With only hours to go until the movie industry’s most anticipated awards, there is still much speculation about who will walk away with the golden statues. This year’s Acadamy Awards are considered the most unpredictable and wide open in years. The usual indicators (various previous awards ceremonies) have thrown up a number of surprises.
Ahead of Sunday night’s ceremony, The Academy has come under severe attack for its lack of transformation. Not a single black film, filmmaker, or actor is nominated in any of the major categories. And, it’s not for lack of good films. Will Smith (Concussion) should have replaced Matt Damon (sorry Matt) in the Best Actor category. There was space for two more nominations in the Best Picture Category, and both Concussion and Straight Outta Compton could have made it on the list, even if they wouldn’t have won. And Idris Elba was snubbed for best supporting actor in Beasts of No Nation. He could have replaced Mark Ruffalo.
In any case, here are my thoughts on who WILL win and who SHOULD win (it’s not always the same thing). I do expect there will probably be at least one or two shockers, and obviously these are my subjective opinions, so I reserve the right to be wrong!
Who will win: The Revenant
There seems to be consensus among most critics that Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s visual masterpiece about a man who overcomes near death to take revenge on those who wronged him, will take the top award. When I saw the film, I was convinced. However, that was before I saw Room.
The latter is a film that touched me more than any has in a long time. It broke my heart and put it back together in the most incredible way.
Outsider’s chance: Brooklyn
The heart warming tale of a young Irish woman’s experience as an immigrant in New York has received much acclaim. It really is an unlikely win though.
Who will win: Leonardo diCaprio
If Leo doesn’t win for his role as fur-trapper Hugo Glass in The Revenant, he’ll never win one. The actor went to physical extremes to play this role, and he’s earned it. The Academy also like that method acting, “I’ll do whatever it takes” sort of performance. And he’s won all the other major awards in this category.
Who should win: Leonardo diCaprio
Outsider’s chance: Eddie Redmayne
Last year, Redmayne was honoured for a superb, very physically challenging performance as Stephen Hawking. In The Danish Girl he’s taken on another transformation in the true story of a Danish artist and his painful journey to try and become a woman, during a time when gender reassignment surgery was in its infancy. Some are saying that Matt Damon could be the outsider as the man left behind on Mars in The Martian, but this would be a REAL outside chance.
Who will win: Brie Larson
Brie Larson’s performance in Room as a kidnap victim whose incredible bond with her son, born in the tiny room which is his entire world, was spectacular.
Who should win: Brie Larson/Cate Blanchett
In Carol, Cate Blanchett delivers an exquisite, nuanced performance as a high-society lesbian, trapped in a loveless heterosexual marriage, and her relationship with a younger woman. If the award doesn’t go to Larson, it should be Blanchett.
Outsider’s chance: Saoirse Ronan
Saoirse Ronan’s performance in Brooklyn as the young Irish woman, Eilis Lacey, who leaves behind her family to immigrate to Brooklyn, New York, in the 1950s in search of a better life, crawls into your heart.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Who will win: Sylvester Stallone
This one is harder for me. Bookies’ bet will be on Sylvester Stallone who reprises his Academy Awarding-winning role as the boxer Rocky Balboa in Creed. Of course, by now Balboa is aged. He agrees to train the son of his former opponent and friend, Apollo Creed, and in the process, discovers he has some fight left himself.
Who should win: Sylvester Stallone or Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance played the Russian spy Rudolf Abel, in Bridge of Spies, a true story set during the Cold War. He is intriguing, and surprisingly gentle; more ‘human’ than spies are ever portrayed in films.
Outsider’s chance: Christian Bale
The Big Short is another film adaptation of a true story (man, the Academy is loving these this year). Christian Bale plays Michael Burry, an idiosyncratic, scruffy nerd, who predicts the 2008 sub-prime crisis long before it happens, and makes billions off of it.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Who will win: Alicia Vikander
The Swedish actress could very well have been nominated in the same category for playing the Artificial Intelligence being, Ava, in Ex-Machina (nominated for Best Original Screenplay). In The Danish Girl she plays Gerda Wegener, wife to Eddie Redmayne’s character. Gerda is confronted by having to support the love of her life, and having to let him go, so that he can be who he is meant to be.
