The Playground of Hollywood

The Playground of Hollywood

Monday, February 29, 2016

2015 OSCAR WINNERS

It was a tough year in the predictions department, as I hit only 16/24. Missed out on a few gut choices, and there were several big surprises and upsets for sure. But that's what always makes playing this game fun, year and year. In the end, Mad Max swept most of the techs, taking home the lions share with 6 Oscars. The Revenant made history in several ways with it's 3 wins, and Spotlight became the first film about journalism to win Best Picture, as well as the first film to win Picture and only 1 other award since 1952! Talk about spreading the wealth.

Best Picture
SPOTLIGHT

Best Director
ALEJANDRO G. INARRITU - "THE REVENANT"

Best Actor
LEONARDO DICAPRIO - "THE REVENANT"

Best Actress
BRIE LARSON - "ROOM"

Best Supporting Actor
MARK RYLANCE - "BRIDGE OF SPIES"

Best Supporting Actress
ALICIA VIKANDER - "THE DANISH GIRL"

Best Original Screenplay
SPOTLIGHT

Best Adapted Screenplay
THE BIG SHORT

Best Animated Feature
INSIDE OUT

Best Cinematography
THE REVENANT

Best Film Editing
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Production Design
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Costume Design
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Sound Mixing
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Sound Editing
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Visual Effects
EX MACHINA

Best Makeup & Hairstyling
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Original Score
THE HATEFUL EIGHT

Best Original Song
"WRITING'S ON THE WALL" - SPECTRE

Best Foreign Language Film
SON OF SAUL

Best Documentary Feature
AMY

Best Documentary Short Subject
A GIRL IN THE RIVER: THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS

Best Live-Action Short Film
STUTTERER

Best Animated Short Film
BEAR STORY

Sunday, February 28, 2016

2015 FINAL OSCAR WINNER PREDICTIONS!

And finally we come to the end of another year, another Oscar season, another ceremony. In the end, there was some seriously talented work recognized, and even more left in the shadows to be fawned over by the ages. But now it's time for the final Oscar predictions of 2015...the big winners. All the data, the knowledge, makes this year a heck of a lot of fun to watch, but kinda a bitch to predict!

I have a feeling that my choices are going to be pretty close to many other prognosticators this year. But that's just kinda how this year has played out. Especially with the precursor awards, there are many categories that have seemed to about sew themselves up. At the same time, there are several awards, including the biggest of all, Best Picture, that are among the most close-running races we've had in a long time. Should make for an entertaining evening at the very least. But here they are... my 2015 Oscar Winner predictions.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Should Win: World of Tomorrow
WILL WIN:  WORLD OF TOMORROW
Alternate:  Bear Story

WINNER:  BEAR STORY (alternate)

I can see about 4 of these taking this award. World of Tomorrow was my favorite, is the most original, and won the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Bear Story is most traditional in it's storytelling, and is beautiful to look at. While I liked Sanjay's Super Team, I didn't love it. And plus Disney won with Feast last year, so they might want to spread the wealth a bit.

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
Should Win:  Shok
WILL WIN:  SHOK
Alternate:  Day One

WINNER:  STUTTERER (missed)

Another strong crop of short films this year. The one that struck me the most was Shok, a tail of two young boys in 1998 Kosovo. I actually enjoyed all 5 of these, and would be happy with any of them taking the prize. 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Should Win: Body Team 12 or Girl in the River
WILL WIN:  BODY TEAM 12
Alternate:  Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

WINNER:  GIRL IN THE RIVER: THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS (alternate)

I am practically flipping a coin on this one. My head says Body Team, my heart says Girl in the River, and other thoughts are coming strong for Claude Landmann as well. A true role of the dice, which I've switched twice since writing this! 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Should Win:  The Look of Silence
WILL WIN:  AMY
Alternate:  Cartel Land

WINNER:  AMY (correct)

As nice as it was to see 2 films from Netflix make the nominee list, I don't see either making a big enough splash to win this. After taking several big prizes, including the PGA documentary award, it's hard to see Amy losing this one. Although stranger things have happened. Cartel Land is a solid doc in every way, and in another year, would be miles out in front.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Should Win:  Son of Saul
WILL WIN:  SON OF SAUL
Alternate:  Mustang

WINNER:  SON OF SAUL (correct)

All five films chosen are wonderful films. Embrace of the Serpent in particular caught me off guard. But Son of Saul has been barreling through the awards season with unmatched power, and will continue it's run tomorrow night, bringing Hungary it's first Oscar. If there is a surprise, it'll come from Mustang, the unexpectedly powerful French film. 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Should Win:  "Simple Song #3"
WILL WIN:  "TIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU" -- THE HUNTING GROUND
Alternate  "Writing's On the Wall"

WINNER:  "WRITING'S ON THE WALL" -- SPECTRE (alternate)

The team for The Hunting Ground have been pushing hardcore for this one, ever performing it live at the PGA award a few weeks ago. And the Academy isn't scared to award Documentary songs, as they showed in 06 with An Inconvenient Truth cancelling out all the songs from Dreamgirls. This race was sewn up with See You Again blasting across radio waves, and then was stunned when it wasn't even nominated. Seriously, wtf Academy. Besides Gaga's name on the award, Diane Warren will finally win her first Oscar after many many nominations over the years. If there's a spoiler to be had, watch for Sam Smith trying to make it 2/2 in the James Bond world of songs. It did win the Globe, after all.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Should Win:  Star Wars: The Force Awakens
WILL WIN:  THE HATEFUL EIGHT
Alternate:  Star Wars: The Force Awakens

WINNER:  THE HATEFUL EIGHT (correct)

Ennio Morricone was pulled out of retirement to do this film. He has an honorary Oscar. He's NEVER WON an actual competitive Oscar....argument closed. But, but, but....John Williams landed his 50th!!! nomination, and hasn't won since Schindler's List for cryin out loud!

