My Oscars 2016 Fearless Forecast

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The 88th Annual Academy Awards is less than 24 hours away, but it already made history early this year – for the wrong reasons. For the second year in a row, not a single person of color was nominated in the acting categories, leading to boycotts from Spike Lee, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and many more. The outrage also fuelled the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, further prompting the Academy to mull over major changes. Whether or not these will address and eventually rectify the diversity issue, only time will tell. 

Despite the uproar, comedian Chris Rock decided to push through with his hosting duties anyway. This marks his return to the Oscars stage after 11 years. And judging from his opening monologue from the 2005 ceremonies (where he relished the presence of 4 black nominees), he will not mince words:

So, expect tomorrow to be full of snide references.

But for now, here are my picks:

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

PICK: Spotlight. This is probably the most divisive Best Picture race in recent memory. Three of the nominees were major winners in pre-Oscar accolades. The Big Short picked up steam from the PGAsSpotlight scored in both Screen Actors’ Guild and Critics’ Choice, and The Revenant won Best Drama at the Golden GlobesThe Revenant may be at an advantage for having the most nods, but might suffer from its lack of writing nominations. In this neck-and-neck battle, I think Spotlight will pull a Crash.

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

PICK: George Miller. Iñárritu’s victory for Birdman last year may or may not work in his favor, so 70-year old Miller might still have the edge for reinvigorating a post-apocalyptic franchise. 

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

PICK: Leonardo DiCaprio. Steve Jobs and Trumbo suffer from minimal mileage, while Redmayne already won last year. It’s Leo’s time.

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

PICK: Brie Larson. Blanchett and Lawrence are both recent winners and their surnames are neither Day-Lewis nor Penn. Rampling is a long shot. Much as I’m pining for a Saoirse Spoiler, I think it’s really a lock for Larson, who had the most demanding role.

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

PICK: Sylvester Stallone. Considering his character’s pivotal role in The Big Short, Bale’s relegation to this category is a head-scratcher. Hardy was more memorable in Mad Max, while the two Marks are possible usurpers. Still, it looks like a sure ball for Sly – for a role which he already immortalized 40 years ago.

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

PICK:  Alicia Vikander. Winslet enjoyed an early head start, but Vikander has seemingly taken over for what is arguably a lead role. Then again, she would have had weaker chances in the Best Actress Category.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton 

PICK: Spotlight. Two Best Picture nominees lead this pack, with Spotlight having the extra edge. Tom McCarthy may be a long shot for Best Director, but he is more likely to be honored for his writing.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room 

PICK: The Big Short. It would be nice if Carol received a consolation prize for being the only Adapted Screenplay nominee not up for Best Picture, but I know that’s far-fetched. The Big Short seems to be the favorite among this roster. As in the case of Tom McCarthy, this is also director/co-writer Adam McKay‘s better shot at taking home a statuette.

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

PICK: Inside Out. Because it’s Disney/Pixar’s finest work in years and the Original Screenplay nod is a dead giveaway.

BEST FILM EDITING
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

PICK: The Big Short. The Adam McKay comedy owes much of its effectivity to its use of juxtaposition and cutaways. Plus, with the exception of Gravity, the Academy seems to favor non-action movies in this category lately.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario 

PICK: The Revenant. The revenge tale benefitted largely from its use of natural light. I sense a three-peat for Emmanuel Lubezki.

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

PICK: Mad Max: Fury Road. Winners of this category tend to be period pieces, but I think they’ll shift towards a more futuristic direction this year.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

PICK: Mad Max: Fury Road. Sandy Powell‘s nominated works for Carol and Cinderella will likely cancel each other out. Also, see BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN. 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens 

PICK: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The first trilogy dominated this category, but the second trilogy lost grip. I think it’s high time the franchise re-established its stronghold. Then again, I’m also not ruling out an Ex Machina shocker.

BEST MAKE-UP AND HAIRSTYLING
The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Up the Window and Disappeared
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

PICK: Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s a pleasant surprise seeing The 100 Year-Old Man earn its sole nod, but it will likely climb up the window and disappear from contention. Mad Max will once again triumph.

BEST SOUND EDITING
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

PICK: The Martian. Just because I feel that this film should win in at least one technical category, especially after the Ridley Scott snub.

BEST SOUND MIXING
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

PICK: Mad Max: Fury Road. What’s not to love about heavy metal guitar riffs blasting over revving engines?

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens 

PICK: The Hateful Eight. Star Wars might be in contention, but then again, voters might find John Williams‘ score too derivative of his past work for the franchise. The odds are still in favor of Ennio Maccione, who already won the Golden Globes (among others) for the Tarantino film. 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Earned It” (50 Shades of Gray)
“Manta Ray” (Racing Extinction)
“Simple Song #3” (Youth)
“‘Till it Happens to You” (The Hunting Ground)
“Writings on the Wall” (Spectre)

PICK: “‘Til it Happens to You” (The Hunting Ground). The Weeknd‘s entry is the closest this roster has to a crowd-pleaser, but voters might be repelled by the fact that it’s from a bad movie.  Lady Gaga has the apparent edge, following her Golden Globe acting win and memorable Bowie tribute at the Grammys. Plus, she is once again expected to stage a spectacular performance.

Lastly, I haven’t seen any of the nominees from the ff. categories, but I’ll take a wild guess anyway:

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
Mustang (France)
Son of Saul (Hungary)
Theeb (Jordan)
A War (Denmark)

PICK: Son of Saul. The Eastern European nation has never received so much international film acclaim, and they have this Holocaust story to thank. An Oscar should be the icing on its cake.

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire

PICK: Amy. Fans of Amy Winehouse adored this harrowing account of their fallen idol’s tragic life. An Oscar victory would be a worthy tribute to the diva, who passed away nearly five years ago.

BEST SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION
Ave Maria
Day One
Shok
Stutterer
Everything Will Be Okay (Alle Wird Gut)

PICK: Day One 

BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATED
Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

PICK: Bear Story 

BEST DOCUMENTARY, SHORT SUBJECT
Body Team 12
Chau
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in the River
Last Day of Freedom

PICK: Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah 

 

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