Movies

88th Academy Awards Predictions: Who Will Win at the 2016 Oscars?

Tonight is the night! Which films will win at the 88th Academy Awards?

This has been a wild awards season that’s been difficult to really get a handle on. The Big Short winning the PGA should put it squarely in the driver’s seat for Best Picture. However, the combination of the DGA win for Alejandro G. Inarritu, and the BAFTA win for The Revenant seems to indicate that the Leondaro DiCaprio-starring epic will take home the big prize. But we can’t exactly count out Spotlight, with its big wins at SAG, WGA and the Independent Spirit Awards. Room also surprised many pundits by scoring a Best Director nomination for Lenny Abrahamson, which seems to suggest pockets of critical support in the big race. And while they’re outside shots, Mad Max_Fury Road and The Martian both have their own credibility-boosting stats in their favor, with the former earning a National Board of Review win and the latter winning a Golden Globe for Best Picture (albeit in the comedy or musical category).

So yeah, to say this is a confusing year is a massive understatement. But I’m going to try my best to parse through it all and hopefully come out on the other side with some right answers. Fingers crossed.

88th Academy Awards Predictions Who Will Win at the 2016 Oscars

Final Oscar Predictions

Best Picture

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

The Big Short is probably the smarter pick, but I just feel it’s The Revenant. The DGA and BAFTA wins were critical, and I think Innaritu is already on-track to win Best Director, which should boost The Revenant’s odds of a Best Picture win. It’s not exactly a science so much as a gut feeling, but The Revenant has been my pick since December, and I’m not going to abandon it now, even though a win here would make Inarritu the first person in history to direct back-to-back Best Picture winners.

Prediction: The Revenant

Best Director

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

This is Inarritu’s to lose. Of course, losing it depends on there being huge pockets of support for one of the other films. George Miller might be able to win out of respect, depending on how badly they want to give him that lifetime achievement honor. But Mad Max is miles away from the type of directing achievement the Academy usually honors. Then again, a win for Inarritu would make him the first person in half a century to win back-to-back directing Oscars, so the stats are against him (just as they are in the Best Picture race).

Prediction: Alejandro G. Innaritu, The Revenant

Best Actor

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

I literally cannot see a scenario where Leo doesn’t win this.

Prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Best Actress

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

Brie Larson has been out in front all season, and I don’t think she’ll fall short here.

Prediction: Brie Larson, Room

Best Supporting Actor

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

Stallone is the popular choice. Although he missed out on the critical SAG nomination, none of his fellow Oscar nominees managed to win at SAG anyway (with the Supporting Actor award going to Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation). So I’d argue Stallone is still the popular frontrunner here. People just like Sly, and this is the Academy’s chance to give him the Oscar he never won for Rocky way back in 1976.

Prediction: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress

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

Conventional wisdom says this will be all about the young ingenue, as Alicia Vikander had an amazing year, between The Danish Girl and Ex Machina. However, Kate Winslet has been one of the most buzzed-about competitors in the supporting races this year. If there’s going to be an acting upset anywhere, it’s very likely to be here, since the presumed frontrunner isn’t as solid a pick as, say, Leo. On that subject, I also feel the Academy would kind of flip at the chance to give Oscars to the two leads of Titanic in the same year. It just sounds like something the Academy would do. It’s a silly reason to predict something, but here we are.

Prediction: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

I would be downright stunned if anything but Spotlight won this. It went into the Oscar season as the Best Picture frontrunner, but now it’s poised to go home empty-handed if it loses here. And I doubt the Academy will let that happen. This is the Academy’s best chance to honor the film, unless they want to shock the world by giving Rachel McAdams or Mark Ruffalo an award. Maybe it could win Film Editing? Either way, those are riskier calls than just predicting Spotlight to win here. And honestly, it should.

Prediction: Spotlight

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

I would love to see Room or Brooklyn win, but I just see now way The Big Short loses here. Its screenplay is the biggest reason this movie worked as well as it did.

Prediction: The Big Short

Best Cinematography

Carol
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Emmanuel Lubezki shooting the entire film in natural light is an incredible achievement. Yes, he’s won a lot of Oscars in the past, while Roger Deakins (Sicario) hasn’t won one. But Lubezki’s achievement is just too considerable to ignore.

Prediction: The Revenant

Best Costume Design

Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Much like Lubezki in Cinematography, Sandy Powell has won plenty of Oscars in this category. She’s even twice-nominated this year! Provided she doesn’t split votes with herself, she’s a safe bet to win again. The only question is which film wins it for her? I’ll say Cinderella, since Best Costume Design often means MOST Costume Design, and Cinderella had the loudest costumes.

Prediction: Cinderella

Best Film Editing

The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Mad Max was a miracle of film editing, keeping the film feeling fleet and vibrant. There is certainly a case to be made for The Revenant, but I think Mad Max takes this one.

Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man
The Revenant

Under the presumption that Best = Most, then Mad Max takes this one too. The makeup was just insane.

Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Production Design

Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but Mad Max’s production design was the most striking and distinct this year.

Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Score

Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Ennio Morricone is a certified film legend, and his work with The Hateful Eight is tremendous. Of course, John Williams is a legend too, and it’s been over twenty years since he’s won. But Morricone feels like the safer pick, if only because The Hateful Eight is less of a derivative work than the Star Wars score (and I adored the score for The Force Awakens).

Prediction: The Hateful Eight

Best Song

“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio

“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty

“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
Music and Lyric by David Lang

“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga

“Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre”
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Considering how she stole the show last year with that Sound of Music tribute, the Academy is likely to reward Lady Gaga here. That said, if the Academy wants to overcome the #OscarSoWhite backlash, they could give it to an artist of color for the second straight year, which means this could go to The Weeknd. But I’m sticking with Lady Gaga.

Prediction: “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Blockbusters do well here, so…

Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Mixing

Bridge Of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best = MORE!

Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

There’s an argument to be made for the awesome bear sequence in The Revenant, but I think Star Wars is too impressive to deny.

Prediction: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa
Boy And The World
Inside Out
Shaun The Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

The screenplay nomination basically seals it for this category.

Prediction: Inside Out

Best Documentary Feature

Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Cartel Land seems like the safest bet from a subject matter standpoint, but I think Amy is the better documentary

Prediction: Amy

Best Foreign-Language Film

Embrace of the Serpent
Mustang
Son of Saul
Theeb
A War

Son of Saul has been the frontrunner all season, and I don’t think it’ll fail now.

Prediction: Son of Saul

Best Animated Short

Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Sanjay’s Super Team had the most heart, Bear Story had the most bittersweet story, We Can’t Live Without Cosmos is the most emotional, World of Tomorrow is the funniest and most unique, and Prologue is the most striking and violent. Right now, I’m just going to flip a coin and say…

Prediction: We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

Best Documentary Short

Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom

Total guesswork here.

Prediction: Last Day of Freedom

Best Live-Action Short

Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be OK
Shock
Sutter

See above.

Prediction: Ave Maria

So that’s a wrap! What do you think of this year’s nominees? What are your picks in the major categories? Sound off in the comments!

And be sure to join us tonight for the live blog of the 2016 Oscars!

Also, find out who won (lost?) big at the annual anti-Oscars, the 2016 Razzie Awards!

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