27 Days of Oscar: Day 26, Predictions

Predictions are such a battle for those of us who do this very publically.  And even worse for the ones who have had spectacular years, whether by chance or accident.  I can't remember the first year I only missed 2...but I was living in NYC, saw every nominated film and truly read the tea leaves.  In 2014, I was living in Los Angeles, missed all of the shorts and about 12 features...and again...only missed 2. But that was an easy year.  Last year, again, back to successfully watching every film and missed 6.  Not bad for your run of the mill water cooler (do those still exist?) Oscar pool.  But not good enough for me.  

This year I came very close to having the guts to predict Kate Winslet over Alicia Vikander, but didn't quite go over the edge.  I went with my heart predicting the short categories (that has helped me in the past) and went against my statistical mind (which rarely comes into play with my predictions to be honest) with Sound...and really didn't take any risks in the majors. 

I'm going to do my best to put these out there and let it go.   If George Miller wins Best Director over Inarritu or if "Carol" wins costumes over "Mad Max" (although the real spoiler is probably Sandy Powell with "Cinderella"), I will want to cheer, not be defeated by my own loss.  I want to enjoy Sunday night without worry of how I do as a prognosticator.  Of course, I say this every year.  

So...for better or worse here are my predictions.  

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”
Matt Damon in “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”

Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Revenant"

Should Win: Michael Fassbender in "Steve Jobs"

Leo is the obvious pick.  But in terms of my "should win" Well...I decided to change it at the last minute.  I have Vikander/Redmayne in my Top 10 Performance Duos...which led me to pick Redmayne here.  But, alas, no.  It's Fassbender who deserves this win.  

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Christian Bale in “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”

Will Win: Sylvester Stallone in "Creed"
Should Win: Mark Ruffalo in "Spotlight"

I love Stallone...and would have a really hard time NOT voting for him simply because I want to hear his speech.  Sad, but true.  And I can guarantee the Academy is also on that page.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Cate Blanchett in “Carol”
Brie Larson in “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”

Will Win: Brie Larson in "Room"
Should Win: Charlotte Rampling in "45 Years"

Maybe it's experience, I'm not sure.  But what Charlotte Rampling does...or doesn't do in "45 Years" is a master class in subtlety and honesty.  I believe that they were married for 45 years and that everything she has known...more than half of her life...has literally been pulled out from under her.  Add the element of British pretension and social mores...along with director Andrew Haigh and you have what should have been the crowning of a long career.  

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara in “Carol”
Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”

Will Win: Alicia Vikander in "The Danish Girl"

Should Win: Rooney Mara in "Carol"

Poor "Carol."  It simply peaked too early, I think.   When Mara won at Cannes I thought she might take this home.  And I think she might have had they actually campaigned her in the proper category.  I would be happy if any of these actresses won.  But Mara...I would yelp with joy.   I came very, very close to choosing Kate Winslet...and on Tuesday, when ballots were due I would have said it was her prize (already having second thoughts!!) but I cannot deny that it is Vikander's year any longer.  And she is spectacular in the role.

Best animated feature film of the year

“Anomalisa” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
“Boy and 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

Will Win: Inside Out

Should Win: (TBD)

Will let you know after I watch "Boy and the World"

Achievement in cinematography

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

Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki for "The Revenant"

Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki for "The Revenant" 

I would like to go with "Sicario," mostly because Deakins has been nominated 13 times with no wins.  One day, he will win, right?  Perhaps next year with "Hail, Caeser" (although I doubt it).  But I cannot deny the utter beauty/mastery of what Lubeski created.

Achievement in costume design

“Carol” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl” Paco Delgado
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Jenny Beavan
“The Revenant” Jacqueline West

Will Win: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Jenny Beavan
Should Win: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Jenny Beavan

I came very close to picking "Cinderella" and to be completely honest...didn't even realize Powell did the designs for "Carol" or I might have gone that route.  But this isn't merely the Costume branch voting.  I think they will go with what they consider the best here.  And I think the best is "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Achievement in directing

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

Will Win: Alejandro G. Inarritu "The Revenant"

Should Win: George Miller "Mad Max: Fury Road"

This is a no brainer for me.  George Miller should win this.  George Miller should win this.  That's all.

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

Will win: "Amy"
Should win: "The Look of Silence"

This is a difficult category.  And we are in a similar place to back in 2013.  It was Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Act of Killing" versus "Twenty Feet From Stardom."  I can't remember what I thought should win back then...it wasn't my best year, after all, but I do remember thinking "Killing" was a brilliant.  And we all expected "Stardom" to win.  One day Oppenheimer will surely win an Oscar, but "Amy" has had this since the beginning.  And it does deserve an Oscar.  But I am such a fan of "The Look of Silence." The way Oppenheimer explores the art of observation and storytelling in a staged sort of way...it's unlike anything else out there.  Having just watched it I am almost moved to pick it to win.  But, I know better....

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

Will Win: "A Girl in the River" The Price of Forgiveness" Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Should Win: "A Girl in the River" The Price of Forgiveness" Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

I had a slight panic moment when I realized I had not seen “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah."  But this morning I made sure to watch it, and I have to say I'm still going with "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness." It is not only an HBO Documentary Film (a big plus, imho) but it was the one that moved me the most as not only a film, but also a very important story.  I would be just as happy if "Body Team 12" or "Chau, beyond the Lines" wins.  

Achievement in 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

Will Win: "The Big Short" Hank Corwin
Should Win: "The Big Short" Hank Corwin

I enjoyed "The Big Short" and I'm glad it got nominated for Best Picture...but it has no business winning that award.  That being said, it's editing does.  It's showy and obvious, but it works!

