The 88th Academy Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, are rapidly approaching on Sunday, February 28, 2015. Who or what will walk off that stage with an Oscar? On this website, I’ve been tabulating all of the minor and lead-up award winners in all of the Oscar categories since last November on my 2016 Awards Tracker. Those results have been my data trends to predict what films are going to win. Through several editorial features, here is my analysis to formulate my official Academy Award predictions. In this sixth post, we look at the races for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
The nominees: Tom Hardy for “The Revenant,” Mark Ruffalo for “Spotlight,” Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies,” Sylvester Stallone for “Creed,” and Christian Bale for “The Big Short”
AWARDS TRACKER (number of prior award wins in this category): 14- Stallone, 10- Rylance, 4- Idris Elba for “Beasts of No Nation,” 4- Benicio del Toro for “Sicario,” 3- Ruffalo, 3- Michael Shannon for “99 Homes,” three more actors with two wins, and four more with only one win.
Who was snubbed: This is, without question, the deepest category of all the acting awards. You could double this category to ten and still have ten worthy nominees. Idris Elba, Benecio del Toro, Jacob Tremblay from “Room,” Michael Shannon, and Paul Dano from “Love and Mercy” rival every one of the final five and could easily impress as an Oscar winner. My rooting heart rests with my guy Jacob Tremblay.
Happy to be there: The two least-awarded nominees that crashed this party are Tom Hardy and Christian Bale. Hardy clearly rode the bandwagon of the most-nominated film, and Bale can credit his Oscar pedigree resume as a former winner. They’re the two that could have made room for Tremblay, del Toro, or Elba.
Who should win: Don’t get me wrong, I love the character and actor that will win, but it’s more nostalgia than true greatness and an Oscar-deserving performance. With all due respect, the best pure performance of these five is Mark Ruffalo from “Spotlight.” He’s the observant heart of that stellar film. He would get my vote if I had one.
Who will win: There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia winning, so wrap your arms around Sylvester Stallone from “Creed.” He’s winning and there is little doubt. Ruffalo is endearing and Rylance is the next contender, but the returning Rocky Balboa is irresistible. Enjoy what should be a great speech and a timeless Oscar moment.
The nominees: Bryan Cranston for “Trumbo,” Matt Damon for “The Martian,” Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant,” Michael Fassbender for “Steve Jobs,” and Eddie Redmayne for “The Danish Girl”
AWARDS TRACKER (number of prior award wins in this category): 24- DiCaprio, 9- Fassbender, 5- Paul Dano for “Love and Mercy,” 3- Michael B. Jordan for “Creed,” 2- Will Smith for “Concussion,” 2- Michael Caine for “Youth, and nine other actors with one win.
Who was snubbed: Call out the purpose of the #OscarsSoWhite argument all you want, but Michael B. Jordan from “Creed” deserves to be here. He’s a greater snub than Will Smith for “Concussion.” He’s a perfect case for the movement for voter reform.
Happy to be there: Everyone not named “Leonardo” should be happy to be there. This year’s award season has been all about DiCaprio. The other nominees can only nod and smile. Damon and Redmayne have Oscars on their shelves, so they’re not losing out. They get a free tuxedo rental and a hot after-party.
Who should win: Let’s be perfectly honest. “The Revenant” is not Leonardo DiCaprio’s best performance. The other nominees have true worthiness. I thought Eddie Redmayne conducted a more difficult transformation in “The Danish Girl” than he did last year winning the Oscar for “The Theory of Everything.” Following him, Michael Fassbender gives a pure tour-de-force performance in “Steve Jobs.” My personal vote would go to Fassbender.
Who will win: This nearly guaranteed Oscar win for Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant” is a pure case of a make-up award. Leo is a member of Hollywood royalty and has been passed over too many times. He’s been far better in the past, especially “The Wolf of Wall Street.” His career has earned this Oscar more than the film and performance itself. This is where the Oscars show their seams as a bit of a boy’s club and a popularity contest.