THE REVENANTThe 88th Academy Awards (or the Oscars) are landing on our televisions this Sunday, and as of yesterday (Tuesday) voting has officially closed.  So what exactly are we left with?  A race that either seems weirdly obvious or ferociously unpredictable.

Going with a bit of “thank you’s” before we unveil our final predictions for the season.  I have to begin with the entire writing staff here at Awards Circuit, the cornerstone of this little alleyway of the internet that continues to raise their game, each and every year.  After this season, we’ll be saying goodbye to a few of them however, that have decided to move on and pursue other ventures.  Michael Balderston, once of our Los Angeles team, then moving to Washington D.C. is exploring his horizons, and will surely make a name for himself in the near future.  Watch out for that one.  And the ever talented Robert Hamer, our Navy veteran, that is transitioning to the professional and civilian world, but will always be a focal piece of why AC became as large as it did.  We wish them both a ton of luck.  And of course, the readers.  We can’t do this without you all.

Now, off the sentimental train, and into the fire.  Let’s look at what we have.

The seemingly “locked up” races have been few this year.  Leonardo DiCaprio from “The Revenant” has had a complete career retrospective all season long, and has done everything he needed to do that leads up to this moment, his long overdue time on the Oscar stage.  Brie Larson ran the gauntlet for critic’s prizes for “Room,” as well as all the televised to claim her stake against competitors Saoirse Ronan of “Brooklyn” and Charlotte Rampling of “45 Years.”

Critics Choice, BAFTA, and Writers Guild cemented the name plates for the writing categories as “Spotlight” from Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, along with “The Big Short” from Adam McKay and Charles Randolph are assured Oscars.  Pixar’s “Inside Out” never lost any steam, even when the delectable “Anomalisa” was trying to nip at its heels.

I truly believe that’s where the list ends in terms of “locked” up races.

Then we move into the “safe bet” zone.  After the DGA, BAFTA, and Golden Globes cited Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “The Revenant,” he should be joining the list of Joseph L. Mankiewicz and John Ford as back-to-back Director winners.  If “The Revenant” does win Best Picture, he’ll be the first to direct back-to-back Best Picture winners, but we’ll address that shortly.  The spoiler for him is not one person but four.  Does the PGA tip any favor towards Adam McKay?  If “Spotlight” decides to make a comeback, does Tom McCarthy squeeze in?  Or does the genius of George Miller give him any pull as “Mad Max: Fury Road” can pull in a ton of tech love?

Alicia Vikander worked the circuit like a champ, picking up Supporting Actress prizes from SAG and Critics Choice for her work in “The Danish Girl.”  The two times she wasn’t listed, due to a shift to the Lead Actress category, Kate Winslet reaped the benefits for “Steve Jobs.”  I don’t think that momentum in any way helps or hurts the other, if anything, it truly shows that Rooney Mara was never really in the running for the prize for “Carol.”  Vikander should be winning her Oscar accordingly.

From its initial trailer, we knew that Emmanuel Lubezki would be a force this year for his camera work on “The Revenant.”  With wins from ASC, Critics Choice, and BAFTA, he looks likely to win his third straight Cinematography prize in a row.  His threat comes from the sentimental factor of DP John Seale, who came out of retirement to blow the minds of those who revered George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.”  Any way you slice it, Roger Deakins from “Sicario” and Ed Lachman from “Carol” look to be going home empty-handed once again.

With the absence of Harvey Weinstein and TWC in the Best Picture race this year, he’s put all resources into getting any major love for “Carol” as well as for veteran composer Ennio Morricone, whose work on “The Hateful Eight” has been well received and cited all season long.  I’d watch out for 50-time nominee John Williams to pull an upset for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” or maybe overdue composer Thomas Newman for “Bridge of Spies.”

On the subject of music, it took the star power of Lady Gaga to propel long overdue song writer Diane Warren to the forefront and possibly win her first Academy Award for the song “Til’ it Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground.”  However, Golden Globe winner Sam Smith has some momentum for “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre” that may offer a “default”-like choice from the voting members.

