Fearless Oscar Predictions, 2016 Edition

February 21, 2016
A thought by James Berardinelli


For the most part, I present my picks without commentary but there are two points I'd like to make.

1. The Best Picture category is more of a muddle than usual this year. At various times, three films have clung to the "favorite" label: Spotlight, The Big Short, and The Revenant.  The smart money says to go with the "hot hand." Last year, for example, Boyhood was the undisputed favorite for most of the Awards Season. But Birdman got hot late and ended up taking the crown. There are other examples, two of which involved Spielberg: Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan and Argo overcoming Lincoln. The point isn't to argue in any of these cases which is the better movie but to argue that it's most often the case that whatever title has momentum going into Oscar week is likely to take home the trophy. That's the rationale for my pick.

2. I have a problem with the Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara nominations in the Best Supporting Actress categories. I would agree that both deserve to be nominated, but as Best Lead Actresses. The Danish Girl is as much Vikander's movie as it is Eddie Redmayne's. And Mara has more screen time than Cate Blanchett in Carol, which makes her supporting nomination indefensible. I know, it's all about marketing, but it still rankles. (Incidentally, the big loser resulting from Vikander's The Danish Girl supporting nomination is Alicia Vikander. She should have been nominated in this category for Ex Machina. In fact, in a perfect world, one could argue that the actress should be taking home two Oscars this year. In reality, she'll probably have to make due with one, and in the wrong category.)

The most competitive categories? Costume Design, Sound Editing & Mixing, Visual Effects

Here are my predictions. No contest this year (they're time consuming to run and I don't have the free time at the moment), but feel free to play along at home. And, if you beat me, you can trumpet your victory on Twitter. I'’ll take your word for it.

Picture: The Revenant

Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant

Lead Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Lead Actress: Brie Larson, Room

Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl (Let’s all pretend it’s for Ex Machina.)

Original Screenplay: Spotlight

Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short

Cinematography: The Revenant

Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road

Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road

Makeup and Hair: Mad Max: Fury Road

Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road

Score: The Hateful Eight

Song: “Til It Happens to You”, The Hunting Ground

Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road

Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road

Visual Effects: Mad Max: Fury Road

Animated Feature: Inside Out

Documentary Feature: Amy

Foreign Film: Son of Saul

I do not predict (nor have I ever predicted) the winners in the three “short” categories.