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2016 Oscar Predictions: Will Win/Should Win

steve-carell-the-big-short


It’s time. The 88th annual Academy Awards are upon us.

To be honest, I’ve been a little checked out of the race for the last few weeks. For one, I was traveling when the race finally seemed to crystallize around my least favorite Best Picture nominee in years. And I spent a lot of time thinking and writing about the Oscars in the context of its race controversy. (Check out my piece for The Week: “How to Solve Hollywood’s Diversity Problem“.)

I think Chris Rock’s monologue is both the most important cultural event of 2016 and one of the most important Oscar moments in 88 years. Everything about it will be scrutinized from now until the 89th Academy Awards — Rock’s choice of words, their pointedness or lack thereof, the faces of everyone the camera cuts to. When all is said and done, Rock could reach a new career plateau. It’s not something he needs, but if he wants it, it’s there for the taking.

As far as the awards themselves go, whatever. Mad Max and The Revenant will battle all night for craft trophies. The acting awards are virtually locked up, and we’ll wait patiently to see if it’ll be the second two-for in as many years for Alejandro G. Inarritu or if The Big Short or Spotlight can spoil his party. God help us if they can’t.

Below are my final predictions for the 2016 Oscars. I’ve also noted my personal preference among the nominated five in each category.

2016 Best Picture Predictions
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Will win and should win: The Big Short

To be honest, it’s probably The Revenant. If you’re in an Oscar pool and want to win, pick The Revenant. I’m not in one and don’t really care, so I’m going with my heart. It’s not such an outlandish choice. The Big Short won the PGA’s top prize, an award that predicted the Oscars for the last ten years. But nothing about the 2015-2016 Oscar season makes any sense, so smart money is definitely on Inarritu’s film. We’ll see.

*****

2016 Best Director Predictions
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
Thomas McCarthy, Spotlight
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Will win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
Should win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Once upon a time, it seemed possible that George Miller could get recognized for the boldest studio action movie in at least a decade. It also seemed possible that a comedy director could storm the Academy Awards and pick up gold in his first try for a sharp, shocking, and extraordinarily satisfying financial crisis dramedy. Nah, we’ve got to give Inarritu another gold statue for his bloated survival drama. But I’m fine.

*****

2016 Best Actor Predictions
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
Should win: Matt Damon, The Martian

I’m actually not much a fan of any of these performances. Redmayne is actively bad. The others are all fine. Damon is either the most fine or the least fine — whichever means he’s the best. If you want to look at the film that simply couldn’t work without the leading male performance at its center, you’ve found it in The Martian.

*****

carol-movie-oscars


2016 Best Actress Predictions
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Will win: Brie Larson, Room
Should win: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

I’ve only seen three of the five nominated performances, but they’re all significantly better than their Best Actor counterparts. I’m prefer Ronan slightly over Blanchett. The former completely owns one of the best films of the years, while the latter co-owns another of the year’s best. Larson is a very strong third, but for the Academy’s intents and purposes, she’s the only plausible choice. Lock.

*****

2016 Best Supporting Actor Predictions
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Will and should win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Who doesn’t want this Oscar moment? Yeah, Bale, Ruffalo, and Rylance are all great — I don’t have much to say about Tom Hardy — but in 30 years, we’ll remember when Sly won an Oscar for Creed. You can’t say that about any of these other performances.

*****

2016 Best Supporting Actress Predictions
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
Should win: Rooney Mara, Carol

What a dumpster fire. The two likeliest winners here are undeniable lead performances. Whatever. I thought Vikander was the best thing about The Danish Girl, and if Rooney Mara is able to upset her, then the Academy will have rewarded the best performance &mdash male or female — of 2015.

*****

steve-jobs-oscars


2016 Best Adapted Screenplay Predictions
The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Will win and should win: The Big Short

There’s a great chance this is The Big Short‘s only award. Nothing else here feels nearly as strong.

*****

2016 Best Original Screenplay Predictions
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

Will win: Spotlight
Should win: Inside Out

It’s an embarrassment of riches in this category, yet I can’t help but feel myself compelled to Inside Out‘s brilliant execution of an out-of-this-world idea. Spotlight, however, is a worthy winner, too.

*****

2016 Best Animated Feature Predictions
Anomalisa
Boy & The World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Will win: Inside Out
Should win: Inside Out or Shaun the Sheep Movie

Both films are exceptional. They tied on my best films of 2015 list.

