Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Final 2016 Oscar Nominees Predictions!

And so, come Thursday, we'll finally know which films, actors and crew members the voters of the Oscars have chosen to recognize for this years 88th Academy Awards Ceremony. Below, I've transcribed my predictions for 15 of the 25 categories, many of which, I assure you, will not come to pass. After all, the Academy Awards are a lot like a cobra; sneaky and unpredictable until the very end.

Best Visual Effects
The folks over at Industrial Lights & Magic can pretty much dust off a space on their awards shelf for a 2016 Oscar for their work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as it's all but certain to not only get nominated in this category but eventually win. Look for two prospective Best Picture nominees (The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road) to also get recognized, and one of the years biggest movies, Jurassic World, is also likely to score a nomination.

The Walk and Ex Machina seem like formidable candidates that could get snag a nomination here, but I'll say that the fifth slot goes to Ant-Man, whose effects related to its titular superhero (oversized environments related to the shrinking abilities of Ant-Man) seem to be right up the alley of Oscar voters, who also got swept up in visually pleasing superhero powers last year with X-Men: Days of Future Past and its depiction of the super-speedy powers of Quicksilver.

Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Original Score
Ennio Morricone should be looking at his sixth original score nod for The Hateful Eight, while Carter Burwell will likely score his first ever Oscar nomination for Carol. Those two seem pretty much assured, but what about the other three films in this category? Howard Shore has a good shot of riding the wave of buzz Spotlight has generated to score another Oscar nomination, while regular Oscar fixture John Williams will likely get his 45th nomination(!!!!!!!) for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And for that final nod? I'll be bold here and say that Michael Giacchino gets his third Oscar nomination for his work as a composer on Inside Out.

Carol (Carter Burwell)
The Hateful Eight (Ennio Morricone)
Inside Out (Michael Giacchino)
Spotlight (Howard Shore)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (John Williams)

Best Animated Feature
This might be the easiest category by far to predict, especially since GKIDS, a studio that's a regular fixture in this category, hasn't distributed anything in America this year that's gotten a massive amount of buzz. Look for a lot of variety in tone and animation styles though, as two PIXAR films (Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur) get nominations, Aardman gets recognized for Shaun The Sheep Movie, Charlie Kaufman gets his fourth Oscar nomination with Anomalisa and Blue Sky Studios will have a film (The Peanuts Movie) up for this category for the first time in 13 years (their only previous nominee was the 2002 feature Ice Age).

The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun The Sheep Movie
Best Original Song
One of the most controversial wins at this past Sundays Golden Globes ceremony was the sight of Sam Smiths Writing's On The Wall from Spectre winning in this category despite critical derision. Does that win mean it'll replicate that victory at the Academy Awards? I'll say...probably not. It's not at all impossible, but I just don't see that one getting into this category this year. There should still be some high profile nominees this year though, with See You Again from Furious 7 and Love Me Like You Do from Fifty Shades of Grey getting nominations here.

The Brian Wilson penned tune One Kind Of Love from Love & Mercy should also find itself nominated, and Til It Happens To You, the Lady GaGa song from The Hunting Ground, will also likely find itself recognized n this category. Finally, Simple Song #3 from Youth seems like it'll be the final nomination in Best Original Song this year.

Fifty Shades Of Grey (Love Me Like You Do)
Furious 7 (See You Again)
The Hunting Ground (Til It Happens To You)
One Kind Of Love (Love & Mercy)
Simple Song #3 (Youth)

Best Documentary
There's a large number of potential nominees in this category drawing out notable buzz, particularly Amy and Going Clear, both have which have sparked notable discussion in the mainstream pop culture. The Look Of Silence, while more obscure, seems like not only a guaranteed nominee but also an early candidate to win. Look for Cartel Land and What Happened, Miss Simmone? to round out this category.

Cartel Land
Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simmone?

Best Foreign Language Film
When all is said and done, Son of Saul will almost certainly walk away with this trophy at this years Oscars ceremony. Surrounding that Hungarian film should be four other critically acclaimed foreign films, specifically, Mustang, Labyrinth of Lies, The Brand New Testament and A War.