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Should Win:  Mad Max: Fury Road
WILL WIN:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Alternate:  The Revenant

WINNER:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (correct)

If The Revenant begins a giant sweep of the night, this is one of the awards that it could take in the wake. And it would be a worthy course. The scars, blood, etc...quite honestly are some of the best wound makeup I can think of since 2004's The Passion of the Christ (which should've easily won!). All that said, Mad Max again has the flashier look, the more original work, and therefore, will likely take it on silver paint and shaded eyes.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Should Win:  Star Wars: The Force Awakens
WILL WIN:  STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Alternate:  Mad Max: Fury Road

WINNER:  EX MACHINA (missed)

Another tough call in the Visual FX race, but with wins at the Bafta and VES, I'm going with Star Wars, which as the biggest film of all time, should at least take 1 award home, surely! Mad Max could easily win in the production design also drips over into this category as well.

BEST SOUND EDITING
Should Win:  Mad Max: Fury Road
WILL WIN:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Alternate:  The Revenant

WINNER:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (correct)

The Martian and Sicario are out, first off. Both great work but not even in this convo. Star Wars again could creep in, but again it's really a race of Revenant vs. Mad Max. About half the time, the Academy splits the sounds Oscars between 2 films, and like last year, I'm guessing they do it again this year.

BEST SOUND MIXING
Should Win:  Mad Max: Fury Road
WILL WIN:  THE REVENANT
Alternate:  Mad Max: Fury Road

WINNER:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (alternate)

Whereas I would love to throw Star Wars into this mix, I simply cant. The Revenant took the Bafta and the all important CAS award, making it the front-runner. Mad Max could play spoiler for sure, but in my mind, for Mad Max I think more in a visual way, and I defintely remember HEARING the events of The Revenant. 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Should Win:  Cinderella
WILL WIN:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Alternate:  Carol

WINNER:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (correct)

This is one of the toughest categories this year, thanks in large part to the double nomination of Sandy Powell for both Carol and Cinderella. While I fully expect her to win for one of them, the prospect of a true vote-split is a real possibility. Will the Academy want to honor Carol somewhere since the film was shut-out of the top awards? I'm betting that Mad Max rides it's tidal wave of tech momentum and takes this award as well. It was a surprise nomination to hear, but since then has taken awards from the Critics Choice, Bafta as well as besting Ms. Powell herself at the CDG awards, I'm giving it the slightest of advantages in the final race....watch me be wrong tho.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Should Win:  Mad Max: Fury Road
WILL WIN:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Alternate:  Bridge of Spies

WINNER:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (correct)

A world unto our own, of our own, and yet completely different than anything seen before. The look of Mad Max is so different is every way, it always won this award the moment the film opened in May. Between the cars, the fights, the scenery, the citadel...how can it lose?

BEST FILM EDITING
Should Win:  Mad Max: Fury Road
WILL WIN:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Alternate:  The Big Short

WINNER:  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (correct)

Two very different films leading the pack in this race. The Big Short deals with a multiple storyline film, and keeps everything in order as much as possible. Whereas Mad Max is much more flourished, much more showy, much more noticeable. And many times, that matters. A big part of what keeps Mad Max's frantic energy going is it's editing, for sure.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Should Win:  The Revenant
WILL WIN:  THE REVENANT
Alternate:  Mad Max: Fury Road

WINNER:  THE REVENANT (correct)

Mad Max had this in the bag for 5 months. Beautiful shot after beautiful shot. At it still very well could win. But then there's a little film called The Revenant. Going for a record-breaking 3rd Oscar in a row, Chivo just might do it. The entire film is a total poem of beauty. No one that's seen The Revenant can say it's not a wonder to behold. There's several shots that I'm STILL trying to figure out how they were done. Here's hoping history is deservedly made.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Should Win:  Inside Out
WILL WIN:  INSIDE OUT
Alternate:  Anomalisa

WINNER:  INSIDE OUT (correct)

Inside Out is one of the best of the year, and in a year of 10 films, probably would be in the final cut. The screenplay nomination helps as well, and Pixar gets it's crown back from parent company Disney after the last 2 years. The closest competition is Anomalisa, which took several critic prizes, but the subject matter alone will turn off enough voters to give Pixar the win.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Should Win:  Room
WILL WIN:  THE BIG SHORT
Alternate:  Room

WINNER:  THE BIG SHORT (correct)

Just like in the other screenplay category, this is a spot to definitely award a film that just might miss out on Best Picture. The Big Short is all about the story, the characters, the dialogue. And it manages to keep your attention ever if you don't fully understand what it's saying. Any other winner here would be an honest shock.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Should Win:  Inside Out
WILL WIN:  SPOTLIGHT
Alternate:  Inside Out

WINNER:  SPOTLIGHT (correct)

Bridge of Spies is too mainstream, Ex Machina is too out there, and Straight Outta Compton is too racial for most voters. While many Pixar films had found a home here, none have won. By default and frontrunner status alone, this is where the Academy gives a for sure Oscar to Spotlight. It's all dialogue, all acting. It's captivating, it's hard-hitting, and it's brilliant.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Should Win: Kate Winslet "Steve Jobs"
WILL WIN: ALICIA VIKANDER "THE DANISH GIRL"
Alternate: Kate Winslet "Steve Jobs"

WINNER:  ALICIA VIKANDER "THE DANISH GIRL" (correct)

Here's why Kate Winslet SHOULD win...besides it's the best nominated "supporting" role in the category. It's a brilliant stretch of acting, enjoyable at every turn. But supporting here is key. Both Vikander and Rooney Mara deliver completely lead performances in their respective films. But that's never stopped the Academy before. Alicia Vikander had a breakout year for the ages, starring in not one but 5 films. It wasn't a matter of if she would be nominated, but more for what she would be. And of all the performances, hers in The Danish Girl is a female lead by definition, and helps carry the film as much as Eddie Redmayne does as the title character him/herself. A Winslet surprise would be a shocker for sure, but a worthy one if it happens.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Should Win:  Sylvester Stallone "Creed"
WILL WIN: SYLVESTER STALLONE "CREED"
Alternate:  Mark Rylance "Bridge of Spies"

WINNER:  MARK RYLANCE "BRIDGE OF SPIES" (alternate)

Let me say, I think Mark Rylance's performance in Bridge of Spies was easily one of the best of the year. He is brilliant, and I'm glad that everyone has seen how good he is when he steps off the stage and onto the screen. That said, this award is Sly's for the losing. In the most crowded of the acting awards by far this year, his was the only name that got a full room of reporters to all clap at the nominations. He breathed new life, probably for the last time, into a character that has been beloved for 40 years. And don't forget that while Rocky won Best Picture, Sly himself didn't win for acting or writing, so this is a chance to award him for a career worth of work.

