The more in-depth article of our main predictions will occur after some more of the preliminary results come in from SAG and Critics Choice, but here’s something to keep the Oscar whistle wet, as we talk about the production categories and secondary film categories. Each category will have the nominees listed, along with our projected winner. Again, stay tuned for the second article that goes in depth about Picture, Actor and Supporting Actor, Actress and Supporting Actress, Original and Adapted Screenplay, and Directing. The other awards will be listed in this column.
Best Animated Feature:
Anomalisa, Boy and the World, Inside Out, Shaun the Sheep, and When Marnie Was There
Will Win: Inside Out, Could Win: Anomalisa
Should Win: Anomalisa, Should Be Here: The Peanuts Movie
-This is a pretty easy category to pick, although the Academy did surprise with a few of the choices that got nominated here. Boy and the World was off of everyone’s lists, including mine, and the nomination for Studio Ghibli gets them back in the ring with When Marnie Was There, even if this is the last film to be created by the Studio. Shaun the Sheep will get a few votes, but don’t really consider it to be a possibility. Surprised Peanuts Movie didn’t make it, but there’s only so many spots in a decent year for animated movies. I thank everyone for leaving off The Good Dinosaur which was a monster disappointment. -This essentially leaves it between Inside Out and Anomalisa, one the children’s film that tends to lead the category, and the other, the Indie art film that challenges. We’ve seen it with Big Hero 6 defeating The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and with Frozen defeating The Wind Rises. I expect that trend to continue with Inside Out winning Pixar their 8th Oscar for Animated Film.
Carol, The Hateful Eight, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Sicario
Will Win: The Revenant, Could Win: Sicario
Should Win: The Revenant, Should Be Here: Fifty Shades of Grey
-The main candidates got in here with The Revenant, Sicario, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Carol. They were shoe-ins from the beginning. The fifth spot was between Robert Richardson for The Hateful Eight (some people like Tarantino’s visual style, others do not) or Janusz Kaminski for the gorgeously framed Bridge of Spies. I will give my normal ‘Fifty Shades is not a bad movie’ complaint and beg for Seamus McGarvey, a two-time nominated cinematographer and snubbed for his third again in two straight years after Godzilla last year, to get his due. Obviously because of the name, he won’t but we can wish. It’s tough to say that Edward Lachmann and Todd Haynes’s collaboration on Carol isn’t worthy, because it is shot really well, same with John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road, but the race comes down again to the two best guys in the business: Emmanuel Lubezki and Roger Deakins. -Deakins was an early front-runner for Sicario especially with the large landscape scenes along with the very intimate suspense sequences that utilize the best night-vision I’ve ever seen in a film. It had my vote all the way until we saw Lubezki’s work in The Revenant, and there should be no question now about who wins. It will be three straight (Gravity and Birdman) for him and damn is the movie gorgeous.
Best Costume Design:
Carol, Cinderella, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant
Will Win: The Danish Girl, Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win: The Danish Girl, Should Be Here: Brooklyn
-I never really thought that this would be a complicated category, but it actually became one when Sandy Powell, a several time nominee, got nominated twice for Carol and Cinderella. Considering these two will probably now split votes, it means that The Danish Girl can take votes for the best period piece costume, the type of work that usually wins this award. It’s a deserving win, with the main challenger being the outlandish costumes in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Best Film Editing:
The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road, Could Win: The Big Short
Should Win: The Big Short, Should Be Here: Sicario
-Will the Academy go for the rapid fire editing of The Big Short, or do the action films on the list have a better chance? Very manic editing with rapid cuts has been a favorite for the Academy recently and the way that The Big Short does very animated cutaway gags and effectively positions very fractured scenes together in a positive way is a testament to great editing. The challengers are Mad Max, The Revenant, and Star Wars, and truthfully, it’s tough to imagine any of these getting enough of a surge to take down The Big Short. It’d be nice to see Sicario here after the way some of the action/night-vision scenes were cut together, but it was clearly not on the Academy’s mind as one of the crowning movies of the year. In the end, I think Mad Max will have enough love in the technical categories to do it, it’s also a very rapid-fire kind of editing that the academy would love.
