David Fincher
Minari, Lee Isaac Chung
Nomadland, Chloé Zhao
Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell

Best actress
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

Best actor
Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

Best supporting actor
Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom jnr, One Night in Miami
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best supporting actress
Olivia Colman, The Father
Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Youn Yuh-jung, Minari

Best animated feature
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Best international feature film
Another Round
Better Days
The Man Who Sold His Skin
Quo Vadis, Aida?

Best documentary
Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher

Best Cinematography
Judas and the Black Messiah, Sean Bobbitt
Mank, Erik Messerschmidt
News of the World, Dariusz Wolski
Nomadland, Joshua James Richards
The Trial of the Chicago 7, Phedon Papamichael

Best costume design
Emma, Alexandra Byrne
Mank, Trish Summerville
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Ann Roth
Mulan, Bina Daigeler

Best film editing
The Father
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best make-up and hairstyling
Hillbilly Elegy
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Best original score
Da 5 Bloods, Terence Blanchard
Mank, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
Minari, Emile Mosseri
News of the World, James Newton Howard
Soul, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste

Best original song
Fight For You, Judas and the Black Messiah
Hear My Voice, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Husavik, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Lo Sì (Seen), The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)
Speak Now, One Night in Miami

Best production design
The Father
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
News of the World

Best sound
News of the World
Sound of Metal

Best visual effects
Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
The One and Only Ivan

Best documentary (short subject)
A Concerto is a Conversation
Do Not Split
Hunger Ward
A Love Song for Latasha

Best adapted screenplay
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Peter Baynham, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jena Friedman, Anthony Hines, Lee Kern, Dan Mazer, Nina Pedrad, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Swimer
The Father, Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller
Nomadland, Chloé Zhao
One Night in Miami, Kemp Powers
The White Tiger, Ramin Bahrani

Best animated short film
Genius Loci
If Anything Happens I Love You

Best live action short film
Feeling Through
The Letter Room
The Present
Two Distant Strangers
White Eye

Best original screenplay
Judas and the Black Messiah, Will Berson, Shaka King, Keith Lucas, Kenneth Lucas
Minari, Lee Isaac Chung
Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell
Sound of Metal, Abraham Marder, Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance
The Trial of the Chicago 7, Aaron Sorkin