Updated Oscar Predictions for the End of December

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The Oscar ballots went out today and the Academy can begin voting. It is the real deal now and there is no turning back. In my mind, I can only keep thinking — Vote for Dano, Vote Vikander in Ex Machina, and Vote for Rampling. Those are my three I really want to see, and I would be thrilled if Beasts of No Nation received a plethora of nominations, but that might be wishful thinking. Ballots have to be turned in by January 8th. It is over. I am sure most know who and what they are voting for, and everything is set in stone, but there are always a few surprises. We also have the PGA nominations on January 5th, a clear indicator of five films that will definitely be nominated; the DGA nominations on January 12th, the most likely five nominees, but they are always off by one…usually (last year Clint Eastwood was nominated at the DGA, but Bennet Miller was nominated at the Oscars); and the WGA nominations on January 6th. This is it. Here we go with my final predictions for 2015 and I will update by predictions weekly until the Academy Awards nominations are announced on January 14th. Enjoy!!!

BEST PICTURE

  1. Spotlight
  2. The Revenant
  3. The Martian
  4. The Big Short
  5. Carol
  6. Mad Max: Fury Road
  7. Room
  8. Bridge of Spies
  9. Brooklyn
  10. Steve Jobs
  • NEXT 5:  Inside Out; Straight Outta Compton; Beasts of No Nation; Trumbo; Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Best Picture category is beginning to narrow down, but those last two spots are tough to pick. Brooklyn and Steve Jobs have been losing steam, not receiving ensemble nods at SAG, nor Best Picture nods at the Globes. Then you have all five films mentioned in my next five, and any of those I would not be surprised to see sneak ahead of the two in the last spots. As of right now, Spotlight is still the frontrunner, but watch out for The Big Short which is gaining momentum as I type. Is The Revenant too much for the Academy, or are they loving it? They cannot ignore the craft and it should garner many nominations.

BEST DIRECTOR

  1. George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  2. Ridley Scott (The Martian)
  3. Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
  4. Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant)
  5. Todd Haynes (Carol)
  • NEXT 5:   Adam McKay (The Big Short); Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies); Lenny Abrahamson (Room); Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation); J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Miller, Scott and McCarthy are locks. I am pretty sure that Iñárritu is as well, as long as the Academy appreciated the film and loved the craft overall. That last spot is somewhat up for grabs, but how can they ignore Haynes. The film might be his finest achievement and he still has not been nominated in this category. But, McKay, with the huge support and love for his film and what this unexpected director has done could easily place him in the five. The DGA is really going to give some clarity on which way the industry is going. Watch out for McKay!

BEST ACTOR

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
  2. Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
  3. Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
  4. Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
  5. Johnny Depp (Black Mass)
  • NEXT 5:  Matt Damon (The Martian); Will Smith (Concussion);Ian McKellen (Mr. Holmes); Michael Caine (Youth); Steve Carell (The Big Short)

Is it  Depp or Damon for the final spot? You can make a case for both, especially Depp since he has the SAG nomination and being in something of a comeback role for him even if the film was highly mediocre. Damon is in a very popular film that is going to win a lot of technical awards, unless Star Wars: The Force Awakens does, and has not been nominated since 2010 for Invictus. Watch out for McKellan or Caine, as the Academy always likes to nominate the legends and both could easily squeeze in. Smith would not surprise me either, as he is receiving some of the best reviews of his career and received a Globe nomination. After the nominations, it is all about DiCaprio.

BEST ACTRESS

  1. Brie Larson (Room)
  2. Cate Blanchett (Carol)
  3. Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
  4. Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
  5. Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
  • NEXT 5:  Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl); Lily Tomlin (Grandma); Maggie Smith (The Lady in the Van); Carey Mulligan (Suffragette); Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Larson, Blanchett and Ronan are locks. Done deal. Then it gets tricky. If Vikander ends up lead instead of supporting, she is in and Lawrence or Rampling are out. I really am rooting for Rampling! How has she never been nominated before!? Lawrence is so great in Joy and should get in, but this year is packed with outstanding performances and I am sure the Academy would love to not only honor Rampling, but Tomlin or Smith as well. I cannot wait to see how the nominations unfold here. It will be one of the more exciting categories come the morning of January 14th.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  1. Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
  2. Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation)
  3. Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
  4. Christian Bale (The Big Short)
  5. Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
  • NEXT 5:  Jacob Tremblay (Room); Michael Keaton (Spotlight); Michael Shannon (99 Homes); Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight); Tom Hardy (The Revenant)