A War (Denmark)
The Brand New Testament (Colombia)
Labyrinth of Lies (Germany)
Mustang (France)
Son of Saul (Hungary)

Best Cinematography
Could this be the third straight year where Emmanuel Lubezki wins the Oscar for Best Cinematography for his work on The Revenant? Time will tell, but he'll certainly be nominated in this category. Look for fellow likely Best Picture candidates like Carol and Bridge of Spies to also get nominated in this competitive category, which will likely leave a number of acclaimed motion pictures out in the cold. Speaking of the cold, despite all the hype generated by its 70mm presentation, I have a hunch The Hateful Eight will get snubbed here in favor of Mad Max: Fury Road and another nod for Roger Deakins and his work on Sicario.

Bridge Of Spies (Janusz Kaminski)
Carol (Edward Lachman)
Mad Max: Fury Road (John Seale)
The Revenant (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Sicario (Roger Deakins)

Best Adapted Screenplay
This category is an absolute bloodbath this year, so expect some majorly controversial snubs in this category this year. The screenplay for The Revenant should be one of the few films assured of a nomination here, ditto for Carol. As for the other three? Well, The Big Short looks like a strong possibility of getting in here, and the screenplay for Steve Jobs certainly boosts its chances of grabbing a nod in this category, though I have a hunch it'll miss out here in favor Drew Goddards work on The Martian. So yeah, I'll say those four get in, and the final nomination goes to...Emma Donoghues adaptation of her own novel in Room.

The Big Short (Adam McKay, Charles Randolph)
Carol (Phyllis Nagy)
The Martian (Drew Goddard)
The Revenant (Alejandro G. Inarritu, Mark L. Smith)
Room (Emma Donoghue)

Best Original Screenplay
Here in the realm of Best Original Screenplay, there's far less competition than in its fellow Adapted Screenplay category, though there's definitely some uncertainty reigning over who'll manage to get in this year. Spotlight and Inside Out should have no trouble securing a spot at this table, while Bridge of Spies should also get in and give The Coen Brothers their sixth Oscar nomination for writing. I'm gonna make one of my most inrepid predictions right here and say Quentin Tarantinos script for The Hateful Eight fails to get nominated, going on to become one of the biggest snubs of this Oscar season. Look for smaller scale dramas Sicario and Ex Machina to pick up the slack and round out this category.

Bridge Of Spies (Matt Charman, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
Ex Machina (Alex Garland)
Inside Out (Josh Cooley, Pete Doctor, Meg LeFauve)
Sicario (Taylor Sheridan)
Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer)

Best Supporting Actor 
This has gotta be the most crowded of the four acting categories, with there being enough viable contenders in play to make me think that, even if you could nominate ten people here, you'd still wind up with some major snubs. Honestly, the only fellow who seems guaranteed to get nominated here is Sylvester Stallone for his turn in Creed, while the other four slots pretty much being up for grabs amidst a sea of potential nominees. Idris Elba seems like he has enough juice from his turn in Beasts Of No Nation to likely score a nod, ditto for Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies.

As for the last two nominees? Oooooo boy. OK, how about Benicio Del Toro in Sicario and Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight to round out the category, with Jacob Tremblay in Room and Christian Bale in The Big Short as possible spoilers?

Idris Elba (Beasts Of No Nation)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Mark Ryalnce (Bridge Of Spies)
Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
Benicio Del Toro (Sicario)
Best Supporting Actress
Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara have been at the center of some controversy over whether or not their roles in The Danish Girl and Carol, respectively, qualify as "supporting" performances.  I wouldn't be shocked if Academy voters manage to magically transform one of these two individuals into a Best Actress nominee, but for now, I'll put them as the two performers most likely to get into this years crop of Best Supporting Actress nominees. Who else rounds out this category? Rachel McAdams feels like a safe bet to be recognized for her work in Spotlight, while Kate Winslet similarly seems assured to be nominated for Steve Jobs.

