By: Sandra Olmsted
The big night, the Academy Awards Ceremony, is just days away, and it’s time for me to go out on the proverbial limb and make my predictions. The big question is “How or will the Academy members’ voting be influenced by the controversy regarding its lack of diversity?”
Best Actor and Actress in a lead role: Although Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) does a marvelous job of channeling a real person from Hollywood history and could be a dark horse to win, I think Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) has a lock on the win. Brie Larson (Room) seems the odds on favorite, while Cate Blanchett delivered powerful performances in Carol and Truth but probably won’t grab the win. For the supporting performers, I think Sylvester Stallone (Creed) will probably win but part of me wants Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), also an industry veteran, to snag the gold. Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) seem poised to get the Oscar; however, my heart wants Rooney Mara (Carol) to get the nod for her growing and diverse body of work. A split between Mara and Vikander might let The Hateful Eight’s Jennifer Jason Leigh or even Steve Jobs’ Kate Winslet win. Best Supporting Actress is one of the toughest categories to get right.
Best Screenplay: (Adapted) Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for The Big Short and its innovative storytelling.
Best Screenplay: (Original) Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy for Spotlight.
Cinematography: Hands down — Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant).
Costume Design: Sandy Powell’s capturing the era in Carol over Jenny Beavan’s inventiveness for Mad Max: Fury Road.
Film Editing: Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road.
Makeup and Hair: Lesley Vanderwalt, Damian Martin, Elka Wardega for Mad Max: Fury Road.
Original Score: Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight.
Original Song: “Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground.
Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road (Colin Gibson; Katie Sharrock, Lisa Thompson) wins over dark horse The Danish Girl (Eve Stewart, production design; Michael Standish, set decoration).
Sound Mixing and Sound Editing both go to The Revenant teams.
Visual effects: the Mad Max: Fury Road team.
SHORTS: Animated “Bear Story (Historia de un Oso)” by Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala wins but “Sanjay’s Super Team” is heartwarming and “World of Tomorrow” is stark and thought provoking.
Documentary: “A Girl in the River: The price of forgiveness” by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
Live Action: “Stutterer” by Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage.
Animated Feature: Inside Out (Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera).
Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (Hungary; László Nemes).
Documentary Feature: Netflix’s What Happened, Miss Simone? is surging past Amy and Cartel Land, also a Netflix original.
Best Director: I think a split between George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road and Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant means that Tom McCarthy for Spotlight or Ridley Scott for The Martian stand chance. I’m going with McCarthy for his subtle handling of nuanced balance between faith and organized religion.
For Best Picture, the race is down to The Big Short and The Revenant and I think the hype around The Revenant has died down, and The Big Short, because of it’s innovative storytelling, will win. That said, I have to say that Spotlight is a much better film, so remember, predicting the Oscar isn’t about personal favorites, it’s about how the Academy will vote.