BEST ACTRESS
Should Win:  Brie Larson "Room"
WILL WIN:  BRIE LARSON "ROOM"
Alternate:  Saoirse Ronan "Brooklyn"

WINNER:  BRIE LARSON "ROOM" (correct)

Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan split many of the critics awards leading up to the big awards of the season, but since then, Larson has dominated, taking the Globe, SAG, and BAFTA. Hard to believe she won't continue her winning ways here, and it's a completely worthy performance. Still not sure why JLaw got in this race. Not this year. If anyone else will take actress, it's Saoirse.

BEST ACTOR
Should Win:  Leonardo DiCaprio "The Revenant"
WILL WIN:  LEONARDO DICAPRIO "THE REVENANT"
Alternate:  Michael Fassbender "Steve Jobs"

WINNER:  LEONARDO DICAPRIO "THE REVENANT" (correct)

The easiest call of the entire night. A few of these choices really shouldn't even be on the shortlist. Leo will finally get his Oscar. GO LEO!

BEST DIRECTOR
Should Win:  George Miller "Mad Max: Fury Road"
WILL WIN:  ALEJANDRO G. INARRITU "THE REVENANT"
Alternate:  George Miller "Mad Max: Fury Road"

WINNER:  ALEJANDRO G. INARRITU "THE REVENANT" (correct)

After winning the Globe, and much more importantly the DGA and the BAFTA, it's hard to not see Inarittu making history as only the 3rd back-to-back Director winner. The Revenant truly is a director's vision type of film, as the cast and crew has reminded us at every opportunity. George Miller could also play spoiler, reinventing a genre pic that he helped invent many a moon ago. I keep having this thought of a giant surprise a la Roman Polasnki winning in 02. Would make for a great moment to see the elder gentleman collect an Oscar. The fact that he's later on in his life could pull a few sympathy votes too. The other choices would all be surprises, as they are simply too quiet and not "flashy" enough, regardless of how solid the work is.

BEST PICTURE
Should Win:  Spotlight or Room
WILL WIN:  THE REVENANT
Alternate:  Spotlight

WINNER:  SPOTLIGHT (alternate)

The toughest, closest race to call out of them all, and I'm going with The Revenant one reason and one reason alone...momentum. This year feels a bit to me like 2010 did. The Social Network took award after award, and then suddenly, with the guilds, the race switched to The King's Speech. This year, almost every major critics group (for the most part) went with Spotlight. And quite honestly, if I had a vote, I think I'd be voting for it as well. The Big Short is the proverbial wrench in the machine. It took the PGA, which is a HUGE deal because it's the only other award besides the Oscar that uses a preferential ballot system. So for those that DON'T vote for Revenant in their #1 spots...are their enough #2s or #3s? It does have the most passionate following of the 8 films..but it also has the most detractors. What a tough call.
But again, I'm going with The Revenant purely on momentum. After taking the globe, it took the BAFTA (yes that plays into effect), and the all-important DGA win. It's a gorgeous film, and certainly one that'll be remembered whether it wins or not. Plus 12 nominations shows that the love for the film is broad across the board, from every branch. Every Tom Hardy got up for Supporting Actor after being practically blanked in the precursors. That also shows that the acting branch is there in support as well. Ugh, this category is killing me! Enjoy the show everyone!

Final predix

The Revenant -- 5 wins
Mad Max: Fury Road -- 5 wins
Room -- 1 win
Creed -- 1 win
The Danish Girl -- 1 win
Spotlight -- 1 win
The Big Short -- 1 win
Inside Out -- 1 win
Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- 1 win
The Hateful Eight -- 1 win
The Hunting Ground -- 1 win
Son of Saul -- 1 win
Amy -- 1 win
Body Team 12 -- 1 win
Shok -- 1 win
World of Tomorrow -- 1 win

Saturday, February 6, 2016

2015 Awards -- Producers Guild Winners


We now officially have a 4-horse race, something that hasn't been said about the Oscars maybe ever. In a surprise, THE BIG SHORT took the top prize at the Producers Gu
ild Awards, adding it to the list of Spotlight, Mad Max, and The Revenant as viable Best Picture contenders. The race is heating up and hopefully we'll get a bit of light shining through after the SAG and DGA announce.

DARRYL F. ZANUCK AWARDS for OUTSTANDING PRODUCERS of a THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURE

THE BIG SHORT -- Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner & Jeremy Kleiner

OUTSTANDING PRODUCER of an ANIMATED FEATURE

INSIDE OUT -- Jonas Rivera

OUTSTANDING PRODUCER of a DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

AMY -- James Gay-Rees

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

CRITICS CHOICE WINNERS

The ceremony was held a few days ago, and Spotlight took the top prize, just holding off the behemoth that was Mad Max (9 total wins!). Full winners below...

