THE OSCARS ARE handed out Sunday (Monday 2pm NZ time) and this year’s race has been one of the most unpredictable ever. It then seems counterintuitive to try to make sense of who will win when every guide that previously has made the choice clear has been disregarded this year.
Yet, I will give it ago. Most likely these will be the exact opposite of what will happen but it wont stop me arguing their case like they are my own children.
This year is a complete outlier in this category. The three main guide awards have gone in different directions. The Screen Actors’ Guild awarded their top award to Spotlight. They are the largest group of voters but their award is specifically awarded to the cast, so a strong ensemble usually has an advantage with them. The Producer’s Guild (PGA) went with The Big Short. This tends to be a good sign for The Oscars as they also use the confusing preferential ballot system that The Oscars do. The Revenant has won the BAFTA, which I put little to no weight on, and the Directors guild (DGA). While usually a good sign for Oscar glory my gut says this is going to be a better sign for Best Director this year.
Who I want to win: The Big Short, I loved the innovative style and performances in ‘Short’ out of all of the films nominated. Mad Max will be the film that has the best legacy and rightly so. Anything can happen in all honesty.
Who will (probably) win: based solely on how the Producer’s Guild votes I’m going to throw my money behind The Big Short
Again, another race that has broke with convention. Alejandro González Iñárritu won his second consecutive DGA for The Revenant. If he repeats this feat at the Oscars he will be the first director to do so since Joseph L. Mankiewicz did in 1949 and 1950. The Academy is a very different organisation now, but this seems like the safest bet, therefore is probably a bankable prediction.
Who I want to win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road. ‘Visionary’ is used as a descriptive far too often, but Miller’s direction of ‘Max’ is worthy of the word. Alas he will have to settle for being bridesmaid, much like Kubrick and Hitchcock were before. Not bad company.
Who Will win: Alejandro González Iñárritu
If there is one certainty in life along with Death and taxes, it is that Leonardo DiCaprio is going to win best actor this year. Everything is pointing to it. The narrative that he is overdue is being driven intensely, not just by the studio but even by social media. Lock. it. in.
Who I want to win: I would love to see a Matt Damon upset. This would be a huge upset, even though statistically Damon is actually more ‘overdue’. The Academy love a strong narrative though, so Leo wins (this time).
Who will win: Leo, or may god strike me down (looks upwards hopefully)
Another forgone conclusion here. Brie Larson has won every award that leads up to Oscar glory. Start engraving the statue now
Who I want to/ will win: I’m with logic this time. Larson’s performance in ‘Room’ is heartbreaking and nuanced. I watched it on a late night flight back from Thailand and was in a teary mess next to my unsuspecting seat-mate. I’d apologise but they were foreign and made me creep past them to get to the toilet.
Best Supporting Actor:
As has been already covered The Academy loves a good narrative. Sylvester Stallone’s fantastic (re)return to Rocky Balboa, almost forty years after he was first nominated for portraying him originally, is the stuff Oscar glory is made of. The Academy is a group of storytellers and this one is too perfect for them to give up.
Who I want to/ will win: Stallone
Best Supporting Actress
This is a wide open race compared to the other acting categories. Alicia Vikander has had a stellar year between her nominated role in The Danish Girl and the outstanding Ex Machina and has been picking up most of the awards that lean ‘Oscar’. Kate Winslet has been recieving some of the larger accolades for her role in Steve Jobs though, and Jennifer Jason Leigh could be an upset in The Hateful Eight
Who I want to win: I have no horse in this race, none awful, none outstanding
Who will win: probably Vikander, don’t count out Winslet though
I’ve decided not to look into the writing awards too in depth but if The Big Short and Spotlight win Adapted and original screenplay respectively, which I predict they will. It is between them for Best picture.
When it comes to the opening of the envelope though, this more than any year, is open for some surprises.