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Friday
Feb262016

Final Oscar Predictions. Here We Go...

Thanks for reading all year, dear Oscar freaks.  I originally published these predictions in my column at Towleroad but the write-ups are expanded here with more details since y'all are movie freaks and I love you for it. Here we go...

From silly rumors of a bear “raping” Leonardo DiCaprio, to the critical fervor for a fourth film in a Mad and previously non-prestigious action franchise, to obviously gathering but non-impactful support of our years long anti category fraud crusade, to the internet rage and ongoing controversy over #OscarsSoWhite this has been an eventful and often surprising awards season. Will Oscar night continue that trend or feel like an anticlimax? Whichever way it goes, it all comes to an end this Sunday night on ABC when the 88th Academy Awards unspool.

The following predictions can be used to inform your Oscar party or office Oscar pool but fair warning: even seasoned Oscar pundits like myself and other Gurus and Experts are confused this year about some categories. As early as last week, for example, I had planned to start this article with an obnoxiously cute bit about the surest prediction being that the producers would try desperately to pretend that Hollywood was very diverse on Oscar night. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. They went and made another anti-diversity blunder, axing performances of two of the Original Song nominees, the two that happen to be sung by a famous Asian soprano and a trans woman. Can we have a round of applause please for Anohni (better known as Antony Hegarty) who has published a must-read personal essay about the insulting behavior of the Academy in regards to her nomination for Best Original Song.

Sigh. It’s like The Academy can’t help themselves!?! They just dig themselves deeper every time. Yet we can’t help ourselves either and continue obsessing over that 13½ inch naked gold man. Let’s look at all 24 categories after the jump...

BEST PICTURE
The NomineesThe Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight. The Producers Guild prize, the Screen Actors Guild Ensemble prize, and the Directors Guild prize are usually strong indicators of what will win the top Oscar category. Famously this year all three guilds honored different films: The Big Short, Spotlight, and The Revenant respectively. The Big Short arguably campaigned the hardest and taps into a very “now” issue with our country’s wealth disparity and gamed system getting a lot of attention in an election year. Spotlight is the classy Best Picture option that no one dislikes and that could (theoretically) help since Best Picture is the only category where the winner is determined by preferential ranking rather than a simple vote. But The Revenant has been sucking up all the cultural oxygen (I even heard a woman refer to her friend’s coat as “Revenant chic” two weeks back!) and just won the BAFTA across the Atlantic.

Will WinThe Revenant (Confidence level: 50%)
Should WinMad Max: Fury Road or Room. They’re both unique marvels with actual thematic heft. They'll look good down the road when people look back at this year.
Could WinThe Big Short or Spotlight... it all depends on the preferential ranking. How tight is it really. And voters who're voting for the other 5 films as their #1 where are their #2 and #3 votes going?

How to Cope with the Win: If you hate The Revenant, just pretend The New World just won all the Oscars since Iñárritu was obviously going for that sans depth plus revenge.
Further Reading: Best Picture Chart. Several Rankings therein 

BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees: Lenny Abrahamson (Room), Adam McKay (The Big Short), George Miller (Mad Max Fury Road), Alejandro G Iñárritu (The Revenant), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight). The critics have favored George Miller this year for elevating Mad Max Fury Road from mere chase movie / sequel to action masterpiece but critics don't vote for Oscars. The Academy membership is much grouchier about genre achievements and they’re also in love with a certain Mexican auteur right now who won three Oscars just last year for Birdman.

Will Win: Alejandro G Iñárritu. (Confidence level: 65%) He would not be the first director to win back-to-back Oscars (it’s happened twice before but not since the 1950s) but he would be the first director to helm back-to-back Best Picture winners if The Revenant takes the top category.
Should Win: George Miller (Mad Max Fury Road) …and by such a margin I may weep if he loses.
Could Win: Anyone whose movie wins Best Picture. 

How to cope with the win: If you have any suggestions for how to deal with Iñárritu pulling a back to back like he's John F***ing Ford. Please let us know. We need it. I was going to try to pretend they were just giving him two Oscars for Birdman but then I remembered they already gave him 3 for that movie and 4 is really overdoing it!

Further Listening: on the new podcast we discuss the best previous work by Miller, Iñárritu, and McCarthy

BEST ACTOR
Nominees: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl).

Will Win
: This is Leo’s long awaited Oscar. (Confidence level: 100%) Goodbye to all those hilarious memes about Leo’s desperation to win. *sniffle* But for all the griping from fans about how long he’s waited, he’s only 41. Some perspective: Paul Newman, who is several times the actor that Leo is, had to wait until he was 62! If you haven’t yet played this hilarious video game you should. There’s even an “Act Harder” bonus round lampooning Leo’s familiar brow furrowing. Here’s a interesting essay on why he shouldn’t win.
Should Win: Michael Fassbender if you want complexity; Matt Damon if you want your effortless star charisma.