Last on the “safe bets” are the brilliant and masterful works from László Nemes and Asif Kapadia.  “Son of Saul” and “Amy” have also been well-regarded and awarded on the circuit in Foreign Language and Documentary Feature.  In the case of the former, “Mustang” and possibly “Embrace of the Serpent” can offer alternative choices while the banks of Netflix have shown that possibly “What Happened Miss Simone?” or “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” can be worthy advocates for the prize.  In the scenario of the “Simone,” the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag can factor into voter’s mindsets as well.

Finally, we move into the “50/50” or “anyone’s game” or “it can’t be THAT easy, right?” categories.

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in CREED. ©Warner Bros. Entertainment/MGM Pictures. CR: Barry Wetcher.
Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in CREED. ©Warner Bros. Entertainment/MGM Pictures. CR: Barry Wetcher.

Supporting Actor has been the race to watch all year as Sylvester Stallone became the critical darling for his work in “Creed,” with Mark Rylance not too far behind for “Bridge of Spies.”  Stallone nabbed himself Globe and BFCA prizes while the not-nominated Idris Elba picked up SAG, where Stallone was not nominated.  In all the years of SAG, only two people have won the Academy Award without a corresponding SAG nomination (Marcia Gay Harden for “Pollock” and Christoph Waltz for “Django Unchained”).  Even if you’re deciding to tip the scale in favor of any of the other nominees that isn’t Rylance, history is going to be made in this category.  Rylance went on to win BAFTA, where fellow Oscar-nominee Mark Ruffalo from “Spotlight” and Christian Bale from “The Big Short” could have staked their claim on the race.  Again, Stallone was not nominated due to an alleged late surge for “Creed” in the U.K..  And then we have Tom Hardy, who probably on paper looks like the “#5” in the lineup, but I believe on sheer mathematics, Hardy coasted his way into the Oscar lineup.  By the same logic, if “The Revenant” is poised to make a sweep-like run through the categories, picking up multiple prizes, at bare minimum he’s in the top three.  Now, go with voters that genuinely like him and the performance, and are possibly anti-Stallone based on career and the role (understanding that the mentioned weakness can be his strength as well), maybe Hardy is the potential spoiler to Stallone’s party.  I do believe we’re due for that “WTF?” acting win moment that has popped up over the years like Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, and more.  In the end…I’m going with…eh.  I’ll reveal it later.

Costume and Production Design, two of the hardest calls of the night.  BAFTA and BFCA have tipped it with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and these two categories conventionally do go hand-in-hand.  However, “The Danish Girl” looks to be something that is more “conventional” based on their past choices, and Focus Features has ran a remarkable campaign to ensure “The Danish Girl” wins more than just Vikander.  And there’s “The Revenant,” who possibly can replicate a run similar to “Slumdog Millionaire.”  I’m going with a split here with “Mad Max: Fury Road” taking Production Design and “The Danish Girl” taking Costumes.

The sound categories have been another hot topic, and for the sake of argument, we’re going to bring Visual Effects in on the conversation.  The sound categories almost never split.  A film that has won both sounds, and was nominated for Visual Effects has lost that one as well.  With that said, the CAS guild went with “The Revenant” and I expect it to nab both categories.  As with Visual Effects, the guild and BAFTA both went with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a non-Best Picture nominee and many are expecting it to tilt in that direction.  I’m going with history and expecting “The Revenant” to pick this one up too.

Film Editing looked once poised for “The Big Short” to pick up on its way to the Dolby Theatre but the massive undertaking of cutting “Mad Max: Fury Road,” along with a BAFTA and ACE win, keeps me in the game for Margaret Sixel to win this prize.  We may even get some more “Revenant” love here.  I’d even watch out for “Spotlight” if you’re thinking a comeback is in its future.

Makeup and Hairstyling is a death match between “Max” and “Revenant” and I expect the chrome faces to just barely edge out the aftermath of a bear mauling.

