The Playground of Hollywood

The Playground of Hollywood

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

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