February 27, 2016


Many are saying that this year's Academy Awards are the most unpredictable. The only thing we're sure about (at the risk of jinxing it) is that Leonardo DiCaprio will finally get his long-overdue Oscar. As for the other categories, let's take a look...

Photos, courtesy: AMPAS

Best motion picture of the year
“The Big Short” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“Bridge of Spies” Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
“Brooklyn” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers
“The Martian” Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers
“The Revenant” Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers
“Room” Ed Guiney, Producer
“Spotlight” Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

The Revenant is the strongest contender this year, but it’s not a sure-shot. But on the other hand, for about the last six years, it’s been either one or the other**. This year, however, there isn’t any equally strong contender. Some say that The Big Short’s chances are good, but I doubt it’ll be the film to win if The Revenant doesn’t. (**2009: The Hurt Locker and Avatar; 2010: The King’s Speech and The Social Network; 2011: The Artist and The Descendants; 2012: Argo and Lincoln; 2013: 12 Years A Slave and Gravity; 2014: Birdman and Boyhood)

Performance by an actor in a leading role

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”

It’s Leo’s year. There’s nothing else to it.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Cate Blanchett in “Carol”
Brie Larson in “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”

Brie Larson has won every major award in this category, so the odds are completely in her favor. This year, lead actor and actress are probably the most predictable categories.

Achievement in directing

“The Big Short” Adam McKay
“Mad Max: Fury Road” George Miller
“The Revenant” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Room” Lenny Abrahamson
“Spotlight” Tom McCarthy

George Miller would be a surprise win here, but it’s not entirely unlikely that he wins. However, Alejandro Iñárritu is most probably looking at his second win in this category, after last year’s win for Birdman. Could he pull off a hat-trick by making another great movie this year as well?

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Christian Bale in “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”

They’ll give it to Stallone, for his Rocky legacy and to respect the legendary icon that he is.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara in “Carol”
Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”

Alicia Vikander really should win this one, and I suspect the Academy will think so too. However, Kate Winslet winning wouldn’t be so bad either, because she was the backbone of Steve Jobs. And imagine how great it would be to see Kate and Leo winning Oscars on the same night! If that happens, a photo of them with their Oscars, taken backstage, will go viral for sure.

Adapted screenplay
“The Big Short” Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
“Brooklyn” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“Carol” Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian” Screenplay by Drew Goddard
“Room” Screenplay by Emma Donoghue

This one’s a little unpredictable. The general odds seem to be largely in The Big Short’s favor, but I think the Academy will surprise many and give it to Room, which really is the film that deserves this win.

Original screenplay
“Bridge of Spies” Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
“Ex Machina” Written by Alex Garland
“Inside Out” Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
“Spotlight” Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
“Straight Outta Compton” Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Spotlight probably comes after The Revenant in the odds for the race for best picture, but it won’t win. Instead, the Academy will give it an Oscar for screenplay.

Best animated feature film of the year

“Anomalisa” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
“Boy and the World” Alê Abreu
“Inside Out” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
“Shaun the Sheep Movie” Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
“When Marnie Was There” Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Anomalisa winning this one is possible, but it would be a shocker, since everyone thinks Inside Out is winning this time.

Achievement in production design
“Bridge of Spies” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
“The Danish Girl” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
“The Martian” Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
“The Revenant” Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

I think Bridge Of Spies should win this one, but the odds are in Mad Max: Fury Road’s favor.

Achievement in cinematography

“Carol” Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight” Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road” John Seale
“The Revenant” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Sicario” Roger Deakins

The Revenant relied heavily on perspective and cinematographers did complete justice to the task at hand. Max Mad: Fury Road will win a lot of the other technical awards, which The Revenant will not. But I doubt that this will be one of those categories.

Achievement in visual effects
“Ex Machina” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

It’s the only Oscar that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will win Sunday night.

Achievement in film editing
“The Big Short” Hank Corwin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Margaret Sixel
“The Revenant” Stephen Mirrione
“Spotlight” Tom McArdle
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Snappy, tight and keeping up with the pace of Mad Max: Fury Road was its editing. The action sequences could have been far less effective without the quality of editing the film had.

Achievement in sound editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Audio and sound effects were crucial elements in the chase and all the action of Mad Max: Fury Road, and the film really delivered in the sound department to create that experience. That’s why, I think it’ll win both the sound awards.

Achievement in sound mixing

“Bridge of Spies” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
“The Martian” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
“The Revenant” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Achievement in costume design

“Carol” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl” Paco Delgado
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Jenny Beavan
“The Revenant” Jacqueline West

I would like to see the Oscar go to The Danish Girl for costume design, but Mad Max: Fury Road did take creativity in design to another level, and I think the Academy will see things that way too.

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
“The Revenant” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

The Revenant could win, but the Academy will acknowledge the make-up and hairstyling of Mad Max: Fury Road, which contributes towards creating that post-apocalyptic universe, and the people in it, in such a big way.  

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“Bridge of Spies” Thomas Newman
“Carol” Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight” Ennio Morricone
“Sicario” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” John Williams

Ennio Morricone’s score isn’t a great one, but it includes quite a distinctive, sinister and haunting theme, which is adapted well into other tracks as well, and that is why I think the Academy will pick The Hateful Eight for this one. In my opinion though, it should be Carol.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre”
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

The current Bond song is doing well. It’s been winning quite a few awards, but given the competition it faces here, I don’t think it’ll win. “Til It Happens To You” is quite a powerful song that brings out the sexual abuse theme of the documentary film it’s a part of in a strong way. Lady Gaga’s performance is also raw and felt.

Best foreign language film of the year
“Embrace of the Serpent” Colombia
“Mustang” France
“Son of Saul” Hungary
“Theeb” Jordan
“A War” Denmark

Best animated short film
“Bear Story” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
“Prologue” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
“Sanjay’s Super Team” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos” Konstantin Bronzit
“World of Tomorrow” Don Hertzfeldt

Best live action short film

“Ave Maria” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
“Day One” Henry Hughes
“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)” Patrick Vollrath
“Shok” Jamie Donoughue
“Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Best documentary feature
“Amy” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
“Cartel Land” Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
“The Look of Silence” Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“What Happened, Miss Simone?” Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Best documentary short subject

“Body Team 12” David Darg and Bryn Mooser
“Chau, beyond the Lines” Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” Adam Benzine
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
“Last Day of Freedom”
 Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

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