2016 Academy Award Predictions

Published On February 25, 2016 | By harmansingh | Arts, Life
Photo courtesy of Prayitno/Flickr.

(Prayitno/Flickr.)

Ali Amad

It’s that time of year again. The 88th Academy Awards are coming up this Sunday at 8 p.m. (EST), hosted by comedian Chris Rock.

It’s always a thankless task guessing the winners every year, simply because the generally predictable Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a habit of throwing a complete curve ball in its choices every now and then.

Think Shakespeare in Love upsetting Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture in 1998 or the relatively unknown Adrien Brody topping Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day-Lewis in 2002 for Best Actor in The Pianist. And before we start, I should mention that I haven’t seen all the nominees (Room is the only Best Picture nominee I haven’t seen), but I’ll be making informed picks based on industry buzz and speculation.

So without further ado, here are my (probably way off) 2016 Oscar predictions:

 

Best Picture:

The Revenant led all films with 12 nominations this year. (Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.)

The Revenant led all films with 12 Oscar nominations this year. (Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.)

 

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

 

The final award presented Sunday night will also be the most hotly contested. The early awards season favourite was Spotlight, an ensemble piece that had the added bonus of being based on a true story (the Academy LOVES that). But as time passed, some tough competition came along in the form of Wall Street crisis drama The Big Short and revenge epic The Revenant, both of which are also fact-based retellings (anyone noticing a pattern?).

Who will win: The Revenant. The Big Short and Spotlight both have a chance at grabbing the coveted statuette, but the sheer ambition and technical difficulty of filming The Revenant (the film was shot in sequence using only natural light in temperatures frequently below freezing) will doubtlessly sway a lot of voters. Also, that bear scene might be the most memorable bit of cinema we’ve seen all year.

Dark Horse: Spotlight. You can read my review of Spotlight here.

 

Best Director:

Alejandro González Iñárritu won three Oscars for Birdman last year. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Alejandro González Iñárritu won three Oscars for Birdman last year. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

 

Who will win: Alejandro González Iñárritu. Simply put, no other director nominated this year could challenge Iñárritu for determination, drive and execution. The Revenant, plot frailties aside, is a beautifully filmed cinematic achievement that should garner its director his second consecutive best directing Oscar.

Dark Horse: Tom McCarthy.

 

Best Actor:

Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

 

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Matt Damon, The Martian

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

 

Who will win: Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s s a shoo-in to finally win his first Oscar for three reasons:

  1. There’s strong public and industry sentiment that DiCaprio is due for a win after four earlier acting nominations ended in disappointment.
  2. DiCaprio’s well-documented harrowing experience filming The Revenant will seal the deal on pure suffering alone.
  3. His mostly non-verbal performance as fur trapper Hugh Glass is a clear departure from anything else he’s ever done, but it still might be his most memorable role yet.

Dark Horse: Eddie Redmayne. His role in The Danish Girl as sex assignment surgery recipient Lili Elbe is edgy and progressive in all the ways the Academy loves.

 

Best Actress:

Photo courtesy of A24 Films.

Room won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. (Photo courtesy of A24 Films.)

 

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

 

Who will win: Brie Larson. Room has drawn plenty of praise, most of it focused on Larson’s performance as a woman abducted and held in captivity with her five-year-old son. She faces stiff competition from the likes of two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, but Larson should have her acceptance speech ready come Sunday.

Dark Horse: Jennifer Lawrence. The only good thing most critics had to say about Joy, a biopic about Miracle Mop inventor and millionaire Joy Mangano, was about Lawrence’s unique and challenging performance. The Oscar odds are definitely ever in her favour.

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

 

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

 

Who will win: Sylvester Stallone. It’s tough to imagine Stallone besting Tom Hardy and Christian Bale in the acting department, but there’s nothing the Academy likes more than a good old-fashioned comeback story. And what better way to cap Stallone’s long and bumpy career than an Oscar for iconic role that launched his career.

Dark Horse: Tom Hardy. What could have been a forgettable one-dimensional character comes alive in Hardy’s performance as the racist John Fitzgerald in The Revenant.

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Alicia Vikander is a first-time nominee this year for The Danish Girl. (Photo courtesy of Focus Features.)

Alicia Vikander is a first-time nominee this year for The Danish Girl. (Photo courtesy of Focus Features.)

 

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Rooney Mara, Carol

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

 

A strong argument could be made that Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara should be nominated for Best Leading Actress for their respective films, but movie studios have a proven track record of entering actors and actresses in as many categories as possible to boost their movie’s award totals. Coincidentally enough, Vikander and Mara are also the frontrunners to win their first Oscar.

Who will win: Alicia Vikander. Vikander’s performance in The Danish Girl underpins Eddie Redmayne’s showier role, adding a secondary emotional dimension that the movie heavily relies on.

Dark Horse: Kate Winslet. Winslet is the heavyweight here based on reputation alone, but her role in Steve Jobs is far from her best work.

 

Animated Feature Film:

Inside Out could become the eighth Pixar film to win Best Animated Feature this Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.)

Inside Out could become the eighth Pixar film to win Best Animated Feature this Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.)

 

Inside Out

Anomalisa

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Boy and the World

When Marnie Was There

 

Who Will Win: Inside Out. This pick is as sure a bet as it’s going to get as far as the fickle Academy is concerned. The critically acclaimed Pixar film has a 98 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has already become a pop culture mainstay.

Dark Horse: Anomalisa. Directed by Academy darling Charlie Kaufman, this stop-motion film garnered plenty of praise and might have had a solid chance in a different year.

Adapted Screenplay:

The Big Short boasts a cast including Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Brad Pitt. (Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.)

The Big Short boasts a cast including Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Brad Pitt. (Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.)

 

Drew Goddard, The Martian

Nick Hornby, Brooklyn

Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, The Big Short

Phyllis Nagy, Carol

Emma Donoghue, Room

 

Who Will Win: The Big Short. McKay and Randolph’s script for The Big Short has all the hallmarks of a great screenplay: Great dialogue, quirky entertaining characters and a healthy dose of righteous indignation at the actions of Wall Street executives behind the 2008 financial meltdown.

Dark Horse: Emma Donoghue, Room.

 

Original Screenplay:

Spotlight received six Oscar nominations this year. (Photo courtesy of Open Road Films.)

Spotlight received six Oscar nominations this year. (Photo courtesy of Open Road Films.)

 

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight

Matt Charman, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen, Bridge of Spies

Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus, Straight Outta Compton

Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley, Inside Out

Alex Garland, Ex Machina

 

Who Will Win: Spotlight. The highlight of Spotlight is its solid script, which manages to encompass the entirety of Boston’s social fabric in its retelling of a real-life Catholic church child sex abuse scandal that rocked the city in the early 2000s.

Dark Horse: Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley, Inside Out. Inside Out cleverly explores the complex spectrum of emotion and was an instant hit with kids and adults alike.

 

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