The absolute toughest category to predict. To be honest with you, the only true lock is Rylance and he might be the frontrunner. Elba is a strong bet as well, but then it is jammed pack full of legitimate contenders. It is really more questions than answers at this point. Do either Keaton or Ruffalo, or both, get in for Spotlight? If they would move Keaton to Best Actor he would probably sneak in over Depp or Damon. Does Shannon get in as he did at SAG and the Globes? Does the deserving Dano get the nomination he so rightly deserves? He should be the frontrunner. Can Stallone crack the top five and be the frontrunner over Rylance? Craziness.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  1. Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
  2. Rooney Mara (Carol)
  3. Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
  4. Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
  5. Jane Fonda (Youth)
  • NEXT 5:  Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina); Helen Mirren (Trumbo); Elizabeth Banks (Love & Mercy); Joan Allen (Room); Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria)

As long as Vikander stays in the supporting category she has a great shot at winning, even over Mara. If she is in the lead category, she gets in here with her brilliant work in Ex Machina (she was nominated for both at the Globes). The Globes and SAG went for Mirren, but the Globes also nominated Fonda, although Vikander (TDG) and Mara went lead. Vikander (for either role), Mara, Winslet and Leigh are in, and it comes down to the two legends — Fonda or Mirren. The easy pick is Mirren, but wouldn’t it be great to see Fonda at the Academy Awards, and you know they would love to honor her in any way.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  1. Spotlight
  2. Inside Out
  3. Bridge of Spies
  4. The Hateful Eight
  5. Trainwreck
  • NEXT 5:  Ex Machina; Joy; Straight Outta  Compton; Son of Saul; Youth

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  1. Carol
  2. The Big Short
  3. Steve Jobs
  4. Room
  5. Brooklyn
  • NEXT 5:  The Martian; Anomalisa; The Revenant; Trumbo; Beasts of No Nation

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  1. Carol
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road
  3. The Revenant
  4. Sicario
  5. Bridge of Spies
  • NEXT 5: The Hateful Eight; The Martian; Brooklyn; The Walk; Creed

BEST FILM EDITING

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. Spotlight
  3. The Big Short
  4. Carol
  5. The Martian
  • NEXT 5: The Revenant; Bridge of Spies; Room; The Hateful Eight;  Brooklyn

BEST ANIMATED FILM

  1. Inside Out
  2. Anomalisa
  3. The Good Dinosaur
  4. The Peanuts Movie
  5. Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • NEXT: Minions

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  1. Son of Saul
  2. Mustang
  3. A War
  4. Labyrinth of Lies
  5. Embrace of the Serpent
  • NEXT:  Viva; Theeb; The Brand New Testament; The Fencer

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  1. The Look of Silence
  2. Amy
  3. Heart of a Dog
  4. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
  5. Listen to Me Marlon
  • NEXT 5: Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom; He Named Me Malala, Cartel Land; The Hunting Ground; What Happened, Miss Simone?

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  1. Carol
  2. The Danish Girl
  3. Mad Max: Fury Road
  4. Bridge of Spies
  5. The Revenant
  • NEXT 5: The Martian; Brooklyn; Crimson Peak; Cinderella; Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  1. Carol
  2. The Danish Girl
  3. Mad Max: Fury Road
  4. Brooklyn
  5. Cinderella
  • NEXT 5: Crimson Peak; The Revenant; Bridge of Spies; Macbeth; The Hateful Eight

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  1. Carol
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  3. The Danish Girl
  4. Inside Out
  5. The Hateful Eight
  • NEXT 5: Mad Max: Fury Road; Spotlight; Bridge of Spies; Steve Jobs; The Martian

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  1. The Martian
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  4. The Walk
  5. Jurassic World
  • NEXT 5: Ex Machina; Tomorrowland; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Ant-Man; In the Heart of the Sea
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