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2016 Oscar Predictions

In anticipation for the 88th Academy Awards, I offer my picks for who will and should win.

Best Picture: “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,” “Room,” “Spotlight”

While all movies in this category are Oscar worthy, the field has been narrowed down to a tight race between “Spotlight” and “The Big Short.” There is a slight possibility of “The Revenant” taking home the prize since it leads the nominations with 12 nods. Another potential spoiler would be crowd-pleaser “The Martian,” whose director Ridley Scott was snubbed in the Best Director category.

But “The Big Short” is fresh off a Producer Guild Award win, and “Spotlight” has won the Critics Choice Award for Best Picture and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

Verdict: While not as flashy as the other contenders, I’ll give a slight edge to “Spotlight” for its valiant depiction of the Boston Globe investigative journalists who exposed abuses in the Catholic Church and for its combination of great actors and writing.

Should win: Spotlight

Will win: Spotlight

Possible upset: The Big Short

Best Director: Adam McKay (“The Big Short”), George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road,”), Alejandro G.Iñárritu (“The Revenant”), Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”), Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)

For a second year in a row, Alejandro González Iñárritu has pushed himself to explore different dimensions of storytelling. His vision for and execution of “The Revenant” is what film and the filmmaking process is all about, and he battled grueling weather conditions in Canada to produce his Oscar-nominated production.

Iñárritu’s most pressing challenger in this category is George Miller for his cinematic achievement with “Mad Max:Fury Road,” taking into account Miller’s veteran filmmaker status and given fact that he is a first-time Oscar nominee. However, Iñárritu’s ceaseless creative genius compels me to place him as this year’s top director.

Should win: Alejandro González Iñárritu (“The Revenant”)

Will win: Alejandro González Iñárritu (“The Revenant”)

Possible upset: George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)

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”)

This category is perhaps the easiest to predict. Sorry to the other nominees, all of whom delivered solid performances, but this is Leonardo DiCaprio’s year. Finally! Unfortunately, this means the Leonardo DiCaprio Oscar memes will come to an end.

Having been nominated for his first Oscar in 1994 for his role in “What's Eating Gilbert Grape”, DiCaprio has picked up four more nominations, including “The Revenant.” This begs the question: What does a guy have to do to win an Oscar? Get mauled by a bear? Check. Eat bison liver? Check. Swim in freezing temperatures? Check. Sleep in a horse carcass? Check.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s total embodiment of his character, Hugo Glass, and his ability to convey emotions using very few words is something the Academy will not overlook. With his current momentum, winning both the Golden Globe and the Screen Actor Guild, DiCaprio will most likely be on stage Oscar night receiving the statuette.

Should win: No contest. Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)

Will win: Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)

Possible upset: Nobody.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett (“Carol”), Brie Larson (“Room”), Jennifer Lawrence, (“Joy”), Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years), Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)

Brie Larson is the clear front-runner for her beautifully emotional portrayal of Ma, a woman who gave birth to a son in captivity, and her struggle to readapt to the outside world. While she shared the screen with the extremely adorable then seven-year-old Jacob Tremblay, Larson’s performance stands out as a true testament of a mother’s love and dedication to saving her child. As per tradition, the actor/actress that wins the SAG award usually goes on to win the Oscar. Larson’s chances of winning are not only likely but also practically certain.

Although highly unlikely, Saoirse Ronan captivating role as Eilis Lacey, an Irish immigrant trying to make a life for herself in the United States, might be sentimental enough to steal some votes from Larson.

Should win: Toss-up between Brie Larson (“Room”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)

Will win: Brie Larson (“Room”)

Possible upset: Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)

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”)

Let’s first address the elephant in the room: #Oscarssowhite. If any person, regardless of race, deserved to be nominated this year, Idris Elba did for his role as a brutal commandant of an unidentified African rebel faction in “Beasts of No Nation”. The fact the Academy neglected to honor his performance is truly regrettable and slightly shameful.

But since he wasn’t nominated in the category, my picks would be Tom Hardy and Christian Bale. I would honestly give the award to anyone of these nominees but Sylvester Stallone, who at times is so difficult to understand, he seems to be speaking a different language. This is his seventh time playing Rocky Balboa on film and the second Oscar nomination for this character. His win would reflect sentiment rather than merit.

Should win: Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”) and Christian Bale (“The Big Short”).

Will win: Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)

Possible upset: Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”)

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 category contains some of the best performances of the year. Alicia Vikander clearly stole the spotlight from her male co-star in “The Danish Girl” as artist Gerda Wegener. She provides the most surprising and electrifying performance in what should have been considered a leading role. However, Vikander has a higher chance of winning in this category because she had the most screen time. More importantly, for someone who was considered by many critics an afterthought to Eddie Redmayne’s performance, Vikander dominated the screen.