Best Picture
SPOTLIGHT

Best Director
GEORGE MILLER - "MAD MAX: FURY ROAD"

Best Actor
LEONARDO DICAPRIO - "THE REVENANT"

Best Actress
BRIE LARSON - "ROOM"

Best Supporting Actor
SYLVESTER STALLONE - "CREED"

Best Supporting Actress
ALICIA VIKANDER - "THE DANISH GIRL"

Best Acting Ensemble
SPOTLIGHT

Best Original Screenplay
SPOTLIGHT

Best Adapted Screenplay
THE BIG SHORT

Best Animated Feature
INSIDE OUT

Best Cinematography
THE REVENANT

Best Film Editing
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Production Design
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Costume Design
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Visual Effects
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Hair & Makeup
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Score
THE HATEFUL EIGHT

Best Song
"SEE YOU AGAIN" - FURIOUS 7

Best Foreign Language Film
SON OF SAUL

Best Documentary Feature
AMY

Best Comedy
THE BIG SHORT

Best Actor in a Comedy
CHRISTIAN BALE - "THE BIG SHORT"

Best Actress in a Comedy
AMY SCHUMER - "TRAINWRECK"

Best Action Movie
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Best Actor in an Action Movie
TOM HARDY - "MAD MAX: FURY ROAD"

Best Actress in an Action Movie
CHARLIZE THERON - "MAD MAX: FURY ROAD"

Best Young Actor/Actress
JACOB TREMBLAY - "ROOM"

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie
EX MACHINA

2015 Awards -- Make-up Artists & Hairstylers Guild

One of the last guilds to announce, and a bit late considering we already had the 7 finalists in this award for the Oscars a long time ago. But nonetheless, here are their choices. The group was started way back in 1937, and is now over 1800 members strong. One question though..how is The Revenant not in any category? Especially effects!



BEST CONTEMPORARY MAKEUP

THE BIG SHORT
Julie Hewett & Pamela Westmore

FURIOUS 7
James MacKinnon, Autumn Butler & Roxy D'Alonzo

PITCH PERFECT 2
Melanie Hughes-Weaver & Judy Yonemoto

SICARIO
Donald Mowat

YOUTH
Maurizio Silvi & Matteo Silvi


BEST CONTEMPORARY HAIRSTYLING

EX MACHINA
Sian Grigg & Charlotte Rogers


FURIOUS 7
Linda Flowers, Jennifer Santiago & Lesa Williams

PITCH PERFECT 2
Cheryl Marks, Meagan Herrera & Daina Daigle

SPECTRE
Zoe Tahir

SPY
Sarah Love & Linda Flowers


BEST PERIOD AND/OR CHARACTER MAKEUP

BROOKLYN
Morna Ferguson, Niamh O'Loan & Marlene Rouleau

CAROL
Patricia Regan

CINDERELLA
Naomi Donne & Norma Webb

THE DANISH GIRL
Jan Sewell & Renata Gilbert

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Lesley Vanderwalt, Nadine Prigge & Ailie Smith


BEST PERIOD AND/OR CHARACTER HAIR STYLING

BROOKLYN
Lorraine Glynn, Lorraine Brennan & Michelle Cote

CAROL
Jerry DeCarlo, Jack Curtain & Kay Georgiou

CINDERELLA
Carol Hemming, Orla Carroll & Wakana Yoshihara

THE DANISH GIRL
Jan Sewell & Renata Gilbert

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Anita Morgan, Kerstin Weller & Kylie Clark


BEST SPECIAL MAKEUP EFFECTS

BLACK MASS
Joel Harlow, Kenny Niederbaumer & Khanh Trance

EX MACHINA
Sian Grigg, Charlotte Rogers & Tristan Versluis

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2
Ve Neill & Glenn Hetrick

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Damian Martin, Elka Wardega & Jaco Snyman

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Neal Scanlan

2015 Awards -- Georgia Film Critics Nominees & Winners

Georgia Film Critics went with Mad Max this year. These awards are always a bit special to my mind because I personally know 2 of the group members. Hey guys. Must say I'm a fan of their nominee choices. A lot of off-the-beaten-path choices.



BEST PICTURE
Brooklyn
Carol
Ex Machina
Inside Out
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
The Martian
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Room
Sicario
Spotlight

BEST DIRECTOR
Lenny Abrahamson - "Room"
Ryan Coogler - "Creed"
Tom McCarthy - "Spotlight"
GEORGE MILLER - "MAD MAX: FURY ROAD"
Ridley Scott - "The Martian"

BEST ACTOR
Matt Damon - "The Martian"
LEONARDO DICAPRIO - "THE REVENANT"
Michael Fassbender - "Steve Jobs"
Michael B. Jordan - "Creed"
Jason Segel - "The End of the Tour"

BEST ACTRESS
Emily Blunt - "Sicario"
Blythe Danner - "I'll See You in My Dreams"
BRIE LARSON - "ROOM"
Rooney Mara - "Carol"
Charlotte Rampling - "45 Years"
Saoirse Ronan - "Brooklyn"
Charlize Theron - "Mad Max: Fury Road"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Benicio Del Toro - "Sicario"
Mark Ruffalo - "Spotlight"
Mark Rylance - "Bridge of Spies"
SYLVESTER STALLONE - "CREED"
Jacob Tremblay - "Room"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Elizabeth Banks - "Love & Mercy"
Rose Byrne - "Spy"
Jennifer Jason Leigh - "The Hateful Eight"
ALICIA VIKANDER - "EX MACHINA"
Kate Winslet - "Steve Jobs"

BEST ENSEMBLE
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
SPOTLIGHT
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Straight Outta Compton

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
INSIDE OUT
Sicario
Spotlight

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
THE BIG SHORT
Brooklyn
The End of the Tour
The Martian
Room
Steve Jobs


BEST ANIMATED FILM
Anomalisa
The Good Dinosaur
INSIDE OUT
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Assassin
Carol
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
The Revenant
Sicario

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Brooklyn
Carol
Ex Machina
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Bridge of Spies
THE HATEFUL EIGHT
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"I'll See You in My Dreams" -- I'll See You in My Dreams
"SEE YOU AGAIN" -- FURIOUS 7
"Simple Song #3" -- Youth
"So Long" -- Concussion
"Til It Happens to You" -- The Hunting Ground

BEST FOREIGN FILM
The Assassin
Labyrinth of Lies
The Look of Silence
Mustang
SON OF SAUL

BEST DOCUMENTARY
AMY
Best of Enemies
Finders Keepers
Frame by Frame
The Look of Silence

BREAKTHROUGH AWARD
Abraham Attah - "Beasts of No Nation"
Alex Garland - "Ex Machina"
Daisy Ridley - "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
Jacob Tremblay - "Room"
ALICIA VIKANDER - "BURNT", "THE DANISH GIRL", "EX MACHINA", "THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.", TESTAMENT OF YOUTH"

OGLETHORPE AWARD (EXCELLENCE IN GEORGIA CINEMA)
ANT-MAN - Peyton Reed, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
Bessie
Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors
CROW HAND!!!
Dante's Down the Hatch
The DUFF
Furious 7
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Ir'Reconcilable
A Walk in the Woods

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Post-nomination thoughts and reactions...

