Ford On Film’s Oscar Predictions 2016
It’s nearly that time again! On Sunday 28th, the biggest names in Hollywood will gather under one roof to celebrate the 88th Academy Awards. Every year, I try to accurately predict the way the night’s going to go down; this year, I’m putting my predictions down on the page. Last year, I got nearly everything right but, sadly, backing Boyhood over Birdman turned out to be a fatal flaw.
This year’s Oscars are among the hardest to predict in years, with at least three contenders for Best Picture and an unpredictable season for Supporting Actors and Actresses. Still, I’m going out on a limb and say I’ve accurately predicted at least 10 big winners in this post. As well as predictions for the winners, I’m also going to pick the films that are most deserving to win the big awards, and the films and performances that deserved a nomination.
Here are my predictions for how Sunday night is going to go down:
Best Short Film (Live Action) and Best Documentary (Short Subject):
Sadly, I saw no films in either category, so it’s impossible to know who’s going to win this one.
Best Foreign Language Film:
Will Win: Son of Saul. I confess, I haven’t seen any of the Foreign Language nominees this year either. Having heard nothing but praise for the intense Holocaust drama Son of Saul, it seems like the best bet to take home the award.
Best Short Film (Animated):
Will Win: World of Tomorrow. More than anything else this year, I can’t wait to see Don Hertzfeldt finally win his long-deserved Oscar, and I can’t think of a more deserving film to win than the visionary, utterly mindblowing sci-fi short World of Tomorrow.
Best Visual Effects:
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Featuring some jaw-dropping visuals that were nearly all achieved practically, George Miller’s high octane car chases and eerie dystopian future looked pretty incredible on the big screen. Star Wars: The Force Awakens may hold some chance given its massive success, but I think Mad Max: Fury Road is going to win this in a landslide.
Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing:
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. You may notice a theme here. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Mad Max: Fury Road is likely to take home just about all the technical awards. It may not have been much more than an overlong B-movie, but it was a definitely a technical achievement.
Best Production Design:
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Big costumes, terrifying vehicles built for war, a highly original future world; add this to the rest of the technical awards Mad Max: Fury Road is going to win.
Best Original Song:
Will Win: Writing’s On The Wall. Nothing great this year, but Writing’s On The Wall was a massive song and the last Bond theme, Skyfall, took home the prize, so I’ll say Sam Smith’s taking home the Oscar.
Best Original Score:
Will Win: The Hateful Eight. Pretty difficult to predict, with Bridge of Spies and Sicario both posing big threats, but I think the Academy will want to award the legendary Ennio Morricone with his first win for his bombastic The Hateful Eight score.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Is there a single character in the film who doesn’t have elaborate makeup? An easy prediction.
Best Costume Design:
Will Win: Carol. Logic would dictate Mad Max: Fury Road takes this award to add to all its other technical achievements, but the Academy is a sucker for period romance, and 50’s set romance Carol is beautiful in its design, giving us another iconic piece of Hollywood fashion in Cate Blanchett’s fur coat.
Best Documentary (Feature):
Will Win: Amy. This is a competitive category, with Cartel Land and The Look of Silence both being very strong films, but Amy was one of the best films of 2015; a devastating look at the rise and fall of one of the 21st century’s most enigmatic musicians. Asif Kapadia’s last documentary, the phenomenal Senna, didn’t even garner a nomination, so here’s hoping the Academy right their wrong by awarding Amy the Best Documentary award.
Best Animated Feature:
Will Win: Inside Out. Pixar rarely lose this category, and this year they’re more deserving than ever with Inside Out, one of their very finest animations. Packed to bursting with eye-popping colours, a sharply detailed world and a vivid imagination (just look at the conceptual thought scene to see Pixar doing some of their greatest animation work), all packed into a big fun-but-emotional family film, and you’ve got an Oscar winner.
Could Win: Anomalisa. Though Charlie Kaufman’s highly original stop-motion animation is still yet to be seen in UK cinemas (roll on March!), by all accounts it’s one of the years finest films. A strange, surreal love story about a motivational speaker who hears the same voice from everyone he meets, Anomalisa is probably too strange to win the award, but wouldn’t it be great if Kaufman won his second Oscar for a Kickstarter-funded film starring puppets?