Seven-time Oscar nominee, Kate Winslet is adored by the Academy and pretty much everyone in the film industry. So much so, that it only took Winslet sending a photo of herself as Joanna Hoffman - complete with hair and glasses - to director Danny Boyle for him to hire her. But, she won an Oscar not too long ago. So my guess is that newcomer Vikander will come out on top.

Should win: Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)

Will win: Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)

Possible upset: Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)

Best Cinematography: Ed Lachman (“Carol”), Robert Richardson (“The Hateful Eight”), John Seale (“Mad Max: Fury Road”), Emmanuel Lubezki (“The Revenant”), Roger Deakins (“Sicario”)

“The Revenant’s” cinematography is definitely worthy of praise. Lubezki’s insistence on shooting “The Revenant” solely in natural light is yet another triumph of his abilities as a cinematographer, which will be consolidated in his third Oscar win this year. However, George Miller's “Mad Max: Fury Road” lured John Seale out of retirement and is the first out of the four installments to be shot with digital film. The scale of the movie is comparable to that of “The Revenant.” So, to change things up a little, the Academy could possible award John Seale.

Should win: Emmanuel Lubezki (“The Revenant”)

Will win: Emmanuel Lubezki (“The Revenant”)

Possible upset: John Seale (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)

Best Original Screenplay: Matt Charman and Ethan and Joel Coen (“Bridge of Spies”), Alex Garland (“Ex-Machina”), Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”), Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley (“Inside Out”), Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (“Straight Outta Compton”)

Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy deliver a great screenplay based on the journalistic efforts of the Boston Globe "Spotlight" team who expose a cover-up of abuse of local Catholic priests. The structure of the script and character dialogue flow naturally and keep the audience engaged throughout the film. Pixar/Disney films have been nominated in this category numerous times: “Toy Story” (1995), “Finding Nemo” (2003), “The Incredibles” (2004), “Ratatouille” (2007), “Wall-E” (2008), and “Up” (2009). “Inside Out” would be the first Pixar/Disney film to ever win for best Original Screenplay.

Should win: Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy ("Spotlight")

Will win: Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy ("Spotlight")

Possible upset: Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (“Inside Out”)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay (“The Big Short”), Nick Hornby (“Brooklyn”), Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”), Drew Goddard (“The Martian”), Emma Donoghue (“Room”)

Charles Randolph and Adam McKay wrote a fast-paced, relevant film about the 2008 financial crisis in the United States with “The Big Short”. They took a subject matter that is difficult to understand balanced it with comedic elements, assembling an enjoyable experience for the audience. Two out of the five nominees in this category are women. It would be fantastic to see Emma Donoghue win for adapting her own novel, “Room.”

Should win: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay (“The Big Short”)

Will win: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay (“The Big Short”)

Possible upset: Emma Donoghue (“Room”)

Best Foreign Movie: “Mustang” (France), “Son of Saul” (Hungary), “Embrace of the Serpent” (Colombia), “Theeb” (Jordan), “A War” (Denmark)

Historically, Holocaust films have been successful in the Academy Award, as evident with last year's winner for Best Foreign Language Film, “Ida”. This year’s “Son of Saul” is a harrowing look at the reality of concentration camps, the mechanics of evil, and the depth of humanity. Deniz Gamze Ergüven's debut film “Mustang” embraces a feminist perspective on the contemporary issue of repression of women in Turkish society that might cause a potential upset in the category.

Should win: “Son of Saul” (Hungary)

Will win: “Son of Saul” (Hungary)

Possible upset: “Mustang” (France)

Best Animated Movie: “Inside Out,” “Anomalisa,” “Boy and the World” “Shaun the Sheep Movie”, “When Marnie Was There”

“Inside Out” is poised to win this year's best animation. Equally moving as it is quirky, “Inside Out” is a testament of Pixar's originality and ability to entertain and inspire people of all ages. “Anomalisa” is the first R-rated feature to be nominated for Best Animated Movie. But because it was nominated, “Anomalisa” could sweep in last minute.

Should win: “Inside Out”

Will win: “Inside Out”

Possible upset: “Anomalisa”

Best Documentary: “Amy,” “The Look of Silence,” “Cartel Land”, “What Happened, Miss Simone,” “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

“The Look of Silence” is Joshua Oppenheimer's second film to address the issue of Indonesian genocide and to be nominated for an Oscar. Having lost his first time, the Academy might chose to award him this year. Pop-culture documentaries have been more and more recognized by the Academy, with previous winners “Searching For Sugar Man” and “20 Feet From Stardom.” So, keep an eye out for “Amy” - based on Amy Winehouse's life and career.

Should win: “The Look of Silence”

Will win: “The Look of Silence”

Possible upset: “Amy”

Scene@theeagleonline.com


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