2016 Academy Awards – Predictions

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The 2016 awards season is coming to a close this Sunday, crowning a new crop of winners for a truly tumultuous year of film (including a bit of controversy #OscarsSoWhite).  With such a wide variety of films and genres, this year’s Academy Awards ceremony is actually a real race – it’s been really difficult to pin down predictions – it’s going to be a very close call on some of these winners – with some truly excellent and deserving performances vying for the win. Having seen all of the best picture and acting nominees, it’s safe to say that for the first time in a very long time, with the exception of those lead acting categories (looking at you Leo), the potential winners aren’t a complete lock.

Here’s my picks for who will win, and who could potentially upset for the big ticket awards:

 

Best Picture
“Spotlight”
“The Revenant”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Room”
“The Martian”

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You could make a case for any of these fine films taking home the award for best picture. Right now, the three leaders in the field at Spotlight, the early season favorite, having won the SAG award for best ensemble (and swept the Independent Spirit Awards); The Big Short is gaining momentum having won the Producers Guild Award; and The Revenant is a strong contender having been awarded the Directors Guild Award. Of the three, Spotlight was definitely my favorite. This is such a close race – but The Revenant has the edge, winning not only the Golden Globe, but also the BAFTA.

Will Win: The Revenant
Could Win: Spotlight

 

Best Director
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”

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What an absolutely STACKED category – each of these filmmakers has a unique way of telling a story on film and have produced some absolutely stunning work (each of the directors’ films nominated are also best picture nominees). This is a two-man race between Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant, and George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road. Each director subjected their actors and crew to harsh conditions (tundra vs. desert), while producing visceral and awe-inspiring sequences. Iñárritu is the favorite to win, having picked up wins for the BAFTA and Directors Guild Awards (a standard predictor for the best director category). Iñárritu would be the first director in the Academy’s history to win back to back years for best director (Birdman, 2015).

Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Could Win: George Miller

 

Actor in a Leading Role
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

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Brace yourselves….the internet will implode as the award for Best Actor is announced because…it’s LEO DICAPRIO’s YEAR! Yes. I’m calling it (and hopefully not jinxing it), but Leonardo DiCaprio will finally take home his Oscar. All he had to do what get mauled by a bear, drag himself through the Canadian tundra, eat raw bison, sleep inside a horse carcass, and of course, ACT THE HELL OUT OF HIS ROLE. DiCaprio is a vengeful force to be reckoned with as Hugh Glass in The Revenant. He has swept this entire awards season, winning every major award that he’s been nominated for. It’s a sweet vindication for a man who has earned himself legendary meme status with his Oscar-less exploits.   Some argue that Leo’s win this year will be out of respect. FORGET THAT NONSENSE! DiCaprio delivered his most impressive performance to date – an astonishing and physical feat.  Even with all of the stellar performances from the other nominated gents, I’m Team DiCaprio through and through. #YEAROFDICAPRIO

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Will Win: LEONARDO DICAPIO
Should Win: LEOOOOOOOOO

Also….if you want to help Leo get that Oscar…check out this hilarious game: http://redcarpetrampage.com/

 

Actress in a leading role
Brie Larson, “Room”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”

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I was in awe of Brie Larson’s masterful portrayal of a kidnapped mother held captive.  Her performance is deeply affecting – an emotional powerhouse – leaving viewers exhausted and undeniably moved.  Brie Larson has also swept the late season awards season, winning award after much deserved award. I don’t think there’s a performance that’s more deserving of the Oscar than Brie Larson’s absolutely astounding work in Room. If you haven’t seen the film yet, do yourself a favor and go see it.

