On Thursday, January 14, the list was finally announced. After months and months of speculation, the nominees have been released. It seems that after much backlash from last year's Oscars, with the Academy nominating mostly caucasian actors, nothing much has changed this year. As soon as the nominees were announced the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite dominated social media again. Right now, director Spike Lee has discussed the racial problems with the Academy, and Jada Pinkett Smith has joined him too. As a critic, viewer, and overall a person who loves movies, there is something obviously wrong in the industry.
The Oscars are a prestigious ceremony that should celebrate all types of films, and right now it definitely looks like they are set in stone that the nominations announced were the best of 2015--when there are so many more that could be nominated. For example, Sylvester Stallone received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Creed, while the lead, Michael B. Jordan, received no nomination whatsoever. It’s a tight competition but Stallone is the top contender when he was the only prevalent white character in the movie among a mostly black cast. Nevertheless, here are predictions for the 88th Academy Awards..
Best Picture: This one could go either way; between The Revenant, or Mad Max: Fury Road, (proving that a summer blockbuster can hold potential for an award). Mad Max, in my opinion, is the movie of the year; an action packed, epic apocalyptic movie that holds a solid (and actually amazing) 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. But while The Revenant holds the most nominations out of all the films and delivers, is it fair that Alejandro Inarritu’s film wins again? The movie is up front and personal; one man’s brutal motivation to stay alive. Spotlight, another contender, has a journalistic storyline that bears a lot of resemblance to All the President’s Men (but how many of you have seen that?, so I guess it’s okay to repeat the similar screenplay after all these years…). The Big Short, won big at the Producer Guild Awards, is one of the three big studio “talking heads” films put out this year (Spotlight and Steve Jobs being the other two). My hope vote is that fantasy, Sci-Fi action will win out over talking heads and realistic action (Alejandro).
Best Actor: After five, long nominations it's going to be Leo’s year.
Best Actress: The questionable nomination was Jennifer Lawrence in Joy. Is whatever Jennifer in going to be automatically nominated? Joy was not given such high marks by critics and they didn’t like the fact that Lawrence was too young for the role--almost twenty years younger than the woman she is portraying.Theron was a longshot but I hoped she would make the cut for Mad Max. The biggest contenders are Brie Larson for Room, (she’s rather new to larger audiences, yet she had a part in 21 Jump Street and Scott Pilgrim vs the World). Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn is the only one to give Larson a run for her money. But maybe those voting (Academy life long members) are mostly over 50, putting a real possibility that Charlotte Rampling will get the “respect and sympathy” winning votes.
Best Supporting Actor: My heart wants to say Christian Bale for The Big Short, but my brain wants to say Tom Hardy in The Revenant. The supporting categories are so much more fun to look at since there seems to be more competition and mystery to who could win. This one is an extremely tough call. Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight (save the children) could snag it. Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies, or even Sylvester Stallone (respect and sympathy votes) But Tom Hardy could just as easily been nominated for Mad Max too.
Best Supporting Actress: This year's nominations were a bit strange, since some of these roles could’ve been in the “Best Actress” category. Rooney Mara could have easily switched with Cate Blanchett for Carol, and Jennifer Jason Leigh was the only prevalent female in The Hateful Eight. Kate Winslet picked up the Golden Globe earlier this month, and everyone was shocked. Again, the Hollywood Foreign Press is not the Academy, so it could swing either way. I would love to see Rachel McAdams up there, Leigh, or Alicia Vikander come Feb 28th. Mara is the critic favorite, but my vote is on Winslet.
Best Director: If Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu wins for the consecutive time this year for The Revenant this will be the first time this has happened since the 1950’s. George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road will most likely take home the statue, unless Inarritu picks up the same pace from the Director's Guild Awards. I think a potential spoiler might be Tom McCarthy for Spotlight, but Miller is the favorite among the Academy.
Best Original Screenplay: Inside Out with excellent clever, creative direction that appealed to both children and adults, will definitely win on Oscar night. Personally, I just would love for the film to win two awards--Best Animated Feature as well.
Best Cinematography: This is one of my favorites. Between Mad Max, The Hateful Eight, and The Revenant, all so beautifully done it's extremely hard to choose. A surprise might be Mad Max, but Emmanuel Lubezki will get his three-peat for The Revenant ultimately.
Best Adapted Screenplay: My inner nerd wants Drew Goddard to win for The Martian only for the fact that he was the showrunner for Netflix’s series Daredevil, if I’m being completely honest. BUT the predicted winner goes to The Big Short.
Best Film Editing:Previously skimming over this category, but last year all the hype over Whiplash’s editing was so crazy, so this is an extremely important category. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is nominated and well, again I secretly hope that wins, but The Big Short was so well done with getting the 2008 recession right is definitely something that any voter cannot pass up.
Best Original Score/Song: I think any Star Wars fan wants the excuse just to see John Williams on stage, but The Hateful Eight is such an epic soundtrack that it might just kick it to the curb. For Best Song, Lady Gaga’s song “Til It Happens to You” from the sexual assault documentary, The Hunting Ground is the top contender.I am missing out on a couple categories, but these are the ones that will make the most influence come Feb.28th. Place your bets now! A lot can happen in just a couple weeks, especially with the boycott, and the Academy changing its rules for more diverse branches of artists. This might make this Oscars the one to watch since a lot of change needs to happen in Hollywood for the upcoming years.