When it comes to the shorts.  Your guesses are as good as mine.  I’ve leaned towards “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” and “World of Tomorrow” to win Documentary and Animated Short Film while the campaign for “Shok” has kept it truly alive and in the conversation.

And in the case of Best Picture, we have a three-man race between “The Big Short,” The Revenant,” and “Spotlight.”  All have picked up a substantial prize during the season.  “The Big Short” has PGA, and Paramount Pictures has relentlessly pushed it to the front of the line all season.  “The Revenant” also pulled together a very compelling Phase 2 campaign, shining the light on the film’s themes and career retrospectives of its stars.  And in the case of “Spotlight,” the film that started the season as the undisputed frontrunner, it’s fallen off when it came to guild support, but on a preferential ballot, it can do some real damage.  In the end, I’m not feeling “the split,” at least in terms of Iñárritu taking Director with “The Big Short” winning Picture.  If there is a split, I’m thinking “Spotlight” comes on top.  Final words for this one…I’m going with “The Revenant.”

Make sure to join us on Sunday, beginning at 12:00 pm Eastern Time, as we open our LIVE Blog, along with our Awards Chat Room for you all to decipher your final thoughts all day long.  Official prediction pages will be updated over the next few hours.

oscars_promo
Chris Rock will host the Oscars for the second time.

AwardsCircuit.com Final Oscar Predictions

BEST PICTURE – “The Revenant” (Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon)
ALTERNATE: “Spotlight” (Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING – Alejandro G. Iñárritu (“The Revenant”)
ALTERNATE: Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE – Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)
ALTERNATE: Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE – Brie Larson (“Room”)
ALTERNATE: Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”)

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)
ALTERNATE: Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”)

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)
ALTERNATE: Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – “Spotlight” (Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer)
ALTERNATE: “Straight Outta Compton” (Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – “The Big Short” (Adam McKay, Charles Randolph)
ALTERNATE: “Room” (Emma Donaghue)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – “Inside Out” (Pete Docter, Jonas Rivera)
ALTERNATE: “When Marnie Was There” (Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Colin Gibson; Katie Sharrock, Lisa Thompson)
ALTERNATE: “The Danish Girl” (Eve Stewart; Michael Standish)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – “The Revenant” (Emmanuel Lubezki)
ALTERNATE: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (John Seale)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – “The Danish Girl” (Paco Delgado)
ALTERNATE: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Jenny Beavan)

BEST FILM EDITING – “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Margaret Sixel)
ALTERNATE: “The Big Short” (Hank Corwin)

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING – “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Lesley Vanderwalt, Damian Martin, Elka Wardega)
ALTERNATE: “The Revenant” (Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini)

BEST SOUND MIXING – “The Revenant” (Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek)
ALTERNATE: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo)

BEST SOUND EDITING – “The Revenant” (Martin Hernandez, Lon Bender)
ALTERNATE: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Mark Mangini, David White)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – “The Revenant” (Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith, Cameron Waldbauer)
ALTERNATE: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, Chris Corbould)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – “The Hateful Eight” (Ennio Morricone)
ALTERNATE: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (John Williams)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – “Til’ it Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground”
ALTERNATE: “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – “Amy” (Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees)
ALTERNATE: “What Happened Miss Simone?” (Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby, Justin Wilkes)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – “Son of Saul” from Hungary (László Nemes)
ALTERNATE: “Mustang” from France (Deniz Gamze Ergüven)

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT – “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” (Adam Benzine)
ALTERNATE: “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” (Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy)

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM – “World of Tomorrow” (Don Hertzfeldt)
ALTERNATE: “Sanjay’s Super Team” (Sanjay Patel and Nicole Drindle)

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM – “Shok” (Jamie Donoughue)
ALTERNATE: “Stutterer” (Benjamin Cleary, Serena Armitage)

Share your predictions and thoughts in the comments and/or the Message Forums!

CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL OSCAR PREDICTIONS FOR ALL CATEGORIES:

PICTURE |DIRECTOR | LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS |SUPPORTING ACTOR |SUPPORTING ACTRESS |ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY |ADAPTED SCREENPLAY |ANIMATED FEATURE |PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | FOREIGN LANGUAGE | LIVE ACTION SHORT | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT

22 COMMENTS

  1. If there’s going to be a Marcia Gay Harden style win, please let it be in literally any other category than Supporting Actor. I’d be much happier with Rampling winning than Hardy

  2. It seems that we agree on 21/24 of the predicted outcomes. And when I look at why that is, it feels like pretty much all of the above the line categories have very little room for upsets. The real excitement will definitely be below the line, as most of the tech categories seem to be a coin toss away from being awarded to Mad Max or The Revenant.

    (Note to self: Must print out pictures of Tom Hardy in The Revenant and in Mad Max, cut out circles so it’s just his face, and glue said circles to opposite sides of a quarter. You will use this coin to predict the tech winners on Oscar night.)

    Anyways, the only three things I’d change are Mad Max beating The Danish Girl in Costume Design, Mad Max beating The Revenant in Sound Editing, and Ave Maria beating out Shok in Live Action Short. Otherwise, I’m not taking any chances with this year.

  3. If The Revenant sweeps I don’t even want to watch. Can’t think of a more boring and uninspired choice. All style, no substance.

      • There’s been worse choices, but last year Iñárritu made a movie with great complex characters with relationships that felt real, and that was a technical marvel. This year he made a movie full of pretty shots where the lead’s only character trait is “survives”, why award him again for making a film that’s inferior on every level? Because they shot it outside and it was cold.

  4. I venture to predict “The Big Short” as Best Picture winner. If only to be an alternative voice and possibly dig up this comment on Sunday night. I have two reasons: back to back Best Picture/Best Director wins have never happened at the Oscars. This is not say it´s impossible, but I presume the Academy might prefer to spread their love. Best Director for Inarritu is guaranteed and perhaps enough love for him. “The Big Short” has taken both PGA and ACE awards. Also, the last eight PGA winners went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. This is something. So my picks are “The Big Short” for Best Picture, and Inarritu for Best Directing.

  5. I am retracting some of my earlier predictions. Then again, I think I made those statements prior to the PGA and before I was hearing some tidbits about who people were voting for before the Oscars deadline. I think the Best Picture race has shifted to The Revenant vs The Big Short. Room and MMFR are getting a lot more votes than people expect ( based on what I am hearing anyway).

    I think we all know what the expected winners are and what the most predictable list would be.

    As for potential spoilers and upsets, there could be many. I really hope we don’t get The Revenant sweep. A lot of actors tend to vote for the frontrunners or who the pundit blogs declare will win, that is the problem.

    All season long, I had been rooting for The Big Short but saying adamantly it would not win. Now I think it has a strong chance of winning. Best Director is actually a toss up for me. I do think Room could win a big award besides Best Actress for Brie Larson.

    I think Christian Bale or Rylance could possibly pull out an upset in the supporting actor category. I know Stallone would be the predictable choice but I don’t think he has in the bag like people think.

    The Martian could pull out an upset in the sound categories or production design. Star Wars TFA could pull out an upset for Visual Effects or in the sound categories.

    Thomas Newman could pull out an upset for his original score in The Bridge of Spies.

    Paco Delgado could win for Best Costume Design.

    I am not confident about any of this. I just think there is a slight chance it could happen.

    I think the biggest upset that has the strongest possibility of happening is Straight Outta Compton winning for Best Original screenplay. I think this will happen and it will make me very happy if it does.

  6. I understand that people don’t like The Revenant, but it’s still not the worst winner. That being said, I appreciated it and it made my top 10, so I wouldn’t hate it if it won, but there were still better choices.

    Also FINALLY saw Son of Saul and it made my revised top 10 in the 4th position. Just hauntingly amazing. Sucks that it’s only up for FLF… :/

  7. The Revenant for best FX? Really ? I just cant believe they will win everything, even if it takes best picture and best director. Winning visual effects would be a joke. Any of the other four nominees are far more deserving.

