88th Academy Awards Nominations – FINAL PREDICTIONS

88thoscars_key_hostHere it is! With the craziness this awards season have, I feel like it’s the right time to be gutsier with my predictions. I don’t know/care if I fare poorly with my predictions; it’s an all-too-unpredictable race with all precedent stats and precursors thrown out of the window, it’s just right to give my forecast come Thursday morning.

(Note: I did not include predictions for the three short film categories – live action, animated, documentary).

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Best Picture

spotlight (1)

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Spotlight

… if 6 – Mad Max: Fury Road
… if 7 – Carol
… if 8 – Room
(I’m predicting 8)
… if 9 – Straight Outta Compton
… if 10 – Inside Out

Alt: (#11) Sicario | (#12) Brooklyn | (#13) Son of Saul | (#14) Ex Machina | (#15) Star Wars: The Force Awakens | (#16) Beasts of No Nation | (#17) Joy | (#18) Steve Jobs | (#19) Trumbo | (#20) Creed | (#21) The Danish Girl

Very very tough to predict especially from #8 to # 16. The Danish Girl may lack the visible passion, but you never know since it’s an emotional story that feels timely despite being a period film. The buzz for Creed, Trumbo, and Steve Jobs has faded, but might pull viable longshots. Hear me out with Joy – despite getting mixed reviews, again, it is a timely film; never forget Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close got nominated in 2011 despite much more polarizing reviews.

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Best Director

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  • Todd Haynes – Carol
  • George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ridley Scott – The Martian
  • Alejandro G. Iñarritu – The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Alt: (#6) Adam McKay – The Big Short | (#7) Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies | (#8) Laszlo Nemes – Son of Saul | (#9) Denis Villeneuve – Sicario | (#10) Alex Garland – Ex Machina

Haynes is definitely the most vulnerable here with his film lacking guild support. McCarthy is also not a sure thing since Spotlight slipped a bit from its frontrunner status. Scott and Miller, while veterans and could play that card, are with non-traditional films (comedy sci-fi and apocalyptic action film), making Iñarritu the only safe choice. McKay seemed like a safer prediction with its current frontrunner status, but screw it – I’m going with Haynes.

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

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  • Steve Carell – The Big Short
  • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Alt: (#6) Matt Damon – The Martian | (#7) Will Smith – Concussion | (#8) Ian McKellen – Mr. Holmes | (#9) Geza Rohrig – Son of Saul | (#10) Johnny Depp – Black Mass | (#11) Michael B. Jordan – Creed | (#12) Michael Caine – Youth

DiCaprio is the frontrunner, Cranston and Fassbender are safe, Redmayne seems to be coasting towards a nomination despite the lack of passion for the film. Carell is my predicted semi-spoiler to replace Golden Globe winner Damon.

Watch out for both Smith and especially McKellen as surprise nominees, given how they worked the campaign circuit. Son of Saul certainly has presence and makes Rohrig a feasible longshot. Buzz for Depp has faded, but might get in especially because of his star power.

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Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

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  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Jenifer Lawrence – Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

Alt: (#6) Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl | (#7) Rooney Mara – Carol | (#8) Emily Blunt – Sicario | (#9) Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road | (#10) Blythe Danner – I’ll See You in My Dreams | (#11) Lily Tomlin – Grandma | (#12) Maggie Smith – The Lady in the Van | (#13) Sarah Silverman – I Smile Back | (#14) Helen Mirren – Woman in Gold

Blanchett, Larson, and Ronan are safe. Rampling has solid critical support backing her a la Emmanuelle Riva (2012) and Marion Cotillard (2014). Lawrence is the most vulnerable despite the Golden Globe win (it doesn’t count). Normal logic would dictate Vikander or Mara but category confusion and vote splitting are foreseeable hurdles.

If the strong guild support signals Sicario’s prevalence come Thursday morning then expect Blunt pulling off a surprise nomination. Theron could also use the critical support on her performance despite having a film atypical in terms of acting nominations.

#10 to #12 are all veterans seemingly on the hunt of the same spot; I give the edge to Danner for being the first screener sent, then Tomlin for peaking at an early time, albeit too early,  then Smith for the late surge of support. Silverman’s SAG nomination must not be unseen, the same with Mirren (though she would probably get more votes for Trumbo).

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

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  • Christian Bale – The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy – The Revenant
  • Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone – Creed
  • Jacob Tremblay – Room

Alt: (#6) Michael Keaton – Spotlight | (#7) Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation | (#8) Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight | (#9) Paul Dano – Love and Mercy | (#10) Benicio del Toro – Sicario | (#11) Michael Shannon – 99 Homes | (#12) Jason Mitchell – Straight Outta Compton | (#13) Oscar Isaac – Ex Machina | (#14) Stanley Tucci – Spotlight

Rylance is the only one safe for the nomination, and he’s not even safe for the win. Bale is also a good bet to be nominated even if some see him as leading. Hardy can ride with DiCaprio’s buzz, Stallone would get a veteran vote (again, not counting his Golden Globe victory), and if Brie Larson is the frontrunner for Best Actress, they must notice Tremblay.

Keaton has the goodwill from last year’s loss for Birdman and he has the biggest role in the Spotlight cast but the lack of notices and the NYFCC win for LEADING might hurt. Elba has critical support but his film seems like an outsider in the race. In Spotlight’s cast, Ruffalo has the “big” scene and BAFTA noticed. Dano had a strong showing throughout the precursor awards, but buzz for the film slips away and category confusion hurts.

If Sicario shows up well, del Toro can show up. Shannon earns both Golden Globe and SAG nominations for a very small film, meaning the performance made a strong impression, but the strength of the film must be seen when pitted against the bigger contenders. Mitchell gets MVP notices for Straight Outta Compton, Isaac might show up if Ex Machina fares really well, and Tucci is definitely getting support for his small but memorable role in Spotlight.

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Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

alicia.vikander

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

Alt: (#6) Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina | (#7) Helen Mirren – Trumbo | (#8) Joan Allen – Room | (#9) Jane Fonda – Youth | (#10) Kristen Stewart – Clouds of Sils Maria | (#11) Elizabeth Banks – Love and Mercy | (#12) Marion Cotillard – MacBeth

Winslet is the only one safe here for the nomination. Mara is in the big threat of category confusion. Vikander has a double whammy – category confusion for The Danish Girl and vote splitting with Ex Machina. Between the two, I’m predicting they’d settle for the more traditional role (The Danish Girl) than an outré one (Ex Machina) The Hateful Eight is not showing up so strongly so Leigh is not very safe and McAdams is in danger of Spotlight losing its footing as the strong frontrunner, of being overlooked for bigger and showier performances in the cast, and of being pitted against bigger and showier performances from other films including obvious leads and co-leads.

Mirren has a fun, scene-stealing performance in Trumbo that doesn’t have much substance compared to the other competing performances, Joan Allen shines with her limited time in Room and might benefit from Larson’s frontrunner status but the film is losing Best Picture buzz, and Fonda is a strong presence in the Academy and is said to have a memorable part in Youth. Stewart, Banks, and Cotillard all have critical support going for them, therefore making them viable longshots.

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Best Original Screenplay

spotlight (2)

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Trainwreck

Alt: (#6) Ex Machina | (#7) Straight Outta Compton | (#8) Son of Saul | (#9) Sicario | (#10) Grandma

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Best Adapted Screenplay

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  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • The Martian
  • Room
  • Steve Jobs

Alt: (#6) Carol | (#7) The Revenant | (#8) Trumbo | (#9) Anomalisa | (#10) The Danish Girl

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Best Cinematography

The-Revenant1

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario

Alt: (#6) Son of Saul | (#7) The Hateful Eight | (#8) The Martian | (#9) The Danish Girl | (#10) Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Best Film Editing

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

Alt: (#6) Straight Outta Compton | (#7) The Revenant | (#8) Sicario | (#9) Carol | (#10) Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Best Sound Mixing

4

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Straight Outta Compton

Alt: (#6) Star Wars: The Force Awakens | (#7) Spectre | (#8) Sicario | (#9) The Hateful Eight

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Best Sound Editing

martian-movie-images-matt-damon-ridley-scoot

  • Inside Out
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Alt: (#6) Bridge of Spies | (#7) Sicario | (#8) Spectre | (#9) The Hateful Eight

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Best Original Score

  • Bridge of Spies (Thomas Newman)
  • Carol (Carter Burwell)
  • The Hateful Eight (Ennio Morricone)
  • Inside Out (Michael Giacchino)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (John Williams)

Alt: (#6) Spotlight | (#7) The Danish Girl | (#8) Mad Max: Fury Road | (#9) Steve Jobs | (#10) Sicario | (#11) The Martian | (#12) Brooklyn | (#13) Ex Machina

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Best Visual Effects

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  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Walk

Alt: (#6) Avengers: Age of Ultron | (#7) The Revenant | (#8) Jurassic World | (#9) Ant-Man | (#10) Tomorrowland

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Best Makeup and Hairstyling

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  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Mr. Holmes
  • The Revenant

Alt: (#4) The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared | (#5) Black Mass | (#6) Concussion | (#7) Legend

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Best Production Design

the-danish-girl-eddie-redmayne-and-alicia-vikander-transfix-and-transform-726330

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian

Alt: (#6) Star Wars: The Force Awakens | (#7) The Revenant | (#8) Room | (#9) The Hateful Eight | (#10) Brooklyn

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Best Costume Design

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  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Far from the Madding Crowd

Alt: (#6) MacBeth | (#7) The Revenant | (#8) The Hateful Eight | (#9) Mad Max: Fury Road | (#10) Crimson Peak

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Best Original Song

Spectre-2015-Wallpapers

  • “I’ll See You in My Dreams” – I’ll See You in My Dreams
  • “See You Again” – Furious 7
  • “Simple Song # 3” – Youth
  • “’Til It Happens to You” – The Hunting Ground
  • “Writing’s on the Wall” – Spectre

Alt: (#6) “Who Can You Trust” – Spy | (#7) “So Long” – Concussion | (#8) “Waiting for My Moment” – Creed | (#9) “Earned It” – Fifty Shades of Grey | (#10) “Cold One” – Ricki and the Flash

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Best Foreign Language Film

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  • Belgium – The Brand New Testament
  • France – Mustang
  • Hungary – Son of Saul
  • Jordan – Theeb
  • Denmark – A War

Alt: (#6) Ireland – Viva | (#7) Finland – The Fencer | (#8) “Colombia – Embrace of the Serpent | (#9) Germany – Labyrinth of Lies

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Best Animated Feature

InsideOut556500e6a2be0-2040.0

  • Anomalisa
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Inside Out
  • Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie

Alt: (#6) The Peanuts Movie | (#7) When Marnie was There | (#8) Moomins in the Riviera | (#9) Boy and the World | (#10) Minions

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Best Documentary Feature

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  • Amy
  • Best of Enemies
  • The Hunting Ground
  • The Look of Silence
  • Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Alt: (#6) Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief | (#7) Listen to Me Marlon | (#8) Heart of a Dog | (#9) He Named Me Malala | (#10) 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets | (#11) We Come as Friends | (#12) Where to Invade Next

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What’s your predictions?

 

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