Finalized Oscar Picks 2015!

Hey all! I haven’t blogged regularly for months, but hey, I was able to make it back just in time for tomorrow’s Oscar nods. And I’m taking part in Shane Slater’s Oscar-picks contest!.

Without any further ado, my picks after the jump

Best Picture

Critics and industry groups are going against the awards-season grain by recognizing supposed underdogs like Ex Machina and Straight Outta Compton. More than anything, these precursors suggest that passion picks are the name of the game.

The Top Five

  1. Spotlight
  2. The Big Short
  3. The Revenant
  4. The Martian
  5. Carol

The Rest

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. Bridge of Spies
  3. Room
  4. Brooklyn
  5. Straight Outta Compton

Other Possibilities

  1. Ex Machina
  2. Inside Out
  3. Trumbo
  4. Creed
  5. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Best Director

Todd Haynes’ omission from the Directors Guild of America lineup is hardly promising, but will Oscar and DGA match five for five? Mad Max: Fury Road is nothing if not a director’s film, so a top five without George Miller doesn’t feel right, either. Going with my head and not my heart, I imagine DGA may perfectly forecast Oscar as it did in 2009.

Predicted Nominees

  1. Tom McCarthy for Spotlight
  2. Adam McKay for The Big Short
  3. Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant
  4. Ridley Scott for The Martian
  5. George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road

Other Possibilities

  1. Todd Haynes for Carol
  2. Steven Spielberg for Bridge of Spies
  3. Lenny Abrahamson for Room
  4. John Crowley for Brooklyn
  5. Alex Garland for Ex Machina

Best Actress in a Leading Role

What a mess: As far as presumed locks go, we have front-runner Brie Larson, possible usurper Saoirse Ronan, and perennial Cate Blanchett.

Six weeks ago, Jennifer Lawrence and Charlotte Rampling aimed to fill the rest of the lineup, but that looks less likely now. While the former is a superstar, she lacks the support from the critics that undoubtedly helped her get in three times before. Rampling, on the other hand, boasts overwhelming critical favor… but missed with major industry groups – including BAFTA, where we thought she’d be a no-brainer.

But who takes those last two spots, then? Helen Mirren and Sarah Silverman scored surprise SAG bids for Woman in Gold and I Smile Back, respectively. Mirren will likely get into supporting for Trumbo… but never made too many waves with Gold beyond SAG. Same goes for Silverman, unfortunately, though she doesn’t have another contender in play.

Aside from presumed nominees Larson, Ronan, and Blanchett, the only two leading actresses who scored with BAFTA, BFCA, Globe, and SAG are… Rooney Mara for Carol and Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl. Of course, as anyone who keeps up with the season knows, that fact comes with a major caveat: Both actresses were campaigned as supporting actresses, despite carrying major portions of their respective films. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association vetoed the category placement at their ceremony and appropriately recognized both as leading dramatic actresses. SAG can’t refute studio-ordained category placement, so Mara and Vikander landed supporting nods there. Both BAFTA and BFCA threw Vikander into their leading lineup… and oddly named Mara one of the year’s best supporting actresses, despite being able to vote for her in lead.

Vikander’s category kerfuffle seems to have been solved for the latter – many awards groups have also cited her Ex Machina turn in supporting actress, and Oscar could very well follow suit. But what of Mara? Carol looks solid for picture and adapted-screenplay bids, and could very well land in the director lineup… but it’s also assured an actress slot for Blanchett. Will it really become the first film since Thelma and Louise (1991) to pick up two nods in best actress?

I have to go with my gut (and maybe my heart) on this one, folks…

Predicted Nominees

  1. Brie Larson for Room
  2. Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn
  3. Cate Blanchett for Carol
  4. Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl
  5. Rooney Mara for Carol

Other Possibilities

  1. Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years
  2. Jennifer Lawrence for Joy
  3. Helen Mirren for Woman in Gold
  4. Sarah Silverman for I Smile Back
  5. Lily Tomlin for Grandma

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Leonardo DiCaprio’s seemingly had this in the bag since we began drafting year-in-advance Oscar picks – before the season even began. It really became a done deal when we found out he had camped out in an animal carcass and eaten… well, you know the story. Throw in a bear named Lucy as the joke keystroked around the Twittersphere, and you more or less have a surefire winner.

But is there room for someone to upset? The only actor who comes to mind is Bryan Cranston. Granted, the industry’s love for itself and for Breaking Bad landed him in the mix, but he’s the only leading man whose film got him and his cast nods at SAG, which suggests the possibility of an upset.

Like DiCaprio and Cranston, Eddie Redmayne and Michael Fassbender made the BAFTA, BFCA, Globe, and SAG lineups. The former should ride a wave of goodwill from last year’s win to a nod. Fassbender, while leading a critical darling, hates awards campaigning, and the film did precious little at the box office. Maybe Scott Feinberg is onto something – he usually is – with his prediction that Fassbender misses the lineup (although I don’t see Room star Jacob Tremblay graduating to lead, unfortunately).