Best foreign language film of the year

“Embrace of the Serpent” Colombia
“Mustang” France
“Son of Saul” Hungary
“Theeb” Jordan
“A War” Denmark

Will Win: "Son of Saul" Hungary

Should Win: "Embrace of the Serpent" Columbia

Serpent certainly got the last push of momentum.  And if it wins I will certainly take partial credit due to my love letter to the film (see my FF piece at AD).  But "Saul" has been the frontrunner since the beginning.  So...I don't quite have the nerve to go with my dark horse.  Don't be surprised though if "Mustang" sneaks in for the win.

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

“Mad Max: Fury Road” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
“The Revenant” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Will Win: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin

Should Win: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin

I will say this...the work on “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared”  was spectacular.  Even if it was only for one character, aging throughout the film.  But this is "Mad Max"'s award.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (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

Will Win: “The Hateful Eight” Ennio Morricone

Should Win: “Carol” Carter Burwell

I would say 2 of these scores are brilliant.  "Carol" and "Sicario."  But this has to go to Morricone, yes?  He has never won and is a wonderful composer.   John Williams could sneak in...and had "Star Wars" gotten a Best Picture nomination, sure...might have happened.  But I'm going with Morricone.  That being said...I feel a little push that this could be one of the shockers of the night.  

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
Music by J. Ralph and 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 Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre”
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Will Win: “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga

Should Win: “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”

Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga

I really hope that The Weekend doesn't win.  I don't even think he can sing...even though I know this award isn't about that.  Diane Warren has never won...and it is a Gaga year...barring the results of a backlash.  

Achievement in production design

“Bridge of Spies” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
“The Danish Girl” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
“The Martian” Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
“The Revenant” Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

Will Win: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road" Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson

Can I just go with "Carol" as the write in winner?  No?  Ok.  "Mad Max."

Best animated short film

“Bear Story” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
“Prologue” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
“Sanjay’s Super Team” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos” Konstantin Bronzit
“World of Tomorrow” Don Hertzfeldt

Will Win: “World of Tomorrow” Don Hertzfeldt
Should Win: “World of Tomorrow” Don Hertzfeldt

I am a little worried that I have fallen under Eric Kohn's (Indiwire) spell with this one.  Seems that many people are going with "Bear Story."  Not sure why.  It was ok.  The Pixar choice, "Sanjay's Super Team" was ok.  If I was going to go with a spoiler I would actually say "We Can't Live without Cosmos."  But not taking that risk.

Best live action short film

“Ave Maria” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
“Day One” Henry Hughes
“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)” Patrick Vollrath
“Shok” Jamie Donoughue
“Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Will Win: “Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage
Should Win: “Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Achievement in sound editing

“Mad Max: Fury Road” Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Will Win: "The Revenant: Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
Should Win: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Mark Mangini and David White

This could be "Mad Max."  And I probably would have gone that way a few days ago.  But I'm feeling "The Revenant."  

Achievement in 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

Will Win: "The Revenant" Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
Should Win: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

I said in an earlier piece that I believed "Star Wars" to be the deserving winner of this award.  And I would love it to win...but I think "The Revenant" will take this as well.  

Achievement in visual effects

“Ex Machina” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Will Win: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould
Should Win: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

I'm going with "Star Wars" for the same reason many other progs are.  They will want to award this film in some way.  And if they don't go with Score, they will do it here.  "Mad Max" used limited VFX and I think most people are aware of that.  And "The Revenant?"  Surely not, right?

Adapted screenplay

“The Big Short” Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
“Brooklyn” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“Carol” Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian” Screenplay by Drew Goddard
“Room” Screenplay by Emma Donoghue

Will Win: "The Big Short" Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Should Win: “Carol” Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy

Part of me thinks that "Room" could sneak in and win this.  Emma Donoghue has done a great deal of press and is incredibly charming.  But the fact that Gillian Flynn didn't win last year...makes me think that Donoghue won't win either.  And the Best Picture runner up award (otherwise known as screenplay) goes to: "The Big Short."

Original screenplay

“Bridge of Spies” Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
“Ex Machina” Written by Alex Garland
“Inside Out” Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
“Spotlight” Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
“Straight Outta Compton” Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Will Win: "Spotlight"
Should Win: "Inside Out"

Some people are thinking that "Straight Outta Compton" could win.  And some Academy members might vote for this thinking they might momentarily remedy their diversity problem.  And I bet some of them would be surprised when a bunch of white folks take the stage.  But I can't see it.  Welcome to the runner up award "Spotlight."  Or what I sometimes like to call the Tarantino slot. 

If I was voting I would have a difficult time picking the winner.  But I'm going with "Inside Out" just barely over "Ex Machina" and "Spotlight."  One of the most clever and original screenplays in quite some time.

Best motion picture of the year

“The Big Short” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“Bridge of Spies” Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
“Brooklyn” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers
“The Martian” Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers
“The Revenant” Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers
“Room” Ed Guiney, Producer
“Spotlight” Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

Will Win:  "The Revenant"

Should Win: "Mad Max: Fury Road"

I felt it the moment the first scene of "The Revenant" was over.  And even more so once the credits began to roll.  This is a Best Picture Oscar winner.  It falls into the category of "The English Patient" and "12 Years a Slave."  Grand in scope with a high degree of difficulty.  What the Academy considers difficult, at least.  There are years when they pat themselves on the back ("The Artist" and "Birdman") and years they award what they consider important ("Crash" and "The Hurt Locker").  But I truly believe, when it comes down to it, they vote for what they think is the best.  Sure.  That could be "The Big Short" or "Mad Max: Fury Road."  It could even be "Spotlight" but I continue to go back to that feeling I had when I saw the film.


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