This coming Sunday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will hold their biggest event of the year – the Oscars. No doubt the Oscars is the most prestigious film event in the year and is expected to be viewed around the world by over several million people. Predicting who will win the coveted gold statue can be difficult task, but this Movie Awards Examiner has had a long record of predicting Oscar winners. So here is my list – who will win and why.
The 88th Academy Awards will be held on this Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, California. The Oscars will be hosted by Chris Rock and will be broadcast live on ABC in more than 225 countries worldwide.
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”
Yes, finally this is Leo’s year. Leonardo DiCaprio matched with genius filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu has given no other actor a chance of winning in this category. Leo has won the Golden Globe Award, the SAG Award and the BAFTA. Finally winning his first Oscar will just be topping on the cake.
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”
Just think Rocky when you see this category. Sylvester Stallone was nominated for Best Actor exactly 40 years ago for the film he made on his own – “Rocky.” Although the film won for best film, Stallone went home empty handed. Stallone showed his restraint with a tempered performance that is not only a the sentimental choice, but a worthy choice.
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”
I would love to see Saoirse win this award, just to hear her Irish brogue, but everyone knows that Brie Larson has this category sewn up for her incredible performance in “Room.” Not only is this the best performance in the category, but the best performance of all the categories. This is Brie’s first Oscar nomination and assuredly will be her first Oscar win come Oscar Sunday.
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”
This category is the only acting category that has competition. The winner will be either Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl” or Kate Winslet for “Steve Jobs” Alicia’s performance is that of an emotional portrait of a wife and friend that stands the test of time and Kate’s performance is an extremely articulate performance stemming from a script twice the size of most scripts. Kate won the Golden Globe Award and just recently the BAFTA back in her home in London. Alicia took home the SAG Award, which is a large chunk of the voting bloc. But I will call Kate Winslet as the winner. She has the momentum right now and since Aaron Sorkin wasn’t even acknowledged for his script, it would an ideal way to pay tribute to the film “Steve Jobs.”
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
The artsy crowd may be secretly hoping that Charlie Kaufman’s “Anomalisa” wins, but everybody else knows the clear winner for Best Animated Feature is “Inside Out.” It’s the feel-good animated film that speaks to adults and children alike. The film was also nominated for its well written script – which rarely happens for animated films.
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 competition in this category is between two superhero cinematographers. Roger Deakins has been nominated a staggering 13 times for an Oscar and has yet to win one. Too bad he is in competition with Emmanuel Lubezki for “The Revenant.” For this film has little dialogue and depends much more on its visual strengths than most movies. And in “The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki brings such visually stunning moments of snowy frontier, over and over again – it’s truly a treat for the eyes. Lubezki took home honors in this category for the last two years – winning for “Gravity” in 2014 and “Birdman” last year. And it looks like Lubezki will bring home his third Oscar in a row.
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
To me the clear winner of this category is Paca Delgado for “The Danish Girl,” as the costumes are an integral part of Eddie Redmayne’s transformation into his character Lili. But unfortunately, Delgado’s choice of materials were purposefully chosen to be more subtle and this may be Delgado downfall. The powerful and dynamic costumes in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” are my pick to win. This will make Jenny Beavan’s second Oscar win, her first was in 1987 for “A Room with a View.”
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
My pick for Best Director didn’t even make this list. Ridley Scott provided a science fiction wonder in “The Martian,” and it was an incredibly hard undertaking. And it’s amazing that Scott has gone entire career bringing truly great films to cinema, and has yet to wim an Oscar of his own. The clear winner from this category is Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “The Revenant.” This too was an incredible demanding shoot and the result is a film that will be forever known in film circles and one of the best visual story-telling films of all time. This will make the second year in a row for Iñárritu, last year he took home the Oscar for directing “Birdman.”
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
There are some very fine documentaries in this category. But hands down, to me, “Amy,” should win. “Amy” clearly and thoughtfully tells the story of blues singer Amy Winehouse, from her early beginnings to her untimely death at the young age of 27 years old. By simple story telling, the film will bring tears to anyone who sees the film. I knew this film was a winner when I saw it last summer and no other film has been able to change my mind.
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
Short films are notoriously known for being unpredictable. That being said, my choice for documentary short would be Shameen Obaid-Chinoy for “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” which exposes the act of young women being killed in Pakistan for what is called “honor killings.” This film tells the story of one girl that survived.
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
This is a toss-up between “The Revenant” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Being that “Mad Max: Fury Road,” has a bit more dialogue to contend with, it is my pick to take the Oscar.
Best foreign language film of the year
· “Embrace of the Serpent” Colombia
· “Mustang” France
· “Son of Saul” Hungary
· “Theeb” Jordan
· “A War” Denmark
Hungary’s film “Son of Saul,” which tells a story from the Auschwitz death camp has taken every top prize during award season and it will be victorious at the Oscars as well.
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
For helping to create a world completely unknown to us and having to so with a great number of cast – stars and extras alike, this award will most likely go to “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
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
Although Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” did not get notice for script or a nod for Best Film, it has won every award for its dynamic score written by Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Morricone has written over 100 classical scores and a staggering 500 compositions for TV and film. He has been nominated for five Oscars and with “Hateful Eight” being his sixth. He is the clear winner in this category.
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
Now I find this to be a really interesting category. The clear winner is “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground.” Many fans will want this song to win in order to see Lady Gaga earn her first Oscar, but Oscar voters will be really voting for Gaga’s writing partner Diane Warren. Warren has been nominated in the same category seven times before this nomination and each time she has gone home empty handed. Combined together, these two women are unstoppable.
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
Combining the power of a visually stunning tale of surviving the wilderness and headed by an actor that will stop at nothing to tell a great story, “The Revenant” is the clear winner in this category.
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
Again for creating a world completely foreign to us today, the team that worked on “Mad Max: Fury Road” are the clear choice to win in this category.
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
For a very unique style of animation, Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton bring an amazing world to live in drawings that walk and talk and tell a warriors story through the eyes of a young girl in “Prologue.” It’s masterful and must win!
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
By bringing the war in Kosovo to life through the life of two young boys, “Shok,” tells the horror of war from the view of the innocent. It’s an amazing film and my choice for this category.
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
With the complexities of innumerable amounts of sounds, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is destined to win both sound honors.
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
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
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
Again, for creating another a world unto its own, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a clear winner for best visual effects.
· “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
For telling the story of the intricacies of how the housing market meltdown took place, “The Big Short,” is the clear winner here.
· “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
“Spotlgiht,” is the clear choice to win for telling the harrowing tale of the Roman Catholic cover-up that still resonates today.