Countdown to the Oscars: Final Predictions

And this is it. There is not much left to be said or analyzed. It has been one of the wildest Oscar races in history, but also one marred by questions of diversity and inclusion in Hollywood and the Academy. A year that should, hopefully, open the eyes of the lazy and ignorant, but also a year that is full of magnificent films. It is truly sad, that in the 21st century, after so much progress, we are still so far behind. What the hell man? Yeah, it is just a little film awards show, but the exposure and acceptance is important, and the Academy by, and I’ll say it again, ignoring Beasts of No Nation, Idris Elba and Carol for Best Picture and Best director, really messed up. How can this be? I just hope real change can occur and the Academy can find a way out of there isolation to bring forth films from all ranges of life. Hollywood is the real problem and they appear not to be changing anytime soon. I also hope Chris Rock digs the knife in a bit, not too long, but keeps the moment and time in plain sight. I have a feeling he is going to be magnificent as always.

Well, after all that, my last minor rant on the subject, I still love all the films nominated. They are all very much deserving and should be honored. There are always going to be films left out, but in the long run of film history, the really meaningful and meaty films will not be forgotten. The most exciting category is Best Picture by far. A three-way race between The Revenant, Spotlight, and The Big Short. All three films have a reasonable chance of claiming the big award, but momentum is on the side of  The Revenant. I still would not be surprised if Spotlight wins just based on the importance of its message and the fact it is an almost flawless film that never becomes sidetracked and stays in focus immaculately. Then you have another message film, The Big Short, full of comedy and education. A film that sinks in deep and grows with each viewing. Yes, it has the PGA victory and that win matches up with Best Picture most frequently, but my money is on The Revenant — an epic of enormous proportions and a film with the most nominations, and Spotlight, one of the finest films about journalistic importance. This race is going to conclude with an amazingly suspenseful Oscar night.

Below are my final predictions. The year has come to end with this Sunday’s Academy Awards. There will be some surprises, hopefully, and whatever Chris Rock delivers will almost assuredly be poignant, funny, and amazing. Here is to hoping for an exciting night!

Best Picture

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

Will Win:  THE REVENANT

If Not:  SPOTLIGHT

Should Win:  SPOTLIGHT

*** The most divisive, entertaining, and suspenseful category of the night. The whole show will boil down to the final award. The safe bet is The Big Short, based off the statistical accuracy of it winning the PGA. Momentum is also a big deal, and The Revenant has all of that right now. It also won the DGA which helps it almost as much as the PGA win for The Big Short. The only honest question is, if The Revenant is so well respected, why did it not win the PGA? It’s successful box office and 12 nominations gives it an edge, and if The Big Short wins, it will only have one other victory, in my opinion, with Best Adapted Screenplay. Then you have the brilliance of Spotlight. I almost feel that with just the SAG Ensemble victory, it is still somewhat on the outside, in a statistical sense. The PGA carries a lot of weight, but there is no question that Spotlight is one of the finest, if not the best picture of the year. The simple, honest and fluid structure exemplifies a piece of excellence in cinema. The film will be remembered for a long time. Having written all of this, my money falls on The Revenant. A great film that is right where it needs to be for the big win. Screw the Rotten Tomatoes scores and lack of narrative or dialogue. Some films are just fine without that. Each film is different and has its own terms. In the end though, I would not be surprised if any of these three films win Best Picture. Carol should have been nominated and it is a disgrace that it was not!! Secretly hoping Spotlight wins!!!

Best Director

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

Will Win:  ALEJANDRO G. IÑÁRRITU (THE REVENANT)

If Not:  GEORGE MILLER (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD)

Should Win:  ALEJANDRO G. IÑÁRRITU (THE REVENANT)

*** Just because Iñárritu won last year does not mean he should not win this year. It is really close between him and Miller. I actually wish they could tie because I think both, along with the not nominated Todd Haynes, did the best direction of the year. Haynes is actually my pick, but he got snubbed, which is ridiculous. Iñárritu won the DGA and is going to win here, but if not, Miller will take it home. I am fine with both, but my bet and preference, however so slightly, is for Iñárritu.