How to Cope with the Win: Pretend that Leo will start mixing it up with less heavy I'M A SERIOUS ACTOR performances and remember how fun he used to be to watch? Also pretend he won for your favorite performance of his, whatever that might be *cough Gilbert Grape*
Further Reading: "The Year of the Ham" plus Q&A about Leo, Eddie Redmayne interview

 

 

 

BEST ACTRESS
Nominees: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn). It’s the year’s highest quality acting category. Yay
Will Win: Brie Larson’s fierce but damaged mother in Room was locked up for half the movie. The Oscar has been locked up for what seems like half the year. (Confidence level: 100%)
Should Win: Blanchett has the trickiest role and gives the most stylized performance but every beat in Carolthe year’s greatest film no matter what Oscar says, is sheer perfection.

How to cope with the win: Be happy because she's awesome. Also picture her hand-writing all those thank you cards next week.

Further Listening: on the new podcast we discuss the best work by Brie, Cate, Charlotte, Jennifer, and Saoirse. 7th time for Cate. Charlotte Rampling Beauty

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Christian Bale (The Big Short), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), and Sylvester Stallone (Creed).
Will & Should Win: Sylvester Stallone (Confidence level: 60%)
Could Win: Mark Rylance felt like the frontrunner for a few months for his soft spoken spy. Lately there’s been some rather shapeless buzz that Ruffalo OR Bale could surprise for their rather showy performances in films with real Best Picture heat. But the safest bet is Stallone for reprising his classic role. (That’s how Paul Newman finally won his Oscar, too, not that their talent is remotely comparable)

How to cope with the win: Remember that this category is often useless (particularly because the nominations year after year are impossible to justify) and exists almost solely to provide career wins to old men. And, as such, they're only doing their duty!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) and Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs).
Will Win: Alicia Vikander. (Confidence level: 80%) Even if no one truly loves The Danish Girl, she was 2015’s breakout “It Girl” with several films in theaters and continually strong reviews. (Our interviewer)
Should Win: Kate Winslet’s dodgy accent aside, she works wonders as Fassbender’s frumpy foil in Steve Jobs. She’s actually the only good option here really since Rooney and Alicia are both leading ladies in their films and shouldn’t have been allowed in this category
Could Win: Kate Winslet

How to cope with the Win: Pretend it's for her brilliantly sly and micro-nuanced work as "Ava" in Ex-Machina... because it kind of is. It's a "great year" win.
Further Reading: Alicia Vikander interview, Rachel McAdams is Flawless, 7th Time for Kate, Jennifer Jason Leigh beauty

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY 
NomineesBridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Spotlight and Straight Outta Compton
Will WinSpotlight. (Confidence level: 90%) This is the newspaper drama’s one sure Oscar though it could win more.
Should & Could WinInside Out

Further Reading: Interviews with Josh Singer on Spotlight

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nominees: Brooklyn, Carol, The Big Short, The Martian, and Room
Will WinThe Big Short. Its Most Likely Oscar. (Confidence level: 85%)
Should WinCarol. (Note to classic movie lovers: Carol‘s Sunset Blvd shout out is very purposeful)
Could Win: It’s a long shot but Room has loud and devoted fans. And it's also a tremendous achievement and it'd be nice to see a female novelist win for adapting her own work.

How to Cope with the Win: Remember that the system is broken and the attention drawn to that is only a good thing. Stop voting for politicans who are against regulating corporate America! 

Further Reading: Screenplay Records (that might be broken), Which are most Quotable?. How the female characters are introduced

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
NomineesCarol, The Hateful Eight, Mad Max Fury Road, The Revenant, and Sicario
Will Win: The Revenant will make Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki (Gravity, Birdman) the first person to win three consecutive Oscars in decades. (Confidence level: 90%). Check out his instagram for beautiful portraits. The all natural light gimmick used on The Revenant isn’t new — Chivo did the same thing to we'd argue even greater results in The New World (2005) but this is where the smart money is since it feels new to people.
Should WinCarol. Impeccably beautiful and conceptually smart, too. 
Could WinSicario… if voters realize that Roger Deakins is now on his 13th nomination. He’s a legend in his field but he’s never won. I recently rewatched this film and Chris was right about it. It's just impeccably crafted. The Cinematography was even more expressive on second viewing.

How to Cope with the Win: Remember that Chivo is a miracle worker even though nobody has ever deserved three consecutive Oscars.

