Sunday, 10 January 2016

2016 Oscar Shortlist Predictions


2015's most lauded and celebrated films will inch ever closer to the coveted golden statue next week, when the shortlist is finally announced for the 88th Academy Awards categories. Thursday will see the unveiling of the success selection, marking the final sprint for Oscar glory, with the winners announced in the prestigious event on February 28th.

What is generally perceived to represents the pinnacle of the film industry, many actors and filmmakers dream of being bestowed with a nomination a lone, for what is surely a euphoric sensation. I have compiled the list of the films, actors, actresses and filmmakers that I expect will be basking in these emotions in just a few days time. Whilst I acknowledge not giving each of these films they attention they undoubtedly deserve, it's an amalgamation of goodwill, general buzz,  strong reviews and flat-out hope that has helped me form these lists for the most engaging and captivating categories.

Best Picture

The Big Short
Bridge Of Spies
Brooklyn
Carol
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

As Bruce Davis, an previous Academy executive director once said, "a Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit". We've had a plethora of strong, gripping and intense releases this year, and assuming all ten slots are filled this year, I expect it to be quite a diverse celebration of the best. To note, I truly, resolutely believe that Inside Out should be elevated from an established Best Animation nomination (and probably win) to play in the big league for all that it achieved in being a tender, heartfelt and insightful film. I also believe that this ceremony may mark an opportunity for financially bigger films - Mad Max and The Martian - to be celebrated and praised, erasing opposition that the Academy tend to avoid these releases. It should be very, very interesting.

Results: Whilst only eight films were nominated out of a possible ten, all were included on my prediction list. Very disappointing to see Inside Out fail to cross over from the Best Animated to Best Picture as it so richly deserved to and surprising to see Carol fail to garner a nomination.



Best Director

Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)
Steven Spielberg (Bridge Of Spies)
Todd Haynes (Carol)
Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)

Direction has become almost as critical in films as the acting and narrative nowadays, possessing the ability to truly make or break a film. These Directors have managed to enrapture and captivate audiences with a clear and distinctive direction. Some are outlandish and audacious (Tarantino) and some are more subtle and understated (Haynes) but all are worthy of at least a nod.

Results: Well this threw up some surprises, to say the least. Only one of my predictions were correct - Alejandro G. Inarritu - and although I'm not shocked at George Miller's inclusions, the others proved a little surprising.


Best Actor

Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies)

Each manage to convey intended emotions almost effortlessly, with many giving performances unlike anything we have seen from their filmography before. One common theme that links them is their perseverance and resilience, elevating the entire release beyond that lying in the foundations.

Results: 4/5 for this one, with only Tom Hanks substituted for Bryan Cranston, thanks his work in Trumbo - a film that had otherwise gone completely under my radar.


Best Actress

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

I would strongly argue that the females have outshone their counterparts this year, offering dazzling performances that provide empowerment and inspiration. I've spoken about my love for Jennifer Lawrence before and I do nothing but pray that the Academy recognise her for the faultless performance in Joy, in what was otherwise considered a weaker film. It's definitely a strong category - I'm holding out for a nomination for Emily Blunt too, but fear she may have been lost in this hotly-contested race.

Results: 5/5! Someone point me to the prize table, please and thank you. (Yes @ J-Law)


Best Supporting Actor

Benicio Del Toro (Sicario)
Christian Bale (The Big Short)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
Slyvester Stallone (Creed)

Supporting cast members are just as important as their leads today, managing to perform exceedingly well in a smaller capacity but required to make an indispensable impact. These Supporting Actors have all managed to do, but will be a really difficult one to call, as no one will has really advanced from the (solid) pack.

Results: Only Benicio Del Toro switched out for Tom Hardy in this instance, who I'm incredibly annoyed I left off my list/forgot.

Best Supporting Actress

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

This is one of the most difficult categories to call - some of these filed under the 'supporting' headings could just as easily be classified as the lead. Vikander and Mara, particularly, should be under the Best Actress category but research has lead me to believe they will more than likely be downgraded  (undeservingly so, from what I can gauge) to supporting. Still, this will be a tough one, and taken up right to the wire.

Results: 5/5 again. Thank you, I'll be back next year.


Watching the Oscar race unfold has intrigued me over the past couple of years in particular, so I am truly excited to see how my calls match the actual shortlist on Thursday. Sometime before the 'big day', I'll call my winner and the winner from the finalised list, so be sure to check back for that. Let me know your opinions and who you think will win big when it comes to the nominations!



Thoughts: 

Overall, a pretty strong set of Oscar nominations. Below are a few of the biggest things to take away from this year's haul.

  •  Surprised at a lack of appreciation for Carol in Best Picture and Director - everything I've heard has been blooming with positivity and esteem.
  • Pleasantly shocked at the success of bigger, more commercially successful films (i.e. Mad Max's 10 nomination haul and The Martian's triumphs) flourishing where the Academy are usually so quick and readily to dismiss.
  • Again, disappointed at no love for Inside Out going for the top prize, as it feels almost disheartening to see such a spirited, celebrated and memorialising film fail to be promoted because it's an animation. 
  • Part of me expected and hoped that Mara and Vilkander would be promoted to Best Actress opposed to Supporting, as they are as essential as their counterparts in their respective films, but it further identifies just how strong and in abundance the talented ladies this year are. It's also a shame that there was no room for Maggie Smith, either.
  • At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am invariably thrilled at Jennifer Lawrence's nomination. Surely and truly, the emotional heart and resonance of Joy, I am thrilled she was successful here. It makes her the youngest ever nominee - at the age of 25 - to pick up four Oscar nominations. Congratulations to her.

Still, I'll be excited to see how the big night unfolds and I'll post my, "who will win/who should win" predictions closer to the time.

Peace and love.


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