2016 Oscar Predictions

And the Academy Award Goes To…

The votes are in and the nominations have been announced! This past week has been exciting for filmmakers and cineastes alike, who will be prognosticating (including myself) from now until the ceremony final arrives next month. It is a competitive field no doubt, with a lot of different styles and genres represented across the board. The dreadfully serious, typically drama-laden fare is not the norm for the 2016 Oscars. No. What we have this year instead is a collection of outsider and crowd pleasing titles that once again prove that great quality can be found outside of the studio system. Despite some having major financiers, these movies are almost exclusively the direct result of auteurs given full control of their sets to explore the depths of the cinematic experience.

It should also be noted that this past year in film has been excellent in terms of strong female roles. The Best Actress race in particular is certainly more intriguing than its male counterpart. Along with those that were nominated, a bevy of interesting and confident actresses went to great lengths to prove that they too have stories to tell and can tell them well. Just to give you an example of a few noteworthy performances that weren’t nominated this year: Elizabeth Moss (Queen of Earth), Lily Tomlin (Grandma), Carey Mulligan (Suffragette), and yes – Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria). I certainly wish for this trend to continue into 2016, and hopefully we get some more compelling females behind the camera as well as in front of it.

Now I’m thrilled to share with you my picks for the fourteen categories that I predominantly follow. Some races are tighter than others (Best Supporting Actor being the hardest to pick), but overall I’m fairly confident with my selections. Let me know what you agree or disagree with in the comments section below.

All predicted winners are shown in BOLD


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


  • Adam McKay – The Big Short
  • George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
  • Lenny Abrahamson – Room
  • Tom McCarthy – Spotlight


  • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
  • Matt Damon – The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl


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


  • Christian Bale – The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy – The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone – Creed


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


  • Matt Charman and Joel & Ethan Coen – Bridge of Spies
  • Alex Garland – Ex Machina
  • Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley – Inside Out
  • Thomas McCarthy and Josh Singer – Spotlight
  • Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff – Straight Outta Compton


  • Charles Randolph and Adam McKay – The Big Short
  • Nick Hornby – Brooklyn
  • Phyllis Nagy – Carol
  • Drew Goddard – The Martian
  • Emma Donoghue – Room


  • Ed Lachman – Carol
  • Robert Richardson – The Hateful Eight
  • John Seale – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Emmanuel Lubezki – The Revenant
  • Roger Deakins – Sicario


  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire


  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There


  • Hank Corwin – The Big Short
  • Margaret Sixel Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Stephen Mirrione – The Revenant
  • Tom McArdle – Spotlight
  • Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey – Star Wars: The Force Awakens


  • Embrace of the Serpent
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul
  • Theeb
  • A War


  • Thomas Newman – Bridge of Spies
  • Carter Burwell – Carol
  • Ennio Morricone – The Hateful Eight
  • Jóhann Jóhannsson – Sicario
  • John Williams – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

In terms of snubs, I believe there were a few glaring omissions. Chiefly, The Hateful Eight and Steve Jobs should’ve gotten writing nominations over Straight Outta Compton (which itself should have gotten a Best Picture nomination instead of screenplay) and Carol (which also should have been nominated over Bridge of Spies), respectively. The fact the Quentin Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin – typically titans of the writing category – were neglected this year for extremely deserving work is disappointing. The other most notable absence is Ridley Scott from the Best Directing race. While I won’t take anything away from Lenny Abrahamson for his sensitive direction of Room, his inclusion is certainly a surprise when all signs seemed to point to Scott who directed his best film since 2012’s Prometheus. Lastly, the one person who has the strongest case to be upset with the voters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is Idris Elba, who was left out for his turn as “Commandant” in the Netflix original film Beasts of No Nation. I don’t know if I’d consider it an egregious snub (since as I mentioned earlier the Best Supporting Actor race is loaded this year) but he definitely earned serious consideration, if not a nomination.

So there you have it. From now until the end of February, the focus of the film world will be to discuss, debate, promote, protest, and predict who they think should win a given category. Certain films will gain momentum while others may lose steam and drop off from their considerable hot starts. Whatever the case, it’s hard not to get genuinely excited by the prospect of rewarding the best 2015 had to offer. This is my Super Bowl.

The 88th Academy Awards will take place on February 28th, 2016 on ABC, 8:30 p.m. EST. Hosted by Chris Rock.




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