Further Reading: Interviews with Carol and The Revenant. Plus Mad Max Fury Road's "Best Shot"

BEST FILM EDITING
Nominees: The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Will Win: The Big Short. (Confidence level: 30%) Sometimes they vote for “Most” rather than “Best” and this film is filled with showy editorial flourishes.
Should WinMad Max: Fury Road. Most pundits are predicting it to win this contest but I fear the worst.
Could Win: The Revenant …but only if it’s a sweeper and takes home several Oscars.

How to cope if Mad Max loses: I'm open to suggestions. Help meeeeeeeeeee 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
NomineesCarol, Cinderella, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Revenant. This is a very difficult category to guess this year and not just because all the nominees are very well designed. If they vote “Most” they’ll go with Danish Girl or Cinderella. If enough voters are angry that Carol missed in Best Picture (and surely it has a lot of fans since 6 nominations is now the record holder for most noms without Best Picture in the expanded BP era) they could rally here. If they’re just checking all their craft category boxes for Mad Max or The Revenant either of them could pull it off. In short, this is basically your only true five-way race of the night.
Will & Should Win: Sandy Powell, Carol. (Confidence level: 20%) I’m risking wishful thinking on this one. Sandy Powell already has three Oscars but she’s legit amazing every time out. 
Could Win: Any of them, really. But if Cinderella wins, Sandy Powell will repeat history. The last time she was competing against herself she won for a royal theatrical movie (Shakespeare in Love then, Cinderella now) while her losing entry was a beautiful Todd Haynes film (Velvet Goldmine then, Carol now)

How to cope with the win: We already won since this year had so many great costumes and at least four of these are statue worthy.

Further Reading: Beauty Break: Nominated Costumes. Plus: Interviews on the costumes in Carol, Cinderella and The Revenant 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
NomineesBridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, and The Revenant. It’s another tough call but these are all handsome films.
Will & Should WinMad Max: Fury Road. (Confidence level: 75%) They have to give it something. And this category feels Most Likely To even if it doesn’t collect multiple Oscars as many expect. That Citadel is the year’s most memorable set.
Could WinThe Revenant. If Jack Fisk wins for his work on those old forts and boats and amazing location choices, keep your eye out for Mrs Fisk, Sissy Spacek, in reaction shots.

How to cope if Mad Max loses: To quote Carol's Abby "I can't help you with that."
Further Reading: Production Design Analysis. Plus interviews for The Revenant and Bridge of Spies

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR
NomineesMad Max Fury Road, The Revenant, and The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Will & Should WinMad Max: Fury Road. (Confidence level: 70%)
Could WinThe Revenant. Usually when movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio look this bedraggled they chalk it up to A-C-T-I-N-G. Remember when Monster (2003) wasn't even nominated for Best Makeup. Charlize willed herself to look like that! 

Further Reading: Makeup and Hair analysis

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
NomineesEx Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. An unusual group this year since there are two films (Ex Machina and The Revenant) where the visual effects play supporting roles and there’s far less CGI than usual since Mad Max and Star Wars both famously used old school practical effects when they could.
Will Win: Mad Max Fury Road (Confidence level: 50%)
Should WinEx Machina
Could WinStar Wars: The Force Awakens (it’s probably a very tight race between this and Mad Max) 

Further Reading: Star Wars interview

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
NomineesBridge of Spies, Carol, The Hateful Eight, Sicario, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Will WinThe Hateful Eight. (Confidence level: 40%). Ennio Morricone is a legend and the film opens with a long overture of his score so even if they don’t finish that hateful movie (Tarantino overindulging his sadism for three hours) they’ve heard the score.
Should WinSicario… a truly haunting score from a tough meticulously crafted movie.
Could WinStar Wars: The Force AwakensJohn Williams, the most famous film composer ever, hasn’t won an Oscar since Schindler’s List (1993). He’s mostly retired and he’s 84 years old so they might feel like it’s now or never for his sixth Oscar.

Further Reading: Carol interview with Carter Burwell, Jóhann Jóhannsson (Sicario) picks 10 scary scores

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Nominees: “Earned it” (Fifty Shades of Gray), “Manta Ray” (Facing Extinction), “Til It Happens to You” (The Hunting Ground), “Writings on the Wall” (Spectre), “Simple Song. No 3″ (Youth). A dubious record setting group this year. It’s the first time all 5 song nominees are the sole nomination for their film.
Will Win: “Til It Happens to You” (Confidence level: 60%)  Lady Gaga and Diane Warren have been campaigning hard for their song, even performing it (see clip above) at the Producers Guild Awards
Should Win: “Simple Song No. 3″ the entire movie (Youth) builds to this operatic performance and it doesn’t disappoint.
Could Win: “Writings on the Wall”. Supposedly no one likes this Sam Smith penned James Bond theme. But if no one likes it, how did it get Oscar nominated?

