My Oscar Predictions for the 88th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony

"Welcome to the 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony. Where it's alright because it's all white!"--Opening Joke Prediction

“Welcome to the 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony. Where it’s alright because it’s all white!”–Opening Joke Prediction

Well it’s that time of year again when actors and actresses gather on the Red Carpet for the biggest popularity contest of the year.  That’s right I’m talking about the Academy Awards.  Although I recognize that the awards show doesn’t often reflect what the actual best acting performances or films of the year are, it’s still an enjoyable event.  You’re bound to get at least one truly funny moment:

One awkward moment:

And a truly amazing speech or two:

With many film and entertainment outlets prophesying who will take home the golden statue this Sunday night, I thought it only fitting I submit my own thoughts. In the interest of time and general interest, I’m only going to predict the following categories:  Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Adapted Screenplay.  (Side note:  I am rooting for Morricone for Best Score though.  Fingers crossed!)  Please note that I have not seen all of the pictures nominated or all the performances.  Currently the two films I have not seen that were nominated for Best Picture are Brooklyn and The Big Short.  Note that all performances or films I have not seen will be designated with an asterisk.

And the Oscars go to…


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

Who Should Win:


As much as I loved Mad Max: Fury RoadSpotlight was hands down the best film I saw in 2015.  Suspenseful, moving, powerful, and full of dynamite performances from Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton, it’s everything you’d want in an Oscar caliber film. Director Tom McCarthy took a very difficult subject (the systemic shuffling of Catholic priests who’d molested children to different parishes) and turned it into the best investigative reporting film since All the Presidents’ Men.

Who Will Win:

The Revenant was a visually stunning film, with a fantastic plot, and powerhouse performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.  (In fact I thought Tom Hardy was better than Leo.)  Inarritu gave audiences a truly unique and memorable film for the second year in a row.  It’s certainly worthy of a nomination and made my Top 13 of the year ( I just didn’t think it was the best film of the year.


Adam McKay  The Big Short

George Miller Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro Inarritu The Revenant

Lenny Abrahamson Room

Tom McCarthy Spotlight

Who Should Win:


George Miller

I think it’s a win in and of itself that George Miller and Mad Max: Fury Road were nominated at all.  Who’d have thought the Aussie who did Happy Feet would deliver such a multi-layered, compelling, and relevant film.  Fury Road was a damn near perfect piece of cinema and a large reason was director George Miller.

Who Will Win:


Alejandro Inarritu

While there’s a late push for Miller to take home the statue, I think Inarritu will probably garner Mr. Oscar for the second year in a row.  If so he will join some rare company.  Only Joseph Mankiewicz (A Letter to Three Wives, All About Eve) and John Ford (The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley) have won back to back Best Director Oscars.


Bryan Cranston Trumbo*

Matt Damon The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio The Revenant

Michael Fassbender Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne The Danish Girl*

Who Should and Will Win:


Leonardo DiCaprio

This one is a no-brainer.  As fantastic as Damon and Fassbender were, no one is going to beat Leo.  His performance in The Revenant was the most physically and emotionally demanding role he’s ever taken on.  While I don’t believe it’s his best performance ever (to me that’s Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street) I have no doubt he’ll be giving an acceptance speech Sunday night.  It’s Leo’s year.


Cate Blanchett* Carol

Brie Larson Room

Jennifer Lawrence* Joy

Charlotte Rampling* 45 Years

Saorise Ronan* Brooklyn 

Who Should Win and Who Will Win:


Brie Larson

I’ll freely admit I’m at a bit of a disadvantage with this category as of the five nominees I’ve only seen one performance.  However, the consensus among most is that Larson will walk away with the award despite some building momentum from Saorise Ronan. Larson’s performance in Room was a tour de force of acting.  Her role of Joy Newsome was as heartrending as it was courageous.  As a father this was a tough movie for me to watch but Larson’s character made it worth my time.


