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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oscar 2015 Prediction: Best Picture and Director

Alejandro Innaritu is on the cusp of Oscar history. He has a chance, should he win Best Director tonight, to be the third winner to win back-to-back Oscars, following John Ford (1940-41) and Joseph L. Manckiewicz (1949-50). But he also has a chance to do something no director has ever done--direct back-to-back Best Picture winners. My money is on that to happen.

The Best Picture race has been one of the most fascinating in recent years, as there has been no solid favorite, and momentum has seemingly shifted. The Golden Globes went to The Revenant for Drama and The Martian for Comedy (?). The Producers Guild Award went to The Big Short, so for a while that was a favorite. Then Spotlight grabbed the Screen Actors Guild Best Ensemble, which put that back in the limelight. But finally, The Revenant won BAFTA and then the most important, Innaritu won the DGA. So, despite The Revenant not having a screenplay award, I'm betting that it will win, becoming the first since Titanic to do that.

Could another film win? Sure, and it would probably be The Big Short, for it's serio-comic look at the mortgage collapse. But it hasn't won anything since the PGA, and the only other award it seems to be in line for is Best Adapted Screenplay. It's been eighty years since a Best Picture winner won less than three Oscars, so it's hard to believe voters will consolidate their affection in only two categories.

Spotlight has really faded. It did win the Independent Spirit Award, but that was after Oscar voting had ended. For a while during the fall it was the film to beat, but perhaps some found the comparisons to All the President's Men a bit much, and the film really doesn't have a knockout scene that people remember.

Mad Max: Fury Road had an outside shot at Best Picture, as it hits the sweet spot between pure popcorn movie exhilaration and critical acclaim, but George Miller not winning the DGA killed it. It is very likely to win five or six below-the-line Oscars, but nothing in the major categories (sorry, editing is below the line). Still, when this picture was conceived, nobody could have thought it would be here.

No other films of the remaining four stand a shot. For a while The Martian was considered a frontrunner (back in October, natch) but Ridley Scott getting snubbed the by the DGA killed its chances. Bridge of Spies, with the pedigree of Steven Spielberg and the Coen Brothers, seemed a better chance, but it has absolutely zero precursor wins. Ditto for Room, which does have a Best Director nomination and a Screenplay nomination, but has been left out of the discussion, and Brooklyn, a sweet film but not one that belongs here.

Will Win: The Revenant
Could Win: The Big Short
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Have Been Nominated: Carol

Here are my predictions for all the nominations:

Best Picture: The Revenant
Best Director: Alejandro Innaritu
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Actress: Brie Larson
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander
Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Best Animated Film: Inside Out
Best Cinematography: The Revenant
Best Editing: Mad Max
Best Production Design: Mad Max
Best Costume Design: Mad Max
Best Song: The Hunting Ground
Best Musical Score: Hateful Eight
Best Documentary Feature: Amy
Best Documentary Short Subject: Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
Best Makeup and Hairstyles: Mad Max
Best Animated Short Subject: World of Tomorrow
Best Live Action Short Subject: Day One
Best Sound Editing: Mad Max
Best Sound Mixing: The Revenant
Best Visual Effects: Star Wars

1 comment:

  1. I got 17 right, not a great night for me. But I enjoy being surprised, which I was by Best Picture.

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