It’s that time of year again! The Oscars are tomorrow, and as usual, I am here to once again provide my best educated guesses for the winners. This year may be one of the more difficult ones than years past, due to many categories being a tossup between 2 or more selections, and with a general inconsistency amongst all of the award shows leading up to this one (the Producers Guild, Directors Guild, and Screen Actors Guild, for example).
As always, remember that these are my selections for the movies that most likely will win, as opposed to what I think should win. If I had my own wishes, “Mad Max: Fury Road” would win for almost every category where it was nominated. But, alas, it is not my decision.
Nominees: “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian, ” “The Revenant,” “Room,” “Spotlight”
Predicted Winner: “The Revenant”
The Best Picture this year has been really tough to pick, due to there being a potential 3 films that could win the top prize: “The Revenant,” “The Big Short,” and “Spotlight.” Perhaps the most selected film by experts is “The Revenant,” which has so far managed to pick up numerous awards, including the Golden Globe, the BAFTA, and the Directors Guild (which has traditionally predicted the Best Picture winner as well). It came up short at the Producers Guild, though, which selected “The Big Short” instead, and the Screen Actors Guild, which went to “Spotlight.”
The real issue with either “The Big Short” or “Spotlight” winning, though, is that there is only one additional award that either of those films are likely to win (Adapted and Original Screenplay), while “The Revenant” could potentially win at least 4 or more. Such an act of just winning 2 Oscars along with the Best Picture award is almost unheard of, though it does happen (“12 Years A Slave,” for example, only won 3 when it took the big prize back in 2013). So, I’m not anywhere near 100% sure about this, but I’m going to go ahead and select “The Revenant” for the win.
Nominees: Adam McKay, “The Big Short,” George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Alejandro González Iñárritu, “The Revenant,” Lenny Abrahamson, “Room,” Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Predicted Winner: Alejandro González Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
An additional reason for selecting “The Revenant” for Best Picture is because it seems clear that Iñárritu will also win Best Director. There seems little to no chance for either Tom McCarthy to win or especially Adam McKay, despite the delight there would be in seeing the director of “Anchorman” awarded for Best Director of the year.
Iñárritu has been cleaning up in this category over the awards season, from the DGA to the BAFTA to the Golden Globes. It seems likely that he will win the award for “The Revenant,” which would make him only the third director in history to win the award back-to-back (he also won last year for “Birdman”). So, though I would prefer to see someone like George Miller awarded with the top prize, it seems likely that Iñárritu will take home the award.
Nominees: Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo,” Matt Damon, “The Martian,” Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant,” Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs,” Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”
Predicted Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
And finally, a category that is almost a sure thing. It seems that, after years of nominations and even memes created about his lack of an award, Leo is finally going to win the Oscar. Though it does seem like he is being awarded for performances in the past as opposed to this one, it’s not an entirely undeserved award either. Michael Fassbender does have the tiniest shred of a chance for “Steve Jobs,” but such an event would definitely be an upset.
Nominees: Cate Blanchett, “Carol,” Brie Larson, “Room,” Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy,” Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years,” Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Predicted Winner: Brie Larson, “Room”
Yet another category that is basically a sure thing. Larson has received multiple accolades already for her star-making performance in “Room,” a role that is especially captivating considering that half of it takes place entirely in a small shed. At the age of only 26, it seems Larson will still easily beat out veteran actresses Blanchett and Rampling (Blanchett already has two, after all).
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Christian Bale, “The Big Short,” Tom Hardy, “The Revenant,” Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight,” Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies,” Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
Predicted Winner: Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
If you were to tell me a year ago that Sylvester Stallone will be nominated and very likely even win an Oscar, I would call you crazy. Yet, it seems to be the case here, and it’s not a decision I’m even upset about. Stallone was truly phenomenal in “Creed,” an entry in the “Rocky” films that sees him in a supporting role next to Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis. The only potential upsets here are for Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies” or even potentially Tom Hardy in “The Revenant.” All of the momentum through award season has been for Stallone, though, and it seems likely that the trend will continue here.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight,” Rooney Mara, “Carol,” Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight,” Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl,” Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”
Predicted Winner: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Another category that could potentially go to several different choices; here it seems to be between Rooney Mara, Alicia Vikander, and Kate Winslet. Though Mara and Vikander were really more leading in their respective films, it seems that they campaigned for a supporting role so as to have more of a chance at winning.