Christian Bale* The Big Short

Tom Hardy The Revenant

Sylvester Stallone Creed

Mark Rylance Bridge of Spies

Mark Ruffalo Spotlight

Who Should Win:


Tom Hardy

I don’t think I can sing the praises of Tom Hardy more than I already have.  With apologies to Mark Ruffalo (his role in Spotlight was a career best in my opinion) Hardy deserves this award. From Warrior to Mad Max: Fury Road to Bronson, he just slays it every time.  As the saying goes I would pay to watch him read the phone book.  (Yes they still have those.)  The guy is Method Man (not the rapper) all day long and his character of John Fitzgerald was no different.  Practical and merciless to a fault, Hardy brought a pathos and depth to the role that few other actors would be able to pull off.  He’s the closest thing we have to a modern day Marlon Brando.

Who Will Win:


Sylvester Stallone

If you told me a year ago that Sly Stallone would be on the Red Carpet this Sunday to possibly pick up an Oscar, I’d have said you’d taken a few too many blows to the head.  Yet here we are with Stallone earning a nomination for the same character he brought to the big screen thirty-nine years ago.  Make no mistake, I loved Stallone in Creed and he earned this nomination, however his win will just prove how the Oscars are often popularity contests.  If you really think his performance was better than Hardy’s or Ruffalo’s you HAVE taken too many blows to the head.


Jennifer Jason Leigh The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara* Carol

Rachel McAdams Spotlight

Alicia Vikander* The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet Steve Jobs

Who Should Win:


Jennifer Jason Leigh

Yes The Hateful Eight was a divisive film among Tarantino fans and critics in general (I personally loved it), but I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thought Leigh’s performance was anything less than spectacular.  Daisy Domergue was a vicious, mean-spirited, conniving bitch, and Leigh played that to the hilt. Every single Tarantino film has a truly memorable character in it.  Leigh’s Domergue was The Hateful Eight“s.

Who Will Win:


Kate Winslet

It’s amazing to think that since her film debut in 1994 with Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, that Kate Winslet has been nominated seven times for an Academy Award, winning for 2008’s The Reader.  And she’s only forty so who knows?  She may make a run at Meryl Streep’s nomination record.  Winslet once again put in a brilliant performance in Steve Jobs as Jobs’ longtime marketing executive and confidant.  While her accent wasn’t always spot on (Hoffman is Polish), I relished her role as Job’s confidant, confessor, spin doctor, and friend. I’m not sure how much influence Hoffman actually had in reconciling Jobs’ with his estranged daughter Lisa, but the reality has zero impact on Winslet’s performance as a whole.


Bridge of Spies Matt Charman, Ethan Cohen, Joel Cohen

Ex Machina Alex Garland

Inside Out* Pete Docter, Meg LaFauve, Josh Cooley

Spotlight Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy

Straight Outta Compton Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff

Who Should Win:


It’s a damn shame that Straight Outta Compton didn’t get more nominations, but I’ve been down this road already and I’m not hitchhiking down it again.  In any event this music biopic about the rise and fall of NWA truly took me by surprise.  I loved it from start to finish and besides the superb directing and acting, a lot the credit has to go to Herman and Berloff.  Their script was damn near perfect.

Who Will Win:


While I didn’t get a chance to catch Pixar’s latest Magnum Opus, I’ve heard nothing but positive things from audiences and critics.  With a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s safe to say that Pixar has continued their streak of successful animated hits. Ex Machina could be a dark horse here, but it’s unlikely.


The Big Short* Adam McKay and Charles Randolph adapted from the book by Michael Lewis

Brooklyn* Nick Hornby adapted from the book by Colm Toibin

Carol* Phyllis Nagy adapted from the book The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

The Martian Drew Goodard adapted from the book by Andy Weir

Room Emma Donoghue adapted from the book by Emma Donoghue

Who Should Win:


Aside from being one of the best films of 2015 and one of the best hard sci-fi films ever to grace the silver screen, The Martian was also the best book to novel adaptation I’ve ever seen.  The script cut almost nothing from the book but more importantly was able to capture and keep the sense of adventure and gallows humor of Weir’s book.  In my mind The Martian and Drew Goddard are the clear winners.

Who Will Win:


While I haven’t seen the film, from what I hear fans of the book feel the same way I feel about The Martian adaptation.  The Big Short has already won the British Academy Film Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and the Critics Choice Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.  Historically both these awards are good indicators of who will win the Oscar.  We’ll see Sunday.

And that’ a wrap on my Oscar predictions.  Hopefully this post is shorter than some of the winners’ acceptance speeches come Sunday night.

You can follow me on Twitter @DarthGandalf1 where Sunday night I will be live tweeting the Oscars.