Oscars 2016: Will Win/Should Win (Joey Magidson)

oscars-best-film-xlargeOne of many annual traditions here at The Awards Circuit, I humbly present my picks for who/what Will Win as well as who/what Should Win at the impending Academy Awards. Before we get started though, a few very quick thoughts for you all to chew on. This has been, without question, one of the strangest Oscar races in memory, especially in the Best Picture field, where until fairly recently it was a wide open race. The Revenant seems to have pulled away from The Big Short and Spotlight, but surprises could still be in store for us all. I’m fairly confident in a lot of my predictions, but I’m sure I’ll panic before the telecast on Sunday night.. We’re going to find out in just a few days who and what actually wins, but for now, here’s my yearly contribution to the last minute discussion.

Look for the official Oscar Predictions from Editor Clayton Davis in the next 24 hours.  Til’ then, here are mine:

Spotlight-The-Revenant-The-Big-ShortBest Picture

Up until fairly recently, this was a category more in flux than ever. For example, Spotlight was considered the most likely winner for much of the season, but now is no better than second runner up. It’s become The Big Short as the only thing preventing The Revenant from running away with this one. The former seemed like the frontrunner for a brief moment after the Producers Guild award, but with the latter having taken the top prize from BAFTA, the Golden Globes, and the Directors Guild, it seems like a hard one to beat. I wish Spotlight could ride its Screen Actors Guild win to a victory here, but it’s just not going to happen. The Big Short has a chance, but it’s a small one. The Revenant appears poised to be a Best Picture winner.

Will Win – The Revenant
Should Win – Spotlight
Could Win – The Big Short
Should Have Been Nominated – Anomalisa, Creed, and Steve Jobs

hardy-decaprio-innarituBest Director

Any worrying I was doing about a potential split was made easier in one regard when it became clear that Alejandro G. Iñárritu was once again winning this prize. My preference is Tom McCarthy for Spotlight, but he’s not even a long shot at this point. Iñárritu for The Revenant is a done deal, with the only long shot upset now being Adam McKay for The Big Short. Still, bet against Iñárritu at your own risk. Back to back Best Director Oscars is in the cards for him. Mark it down.

Will Win – Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant)
Should Win – Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
Could Win – Adam McKay (The Big Short)
Should Have Been Nominated – Danny Boyle (Steve Jobs), Ryan Coogler (Creed), and Ridley Scott (The Martian)

ct-kass-revenant-bear-aj-jpg-20160115Best Actor

Probably the most wrapped up of any category this year, it’s finally Leonardo DiCaprio‘s time to be an Oscar winner, with his performance in The Revenant being what gets him over the top. The opposition from the likes of Bryan Cranston in Trumbo, Matt Damon in The Martian, and Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs has been mild, to say the least. I’d vote for Fassbender, but that’s another story. This is incredibly clear cut, as DiCaprio is getting the statue.

Will Win – Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Should Win – Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Could Win – Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
Should Have Been Nominated – Michael Caine (Youth), Michael B. Jordan (Creed), and Jason Segel (The End of the Tour)

room_1Best Actress

Another very easy category to predict, as Brie Larson has won just about everything leading up to the Oscars for her work in Room. The thought that Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn or Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years would put up a sustained fight just never came to pass. Larson has basically been anointed as the next big thing. As such, the Academy Award is coming along with it. Any other prediction than Larson is just a complete moon shot. Larson has got this one in the bag.

Will Win – Brie Larson (Room)
Should Win – Brie Larson (Room)
Could Win – Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
Should Have Been Nominated – Jennifer Jason Leigh (Anomalisa), Amy Schumer (Trainwreck), and Lily Tomlin (Grandma)

ap_film_review-creed_77800296-1200x799Best Supporting Actor

There could be a late breaking surge of momentum here for Mark Rylance to win for Bridge of Spies, but likely not enough to overtake Sylvester Stallone for Creed. His narrative is just too good. I might slightly prefer Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight to Stallone, but they’re essentially 1A and 1B for me. Rylance might be coming on strong, while a few are going out on a limb for Tom Hardy in The Revenant, but this seems highly light to go to Stallone.

Will Win – Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
Should Win – Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Could Win – Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
Should Have Been Nominated – Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Sam Elliott (Grandma), and Harvey Keitel (Youth)

the-danish-girlBest Supporting Actress

This has been a very odd category, to say the least. Alicia Vikander looks like the favorite for The Danish Girl, but there are some solid wins on the board for Kate Winslet as well, so it’s definitely possible that her role in Steve Jobs could be poised for an upset win. I’m not willing to go that far out on a limb and predict it, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened. My personal vote here would be Rooney Mara for Carol, but my professional prediction is Vikander.