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Will Win:  LEONARDO DICAPRIO (THE REVENANT)

If Not:  MICHAEL FASSBENDER (STEVE JOBS)

Should Win:  LEONARD DICAPRIO (THE REVENANT)

*** DiCaprio has this in the bag. If he does not win, it will be one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history. I do not really believe in the he or she has earned through previous work so give them the win, but he earned it on this one. He should have won for The Wolf of Wall Street. He has won pretty much everything up to this point and it is time to honor one of the best actors in the business. 

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Will Win:  BRIE LARSON (ROOM)

If Not:  SAOIRSE RONAN (BROOKLYN)/CATE BLANCHET (CAROL)

Should Win:  BRIE LARSON (ROOM)

*** Much like DiCaprio, Larson has this one in the bag as well. I absolutely love Blanchett in Carol, and Ronan is equally impressive in Brooklyn, but Larson gave an all star caliber performance and it cannot go unrecognized come Sunday night. Larson will easily win Best Actress.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Will Win:  SYLVESTER STALLONE (CREED)

If Not:  MARK RYLANCE (BRIDGE OF SPIES)

Should Win:  MARK RUFFALO (SPOTLIGHT)

*** Although it is the closest of the acting categories, it feels as if the sentimental, veteran award is going to go to Sylvester Stallone. This will be is only chance for the rest of his career and he earned it. He created this character over thirty years ago and is going to receive some much deserved respect and adulation for reigniting the passion and fire in this character and performance. Having said that, and my bet is on Stallone, any of the five could win. Watch out for Rylance or Ruffalo, who deliver very well respected performances. Let’s face it, the one that should be walking away with the Oscar is snubbed Idris Elba. It is bullshit he was not nominated and a shame on the Academy. However, it should be somewhat suspenseful, but I am almost certain Stallone goes home with the Oscar. 

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Will Win:  ALICIA VIKANDER (THE DANISH GIRL)

If Not:  KATE WINSLET (STEVE JOBS)

Should Win:  ROONEY MARA (CAROL)

*** This should be a tighter category than it is, but Vikander is taking home the Oscar. I believe Mara is the best in this category and what she did in Carol was quite breathtaking. Subdued beauty and heartache throughout. She is so brilliant in Carol. That film still astonishes me and is easily the best film of the year. Watch out for Winslet, who is equally brilliant and almost steals the show away from Fassbender in Steve Jobs. We could get a surprise here with a Winslet victory, but my bet is on Vikander.

Best Original Screenplay

Matt Charman, Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Bridge of Spies
Alex Garland, Ex Machina
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley & Ronnie del Carmen, Inside Out
Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus, Straight Outta Compton

Will Win:  SPOTLIGHT

If Not:  INSIDE OUT

Should Win:  SPOTLIGHT

*** Spotlight gets its possible only victory of the night in this category. No doubt about it and the film deserves it. Inside Out and Straight Outta Compton have a good shot, but Spotlight, which won a WGA, will win the Oscar here.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Charles Randolph & Adam McKay, The Big Short
Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Drew Goddard, The Martian
Emma Donoghue, Room

Will Win:  THE BIG SHORT 

If Not:  ROOM

Should Win:  CAROL

*** If it were a perfect world, Phyllis Nagy’s brilliant adaptation of her own novel would easily win the Oscar here, but it is not. The Big Short won a WGA and will win here. I really would love to see an amazing upset with Carol, but The Big Short has it. It might be that films only win of the night, much like Spotlight.

Best Foreign Film

Embrace of the Serpent
Mustang
Son of Saul
Theeb
A War

Will Win:  SON OF SAUL

If Not:  MUSTANG

Should Win:  SON OF SAUL

*** Son of Saul is most likely a slam dunk, but if not, Mustang is a strong possibility.

Best Documentary Feature

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

Will Win:  AMY

If Not:  THE LOOK OF SILENCE

Should Win:  THE LOOK OF SILENCE

*** The rumor is that we could get a shock here, with What Happened, Miss Simone? or Cartel Land surprising, but I just do not see it. Amy will win, but we all know that Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence is clearly the best in show.

Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa
Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Will Win:  INSIDE OUT

If Not:  ANOMALISA

Should Win:  ANOMALISA

*** I really loved Inside Out, but would be thrilled to see Kaufman’s Anomalisa win. However, Inside Out is taking home the Oscar. No doubt about it.

