The Playground of Hollywood

The Playground of Hollywood

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

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