Oscar StatueHere we go again, last year tested my predicting skills but this year seems even harder with several categories up for grabs among a strong field of contenders. I’ll be sharing the major predictions with the KARE 11 Saturday Morning News team on February 27th, the day before the Oscar Ceremony. I don’t think this will warrant a trip to Las Vegas for you heavy bettors out there but I gave it my best shot.



Best Picture Nominees
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”

Spotight PosterAll terrific films, but my top movies this year were “The Revenant”,” Room”, and”Spotlight”. “Mad Max” was visually insane, “Brooklyn” touched my heart, “The Big Story” was just that, but it’s a toss-up between “Spotlight” the greatest film on good journalism since “All The President’s Men” and “The Revenent” with the amazing cinematography and mind-blowing action shots. I think I’ll go with “Spotlight”, The Boston Paper takes on the powerful Catholic Church investigating priest pedophilia charges. I remember thinking this is the total package, writing, acting and gripping story.

Will win: “Spotlight”

Best Director Nominees
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

The Rvenant PosterYou would think that the Best Picture Winner would automatically win the Best Director category but in this case I think it will go to Alejandro González Iñárritu, for the” The Revenant”. Someone who could wrangle a film company in such brutal conditions and get such amazing performances out of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy is worthy of this honor even though the total film experience wasn’t the year’s best for me.

Will win: Alejandro González Iñárritu


Best Actor Nominees
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Leonardo DiCaprio is a lock for a number of reasons even though the amount of dialogue he has to say is minimal. His face is it’s own acting class as he struggles through unbearable hardship to exact revenge on the man responsible for his son’s death.

Will win: Leonardo DiCaprio


Best Actress Nominees

Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

This is tight race, as are many of the acting categories this year, but is spite of the wonderful performance by Cate Blanchett in “Carol”, I think that Brie Larson is one the “it girls” this season and the depth of her portrayal of a kidnapping victim trying to keep herself and her young son in survival mode was remarkable.

Will win: Brie Larson
Best Supporting Actor Nominees
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

I think Tom Hardy should win for his mounting work of excellence in a number of roles over the past few years, including “Locke”, a one man tour de force, and this year’s “Mad Max: Fury road”. The odds are that Sylvester Stallone will win the sentimental vote for a great performance as his seminal character Rocky Balboa in “Creed”, but this is the one category where I’m going with the underdog.

 Will win: Tom Hardy

Best Supporting Actress Nominees
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

All wonderful performances but I think Alicia Vikander caught the attention of voters in this year’s “Ex Machina” as a scheming robot and other films like 2012’s “ A Royal Affair”. She joins Brie Larson as an exciting new talent and this is another category where we might expect a relative newcomer to win.

Will win: Alicia Vikander

Best Original Screenplay Nominees
Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen (“Bridge of Spies”)Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (“Inside Out”)

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (“Spotlight”)

Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”)

Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus (“Straight Outta Compton”)

This one should go to my Best Picture pick, “Spotlight”, although the animated “Inside Out” is also deserving. (See my Best Animated Film category).

Will win: “Spotlight”

Best Adapted Screenplay Nominees
Emma Donoghue (“Room”)

Drew Goddard (“The Martian”)

Nick Hornby (“Brooklyn”)

Adam McKay and Charles Randolph (“The Big Short”)
Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”)

I think “The Martian” and “Spotlight” are the frontrunners here, but I was most impressed with the job Adam McKay and Charles Randolph did adapting the compelling book by journalist Michael Lewis for “The Big Short”.

Will win: “The Big Short”


Best Foreign Film Nominees

“Embrace of the Serpent”
“Son of Saul”
“A War”

“Son of Saul” has been a big winner on the award circuit this year, and the holocaust themed Hungarian film is most deserving, but the film that stuck with me the most is the Turkish-French director Deniz Gamze Erguven’s “Mustang”, the story of orphaned sisters trying to survive the oppression of a patriarchal conservative home with dark secrets. Nonetheless, I think “Son of Saul” will get the nod.

Will win: “Son of Saul”

Best Documentary Feature
“Cartel Land”
“The Look of Silence”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

The story of the great talent Amy Winehouse, “Amy”,   gives us insight into the sad passing of a truly gifted artist, her life and too short career, largely through home movies and the words of those who loved her and unfortunately enabled her decline.

