With the Golden Globes behind us, awards season is now in full swing. This morning marked the official kickoff of the Academy Awards race as nominations for the 88th annual awards ceremony were announced. There were few surprises seen with the announcements, with the Academy sticking to the usual formula, nominating little that wasn’t expected. Overall, however, it was a decent reminder of what a great year 2015 was for movies. Here is a list of nominees in the major categories, with some predictions for who’s going to take home the gold.
Bridge of Spies and Brooklyn were a bit of a surprise, but I guess it makes sense given the critical acclaim for both movies. Neither of them feel like shoe-ins, however. If it were up to me, it would definitely go to Mad Max: Fury Road. However, the Academy has a history of skirting awards for science fiction. It’d be nice if that was changed this year, but the smart money is definitely on The Revenant.
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
This is one of the trickier categories this year. The Academy loves movies about Hollywood, which might give Cranston the edge for his portrayal of the blacklisted screenwriter. However, the Academy also likes flexing its inclusion muscles, which might give Redmayne’s portrayal of a trans-female in The Danish Girl a little more weight. Still, the Academy also loves to right their wrongs, and DiCaprio’s lack of an Oscar is becoming more and laughable by the year. I’d say DiCaprio is the most likely.
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
It’s not even worth discussing here. Anyone besides Larson would be a crime.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
This is one of the tougher calls this year. In any other year, anyone of these nominations would feel like a no brainer. Having all of them go up against each other, however, is an overwhelming proposition. Stallone is still riding high from his Golden Globes win, but really this was the 7th time he’s played Rocky Balboa. It’s almost second nature to him at this point, so a win doesn’t feel fair. While Ruffalo was amazing in Spotlight, Hardy was transcendent in The Revenant. Go Hardy or go home, I say.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Another tough category, but most likely it comes down to McAdams and Winslet. Winslet’s win at the Golden Globes gives her a little weight, and she feels like a safe bet, but McAdams definitely brought it in Spotlight. On the other hand, Vikander had a pretty great year between The Danish Girl and Ex Machina. It’s a toss-up, but I’m betting on Winslet.
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
In a just world, Miller would take it. He’s definitely deserving and he’s definitely who I’m pulling for. It’ll probably be Iñárritu though.
The Big Short
This is tough, but I’d say it’s really between The Martian, Room, and The Big Short. Of the three, The Big Short was probably the most creative adaptation, taking a work of journalism and turning into an easy to understand comedic work, but The Martian is clearly the one to beat.
Bridge of Spies
To me, this really comes down to Inside Out and Spotlight. The former was absolutely a brilliant work of psychological deconstruction that took abstract and difficult concepts and made them accessible to the average person and, most impressively, children. The latter distilled a year’s worth of journalism into a taut thriller on par with All the President’s Men. It’s a tough call, but I’d say Spotlight.
Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight
First of all, it’s a damn sin that Tom Holkenborg’s (Junkie XL) score from Mad Max wasn’t included. That’s one of the more egregious snubs this year. That being said, this comes down to Sicario and The Hateful Eight. Sicario’s score was one of the best aspects of an otherwise lackluster movie, elevating the narrative to heights it couldn’t have dreamed of obtaining without it. But Ennio Morricone has never won an Oscar for a score. True, he has been given a lifetime achievement award, but a win for The Hateful Eight would be a good chance for the Academy to acknowledge a specific piece by the composer.
“Earned It” – Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray” – Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3” – Youth
“Til It Happens to You” – The Hunting Ground
“Writing’s on the Wall” – Spectre
None of these feel particularly worthy or even memorable, so it’s hard to say. When in doubt, go with Bond. I’d say Sam Smith’s got this.
The Academy Awards air Sunday, February 28 on ABC.