Best Foreign Language Film: It will be Son of Saul. There’s no discussion.
Embrace of the Serpent, Mustang, Son of Saul, Theeb, A War
Will Win: Son of Saul, Could Win: Maybe Mustang
Should Win: Son of Saul, Should Be Here: Labyrinth of Lies
Best Make-Up and Hair:
Mad Max: Fury Road, The 100-Year-Old Man, The Revenant
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road, Could Win: The Revenant
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road, Should Be Here: Black Mass
-The only three-film nomination category, Make-Up in Hair is pretty much a shoe-in for Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s the type of film that required some of the most unique design in both the costumes and make-up, so although the period piece drama will steal costume away from Mad Max, this is the category where it will be made up. The Revenant did a great job with it as well, but it’s not quite as flashy. Also, Black Mass should’ve been the third nomination for what they did to Johnny Depp in that movie. He looked like a different person, and it was outstanding.
Bridge of Spies, Carol, The Hateful Eight, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Will Win: The Hateful Eight, Could Win: Star Wars
Should Win: The Hateful Eight, Should Be Here: The Danish Girl
-It’s a great category, but the nominees are a little bit weaker than the last few years. I don’t really see a way that Ennio Morricone, who’s never won, doesn’t win for The Hateful Eight, especially after Tarantino wrote an overture into the film in order to show off the great score. Star Wars and Carol are the main challengers, as John Williams resurrected Star Wars to be one of the crowning achievements of the year. Also, Johann Johannson’s work in Sicario is both brutal and excellent. The only rip off in terms of not getting nominated is last year’s winner Alexandre Desplat getting snubbed for his work in The Danish Girl. That movie had a very good and fitting score.
“Earned It”-Fifty Shades of Grey, “Manta Ray”-Racing Extinction, “Simple Song #3”-Youth
“Til It Happens to You”- The Hunting Ground, “Writing’s On the Wall”- Spectre
Will Win: Spectre, Could Win: The Hunting Ground
Should Win: Fifty Shades of Grey, Should Be Here: “Love Me Like You Do”-Fifty Shades of Grey
-This category is all messed up, and one of the only categories in which I will be openly upset with the winner. It seems Sam Smith is on his way to the Oscar for doing the Spectre theme, a boring, plodding, uninspired Bond theme that doesn’t deserve to mentioned in the same breath as some of the other songs nominated in this category. The other song that’s not quite as good is the Lady Gaga song “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground which also has a chance to win. Being snubbed is Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do,” Eminem’s “Phenomenal,” Sia’s “Salted Wound,” Jesse J’s “Flashlight,” and “Grip” from Creed. Whatever. Sam Smith it is.
Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing:
Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens,
-One Sound Award each for Mad Max and Star Wars, the two most technically advanced action films of the year. The Martian and The Revenant will take away some votes, but it seems more likely that the larger pictures win this one.
Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Will Win: Star Wars, Could Win: Mad Max
Should Win: Star Wars, Should Be Here: Jurassic World
-This will be a close race, as many could even predict The Revenant to be the front-runner here because of the way they portrayed a few scenes in the film, notably the bear sequence. That being said, there will be enough love for the practical effects but still vast scenery of Star Wars for it to get a win, and the budget certainly reflects that. It’s nice to Ex Machina here because of the A.I. costume work, as well as the great rustic scenery on Mars in The Martian, but those two really don’t have much of a chance. I suspect that there will be enough support for Star Wars to get it over the hump in this category. The notable snub, of course, is Jurassic World a film with some great dinosaur effects. It’s surprising, but the technical awards definitely went to more legitimately purposed movies, as opposed to just dead popcorn flicks. Either way, it’s tough to argue that there weren’t breathtaking visuals in the newest Jurassic Park film.