Should Have Been Nominated: Minions. Hahahaha. Just kidding. It will be a cold day in hell before the world-domination of the Minions includes winning an Academy Award.
Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki. After winning it for the last two years (for Gravity and Birdman respectively), it seems like Lubezki is about to make it a hat trick for his stellar work on The Revenant. It’s hard to blame Oscar voters; the gorgeous landscapes and complex long takes are among the most jaw dropping in all of cinema, and Lubezki manages to create a perfectly bleak, Hellish world for the film. One of the greatest living cinematographers and soon to be a three time Oscar winner.
Could Win: Roger Deakins. People always mention Leo DiCaprio not winning an Oscar, but what about poor old Roger Deakins? Sicario makes his 13th nomination with still no wins, and while it’s unlikely he’ll take the prize on Sunday night, he’d be completely deserving of the win. His work on Sicario is some of the most beautiful of his career, whether filming an immense traffic pile up under the blazing Mexican sun or filming a firefight in a dark tunnel using infra-red. It’s a phenomenal-looking film, but sadly it seems Deakins will once again have to wait to take home the prize.
Should Have Been Nominated: Adam Arkapaw. Like The Revenant, Macbeth was a moody, bleak vision, filled with angry red fires and foggy moors. Adam Arkapaw created an eerie, chilling mood for the film, turning the Scottish play into a full on horror film, and his haunting slow-motion battles were a sight to see.
Best Film Editing:
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Overlong it may have been, but there’s no denying Margaret Sixel’s outstanding editing work on Mad Max: Fury Road; thousands of hours of car chases and big crashes condensed into two hours of non-stop action. Despite the fact that Best Editing usually goes to the big winner of the night, I think the Academy will reward the Herculean effort of Sizel in the editing room.
Could Win: The Big Short. As previously mentioned, the main contenders of the evening tend to take the Editing prize (Whiplash, Gravity, Argo in the last three years), so Mad Max: Fury Road is actually somewhat of an underdog compared to Spotlight, The Revenant and The Big Short. The Revenant is an excellent film but the editing is probably the least memorable element of the film. Spotlight is incredibly fast paced and packs a lot of information into its two hour runtime, but The Big Short is ultimately flashier and more memorably edited, so the Academy Award could give the nod to Hank Corwin’s effort.
Should Have Been Nominated: Straight Outta Compton. As conventional a biopic as Straight Outta Compton was, the editing is terrific, taking an ensemble cast and giving them ample time to make an impression. Decades of story is perfectly edited into a 2 hour drama that deservedly became the most successful musical biopic ever.
Best Original Screenplay:
Will Win: Spotlight. The original screenplay category is always a tough one to call; while big winners like Birdman and The King’s Speech have taken the home prize, Best Original Screenplay also seeks to reward the smaller, stranger films like Her and Midnight in Paris. The category this year has two big contenders in Spotlight and Bridge of Spies, but also three otherwise-underrepresented films in Ex Machina, Inside Out and Straight Outta Compton. It’s tough to know which way the Academy will swing, but given Thomas McCarthy and Josh Singer’s fascinatingly detailed research and sharp, succinct screenplay, Spotlight looks like the film to watch.
Could Win: Inside Out. Straight Outta Compton packed a revolutionary musical career in two hours and did it with style (plus, with all the diversity controversy at this year’s Oscars, awarding a film that deals with Rodney King and police corruption can only be a good thing), but Pixar really deserve the award for the dazzlingly inventive and emotional Inside Out. Not only is the script hilariously funny and full of enjoyable set piece, but the film also aimed to teach children the message that sometimes, being sad is okay, and for that wonderful lesson alone, I’d like to see Inside Out take the Best Original Screenplay prize for the first time in Pixar history.
Should Have Been Nominated: Sicario. Taylor Sheridan’s debut screenplay was vividly researched and unusually-written. Regularly shifting focus between characters and often leaving audiences guessing as much as Emily Blunt’s FBI agent, Sicario not only featured perhaps the greatest action set piece of the year (the traffic stop shootout), but, in Benicio Del Toro’s Alejandro, one of the most chilling characters you’ll ever see.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Will Win: The Big Short. Another close category, with big hitters in The Big Short, The Martian, Brooklyn and Room (sorry Carol, but you’re a rank outsider). Though Room was the most emotionally devastating and The Martian was the biggest crowd pleaser, The Big Short is so frenetic and throws out so much information at the audience (using Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez to explain complex banking terms was just one of the film’s genius moves), it proves to be the most intellectual-yet-accessible screenplay of 2016. Combine that with star roles for Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, and Steve Carrell, and The Big Short has the greatest shot at taking home the prize.