  8. The Revenant is a good film and wouldn´t be a bad Oscar winner. I don´t get why people complain about the simplicity of its story. Some films work with images, ideas, and emotions. The Revenant is a very rough film that works its way down through the layers of human civilisation and culture, that disposes of all ambivalence and nuances and hits rock bottom where it finds modern man and primordial animal being essentially the same. It´s a strong film with strong imagery; but above all, its a film with a signature. In my opinion, it finds Inarritu in much better shape than Birdman. This is his playing field. Birdman was a simple story dressed up as sophisticated critique. The Revenant is a simple film that makes simplicity its artistic programme and openly and confidently puts it on display for all to see.

  9. BEST PICTURE

    THE REVENANT / Alternative – SPOTLIGHT

    The
    Revenant has momentum on its side, plus the fact that the Academy
    showed lots of love toward it, giving to it 12 nominations. Maybe it’s
    time for Inarritu to make history as the first director to win two best
    pictures in a row?

    Spotlight, though,
    shouldn’t be underestimated. The Big Short sits as the third contender,
    in my opinion, but still could be a spoiler. It’s a strange and
    unpredictable year.

    BEST DIRECTOR

    ALEJANDRO G. INARRITU – THE REVENANT / Alt. THOMAS MCCARTHY – SPOTLIGHT

    Inarritu
    looks much closer to bring home the directional award rather than the
    best picture. It would be still an historic feat. So far only two
    director manage to scrap to awards in a row, the last being Joseph L.
    Mankiewicz in 1950 and 1951 (Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve).
    He has the DGA under his belt, plus the Globe and the BAFTA.

    McCarthy
    could be an upset if Spotlight would manage to take best picture.
    Splits are not that usual, as we know (the same thing goes for McKay if
    The Big Short will prevail).

    BEST ACTOR

    LEONARDO DI CAPRIO – THE REVENANT

    That’s
    one of the locked category. Don’t even need to pick an alternative.
    Leo’s train has been unstoppable since the start of the award season.
    Sunday night his time will finally come!

    BEST ACTRESS

    BRIE LARSON – ROOM

    Same
    as above. Larson never missed an award this year. Hardly will miss the
    Big One. It’s a shame for Saoirse Ronan that her wonderful work in
    Brooklyn.

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

    SYLVESTER STALLONE – CREED / Alt. CHRISTIAN BALE – THE BIG SHORT

    Sly
    looks close to his first Oscar, 40 years after his first nomination.
    The good sing has been the SAG award. He was not in contention, but none
    of his rival won. I’d say he has 80% chance of winning. The remaining
    20% is split between Christian Bale, if bandwagoning and eventual win of
    The Big Short, and Mark Rylance.

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

    ALICIA VIKANDER – THE DANISH GIRL / Alt. KATE WINSLET – STEVE JOBS

    She’s
    been the star of the year. Had she been considered a lead, as she sould
    have been, probably she would have earned two nominations (the second
    for Ex Machina). So far Kate Winslet won only when Vikander was
    competing in the leading category.

    BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – SPOTLIGHT

    BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – THE BIG SHORT

    Both writing categories are sure-fires. They got confirmation from the WGA couple of weeks ago.

    BEST EDITING – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

    I don’t see any other serious rival for Mad Max. Even because here it doesn’t face the threat from Revenant.

    BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – THE REVENANT / Alt. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

    Emmanuel
    Lubezki reign doesn’t seem in peril. Hardly Mad Max could take him off
    the throne. And it will be three in a row for Chivo.

    BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD / Alt. THE DANISH GIRL

    The
    post-apocalyptic set of Mad Max should be the reasonable choice. But
    who knows, maybe they will go for a more traditional choice. I don’t see
    it coming, though.

    BEST COSTUME DESIGN – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD / Alt. THE DANISH GIRL

    Copy and paste what just written for production design. Mad Max has also the costume guild award.

