Road to the Oscars: 2016 Nomination Predictions

oscars statues

by Ken B.

Before we kick things off, let me reprint my yearly awards season mantra:

“To predict the outcome of awards shows, you don’t need to have seen all of the nominees, you just need to have seen awards shows before.”

As we had last year (and I will copy-paste the same introductory statement I wrote last year), there will be a rank, from 1 – 5 (or 1 – 10 in the case of Best Picture and 1 – 3 in the case of Best Makeup/Hairstyling), and 1 Biggest Threat (or 2 for Best Picture), which, if nominated, do not count towards my final accuracy score. The lower the number, the higher the odds of a nod (in a five nominee category, #1 has what I see as a 99.9% chance of a nomination (round to 100), #2 has a 90% chance, #3 has an 80% chance, and so on).


Rank Nominee
1 Spotlight
2 The Big Short
3 The Martian
4 The Revenant
5 Mad Max: Fury Road
6 Bridge of Spies
7 Carol
8 Room
9 Brooklyn
10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BIGGEST THREATS: Straight Outta Compton and Steve Jobs
COMMENTS: It’s been a bit of an erratic year, or perhaps it just seems that way because I haven’t been following the race as clearly as I have in previous years. In any case, it appears as if Spotlight continues its path as a semi-safe frontrunner, although The Big Short is coming up quickly. In a particular(ly great) scenario, I could even see The Martian winning the award.


Rank Nominee Movie
1 Ridley Scott The Martian
2 Thomas McCarthy Spotlight
3 Adam McKay The Big Short
4 George Miller Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Alejandro G. Iñárritu The Revenant

BIGGEST THREAT: Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
COMMENTS: Ridley Scott is a veteran who has made some great films. This could be the perfect opportunity to award him the prize. Thomas McCarthy is in serious consideration because of Spotlight’s status, as is Adam McKay. George Miller could pick up some steam, and Iñárritu could very well get nominated, but can he win just a year after Birdman, his previous film, got so much love? They might want to avoid a repeat.


Rank Nominee Movie
1 Leonardo DiCaprio The Revenant
2 Michael Fassbender Steve Jobs
3 Matt Damon The Martian
4 Bryan Cranston Trumbo
5 Eddie Redmayne The Danish Girl

BIGGEST THREAT: Will Smith – Concussion
COMMENTS: Is this finally Leo’s Oscar year? Who will the Internet campaign for after he gets it?


Rank Nominee Movie
1 Brie Larson Room
2 Cate Blanchett Carol
3 Saoirse Ronan Brooklyn
4 Charlotte Rampling 45 Years
5 Jennifer Lawrence Joy

BIGGEST THREAT: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
COMMENTS: What mars the acting categories this year is how there seems to be confusion between supporting and lead performances. Many performances have been nominated in one category for a particular awards show and the other one for a different committee. For the Oscars, AMPAS acting-branch voters can cast their ballot for a nominee in whichever department they like, adding the possibility for vote-splits and losses for people like Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl and Rooney Mara in Carol.


Rank Nominee Movie
1 Mark Rylance Bridge of Spies
2 Sylvester Stallone Creed
3 Christian Bale The Big Short
4 Mark Ruffalo Spotlight
5 Idris Elba Beasts of No Nation

BIGGEST THREAT: Michael Shannon – 99 Homes
COMMENTS: At the end of the day, I think this will be between Rylance and Stallone. Of course, I could be wrong.


Rank Nominee Movie
1 Alicia Vikander The Danish Girl
2 Rooney Mara Carol
3 Jennifer Jason Leigh The Hateful Eight
4 Kate Winslet Steve Jobs
5 Kristen Stewart Clouds of Sils Maria

BIGGEST THREAT: Helen Mirren – Trumbo
COMMENTS: This is an odd category to predict because I definitely could believe that Vikander and/or Mara could end up in Lead, or get lost in the kerfuffle and miss out altogether. In the Supporting Actress slot of “dark horse” nominee, I believe Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria will slip onto the list, despite having relatively little buzz or discussion. Right behind her is Helen Mirren in Trumbo. Get used to those names as possible nominees, because if tomorrow morning’s announcement reveals category confusion at epidemic levels, we could see some unexpected contenders.