In that case, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if Kate Winslet got the award, due to her role in “Steve Jobs” actually being supporting. The only reason I am picking Vikander is because of her truly stellar year in general, even if I would have rather seen her win the award for “Ex Machina” than the very over-bloated “Danish Girl.” But the Academy likes to occasionally award young starlets (think of Jennifer Lawrence winning for “Silver Linings Playbook”). I’m betting on that trend continuing tomorrow night.
Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen “Bridge of Spies”, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, “Inside Out,” Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, “Spotlight,” Alex Garland, “Ex Machina,” Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus, “Straight Outta Compton”
Predicted Winner: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, “Spotlight”
This seems to be the only sure category where “Spotlight” has a serious chance at winning. As such, even though a couple of the others are more original and perhaps more rewarding (“Inside Out” or “Ex Machina”), it seems likely that Tom McCarthy’s film will win. It’s too bad that it probably won’t win Best Picture on the same night.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: Emma Donoghue, “Room,” Drew Goddard, “The Martian,” Nick Hornby, “Brooklyn,” Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, “The Big Short,” Phyllis Nagy, “Carol”
Predicted Winner: Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, “The Big Short”
The rationale for this selection is much the same as the last one. Since “The Big Short” probably won’t win Best Picture, it seems likely that the Academy will at least award the film here for its screenplay. I’d truly love to see either Emma Donaghue win for “Room” or Drew Goddard for “The Martian,” but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
Best Animated Feature
Nominees: “Anomalisa,” “Boy and the World,” “Inside Out,” “When Marnie Was There,” “Shaun the Sheep”
Predicted Winner: “Inside Out”
It seems like ages since Pixar was a sure thing for the Oscar, and it looks to be the case yet again this year. “Inside Out” is very close to the golden period of Pixar films, which basically stretched for much of the 2000s. No other movie on the list of nominees seems to have much of a chance at beating it.
Best Foreign Language Film
Nominees: “Mustang,” “Theeb,” “Son of Saul,” “Embrace the Serpent,” “A War”
Predicted Winner: “Son of Saul”
This is one of the categories where my choice comes almost entirely from the predictions of others, since I have yet to see any of the nominees. “Son of Saul” has already won numerous accolades, though, so it seems that a win is imminent.
Best Documentary Feature
Nominees: “Amy,” “Cartel Land,” “The Look of Silence, ” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”
Predicted Winner: “Amy”
For a time, it seemed that “The Look of Silence” was the sure winner in this category. Then, “Amy” came along and started to clean up at awards shows. So, I think it’s very possible that the documentary about the late singer will win the Oscar as well.
Nominees: Ed Lachman, “Carol,” Robert Richardson, “The Hateful Eight,” John Seale, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Revenant,” Roger Deakins, “Sicario”
Predicted Winner: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Revenant”
Lubezki, who has already won the last two years in a row (for “Gravity” and “Birdman”), looks to be an Oscar-winner yet again. Say what you will about the story itself, but the cinematography of “The Revenant” is truly stunning. The film is not only shot in natural light but also uses some spectacular angles and closeups. I would be very surprised if anybody but Lubezki wins this award.
Best Film Editing
Nominees: “The Big Short,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Spotlight,” “The Revenant,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Predicted Winner: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
And here we go, the first award of what I predict will be many in the technical categories for “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The film is a visual and technical masterpiece, and is more than deserving of this award, for the car chase editing scenes alone. I would’t completely discount “The Big Short” for the award, especially if it starts to pick up momentum throughout the night, but I think the Academy would prefer to award the truly incredible “Mad Max.”
Best Production Design
Nominees: “Bridge of Spies,” “The Revenant,” “The Danish Girl,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian”
Predicted Winner: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Much of “Mad Max” takes place along a desert, yet there are also scenes in a grand desert fortress. In addition, some of the cars for the film were custom-made specifically for production. For that reason, and for originality, I believe that “Mad Max” will win yet another award.
Best Costume Design
Nominees: Sandy Powell, “Carol,” Sandy Powell,” “Cinderella,” Jacqueline West, Paco Delgado, “The Danish Girl,” Jenny Beavan, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Predicted Winner: Jenny Beavan, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Seeing a pattern yet? This award may not be as certain as the last few, mostly due to Sandy Powell being up for two films (“Carol” and “Cinderella”). But I believe that “Mad Max” has the edge. Remember that originality often triumphs over extravagance, and the bizarrely eccentric outfits in the apocalyptic world of “Mad Max” has awards written all over it.