 Will win: “Amy”


Best Animated Feature

“Boy and the World”
“Inside Out”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”
“When Marnie Was There”

This one is easy, director Pete Docter and Pixar score again as we discover the emotions controlling and 11 year old girl being uprooted by a family move.

Will win: ”Inside Out”

Best Film Editing
“The Big Short”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

I think this is a toss-up between “The Big Short” with it’s breakneck pace and the amazing technical achievement of “Mad Max: Fury Road”. I think the latter was such a tense ride, a “Ben Hur” Chariot ride on four wheels, that this is one for “Mad Max; Fury Road”.

ill win: “Mad Max: Fury Road”


Best Song
“Fifty Shades of Grey”
“Racing Extinction”
“The Hunting Ground”

My thought here is that Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” will get a pass becouase of Adele’s 007 win last year, and the most successful hit, “Earned it” by The Weeknd, will be nullified because it’s attached to a really bad film, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, so I’m going with Lady Gaga’s “Til it Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground”, because of her groundswell of popularity and the fact that co-writer Diane Warren has 8 nominations but no wins yet.

Will win: “Til it Happens to You “

Best Original Score
“Bridge of Spies”
“The Hateful Eight”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Because I’m an old Baby Boomer, weaned on Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, I’m picking Ennio Marricone’s score for “The Hateful Eight” as the winner here. I can’t believe he’s never won before.

Will win: “The Hateful Eight”


Best Digital Effects
“Ex Machina”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Turning Alicia Vikander into a see-thru malevolent robot in “Ex Michina” was quite an achievement, lbut I can’t get the malevolent Bear from “The Revenant” out of my mind, and even though “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” should be the frontrunner here, I’m sticking with Bear power.

Will win: “The Revenant”


Best Cinematography
“The Hateful Eight”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”

tim-russell-and-kevin-klineEd Lachman was the DP on Robert Altman’s “A Prairie Home Companion”, the film in which the academy ignored my brilliant performance as “Al the Stage Manager” ( but I’m not bitter), so his brilliant work with “Carol” is most deserving here, but I think “The Revenant’s” Emmanuel Lubezki will get the nod.

Will win: Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Costume Design
“The Danish Girl”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”

Sandy Powell has two nominations for her work in “Carol” and “Cinderella” so her votes maybe split, opening the door for the wildly inventive “Mad Max;Fury Road” and a win for it’s costumer, Jenny Beaven.

Will win: Jenny Beaven, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”
“The Revenant”

“The Revenant” did some nasty things to the ultimate survivor, Leo DiCaprio, but giving a claw and a Buzz-cut to Charlize Theron gets my vote.

Will win: “Mad Max: Fury Road”


Best Production Design

“Bridge of Spies”
“The Danish Girl”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”

All the nominees are winners here and “The Revenant” will probably win, but for sheer inventiveness (I’m thinking of “The Doof Wagon” with it’s flame-throwing guitar), it’s hard to top “Mad Max:Fury Road”. So I’m going with the underdog, “Mad Max”.

Will win: “Mad Max: Fury Road”


Best Sound Editing

“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Once again, all these nominees were great, but the sounds of the Great Wilderness, and it’s sudden violence gives “The revenant” my nod here.

Will win: “The Revenant”
Best Sound Mixing
“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Toss a coin on this category, it’s totally up for grabs, but I think the members might throw this one to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” over “The Revenant”.

Will Win: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”


Best Short Film, Live Action

“Ave Maria”
“Day One”
“Everything Will Be Okay”

I loved all these short films, but the one that stuck with me is “Shok” which tests the limits of friendship for two boys caught up in the cruelties of the Kosovo War.

Will win: “Shok”

Best Short Film, Animated
“Bear Story”
“Sanjay’s Super Team”
“We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”
“World of Tomorrow”

“Bear Story” had the most amazing animation of all the entries here, but the abstract originality of “World of Tomorrow” will get the votes.

Will win: “World of Tomorrow”


Best Documentary Short Subject

“Body Team 12”
“Chau, Beyond the Lines”
“Claude Lanzmann”
“A Girl in the River”
“Last Day of Freedom”

Olivia Wilde is one of the producers of “Body Team 12” which takes an unsparing look at the heroic group of medical professionals handling the victims of the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Full disclosure, I haven’t seen any of these deserving nominees, so I’m picking “Body Team 12” because of the attention it’s received this award season. I look forward to seeing them all in the near future.

Will win: “Body Team 12”


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