Who should win: Alicia Vikander
Outsider’s chance: Rooney Mara
I adored Rooney Mara’s performance as the wide-eyed Therese Belivet, Cate Blancett’s love interest in Carol. Understated and nuanced, Mara could just as well have been nominated in the Best Actress category for this role (she won the Best Actress award in Cannes and was nominated alongside Blanchett at the Golden Globes).
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Who will win: Spotlight
I’m going out on a limb here, but perhaps, because I’m a journalist, the true story (see, there it is again!) of how the Boston Globe exposed the cover up of massive child abuse in the Catholic Church, left me reeling.
Who should win: Ex-Machina or Straight Outta Compton
With Ex-Machina, Alex Garland (known for The Beach) has written a science fiction film that goes to the heart of what the genre is supposed to be about: a philosophical look at humanity’s fears about the future. On the other hand, Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus’ screenplay for Straight Outta Compton, the biopic (yes, another one) of mega-producer Dr Dre, and the rise and fall of the Compton, California hip hop group N.W.A. in the 1980s and 90s, was eye-opening and kept me glued to the screen. And with the lily-white Oscar nominations this year, at least one film not made by or starring just white people should get some recognition.
Outsider’s chance: Bridge of Spies
Steven Spielberg directs this true story about an American lawyer who is ordered to defend a Cold War Russian spy as badly as possible, but ends up befriending him and negotiating one of the strangest and most astounding prisoner swaps ever.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
This one is my toughest. All the nominees are genius. The Martian was superbly entertaining and funny. Room, Carol, The Big Short, and Brooklyn are all marvelous stories. I’m just going to go with gut feeling.
Who will win: Room
Emma Donoghue who wrote the novel on which the film is based, also wrote the screenplay and was very happy with the adaptation. And those who’ve read the novel say it’s one of few films that do a book justice. Also, it’s a phenomenal story.
Who should win: Carol
A heart wrenching story, told with incredible sensitivity.
Outsider’s chance: Instead of saying outside chance, I’ll go with a likelihood – The Big Short.
For the first time, I understood the global financial crisis. The Big Short is entertaining and shocking. In fact, I felt sick after I finally released how white monopoly capital screwed the whole world.
Who will win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant.
He won The Directors Guild award, so he’s a near certainty. If he does win, Iñárritu (who won for Birdman last year) will be the first director o take consecutive Oscars since Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1950-51.
Who should win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Outsider’s chance: Lenny Abrahamson for Room
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Who will win: Inside Out
The most delightful animated film in years. Clever, original, and so well-suited to both children and adults.
Who should win: Anomalisa
I love filmmaker Charlie Kaufman, and the stop-motion animation is marvelous
Outsider’s chance: Anomalisa
Who will win: The Revenant
A sublime piece of filmmaking that took a massive toll on the cast and crew. Only natural light was used for filming, meaning the entire shoot took nearly nine months, as actors and crew had to return to remote and freezing locations over and over again. But it was worth it.
Who should win: The Revenant
Outside chance: Carol
A beautiful colour palette, filmed in super 16mm film used in the 1950s gives the film a slightly fuzzy look, adding to the dreamlike feel of the story
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Who will win: Carol
Who should win: Carol
Outsider’s chance: Bridge of Spies
Neither the Foreign Language film nominees nor the Documentary Feature films have been screened in SA so we can’t make any predictions there.
Mad Max: Fury Road will likely clean up here.
- Makeup and HairStyling
- Film Editing
- Costume Design
- Special Effects though Star Wars could be recognised (it should get something surely?).
- Sound editing
- Sound mixing
- Production Design