Just off the cuff thoughts as I hear the nominations this morning, with a tear in my eye for the news of Alan Rickman's passing....RIP Professor Snape. These will be expressed in the order of the categories announced...

1. Nooooooo! Not Fifty Shades of Grey! What a putrid pile of awful, pointless, ridiculous film. With 3 songs in the running, I had a gut feeling that it would get it for Best Song, but I was really hoping against it. And even worse, no "See You Again" from Furious 7???? WTF Academy! I give up with this category. Seems like they make more dumb decisions in song than all the other categories combined! This is right up there with Norbit being an Oscar nominee. Terrible terrible choice.

2. Very happy Sicario wasn't forgotten and showed up in a few categories, particularly in the Cinematography category. Yet ANOTHER nod for Roger Deakins. One day......

3. Doc Feature hurt me a bit this year. With the love of Hollywood usually on display, I'm a bit surprised that Listen To Me Marlon missed out. Also, only 2 matches with the PGA choices. I was very close to predicted Winter on Fire, but didn't know enough about the film to call it.

4. Okay, I missed the boat on Mad Max for costumes. In the only tech that it didn't sell me on, but I guess it should've. And The Revenant??? Great choice, but did anyone see that one coming? Sure as hell no one predicted it!

5. Once again the Makeup branch throws in a monster curveball that few people has seen and even less have heard of. I was rightly secure with Mad Max and Revenant, but no Black Mass or Mr. Holmes? That's the real surprise.

6. No Peanuts Movie? NO PEANUTS MOVIE???? That's one of the saddest things to come out of this morning's announcement. Even though I highly enjoyed The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out covers the Pixar spot as the frontrunner. And I'm happy When Marnie Was There got into the mix. But if it came as the expense of Peanuts Movie.....that's just wrong. This is the first year where I can honestly say I wish there could be more than 5 nominees. Boy and the World...GKids must be ecstatic. This is the 4th film in the last couple of years that they've squeaked into the Animated category. Haven't seen it so can't comment yet, but looks interesting in it's simplicity.

7. Why didn't I predict Tom Hardy?? I had a feeling it would happen, and even put him as an alternate choice. Even with missing precursor after precursor, I still had the feeling once I saw the film. Damn. But yay for him being an Oscar nominee now!

8. Very happy Alicia Vikander got in. She had an absolute monster of a breakout year. But to be a bit nitpicky, I wish it was for Ex Machina. Her role in Danish Girl is really a lead. Also happy to see Rachel McAdams get in, even though I didn't call it. Underrated actress.

9. 2nd highest grossing film of the year, and one of the biggest movie worldwide all-time, hugely effects driven, and Jurassic World gets completely shut out. Not a visual nod. Not a sound nod. Nada. Also, Marvel didn't have a good year, missing out completely with Avengers 2 and Ant-Man both going empty-handed.

10. Star Wars grabs a nod I didn't see coming, and a biggie in the best Film Editing category. Nothing else to say but congrats on that one!

11. I picked Sicario for Score when very few did. And woah, John Williams just got his 50TH OSCAR NOMINATION! Wow.

12. Woah Lenny Abrahamson for Room? I don't think ANYBODY saw that one coming?! It's deserved, but with the buzz on the film cooling lately, it's still a shocker. And more to the point, it comes at the expense of Ridley Scott! Again, who predicted a snub here? Wasn't he supposed to be one of the frontrunners to win?????

13. Nailed both lead acting categories 5/5. Boom.

14. No Carol? Wow. After landing the most nods at both the Bafta and the Golden Globes, the film is snubbed for not only director but Best Picture as well? Definitely a real breaker in the predicting cirlces. Didn't foresee that one as even a possibility.

2015 OSCAR NOMINATIONS and How I Did Predicting



Out of 106 total predictions I made, I got 82 right for 77.3% correct rate. If you add in my alternate choices per category, it goes all the way up to 96/106 for a 90.5%. For a year where it seemed like nobody knew or could guess what was going on....I'll take it! In most categories I only missed 1 choice, and I nailed 3 perfectly, sound mixing and both leading acting categories!

Here are your full Academy Award Nominees for 2015...


