08 February 2016

Perfect 100% Accurate Oscar Predictions: 2016 Edition

Ah it's that time once again to honor the best white actors this country has to offer. I feel like I say this every year - the Oscars aren't relevant or important in any kind of meaningful discussion of a film's merit and serve moreover as self-congratulatory pomp rather than offering cultural insight. Still...stars! So, here's a lengthy prediction post dissecting every category in anticipation of the ceremony on February 28th.

First, let's take a look at how I've done in the past:

2010: 12/24
2011: 14/24
2012: 16/24
2013: 14/24
2014: 20/24
2015: 13/24

Needless to say, my 2014 is quickly becoming legendary. I was actually on a ridiculous streak last year, going 12/17, then only winning one more from the seven remaining categories. Damnation. Well, let's get dangerous:

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

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

Predicted Winner: Leo

So, let's get this out of the way. It's Leo. Finally, finally. Regardless of whether or not his role was actually good acting or not (it's easy to just do gross things, yet Johnny Knoxville doesn't have four Oscars), all signs seem to point to his ship coming in. Cranston is a giant, but hasn't quite found the film equivalent of Heisenberg. I'm still bitter at Redmayne for his hackneyed win last year, and jumping on the transgender bandwagon seems like a ploy again. This should have been Fassbender's to lose, but somehow everyone sort of hated Steve Jobs. Maybe like how everyone hated Steve Jobs.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

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

Predicted Winner: Brie Larson

This is a total war between three young great actresses against one old one no non-cinephile knows and Cate Blanchett, who almost feels Streep-esque in her yearly nominations, even if she's only 2/6 across the past seventeen years. Brie seems to be the winner here, tho, after years of both mainstream and indie hits, she owns Room with just enough parts tearjerking, emoting in range, and handshaking to pull it off.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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

Predicted Winner: Stallone

No, Stallone doesn't do a particularly great job in Creed. No, he's not even the best actor in Creed. But he seems to be gaining momentum like crazy. He was nominated for the same character in Rocky (1976) but lost to Peter Finch in Network (1976), which is totally justified. He notably also lost the screenwriting Oscar to the same film (also totally justified), but won Best Picture, beating such terrible films as the aforementioned Network, Taxi Driver, and All the President's Men. Truly a down year. Despite getting his start in porn and unfairly missing out on any nominations for his equally popular character from The Expendibles (2010), Barney Ross, he has enough goodwill that people generally think he deserves this. This works as a sort of lifetime achievement Oscar that actors like Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer get all the time for roles that weren't totally their best. Just like Michael Keaton last year.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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

Predicted Winner: Alicia Vikander

I'm a big Vikander fan already, although The Danish Girl clearly wasn't as good as her work in Ex Machina (2015) or even The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) for fuck's sake. She's totally the golden girl of the moment and this win will be pretty sweet. Rooney could upset which would also be totally justified. Winslet is also in the exact same position as Fassbender - buzz was heavy early on but then no one liked Steve Jobs. Oh well.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

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

Predicted Winner: Inside Out

There's not really a question here, although Anomalisa could certainly be considered a strong runner-up based on its late critical appreciation. It's so niche, though, and considering that Pixar has seven of these statues and considering that either they or Disney have won seven of the past eight years this is a relatively safe bet.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

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

Predicted Winner: Lubezki

It's a terrible shame that 13-time nominee Roger Deakins will likely go home empty-handed again, but there's no question that Lubezki procured the more impressive work. Again. This would make Lubezki three for three in as many years, but you can't even be mad. It's damn astonishing what he's able to churn out. Deakins will get his eventually. Right? To be honest, the thing about Deakins is that almost all his films look the same - the same desaturated palette to make things deep and brooding. It's boring. Pretty, but boring. Lubezki takes on these wacky challenges and makes his shots look really good.

COSTUME DESIGN

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

Predicted Winner: Carol

Sandy Powell, who has been nominated ten times and won thrice is up for both Carol and Cinderella here. It's a safe bet to figure she wins, although the trick would be for what film. Cinderella is probably the less critically acclaimed but more widely seen. Carol did get a handful of attention with six nominations. That's pretty significant. I'll side with that and totally give myself a half point if Sandy wins for Cinderella.

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Predicted Winner: Amy

Is it crass to say that no body really cared about Amy Winehouse until she died? Still, that doesn't stop the fact that people are really into her. Definitely into her enough to give the creators of the doc a gold statue. No one's ever heard of any of the other crap here.

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

"Body Team 12"
"Chau, beyond the Lines"
"Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah"
"A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness"
"Last Day of Freedom"

Predicted Winner: "Body Team 12"

THAT'S RIGHT!