How to cope if a song you hate wins: Insert fingers in ears. Imagine your favorite Best Original Song winner playing instead.

Further Reading: Best Song Trivia

BEST SOUND MIXING
Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you don’t know the difference between the two sound categories don’t worry, most Oscar voters don’t either. It’s basically this: “mixing” refers to the balance and combinations of the overall soundscape (dialogue, score, sound effects) whereas “editing” refers to the creation of those same sound elements.
Will WinThe Revenant (Confidence level: 40%)
Should WinMad Max: Fury Road
Could WinStar Wars: The Force Awakens. The Star Wars Saga has historically done well in sound categories with frequent nominations and 3 Oscars for sound (albeit from the first two films only) 

BEST SOUND EDITING
NomineesMad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Sicario,and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Will WinThe Revenant (Confidence level: 40%)
Should WinSicario ? This drug war drama’s sound is sinister and spectacular. It’s utterly confusing that it missed in Sound Mixing since it trumps almost all of that field.
Could WinMad Max or Star Wars

How to cope with The Revenant's sound wins: Imagine Mad Max's guitar flame thrower guy shredding away until Leo whimpers like a girl and even Judy the bear begs for mercy.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Nominees: Anomalisa, Boy and the World, Inside Out, Shaun the Sheep, When Marnie was There. This category is kind of silly (you only need 16 releases to have a 5 wide field. That’s nearly a 33% chance of getting nominated if you even exist!) but they tend to choose well mixing strong foreign entries with the best of American and British animation.
Will & Should WinInside Out (Confidence level: 100%)

How to cope with the Win: Let your own "Joy" drive the controls for awhile and hope we get more family movies this beautifully judged with such worthy messages

Further Reading: Boy and the World review,  When Marnie Was There Review, Anomalisa Review

BEST DOCUMENTARY
NomineesAmy, Cartel Land, Look of Silence, What Happened Miss Simone?, and Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom
Will WinAmy has swept documentary prizes this year. (Confidence level: 85%)
Should Win: I’ll have to abstain as I haven’t seen them all but people I trust think Look of Silence is a masterpiece
Could WinCartel Land is well loved within the Academy according to my anecdotal conversations and Netflix has been pushing hard for their own nominees including Winter of Fire. So a surprise could happen if Oscar starts feeling self-conscious about their recent run of music-themed winners (see: 20 Feet From Stardom and Searching for Sugar Man).

How to cope with Amy's sweep: Just put on "Back to Black" and forget about statues and carpets. It'll be easy to do. What an album.

Further Reading: Tim looked at previous work by these directors. Glenn watched all the finalists

 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Nominees: Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia), A War (Denmark), Mustang (France), Son of Saul (Hungary), and Theeb (Jordan)
Will WinSon of Saul has been the frontrunner since Cannes. (Confidence level: 80%)  It’s formally impressive and Oscar loves WW II Holocaust pictures. Hungary hasn’t won this category since Mephisto (1981) which was also, you guessed it, a WW II picture.
Should Win: I’m currently obsessed with Embrace of the Serpent, a mesmerizing black and white trip along the Amazon to find a hallucinogenic plant. It’s so visual and deserves to be seen in theaters and it just opened so, go see it!
Could WinMustang, a great movie about Turkish sisters imprisoned in their home by conservative relatives and being married off, is the most traditionally moving of the nominees here. France hasn’t won this category since the Catherine Deneuve epic Indochine (1992).

How to cope with the win: Go see all of them - good batch!

Further Reading: All our Oscar related Foreign Film interviews this year! We interviewed the directors of all five nominated films.

Stutterer

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Nominees: Ave Maria, Day One, Shok, Stutterer, and Everything Will Be Okay.
Will WinStutterer (Confidence level: 35%)
Could WinShok or Ave Maria

Further Reading: Capsule Reviews

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
NomineesBody Team 12, Chau -Beyond the Lines, Last Day of Freedom, Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of Shoah.
Will WinA Girl in the River. (Confidence level: 25%)
Could WinClaude Lanzman: Spectres of Shoah

Further Reading: Capsule Reviews

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
NomineesBear Story, Prologue, Sanjay’s Super Team, We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, and World of Tomorrow
Will Win: Bear Story. (Confidence level: 25%) I mean...who knows?
Should WinWorld of Tomorrow. Don Hertzfeld is a one of a kind talent and this film is available on Netflix so go watch it!
Could WinSanjay’s Super Team. Pixar films are frequently nominated in this category but they've only won 3 times in their now long history. Russia's absorbing funny and even moving We Can't Live Without Cosmos and Hertzfeldt's genius time travel absurdity feel more likely IF (and if it's a big if) voters actually watched all five of these films before voting.

