Well here it is, every film lover’s favorite (or most hated) time of the year: the Academy Awards.
While there are some high quality nominees in the running for various awards, I do find some of the choices to be questionable and some of the omissions to be downright disgraceful. But we have the hand we’re dealt with, so I propose a solution: I’m going to predict which of the nominees will win each award and I’m going to point out who my choice would have been if I had been granted godlike powers to control the minds of the Academy’s decrepit membership.
Keep in mind: I have seen every single nominee for the best acting, writing, and picture categories. So that means I have seen Bridge of Spies, 45 Years, Steve Jobs, Joy, and Anomalisa; but I have not seen any of the other candidates that I did not link with a review. Therefore it is entirely plausible that I could be talking out of my ass; but if you’ve been following me this long, that’s never stopped you from reading now has it? Without further ado, here we go:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale – The Big Short
Tom Hardy – The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Man what a crappy list. All signs are pointing to Sly Stallone winning this award, so I think it’s a safe bet to call it in his favor. Like I said, Bale was hardly in The Big Short to have made an impact, and while Mark Ruffalo gave a great performance in Spotlight, he was just one piece to an ensemble that worked only together. Mark Rylance gave a solid performance in a very solid Spielberg film, but he’s not known to have many friends in Hollywood and therefore no one “owes” him an award. Hardy was really the standout performance of The Revenant, more so than DiCaprio if I’m being honest; but Stallone has been long overdue for an award after his critic heyday with the original Rocky, First Blood, and Copland.
And while I do love Creed and found Stallone to have given a truly great performance, my choice for Best Supporting Actor would have been Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation. As the Commandant, Elba was truly haunting and menacing while giving audiences a no holds bar depiction of the African war scene. He acted as the perfect antagonist and father figure to the young protagonist.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara – Carol
Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
This looks like a battle between Vikander and Winslet. The other actresses all gave fine performances but none were really standout as both McAdams and Leigh were strong performers in ensemble pieces. Meanwhile Mara gave a solid performance in Carol, and I thought for sure she would be the front runner against Vikander. Weirdly, Winslet is the one getting a lot of love for her portrayal of Steve Jobs’ baby mama in Aaron Sorkin’s ode to assholes, I mean Steve Jobs by taking the BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. I’m betting Vikander will win however, as her performance in The Danish Girl was the stronger of the two lead performances (Eddie Redmayne really wasn’t that special here).
Curiously enough, I’d actually would still like Vikander to win but not for The Danish Girl, as I thought her best performance in 2015 was Ex Machina. She gave an incredible performance there deftly selling you on the idea that she’s not quite human but trying like hell to become one. For a supporting role, she was quite unparalleled.
Best Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies – Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen
Ex Machina – Alex Garland
Inside Out – Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, and Ronnie del Carmen
Spotlight – Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
Straight Outta Compton – Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus
While I do find it quite amusing that the only film to be nominated this year for an Oscar featuring predominately Black actors and actresses was written by a team of white dudes, I still don’t see Straight Outta Compton taking this award. All signs are pointing to Spotlight taking this award, and I can’t really be mad at that. It was a sterling script in a year filled with particularly memorable dialogue.
All of these nominees were solid entries, but if I had to choose the “best” of any script this year? I would love to give it to Alex Garland for Ex Machina, for a truly twisted script filled with intrigue and brilliantly written characters.
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short – Adam McKay and Charles Randolph from “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis
Brooklyn – Nick Hornby from “Brooklyn” by Colm Tóibín
Carol – Phyllis Nagy from “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith
The Martian – Drew Goddard from “The Martian” by Andy Weir
Room – Emma Donoghue from “Room” by Emma Donoghue
It’s looking like The Big Short will score this award based on the Writer’s Guild of America choosing it as there best adapted screenplay. A poor choice if you ask me as both Room and The Martian had much, MUCH better scripts than the journey into the hell that was the 2008 crisis.
Between my favorites, I would award this Oscar to my favorite film of 2015, Room. With such a small cast, this script managed to spew a ton of emotions out of me: joy, sadness, anger, relief, depression, and everything else in between. Absolutely adore this script.