    BEST MAKE-UP AND HAIR-STYLE – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD / Alt. THE REVENANT

    Another
    technical blood-bath between Revenant and Mad Max. I see Mad Max having
    an edge, but there could be a training power if The Revenant win Best
    Picture. An early showing here could be a good indication for the final
    outcome of the evening

    BEST VISUAL EFFECT – STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS / Alt. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

    Usually
    when a Best Picture nominee shows up here it ends up winning. This year
    we have three Best Picture in this category. But I think that in the
    end Star Wars will prevail. I don’t see the blockbuster of the year, and
    soon of all time, going home empty handed. And this is the more likely
    category where it could pull off a success.

    BEST SOUND MIXING – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD / Alt. THE REVENANT

    BEST SOUND EDITING – THE REVENANT / Alt. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

    I
    lump the two category together because usually the film the wins one
    wins also the other. A split here occurs very rarely. So why do I
    predict such an event? Well, first of all because I go with the
    assumption “No guts, no glory”, secondly because this year we have two
    films at the exact opposite of the spectrum one from the other. And both
    did a brilliant job. On one side we have the soft and quiet sound of
    nature, on the other the noise feast of explosion of war rigs. I’d like
    to think that both will be recognized.

    BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – THE HATEFUL EIGHT / Alt. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

    Is
    high time the The Maestro Morricone wins a competitive award. So far he
    has swept the season. But the 50th nomination of Oscar veteran John
    Williams will not go unnoticed.

    BEST SONG – LADY GAGA – TIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU (from THE HUNTING GROUND) / alt. SAM SMITH – WRITING’S ON THE WALL (from SPECTRE)

    Has
    the stardom power. She performed it at the DGA. She will be introduced
    by the vice-president Joe Biden. Her win will give the ceremony charm
    and will appeal the younger audience. It’s almost a lock, I’d say

    BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – SON OF SAUL (HUNGARY) / Alt. MUSTANG (FRANCE)

    It’s
    one of the “second-rate lock”. Mustang has still a narrow space open to
    sneak in. Son Of Saul is strong of critical acclaim and the Globe
    triumph. It hasn’t swept the season as expected, though. Still a 90%
    winner.

    BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – INSIDE OUT

    Signed, sealed, delivered, it’s yours.

    BEST DOCUMENTARY – AMY / Alt. THE LOOK OF SILENCE

    I was tempted not to list an alternative. Amy looks strong. Amy is strong. Amy will be the winner.

    BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – DAY ONE / Alt. SHOK

    The
    Shorts categories are always the hardest to predict. This year the live
    action is the most unpredictable. All of the nominees might win.
    Actually it’s a five side-coin toss. Shok has a good narrative, being
    the first ever nomination for Kosovo and having a moving story (and
    being brilliant indeed). I went with Day One because of the theme. But
    is another “No guts, no glory” choice

    BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT – BODY TEAM 12 / Alt. LAST DAY OF FREEDOM

    Usually
    if one of the shorts has some kind of star revolving around it, is more
    likely to succeed. This thing happened last year with “The Phone Call”,
    starring Sally Hawkings. This year is the case of Body Team 12,
    produced by Olivia Wilde and with a strong producing team behind it.
    Last Day of Freedom is a great artistic feat, and has won several
    awards. Could it be enough?

    BEST ANIMATED SHORT – WORLD OF TOMORROW / Alt. SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM
    Same
    story here. Pixar is a power-house, but sometimes the underdogs win.
    Two years ago the beautiful “Mr. Hublot” upset Disney’s “Get a Horse!”.
    This year I’d like to think the the praised World of Tomorrow will
    overcome Sanjay’s Super Team. Keep an eye also on Prologue. Is a little
    bit crude, but it’s beautifully drawn.