FILM EDITING

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

Predicted Winner: Mad Max: Fury Road

This will probably come down to how well Fury Road actually ends up doing on February 28th. It is one of the best edited movies...ever but The Big Short offers some really well-cut sequences along with the prestige of Oscar bait with the cheeky humour of something like Argo (2012) to make it all go down smooth. It's something the Academy can vote for pretty safely. Still, Max is an absolute technical masterpiece. I think it can do it. DO IT ALL. Probably not if The Big Short ends up winning everything.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Embrace of the Serpent
Mustang
Son of Saul
Theeb
A War

Predicted Winner: Son of Saul

There's always like one foreign movie that people have actually heard of and has appeared on some end of year best of lists, and this year's it's totally Son of Saul despite the weird and fun titles of some of these like Theeb. What the fuck is Theeb? No one knows. Son of Saul wins.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Predicted Winner: Max

No, the people who worked so hard to make Leo's beard authentically grody won't walk away here. And what the hell is this 1000-Pound Man thing? The make-up and hair of Mad Max is pretty iconic and incredible. This is well deserved.

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

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

Predicted Winner: The Hateful Eight

After aping his music for years, Tarantino actually got Ennio Morricone, who is somehow still alive to actually score one of his movies, and unsurprisingly, it's amazing. There's no reason to believe in an upset here, even Star Wars is mostly just a John Williams retread nominated for nostalgia more than anything.

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

“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

Predicted Winner: "Til It Happens To You"

No one cares about this this year. None of these songs are good or iconic or drove their films in a culturally significant way. It's a shame that no song like that came out this year. I haven't even heard this song, but it's gaining good ground. I might think that Sam Smith or The Weeknd steals one here, since people have actually heard of them, but no one wants to give Fifty Shades of Grey an Oscar, and we all agree that "Writing's On the Wall" blows when it's not OK Go.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

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

Predicted Winner: Max

I can see The Revenant sneaking up here and it will mostly depend on how the night is going for either movie. Max is favored to sweep the technical categories, though, and since it's a big popular (-ish) blockbuster movie, it's a good excuse for people to let their love for zany explosions fly. It is also a miracle of production that it was even made, considering the terrible shooting conditions and long delays. We're talking about The Revenant right?

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

"Bear Story"
"Prologue"
"Sanjay’s Super Team"
"We Can’t Live without Cosmos"
"World of Tomorrow"

Predicted Winner: "Sanjay's Super Team"

I thought "Sanjay's Super Team" was pretty lame. Donnie Herzfeldt's "World of Tomorrow" would be a bodacious win but there's no real reason to believe in the upset. Considering how underground Herzfeldt is that would be a poetic win against Disney for sure, but people tend to be suckers for big minority eyes.

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

"Ave Maria"
"Day One"
"Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)"
"Shok"
"Stutterer"

Predicted Winner: "Ave Maria"

YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST.

SOUND EDITING

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

Predicted Winner: The Revenant

Is Max the safe pick when nothing is obvious? Are we really at this stage in the game? I feel like a lot of pundits are counting out The Revenant after it cleaned up at the Golden Globes and is also the hottest film out at the moment. Fuck this, The Revenant is the safe pick. Right? Ugh help me Zeus.

SOUND MIXING

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

Predicted Winner: The Revenant

This will likely come down to the same pair of films. I actually wouldn't totally be shocked if The Martian pulls one of these out - random movies like that always sneak one by in these kinds of categories. Hopefully I'll pick Revenant for both here and it'll win at least one.

VISUAL EFFECTS

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

Predicted Winner: The Force Awakens

All three original Star Wars films nabbed this, although the same cannot be said for the prequels. It has enough goodwill to snatch one from Mad Max here, although to be honest, nothing about The Force Awakens was all that spectacular - at least not greater than your typical blockbuster. Leo on the horse over the cliff, Alicia Vikander's robo-bod and the Fury Road sandstorm are all more impressive technical achievements.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Predicted Winner: The Big Short

This ought to be exactly like 2010 when The Social Network went up against The King's Speech and dueled in every category, but won both their respective writing categories. The Big Short ends up the no brainer pick here.

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

Predicted Winner: Spotlight

Ditto.

DIRECTING

Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro Iñárritu, The Revenant
Lenny Abramson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Predicted Winner: Iñárritu

The only sure bet is that it'll be some combination of Miller, McKay, or Alejandro. Iñárritu seems more likely after racking up the DGA this past weekend in addition to his somewhat surprising Golden Globe nab. McKay does seem like more of a stretch, if only because of his untraditional background. George Miller actually has a solid amount of precursor awards to back up his campaign, but it seems absolutely insane to me that he'd actually pull this off. Iñárritu obviously had his big year last year and is likely to have a rare repeat here.

BEST PICTURE

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

Predicted Winner: The Big Short

This is the big one. There's only four films that actually count here - The Big Short, Spotlight, Mad Max, and The Revenant. The Revenant seems to have the most momentum right now. Looking at ten outlets right now, including Variety, Rolling Stone, Gold Derby, and Indie Wire, among others, four go for The Big Short, four for Spotlight, and two for The Revenant. So that's no real help. Considering The Big Short wrapped up the PGAs, I'm most inclined to side with that, but there's no telling where this slides right now.

So what do you think? Watch everything go down in twenty days!

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