For that fifth slot, I'm gonna say Jennifer Jason Leigh will be the only actor in The Hateful Eight recognized at the Oscars, though Helen Mirren in Trumbo has garnered enough buzz that she may just sneak in here. Ditto for Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria.

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

Best Director
Ridley Scott and George Miller directed two huge blockbusters this year that have also managed to score rave reviews and large swaths of awards attention. So, yeah, expect both to get nominations. Rounding out this category should be Alejandro Gonzales Inarittu for The Revenant, Todd Haynes for Carol and Thomas McCarthy for Spotlight.

Todd Haynes (Carol)
Alejandro Gonzales Inarittu (The Revenant)
Thomas McCarthy (Spotlight)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)
Best Actress
At this point, it feels like there are three individuals who are pretty much guaranteed to be nominated for Best Actress, specifically Brie Larson for Room, Cate Blanchett for Carol and Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn. Meanwhile, Charlotte Rampling has generated enough buzz for her turn in 45 Years that she should also be assured to garner a nod, but who gets that final fifth nomination? Jennifer Lawrence in Joy has been thought to be a major contender for this category for ages, but she lost quite a bit of momentum ever since her movie debuted to a more mixed reception than expected. To be fair though, her win at the Golden Globes this past Sunday should show she ain't down for the count just yet.

That being said, I have a hunch she'll juuuuussst miss getting nominated this year. So who takes her place in that fifth nomination? Well, I'd say there are two performances that seem to be garnering enough buzz that they could sneak into a Best Actress nomination; Maggie Smith for The Lady In The Van and Charlize Theron for Mad Max: Fury Road. Smith is a favorite of the Academy, having won twice in the pace and being nominated six times. She shouldn't be underestimated, but my gut tells me Fury Road has got just enough moxie in its prominent presence in recent high profile awards to warrant a Best Actress nod for Charlize Theron.

Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Brie Larson (Room)
Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Best Actor
Of all the four acting categories, Best Actor by far feels like the least buzzy right now, with one nominee guaranteed to take home his first Oscar (Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant) and the other four basically just happy to be there. So who will those four end up being? It's a pretty good bet that the other four guys turn out to be Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs, Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl, Bryan Cranston for Trumbo and Matt Damon for The Martian. Potential surprise nominees are Johnny Depp for Black Mass, Michael Caine for Youth and Michael B. Jordan for Creed, though I'd be shocked if anyone from that trio managed to break up the aforementioned group of five likely Best Actor candidates.

Bryan  Cranston (Trumbo)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
Best Picture
Can the Academy just pick a specific amount of movies to nominate for Best Picture? This is the fifth ceremony to utilize the voting process where there can be as few as five or as many as ten movies up for Best Picture. For the record, I'm gonna be predicting nine nominees for Best Picture, simple because three of the four ceremonies that have applied this voting process have wound up with that specific amount of Best Picture nominees.

Anywho, this year has a whiff of uncertainty surrounding its Best Picture nominees, with only three films (Carol, The Revenant, Spotlight) feeling truly solidified as candidates for this category. As for the other six nominees? Well, The Big Short, Brooklyn, Room, Bridge Of Spies and The Martian feel like they have just enough juice to get in here, though I feel like The Martian may be a bit more vulnerable than people think. The Academy will nominated blockbusters, but they've gotta be darker in nature (Gravity, The Return Of The King, District 9).

Speaking of darker blockbusters, its more substance laced plotline may just get Mad Max: Fury Road into this category after all. I'm picking it as my final Best Picture nominee, ending a rollercoaster of a year for the George Miller film. Who else could potentially get into this category? Straight Outta Compton has had a last minute burst of momentum at recent awards shows, while Sicario might be able to sneak in here thanks to strong reviews and its potential presence in other high profile academy Awards categories. I doubt Inside Out gets in thanks to the blatant (and confounding) disregard the Academy has for animated movies, but like I said, this whole damn ceremony is unpredictable, so maybe Pete Doctor and his pals over at PIXAR will be feeling some emotions of joy over a surprise Best Picture nod come Thursday morning.

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

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