Our Oscars Preview - The Weird Categories

By: Hopster & Isaac P. Ale

April 19, 2021

It's Oscars' Week! Here is Part 1 of 5 of our preview.

Quo Vadis Aida Quo Vadis, Aida? [2020]

Best International Feature Film


  • Another Round (Denmark) | in Danish – directed by Thomas Vinterberg
  • Better Days (Hong Kong) | in Mandarin – directed by Derek Tsang
  • Collective (Romania) | in Romanian – directed by Alexander Nanau
  • The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia) | in Arabic – directed by Kaouther Ben Hania
  • Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina) | in Bosnian – directed by Jasmila Žbanić


Hopster: Another Round (Denmark) currently holds the best odds to win on Sunday (87%)1, and it is the only film from this group that I've seen... so naturally I'm picking it to win! And while I can't compare it to anything else, this is a deserving nominee. Thomas Vinterberg's direction and tonal control of the fim is top-notch and Mads Mikkelsen delivers a peak-of-his-powers performance, and in the final 3 minutes of the film, he is incandescent.

Via tumblr

Isaac: I have to agree with my colleague on the prowess of Another Round and the immaculate presence of Mads Mikkelsen, he is truly a marvel. Although I'm certainly "betting against the house" here (I think I used that gambling metaphor appropriately idk) I really am holding out for a win for Quo Vadis, Aida?! Jasmila Žbanić wrote and directed an amazing film and Jasna Đuričić (playing Aida Selmanagić) delivered a tour de force performance that quite frankly deserved more appreciation.

Best Live Action Short Film


  • Feeling Through | Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski
  • The Letter Room | Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan
  • The Present | Ossama Bawardi and Farah Nabulsi
  • Two Distant Strangers | Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe
  • White Eye | Shira Hochman and Tomer Shushan


Isaac: It seems hard to ignore the timing, tone and overall display of Two Distant Strangers. Its not only a powerful story that is rooted in the horrific displays of police brutality over time, but one that ends as bleakly as it began. I loved Feeling Through and The Letter Room as well, but I'm picking Joey Bada$$ to be a part of an Oscar winning short that is as gut wrenching as ever.

Hopster: This category is always a mystery to me, but this year it is seemingly packed with great nominees: Oscar Isaac stars in The Letter Room, Joey Bada$$ stars in Two Distant Strangers, The Present won at the BAFTAs, White Eye has garnered accolades around the world since debuting in 2019, and Feeling Through is maybe the most decorated film of the bunch. For what it's worth, I'm going with Feeling Through, a beautiful ode to the DeafBlind community.

Best Documentary Short Subject


  • Colette | Alice Doyard and Anthony Giacchino
  • A Concerto Is a Conversation | Kris Bowers and Ben Proudfoot
  • Do Not Spill | Charlotte Cook and Anders Hammer
  • Hunger Ward | Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Shueuerman
  • A Love Song for Latasha | Sophia Nahali Allison and Janice Duncan


Isaac: Colette was not only heartbreaking, but an amazing glimpse into the unfathomable horrors of the past. However I was entranced by A Concerto Is a Conversation, Ava Duvernay produced yet another work that I couldn't take my eyes off of and she knows how to tap into all of your emotions.

Hopster: I loved A Love Song for Latasha, so I'm rooting for that.

The Mole Agent [2020]

Best Documentary Feature


  • Collective | Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana
  • Crip Camp | Sara Bolder, Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham
  • The Mole Agent | Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez
  • My Octopus Teacher | Pippa Ehrlich, Craig Foster and James Reed
  • Time | Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn


Hopster: Is there a reason Boys State and Dick Johnson Is Dead were snubbed? Steven Garza's chill-inducing speech in Boys State is one of the best scenes I saw in a film last year; and Kirsten Johnson creates something comically dark but therapeutically beautiful, as she celebrates her father's essence and reckons with his mortality. Regardless, My Octopus Teacher seems to have momentum heading in to Sunday (77%), but I'll be routing for Time, Garrett Bradley's moving documentary that looks at the prisoner-industrial complex through the macro lens of Sibil Fox Richardson, and her husband, Rob.

Isaac: Give me My Octopus Teacher or give me death. Cephalopods 4 life. But in all seriousness this was a great film on the relationship with nature, mental health, introspection and much more. All somehow spouting from an encounter with an octopus, it really is the little things that can create such a beautiful end result.

Best Animated Short Film


  • Burrow | Michael Capbarat and Madeline Sharafian
  • Genius Loci | Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise
  • If Anything Happens I Love You | Michael Govier and Will McCormack
  • Opera | Erick Oh
  • Yes-People | Arnar Gunnarsson and Gísli Darri Halldórsson


Isaac: I can't even think of anything beating If Anything Happens I Love You. A tragic short that uses a relatively innocent medium (animation) to deliver one of the most heart-breaking stories I've ever seen.

Hopster: If Anything Happens I Love You seems to be the frontrunner, but I'm especially excited to see Opera, so mark me down for that.

Soul Soul [2020]

Best Animated Feature Film


  • Onward | Kori Rae and Dan Scanlon
  • Over the Moon | Peilin Chou, Glen Keane and Gennie Rin
  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon | Will Becher, Paul Kewley and Richard Phelan
  • Soul | Pete Docter and Dana Murray
  • Wolfwalkers | Tomm Moore, Stéphan Roelants, Ross Stewart and Paul Young


Hopster: Onward was okay, Wolfwalkers was very good, but this is a no-brainer for me; it has to be Soul. Like its emotional counterpart, Inside Out, Soul works on multiple levels: it's a kids' move in adult clothing and/or an adult movie in kids' clothing. Either way, it is beautifully told and animated, and features pitch-perfect music, courtesy of Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste. This was excellent and deserving of the award.

Isaac: Soul does indeed have the hype, the power of Pixar, and the story/delivery to win. BUT I'm all in on the Wolfwalkers upset! I loved the style, the story and interweaving of Irish mythology, it all came together on the screen beautifully. It's not every day that Pixar makes a film like Hop described, but I'm a firm believer that Wolfwalkers also doesn't just come along and knock your socks off. Pixar can stand to take a loss, I'm all for the David beats Goliath scenario here.

  1. All of our odds and implied probabilities are informed from by the extremely helpful Action Network