Oscar Thoughts and Predictions 2016


So here’s the obligatory annual Oscars post. I had thought about doing this a bit differently this year, and had tentatively drafted a post entitled ‘5 Good and 5 Bad things about this Year’s Oscar Nominations’, but I’d probably wind up doing a predictions post as well so just combined them into one.  My predictions are in bold, thoughts underneath, for what it’s worth, I think there’s more chance of me being wrong in more categories this year than any other recently.

As with the last couple of years, I haven’t bothered with the short catagories. Other than a couple of the animations I haven’t seen any of them so I’d either be blindly guessing or copying from online “experts” predictions.

Best Picture

The Big Short
Bridge Of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

This has been quite a different year from usual in the Best Picture field, in that I honestly still think this could go one of three ways. Either, Spotlight, The Big Short, or The Revenant could take this. I can’t remember the last time I was less sure about who the eventual winner would be. Also, let this be the first of many times when we should pause to celebrate the fact that Mad Max: Fury Road has a bunch of Oscar Nods, including several major fields. Obviously that’s where I’d vote, and the Academy could buy themselves years of goodwill if they actually give Fury Road best picture, but I don’t see it happening. Of the three likely contenders, I’d much prefer Spotlight, but as I’ve learned from years of following the Oscars, when in doubt, be the pessimist. I think The Revenant is going to take this, and it by no means deserves to, though I still probably prefer it slightly to The Big Short. IN fact the two of them, along with Brooklyn are the films I think are the least deserving of nods here. Let’s also be pleased that the year’s most obvious pieces of awards bait; The Danish Girl, Suffragette and Joy all didn’t get nominated here.

Best Animated Feature

Boy & The World (O Menino E O Mundo)
Inside Out
Shaun The Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

I’ve seen all of these except Boy & The World. Anomalisa should absolutely win this but who are we kidding? Inside Out has this in the bag. It is overall a decent group of nominees this year though, I’m very happy to see that the likes of Home, Minions or The Good Dinosaur didn’t get in simply by virtue of being major animated features as has often happened before.

Best Actor

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

The first of this years’ group of controversially all-white acting nominees is an unusually weak field for this typically string category. We all know what’s going to happen here, Leonardo DiCaprio’s going to win, he’s going to get a standing ovation, and the Academy’s going to pat themselves on the back for finally rewarding him after 20-odd years of not doing so. Then, in a few years’ time film fans will look back and say “really, that’s what he won for? It should have been The Wolf of Wall Street”. I honestly don’t think he deserves it for his suffering showcase in The Revenant, I’d vote for Fassbender, and Redmayne and Cranston have no business being there. Samuel L Jackson should have got in for The Hateful Eight.

Best Actress

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

I’ll admit that Joy is one of the few films in the major categories I haven’t seen, but due to its lukewarm reception and my opinion of David O Russell’s recent output, I doubt I’d like it much, and I have to say I’m disappointed that Jennifer Lawrence has scored her umpteenth nod for it here. It’s sign enough that she’s on route to becoming the new Meryl Streep in the Academy’s eyes; that they’ll nominate her for whatever she does in a given year. Ironically, this year’s one of the few recently that I actually would have quite liked Streep to get in for Ricki & the Flash. However my favourite leading female performance this year undoubtedly came from Sarah Snook in Predestination, which never stood a hope in hell of getting in. Blanchett would be a worthy winner but I think her two previous wins will essentially discount her. Ronan I wouldn’t put there at all. I’d pick Charlotte Rampling but I think Brie Larson will take this for Room, she’s been cleaning up awards all over in the build-up.

Best Supporting Actor

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

I had originally thought Tom Hardy might be in with a chance of winning this, but now I think it’s going to be between Rylance and Stallone. It’s odd to think of the idea that Stallone might become an Oscar-winning actor, but that’s just the kind of comeback narrative that will likely lead voters to pick him. It’s a real shame that Creed didn’t get any love in other categories, I do believe that if Warner Bros had campaigned for it properly it might well have. Also, where is Walton Goggins?

Best Supporting Actress

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

This is a tougher category to pick, bar Spotlight these films haven’t got much love elsewhere. Vikander and Mara’s nominations are frankly, totally absurd, they are leading performances and should have been entered as such. Category fraud is alive and well. Moreover, if Vikander should have been nominated for something it should have been Ex Machina, which is infinitely superior to The Danish Girl. Were I voting, I would 100% choose Jennifer Jason Leigh. It’s hard to believe this but this is actually her first ever nomination. I’d be very happy to see her win, and it could happen, but I think this is more likely to go to Winslet, a perennial awards favourite for a serviceable performance in Steve Jobs. Having said that, the odds are still on Vikander to take this, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m wrong here.

