If we’re being honest, the act of predicting who will win the Oscars truly sits pretty at the unknown territory.
And since we’re being honest – that unpredictability applies to the nominations list too. When the nominees were announced, we were jubilant films like Mad Max: Fury Road made it to the Best Picture category but were equally surprised some names were shut out (like Ridley Scott in the Best Director list for The Martian).
Then, there is the controversy of a lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar, erm, race.
For two years in a row, all the acting nominees are Caucasians causing some actors to stage a boycott of the ceremony this year.
FYI, the host of the 88th Academy Awards happening on Feb 28 in Los Angeles (Feb 29 in Malaysia) is comedian Chris Rock. The opening monologue by Rock alone should be reason enough to watch it.
After much deliberation and argument, here are our predictions of who will win in some of the major categories.
The Big Short
Bridge Of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
There is a reason why these films are nominated in the first place – they each offer something unique in the storytelling aspect. The Big Short is inventive, The Revenant is cinematically exquisite, Mad Max reminds us why we want to go to the cinema, The Martian melds impossible elements while invoking different feelings, Spotlight highlights a hard subject that people rather sweep under the carpet ….
In short, this is an impossible category to predict, but it’s highly likely the award will go to Spotlight – the journalism drama proves just how powerful a medium can be in creating awareness and change. What is a film if it doesn’t aim for that too?
Who will win: Spotlight, with The Big Short as its closest competitor
Who we wish would win: Mad Max: Fury Road (there hasn’t been any film like it, and probably there never will be …)
Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Adam McKay, The Big Short
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Inarritu won last year for Birdman and he is poised to win it again this year. Like Birdman, Inarritu has made everything in the film to be part of the narrative. The natural light he chased after, the locations, the weather and the amazing cinematography – all contribute greatly to the film.
But it should also be acknowledged that McKay has come seemingly out of nowhere with his take on a complicated (and quite frankly boring) subject of economy and make the film both smart and entertaining.
Who will win: Alejandro G. Inarritu
Who we wish would win: Adam McKay
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Every single time Leonardo DiCaprio is nominated in this category, they make the competition so tough that you cannot but accept his loss. And once again, the list for the nominees is so insane that we have a mini heart attack just anticipating the result.
We also fear for DiCaprio’s mental state if his name is not called as the winner here – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape anyone? There really is no way to downplay the contributions of the other fine actors in their respective movies; as part of a great ensemble or just as an individual who yet again needs everyone’s help to get home safely (that’s looking at you Damon). This is one tough category to win, that’s for sure.
Who will win: Anyone but Leonardo DiCaprio – if only to spite the actor and the rest of the world.
Who we wish would win: Leonardo DiCaprio, and not because “it is finally time” to give him an Oscar, but because he is brilliant in The Revenant.
Brie Larson, Room
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Ever since Gwyneth Paltrow won in this category in 1999, we don’t have much faith for anyone to make the right decision when it comes to picking the winner. Yes, it has been 17 years since that unfateful incident and we should have moved on by now, but you know that it only takes one apple to spoil the bunch. Although in the recent years, the Academy has somewhat proven that it has a better system in selecting the winner.
Who will win: Brie Larson because Lady Luck has bestowed her service upon the actress this year.
Who we wish would win: Jennifer Lawrence, simply because.
Best Supporting Actor
Mark Rylance, Bridge Of Spies
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Almost everybody who is anybody in the film industry is predicting Stallone to walk away with this award for his performance as Rocky Balboa in Creed. It’s a role he first played in the 1976 film Rocky, for which he was nominated for Best Actor but didn’t win. (Rocky won for Best Film, Best Director, Best Film Editing in 1977.) If Stallone wasn’t such a favourite to win, it would’ve been hard to predict the winner because everyone else (especially Rylance and Hardy) immersed themselves just as well in their respective roles.
Who will win: Sylvester Stallone
Who we wish would win: Tom Hardy
Best Supporting Actress
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Winslet won in this category in Bafta and Golden Globes. But Vikander won in Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild awards. So it’s going to be either Vikander or Winslet who would emerge as winner. If it was up to us, Vikander would’ve gotten another nomination for her performance in Ex Machina. But it doesn’t matter as Vikander also has an edge as the subject of The Danish Girl explores transgender, which is something Hollywood champions.
Who will win: Alicia Vikander
Who we wish would win: Alicia Vikander
Best Original Screenplay
Bridge Of Spies
Straight Outta Compton
Spotlight is a movie that relies heavily on dialogue. But what do you expect from a movie which focuses on a heavy subject. as it Spotlight tells how investigative journalists from Boston Globe uncovered a scandal of child molestation and its cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese.
Who will win: Spotlight
Who we wish would win: Spotlight
Best Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short
The Big Short is about economics – economics! – and yet, we are glued to the screen. What is most remarkable about the writing is that we kind of understand what is going on. Plus, films based on Michael Lewis books tend to walk away with more than one Oscar.
Who will win: The Big Short
Who we wish would win: The Martian
Best Animated Feature
Boy And The World
Shaun The Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There
This is probably going to be a two-way fight between Pixar’s Inside Out and Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa. One is an emotional rollercoaster set inside the mind of a child, the other an enigmatic stop-motion masterpiece from the warped mind of a creative genius. Who will win? Our heart says Inside Out, but our head says Anomalisa. Then again, Shaun The Sheep might just bleat them both to it.
Who will win: Inside Out
Who we wish would win: Inside Out
Best Visual Effects
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Mad Max: Fury Road
The campaign to get the bear who mauled Leo its Oscar starts here. Oh, who are we kidding? The Revenant was memorable for a lot of things, but the visual effects were hardly the highlight of it. We can probably rule Ex Machina out as well, as this will be a three-way battle between Star Wars, The Martian, and Mad Max.
Star Wars will probably just manage to edge out The Martian, though we are rooting for Mad Max to take the gold. Why? Because George Miller produced a stunning visual spectacular with mostly practical effects. Also because no other movie had an apocalyptic punk rocker hanging on bungee cords on a moving truck of giant speakers while playing a guitar that doubles as a flamethrower.
Who will win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Who we wish would win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Earned It, The Weeknd (Fifty Shades Of Grey)
Manta Ray, J. Ralph & Antony (Racing Extinction)
Simple Song #3, David Lang (Youth)
Til It Happens To You, Lady Gaga (The Hunting Ground)
Writings On The Wall, Sam Smith (Spectre)
With no powerhouse Disney ballad in contention with this year, the race for the Best Original Song Oscar is wide open. We’d be surprise if Manta Ray and Simple Song #3 win though, and James Bond songs have not done well in the past (though the fact that Adele’s Skyfall bucked the trend in 2012 bodes well for Sam Smith’s Spectre).
While many are predicting Fifty Shades Of Grey to be able to proudly proclaim “Oscar Winner” on their future DVD releases, we would rather see Lady Gaga’s Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground take home the little gold man.
Who will win: Earned It
Who we wish would win: Til It Happens To You
Don’t miss the live broadcast on Feb 29: Oscars Red Carpet at 8am and the 88th Annual Academy Awards at 9.30am on HBO (Astro Ch 411/HD 431).