Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Final Oscar Nomination Predictions- Who's in, Who's out?

It's finally time. After the long and winding road that carried us from festivals to critics' groups to pre-cursor awards, the time has come for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to reveal their nominations for the 88th Oscars. It's been a wild and unpredictable season and I'm expecting a wild and unpredictable set of nominations. But I'm gonna take a stab at it anyways. Here are my final predictions for the Academy Award nominations.

BEST PICTURE

1. Spotlight
2. The Big Short
3. The Revenant
4. The Martian
5. Mad Max: Fury Road
6. Bridge of Spies
7. Carol
8. Brooklyn

If there's 9- Straight Outta Compton

If there's 10- Sicario

A very competitive year in the Best Picture category will come to a close on Thursday, and we'll finally find out what ten (or 9....or 8....or 7.....or 6.....or 5.....) films make the Academy's cut. Last year, there were eight nominees and for the purpose of comparison, I'll set the number at eight for this year as well. There are a few movies that will be locks no matter what- Spotlight, The Big Short, The Revenant, The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road are as close to guarantees as we're going to see. I also see Bridge of Spies making the cut, as it has received a lot of the necessary guild nominees and is a well-liked film. Carol has been a favorite all season, and should also have no problem getting a nomination. And finally, Brooklyn should be in the running as well.

After that, it gets tricky. If the Academy nominates 9 or 10 films, we could see any number of films sneak in. Straight Outta Compton seems like the best bet there- it's a topical film, and has done well at the guild awards. Sicario has also done exceptional in recent weeks, garnering attention from a few of the guilds and building its chances of a nomination. Steve Jobs is in the running after a strong showing at the Globes, and of course, we can't count out blockbusters like Inside Out and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In my view, Compton and Sicario have the best chance if the number of nominees reaches 9 or 10. But if it doesn't, the eight films that I listed above should be the nominees.


BEST DIRECTOR

1. Ridley Scott, The Martian
2. Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
3. George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Adam McKay, The Big Short
5. Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

The director branch enjoys throwing curveballs, and I think that there's gonna be one or two this year. Inarritu, Scott and Miller should be safe, but it's going to be a dogfight for those final spots. Tom McCarthy's Spotlight is well-admired, Haynes' Carol is a directorial achievement and of course, we can't count out favorites like Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg. In the end, I believe that McCarthy will take the final spot.

BEST ACTOR

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

This has been a surprisingly quiet year for the Best Actor category. Usually there's nearly ten actors who have a chance going into nomination morning. This year, there's probably seven. Will Smith and Johnny Depp have an outside chance, but both Concussion and Black Mass faded big time over the last few months. So, I don't think that there'll be too many surprises here. DiCaprio, Fassbender, Redmayne, Cranston and Damon should hear their names called in the morning.

BEST ACTRESS

1. Brie Larson, Room
2. Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
3. Cate Blanchett, Carol
4. Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
5. Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road

While the Best Actor category has been weak this year, the Best Actress race has been exceptional. There's a lot of competition here, and it's very likely that Charlotte Rampling or Jennifer Lawrence could swoop in to steal that #5 slot. But for the sake of fun, I'm predicting that Mad Max: Fury Road's Charlize Theron takes the prize. Theron has been silently gaining fans throughout the Oscar season, and with the film's surprise success, I have difficulty seeing members of the acting branch ignoring a performance that carried most of one of the year's best films. But then again. I could be really, really wrong. The other four should be locks though.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

1. Sylvester Stallone, Creed
2. Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
3. Christian Bale, The Big Short
4. Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
5. Paul Dano, Love & Mercy

Supporting Actor has been a mess this year, with nearly a dozen actors in contention for a nomination here. Beyond the core choices of Stallone, Rylance and Ruffalo, lots of indie actors and fan favorites are fighting for a slot here. Honestly, nothing would surprise me in this category tomorrow. I'm putting my money on Paul Dano for his show-stopping performance in Love & Mercy, and Christian Bale for one of the best performances in a film filled with great ones. Don't be shocked to see Michael Shannon or Idris Elba sneak in.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1. Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
2. Rooney Mara, Carol
3. Helen Mirren, Trumbo
4. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
5. Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Kate Winslet surprised everybody on Sunday by winning at the Golden Globes, so maybe this category isn't quite as set as we thought. I think that Winslet, Mara and Jason Leigh get in for sure, but it's a question of the final two nominations. Mirren is well-liked and will probably jump in for Trumbo, but it's going to come down to McAdams and Ex Machina star Alicia Vikander for the final spot. Does the Academy like Vikander enough to nominate her twice? I'm not sure. I've got my money on McAdams here.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1. Spotlight
2. Inside Out
3. The Hateful Eight
4. Ex Machina
5. Straight Outta Compton

Original Screenplay is another crazy one, with Bridge of Spies, Trainwreck, Joy and Sicario all on the outside looking in. I think that Spotlight, Inside Out and The Hateful Eight are rather safe, but it'll certainly be an intense and close battle for those final two slots.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

1. Steve Jobs
2. The Big Short
3. The Martian
4. Carol
5. Brooklyn

This category is nearly a done deal. The only potential spoiler is Emma Donoghue's script for Room, and I don't believe that there will be enough love for it to sneak into the race. Everything else is pretty set in my view.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

1. Inside Out
2. Anomalisa
3. Shaun the Sheep Movie
4. The Good Dinosaur
5. Kahlil Gilbran's The Prophet

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

1. Son of Saul
2. Mustang
3. Theeb
4. Labyrinth of Lies
5. A War

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

1. The Look of Silence
2. Amy
3. Cartel Land
4. Listen To Me Marlon
5. Going Clear

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

1. The Revenant
2. Sicario
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. The Hateful Eight
5. Carol

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

1. Carol
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
4. Bridge of Spies
5. Cinderella

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

1. Carol
2. Cinderella
3. Brooklyn
4. Crimson Peak
5. Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. The Revenant
3. Mr. Holmes

BEST FILM EDITING

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. The Big Short
3. The Revenant
4. Spotlight
5. The Martian

BEST SCORE

1. The Hateful Eight
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
3. Carol
4. The Danish Girl
5. Spotlight

BEST SONG

1. Furious 7
2. Spectre
3. Fifty Shades of Grey
4. Youth
5. The Hunting Ground

BEST SOUND EDITING

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. The Martian
4. The Revenant
5. Spectre

BEST SOUND MIXING

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Straight Outta Compton
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
4. The Martian
5. The Revenant

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Jurassic World
4. The Martian
5. The Revenant

That is all for my 2015 Oscar Predictions. Come back tomorrow for my recap once the real nominees are announced.

Image Credits: Variety, Screen Rant, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The Guardian, EW, Youtube

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