It’s that time of year again — Oscar time! So here now are my predictions for who and should win the major categories, along with a few of my usual secondary (and sometimes unorthodox) awards that won’t ever be part of the telecast. I only got 5 out of the 7 right last year, so I’m hoping to go 7 for 7 this year. But we’ll see tomorrow night when the stars come out and collect their trophies for the 88th time.
Best Picture (Nominees – The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight)
Who Will Win: The Revenant
The Revenant was certainly a well-done piece of art, with one of the most stunning and sickening sequences ever put to film — the bear attack alone, and the way Alejandro G. Iñárritu was able to accomplish it, should net the film an Oscar. The problem is, the film would have been much better had it been made just a little bit tighter; as is, it was probably twenty minutes too long.
Who Should Win: Spotlight
Combining the superb acting with a tight pace that builds and builds as the team at the Boston Globe uncover more of the truth behind the Catholic Church sex scandal makes Spotlight the best, most effective movie of the year from the list of nominees.
Best Actor (Nominees – Bryan Cranston, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Michael Fassbender, Eddie Redmayne)
Who Will and Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio
This is Leo’s award to lose, and everyone knows it. Although all of these fine actors gave terrific performances this year, it’s been a long time coming for Leo, and with a nearly silent performance that resonates so deeply, it will be the shock of the night if he’s robbed once again (cough*The Aviator*cough).
Best Actress (Nominees – Cate Blanchett, Charlotte Rampling, Brie Larson, Saoirse Ronan, Jennifer Lawrence)
Who Will and Should Win: Brie Larson
Just like last year, this category is full of actresses from movies I haven’t seen. The only two movies I’ve seen are Joy and Room, and let’s be honest, I didn’t think Jennifer Lawrence did all that great in what was ultimately a really flawed movie. So I’m giving this to Brie Larson, who gave a very delicate, emotionally riveting performance in a very small, quiet movie.
Best Supporting Actor (Nominees – Christian Bale, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Sylvester Stallone, Mark Ruffalo)
Who Will Win: Sylvester Stallone
Much like Leo, this one is Stallone’s to lose. After over three decades, Hollywood is finally giving Stallone recognition for the role that turned him into a movie star. Was it one of Stallone’s finer performances? Yes. Was it Oscar worthy? Not in my opinion.
Who Should Win: Mark Ruffalo
If I had my say, Ruffalo would take this trophy without even blinking. In a film that built its tension with every new piece of evidence, Ruffalo stood out as the emotional core of the film, digging his nails deep into the conspiracy and leaving behind a nuanced shadow of something we, the audience, will never know the truth of.
Best Supporting Actress (Nominees – Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alicia Vikander, Rooney Mara, Kate Winslet, Rachel McAdams)
Who Will Win: Rooney Mara
From the scuttlebutt, it seems Alicia Vikander is the front runner to take this prize, however, based on the history of this category, I’m going to step out on a limb on this one and give it to Mara, who I’ve heard (since I never got the chance to see Carol) gave an extremely subtle, reflective performance that pulled on everyone’s heartstrings.
Who Should Win: Alicia Vikander
I also never got around to seeing The Danish Girl, but from what I’ve read of her performance in the film, and based on what she was able to accomplish in the other roles she took on this year (most memorably as the A.I. in Ex Machina), she’s more than ready for her closeup as the best actress of the year (and she could very well pull it off).
Best Director (Nominees – Adam McKay, Lenny Abrahamson, George Miller, Tom McCarthy, Alejandro G. Iñárritu)
Who Will Win: George Miller
Mad Max: Fury Road doesn’t deserve Oscar gold as an overall film. But what George Miller was able to accomplish, from everything to set pieces to action sequences and cinematography, should net him a piece of the action come Oscar night.
Who Should Win: Tom McCarthy
As I said, Spotlight starts out in mundane normalcy, but with every new piece of evidence, the tension mounts and McCarthy slowly building a pace that draws you in deeper and deeper until you’re so mesmerized by what’s happening, you feel as if you’re right there with them.
Best Animated Feature (Nominees – Anomalisa, Boy and the World, Inside Out, Shawn the Sheep Movie, When Marnie Was There)
Who Will Win: Anomalisa
I only saw one of these films, so I’m not sure I can really say who should win, but what I can say is, no matter how I hate to see the magic that is Pixar lose, I have a feeling that Anomalisa is going to take the trophy, simply because of its unique style.
Who Should Win: Inside Out
But if I had it my way, Inside Out, a deeply emotional film that deals directly with the emotions within us would walk away the winner. Funny and heartbreaking, Inside Out shows us why sometimes allowing yourself to be sad is just as important as being happy.
Best Drama Ensemble: The Gift
The plot of the The Gift isn’t that extraordinary. What makes the film extraordinary are the three actors that breathe haunting life into the scary situation, shining a light on the effects (and aftereffects) of bullying. If it wasn’t for Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Joel Edgerton at their finest, I’m not sure the end would have been quite as effective.
Best Comedy Ensemble: The Duff
It may seem a little odd that a film that many probably have never heard of has made a best of list, however, I have to give credit to the cast for making what could have been an incredibly forgettable, raunchy, throw-away She’s All That ripoff into a genuinely funny, respectable heartwarming surprise.
Best Child Performance: Jacob Tremblay
There’s a reason the kid’s name was bandied about for a possible Oscar nomination (and why he wass nominated and won so many awards on the film festival circuit). Jacob Tremblay nearly outperforms his adult counterpart in a quiet role that feels more realistic and harrowing than most adult actors who’ve been in the business their whole lives could pull off.
Best (and Craziest) Action Sequence: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Of all the movies this year with over-the-top action sequences and set pieces, there was one sequence in particular that stood out to me to be the most daring, best choreographed and best executed than any other, and that was the church massacre in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Director Matthew Vaughn films the sequence with such eloquence and mastery of the art form, it’s like bloody poetry in motion.
What do you think? Who will win and should win the Oscars this year? Do you have any movies or actors you’d like to give a shout out to for their excellence in 2015?