My 88th Annual Academy Awards predictions *updated with winners*

Oscar statues

Edit: Updated with winners below. Read my review of the ceremony here.

The Oscars are tomorrow morning, and I wanted to get my predictions in — or more accurately, my wishlist — before results are announced. I haven’t watched all the movies, much less the documentaries and shorts — everything I’ve chosen is based on awards that have already been given out, analyses I’ve read from entertainment blogs and trade magazines, and pure guesses. (The last makes up about 75% of my picks, since even the “experts” are stymied this year. It has been an unpredictable awards season.)

Best Motion Picture of the Year


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

Best Picture seems to be a three-way tie among The Big Short, Spotlight and The Revenant, as all three movies have won major awards that in the past have prognosticated the Best Picture winners. Regardless of all that, I’m hoping that these three movies will split the vote and allow Mad Max: Fury Road to surge ahead, because I love that movie SO MUCH. Other people have extolled its virtues much better than I ever can; but if you ask me why *I* loved it, it was because I had been extremely skeptical about it until I saw it in all its crazy glory. It had a kickass heroine (Charlize Theron should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress), who was put on equal footing with the hero whose name was in the title, and the relationship remained purely platonic, re: neither of them falls in love with each other, because the filmmakers recognised that it was not necessary. That alone already distinguishes it from the typical action fare that Hollywood churns out on a yearly basis.

This platonic yet perfect relationship between Furiosa and Max is probably my favourite reason for loving this movie. Throw in the amazing stunts (done for real!), the absolutely gorgeous score, the bizarreness of the War Boys and their slavish devotion to Immortan Joe and penchant for yelling out catchphrases like “WITNESS ME!” before dying heroically for their cause, underlying issues of feminism and environmentalism that speak to it being deeper than just a “road chase” movie; hell, never has a “summer blockbuster” been more worthy of an Oscar.

I don’t even care if it incites backlash and discussions for years to come about how it was one of the most undeserving Best Picture winners (it isn’t, by the way. If The Revenant does win though…). At least it will ride eternal, shiny and chrome in the halls of Oscar statuettes.

The Revenant has the momentum now after clinching the Golden Globe, the Bafta and the Director’s Guild awards; but gosh, if that torturous movie wins Best Picture, the Academy really ought to have their tastes checked. (Even though I praised them when they had the balls to nominate Mad Max in 10 categories.) I’ve gone deeper into my reasons for disliking it so much in another post, but for now, let me sum it up: beyond all the flashy camera movements, beautiful visuals and Leonardo DiCaprio suffering for his art, there’s really not much to this story of survival and revenge. Worst thing, it dragged. I wouldn’t mind if Spotlight or The Big Short won — both were excellent films that threw light on important issues — but not The Revenant. No way in freaking hell The Revenant.

*edit* It isn’t The Revenant! 😀

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role


  • Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”
  • Matt Damon in “The Martian”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant” — WINNER
  • Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”
  • Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”

If Leo doesn’t win this, I’ll be shocked. It’s his year, and I would love for him to stop being an internet meme. Even though I wish he wasn’t winning for this awful movie. Honestly, if I wanted to watch him foaming and spitting at the mouth, I would watch The Wolf of Wall Street instead, where he was far better. And I would have gotten a barrel of laughs out of it too, instead of 2h 36mins of alternating torture and boredom.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role


  • Cate Blanchett in “Carol”
  • Brie Larson in “Room” — WINNER
  • Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”
  • Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”
  • Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”

Brie Larson has the momentum after winning most of the awards leading up to the Oscars. (I doubt I will ever watch Room though.)

*edit* She won too. Maybe I might watch Room. Some day in the distant future.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role


  • Christian Bale in “The Big Short”
  • Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”
  • Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”
  • Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies” — WINNER
  • Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”

Let’s just say Sylvester Stallone will win, though Creed is the only movie in this category that I didn’t watch. It’s another “it’s his year” thing, since Sylvester Stallone seems unlikely to ever be nominated for an Oscar again, and the Academy tends to reward older actors with such a narrative. Especially since it was for a role he originated nearly 40 years ago and was also nominated for, but lost back then.

*edit* Apparently Sly has enemies in the industry? But Mark Rylance was great too.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role


  • Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”
  • Rooney Mara in “Carol”
  • Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”
  • Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl” — WINNER
  • Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”

Alicia Vikander seems to have the advantage. Kate Winslet won some awards leading up to the Oscars too (and it would be amazing to have Leo and Kate in the same winners’ room backstage after the Oscars); but too few people watched Steve Jobs, so I’m not hopeful about that.

Best Achievement in Directing


  • “The Big Short”: Adam McKay
  • “Mad Max: Fury Road”: George Miller
  • “The Revenant”: Alejandro González Iñárritu — WINNER
  • “Room”: Lenny Abrahamson
  • “Spotlight”: Tom McCarthy

Even though Iñárritu won the Director’s Guild Award, which usually predicts the winner of Best Director, he already won last year. More importantly though, The Revenant was not a good film. I want George Miller to win this. A 70-year-old schooled younger filmmakers in how to make coherent action movies — you’ve got to give him props for that.

*edit* They didn’t give George Miller props. :'( They rewarded Iñárritu two years in a row though, which is an amazing achievement for him!

Best Adapted Screenplay


  • “The Big Short”: Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay — WINNER
  • “Brooklyn”: Screenplay by Nick Hornby
  • “Carol”: Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
  • “The Martian”: Screenplay by Drew Goddard
  • “Room”: Screenplay by Emma Donoghue

I’m going to guess The Big Short. It took a very technical subject and made it digestible AND entertaining, if not wholly understandable, for people not well-versed in financial gobbledygook. By the end of the movie, I was very angry all over again with the banks and the stupid executives earning their fat bonuses despite engineering the economy into a shithole, and by the way, YOU should be too. The Big Short is a film everyone should watch.