BEST PICTURE -- 7/8
  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room (alternate)
  • Spotlight
BEST DIRECTOR -- 3/5
  • Lenny Abrahamson - "Room" (missed)
  • Alejandro G. Inarritu - "The Revenant"
  • Tom McCarthy - "Spotlight"
  • Adam McKay - "The Big Short" (alternate)
  • George Miller - "Mad Max: Fury Road"
BEST ACTOR -- 5/5
  • Bryan Cranston - "Trumbo"
  • Matt Damon - "The Martian"
  • Leonardo DiCaprio - "The Revenant"
  • Michael Fassbender - "Steve Jobs"
  • Eddie Redmayne - "The Danish Girl"
BEST ACTRESS -- 5/5
  • Cate Blanchett - "Carol"
  • Brie Larson - "Room"
  • Jennifer Lawrence - "Joy"
  • Charlotte Rampling - "45 Years"
  • Saoirse Ronan - "Brooklyn"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR -- 4/5
  • Christian Bale - "The Big Short"
  • Tom Hardy - "The Revenant" (alternate)
  • Mark Ruffalo - "Spotlight"
  • Mark Rylance - "Bridge of Spies"
  • Sylvester Stallone - "Creed"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS -- 4/5
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh - "The Hateful Eight"
  • Rooney Mara - "Carol"
  • Rachel McAdams - "Spotlight" (alternate)
  • Alicia Vikander - "The Danish Girl"
  • Kate Winslet - "Steve Jobs"
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY -- 4/5
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton (alternate)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY -- 4/5
  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian (alternate)
  • Room
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE -- 3/5
  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World (missed)
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There (alternate)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY -- 4/5
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight (alternate)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario
BEST FILM EDITING -- 3/5
  • The Big Short
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Spotlight (alternate)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (missed)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN -- 4/5
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant (missed)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN -- 3/5
  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (alternate)
  • The Revenant (missed)
BEST SOUND MIXING -- 5/5
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
BEST SOUND EDITING -- 4/5
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario (alternate)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS -- 4/5
  • Ex Machina (alternate)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING -- 2/3
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (alternate)
  • The Revenant
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE -- 4/5
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol (alternate)
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
BEST ORIGINAL SONG -- 3/5
  • "Earned It" - Fifty Shades of Grey (missed)
  • "Manta Ray" - Racing Extinction (missed)
  • "Simple Song #3" - Youth
  • "Til It Happens To You" - The Hunting Ground
  • "Writing's on the Wall" - Spectre
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM -- 4/5
  • Embrace of the Serpent - Colombia (missed)
  • Mustang - France
  • Son of Saul - Hungary
  • Theeb - Jordan
  • A War - Denmark
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE -- 3/5
  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone? (missed)
  • Winter's on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom (missed)
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
  • 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
BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
  • Ave Maria
  • Day One
  • Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
  • Shok
  • Stutterer
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
  • Bear Story
  • Prologue
  • Sanjay's Super Team
  • We Can't Live without Cosmos
  • World of Tomorrow


FULL NOMINATION TALLY

12 -- The Revenant

10 -- Mad Max: Fury Road

7 -- The Martian (but no director)

6 -- Bridge of Spies (but no director)
6 -- Spotlight
6 -- Carol (but no director or Best Picture)

5 -- The Big Short
5 -- Star Wars: The Force Awakens

4 -- Room
4 -- The Danish Girl

3 -- Brooklyn
3 -- The Hateful Eight
3 -- Sicario

2 -- Steve Jobs
2 -- Ex Machina
2 -- Inside Out

1 -- Trumbo
1 -- Joy
1 -- 45 Years
1 -- Creed
1 -- Straight Outta Compton
1 -- Anomalisa
1 -- Boy and the World
1 -- Shaun the Sheep Movie
1 -- When Marnie Was There
1 -- Cinderella
1 -- The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
1 -- Fifty Shades of Grey
1 -- Racing Extinction
1 -- Youth
1 -- The Hunting Ground
1 -- Spectre
1 -- Embrace of the Serpent
1 -- Mustang
1 -- Son of Saul
1 -- Theeb
1 -- A War
1 -- Amy
1 -- Cartel Land
1 -- The Look of Silence
1 -- What Happened, Miss Simone?
1 -- Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

FINAL OSCAR NOMINATION PREDICTIONS 2015

The time has come to make my final predictions for this year's Oscars. Now in the 14th year I've done this! I do 21 categories, all but the short films. This has been a fun season to watch, and now in the home stretch, a few films have surged ahead. This is one of the hardest years to predict in a long time, maybe since I started. Only a few categories seem locked up at all, and even then only a few spots per category. Enjoy the breakdown, and the nominations tomorrow!


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
There are plenty of worthy choices to go around this year. Amy is the definite frontrunner, and this category has been pretty friendly to frontrunners lately. Several films showed up to the race early with nods, like Best of Enemies, Where to Invade Next, Meru, and Going Clear, but they haven't made the big splash they needed to. Of the final 15, I can realistically see about 12 of them getting into the race, won't be surprised if I miss a whole bunch of these. Tough category to call.

PREDICTIONS
Amy
Cartel Land
He Named Me Malala
The Hunting Ground
The Look of Silence

Alternates
Listen To Me Marlon
Meru

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
This really is a race just to be nominated, and it looks doubtful anything will be able to overtake Son of Saul for the win. Since it took home the Grand Prix at Cannes, nothing has touched it. Sadly there was several films that were snubbed for consideration, as there is every year. This category still needs a bit of an overhaul. That said, along with Son of Saul, I think Mustang is safely in. After that it gets trickier. Theeb landed on the shortlist at the Bafta, and hence I'm adding it here. I'm thinking a couple of films from central Europe will round out the list, but you never know with this category.

PREDICTIONS
Labyrinth of Lies -- Germany
Mustang -- France
Son of Saul -- Hungary
Theeb -- Jordan
A War -- Denmark

Alternates
The Brand New Testament -- Belgium
The Fencer -- Finland

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
You literally never know what they'll do with song. It's usually a good bet to go with songs that are written by known artists, but sometimes that theory can come back to bite ya. I'm only secure with 2 or 3 of these choices. Several of these songs have shown up at previous awards, but whether that helps or hurts them is still to be seen. I'm still sad that nothing from Love & Mercy was deemed eligible. That's just wrong on every level. Also, please God, with 3 songs eligible...nothing from Fifty Shades of Grey. Please please please.