Best Animated Film
Anomalisa – Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, and Rosa Tran
Boy & the World – Alê Abreu
Inside Out – Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
Shaun the Sheep Movie – Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
When Marnie Was There – Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura
Pixar hasn’t earned an Oscar since Toy Story 3, and Inside Out is truly the studio’s best film since then. I think it’s going to take the Oscar and it would have been my choice as well. Haven’t seen the other nominees except Anomalisa, which I haven’t reviewed yet. And if my Brooklyn review didn’t piss off my film critique friends, they’re going to be calling for my crucifixion with Anomalisa. Did not care for it or “got” what made it so “human” and “emotional.” It just kept pissing me off with a thoroughly shitty main character. I still appreciate the artistry and clever dialogue that went into it, and I got what the theme was supposed to be; but I just didn’t care for it. And yes, it does feature a puppet sex scene, though I’d say Team America: World Police was way more fun.
Best Foreign Language Film
Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia) in Spanish – Ciro Guerra
Mustang (France) in Turkish – Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Son of Saul (Hungary) in Hungarian – László Nemes
Theeb (Jordan) in Arabic – Naji Abu Nowar
A War (Denmark) in Danish – Tobias Lindholm
Haven’t seen any of these, but if I were a betting man, then I’d put my chips on Son of Saul. It’s a critically lauded Holocaust film that’s received a ton of love from various people the world over, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this one takes the gold.
Best Documentary – Feature
Amy – Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
Cartel Land – Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
The Look of Silence – Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
What Happened, Miss Simone? – Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby, and Justin Wilkes
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom – Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor
Really meant to check out Amy, the documentary on the late Amy Winehouse, which got tons of praise from documentary and regular film lovers. So I’m going to take a wild guess and pick this one as the predicted winner.
Best Documentary – Short Subject
Body Team 12 – David Darg and Bryn Mooser
Chau, Beyond the Lines – Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah – Adam Benzine
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness – Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Last Day of Freedom – Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman
Fucked if I know. Picking a random one, I’m gonna say Body Team 12.
Best Live Action Short Film
Ave Maria – Eric Dupont and Basil Khalil
Day One – Henry Hughes
Everything Will Be Okay – Patrick Vollrath
Shok – Jamie Donoughue
Stutterer – Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage
Look guys, I know I watch a shit ton of movies, but even I have my limits. Going over the Wikipedia entries for each film, I’m going to guess Shok will win based solely on the fact there’s a plot summary for it and I’d imagine the Academy’s voting pool to be equally as lazy.
Best Animated Short Film
Bear Story – Pato Escala Pierart and Gabriel Osorio Vargas
Prologue – Imogen Sutton and Richard Williams
Sanjay’s Super Team – Nicole Paradis Grindle and Sanjay Patel
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos – Konstantin Bronzit
World of Tomorrow – Don Hertzfeldt
Out of all of these films, I only saw Sanjay’s Super Team right before seeing The Good Dinosaur. It’s a cute a little film, and find no reason why it shouldn’t win, so I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and pick this one as the most likely to win.
Best Original Score
Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman
Carol – Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
Sicario – Jóhann Jóhannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams
Ah finally, back to films I have seen. Honestly surprised to see John Williams up there since a good portion of Star Wars was him reusing his old material. Me? I would pick Ennio Morricone to win this one. The guy is a Hollywood legend and he hasn’t composed for a major film release since the 80s, and his score for The Hateful Eight was truly magnificent. Would say Sicario came a close second.
Best Original Song
“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey – Music and Lyric by Ahamad Balshe (Belly), Stephan Moccio, Jason “Daheala” Quenneville, Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd)
“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction – Music by J. Ralph, Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3” from Youth – Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground – Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga and Diane Warren
“Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre – Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
Jesus Christ, Spectre sucked. Even the damn song sucked with one of the worst opening montages in Bond history. I think this song only made the list by pure virtue that people like Sam Smith. Anyways, I’m going to say Lady Gaga will win this one. The woman’s on a role this year with her victories in the Golden Globes and her song, talking a lot about her own sexual assault, is sure to get voters on her side. That and it’s genuinely the best of the five songs.
Best Sound Editing
Mad Max: Fury Road – Mark A. Mangini and David White
The Martian – Oliver Tarney
The Revenant – Martin Hernández and Lon Bender
Sicario – Alan Robert Murray
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Matthew Wood and David Acord
A bit of a primer on this one, according to the IB Times, sound editing is about “the creation of all the sound elements, besides music, included in the movie.” Based on this definition, I think the winner will be Mad Max: Fury Road, as there were tons of sound effects that had to be blended together amid all the virtual effects and stunts.
Best Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies – Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, and Drew Kunin
Mad Max: Fury Road – Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, and Ben Osmo
The Martian – Paul Massey, Mark Taylor, and Mac Ruth
The Revenant – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom, and Chris Duesterdiek
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson
Per the IB Times, sound mixing is “mixing of those elements to achieve the proper balance between music, dialogue, sound effects and any other elements.” For this award, I’m guessing The Revenant will win this one, though I think The Martian earned it more.