And remember: Matt Damon’s Globe win means nothing for tomorrow’s nods, as Oscar voting closed before the HFPA’s annual shindig. Of course, he does lead one of the year’s biggest contenders…

But Steve Carell leads The Big Short – according to Paramount’s awards campaign, at least – which could very well upset at the Oscars. If there is that much love for it, can it sweep Carell along for the ride?

Thank God I’m not betting any money on my picks…

Predicted Nominees

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant
  2. Bryan Cranston for Trumbo
  3. Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl
  4. Steve Carell for The Big Short
  5. Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs

Other Possibilities

  1. Matt Damon for The Martian
  2. Michael B. Jordan for Creed
  3. Jacob Tremblay for Room – predicted in supporting
  4. Johnny Depp for Black Mass
  5. Ian McKellan for Mr. Holmes

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

With Vikander (for The Danish Girl) and/or Mara, this category makes so much sense, and we could very well call it a night. Of course, my prediction that both will make lead actress makes supporting actress all the more complicated.

Kate Winslet pulled off a massive Globe upset… but it was a night ripe with shockers, stunners, and gasps, and don’t tell me the HFPA wasn’t tempted to honor her and DiCaprio on the same night. Still, with that head-scratcher of a win to her name, she may win with BAFTA, BFCA, and/or SAG.

Assuming Mara and Danish Vikander graduate to lead, the Globe lineup feels rather safe… except for Fonda, whose film impressed critics at Cannes but failed to make its mark in the States. So who, then, gets that last spot? Rachel McAdams has been putting in consistent work for years, and her turn in Spotlight – the arguable front-runner for best picture – landed her a SAG bid. With a race this up-in-the-air, the other four actresses may feel personally victimized if/when Regina George takes to the Oscar stage.

Predicted Nominees

  1. Rachel McAdams for Spotlight
  2. Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs
  3. Helen Mirren for Trumbo
  4. Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight
  5. Alicia Vikander for Ex Machina

Other Possibilities

  1. Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl – predicted in lead
  2. Rooney Mara for Carol – (foolishly) predicted in lead
  3. Kristen Stewart for Clouds of Sils Maria
  4. Jane Fonda for Youth
  5. Elizabeth Banks for Love and Mercy

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

The only true lock here seems to be Mark Rylance, as he more or less dominated the critics awards with his turn in Bridge of Spies. Sylvester Stallone would have lock status if he’d been in for SAG; he can still pull off an upset.

But what of Spotlight here? The New York Film Critics Circle’s push for Michael Keaton as a lead actor made little impact, as other groups have opted to honor Mark Ruffalo, who feels safe for a nod here. Meanwhile, potential picture upset The Big Short features Christian Bale as a genius who lacks social graces; this smells like an Oscar nomination, no?

Last but not least, there’s Jacob Tremblay for Room. He really co-leads the drama with Larson, and Feinberg’s prediction for him to land in lead may come to fruition, but a supporting bid sounds right.

As for the outliers, Michael Shannon’s presence this season came out of nowhere, and while he surprised for Revolutionary Road (2008), that drama once looked like DiCaprio and Winslet’s big tickets to winning Oscars. 99 Homes never had that kind of pull for AMPAS, and with bigger films hogging up the conversation outside of this category, I doubt Shannon finds his way to another nomination this year.

Paul Dano hit the campaign trail for Love and Mercy, and while he scored BFCA and Globe bids, like Shannon, his film didn’t quite become a talking point of the season, not to mention his lack of a major critics win.

Predicted Nominees

  1. Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies
  2. Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight
  3. Sylvester Stallone for Creed
  4. Christian Bale for The Big Short
  5. Jacob Tremblay for Room

Other Possibilities

  1. Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation
  2. Paul Dano for Love and Mercy
  3. Michael Shannon for 99 Homes
  4. Benicio del Toro for Sicario
  5. Tom Hardy for The Revenant

Best Original Screenplay

With Spotlight out in front here, what do we have for filler? Inside Out would win in a perfect world, but our world is an imperfect one where the Disney/Pixar masterpiece can’t even make a 10-nominee Producers Guild lineup. That makes a picture nod less likely, but we still have screenplay, right? Right?

Another Disney-released pic, Bridge of Spies, feels safe for a nod, given the precursor support and the Coen brothers. Ex Machina always felt like a potential surprise here, but the surprise love for Vikander’s performance therein makes it all the more likely. Quentin Tarantino is a fave here, so his NBR-winning Hateful Eight tome makes sense in the last spot.

Predicted Nominees

  1. Spotlight
  2. Inside Out
  3. Bridge of Spies
  4. Ex Machina
  5. The Hateful Eight

Other Possibilities

  1. Straight Outta Compton
  2. Sicario
  3. Son of Saul
  4. Trainwreck
  5. Joy

Best Adapted Screenplay

I almost let the recent surge for The Revenant get to my head – I was just about to predict it as the runner-up to The Big Short before remembering that, for a 150-minute film, there’s very little dialog. Of course, dialog = screenplay, but not everyone knows that. (Not that I want The Revenant nominated for writing, anyway.)