PREDICTIONS
"See You Again" -- Furious 7
"Simple Song #3" -- Youth
"Til It Happens To You" -- The Hunting Ground
"Waiting for My Moment" -- Creed
"Writing's on the Wall" - Spectre

Alternates
"Feels Like Summer" -- Shaun the Sheep Movie
"The Light That Never Fails" -- Meru

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
One of the biggest crimes of this year's Oscar season is the score for The Revenant not being eligible. It landed with the critics choice and bafta, but a no go here for the 2nd Inarittu film in a row! Howard shore could make an appearance for Spotlight, as the music fits the film perfectly, but is it too similar throughout to notice? John Williams adds to his Star Wars canon, and will likely hear his name called for the 50th time in his career!!!! Also very possible is the man who took over his spot for Spielberg work, Thomas Newman.  Pixar films always have great scores, and this year's Inside Out could/should land another nod for Michael Giacchino. Johann Johansson missed the win last year, but his work on Sicario has shown up at several awards this year as well. Alexander Desplat has a chance again with Spectre and The Danish Girl, Daniel Pemberton did great work for Steve Jobs, and Carter Burwell landed hard with Carol, but missed at the bafta. In the end, it's gonna be tough to upset one of the all-time masters, Ennio Morricone, for his score for The Hateful Eight.

PREDICTIONS
Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Alternates
Carol
The Danish Girl

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
It was a surprise that Star Wars was left out of the running, considering the last film was nominated here. Snubs also ring for Carol, The Danish Girl, and The Hateful Eight. So what do we have left? I think Mad Max should be secure. If it were up to me, The Revenant would be locked in as well. This makeup branch loves showy work. There is some serious out-of-left-field choices here, including Concussion, Legend, and Mr. Holmes. But the least likely of all?...That's what I'm going with as an alternate, just behind making Depp look unrecognizable. All things considered, this is always one of my weakest predicting categories, so take that with a grain of salt.

PREDICTIONS
Black Mass
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Alternates
Mr. Holmes
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
With the VES nods leading hard on Star Wars, it's stop seems locked in, as well as the other space film, The Martian. In the wash of all categories, Mad Max should land here as well. Big summer releases all stand a good chance. Ant-Man, Jurassic World, and Avengers could all easily appear tomorrow, and many people think they will. After all, this is one of the showiest categories there is. But for better or worse, I'm going with a gut feeling that they pick at least 1 lighter effects-heavy film as well. I desperately want to pick Ex Machina, but I can't bring myself to.

PREDICTIONS
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Alternates
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ex Machina

BEST SOUND EDITING
The sound categories usually match up pretty close to each other, at least 3 films show up in both categories. I'm thinking Mad Max, Martian, and Star Wars will be those 3 this year. Also thinking The Revenant could land in both as well. Pixar films seem to have a good chance here, although the last one to be nominated was Toy Story 3, 5 years ago. Gunfire work in both Tarantino's latest, and the wonderfully brutal Sicario could score as well.

PREDICTIONS
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Alternates
The Hateful Eight
Sicario

BEST SOUND MIXING
Again, matching up the three from the other sound category. Animated films tend to have less chance here, so switch that one. Going with the more subtle Bridge of Spies, which was named by both the Bafta and the CAS. I have a feeling Sicario especially is going to show up somewhere sound related, but can't decide where, so it remains on the alternate list.

PREDICTIONS
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Alternates
The Hateful Eight
Sicario

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
I'm hoping that paying attention leads to a decent score in Costumes. Lavish royalty is always a good choice here, but there isn't like that this year. Several films have made the shortlists with several different awards, but it seems period films will be more the genre represented this year. Sandy Powell will likely find herself nominated twice, having designed both Carol and Cinderella. This is the 1 tech where I'm not 100% sold on Mad Max showing up, even though it has received a couple of nods already. Showy almost always wins over subtle here. Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak wasn't the most well-received, but it had great costumes, and his films have been up for design awards before.

PREDICTIONS
Brooklyn
Carol
Cinderella
Crimson Peak
The Danish Girl

Alternates
Macbeth
Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
This is looking like it'll be a mix of sci-fi and historical work. Various time periods possible include 1960s East Berlin, 1920s Denmark, and 1950s Brooklyn...alongside the fantastical worlds of Star Wars, Mad Max, and Mars itself.

PREDICTIONS
Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian

Alternates
Brooklyn
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST FILM EDITING
Always one of the most important categories to watch. Last year, Birdman became the first film to win Best Picture without an editing nod since 1980s Ordinary People...so yeah, it's rare. Nominees here are almost always frontrunners for Best Picture, with a few specialty-edited films thrown occasionally in. (Like Memento, etc..) The showy work of keeping a large multi-story cast in The Big Short should land here, as well as The Revenant and Mad Max, once again. Throwing out a no guts, no glory pick for Pietro Scalia's worthy work on Sicario.

PREDICTIONS
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario

Alternates
Bridge of Spies
Spotlight

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
This is the one category where there I'm guessing there's a good chance that Oscar matches up with the guild choices as well. They also worked into the Bafta nominees. It's gonna be hard to not give Chivo a third-straight Oscar this year, but you can't deny the camerawork. The Hateful Eight pulled a trick out of the bag with the large-format filming, and The Martian had clever angle after clever angle.

PREDICTIONS
Bridge of Spies
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Alternates
The Hateful Eight
The Martian

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
In the end, I don't think anything has the chance to unseat Inside Out for the win. There's really only about 7 films that have a realistic chance. The same 5 showed up again and again, so it's hard to not go with them. It would be a great lineup as well. I genuinely hope Minions doesn't make it in, as I thought it was a much lesser entry into the franchise than either Despicable Me. When Marnie Was There really should be more in the running. It's been sadly quiet. And it looks like a few stop-motions will give the computer animated a run for it's money yet again. Yeah...gonna have to go with the main 5.

PREDICTIONS
Anomalisa
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Alternates
Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet
When Marnie Was There

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The list of adapted screenplays has realistically been whittled down to about 7 or 8 final probable choices. The Big Short is the big time frontrunner here. Steve Jobs won in a surprise at the Golden Globes. All the other choices are well-received works from critically-acclaimed novels. And while The Revenant is a front-runner in many categories, this doesn't seem to be one of them.

