Oscars 2021: Sound–Shortlist of 10 Films

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has announced the shortlists in 10 categories for the upcoming 94th Oscars ceremony.

The shortlist voting concluded on December 15, and the remaining ones will move on to the official phase one voting.

Nominations voting begins on Thursday, January 27, and ends on Tuesday, February 1.

The official credits and nominees for all the films will be announced, with the rest of the Oscar nominations on Tuesday, February 8.


  • “Belfast” (Focus Features)
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros)
  • “Last Night in Soho” (Focus Features)
  • “The Matrix Resurrections” (Warner Bros)
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
  • “A Quiet Place Part II” (Paramount Pictures)
  • “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Sony Pictures)
  • “Tick, Tick … Boom!” (Netflix)
  • “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)

The first year that the Oscars have presented a shortlist for sound, just two years after merging the awards for sound mixing and sound editing. It seems not to be raising any glaring issues thus far as the 10 features to make the cut are all respected entries and worthy of a nomination.

Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho,” the most surprising entry, could bode well for a showing in other artisan categories like production and costumes.

It was a massive year for musicals, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Tick, Tick … Boom!” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” will represent the genre. Both stand an excellent chance to make the final cut. But, unfortunately, Joe Wright’s “Cyrano” and Jon M. Chu’s “In the Heights” were passed over for their achievements.

The biggest omission is Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley,” which missed in two critical races that were announced — unsure if we can chalk it up to not seeing the film in time (which is hard to argue considering “Spider-Man: No Way Home” made it) or if the film’s divisive nature is having trouble with members. Other notable rebuffs were Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up” and Marvel’s “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

Members of the Sound Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees. All members of the Sound Branch will be invited to view eight-minute excerpts and interviews with the artists from each of the shortlisted films beginning Friday, Jan. 28. Branch members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.

Visual Effects

  • “Black Widow” (Marvel Studios)
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros)
  • “Eternals” (Marvel Studios)
  • “Free Guy” (20th Century Studios)
  • “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Sony Pictures)
  • “Godzilla vs. Kong” (Warner Bros)
  • “The Matrix Resurrections” (Warner Bros)
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (Marvel Studios)
  • “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Sony Pictures)

Marvel Studios owned the Visual Effects Branch this year, with “Black Widow,” “Eternals,” and “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” all making appearances. However, Scarlett Johansson’s last entry as the Natasha Romanoff may face the biggest hurdle of the three due to the early release.

Marvel can also own half of Sony Pictures’ success with getting the box-office juggernaut “Spider-Man: No Way Home” into the lineup. The Tom Holland and Zendaya vehicle dominated the box office, scoring the third highest-grossing opening of all time. That’s going to help for awards campaigning in January.

Taking cues from “Kong: Skull Island” that was nominated here, Warner Bros’ “Godzilla vs. Kong” mustered its way in, alongside the sequel “The Matrix: Resurrections” and the category frontrunner “Dune.”

Kudos to the Academy for not forgetting “Free Guy,” which deserves a nom.

All members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts and interviews with the artists from each of the shortlisted films on Saturday, Jan. 29. Then, branch members will vote to nominate five films.

Original Score

  • “Being the Ricardos” (Amazon Studios) – Daniel Pemberton
  • “Candyman” (Universal Pictures) – Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe
  • “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix) – Nicholas Britell
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros) – Hans Zimmer
  • “Encanto” (Walt Disney Pictures) – Germaine Franco
  • “The French Dispatch” (Searchlight Pictures) – Alexandre Desplat
  • “The Green Knight” (A24) – Daniel Hart
  • “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) – Jeymes Samuel
  • “King Richard” (Warner Bros) – Kris Bowers
  • “The Last Duel” (20th Century Studios) – Harry Gregson-Williams
  • “No Time to Die” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) – Hans Zimmer
  • “Parallel Mothers” (Sony Pictures Classics) – Alberto Iglesias
  • “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix) – Jonny Greenwood
  • “Spencer” (Neon/Topic Studios) – Jonny Greenwood
  • “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Apple Original Films/A24) – Carter Burwell

This year, there are two possibilities for double nominations in the original score category. Oscar winner Hans Zimmer (“The Lion King”) nabbed two of the 15 spots with “Dune” and “No Time to Die” while the still unrewarded Jonny Greenwood was shortlisted for “The Power of the Dog” and “Spencer.”

Germaine Franco, who became the first Latina to ever join the Music Branch in 2019, is the only woman represented among the shortlisted for the animated musical “Encanto.”

She could become one of the favorites if the film continues to gain traction in other races like animated feature and original song.

The most shocking (but welcoming) inclusion on the list is the horror film “Candyman” by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, who is one of three Black composers to make the shortlist, including Kris Bowers for “King Richard” and Jeymes Samuel for “The Harder They Fall.”

The most shocking exclusion came from Nathan Johnson’s beautiful work on “Nightmare Alley” failing to cut. At the same time, the branch also passed on another Disney feature, “Raya and the Last Dragon,” from nine-time Oscar-nominee James Newton Howard.

Despite three scores submitted this year, the Grammy-winning The National failed to make a list with “C’mon C’mon,” “Cyrano” and “Jockey.”

Animated Short Film

  • “Affairs of the Art”
  • “Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman’s Apprentice”
  • “Bad Seeds”
  • “Bestia”
  • “Boxballet”
  • “Flowing Home”
  • “Mum Is Pouring Rain”
  • “The Musician”
  • “Namoo”
  • “Only a Child”
  • “Robin Robin”
  • “Souvenir Souvenir”
  • “Step into the River”
  • “Us Again”
  • “The Windshield Wiper”

Documentary Short Subject

  • “Águilas”
  • “Audible”
  • “A Broken House”
  • “Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis”
  • “Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker”
  • “Day of Rage”
  • “The Facility”
  • “Lead Me Home”
  • “Lynching Postcards: “Token of a Great Day”
  • “The Queen of Basketball”
  • “Sophie & the Baron”
  • “Takeover”
  • “Terror Contagion”
  • “Three Songs for Benazir”
  • “When We Were Bullies”

Live Action Short

  • “Ala Kachuu – Take and Run”
  • “Censor of Dreams”
  • “The Criminals”
  • “Distances”
  • “The Dress”
  • “Frimas”
  • “Les Grandes Claques”
  • “The Long Goodbye”
  • “On My Mind”
  • “Please Hold”
  • “Stenofonen”
  • “Tala’vision”
  • “Under the Heavens”
  • “When the Sun Sets”
  • “You’re Dead Helen”