Oscar Predictions: Round 5 (ish) - Many Hungry Films, But Who Gets the Noms?

Leo, hungry for Oscar noms.

There are so many hungry films, but only a few of them can have the noms. This hugely competitive field has few stinkers in the bunch, so the films are attacking this season like wolves upon a deer. A movie gets a guild nom here, another gets a critic nom there, but only The Big Short, Spotlight, Mad Max, The Martian, and now The Revenant are getting big meaty pieces. Those five films are the Directors' Guild of America nominees, which makes them the five most obvious frontrunners as they add the industry support to their nominations from the Producers and Writers Guilds, with smatterings of encouragement from the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and SAGs. But how do all the wolves shape up to lead the pack for votes now that the larger (and more mainstream) voting bodies have spoken?

Let's quickly look at the players before offering final predictions:


Spotlight: In it to win it. It's losing some momentum on the ensemble front thanks to The Big Short, but there's little reason to doubt it since it's had the most consistent support all season even if its cast members seem to be cancelling one another out for nominations.

Mad Max: Fury Road: From summer popcorn hit to Best Picture dark horse, Mad Max is this year's Gravity as it pummels towards the technical noms thanks to director George Miller.

The Martian: A mixed showing at the BAFTAs is concerning, but this well-made thrill-ride from Ridley Scott could finally bring the Gladiator director an Oscar if he starts playing the overdue card as loudly as Leonardo DiCaprio is.

The Revenant: Late to the game this season, The Revenant is forming a sneak attack. Will an Oscar for DiCaprio be sufficient or could Birdman director Alejandro G. Inarritu be the third director after John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz to win Best Director back to back? Regardless, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki should prepare to accept his third consecutive Oscar.

The Big Short: Also late to the game, The Big Short has the benefit of being smart and funny with lots of stars. That's good in a year full of heavy films. The film doesn't have many technical strengths outside of its OCD editing, however, so it's going to have a weaker tally, especially if director Adam McKay doesn't get a throwaway Best Director nom.

Hungrier Wolves: A bite, but maybe not the prime cut?

 Carol: Carol has the indie/arthouse vote, but is that enough this year? One of the year's critical favourites, Carol isn't being widely embraced by the industry, missing guild noms from the producers, art directors, and editors, but I think this is one case in which the sharper focus of the Academy/high pedigree of voters will prevail to give Todd Haynes a well-deserved Best Director nomination. It has the passionate support to sneak in.

Bridge of Spies: Nominations for supporting actor, screenplay, editing and maybe cinematography and score are likely, but even War Horse got a Best Picture nomination.

Brooklyn: Lovely film has classic Hollywood vibe that few of the other contenders carry. This hard-to-resist romance is bound to gain votes as films fall off the ballot.

Room: I don't think Room benefits from the high expectations one brings to it, but strong support for Brie Larson and the film's screenplay could help the film gain enough votes for one of those flexible 5-10 spots. And give Canada two co-productions in the race alongside Brooklyn!

Inside Out: Every year has a movement lobbying for an animated film to be nominated for Best Picture. Is it just Internet hype? Better animated films have missed in weaker years

Lurking on the Outside, Ready to Pounce:

Steve Jobs: A wild card. Steve Jobs could be the film with the most nominations that is not a Best Picture nominee. Nominations for Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, and Aaron Sorkin's screenplay are inevitable. Noms for the editing and score are possible, while even the sound mix and cinematography are contenders. Could support across the board pull it into contention?

Sicario: Industry love from the writers, producers, editors, and cinematographers gave the film a second wind, as did the BAFTAs, which thankfully gave Benicio Del Toro his one major nomination this year. The film deserves attention and it might just appeal to fans of hard-hitting action films. If American Sniper can pull off a Best Picture nomination, surely Sicario can. FYC Denis Villeneuve!

Trumbo: Everyone knows that this campaign is a boondoggle outside of Bryan Cranston. Admittedly, Helen Mirren and the costumes are pretty great, so they could appear too.

Star Wars: Doubtful. Disney's PR team should be sent to a galaxy far, far away rather than be rewarded with a Best Picture nomination. The retroactive Best Picture nomination from the Critics' Choice Awards almost seems to have backfired with people groaning that financial success doesn't give a film special merit.

The Hateful Eight: Tarantino's lesser western Django Unchained was a Best Picture nominee and it won two Oscars, so Hateful Eight is a threat, especially since it's likely to gain a screenplay nomination, plus score and potentially others.

Son of Saul: The year's most popular foreign film. We underestimated Amour.

Wolves with scraps:

Youth: Sadly, even Jane Fonda might be on the outs. I'm keeping her in on principle because I'd rather be wrong and say that I believed actors would recognize the strength of this performance. Why isn't this film taking?

Straight Outta Compton: A lot of people are predicting this one, but I just don't see it connecting with the Academy. (SAG skews younger, which explains its ensemble nomination.)

Creed: Probably just a nom for Stallone.

Joy: Maybe JLaw, maybe nothing.