Best Original Screenplay


  • “Bridge of Spies”: Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
  • “Ex Machina”: Written by Alex Garland
  • “Inside Out”: Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
  • “Spotlight”: Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy — WINNER
  • “Straight Outta Compton”: Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

The Academy could award Straight Outta Compton, a black narrative story, to counter all the #OscarsSoWhite controversy this year (though the screenplay was written by white writers), but Spotlight was great. It was a quiet and intense film about the investigative journalistic process, devoid of any “Eureka!” moments, that was nevertheless highly effective in reminding everyone that THE CATHOLIC CHURCH CONDONED SEXUAL ABUSE, HELLO, DON’T FORGET THAT. Spotlight is another film that everyone should watch too.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year


  • “Anomalisa”: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
  • “Boy and the World”: Alê Abreu
  • “Inside Out”: Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera — WINNER
  • “Shaun the Sheep Movie”: Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
  • “When Marnie Was There”: Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Inside Out will win. It’s the most accessible (most of the Academy members would have watched it), best reviewed movie among all the nominees. I don’t think it’s Pixar’s best movie — Up and Toy Story 3 are better in my opinion, but Bing Bong made me bawl my eyes out.

Best Documentary Feature


  • “Amy”: Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees — WINNER
  • “Cartel Land”: Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
  • “The Look of Silence”: Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
  • “What Happened, Miss Simone?”: Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
  • “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”: Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Dunno??? I’m just guessing.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year


  • “Embrace of the Serpent”: Colombia
  • “Mustang”: France
  • “Son of Saul”: Hungary — WINNER
  • “Theeb”: Jordan
  • “A War”: Denmark

I’ve heard more buzz for Son of Saul than all the rest of the movies.

Best Achievement in Cinematography


“Carol”: Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight”: Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road”: John Seale
“The Revenant”: Emmanuel Lubezki — WINNER
“Sicario”: Roger Deakins

If there was one thing good about The Revenant, it was the cinematography. The industry seems in awe of Emmanuel Lubezki’s prowess with the camera, so it seems likely that he will win for the third year in a row — making him the first to win three Oscars consecutively. (He previously won for Gravity and Birdman.)

Best Achievement in Costume Design


  • “Carol”: Sandy Powell
  • “Cinderella”: Sandy Powell
  • “The Danish Girl”: Paco Delgado
  • “Mad Max: Fury Road”: Jenny Beavan — WINNER
  • “The Revenant”: Jacqueline West

Best Documentary Short Subject


  • “Body Team 12”: David Darg and Bryn Mooser
  • “Chau, beyond the Lines”: Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
  • “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”: Adam Benzine
  • “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy — WINNER
  • “Last Day of Freedom”: Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Best Achievement in Film Editing


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

Why was The Revenant even nominated??? That movie was too freaking long!

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling


  • “Mad Max: Fury Road”: Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin — WINNER
  • “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared”: Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
  • “The Revenant”: Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score


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

The Hateful Eight had a mischievous, suspenseful score that heightened the murder mystery. I’m glad it’s being recognised.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song


  • “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”: Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
  • “Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”: J. Ralph and Antony Hegarty
  • “Simple Song #3” from “Youth”: David Lang
  • “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”: Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
  • “Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre”: Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith — WINNER

Why is “Writing’s On The Wall” nominated and not “See You Again”? I think the latter is overplayed, but the former wasn’t good at all.


Best Achievement in Production Design


  • “Bridge of Spies”: Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
  • “The Danish Girl”: Eve Stewart and Michael Standish
  • “Mad Max: Fury Road”: Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson — WINNER
  • “The Martian”: Arthur Max and Celia Bobak
  • “The Revenant”: Jack Fisk and Hamish Purdy

Best Animated Short Film


“Bear Story”: Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala — WINNER
“Prologue”: Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
“Sanjay’s Super Team”: Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos”: Konstantin Bronzit
“World of Tomorrow”: Don Hertzfeldt

Best Live Action Short Film


  • “Ave Maria”: Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
  • “Day One”: Henry Hughes
  • “Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)”: Patrick Vollrath
  • “Shok”: Jamie Donoughue
  • “Stutterer”: Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage — WINNER

Best Achievement in Sound Editing


  • “Mad Max: Fury Road”: Mark Mangini and David White — WINNER
  • “The Martian”: Oliver Tarney
  • “The Revenant”: Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
  • “Sicario”: Alan Robert Murray
  • “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”: Matthew Wood and David Acord

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing


  • “Bridge of Spies”: Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
  • “Mad Max: Fury Road”: Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo — WINNER
  • “The Martian”: Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
  • “The Revenant”: Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
  • “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”: Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

What’s the difference between sound editing and sound mixing? Who knows. I’m guessing Star Wars, because most people (including Academy voters) loved The Force Awakens, and this is their only chance to give it some Oscars.

*edit* BUT I’M SO GLAD THAT MAD MAX WON INSTEAD! 😀 (Even though I still don’t know what’s the difference.)

Best Achievement in Visual Effects


  • “Ex Machina”: Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett — WINNER
  • “Mad Max: Fury Road”: Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
  • “The Martian”: Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
  • “The Revenant”: Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
  • “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”: Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Honestly, I don’t have a clue who will or won’t win. But if Mad Max proves me wrong and sweeps all the categories it was nominated for, I will be jumping for joy and squealing very loudly tomorrow morning.

Final score: 15 out of 24 in an unpredictable year. Cool. 🙂

*edit* Though Mad Max didn’t pull off an upset win, I’m delighted it won the most awards of the night with 6 wins out of its 10 nominations! 😀

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