Further Reading: Capsule Reviews

TOTAL PREDICTIONS FOR THE BEST PICTURES
The Revenant wins 6 Oscars
Mad Max: Fury Road wins 3 Oscars
The Big Short wins 2 Oscars
Spotlight and Room win 1 Oscar
Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies, The Martian go home empty handed

THAT'S ALL

Wish me luck. Unless you'd like all of my predictions to lose. May the evening be full of pleasant surprises!

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Lots of big plans for 2016 including more interactivity. The first predictions for 2016's movies will be up on April 1st as is our usual intended tradition. The final Film Bitch Award nominations and medals will be passed out today and tomorrow. 

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Reader Comments (54)

Hey let's give a pretty actress a win cos some people cast her in lots of movies in 2015 and let's under appreciate people who have been around longer and are still surprising us,this S/Actress win will be one of the worst ever IMO,AND NO JANE FONDA.

The Actor category is just awful even with Depp in there it would be awful Jordan would have made it acceptable but Leo winning for hardly his best or nuanced or fun work is just another reason why endless award shows need shaking up.

Actress is super strong and they left people out I like every one of these,i know Joy is sloppy but Jennifer is excellent in it,Rampling would be a big surprise,my hearts with Brooklyn.

Stallone and Rylance are the only people who eserve to be there,everytime they show that RUffalo clip I cringe it's the equivalant od Blanchett's commanding the wind clip,Bale was supposed to be autistic,I never saw that in his performance..

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermark

This has been a long, wacky, occasionally frustrating Oscar season, but Nathaniel and The FIlm Experience have made it always interesting and fun. Thank you! <3

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Thank you again for a wonderful year of feedback, thoughts, festivals, hand-wringing, etc. TFE is the best, Nat.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

I'd rather go to the FILMBITCH awards,much better company.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermark

Love how your humbling all the candidates by comparing them to Paul Newman. Especially Leo cause the TRUTH is he isn't as good as Newman. But i am so biased cause Paul Newman is my favorite of all time and arguably one of the reasons i fell in love with cinema. Cool Hand Luke has been my favorite movie since i was 6.

As fun as it is to rip on Leo though. I kind of am ok with him winning. Everyone keeps claims his performance in Revenant is getting attention for what he had to go through but isn't that the same thing with his performance in Wolf of Wall Street. It seemed everyone called it a brave performance cause of all the embarrassing things he did in the film. He does show some great comic skills in Wolf but I never felt any subtext in the performance. Everything that he conveyed was on the page. That might have been the writing's fault but i just can't stand it when people call Wolf his best performance cause it isn't. That would be Gilbert Grape, Aviator, or Departed. Also people since people are criticizing Winslet's accent in Steve Jobs lets not forget Leo's accent is all over the place in Wolf. And i feel ok to criticize Leo's accent in the film cause he was going for the exact accent that I have. It is a good performance, but I'm just saying it isn't his best and isn't perfect.

I just rambled on and on didn't i?

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Can you link to Anohni's essay for those who haven't read it? Thanks.

And I'm going to have to disagree with you thinking that Mad Max should win for sound mixing; there were a few instances in the film where I could not hear Tom Hardy's dialouge at all - similar to his performance in The Dark Knight Rises - even in quiet scenes.

My one quibble with an otherwise perfect movie.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

Thank you for this great post ..a lot of time and thought went into this...

Actually I agree with almost all of your predictions.. only ones I disagree with are BA and Blanchett... although she is one of my favorite actresses from the first time I saw her .. I did not care for Carol as much as this site does...the other disagreement is that I thought Leo did a fine job in The Revenant ( think Redford in All Is Lost )..

PS.... other Carol choices I do agree with.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterrick

As someone who has never cared for Leo, I'm grateful his inevitable win is coming this year, rather than a year with loads of great potential Oscar-winning performances. I love Fassbender in Steve Jobs, but they were never going to give it to a man who won't campaign for a movie they don't really like that underperformed at the box office, and there were plenty of other performances I really liked this year (Abraham Attah, Jason Segel, Tom Hanks, Ben Mendelsohn) who were never going to be up Oscar's alley. If it weren't for Leo, it probably would go to Bryan Cranston, and that's hardly a performance worthy of winning.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Paul Newman is one of the most beautiful and uninteresting actors ever. He couldn't even create an interesting Brick, for God's sake.

That's why he had to wait until he was 62.

