The Only Oscar Coverage You Need (Final Nomination Predictions)

The time is finally upon us. Oscar nominations will be announced live at 5:30am Pacific time this Thursday by John Krasinski, Guillermo del Toro, and Ang Lee. That morning, many talented deserving individuals will wake up to find their name immortalized in movie history as an Oscar nominee. It’s the most exciting day in the film industry save for Oscar Night itself because its the day we find out whether the films we’ve been championing all year will receive the love they deserve. 2015, like any year of cinema, had its good and its bad but we are here to celebrate its best. So lets see who we’ll likely be celebrating.

Over the last month, several film industry guilds have released their best of the year nominees. Why do we care? Because the voting bloc overlap between the guilds and the academy is significant. Seeing what they nominated gives us a glimpse into what the Academy might nominate. The different groups are:

  • Producer’s Guild of America (PGA): The producers vote overlaps with the best picture category at the Oscars. Their ten nominees often contains very closely with the eventual Oscar nominees for best picture.
  • Director’s Guild of America (DGA): The directors nominate five of their own each year. Of these five at least four are usually nominated in the corresponding Oscar category.
  • Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG): The actors are the biggest group in the academy. Their best ensemble previews respect for the film overall. Their acting nominees usually line up very closely as well.
  • Writer’s Guild of America (WGA): The writer’s guild disqualifies many scripts every year so their nominees and winners often look different, but it is still a good tell of the amount of support a film has within the industry.
  • America Cinema Editors (ACE)
  • Cinema Audio Society (CAS)
  • The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC)
  • Costume Designers Guild (CDG)
  • Art Director Guild (ADG)

Support from all these guilds is usually evidence of strong players in the awards race while citings from none of them can mean the death of a films chances. These in addition to the Golden Globes (GG), American Film Institue’s top ten (AFI), and the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) routinely give a pretty clear view of what nominations will look like. So what do they tell us?


Best Picture


1. Spotlight 

Nominations from: PGA, DGA, SAG, WGA, GG, BAFTA, AFI

Still hanging on to number one, but just barely. It just scored a complete goose egg at the Golden Globes. So did The Hurt Locker so it could mean nothing but it also missed an ACE nomination. Every film that’s gone on to win the best picture Oscar for the last 26 years has received an ACE nomination. Is this telling of it losing steam? I said in the first post that I expected it to peter out and something else to claim the crown. Its definitely getting nominated on Thursday, but can one of the below beat it to the finish line?


2. Mad Max: Fury Road 

Nominations from: PGA, DGA, GG, ACE, CAS, ASC, CDG, ADG, AFI

No film needed the guilds attention like Mad Max: Fury Road and boy did it get it. It was ineligible for the WGA which means the only guild that didn’t look its way was SAG. Charlize deserved some love, no doubt, but it’s not surprising it wasn’t nominated for their Best Ensemble award. What was once a wishful pipe dream is now almost a certainty: Mad Max: Fury Road will be nominated for best picture as well as several other awards. It may well be the most nominated film. Now the question is, could it possibly win? Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won the best picture Oscar as a fantasy movie. Isn’t it time a deserving action movie wins? Will there ever be a better one to reward? Here’s to hoping the academy see it the same way.


3. The Revenant

Nominations from: PGA, DGA, GG*, ACE, CAS, ASC, ADG, BAFTA

There were a couple weeks there where I was feeling ashamed at my bullish expectations for The Revenant in this race, but the guilds seemed to have backed me up. Coupled with its massive opening box office and the GG wins last weekend for Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, and Best Actor show its buzz may be only beginning. Can Iñúrritu accomplish something no film maker ever has and go two for two with the best picture oscar? I suppose all we can do is wait and see.


4. The Big Short

Nominations from: PGA, DGA, SAG, WGA, GG, BAFTA, ACE, AFI

Every year there’s at least one movie that’s on nobody’s radar until nominations start rolling in. This year it was The Big Short. Producer and star, Brad Pitt has won a Oscar in this category before for producing 12 Years a Slave. Could he claim victory again?


5. The Martian

Nominations from: PGA, DGA, WGA, GG*, ACE, CDGA, ADG, AFI

Ridley Scott’s crowdpleaser has turned into a stealth contender. Citations from most of the major guilds are a good sign of support. The Martian should find itself sitting pretty on nomination morning. Between this, Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Inside Out have we ever had a better year of blockbuster cinema?



6. Bridge of Spies

Nominations from: PGA, WGA, CAS, ASC, ADG, BAFTA, AFI

Spielberg’s latest has been revived a bit by the guilds. The BAFTAs especially took to it making it their most nominated film, and BAFTA often hews closely to Oscar. Bridge of Spies should have a very good Thursday morning.


7. Carol

Nominations from: WGA, GG, ASC, CDGA, BAFTA, AFI

Carol continues its rollercoaster towards Oscar. After being snubbed by the PGA, Carol tied with Bridge of Spies for the most BAFTA nominations. While it could slide off, chances are it will be among the nominees.