  10. Best Picture:
    Will Win: The Revenant
    Alternate: Spotlight
    Should Win: Room
    Should Have Been Nominated: Carol, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Straight Outta Compton, Steve Jobs

    Best Director:
    Will Win: Alejandro G. Innaritu – The Revenant
    Alternate: Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
    Should Win: George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
    Should Have Been nominated: Todd Haynes – Carol, Danny Boyle – Steve Jobs

    Best Actor:
    Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
    Alternate: Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
    Should Win: Michael Fassbender Steve Jobs
    Should Have Been Nominated: Jason Segel – The End of the Tour, Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation, Jacob Tremblay – Room, Paul Dano – Love and Mercy

    Best Actress:
    Will Win: Brie Larson
    Alternate: Saoirse Ronan
    Should Win: Cate Blanchett – Carol
    Should Have Been Nominated (in this category): Rooney Mara – Carol

    Best Supporting Actor:
    Will Win: Tom Hardy – The Revenant (Wishful Thinking, but it seems like this category could go to any of the nominees)
    Alternate: Sylvester Stallone – Creed
    Should Win: Tom Hardy – The Revenant
    Should Have Been Nominated: Anyone from Straight Outta Compton

    Best Supporting Actress:
    Will Win: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
    Alternate: Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
    Should Win: Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
    Should Have Been Nominated: Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina, Sarah Paulson – Carol, Elizabeth Banks – Love and Mercy

    Best Original Screenplay:
    Will Win: Spotlight
    Alternate: Straight Outta Compton
    Should Win: Spotlight
    Should Have Been Nominated: Clouds of Sils Maria

    Best Adapted Screenplay:
    Will Win: The Big Short
    Alternate: Room
    Should Win: Carol
    Should Have Been Nominated: Steve Jobs, The End of The Tour, 45 Years

    Best Animated Feature:
    Will Win: Inside Out

    Best Production Design:
    Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Alternate: The Danish Girl
    Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Should Have Been Nominated: Carol, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Best Cinematography:
    Will Win: The Revenant
    Alternate: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Should Win: Carol
    Should Have Been Nominated: Youth, 45 Years

    Best Costume Design:
    Will Win: Carol
    Alternate: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Should Win: Carol
    Should Have Been Nominated: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Best Film Editing:
    Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Alternate: Spotlight
    Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
    Will Win: The Revenant
    Alternate: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Should Win: The Revenant

    Best Sound Mixing:
    Will Win: The Revenant
    Alternate: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Should Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Best Sound Editing:
    Will Win: The Revenant
    Alternate: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Should Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Best Visual Effects:
    Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Alternate: The Revenant
    Should Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Should Have Been Nominated: The Walk

    Best Original Score:
    Will Win: The Hateful Eight
    Alternate: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Should Win: Carol
    Should Have Been Nominated: Mad Max: Fury Road, Steve Jobs

    Best Original Song:
    Will Win: “Til’ It Happens to You” – The Hunting Ground
    Alternate: “Writing’s on the Wall” – Spectre
    Should Win: “Simple Song #3” – Youth
    Should Have Been Nominated: “I’ll See You in my Dreams” – I’ll See You in my Dreams, “Who Can You Trust?” – Spy

    Best Documentary Feature:
    Will Win: Amy
    Alternate: The Look of Silence

    Best Foreign Language Film:
    Will Win: Son of Saul

    Best Documentary Short:
    Will Win: Body Team 12
    Alternate: Chau, Beyond the Lines

    Best Animated Short:
    Will Win: World of Tomorrow
    Alternate: Sanjay’s Super Team

    Best Live Action Short:
    Will Win: Ave Maria
    Alternate: Day One

  11. I still really can’t see the Academy giving Inarritu 2 Oscars in a row (4 if we count movie). I just don’t see it. They value their history too much for that and I just don’t see them wanting to put him on the same group as Mankiewicz and John Ford. Yes he does have the most of the precursors, but don’t forget that Linklater won the Golden Globe and BAFTA last year, so those two weren’t seconds in a row…

    I think everyone is underestimating Mad Max Fury Road. It think it might end up being a genuine contender, sweeping a lot of the technical awards (editing, sound, production design, make up, maybe even cinematography) ending up with a surprise director win for Miller. If there is any Marcia Gay Hardy style surprise I see it happening there a lot more than in any of the acting categories. Then again, it might just be wishful thinking. :)

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