Leo, on the other hand, will go down as one of the greats. That's why people think he should have an Oscar by now. It's as simple as that.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGena

In 1979 I watched "Alien" and was astounded, and it got nominated for only 2 Oscars, and won 1 - special effects. Not even a nomination for Sigourney Weaver?
But what counts is which films have the most lasting influence over time.

Mad Max Fury Road won't win best picture but it will be remembered and studied in the same way that "Alien" is today. I can't quite understand how "The Revenant" is considered best picture material and poetic, and Mad Max is "genre". Ditto for "Carol". It's all unfair, but I really believe that in a few years these films will be seen differently.

I ask 3 things from Ms.Vikander. Please do not engage in category fraud again, do not compare yourself to Ingrid Bergman (ever), and go do at least 2 or 3 great performances that will help justify the over-hyped reaction to this years films.

Leo should sit down after his win and watch Paul Newman's complete filmography, and get some perspective.
Also he must Never again complain about the conditions of filming again, because:
(using Don Draper's voice) "That's what the money is for !!"

Thank you for your informed coverage all season and remember a good bottle of wine or some tequila while you are watching the show also helps immensely.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Gena, please watch Hud, The Verdict, Nobody's Fool and Road to Perdition. Then repost. Thank you.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Suzanne: I agree 100%. I'm OK with Leo winning an Oscar in that crowd. He was gonna win one eventually, he's perfectly fine in The Revenant, and he's not denying an Ejiofor or a Dern (for example) from winning for something truly beautiful.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

As good as Son of Saul is, I am SO happy you loved Embrace of the Serpent and are encouraging people to go see it.
It's such a good movie.. And I like when the Academy Awards manage to bring attention to movies like Embrace, deservedly widening their audience.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermarco70go

Gena: I don't know if you don't know this, but Paul Newman has already gone down as one of the greats. As an actor and a human being. And Brookesboy is right. Watch The Verdict!!! Its an incredible performance.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

I think Leo should have an Oscar by now because he was worthy in Grape and Wolf of Wall Street. As they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day. But not this year. When someone is 110% guaranteed to win for a performance you don't consider worthy, it's impossible not to pray for the Upset of the Century. #GoFassy #GoEGOTHunter

RE: Makeup
I have this !00 Year Old Man feeling.

RE: Chivo
Maybe this has already been covered, but are we talking about wins in three consecutive calendar years or winning each of three consecutive nominations?

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I could see either Mustang in foreign film or Room in adapted screenplay being surprise wins.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph W

You are so nitpicky towards Leo lol. Django, Gatsby, and TWOWS are all fun and less serious roles and performances from him yet you dismiss them so easily. I'm not even that huge of a fan of the guy but based on your writings on him for the past several years, you have a clear bias against him. I mean you ranked probably his best performance (in WOWS) as 4th best from the Best Actor lineup two years ago. It mostly sounds like you just wish Leo was still Jack Dawson TBH. Anything he does will never impress you. I couldn't stand him during Revolutionary Road to J. Edgar era but his roles as Calvin, Jay, and Jordan all made up for his self serious years and there's a reason those are among his most liked performances of this decade. He's also a lot better than Cranston, Redmayne, and Damon of this year's best actor lineup. Only Fassbender I can see a case being made for being better than him. Otherwise, nah.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBlah

@brookesboy

I've seen them all. Thank you.

@Josh

I'm sure he is an American treasure, fondly remembered by many and so on. But he's no Brando or De Niro.
I saw The Verdict when it premiered.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGena

My favorite posts this Oscar season have been the write-ups for foreign film submissions--I have SO MANY movies to watch...thank you so much to all of TFE and commenters for these.

And, in a recent interview, Maggie Smith mentioned "DiCaprio" by name no less than 4 times. And she said she ALWAYS votes for him, "since Gilbert Grape". No way he is losing this time. The Dowager has spoken.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Sounds more like the Dowager's Kiss of Death, since her vote hasn't worked in the past. Thank you for that ray of hope.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Paul -- three calendar years

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Great piece Nat, thank's! My "It will never happen but I would be over the moon if it does wish" is Jennifer Jason Lee. She was fearless, funny, mad AND a Supporting Character. I do not get the Vikander hype. She cries beautifully that's about it.

p.s. Ok I am also SUPER jealous she's dating Fassy, so maybe, MAYBE I am being too harsh on her...

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

Not to be nitpicky, but it hasn't been decades since someone's won three consecutive Oscars. Jim Rygiel and Randall William Cook both won three consecutive Oscars for Best Visual Effects for their work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Granted, that's a little bit of a special case, but still, they did win in three consecutive calendar years.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

Love your site.

Please tell me how to become a member and make a contribution by snail mail.

Thanks.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPete

It's hard to be pleased with the consolation prize of a nomination for Mad Max when it so deservedly should sweep.