Should Win: The Martian. Emma Donoghue did an excellent at adapting her own novel Room, but the novel already seems filmic enough to lend itself well to an adaptation. The Martian may have an ingenious premise, but most of the book involves a lone astronaut talking to himself on Mars. It could have been a disaster, but Drew Godard did an excellent job at making the film’s long stretches with a solo Matt Damon engaging, managing to take a great novel and turn it into a hilariously brash, memorable blockbuster.
Should Have Been Nominated: Steve Jobs. Last time Aaron Sorkin adapted a biopic about a tech pioneer, he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. This year, he’s not even nominated. Steve Jobs was criminally underappreciated, with bad box office returns and only two nominations, both for acting. Sorkin practically reinvented the biopic with his screenplay, focusing on three product launches in Jobs’ career and only giving us historical details through dialogue and performance. Some people hate Sorkin’s overwritten style (if you’re not a fan you will definitely hate this film), but a script as funny, clever, and fast paced as Steve Jobs should definitely have garnered a nomination.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role:
Will Win: Kate Winslet. Supporting Actress is a pretty difficult one to call this year, with the choices split between talented up-and-comers (Rooney Mara, Alicia Vikander), a 90’s actress making a comeback (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and a previous Oscar winner with the most momentum going into the Awards (Kate Winslet). It’s a close contest, but Winslet’s wins at the BAFTAS and the Golden Globes have pushed her slightly ahead in the running, so here’s hoping she can bring in an award for Steve Jobs.
Could Win: Alicia Vikander. As previously stated, it’s a close award, and I could see any actress but Rachel McAdams taking the award. Given her dual nominations at the Globes and BAFTAS for both The Danish Girl and Ex Machina, it seems Vikander could gain the win for making such an astonishing breakthrough in 2015.
Should Have Been Nominated: Marion Cotillard. Her work as Lady Macbeth probably counts as a leading performance, but given Rooney Mara’s star turn in Carol is listed as Best Supporting Actress, it only seems fair that Cotillard should have got a Best Supporting Actress nod for her emotional, fragile work in Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of the Scottish play.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role:
Will Win: Sylvester Stallone. He’s lost a bit of momentum since his Golden Globes win, but Sylvester Stallone still looks like the best bet to take home the prize. After decades of dumb action films and huge flops, Stallone gave his most emotional and vulnerable performance as the elderly Rocky Balboa in Creed, a man haunted by losing everyone in his life. It’s a sweet performance, perhaps not the greatest of the nominees, but I certainly think Stallone should be rewarded for giving one of his greatest performance so late in his career.
Could Win: Mark Rylance. Bridge of Spies couldn’t have worked out with the complex, ambiguous performance from Mark Rylance as a Russian spy with an accent situated somewhere between Moscow and Glasgow. Rylance took home the BAFTA for his performance and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Academy award Rylance the prize over Stallone’s comeback role.
Should Have Been Nominated: Benicio Del Toro. There were a few great performances that could have happily sat alongside the nominees, but none stood out for me more than Benicio Del Toro. Del Toro won the award once before for Traffic, but he should have won again for his disturbing performance as Alejandro in Sicario. Easily one of the best performances of his career, it’s a crime Del Toro wasn’t nominated this year.
Best Actress In A Leading Role:
Will Win: Brie Larson. Larson deserved the award years ago for her devastating performance in Short Term 12. One of the finest young actresses of her generation, Larson blasted into the mainstream with another devastating performance, this time as a traumatised abductee and mother in Lenny Abrahamson’s excellent Room. Currently sweeping the awards ceremonies, Brie Larson looks set to ‘do a Jennifer Lawrence’ and defeat a few big veterans to win the award.
Could Win: Cate Blanchett. It looks like there isn’t much competition with Brie Larson, but if anyone poses a threat, it’s previous Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett for her outstanding performance in Carol. Less showy than her last winner, Blue Jasmine, Blanchett gave a subtle performance as the repressed 50’s housewife, and given her previous nominations and wins, Oscar voters could seek to reward her again for another great performance.
Should Have Been Nominated: Emily Blunt. Sicario wouldn’t have worked without a steely presence in the main role of an FBI agent fighting to survive in the Mexican drug war. Thankfully, Emily Blunt gave the performance of her career, showing she had action chops and aggressive energy that was somehow even tougher than her performance in Edge of Tomorrow. This year’s category was toughly fought, but Blunt should have been nominated over Jennifer Lawrence’s miscast performance in Joy.
Best Actor in a Leading Role:
Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio. No contest with this one. The most overused meme of the last few years was DiCaprio’s failure to secure an Oscar win for his many great performances over the years. The Oscar voters will be looking to make up for lost time by giving him the award for The Revenant. Not that he doesn’t deserve it; it’s an insanely physical, intense performance unlike anything else in his career. It’s taken awhile but Leo is winning the prize this year.
Could Win: Michael Fassbender. It’s highly unlikely, but there’s a slight chance Michael Fassbender could win for his performance as tech guru Steve Jobs. It would be a deserved win; Fassbender gave one of the best performances of his career, turning a despicable character into an empathetic humane character. The Academy has done wrong by Fassbender in the past, not nominating him for his incredible performance in Shame or Hunger, so they could make it up to him with a win here. Or maybe they dislike Leo and will refuse to give him the award once again.
Should Have Been Nominated: Paul Dano. Dano has given quite a few underrated performances over the years, and he may have given his best ever turn as the troubled Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy. Some said it should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but his performance was the heart and soul of the film, and he was deserving of a nomination this year.
Will Win: George Miller. Given Alejandro G. Inarritu won last year and Mad Max: Fury Road was unlike any other film this year, the Academy could reward George Miller for a lifetime of work with the Best Director award for his bombastic, demented direction on Mad Max: Fury Road.
Could Win: Alejandro G. Inarritu. Last year, Inarittu won his first Directing award for Birdman; personally, I wish they’d given the award to Richard Linklater for Boyhood and given Inarittu his first Oscar for the terrific The Revenant. An epic shoot of Herzogian-difficulty, The Revenant is intense and powerful, with excellent acting and some of the craziest set pices in years. It’s a powerful film, and most of the credit has to go to the mad vision of Inarritu.
Should Have Been Nominated: Denis Villeneuve. Sicario was the best thriller of the year, and Villeneuve’s fearless direction gave us terrific action, terrific acting, and a confidence and precision we’ve not previously seen from the Canadian director.
Will Win: The Revenant. After a highly unpredictable awards season, it seems like a closely fought contest between The Revenant, Spotlight, and The Big Short. It’s going to be close on the night, but given Spotlight’s subtle conspiracy plot and The Big Short’s talky, intellectual script, I think the Academy will prefer the big budget, intense set pieces and showy performances of The Revenant, giving Alejandro G. Inarritu his second Best Picture winner in two years.
Could Win: Spotlight. Personally, I’d rather see Best Picture being awarded to Thomas McCarthy’s Spotlight, a clever, fast paced, and very important drama about the corrupt Catholic Church and the journalists who blew the lid off the story. Less showy and far more focused than The Revenant, I wouldn’t be surprised if Spotlight did take home the major prize of the night.
Should Have Been Nominated: Carol. Given Sicario was shut out of nearly ever major award, it was predictable that it wouldn’t get a Best Picture nod. What’s more surprising is Carol’s lack of a nomination, given its nominations in most other categories. A stylish, sophisticated period romance, Todd Haynes’ drama could have been stuffy and cliché, but through his heartfelt vision, Carol was accessible and genuinely romantic. Its lack of a Best Picture nomination is something of a headscratcher.
There we go, my predictions for Sunday night. If you got bored halfway through and skipped to the end, here’s the full list of my predictions:
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Best Short Film (Animated): World of Tomorrow
Best Visual Effects: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Original Song: Writing’s On The Wall
Best Original Score: The Hateful Eight
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Costume Design: Carol
Best Documentary (Feature): Amy
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Best Actress In A Supporting Role: Kate Winslet
Best Actor In A Supporting Role: Sylvester Stallone
Best Actress: Brie Larson
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Directing: George Miller
Best Picture: The Revenant
Thanks for reading. I’ll see you on Monday morning to see how well I did.
By Harry J. Ford
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