2016 Oscar Predictions from Cinema or Cinemeh

On February 28, 2016, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce their annual Academy Awards. There are 24 categories–of which, I’ve seen every nominee in 19 of them. In one category, I saw none of the nominees. In another category, I only saw one. I won’t be predicting those. But the others? You bet your butt I am. Enjoy!

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Spotlight, Straight Outta Compton

Who Should Win: Spotlight. Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy craft a flawless newsroom procedural. It spotlights each member of its wonderful seven-person roster while telling an important and engaging story.

Who Will Win: Spotlight.

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Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: The Big Short, Brooklyn, Carol, The Martian, Room

Who Should Win: Steve Jobs. This classic Aaron Sorkin script told the story of the Apple co-founder in a remarkable and revolutionary way. The sharpest, quick-wittiest dialogue in the business. But no nomination. An outrage. If I have to pick, I’d say The Big Short should get it. Charles Randolph and co-writer/director Adam McKay tell the complex story of the housing bubble burst with humor and excitement. You can’t believe it’s so enjoyable.

Who Will Win: The Big Short.

The-Big-Short-movie-December-2015

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Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who Should Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The franchise won this category the first three times, and lost the last two (the terrible Episode III was never nominated). Since this is the best trip to the galaxy since 1983, I’m going out on a limb and saying it picks up where it left off then–with a win. Though Mad Max: Fury Road would deserve it, and Ex Machina‘s Ava is a marvelous feat in visual effects.

Who Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens

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Best Sound Mixing

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Who Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Best Sound Editing

Nominees: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Who Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Best Live Action Short Film

Nominees: Ave Maria, Day One, Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut), Shok, Stutterer

Who Should Win: Shok is a powerful reflection on friendship, betrayal, regret, and violence that feels like watching a full-length feature–you come away affected by it.

Who Will Win: Shok.

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Best Animated Short Film

Nominees: Bear Story, Prologue, Sanjay’s Super Team, We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, World of Tomorrow

Who Should Win: We Can’t Live Without Cosmos is a beautiful story about two friends realizing their dream of becoming astronauts. But no force is as great, for them, as friendship.

Who Will Win: We Can’t Live Without Cosmos.

thenewyorker_we-can-t-live-without-cosmos

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Best Production Design

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant

Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Who Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Best Original Song

Nominees: “Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey; “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction; “Simple Song #3,” Youth; “‘Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground; “Writing’s On the Wall,” Spectre

Who Should Win: “Writing’s On the Wall.” The newest Bond song captures Sam Smith’s raw vocals in a song about love and desperation. It’s one of his best song’s to date, and tonally fit the Bond film Spectre to a T.

Who Will Win: “Simple Song #3.” Bummer that this song, from South Korean soprano Sumi Jo, is the only nomination for the philosophically adventurous Youth. It is beautiful, though.

YOUTH-Sumi-Jo

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Best Original Score

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Carol, The Hateful Eight, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who Should Win: The Hateful Eight‘s standalone, classic-sounding score from the legendary Ennio Morricone is in a league of its own. Next would be Johann Johannsson’s booming masterpiece from the thrilling Sicario.

Who Will Win: The Hateful Eight.

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Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees: Mad Max: Fury Road, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Jumped Out the Window and Disappeared, The Revenant

Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road, if only for whoever put that black grease on Charlize Theron’s forehead.

Who Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Mad-Max-Fury-Road

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Best Film Editing

Nominees: The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who Should Win: The Revenant.

Who Will Win: The Revenant.

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Best Documentary Feature

Nominees: Amy, Cartel Land, The Look of Silence, What Happened Miss Simone?, Winter on Fire

Who Should Win: I loved Amy and even Cartel Land, but The Look of Silence was a stunning feature. It had heart and authenticity. It was educational but also gripping and heartbreaking. It was even funny at times. It’s one of the most important movies of the year, documentary or otherwise.

Who Will Win: The Look of Silence.

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Best Directing

Nominees: The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight

Who Should Win: The Revenant. Alejandro Iñárritu should repeat this year, but I don’t think he will. His command of The Revenant–including the decision to shoot with all natural light–deserves recognition.

Who Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road‘s George Miller revived and revitalized this franchise after nearly 40 years, making what some argue is the best one yet. He’s been winning this season, and I see no reason why he wouldn’t continue.

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Best Costume Design

Nominees: Carol, Cinderella, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant

Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Who Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Best Cinematography

Nominees: Carol, The Hateful Eight, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Sicario

Who Should Win: Like Iñárritu, The Revenant‘s cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki should repeat from last year’s Birdman win. And in his case, I think the repeat will actually happen.

Who Will Win: The Revenant.

THE REVENANT

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Best Animated Feature Film

Nominees: Anomalisa, Boy and the World, Inside Out, Shaun the Sheep Movie, When Marnie Was There

Who Should Win: Anomalisa was the year’s most original animated feature, from the batshit mind of Charlie Kaufman. It’s an intriguing story of love.

Who Will Win: Inside Out will take it. I can’t be mad at that, even if Pixar has been better.

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Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight; Rooney Mara, Carol; Rachel McAdams, Spotlight; Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl; Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Who Should Win: Alicia Vikander is Eddie Redmayne’s near-equal in the masterful The Danish Girl. She’s flawless.

Who Will Win: Alicia Vikander.

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Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees: Christian Bale, The Big Short; Tom Hardy, The Revenant; Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight; Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies; Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Who Should Win: Tom Hardy gives a performance almost as good as, if not better than, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.

Who Will Win: Sylvester Stallone has been sweeping this category lately for giving his best Rocky performance since the first film. But still. This is Sly Stallone. His best is still not enough for gold. And yet…

Creed-Movie

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Best Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees: Cate Blanchett, Carol; Brie Larson, Room; Jennifer Lawrence, Joy; Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years; Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Who Should Win: Brie Larson was the emotional pillar of Room. She blended a youthful naivety with a maturity far beyond her 26 years.

Who Will Win: Brie Larson.

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Best Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo; Matt Damon, The Martian; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs; Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Who Should Win: I’m still convinced that Eddie Redmayne gave the most acutely nuanced acting performance of the year for his more-than-capable handling of his transgender character Lily in The Danish Girl. I don’t buy into the talk that he was chumming it up or that his performance was begging for an Oscar.  If it’s just because he won last year, I can see the hesitation. Still, I didn’t see a better performance than his.

Who Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio will win his first Oscar, 26 years after his first nomination. And it’s not like he doesn’t deserve it.

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Best Picture

Nominees: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight

Who Should Win: Spotlight has the fewest flaws of any of the nominees. The Revenant, in my opinion, was the year’s best movie. But Spotlight would have been my pick for Oscar’s pick for Best Picture…

Who Will Win: …yet, The Revenant has been winning the big prize this awards season. And I think the last voice we’ll hear on Oscars night, for the second year in a row, is that of Alejandro Iñárritu.

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