Again, The Big Short could very well win the top prize, and it’s a talky film that breaks down its difficult-to-understand subject matter in ways that are humorous without ever losing the importance of the topic at hand. In other words, watch it win here.

Aaron Sorkin scripted Steve Jobs, and… well, that’s all you need to know, isn’t it? Brooklyn struck a sweet spot with many, particularly due to its intelligent script that recalls a time gone by while still feeling fresh. I know Carol could go either way with Oscar voters at this point *shakes fist at heterosexism* but it looks more secure than Far from Heaven, which landed a writing bid.

That leaves one spot, which I think is between The Martian and Room – both acclaimed adaptations of novels. Emma Donoghue wrote the latter – as well as the novel that inspired it – to great acclaim, but The Martian is too big to ignore… or is it?

Predicted Nominees

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

Other Possibilities

  1. Room
  2. The Revenant
  3. Mad Max: Fury Road
  4. Creed
  5. Trumbo

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Nominees

  1. Son of Saul (Hungary)
  2. A War (Denmark)
  3. Viva (Ireland)
  4. Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
  5. Labyrinth of Lies (Germany)

The Rest of the List

  1. The Fencer (Finland)
  2. The Brand New Testament (Belgium)
  3. Mustang (France)
  4. Theeb (Jordan)

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees

  1. Edward Lachman for Carol
  2. Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant
  3. Roger Deakins for Sicario
  4. John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road
  5. Dariusz Wolski for The Martian

Other Possibilities

  1. Robert Richardson for The Hateful Eight
  2. Janusz Kaminski for Bridge of Spies
  3. Danny Cohen for The Danish Girl
  4. Maryse Alberti for Creed
  5. Yves Belanger for Brooklyn

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees

  1. Judy Becker for Carol
  2. Dante Ferretti for Cinderella
  3. Adam Stockhausen for The Martian
  4. Jack Fisk for The Revenant
  5. Arthur Max for The Martian

Other Possibilities

  1. Ethan Tobman for Room
  2. Eve Stewart for The Danish Girl
  3. Colin Gibson for Mad Max: Fury Road
  4. Rick Carter for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
  5. Thomas E. Sanders for Crimson Peak

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees

  1. The Revenant
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road
  3. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
  4. The Martian
  5. Straight Outta Compton

Other Possibilities

  1. The Hateful Eight
  2. Sicario
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Youth
  5. Bridge of Spies

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees

  1. The Revenant
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road
  3. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
  4. The Martian
  5. Sicario

Other Possibilities

  1. The Hateful Eight
  2. Creed
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Bridge of Spies
  5. Jurassic World

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees

  1. Paco Delgado for The Danish Girl
  2. Sandy Powell for Cinderella
  3. Kate Hawley for Crimson Peak
  4. Sandy Powell for Carol
  5. Jenny Beavan for Mad Max: Fury Road

Other Possibilities

  1. Odile Dicks-Mireau for Brooklyn
  2. Janet Patterson for Far from the Madding Crowd
  3. Jacqueline West for The Revenant
  4. Courtney Hoffman for The Hateful Eight
  5. Daniel Orlandi for Trumbo

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees

  1. Carter Burwell for Carol
  2. Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight
  3. John Williams for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
  4. Alexandre Desplat for The Danish Girl
  5. Thomas Newman for Bridge of Spies

Other Possibilities

  1. Howard Shore for Spotlight
  2. Jóhann Jóhannson for Sicario
  3. Michael Giacchino for Up
  4. Patrick Doyle for Cinderella
  5. Daniel Pemberton for Steve Jobs

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees

  1. The Look of Silence
  2. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
  3. Amy
  4. The Hunting Ground
  5. He Named Me Malala

The Rest of the List

  1. Listen to Me Marlon
  2. What Happened, Miss Simone?
  3. Meru
  4. Cartel Land
  5. Where to Invade Next
  6. Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
  7. We Come as Friends
  8. 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets
  9. Heart of a Dog
  10. Best of Enemies

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees

  1. Inside Out
  2. Anomalisa
  3. Shaun the Sheep Movie
  4. Boy and the World
  5. The Good Dinosaur

Other Possibilities

  1. Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
  2. When Marnie Was There
  3. The Peanuts Movie
  4. Minions
  5. Home

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
  3. The Martian
  4. Jurassic World
  5. The Revenant

The Rest of the List

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Ant-Man
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Furious 7
  5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
  6. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
  7. Jupiter Ascending
  8. Terminator Genisys
  9. Tomorrowland
  10. Chappie
  11. Everest
  12. Bridge of Spies
  13. In the Heart of the Sea
  14. Spectre
  15. The Walk

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. The Revenant
  3. Black Mass

The Rest of the List

  1. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
  2. Mr. Holmes
  3. Legend
  4. Concussion

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees

  1. “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground
  2. “See You Again” from Furious 7
  3. “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre
  4. “Simple Song #3” from Youth
  5. “Love Me Like You Do” from Fifty Shades of Grey

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