With Oscar Sunday just a few days away, it’s time for the annual Who Will Win/Who Should Win/Who Should Have Been Nominated article. We will look at who’s most likely to win on Sunday as well as dream about what could have been. I will also post my final predictions for the winners in every category. Feel free to use these to win the betting pools at your respective Oscar parties, unless you’re going to mine. If we are watching the Oscars together GO AWAY. These prime picks are only for those who aren’t trying to take my money. If you win, make sure to give me all the credit.*
Let’s dive in! This has been a wild year and it could turn out to be wilder still if the Academy deviates further from the precursors.
As seen in my final predictions, I believe that Spotlight and The Big Short will be overcome by The Revenant in a photo finish to make history as Alejandro G. Iñárritu will become the first film maker ever to direct back-to-back best picture winners. The Revenant awes with the beauty of its images and the craft of which it was created. The Big Short could still pull off an upset. Some are even predicting Room in a Chariots of Fire-esque surprise victory. While I wouldn’t be opposed to this scenario (I found Room to be incredibly powerful), I think it’s more wishful thinking than actual possibility. Same with my deep hope Mad Max: Fury Road will surprise and sweep. Oh well. At least The Revenant is as beautiful and technically impressive as it is. I’m better with that than a Spotlight or The Big Short victory.
Will Win: The Revenant
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Have Been Nominated: Ex Machina. Profound, thought provoking, and increasingly rich on repeat viewings, Ex Machina was one of the absolute best films of the year that wasn’t nominated. Featuring possibly the best supporting performance of 2016 in Alicia Vikander and an Oscar nominated screenplay this small sci-fi masterpiece deserves more recognition than it got.
Even more certain than picture, Alejandro G. Iñárritu is all but assured to take home his second consecutive best director Oscar. The only chance at an upset comes is if Mad Max: Fury Road continues its likely technical category domination into this category too. In that case, you’d hear no complaints from me.
Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Should Win: George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Have Been Nominated: John Crowley – Brooklyn. Though it’s not a particular director feat, Crowley’s hand is responsible for the power of that simple beautiful story. It was my favorite movie of the year next to Mad Max: Fury Road and it would have been nice to see its crafter recognized.
The perfect storm has happened. It’s finally Leo’s year. You’ll hear no arguments from me.
Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Should Have Been Nominated: Honestly the Academy pretty much got the best five leads of the year. Looking at other potential nominees, I don’t see any I would put above these five. Good job Academy!
Brie Larson has been winning all season and there’s no reason to think she won’t continue her streak through Oscar night. Soairse Ronan does some equally incredible work in Brooklyn. I wouldn’t be mad in the slightest if she upset here. But while Ronan got to do more, I do believe what Larson pulled of was more difficult.
Will Win: Brie Larson – Room
Should Win: Brie Larson – Room
Should Have Been Nominated: It’s been a fantastic year for women in cinema. Finally, we have several of the best films of the year about women which gave us an unbelievable crop of best actress contenders in these Oscar bait films. But there was one performance in a non-typical Oscar bait film that was just as powerful as any of those nominated and it was sadly overlooked all year: Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Supporting Actor
This is one of the categories I’m least confident with. I could totally see the Academy throwing a curve ball here. But we can only predict what we know and what I know is that right now, Stallone has everything they like in a winner. While Rylance would be the most likely upset, I still wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if Ruffalo takes it. He’s beloved in the industry and they’ve been waiting for a while to reward him. Granted, not as long as they have Stallone. But we shall see.
Will Win: Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Should Win: Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
Should Have Been Nominated: There are kids who have given great performances. Abigail Breslin was incredible in Little Miss Sunshine. Anna Paquin won an Oscar for The Piano. But I personally have not seen a more believable and lived-in performance than Jacob Tremblay in Room. That kid’s got something special.
Best Supporting Actress
Well this is quite the conundrum. The right actress winning the right award in the right year for the wrong movie in the wrong category. I mean. It could certainly be worse. But isn’t it just like the Oscars to nominate the costume drama over the sci-fi masterpiece? Oh well. #WhiteOscarProblems
Will Win: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Should Win: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Should Have Been Nominated: Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina
Best Original Screenplay
As soon as I saw Spotlight I knew I had seen the winner for best original screenplay. It’s incredibly well crafted and measured and just a fantastic screenplay all around. I’m not sure, however, if it is the best screenplay in this category. While Alex Garland’s screenplay for Ex Machina is masterful, it’s the screenplay for Inside Out that is the most impressive of the year. It’s a script that’s operating on about five levels at a time during the entire film and it never once drops a plate. Sure it’s an animated film directed at the whole family, but that does not take away from the fact that it’s the greatest accomplishment of the year.
Will Win: Spotlight
Should Win: Inside Out
Should Have Been Nominated: Again I think the Academy nailed this one. There isn’t one I can think deserves to be here more than the ones that are.
Best Adapted Screenplay
If all the precursors can be believed, The Big Short will inevitably claim this prize on Sunday. It’s definitely an achievement and makes for a stellar film. It is not the best screenplay of the year in my opinion, however. That honor belongs to Nick Hornby’s beautiful Brooklyn. Hornby wrote possibly the best script of last year as well with Wild and I was hoping he would finally get his due. Alas.
Will Win: The Big Short
Should Win: Brooklyn
Should Have Been Nominated: Sure they didn’t say much, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a story told or that that story wasn’t a screenplay. Whether it started as thousands of storyboards or thousands of randomly distributed letters surely both were formed into a shooting script of some kind for Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s possibly the best story told this year and to assume it did that without a kick ass screenplay is naive.
Well, there you have it. My final take of the state of this year’s Oscar race. Below I will pick my winners in every category. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Best Picture: The Revenant
Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Brie Larson – Room
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Best Film Editing: Margaret Sixel – Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki – The Revenant
Best Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Costume Design: Jenny Beavan – Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Make-up and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Visual Effects: The Revenant
Best Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Original Score: Ennio Morricone – The Hateful Eight
Best Original Song: “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground
Best Animated Feature Film: Inside Out
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul, Hungary
Best Documentary Feature Film: Amy
Best Documentary Short Film: Body Team 12
Best Live Action Short Film: Ava Maria
Best Animated Short Film: Bear Story
Author: Radcliff Weir, @radcliffweir
*Of course, there are a few films I unfortunately missed so if you lose, maybe you should have taken this with more of a grain of salt.