I don’t put much stock in the Oscars. I won’t search out old winners just because they won, like I will for other prizes; if I’m watching an old best picture winner, it’s because it has stood the test of time. But I love predictions, and there is no literary or film award that receives more attention from pundits than the academy awards, so I cannot help but follow each year’s speculations. And this year is particularly interesting in this regard. In years prior, the race for the top prize was between two movies, but by the time the broadcast happened, everyone was pretty sure which of the two would come away with best picture. Not so now: there are three flicks considered front runners, and while THE REVENANT has a slight edge over THE BIG SHORT and SPOITLIGHT, competition is tight and any three of these winning would not come as a surprise. And that’s not taking into account other categories.
So, without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2016 Oscars:
Best Picture: The Revenant
One movie usually sweeps the guild awards. This year, the three major prizes all went to different movies. Due to wins at the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, and a number of nominations, The Revenant is considered the frontrunner, but the other two could easily win, especially considering THE BIG SHORT won the Producers Guild Award, which has picked the best picture winner 9 times in the past 11 years. Still, THE REVENANT was one of my favorites from the past year, so I’ll stick with it.
Best Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu
The last time a director won this prize twice in back to back years was in the 1940s, but Inarritu, who won last year for BIRDMAN, seems poised to do just that. His closest competition, George Miller for MAD MAX, could pull off an upset, but the chances of that are extremely low.
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio
With Leo wracking up all the prizes leading up to the Oscars, it seems like this is his year. Most websites are not even considering the possibility of an upset by Michael Fassbender. All signs point to Leo finally not going home empty handed.
Best Actress: Brie Larson
The young actress has wowed many viewers, to the point where the Oscar going to anyone else would be like Fassbender winning over Leo.
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone
If there’s an acting category this year ripe for an upset, this is it. Sylvester Stallone is predicted to get gold, but Mark Rylance in BRIDGE OF SPIES could also win. And if any of the others walk away with the prize (Mark Ruffalo, SPOTLIGHT; Christian Bale, THE BIG SHORT; Tom Hardy, THE REVENANT), it is likely their movie will win best picture. A part of me wants to root for Tom Hardy, but another part sees how unlikely that is, so Stallone it is.
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander
Starring in two big movies this year (THE DANISH GIRL and EX MACHINA) is sure to help Vikander, even if she’s only nominated for one of them. I think an upset will occur in one of the acting categories and I feel like it might be this one, but I don’t know who would beat Vikander to the prize. Most places have Kate Winslet in second place (and Leo and Kate on stage together is an appealing idea) but I don’t think it will be her. Therefore, although I’m not convinced Vikander will win, I have no idea who could be at the podium instead of her, and so I’ll keep her on.
Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight
The writing in SPOTLIGHT is phenomenal. Although the rest of the film didn’t blow me away, the script is definitely deserving of Oscar recognition,
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Smart and funny, it seems like this adaption of Michael Lewis’s book will win the Oscar.
Best Cinematography: The Revenant
Sorry, Roger Deakins, but you’ll have to wait another year for your Oscar. The REVENANT’s cinematography was amazing, to the point where even haters of the movie concede it will win this Oscar, making history as El Chivo wins his third consecutive Academy award.
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
The first Hungarian film to be nominated since 1988, it looks poised to win. It also took home the Grand Prix at the Cannes Festival. When was the last time those two awards matched up?
Best Documentary: The Look of Silence
AMY is by far the frontrunner for this category, but THE LOOK OF SILENCE, Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow up to the acclaimed THE ACT OF KILLING, is too good for me to pass up. Also, the Academy snubbed his previous film, probably one of the most important documentaries of recent times, and it wouldn’t surprise me if academy members wanted to rectify that.
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out
As much as I like Anomalisa, it’s foolish to bet against Pixar.
As for the other categories, I either haven’t seen enough of the nominated films to make educated guesses or I am out of my league (what qualifies as Oscar worthy costumes?). Tune in tomorrow for results!