Our 2016 Oscar Winner predictions

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, you might have noticed that the Oscars are fast approaching. With a scandal having already surfaced, the debauched pageant returns with its tail between its cosmetically enhanced legs. But, there’s no better way to get back in the awards season mood than anticipating the eventual winners of the most esteemed and inherently ridiculous competition in film.

Best Picture

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

For some time, Spotlight appeared to be the early frontrunner for the Academy’s most sought-after prize. Spotlight’s ensemble cast coupled with its ability to tackle a provocative subject, without lapsing into melodrama, made for a mesmerising watch.

However, just as last year’s eventual winner Birdman beat indie-darling Boyhood to the punch in a two-horse race; Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s follow-up, The Revenant, looks likely to do the same after building momentum from wins at The Golden Globes and The BAFTAs.

The Winner: The Revenant
The Outside Chance: Spotlight

Best Director

Nominees: Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), Adam McKay (The Big Short), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant), Lenny Abrahamson (Room)

This year the Best Director category seems to have followed a similar path as the award for Best Picture. George Miller’s work on Mad Max: Fury Road is an incredible testament to film’s ability to generate exhilaration and pure insanity. Miller was rightly an early favourite for fashioning a post-apocalyptic narrative of inconceivable grandeur. Who would have suspected that a blind, flame-throwing guitarist strapped to a truck would be a part of an Oscar-worthy film?

Yet, once again, Iñárritu looks likely to spoil the party with his helming of the utterly disorientating western, The Revenant. Indeed, Leonardo DiCaprio’s description of the director’s extreme attempts to generate a cathartic, terror-riddled journey is exactly what the judging panel would want to hear. “[Alejandro] wanted to go into the heart of darkness, and not only film nature, but really immerse himself in a completely transformative experience.”

The Winner: Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant)
The Outside Chance: George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)


Best Actor

Nominees: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

In case you hadn’t already noticed the theme, The Revenant is incredibly likely to sweep the majority of the big awards this year. Indeed, if Leonardo DiCaprio fails to finally win an Oscar there is likely to be utter pandemonium. With a whole host of reasons why it’s Leo’s year, it’s becoming increasingly harder to look past the iconic film star for the award.

The only reasonable threat comes from Michael Fassbender as the titular star in Steve Jobs. Yet, the films status as a near-testimonial to the iconic figure, together with the fact that academy sweetheart Eddie Redmayne is unlikely to win two years in a row (Danish Girl), means that it’s an almost certainty that DiCaprio’s trophy room will finally be complete.

The Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
The Outside Chance: Not a chance

Best Actress

Nominees: Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy).

With the wish of sounding entirely facile, boy oh boy did Brie Larson entirely convince us that she was trapped in a room. Larson’s nuanced, traumatic portrayal of a mother held captive in Room has deservedly set the actress for great success. Her ability to fully convey the psychological fallout of such a harrowing event has surely earmarked Larson for what would be an unexpected award some few years ago. Perhaps only Saorise Ronan’s moving performance in Brooklyn remains a minor complication in what is now a head-to-head race with two of cinema’s greatest young talents.

The Winner: Brie Larson (Room)
The Outside Chance: Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Spotlight, Straight Outta Compton.

With Spotlight unlikely to win either Best Picture, or Best Director for Tom McCarthy, it’s likely that a prize for Best Original Screenplay will be awarded based partly on Spotlight missing out elsewhere. That’s not to say Spotlight’s writing isn’t spectacular, far from it. In fact, at the crux of the drama’s triumphs is its terse, incendiary dialogue; which does what the Spotlight team itself set out to do, avoid a hackneyed attempt on a crucial topic by elevating and emphasising the written word.

The Winner: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight)
The Outside Chance: Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen (Bridge of Spies)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: Room, The Martian, Brooklyn, The Big Short, Carol.

When considering nominees in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay it’s hard to look much further than Adam McKay and Charles Randolph’s elating work in The Big Short. In turning the potentially dry, precise nature of the financial collapse into a romping star-studded caper, McKay and Co. both taught and entertained the masses (watch out for Selena Gomez and Margot Robbie’s bizarre, yet, impressive satirical turns). And, with a deft third act carried by Steve Carrell illuminating the folly of it all, The Big Short’s emotional depth united with its freewheeling tone has deservedly made its writers the favourites for the award.

The Winner: Adam McKay and Charles Randolph (The Big Short)
The Outside Chance: Drew Goddard (The Martian)

Other Major Awards Predictions

Best Supporting Actor – Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

The back story for Sylvester Stallone might just be too perfect for this one. Only once nominated for an Oscar 39 years’ prior for the same role as Rocky Balboa, Stallone will likely, and somewhat unfortunately, beat out Mark Rylance.

Best Supporting Actress – Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)

Vikander’s movement from the Best Actress category to a Best Supporting nomination is likely to be key here; not forgetting the influence of her other tremendous performance in the cerebral sci-fi thriller, Ex Machina.

Best Animated Feature – Inside Out
Best Foreign Language Film – Son of Saul
Best Documentary Feature – Amy
Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)

Further Reading