Best Original Score
Nominees: Carter Burwell, “Carol,” Jóhann Jóhannsson, “Sicario,” Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight,” Thomas Newman, “Bridge of Spies” John Williams, “Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens”
Predicted Winner: Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight”
In this category, we have two veteran film composers, who are among the most celebrated of all time – Ennio Morricone and John Williams. While John Williams has won numerous accolades, though, it’s curious that Morricone has yet to win any. It seems very likely that the Academy will right that wrong come Oscar night. Though “The Hateful Eight” wasn’t very well received as a whole at the Academy, this seems to be the one place where it will take home an award.
Best Original Song
Nominees: “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,” “Writings on the Wall” from “Spectre”
Predicted Winner: “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
Hot off her recent Golden Globe win for “American Horror Story: Hotel,” it seems that Lady Gaga will also soon win an Oscar for the song “Til It Happens To You” from the documentary “The Hunting Ground.” The potential upset here could be for Sam Smith’s “Writings on the Wall” from “Spectre,” though that song has not been nearly as well received as the last Bond theme, Adele’s “Skyfall,” so I don’t think it likely that it will win the Oscar.
Best Visual Effects
Nominees: “Ex Machina,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,”‘ “The Revenant,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Predicted Winner: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Because it seems that “Mad Max: Fury Road” will win a plethora of other awards, this is one technical category that I am giving to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The Academy likes to award this category to those films that are otherworldly (the last two years were “Interstellar” and “Gravity,” for example). And though “Mad Max” is a visual splendor, it does not quite reach the level of visuals of “Star Wars.” So, although unlikely to win anything else, this seems the one category where “Star Wars” will prevail.
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Nominees: “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared,” “Mad Max: Fury Road, “The Revenant”
Predicted Winner: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
And we’re back to “Mad Max” yet again. For its fantastic, otherworldly pale appearances of its characters, it appears that “Mad Max: Fury Road” has an edge over the other two in this category. If only the next two categories were as sure of a thing as this one.
Best Sound Mixing
Nominees: “Bridge of Spies,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Predicted Winner: “The Revenant”
I struggled a lot with both this and my prediction for Sound Editing, mainly because, with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the first prominent aspect other than the visuals is the incredible use of sound. In “The Revenant,” though, the use of natural sound is one of the film’s most celebrated aspects. In addition, the intense bear attack scene and the bow-and-arrow battles against the Native Americans will very likely push the film to a win.
Best Sound Editing
Nominees: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,” “Sicario,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Predicted Winner: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
In the final major category, I pick “Mad Max” yet again for a win. Though most people put the same movie for both Sound Mixing and Editing, I think it likely that the categories will split. The reason I have selected “Mad Max” for Sound Editing, then, is because the category is much like Film Editing, which I have also predicted for “Mad Max.” It’s going to be close, but I’m crossing my fingers.
Best Live Action Short Film
Nominees: “Ave Maria,” “Day One,” “Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut),” “Shok,” “Stutterer”
Predicted Winner: “Shok”
With this, the first of the short film categories, I am going based on buzz alone, since I have yet to see any of the nominees. “Shok” seems to be the film that has the most momentum behind it, and it is therefore my selection.
Best Animated Short Film
Nominees: “Bear Story,” “Prologue,” “Sanjay’s Super Team,” “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos,” “World of Tomorrow”
Predicted Winner: “Sanjay’s Super Team”
Another prediction purely on hype. “Sanjay’s Super Team” seems to be the frontrunner here, with “World of Tomorrow” closely behind.
Best Documentary – Short Subject
Nominees: “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”
Predicted Winner: “Body Team 12”
There seems to be almost no consensus about this one, with some sites mentioning “Body Team 12,” some “A Girl in the River,” and some “Claude Lanzmann.” I am therefore taking a shot in the dark, but let’s hope it pays off!
Well that about sums up my predictions for the 88th Academy Awards. It may be a rough night to pick the winners, but let’s hope that the show manages to be a fun time. I know that Chris Rock is going to be a great host, so be sure to tune in tomorrow night at 7:00 PM EST!