And the final predicted nominees:


Best Picture:

Almost put:Inside Out, Steve Jobs

What about: Creed, The Danish Girl, The Hateful EightSon of Saul, Straight Outta Compton, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Rooting for: Youth, Carol. Sicario

Best Director:

Todd Haynes, Carol
Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant*
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott, The Martian

Almost put: Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies

What about: John Crowley, Brooklyn*, Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl, Adam McKay (The Big Short), Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight), Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)

Rooting for: Paolo Sorrentino (Youth), Todd Haynes (Carol), Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)

Best Actor:

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

Almost put: Johnny Depp, Black Mass
What about: Michael Caine, Youth, Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies*, Ian McKellen (Mr. Holmes)

Rooting for: Michaels Caine and Fassbender

Best Actress:

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Almost put: Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

What about: Emily Blunt (Sicario), Rooney Mara (Carol),  Helen Mirren (Woman in Gold), Charlie Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Rooting for: Alicia Vikander! And Nina Hoss (Phoenix)!

Best Supporting Actor:

Christian Bale, The Big Short*
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Michael Keaton, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Almost put: Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

What about: Christian Bale, The Big Short, Steve Carell, The Big Short, Emory Cohen (Brooklyn), Benicio Del Toro, Sicario, Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Domhnall Gleeson (Brooklyn), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight, Jacob Tremblay (Room)*

Rooting for: Benicio Del Toro, Michael Shannon

Best Supporting Actress:

Jane Fonda, Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight*
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Almost put: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl (But I think they'll recognize her as a lead)

What about: Joan Allen, Room, Elizabeth Banks (Love & Mercy), Helen Mirren, Trumbo, Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria), Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina, Julie Walters (Brooklyn)

Rooting for: Jane Fonda, Rachel McAdams, Kate Winslet

Best Original Screenplay:

Bridge of SpiesMark Harmon; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino
Inside Out - Pete Docter et al
Sicario - Taylor Sheridan
Spotlight – Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer

Almost put Trainwreck - Amy Schumer

What about: Clouds of Sils Maria, Joy, Mistress America, Straight Outta Compton

Rooting for: Youth

Best Adapted Screenplay:

The Big Short - Adam McKay, Charles Randolph
Brooklyn – Nick Hornby
Carol - Phyllis Nagy
Room– Emma Donoghue
Steve Jobs – Aaron Sorkin

Almost put:  The Martian
What about: Anomalisa, The Danish GirlThe Revenant 

Rooting for: Carol

Best Documentary Feature:

Also shortlisted: 31/2 Bullets, 10 Minutes, Going Clear, Heart of a Dog, He Named Me Malala, The Hunting Ground, Meru, We Come As Friends, Where to Invade Next; Winter on Fire

Rooting for: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Best Foreign Language Film:

The Fencer - Finland
Mustang - France
Son of Saul – Hungary
Theeb - Jordan
A War – Denmark

Also shortlisted: The Brand New Testament (Belgium)*, Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)*, Labyrinth of Lies (Germany), Viva (Ireland)

Best Animated Film:

The Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep
When Marnie Was There

What about: The Good Dinosaur The Peanuts Movie, Home

Best Cinematography:

Almost put: The Hateful Eight

What about: Brooklyn*, The Danish Girl,The Martian

Best Film Editing:

What about: Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Danish Girl, Joy, Room, Sicario, Star Wars, Steve Jobs

Best Costumes:

What about? Cinderella, Crimson Peak, Far from the Madding Crowd, Love & Macbeth, . Mercy, The Revenant, Suffragette

Best Production Design:

What about: Carol, Crimson Peak, Macbeth, Mad Max: Fury Road, Room, Son of Saul, Star Wars*, The Walk

Best Original Score:

What about: Ex Machina, Far from the Madding Crowd, Inside Out, Room, Mad Max: Fury Road,
Steve Jobs, Spotlight*

Best Original Song:

Love Me Like You Do” – Fifty Shades of Grey
See You Again,” Furious 7*
"The Light That Never Fails," Meru

What about: "Til it Happens to You," The Hunting Ground,Hands of Love,” Freeheld,  Phenomenal” - Southpaw

Best Visual Effects:

Jurassic World
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What about: The Walk, The Revenant

Best Sound Mixing:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Revenant

Best Make-Up:

The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared*

What about: Black Mass, Concussion*, Legend*, Mr. Holmes*

Best Animated Short

Bear Story
If I Was God…
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Also shortlisted: Carface (Autos Portraits), Love in the Time of March Madness, My Home, An Object at Rest, Prologue

Best Live Action Short

Ave Maria
Bad Hunter
Bis Gleich 
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay
The Free Man
The Stutterer
Winter Light

Best Documentary Short

Boy Team 12
Claude Lanzmann:Spectres of Shoah 
50 Feet from Syria
Last Day of Freedom
Starting Point

Also shortlisted: Chau, Beyond the Lines, Mineretia, My Enemy, My Brother, The Testimony

What are your Oscar predictions?