This has always happened lately though, ever since they pushed the date of the ceremony up, the award ends up being anti-climactic because the movie with the best campaign up to a point (The Revenant) undeservedly wins everything (The King's Speech, The Artist, Birdman). It's only until the week before ballots are due do people start questioning whether those movies are actually good.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRahul

I guess the real question is not whether Leo wins but what else wins by virtue of association? supporting actor and Makeup are all possible. And then there is Kate Winslet. How much will the people want Jack and Rose together again?

If that happens Oscar producers might as well let Julianne Moore become ill suddenly, let Winslet present Leo the Oscar then have Moore suddenly recover and present best picture.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTom

I'm gonna need a lot of coping this year.

ESPECIALLY with George Miller and Sixel lose

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

AS for how to cope with Iñárritu being the new John Ford? Ford won for How Green Was my Valley. No one cares or remembers that movie. Take solace in the fact that we will all remember Mad Max, Spotlight, and Carol more that that Revenant will be a footnote.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Tom -- it's actually not true that no one cares or remembers HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY. John Ford is a very respected director still. It's true it pales in comparison to Citizen Kane but what doesn't?

I like your Jluianne Moore surprise lol

RAHUL -- nah. people keep saying it but they made decisions the same way before the date got moved up. Films just waited EVEN LONGER to expand. It's not like the BP winners have been worse since things went earlier.

pam -- thanks. it's so much work so it's nice to know people value it and are reading.

marco -- there has to be a way for these films to better monetize their Oscar nominations. It seems like it's not doing much for the foreign films lately :(

February 26, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Gena -- so i guess you're in the Frank Langella camp of not being a Newman fan. I've never understood this but there are holdouts. I think he was brilliant fairly regularly. And DiCaprio has never given a performance as good as Newman gave in HUD.

rick -- people seem to think i don't think Leo was good in THE REVENANT. I do. I just don't think he deserves the Oscar. You can be totally good in something and not deserve the statue.

February 26, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

It pisses me off many are not more enthusiastic about Brie Larson's coronation. We have a naturalistic actress giving a beautiful performance in a challenging role. Her competition on name alone is formidable and like another undervalued before their first nomination performer securing a Best Actress win will never be seen as an embarrassment for the category.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

How Green Was My Valley was a crucial film in the careers of Roddy McDowall, Maureen O'Hara and Barry Fitzgerald, so it is certainly remembered 75 years later—and fondly by many. As Nathaniel says, it's no Citizen Kane, but it's no Around the World in 80 Days either. Hard to say which of today's films will be talked about—for better or worse—in 2091.

@ /3rtful: I would be more enthusiastic, if could muster up any enthusiasm about the whole thing. I really hope 2016 is a film year to get passionate about.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I fear Brie Larson becoming the next Hilary Swank.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Tom- No one remembers How Green Was My Valley!??
It's only one of the best films of its era, directed by one of the best filmmakers who ever lived. The comparison to Citizen Kane is very reductive. It's an incredible film in its own right.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Brie Larson has more range than Swank. If she is comparable to a double Oscar winner it would be Jodie Foster. Low-key naturalistic and unassuming.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I may have been a little too hard on HGWMV. It is just not one of my favorite films and I probably projected that on others. I saw it because of Maureen O'Hara but outside of that, I have a hard time remembering anything else about it. John Ford is great, but I prefer almost all his other movies- Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach, Searchers, Quiet Man- to this film.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTom

This site is great. I discovered it midway through 2015 whilst on a Carol internet binge. Yay for TFE and Carol, bringing people together since, well, 2015! So keep up the great work Nathaniel, and as soon as I find some spare change I will kick it your way.

As for the Oscars, I feel so bittersweet about them this year. I love the Oscars, but dayum they've made a hash of it this year. If The Revenant wins BP I may go on a killing spree. A spree that would make Judy the Bear blush.

February 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEz

I hope for upsets. Saoirse and not Stallone. Definitely not that Demi Moore girl Lawrence. Good luck!

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Helen Lawson

Larson is not awesome and her Oscar will be the third abysmal Best Actress win of the decade (after Portman and Lawrence).

As for Room's screenplay, turning an already shitty novel into an even weaker film is not a tremendous achievement. And since you're obviously not challenging the film, I doubt that you've even read the book. Not that the screen adaptation wouldn't be questionable in its own right.

I also wonder why so many people assume that Mad Max: Fury Road will be remembered as a classic. I've seen it about 9 months ago and fortunately don't remember all too much about this empty mess. But at least I can say for sure that it does not deserve a production design Oscar for rocks and grains of sand. Or Best Costume Design for shreds and shirtless bodies.