Will Win – Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Should Win – Rooney Mara (Carol)
Could Win – Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Should Have Been Nominated – Elizabeth Banks (Love & Mercy), Jessica Chastain (The Martian), and Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria)

Part-GTY-510089924-1-1-0Best Adapted Screenplay

At one point this seemed like a category that was up in the air, but then The Big Short started a more or less sweep of the Adapted awards. Recent wins at BAFTA, the Writers Guild, and the USC Scripter has locked it up. The upset would be Room, but that’s not going to happen for Emma Donoghue. I’d pick Drew Goddard and The Martian if I had a vote, but Adam McKay and Charles Randolph are about to be Academy Award winners. Whether or not that turns out to be the only win for The Big Short is another story, but you’ll have to read on to see what I think will happen the rest of the way.

Will Win – Adam McKay and Charles Randolph (The Big Short)
Should Win – Drew Goddard (The Martian)
Could Win – Emma Donoghue (Room)
Should Have Been Nominated – Ryan Coogler/Aaron Covington (Creed), Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa), and Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs)

Best Original Screenplay

One of the easiest predictions for Academy Award night is that Spotlight will win in the Original Screenplay category. Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer‘s script would be my personal pick as well, so that’s a nice little bonus. There’s really no alternatives here, though I’ve seen a few folks mention the team behind Straight Outta Compton. I don’t really buy it, but it doesn’t matter. Spotlight is winning here, no question about that.

Will Win – Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight)
Should Win – Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight)
Could Win – Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus (Straight Outta Compton)
Should Have Been Nominated – Leslye Headland (Sleeping with Other People), Victor Levin (5 to 7), and David Robert Mitchell (It Follows)

inside-outBest Animated Feature

As much as I’d like to hope that Anomalisa has a chance at an upset, this is clearly going to Inside Out. In fact, it’s possible that the next in line contender is something like Boy & the World or When Marnie Was There. I’ll continue to dream about an Anomalisa win, but Inside Out is a more than worthy victor, which helps. This is a done deal, as Pixar is going to win in the category once again.

Will Win – Inside Out
Should Win – Anomalisa
Could Win – Anomalisa
Should Have Been Nominated – The Good Dinosaur

GibsonMadMaxFuryRoadInterviewBest Production Design

Now, as we get into the technical fields, we’re going to see some big battles between Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant. I see the former winning here due to how easy it is to appreciate the automobile designs, which are a part of this. Also, it combines well with some of the other tech categories as well. Something like The Danish Girl has upset potential, while I’d prefer a win by The Martian, but Mad Max: Fury Road seems set for a big win.

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – The Martian
Could Win – The Revenant
Should Have Been Nominated – The Hateful Eight

THE REVENANTBest Cinematography

This is another breeze of a prediction. Yes, Emmanuel Lubezki is going to win his third Oscar in a row, this time for The Revenant. The overdue Roger Deakins for Sicario is my personal prediction, while John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road presents an interesting challenge, though Lubezki and The Revenant are basically unbeatable at this point. I’d be absolutely shocked if it’s not back to back to back wins for him now.

Will Win – The Revenant
Should Win – Sicario
Could Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Have Been Nominated – Creed

Jenny_Beavan-large_trans++qVzuuqpFlyLIwiB6NTmJwfSVWeZ_vEN7c6bHu2jJnT8Best Costume Design

This category could go in a number of directions, though I think, barring an upset by Carol, which is my personal pick, this will be another fight between Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant. The former has some big wins up its sleeve, so while it’s an unlikely victor, I do see it pulling away from the pack. Watch out for anyone in this category, but armed with a probable Production Design win, Mad Max: Fury Road could definitely be the one here, which is what I’m predicting.

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Carol
Could Win – The Revenant
Should Have Been Nominated – The Martian

1454515796-Mad-Max-The-Big-ShortBest Film Editing

This could be the toughest of the techs. There’s a case to be made for The Revenant taking this one since it’s the frontrunner in Best Picture, while there’s a case to be made for Mad Max: Fury Road, as it’s the flashy contender. Moreover, we have a traditional type of nominee in The Big Short, which is still hoping to pull an upset in Picture. Spotlight deserves the win, but it’s not happening. Watch out for The Big Short and The Revenant, but look to Mad Max: Fury Road as the Editing victor.

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Spotlight
Could Win – The Big Short
Should Have Been Nominated – The Martian

therevenantBest Makeup & Hairstyling

This is kind of a toss up, though it’s another place where Mad Max: Fury Road is trying to hold off The Revenant. It’s a two horse race, that much seems clear. I’d vote for Mad Max: Fury Road, and I think enough voters will too. A win with BAFTA definitely helped it along. The Revenant could certainly win, but the former is the one I’m going with in this category.

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Could Win – The Revenant
Should Have Been Nominated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

the-revenant-leonardo-dicaprio-1-e1437412668617Best Sound Mixing

The two Sound categories are where I think we’re going to see The Revenant beat back Mad Max: Fury Road and establish itself as the overall biggest winner of the night. Here in Mixing, I think the two of them will hold off my personal pick Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with The Revenant being the victor in the end. I’m not expecting a split, so this would be a big win for The Revenant.