Best Film Editing

Hank Corwin, The Big Short
Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road
Stephen Mirrione, The Revenant
Tom McArdle, Spotlight
Maryann Brandon & Mary Jo Markey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

If Not:  THE BIG SHORT

Should Win:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

*** This will be one of the more interesting categories of the night. If The Big Short pulls out a win in editing, it will most likely win Best Picture. I do not see it happening, because Mad Max: Fury Road is winning this category. Look at the film for christ sakes. How can it not win Best Film Editing. It is easily the best edited film of the year with all of that authentic action and suspense, and should take home the Oscar. This category will be very interesting…

Best Song

“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction
“Writings on the Wall,” Spectre
“Till It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground
“Simple Song #3,” Youth

Will Win:  THE HUNTING GROUND

If Not:  SPECTRE

Should Win:  YOUTH

*** I am going with Lady Gaga, but I would not be surprised if Sam Smith or the The Weeknd sneaks in a victory.

Best Original Score

Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies
Carter Burwell, Carol
Ennis Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario
John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win:  THE HATEFUL EIGHT

If Not:  CAROL

Should Win:  THE HATEFUL EIGHT

*** I am a huge fan of Carter Burwell’s work on Carol. It is quite breathtaking, but Morricone’s score for The Hateful Eight is hauntingly brilliant. This is a time where, I know what I said earlier about honoring a veteran, someone is due, etc., but he really does deserve his first Oscar. He has an honorary one, but he is going to win this. The master. The legend. 

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win:  STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

If Not:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Should Win:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

*** This is a tough category to pick. The Revenant has all these nominations and does contain some pretty impressive visual effects so theoretically it could win, but my gut tells me Star Wars: The Force Awakens is taking this one. Then you have Mad Max: Fury Road which has some brilliant, melted in visual effects, mixed with real action. This is actually an exciting and nerve racking category to pick for once. It usually goes to the showiest film, so my slight bet is on Star Wars. Give the big box office winner one Oscar for seamlessly bringing back the Star Wars legacy.

Best Cinematography

Edward Lachman, Carol
Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight
John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
Roger Deakins, Sicario

Will Win:  THE REVENANT

If Not:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Should Win:  THE REVENANT

*** Ed Lachman’s work on Carol is subtle, visual poetry, and Seale’s kinetic brilliance on Mad Max: Fury Road is absolutely amazing. I know he has won the last two years, but Chivo is winning, and deservedly so, for a third year in a row. How can he not? It is just that good! Is Mr. Deakins ever going to win??? He might be the greatest cinematographer of all time.

Best Costume Design

Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Will Win:  CAROL

If Not:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Should Win:  CAROL

*** This category could really go to any of the five nominated films. Sandy Powell is nominated twice for Cinderella and Carol, and I would love for her to win for Carol. Mad Max could easily win as well. It is a real toss up and I am just hoping Carol wins so it at least receives one Oscar Sunday night. I would not be surprised if I am wrong here and Mad Max wins.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Will Win:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

If Not:  THE REVENANT 

Should Win:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

*** Mad Max: Fury Road all the way!!!

Best Production Design

Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Will Win:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

If Not:  THE REVENANT

Should Win:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

*** This is going to be close between Mad Max:  Fury Road and The Revenant. They both use a lot of outdoor scenery, but Mad Max is more impressive, creative, and a wild, immersive experience. The edge goes to Mad Max: Fury Road. 

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Prediction:  THE REVENANT

If Not:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Should Win:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

*** A close one between The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road. Going with The Revenant based on the guild victory.

Best Sound Mixing

Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Prediction:  THE REVENANT

If Not:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Should Win:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

*** A close one between The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road. Going with The Revenant based on the guild victory. 

Best Short Film, Live Action
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay
Shok
Stutterer

Prediction:  STUTTERER

If Not:  AVE MARIA

Should Win:  AVE MARIA

Best Short Film, Animated
Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Prediction:  SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM

If Not:  WORLD OF TOMORROW

Should Win:  WORLD OF TOMORROW

Best Documentary Short Subject
Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann
A Girl in the River
Last Day of Freedom

Prediction: CLAUDE LANZMANN

If Not:  BODY TEAM 12

Should Win:  CLAUDE LANZMANN

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s