8. Brooklyn

Nominations from: PGA, CDGA

Though it got the most important precursor for this category (PGA), it still missed nearly everywhere else. It’s a shame because it’s a beautiful film with stunning writing and performances. Hopefully enough of the academy has seen this one before they had to cast their votes.


9. Room

Nominations from: GG, AFI

While the love for Room at the end of last year seemed palpable, it didn’t translate to industry love it seems. While it could still snag a best picture slot if there are nine nominees, it may also get left off.


10. Straight Outta Compton

Nominations from: PGA, WGA, SAG, AFI

There seems to be a surge of support for Straight Outta Compton the only question is, ‘Is it enough?’ While under the current nomination process it’s very unlikely to get ten nominees but Compton could slip in with the precursors its received.

11. Sicario (WGA, ACE, ASC, ADG)

12. Ex Machina (PGA, CDGA)

13. Trumbo (SAG, WGA, CDGA, ADG)

14. Beasts of No Nation (SAG, CDGA)

15. The Hateful Eight (CAS)

While its unlikely one of these will pull an upset at this stage in the game, you never know until the names are called. And while I posted ten picks, its much more likely we’ll get somewhere in the 7-9 arena or even lower.

Best Director


1. George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road (DGA, GG)

2. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant (DGA, GG*, BAFTA)

3. Ridley Scott, The Martian (DGA, GG, BAFTA)

4. Tom McCarthy, Spotlight (DGA, GG)

5. Adam McKay, The Big Short (DGA, BAFTA)

In recent months Mad Max: Fury Road has positioned itself to inherit the “technical juggernaut” title at the Oscars this year. Many years there is a film that is so well made technically that it might not win best picture, but usually comes away with the most awards of the night. That’s what I predict for Mad Max: Fury Road, following in the footsteps of Gravity, Life of Pi, and Hugo. Like Gravity and Life of Pi, I expect it to take the best director Oscar as its crowning achievement.

6. Todd Haynes, Carol (GG, BAFTA)

7. Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies (BAFTA)

8. Lenny Abramson, Room

9. Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

10. Cary Fukanaga, Beasts of No Nation

Best Actor


1. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (SAG, BAFTA, GG*)

2. Bryan Cranston, Trumbo (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

3. Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

4. Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

5. Matt Damon, The Martian (BAFTA, GG*)

Theres nothing really to say about this category. Leo’s taking it but we all knew that like ages ago. I moved Matt Damon into the top ten due to his Golden Globe win and the support surrounding his film.

6. Johnny Depp, Black Mass (SAG)

7. Will Smith, Concussion (GG)

8. Michael Caine, Youth

9. Ian McKellan, Mr. Holmes 

10. Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies

Best Actress


1. Brie Larson, Room (SAG, BAFTA, GG*)

2. Soairse Ronan, Brooklyn (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

3. Cate Blanchett, Carol (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

4. Jennifer Lawrence, Joy (GG)

5. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Not much movement here, but this could still be a wildly different line up on nomination morning depending on whether they nominate Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara here or in supporting. If its here, they could knock out Lawrence and Rampling. Or perhaps Mara gets in here and Vikander in supporting for Ex Machina. It doesn’t really matter because Brie Larson takes it.

6. Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold (SAG)

7. Lily Tomlin, Grandma (GG)

8. Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van (BAFTA, GG)

9. Blythe Danner, I’ll See You in My Dreams

10. Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back

Best Supporting Actor


1. Sylvester Stallone, Creed (GG*)

2. Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

3. Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

4. Christian Bale, The Big Short (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

5. Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight (BAFTA)

This is the most likely line up, but honestly this category is so all over the place theres no telling who pops up. We could get Tremblay or Keaton or Shannon or Toro just as easily as any of the above gents. The unpredictability is as fun as it is annoying.

6. Jacob Tremblay, Room (SAG)

7. Michael Shannon, 99 Homes (SAG)

8. Benicio del Toro, Sicario (BAFTA)

9. Michael Keaton, Spotlight

10. Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Best Supporting Actress


1. Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

2. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

3. Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs (SAG, BAFTA, GG*)

4. Rooney Mara, Carol (SAG, BAFTA, GG)

5. Rachel McAdams, Spotlight (SAG)

As addressed above, this year’s category fraud could wreck havoc on these predictions but should everything go according to plan, this is what we can expect. Vikander’s case is an interesting one. There’s the possibility of her getting a double nomination if she gets put in lead for The Danish Girl and can sneak in for Ex Machina in supporting. Or perhaps she misses for The Danish Girl entirely and gets in for Ex Machina, the more impressive and controlled of her performances. Wherever she lands, she’s here to stay.

6. Helen Mirren, Trumbo (SAG, GG)

7. Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina (BAFTA, GG)

8. Kristen Stewart, The Clouds of Sils Maria

9. Jane Fonda, Youth

10. Marion Cotillard, Macbeth



Nominations come out Thursday morning. Come back here during the day for a reaction post discussing the official 2016 Oscar nominees.

What do you think? Am I missing a glaring omission? Is my passion for certain films clouding my judgement? Discuss in the comments!

Author: Radcliff Weir, @radcliffweir

Follow us on Twitter @AllDayEveryWeek

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