by Ken Bakely
The Academy Awards are upon us yet again. In just a few days, fancy envelopes will tell us what movies old white men in Hollywood liked the most from last year. And as is tradition for this site, I will share my predictions for the big show with you, and if you really feel like taking a risk, I’ll let you use them for your own Oscar pools (that is, if you’re prepared to lose potentially large sums of money). I will be providing my predictions in all twenty-four categories, although I’ll only provide commentary for the biggest and/or most contested categories.
Best Picture: Spotlight
Going into the ceremony, we have essentially narrowed the odds down to three films – Spotlight, The Big Short, and The Revenant. Each of them have a roughly equal chance of taking the prize, since they each have a “piece of the puzzle” – a different set of precursor awards from guilds and associations which, if given to one movie, would show us where all of the buzz is. Spotlight seems like a safe, longstanding consensus pick, something everyone can get behind if not outright love. However, watch out for The Revenant, which has enjoyed a last-minute surge of popularity.
Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
It’s been sixtysomething years since a director has won this prize twice in a row (Joseph L. Mankiewicz was crowned in 1949 and 1950). With this information, a win for Iñárritu would seem unlikely, as this would make him only the second director in Oscar history to win back-to-back. But the question is who could possibly win instead? If George Miller had received the Directors’ Guild of America’s top honor instead of Iñárritu, a victory for him would not have been out of the question, but as time goes on, and The Revenant continues to show its strength among voters, that seems less and less likely.
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Best Actress: Brie Larson – Room
No one seems to want to campaign that heavily against Larson, and her performance in Room is so beloved that she shouldn’t have much trouble.
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone – Creed
At one point or another, Mark Rylance looked like he was in a good position to win, but Stallone’s surge of victories at “below the line” ceremonies made it clear that the Academy’s voters are ready to hand the man his first Oscar (when Rocky won Best Picture in 1977, the trophy was awarded to the film’s producers, as is custom).
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Last year, I said people should keep an eye on Alicia Vikander, and I was right. This is her reward for a dynamic, starmaking set of projects in 2015. However, nothing is set in stone, and I could easily see Kate Winslet pulling off a second win.
Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight
If The Revenant ends up taking Best Picture, Spotlight can rest assured that it will have at least one Oscar.
This is my annual crazy pick. It’s wishful thinking. Roger Deakins needs to win an Oscar (over a dozen nominations and no victories). However, he will likely end up losing to Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant, who has bested him the past two years in a row.
Best Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Original Score: The Hateful Eight
Best Original Song: “‘Til it Happens to You” – The Hunting Ground
Best Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Makeup/Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Visual Effects: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Best Live Action Short: Ave Maria
Best Animated Short: World of Tomorrow (Pretty please, Academy?)
Best Documentary Short: Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
I will be live tweeting my reactions to the Oscar ceremony over @filmreviews12, the site’s official Twitter account.