Will Win: Brie Larson
Should Win: Brie Larson

 

Actor in a supporting role
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”

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Awards for supporting roles are always my favorite of the awards season, as it’s always a wild and wide ranging field with an undecided outcome. This year, Sylvester Stallone is the popular choice for the win for his excellent reprisal of Rocky Balboa (for the seventh time in his career) in Creed. Rocky has been near and dear to my heart for as long as I can remember (he’s certainly got that sentimental vote) – an iconic character, who is by no means an absolute lock to win. The biggest threat to Stallone’s win comes from Tom Hardy, for his intense, but somewhat incomprehensible role in The Revenant. The rest of the nominees gave less showy, but equally powerful performances, specifically Mark Ruffalo, who was resolutely excellent in Spotlight. Mark Rylance, who was enormously watchable in his work for Bridge of Spies and Christian Bale’s manic energy was hugely entertaining in The Big Short. I’ll say it again – I LOVE this category.

Will Win: Sylvester Stallone
Could Win: Tom Hardy

 

Actress in a supporting role
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”

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While you can make a solid case for any of these talented women taking home the Oscar, the frontrunners are definitely Kate Winslet, for her brilliant work in Steve Jobs, and Alicia Vikander, for a truly lovely performance in The Danish Girl. The major awards tally leading up to the Academy Awards has the ladies in a dead heat. A win would bring a fantastic culminating achievement for Alicia Vikander, who has had a hell of a year (she could have easily garnered a nomination for her role in Ex Machina). Kate Winslet, as an awards season veteran, could win and give us a Jack and Rose reunion (aptly dubbed Titanic 2: She Actually Let Go, But It Worked Out).

Jennifer Jason Leigh is my wild card outside choice for the win – with her absolutely bonkers performance in The Hateful Eight.

Will Win: Alicia Vikander
Could Win: Kate Winslet

 

Best adapted screenplay
“Carol”
“The Big Short”
“Brooklyn”
“The Martian”
“Room”

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The Big Short has managed to shape an inherently un-cinematic financial scandal into an entertaining and pop culture infused caper. It’s not easy to make incoherent financial jargon into a film that audiences WANT to watch. The screenplay is witty and informative – a potent mix of drama and dark humour that provides us, the audience with a justification for our righteous anger over the financial ruin of the global economy.

Will Win: The Big Short

 

Best original screenplay
“Spotlight”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Ex Machina”
“Straight Outta Compton”
“Inside Out”

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There is so much good work in this category. Spotlight seems the likely winner, having won Critics’ Choice, WGA and BAFTA prizes, among others. I’d prefer to see something more imaginative, and frankly, original, win in this category – like Ex Machina or Inside Out.

Will Win: Spotlight
Could Win: Ex Machina

 

Best original score
“The Hateful Eight”
“Sicario”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“Carol”
“Bridge of Spies”

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Brace yourselves (you too Leo), because the legendary Ennio Morricone has never won a competitive Oscar (although he did receive an honorary one in 2007). Morricone isn’t the only legend on the ballot – we have the incomparable John Williams on this list as well – but he’s the favorite for The Hateful Eight, having won Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe and BAFTA prizes. The Score for the Hateful Eight is stunning and as snarky as the dialogue in the curse-word laden script. Give it to the maestro Morricone.

Will Win: Ennio Morricone

 

Best cinematography
“The Revenant”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Carol”
“Sicario”
“The Hateful Eight”

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Another legend (who puts Leo’s struggle in perspective) is Roger Deakins– with 75 cinematography and director of photography credits to his name, some of them amongst the most beautifully shot films I’ve ever seen – has never won an Academy Award.  Deakins is nominated for Sicario – painstakingly filmed, with a gritty and unrelenting realism that elevated the film. Unfortunately, he’s up against Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki for The Revenant. The Revenant was filmed in natural light, capturing vast wilderness and insanely brutal violence with an impeccable grace and fluidity – it’s a truly awe-inspiringly beautiful film. . It’s unfathomable that Lubezki won’t win, making him the first person ever to win this prize three years in a row (after Gravity and Birdman).

Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki

 

Best original song
“Simple Song 3,” “Youth”
“Manta Ray,” “Racing Extinction”
“Writing’s on the Wall,” “Spectre”
“Til it Happens to You,” “The Hunting Ground”
“Earned It,” “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Lady Gaga is on her way to becoming an elusive EGOT winner! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the workings of 30 Rock a la Tracy Jordan – the EGOT is the exclusive Emmy-Grammy-Oscar-Tony winner. While “Earned It” is, in my opinion, the best song nominated – I just can’t see Oscar and Fifty Shades of Grey hanging out together. Sam Smith’s James Bond theme “Writing’s on the Wall” won the Golden Globe, but lacks the power of Adele’s previous entry for “Skyfall”. I’m going with Lady Gaga for this one.

Will Win: “Til It Happens To You”
Could Win: “Earned It”

 

Best visual effects
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“The Revenant”
“The Martian”
“Ex Machina”

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Technical awards aren’t typically considered “bit ticket” when it comes to the Oscar ballot – but – for this year’s nominees, I wanted to make a distinction between the excellent visual effects work compiled by some really talented artists. The spectrum of visual effects ranges from CGI to practical effects. The spectrum is also represented in the nominees. While the knee-jerk reaction is to choose computer heavy effects – my top picks in this category are Mad Max: Fury Road which seamlessly which married an incredible assemblage of practical effects (yes, most of those stunts were performed by actual people) with invisible effects (Furiosa’s robotic arm); and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which kept with the tradition of the original films, managing to merge CGI with puppetry, robots and costumes. I’m not sure if Academy voters are able to make the distinction between practical effects and CGI when voting in this category.

Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

 

Here’s the full list of predictions for the 2016 Academy Awards:

Best picture
“Spotlight”
“The Revenant”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Room”
“The Martian”

 

Actor in a leading role
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

 

Actress in a leading role
Brie Larson, “Room”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”

 

Best director
Alejandro Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”

 

Actress in a supporting role
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”

 

Actor in a supporting role
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”

 

Best foreign language film
“Son of Saul”
“Mustang”
“A War”
“Embrace of the Serpent”
“Theeb”

 

Best animated feature film
“Inside Out”
“When Marnie Was There”
“Anomalisa”
“Boy and the World”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”

 

Best adapted screenplay

“Carol”
“The Big Short”
“Brooklyn”
“The Martian”
“Room”

 

Best original screenplay
“Spotlight”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Ex Machina”
“Straight Outta Compton”
“Inside Out”

 

Best original score
“The Hateful Eight”
“Sicario”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“Carol”
“Bridge of Spies”

 

Best film editing
“The Revenant”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Spotlight”
“The Big Short”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

 

Best cinematography
“The Revenant”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Carol”
“Sicario”
“The Hateful Eight”

 

Best production design
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Bridge of Spies”
“The Martian”
“The Danish Girl”
“The Revenant”

 

Best visual effects
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“The Revenant”
“The Martian”
“Ex Machina”

 

Best original song
“Simple Song 3,” “Youth”
“Manta Ray,” “Racing Extinction”
“Writing’s on the Wall,” “Spectre”
“Til it Happens to You,” “The Hunting Ground”
“Earned It,” “Fifty Shades of Grey”

 

Best documentary short subject
“Body Team 12”
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”
“Chau, Beyond the Lines”
“Lasy Day of Freedom”

 

Best documentary feature
“Amy”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“The Look of Silence”
“Cartel Land”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

 

Best costume design
“Carol”
“Cinderella”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Danish Girl”
“The Revenant”

 

Best sound mixing
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“Bridge of Spies”

 

Best live action short film
“Ave Maria”
“Shok”
“Day One”
“Stutterer”
“Everything Will Be Okay”

 

Best animated short film
“Sanjay’s Super Team”
“Bear Story”
“World of Tomorrow”
“Prologue”
“We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”

 

Best makeup and hairstyling
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared”
“The Revenant”

 

Best sound editing
“The Revenant”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“Sicario”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

 

 

 

 

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