Best Director

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

Well, the nomination I wished for back in May last year did happen; George Miller is up for best director and he should unquestionably win. However, this category also contains what was for me the most surprising omission; Ridley Scott for The Martian. I had initially thought that they’d reward him here for not just The Martian but his whole career really as he’s never won before. While his Birdman win last year might count against him, I think Iñárritu’s going to take this two years on the trot. Partly because the Academy seems to love The Revenant in general, but also cynically because he’s I believe the only non-white major nominee, so they might want to save some face by awarding him again.

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

I think the potential Best Picture films that don’t win the top prize are each going to be awarded in the screenplay categories, with The Big Short taking adapted…

Best Original Screenplay

Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen, Bridge Of Spies
Alex Garland, Ex Machina
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Inside Out
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, Straight Outta Compton

…while Spotlight takes original. I will say though that yet again I am left totally baffled by what is considered to be an “original” screenplay. Three of these five nominees are based on well-documented true stories, I know what the Academy’s rules are but this just seems ridiculous to me, they should be in adapted. Very happy to see Alex Garland get in there though.

Best Cinematography

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

All very worthy nominees here but this is the one category that The Revenant deserves to win in, with Lubezki very likely to take his third consecutive Oscar for his astonishing camera work there. The only potential spoiler could be the Academy finally realising that they’ve never awarded Deakins and sending it his way (this is his 13th nod).

Best Costume Design

Sandy Powell, Carol
Sandy Powell, Cinderella
Paco Delgado, The Danish Girl
Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road
Jacqueline West, The Revenant

Hard to pick this one, it can often go to a film that has little presence elsewhere, hence why I think this might go to Cinderella, a film I haven’t seen. Otherwise it could go to Mad Max.

Best Documentary

Cartel Land
The Look Of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

I’ve seen the first three of these, and they’re all very good but this should absolutely go to The Look of Silence, my number 3 film of last year, particularly considering that Joshua Oppenheimer didn’t win for The Act of Killing. I don’t think it will though, with Oppenheimer losing out to another music documentary in Amy, an impressive film that I had a few issues with.

Best Makeup And Hairstyling

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

I’d think this is a shoo-in for Fury Road.

Best Original Song

Earned It from Fifty Shades Of Grey (The Weeknd)
Simple Song #3 from Youth (David Lang)
Writings On The Wall from Spectre (Sam Smith)
Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground (Diane Warren and Lady Gaga)
Manta Ray from Racing Extinction

Urgh, yet again this aggressively worthless category clogs up the ceremony with music I mostly never want to listen to. I can see this going to Til It Happens To You, and good lord then we’re going to be living in a world where Lady Gaga is an Oscar winner. Imagine that, Gaga: 1, Hitchcock: 0. Just get rid of this category already!

Best Sound Editing

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

It’s possible they’ll show Star Wars some love but I can see Fury Road deservedly clearing up most of the technical categories.

Best Sound Mixing

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

Again, this’ll probably go to either Mad Max or Star Wars, maybe The Revenant could take it though. 

Best Film Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Big Short
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Revenant

This is one that Fury Road should absolutely win for coherently assembling some of the greatest action sequences ever put on film.

Best Foreign Language Film

Son of Saul
A War
Embrace The Serpent

I haven’t been able to see any of these choices yet to my shame, but Hungarian Holocaust drama Son of Saul seems to have been the favourite for months now.

Best Original Score

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

Okay, I know how I’ve talked about Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence before, but John Williams is the true perennial Oscar nominee. They will just give him a nod for anything he does (remember The Book Thief two years ago? Didn’t think so). This is his fiftieth nomination. Fiftieth! Making him second all-time behind Walt Disney. Now don’t get me wrong, he’s had many, many deserving nominations but more than any other year, I do not understand how he could have been nominated. The Academy supposedly has all these rules about music existing previously that has disqualified numerous scores in the past (a recent example would be Jonny Greenwood’s There Will Be Blood Score). How is The Force Awakens, which uses plenty of themes from the original Star Wars, eligible? I do not know. At least I don’t think it’ll win, it seems that after decades of not winning, Ennio Morricone might finally actually win a competitive Oscar for his decent, if far from best work on The Hateful Eight.

Best Production Design

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

This should definitely go to Fury Road. How on earth is The Danish Girl nominated here?

Best Visual Effects

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

Another category where I’m happy to see Ex Machina get a mention, even if it has next-to no chance of winning. Pretty much any of these would be worthy, but as with most of these “technical”, I’m going with Fury Road.


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