Will Win – The Revenant
Should Win – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Could Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Have Been Nominated – Sicario

bear-the-revenant-photo-credit-twitter-photo-sectionBest Sound Editing

Much like with Sound Mixing, Sound Editing could go more than one way, though I don’t see it splitting. Whatever you have in Mixing, you should also have in Editing as well. Going by that logic, I have The Revenant here, which makes a ton of sense to me. My personal pick is again Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and of course Mad Max: Fury Road is right there for the upset, but The Revenant is what I think wins here to take both of the Sound wins.

Will Win – The Revenant
Should Win – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Could Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Have Been Nominated – Jurassic World

star-wars-the-force-awakens-vfx-reel-165762Best Visual Effects

I feel like this is a done deal, as it’s a place to honor the box office record holder and not feel like it’s a token win. Star Wars: The Force Awakens fits very well as a winner here, so it’d be slightly foolish in my eyes not to predict it, plain and simple. BAFTA once again works as an affirmation of a hunch, which is nice considering it’s my personal preference as well. Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant are threats, but the Force is strong with the ultimate winner.

Will Win – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Should Win – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Could Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Have Been Nominated – The Walk

2015EnnioMorricone_Getty462815204_master050615.article_x4Best Original Score

This category hasn’t really been contested all that much, as Ennio Morricone seems locked in for a win. His work on The Hateful Eight is terrific, so I’m not complaining at all, since it’s my favorite of the group, just observing that aside from a potential win for John Williams and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this appeared to be gift wrapped for Morricone early on. Anything else would be a big surprise.

Will Win – The Hateful Eight
Should Win – The Hateful Eight
Could Win – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Should Have Been Nominated – It Follows

originalsongBest Original Song

This is, without question, the weakest of the categories for Oscar this year. None of the nominees really deserve to be winners, frankly. By that same token, any of the five could wind up winning. I think it’s probably actually between Simple Song #3 from Youth, Til’ It Happens to You from The Hunting Ground, and Writing’s on the Wall from Spectre. I’d vote for Youth‘s song, while The Hunting Ground could easily win, but my prediction is that Spectre gives the James Bond franchise another Original Song victory.

Will Win – Writing’s on the Wall (Spectre)
Should Win – Simple Song #3 (Youth)
Could Win – Til’ It Happens to You (The Hunting Ground)
Should Have Been Nominated – Cold One (Ricki and the Flash)

2013AmyWinehouse2030713.heroBest Documentary Feature

As unlikely a winner as it feels like to me, Amy seems basically like a done deal here. I just can’t see The Look of Silence winning when The Act of Killing couldn’t do it a few years back, but that’s me. The Look of Silence is what I’d vote for, but I’d pick Amy as the fairly easy winner here. At this point, anything else would be a pretty big surprise, at least in my book.

Will Win – Amy
Should Win – The Look of Silence
Could Win – The Look of Silence
Should Have Been Nominated – Where to Invade Next

son-saulBest Foreign Language Film

No stress here, as Son of Saul is 100% winning this award. Some might make the case for Mustang in an upset, while I’d actually prefer to see A War win, but this isn’t really up for debate. Son of Saul taking Best Foreign Language Feature is absolutely set in stone, making it one of the night’s easiest picks to make.

Will Win – Son of Saul
Should Win – A War
Could Win – Mustang
Should Have Been Nominated – White God

body-team-12Best Documentary Short Subject

The shorts are where prognosticators make their bones, or fall short of their goals, but this category seems like a simple two horse race. It’s either going to be Body Team 12 or Claude Lanzmann: Specters of the Shoah here, with the former seeming to be slightly in front of the latter. It’s nearly a coin flip though, so consider this pick a very flimsy one.

Will Win – Body Team 12
Should Win – Claude Lanzmann: Specters of the Shoah
Could Win – Claude Lanzmann: Specters of the Shoah
Should Have Been Nominated – N/A

CZ0AkXlWAAEEks2Best Short Film Live Action

I’ll be frank here in saying that I can’t for the life of me figure out what is going to win here. Ave Maria seems like it will, but I could just as easily buy that Day One or Shok will. They’re all weighty shorts with emotional heft, so it’s more or less a crapshoot. Any of the nominees winning would make sense to me, so while I’m going with Ave Maria, don’t take that to the bank.

Will Win – Ave Maria
Should Win – Ave Maria
Could Win – Shok
Should Have Been Nominated – N/A

100115pixarfix_1280x720Best Animated Film Short

As I wrote in my Oscar Circuit on the category, this is going to be a fight between Sanjay’s Super Team and World of Tomorrow. The former has the campaign and the personal story behind it, while the latter has the independent spirit and some top notch quality in its corner. I’d love to see World of Tomorrow win, but I doubt that the Academy is quite that cool. Look for Sanjay’s Super Team to win, but an upset could definitely be in the cards.

Will Win – Sanjay’s Super Team
Should Win – World of Tomorrow
Could Win – World of Tomorrow
Should Have Been Nominated – N/A

There you have my final say on the race. It’s going to be a very interesting Oscar night, that’s for sure. I’ll be watching with anticipation, as I’m sure all of you will be as well. Stay tuned for the final results in just a few days!

Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!

What do you think?


Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.


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