Aaron, Brie Larson already is the next Hilary Swank. After Swank's two wins, Larson now will complete Oscar's unholy trinity of saintly simpleminded suffering. And Larson's case may actually be the worst, since Room's fairly unreadable source material at least had the guts to treat Ma as a far more complex character than Larson could ever have grasped, let alone portray.

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

I hope for plenty of hardware for MAD MAX, a trophy each for Larson and Winslet, and a win for WORLD OF TOMORROW.

Thanks for all the awards season coverage, Nat!

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Leo's best performance, he wasn't even nominated for (that would be Catch Me If You Can, I miss THAT Leo). Who knows what will happen after he wins, maybe he'll be a "we're done with him" like Pacino or be "i already won, why am i still doing this" like Susan Hayward.

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSanty C.

3rtful, even after Brie Larson wins the Oscar some people in the comments here will insist she's still not a lock to win the Oscar.

Nathaniel, EXCELLENT coverage this year as always and your predictions/analysis is always more fun to read than the boring listicles we get elsewhere. We come for the Oscar coverage but we stay for your personality/personal insights.

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSteph Bello

I am glad that DiCaprio is finally winning an Oscar this year. For the first time since he contested, he has no competition at all! Although I agree that this is more of a thank you and a career achievement kind of honor. I really do not think Oscar will be done with him like they did with Pacino in the future. He will be back and he will win a 2nd or even a 3rd if he keeps working and hopefully challenging himself even more as he gets into his 50s.

My picks for the should be winners:

Best Picture: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Director: George Miller
Best Actor: Leo DiCaprio
Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan (Jen Lawrence)
Best Supp. Actor: Tom Hardy
Best Supp. Actress: Rooney Mara (cat fraud or not)
Adapted: Carol
Original: Inside Out
Animated: Inside Out
All Tech Cats: Mad Max: Fury Road

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterfkoskwee

Paul Outlaw - (selfish request) Could you please watch the Oscars, and come here to comment...
I love reading your very reasonable but droll take on things. Thank you. :-)

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

My picks:
Picture: Spotlight
Director: Miller
Actor: DiCaprio
Actress: Rampling
Supp. Actor: Rylance
Supp. Actress: Mara
Animated: Inside Out
Documentary: The Look of Silence
Foreign: Son of Saul
Original Scr.: Spotlight
Adapted Scr.: Carol
Cinematography: Deakins
Score: Morricone
Costume: Carol
Production Design: Mad Max
Editing: Mad Max
Visual Effects: Star Wars TFA
Makeup: Mad Max
S. Mixing: Revenant
S. Editing: Mad Max
Original Song: Til It Happens to You

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFadhil

Asking Paul to comment is like asking 3rtful to grumble. I will admit though that for the first time ever, our talkative Outlaw made me smile:

"How Green Was My Valley was a crucial film in the careers of Roddy McDowall, Maureen O'Hara and Barry Fitzgerald"

Yep, this tells us all we need to know.

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

I think picking Carol for costume design is really risky. I checked the history and hasn't been a single winner in this category for a film predominantly set after 1950 since 1994's "Pricilla Queen of the Desert." Not. One. And before that you have to go all the way back to 1979's "All that Jazz." The bias towards frilly dresses in this category is entrenched and they don't much care if your movie is nominated anywhere else. Cinderella seems like a very safe choice to me.

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMJS

MJS -- i agree. though it seems weird to say "after 1950" like it's some clear line when really CAROL takes place RIGHT THEN basically.

my guess is that CINDERELLA or DANISH GIRL is going to win on account of Most Costumes. but i couldn't decide which so i'm risking CAROl as the one "wishful thinking" prediction i allow myself this late in the game.

February 27, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel: Thanks for your wonderful coverage, and I hope you enjoy the ceremony tomorrow evening.

I finally saw Carol this afternoon for the first time! And I enjoyed it. It's as good as any of the Best Picture nominees.

Man, are a lot of the races close this year in terms of quality. But I've forced myself to choose:

Spotlight
Miller
Damon
Ronan
Stallone
McAdams
Spotlight for original
Carol for adapted
Morricone
Sam Smith
Mad Max for cinematography, sound editing, film editing and make-up
The Martian for production design
The Revenant for costumes
Star Wars for sound mixing and visual effects

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

So for me the toughest ones are the ones that most people are saying Mad Max *should* take (editing, production design, the sound awards, visual f/x) but I think will be edged out by the juggernaut that is The Revenant (or for the technicals, Star Wars).

Does anyone know offhand how closely the editing winner has aligned with the best picture winner in recent years? I know in the past the one usually went with the other, but I think that's been less true recently.

February 27, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

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