PREDICTIONS
The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
Room
Steve Jobs

Alternates
The Martian
The Revenant

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Similar to the adapted category, it seems like the herd has been narrowed down to 7 or 8 real options. It's gonna be hard to take down Spotlight in the end, after it's won most of the screenplay awards of the season. Inside Out should land for one of the most inventive films in recent memory. It's never smart to bet against Tarantino. Spielberg's latest has a taught script ripped from the history headlines. And a truly original vision in Ex Machina has one of it's best chances for a nod here. And who knows, maybe a shocking surprise out of the rest? The best chance would probably be Trainwreck if they went the comedy route, like Bridesmaids.

PREDICTIONS
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
Spotlight

Alternates
Sicario
Straight Outta Compton

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
This is by far the most difficult of the acting races to predict. Alicia Vikander can't be nominated against herself, so there's a real vote-split possibility for her. If she shows up, it's worthy either way, but I'm hoping for Ex Machina. More likely for The Danish Girl. After a surprise win at the Globes, it's hard to not call Kate Winslet earning another nod here for Steve Jobs. In a film full of men, Jennifer Jason Leigh has led the awards tow as the only woman for The Hateful Eight. Category confusion could hurt Rooney Mara's chances, but if the Academy follows the studio wish, they'll put her in this category. Kristen Stewart looked like a good bet for a while, but she's faded away, and I'm quite happy for it. Never thought her performance was good enough to be in the conversation anyway. The only other real option I see would be Jane Fonda in Youth.

PREDICTIONS
Jennifer Jason Leigh - "The Hateful Eight"
Rooney Mara - "Carol"
Helen Mirren - "Trumbo"
Alicia Vikander - "The Danish Girl"
Kate Winslet - "Steve Jobs"

Alternates
Rachel McAdams - "Spotlight"
Alicia Vikander - "Ex Machina"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Too many options is the ticket here. There's at least a dozen actors with realistic chances to get into this year's race. Mark Rylance has taken the most awards for the year, so he's a lock here. The hardest part of looking at Big Short and Spotlight is decided if vote-splitting will hurt the ensembles from getting individual recognition. Idris Elba has a good chance to make history as the first Oscar nominee from a Netflix film. Sylvester Stallone won the Globe for his resurgence of Rocky Balboa in Creed. And performances from indys like Michael Shannon in 99 Homes, Jacob Tremblay in Room & Paul Dano in Love & Mercy have a chance against bigger releases like Tom Hardy in The Revenant and Benicio Del Toro in Sicario. I would love to hear Paul Dano's name called. This one is really, really tough to call.

PREDICTIONS
Christian Bale - "The Big Short"
Idris Elba - "Beasts of No Nation"
Mark Ruffalo - "Spotlight"
Mark Rylance - "Bridge of Spies"
Sylvester Stallone - "Creed"

Alternates
Tom Hardy - "The Revenant"
Michael Shannon - "99 Homes"

BEST ACTRESS
We actually have a consensus frontrunner in Brie Larson. In fact, her, Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett are all very safe bets. It gets harder after that. Charlotte Rampling should get in for her best work in years, if not as a lifetime nod. Jennifer Lawrence seems like a safe bet after her Globe win, although it's for a weaker film than any other she's been nominated for before. If she can great the genre, Charlize Theron could get in for Mad Max, but it's a long shot. And as loved as Helen Mirren is, she has a chance for Woman in Gold after her SAG nomination.

PREDICTIONS
Cate Blanchett - "Carol"
Brie Larson - "Room"
Jennifer Lawrence - "Joy"
Charlotte Rampling - "45 Years"
Saoirse Ronan - "Brooklyn"

Alternates
Helen Mirren - "Woman in Gold"
Alicia Vikander - "The Danish Girl"

BEST ACTOR
It's seeming more and more like it's finally time for Leo. But to get there, he's gonna have to get past a great crop of actors, particularly Michael Fassbender and last year's winner Eddie Redmayne. Hard to not see Matt Damon here after his Globe win, as well as the film. The 5th spot goes to Cranston, who will add Oscar nominee to his long list of award titles. The most realistic other option is another SAG nominee, Johnny Depp's best work in a while for Black Mass.

PREDICTIONS
Bryan Cranston - "Trumbo"
Matt Damon - "The Martian"
Leonardo DiCaprio - "The Revenant"
Michael Fassbender - "Steve Jobs"
Eddie Redmayne - "The Danish Girl"

Alternates
Steve Carell - "The Big Short"
Johnny Depp - "Black Mass"

BEST DIRECTOR
There are a few locks in the category. Inarittu takes the Globe in a surprise. McCarthy and McKay both directed fantastic ensembles. Ridley Scott has his best film since Gladiator. Spielberg landed on the Bafta list, which would be a shock. George Miller should be a lock, but as he was left off the Bafta list, who knows. Another strange case is Todd Haynes for Carol, who missed out with the DGA, but got in with the critics choice and Bafta. I'm taking a guess that Adam McKay, after landing on the DGA list, with just missed out. They normally match up 4/5 with Oscar.

PREDICTIONS
Todd Haynes - "Carol"
Alejandro G. Inarittu - "The Revenant"
Tom McCarthy - "Spotlight"
George Miller - "Mad Max: Fury Road"
Ridley Scott - "The Martian"

Alternate
Adam McKay - "The Big Short"
Steven Spielberg - "Bridge of Spies"

BEST PICTURE
The hardest part of picking Best Picture is figuring out how many nominees there will be. A solid 5 or 10 would be much easier. All 5 films nominated by the DGA should be locked in, and then it's just finding what to add to the final choices. Big Short, Mad Mad, Martian, Revenant & Spotlight are all set. After leading the Bafta nominations, both Bridge of Spies and Carol should be expected to show up. After that, it's a bit of a crap shoot. I'm pretty certain about these 7, but I'm hoping that it gets all the way to 10 for the first time since they changed the voting process. It's an extremely crowded race. I sure wish Inside Out could find a spot on the final list, but I don't see it happening enough to predict.

PREDICTIONS (starting with most likely 7)
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Spotlight

Brooklyn (if 8)
Room (if 9)
Straight Outta Compton (if 10)

Alternates
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens