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Spotlight: Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions

Writer: Casey Lee


Who will win the Oscars?.

If it hasn't already been said enough in our Oscar spotlight articles, there are just too many titles that deserve to be Oscar winners from 2015. Even with the narrowed down list of nominees, the competition for the golden statuettes have not been anything but assured for even the films with the most nominees.

Although that may be one scenario, where the films with the most nominees barrage its way to the Best Picture (and we know which of the two contending pieces has that amount of firepower), but we have our reasons to believe that the Academy are out to surprise us with a different scenario; by spreading the love all over the major categories, with no clear signs of a winner until the last name of the evening is announced as the Best Picture.

With that in mind, we offer our predictions of who will be the winners in the major categories and then some, as we await for the results to be announced this 29th February 2016.

Best Picture – "The Big Short"

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Going by the numbers, all indications of who should take the Best Picture, based on their number of nominations, points to "The Revenant", but "The Revenant" did not receive the blessing from one of the biggest precursor awards that could be more telling; the Producers Guild of America (PGA). That honour unsuspectingly went to "The Big Short", which lend much more weight to its 3 nominations in the major categories (Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay; all of which are competing against "The Revenant"). Like we said, if this year's Oscars is not going by the numbers, then "The Revenant" will already be winning more than its fair share in the other categories, but the Best Picture is going to "The Big Short".

Nominees:

1. Bridge of Spies
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. The Revenant
4. Spotlight
5. The Martian
6. The Big Short
7. Room
8. Brooklyn

Best Director - Alejandro González Iñárritu

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If there were real reasons why "The Revenant" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" had the most nominations in this year's Oscars, is because they were dreamed up by directors with daring visions, and were able to spectacularly pull them off, not just visually, but in every detail they put in. The clash of titans between "The Revenant" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" is as much the battle of technical leadership as much as aesthetic visions, even if their subject matter did not revolve around current issues. However, that debate has almost been decided by the Directors Guild of America, and we can see Iñárritu holding his second consecutive gold statuette.

Nominees:

1. George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
2. Adam McKay (The Big Short)
3. Lenny Abrahamson (Room)
4. Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant)
5. Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)

Best Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio

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With only 2 of these nominees having a stake for The Best Picture, the Best Actor category this year isn't going to be as strong an indication as it did it in previous years. While it is almost too easy to see that this is finally DiCaprio's year from simple deduction alone, if not confirmed by DiCaprio's first win at the Screen Actors Guild, but it is unfortunate that he should win this from one of the dullest competition of the category, with no real threats except from Michael Fassbender.

Nominees:

1. Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
2. Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
3. Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
4. Matt Damon (The Martian)
5. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)

Best Actress – Brie Larson

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Another dozy like its male counterparts, with only two of its nominees having any bearing for Best Picture. While this could have been another match-up for Oscar veterans Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence, or Saoirse Ronan maturing to her first Oscar since "Atonement", but the Screen Actors Guild have thought otherwise, giving a surprising win to Brie Larson, transforming her from upcoming actress to real Oscar frontrunner.

Nominees:

1. Brie Larson (Room)
2. Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
3. Cate Blanchett (Carol)
4. Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
5. Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)

Best Supporting Actor - Christian Bale

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A major indicator for where the Academy stands between "Spotlight" and "The Big Short". While a win here for Christian Bale will play along the Best Picture narrative for "The Big Short", but Mark Ruffalo was part of the ensemble cast of "Spotlight" that was awarded with the best cast by the Screen Actors Guild, so a repeated win here will be of no surprise, and giving an edge to "Spotlight".

Nominees:

1. Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
2. Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
3. Tom Hardy (The Revenant)
4. Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
5. Christian Bale (The Big Short)

Best Supporting Actress - Alicia Vikander

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Rachel McAdams may belong in the same cast that won the Best Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, but in a solo competition, she would have to give it to Alicia Vikander, who also won on the same awards night as McAdams, as Best Supporting Actress for "The Danish Girl". We think that pretty much settles it, but if Cate Blanchett is not going to be winning one for "Carol", we'd think that the Academy could let Rooney Mara win one for the team.

Nominees:

1. Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)
2. Rooney Mara (Carol)
3. Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
4. Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
5. Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)

Best Original Screenplay – "Spotlight"

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The Coen Brothers may have done some work on Matt Charman's screenplay for "The Bridge of Spies", but they never left their finer touches to make it stand out. This is almost a repeat of the competition at the Writers Guild Awards, and "Spotlight" turned out to be the victor in this category. This would be a win that "Spotlight" needs for its chances for Best Picture, but Alex Garland's existential thoughts and debates in "Ex Machina" could be that stumbling block.

Nominees:

1. Bridge of Spies
2. Spotlight
3. Ex Machina
4. Inside Out
5. Straight Outta Compton

Best Adapted Screenplay – "The Big Short"

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Unlike in the Original Screenplay category, "The Big Short" would be facing a new set of competing adaptations than it did when it won at the WGA. As a major category, this is also another indication of the "The Big Short"'s shot for the Best Picture, but the same could be said for any of the other nominees here as well.

Nominees:

1. The Martian
2. The Big Short
3. Room
4. Carol
5. Brooklyn

Best Animated Feature – "Inside Out"

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In a rare year where the number of computer-generated nominees are outnumbered by hand-drawn and stop-motion nominees, you'd think that this is the year that the traditional arts would be able to score a win from the digital pixels and renders. However, that would be too good to be true if Pixar had not been heaped with love and awards inside and out of the voter base, including the animation gold standard, the Annie Awards and the PGA.

Nominees:

1. Shaun the Sheep Movie
2. Anomalisa
3. Inside Out
4. Boy & the World
5. When Marnie Was There

Best Foreign Language Film – "Son of Saul"

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"Embrace of the Serpent" may be a favourite for its spiritual black-and-white cinematography, "A War" could win for its hard-time war drama, or "Mustang" on the virtue of being French, but nothing has historically driven the Academy to vote for a movie more than one that is set and shows the brutality of the Holocaust. And for that it almost seem imminent that László Nemes is going to make history by winning the Golden Globes and the Oscar, out of the many accolades it has collected since Cannes, with his directorial debut "Son of Saul".

Nominees:

1. A War
2. Son of Saul
3. Embrace of the Serpent
4. Theeb
5. Mustang

Best Documentary Feature – "Amy"

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While the life and death of a celebrity may seem a little trivial compared to the heavy subject matters explored in "The Look of Silence", "Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom" and "Cartel Land", but it should not be discounted that Asif Kapadia's inside look into the private life of a young and bright talent, is also an inside look at ourselves (and the Academy voters) about the price we pay for caring about the life of a celebrity never understood, than those lost for a cause. Winning the PGA award over "The Look of Silence" is also indicative of what would be written on the ballots.

Nominees:

1. Amy
2. The Look of Silence
3. Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom
4. Cartel Land
5. What Happened, Miss Simone?

Cinema Online, 27 February 2016



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