Best Production Design
Bridge of Spies – Rena DeAngelo, Bernhard Henrich, and Adam Stockhausen
The Danish Girl – Michael Standish and Eve Stewart
Mad Max: Fury Road – Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson
The Martian – Celia Bobak and Arthur Max
The Revenant – Jack Fisk and Hamish Purdy
This goes to best “art direction” in a movie. I personally would award this to Mad Max: Fury Road, for the sole reason it’s the most outlandish of the five nominees with previous winners being The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Great Gatsby, and Hugo.
Carol – Ed Lachman
The Hateful Eight – Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road – John Seale
The Revenant – Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario – Roger Deakins
This one looks to be a dead heat match between Mad Max and The Revenant. Don’t know why the fuck Carol is up there. I would award this one to Mad Max as well, but I have a feeling The Revenant will bag this award based on the horror stories the cameramen would tell with working with their asshole director. Solidarity among cameramen I suppose.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
Mad Max: Fury Road – Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin
The Revenant – Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman, and Robert Pandini
Don’t even ask about the first nominee. I’m thinking The Revenant will take this one with the fucked up make up they slapped on DiCaprio and the fact there were actual haristylists, Mad Max had a bunch shaved heads honestly.
Best Costume Design
Carol – Sandy Powell
Cinderella – Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl – Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road – Jenny Beavan
The Revenant – Jacqueline West
I didn’t care for Cinderella, but credit goes where credit is due and say they had some pretty impressive outfits, more so than the other choices.
Best Film Editing
The Big Short – Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road – Margaret Sixel
The Revenant – Stephen Mirrione
Spotlight – Tom McArdle
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey
Seriously, fuck the Academy for picking The Big Short for this one. That movie was sloppily and choppily edited to hell. Once again, I think this is another Mad Max and Revenant match up with the award going to Mad Max. Tons of cameras were utilized for that film while requiring several layers of digital effects, so I’d say Sixel had her work cut out for her and deserves a big piece of gold for her hard work.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett – Carol
Brie Larson – Room
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
Back to the acting category, I think Jennifer Lawrence only made the list because the Academy needed a fifth nominee and she’s always reliable. While she indeed does a great job in Joy, the movie around her is just plain dull honestly. Initially, I thought Cate Blanchett was going to take this one after everyone talked how Carol is really her movie. But, I’ve been pleased to see that every award show has selected Brie Larson as the Best Actress of the year. She truly made Room the tour de force that it was, and deserves every ounce of recognition.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
Matt Damon – The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
Oh gee, I wonder who it will be…it’s fucking Leo. You know it’s Leo, I know it’s Leo, the American fucking people know it’s goddamn Leo. Dude put his body through the wringer to eek out an Academy Award, where in previous years he lost to not the “best” actors but the “most” actors. That is to say, the actors who did more physically demanding performances. With a lackluster performance from Fassbender and Cranston, coupled with the Academy’s hate on for anything science fiction, that only leaves Redmayne as the only real threat. But he won his award last year, so I doubt the Academy will pick him again.
Still, none of these actors gave the best male performance of the year. Nope, that would go to the former Spider-Man, Andre Garfield, for 99 Homes. He gave the most heart wrenching performance for a leading man this year, and it’s a damn shame he wasn’t nominated. I would have also nominated Michael B. Jordan for Creed as he took an extremely challenging role and owned that shit.
Adam McKay – The Big Short
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson – Room
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
Bah, Iñárritu is going to win this. Every major award show has given him the award oddly enough just to keep stroking his
tiny penis, sorry ego. And it’s doubly frustrating since The Revenant is hardly the best film of the year. So if I had one wish, I would want George Miller to take this one. Mad Max: Fury Road was a stellar achievement in direction on a cinematographic, visual, acting, writing, and overall enjoyment level that the man deserves the Oscar for crafting one of the best films of the year.
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The big one. Again, it’s looking like The Revenant will take the gold. Slightly disappointing, but unsurprising really. But if you’ve been keeping up with my writing, you know the score. You know which film truly moved me above the rest. Yes, Room is my favorite film of 2015 and more than deserves the Oscar for Best Picture.
So there you have it, took me forever to write, but now you can cheat off my list for any Oscar bets you’ve got going on (I demand a 5% cut bee-tee-dubs).