The Oscar nominations have been announced, so it’s time to make my predictions. I’m going to mix it up a bit here, and list who or what I think will win in each category, and what I hope will win. Because, in the words of Pat Garrett, “what you want and what you get are two different things.”
Note: Many of the films nominated haven’t been released in the UK yet (thanks, antiquated marketing strategies), so much of my speculation is based on reviews and my own early impressions/gut feelings. Needless to say, this article will be updated as and when I do see the films in question.
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant may have won the Golden Globe, but conventional wisdom aside, the Globes don’t always influence the Oscars. Spotlight is based on a true story (the Academy loves those), and it’s an “important” film (they love those, too), so I think Spotlight’s getting the big one this year.
How cool would it be if Mad Max: Fury Road won Best Picture? Not just because it was my favourite film of 2015; not just because it’s a spectacular piece of old-fashioned-meets-new-technology filmmaking; but for all the other fantastic genre films that the Academy has overlooked over the years.
Adam McKay – The Big Short
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson – Room
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
Only a handful of films have won Best Picture without their directors receiving an award, so chances are that if Spotlight wins Best Picture, then Tom McCarthy will win for Directing.
On that same note, if I’m backing Mad Max: Fury Road for Best Picture, then I’m also backing George Miller for Directing. And there’s a lot to love about Miller’s direction here. The mostly physical effects, the bonkers art design, and his manipulation of film speed are all the marks of a master craftsman.
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
I said that the Golden Globes don’t always influence the Oscars, but in this case they might. An Academy Award win for Leonardo DiCaprio has been a long time coming, and this might finally be his year.
It would be nice to see Leo win an Oscar, but his performance in The Revenant lacked the characterisation that has marked his truly great performances. Maybe the award should go to someone else. Someone like Bryan Cranston. Trumbo marks his first, honest-to-goodness leading film role since Breaking Bad, and by all accounts it’s a good one. Maybe it’s Bryan’s year.
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
There has been a great deal of buzz surrounding Brie Larson this year. She’s a relative newcomer turning in a career changing performance, which is something that usually makes the Academy sit up and take notice.
My hopes and predictions for this one are in tune. It’s always nice to see a newcomer given recognition, and Larson’s performance in Room looks like it definitely deserves an award.
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Again, the Academy will probably follow the globes on this one and honour Sylvester Stallone. He also won the Critic’s Choice award for Supporting Actor, so an Oscar could definitely be in the cards.
Tom Hardy put in another transformative performance in The Revenant (I barely recognised him at first), and the guy’s deserved an Oscar ever since Bronson. Plus he didn’t receive a nomination for Mad Max: Fury Road, so maybe this’ll lessen the sting a little.
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
This is the hardest category to predict this year; all the nominees except Jennifer Jason Leigh are in with a good chance (more on that below). Kate Winslet won the Golden Globe, but if I had to put money on this, I’d go with Alicia Vikander. She’s been getting a lot of attention for both The Danish Girl and Ex Machina, so a win for one of them seems likely.
Jennifer Jason Leigh’s performance in The Hateful Eight was over-the-top, scenery-chewing stuff, so not the kind of thing the Academy tends to go for. Still, it was hella fun to watch, so I’d like to see her win.
And the rest…
I’m fully expecting Mad Max: Fury Road to walk off with most of the technical awards, and it’s almost clean sweep at the Critic’s Choice Awards makes that pretty much a dead cert. The only other easy prediction is Best Animated Feature, which is going to go to Inside Out. And unlike 2013, when the brilliant Paranorman lost to the subpar Pixar effort Brave, this one is totally deserved. Inside Out is top-tier Pixar material.
So, how did I do? We’ll have to wait until 28th February to find out, but as always, feel free to loudly disagree.