*Given the heated topic of boycotting at the Academy Awards, let’s just stick to the films for right now, shall we?
(Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, and Spotlight)
First off, let’s eliminate Brooklyn, Big Short, Room, Spotlight, and Mad Max right off the bat. Why? None of them have what the Academy likes. They’re just too controversial (Spotlight) or too sci-fi (Mad Max) or too esoteric (Room). Brooklyn (too fanciful) and Big Short (too mathematical) are eliminated as well, so then it’s between The Revenant and The Martian, both of which I like very much and are very strong contenders, but I think I’m gonna lean towards The Martian because of its universal mass appeal.
(Bryan Cranston in Trumbo, Matt Damon in The Martian, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs, Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl)
This is a tough one: Cranston and Fassbender were both amazing, there’s no doubt, but I don’t see them winning–as much as I’d like to see them win. Redmayne doing his gender-bender thing is topical right now, but not Oscar-topical. The Academy loves a good hero story, so look for Damon’s charm to win him some gold, BUT DiCaprio’s impressive and immersive role cannot be overlooked either. Flip a coin here, it’ll be very,very close. I’m guessing DiCaprio by a hair.
Best Supporting Actor
(Christian Bale for The Big Short, Tom Hardy for The Revenant, Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight, Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies, and Sylvester Stallone for Creed)
Personally, I think Hardy should win based on his jaw-dropping performance. Anyone that can steal a scene away from DiCaprio is okay in my book. Forget Bale, Ruffalo, and Rylance, these guys don’t stand a chance. Now Stallone, on the other hand, will probably get the Oscar based purely on sentimentalism. He’s an Oscar darling for sure, but don’t rule out Hardy entirely.
(Cate Blanchett in Carol, Brie Larson in Room, Jennifer Lawrence in Joy, Charlotte Rambling in 45 Years, Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn)
Given that not too many movie going audiences saw 45 Years,Carol, or Brooklyn we can rule out Blanchett, Ronan, and Rambling. Bye bye, ladies! That leaves us with Larson and Lawrence. Both gave bravura performances, but since JLaw picked up an Oscar last year, look for Larson to nab one this year. Still, don’t discount Lawrence, as she is an Academy favorite child.
Best Supporting Actress
(Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight, Rooney Mara for Carol, Rachel McAdams for Spotlight, Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl, and Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs)
The race here, I figure, is gonna be between Leigh and Winslet. Both kicked butt in their respective roles having to handle some very difficult challenges. Leigh for Tarantino’s brutal blood-bath and bruises and Winslet for delivering Aaron Sorkin’s impeccable, symphonic writing. Mara, McAdams, and Vikander will have to wait another day, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Vikander was a dark horse winner.
(Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant, Adam McKay for The Big Short, George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road, Lenny Abrahamson for The Room, and Tom McCarthy for Spotlight)
This is easy. I’m gonna go with Alejandro for Best Director, BUT don’t discount the Academy for giving the Oscar to Miller based on his remarkable film. Iñárritu did win last year with Birdman, so it’s possible that Miller has a chance here.
Best Animated Feature
(Anomalisa, Inside/Out, When Marnie Was There, Boy and the World, and Shaun the Sheep)
Okay, immediately you have to say, “What’s Boy and the World, When Marnie Was There, and Anomalisa?” Yeah, I know, nobody saw them either. So, let’s stick with the REAL contender’s, shall we? Shaun the Sheep and Inside/Out. Shaun is cute and British, but clearly out of the leagues of the global monster Disney/Pixar that is Inside/Out. Need I say more?
Best Original Screenplay
(Bridge of Spies by Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen. Ex Machina by Alex Garland. Inside Out by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley. Spotlight by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy. Straight Outta Compton by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff)
It’s all about the WORDS, people! Nothing is better than a screenplay that takes an audience places they haven’t been before. Forget Spotlight (too controversial), Straight Outta Compton (all cuss phraseology), and Bridge of Spies (historical flatness). So, you are left with the Disney/Pixar family Inside/Out which struck a cord on all levels and the glorious Ex Machina, a real thinking-man’s movie. Look for Disney for the win, but I’m pulling for Garland! A moment of silence for Aaron Sorkin who did not get a nomination here. Thank you.