*****

what-happened-miss-simone-review


2016 Best Documentary Feature Predictions
Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Will win and should win: Amy

It’s a strong lineup from top to bottom, but it’s Asif Kapadia’s turn. His Senna snub — as well as Amy‘s big box office — looms large over his likely win.

*****

2016 Best Foreign Language Film Predictions
Embrace of the Serpent
Mustang
Son of Saul
Theeb
A War

Will win and should win: Mustang

Smart money is with Son of Saul, but it feels like Mustang is coming on a little in the home stretch. It’s the only one of these five I’ve seen. It’s also one of the better films I saw last year that didn’t make my list of favorites.

*****

2016 Best Cinematography Predictions
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Will win: The Revenant
Should win: The Hateful Eight

Make it a turkey for Emmanuel Lubezki. It’s not my favorite work of the year, but he’s an undeniably talented cinematographer who waited a long time for his turn at the Oscars. Happy to see him formally among giants. Wish it could be Deakins or Richardson this year, though.

*****

brooklyn-saoirse-ronan-oscars


2016 Best Costume Design Predictions
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Should win: Carol

This one feels live, though I’m not sure Carol has much of a shot. Would love to see it get something, though, and here might be its best chance. I’m going with Fury Road, however, which is one of the safe bets alongside The Danish Girl.

*****

2016 Best Film Editing Predictions
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will win: The Big Short
Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Here’s another spot where I’m going against what’s likely to happen. If The Revenant is the Best Picture front runner, it should take Best Film Editing. If anything upsets it, it’s likely Mad Max: Fury Road, which is tough to ignore in this particular category. I’ve got The Big Short in the top category, however, so why not ride that train into the ground?

*****

2016 Best Makeup and Hairstyling Predictions
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Will win and should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

There’s not a great track record for off-beat nominees in this category taking the whole thing home. (Think Bad Grandpa and Norbit.) So it comes down to your two craft front runners, and, well, fuck The Revenant. That’s all I’ve got.

*****

inside-out-oscars


2016 Best Original Score Predictions
Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will win: The Hateful Eight
Should win: Carol

I’m so happy Carter Burwell finally got an Oscar nomination, and it was for arguably the best original score of his career (Carol). He’ll lose, though, to Ennio Morricone, who’s long overdue a proper trophy. (His only Oscar is an honorary one from 2007.)

*****

2016 Best Original Song Predictions
“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3” from Youth
“Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground
“Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre

Will win: “Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground
Should win: Don’t care.

First: let’s call a spade a spade. It’s straight-up bullshit that all five of these songs aren’t getting their due at the ceremony. If you don’t want to go down the performance route, I have no problem with that. To pick and choose based on popularity is a fucking embarrassment, and it’s made all the worse because one of the nominees left off the ceremony is the first transgender Oscar nominee in history. For shame.

As for who wins, well eliminate “Manta Ray” and “Simple Song #3” right off the bat. I’ve got Gaga over Sam Smith by a nose, but jeez, what a dumpster fire.

*****

2016 Best Production Design Predictions
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Will win and should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max vs. The Revenant, part … six? More coming. The whole thing ought to end in a draw, give or take a trophy.

*****

force-awakens-oscars


2016 Best Sound Editing Predictions
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will win: The Revenant
Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

The safe road: Pick one of these two films for both categories. If they split, you’ll be good. If they don’t, hope you picked the right one.

*****

2016 Best Sound Mixing Predictions
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will win: The Revenant
Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

See above.

*****

2016 Best Visual Effects Predictions
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will win and should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Yeah, The Revenant is probably the spoiler, but c’mon.

*****

2016 Best Animated Short Predictions
Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Will win: Sanjay’s Super Team
Should win: World of Tomorrow

I haven’t seen any of these 15 short films except World of Tomorrow. It’s beyond worthy of an Oscar, though I’m not sure it’s palatable enough for voters. We’ll see. I’m going with the highest profile of the bunch: Disney.

*****

2016 Best Documentary Short Predictions
Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom

Will win: Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

The highest profile of the bunch. Also: Holocaust.

*****

2016 Best Live Action Short Predictions
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay
Shok
Stutterer

Will win: Stutterer

Seems like this is the consensus “cutesy” choice. The Academy usually goes that way over something heavy like Day One or Shok. But who knows.

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