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The 2016 Oscars vs. My Own Best of Lists: Who Will Win, and Who Should Have Had a Shot

Updated on February 27, 2016

The Movies of 2015, Me vs. Oscar

As those of you who checked out my recent (and ongoing) hub on the films of 2015 will be aware, I have been hard at work this past year at watching movies. And as such I have developed some very definite opinions as to certain films that really should be rewarded for their efforts. Those who've read my past articles also will no doubt be aware I have something of a love-hate relationship with the Oscars: I watch the show faithfully each year, and follow the nominations news and awards-season buzz with keen interest, yet year after year I complain at how the Oscars are broken and need fixing. I have spoken of the inane absurdity of the non-synchronous timeline and labyrinthine submission process for the Best Foreign Language Feature category, the insulting absurdity of the codified limit to three nominees for the Best Makeup category (and ONLY that category), and the absurdly opaque and seemingly capricious eligibility process for the original music categories. I also have bemoaned the impossibility for the average viewer to see more than a couple of the submitted short films (believe me, I checked this morning, and found only a non-English-subtitled copy of one of the Live-Action Shorts; I had previously seen Animated Short nominee Sanjay's Super Team before The Good Dinosaur). Finally, I have maintained for years that the Academy (and Hollywood in general) is racist towards Asians, and this year I have openly chimed in on the #Oscarssowhite commentary, as I believe it is a worthwhile discussion. As far as ways to "fix" the Oscars, I will maintain til I'm blue in the face that there needs to be a category for Best Use of Music in Film; I also support a few other categories (Best Vocal Acting, Male and Female, as well as comparable categories for Best Bit Player/ Cameo, in order to reward scene-stealers appropriately and stop clogging up Supporting categories with glorified cameos). I fully support the idea of mixing up the membership of the Academy a bit more, since they really are an "old boys' club," though I fear those behind the current efforts to do so may be going at it half-cocked. Finally, please push the Oscars back to mid-March, at least; also, require a full one-week run in L.A. County to CONCLUDE rather than begin by December 31st. These last two are CRITICAL if the Academy really, truly wants to draw in viewers for their telecast--how is the average film-goer supposed to see even a modest number of the nominees if they are mostly released in limited runs (at best) before Christmas, all go wide within a one-month period right after Christmas, and don't come out on DVD and blu-ray until a week or two AFTER the show? Spotlight is out this week, but like many, many movie fans I'm still hurting financially from Christmas and a seasonal downturn of employment, and am unable to get it; even if I had the money Room, The Big Short, The Danish Girl, Carol, Cartel Land and Brooklyn are ALL waiting to come out in March--WTF???? Amazon doesn't even have a listing for an American release of 45 Years, or a release date for Anomalisa, and most of the Foreign Language nominees are just now making their limited theatrical runs. If you want viewers, Academy, give us regular folk a chance to see the damn nominees! Anyway, enough moaning and groaning, let's get on with the show! After some debate, I decided to go with last year's format, in which I listed the Oscar nominees and my own, side by side, and gave my predictions as to who would win and why, along with my reasons for why my nominees should have been chosen instead. I've seen considerably more films this year than last, including some truly great ones, but I'll concede the number of actual nominees I've seen is only a bit higher (and I'll put an asterisk by those). I do hope you find this approach interesting and informative. Enjoy!

My Ten Best

Inside Out

Bridge of Spies

Sicario

The Revenant

The Walk

The Martian

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Ant-Man

When Marnie Was There

Clouds of Sils Maria

First of all, how DARE Oscar only have eight nominees in this category and not make room for Inside Out and Sicario?!? Second, those of you who have read my previous hub may note that the order here is not the same as before, and that I have made a substitution. I actually am still not quite happy with the order here, but I wanted this list to more accurately reflect what I think should be nominated, rather than my own unvarnished favorites. Much as as I love Kingsman: The Secret Service, the new Star Wars movie is head-and-shoulders above it in terms of Oscar-worthiness in this category: here we have the first film ever to gross over $800 million in the U.S. (it went on to cross the $900 million mark); it is second only to Avatar and Titanic for international gross, and they together are the $2 billion club; it is also an excellent, critically well-received film that is considered one of the best entries in the franchise (and is arguably the best stand-alone film among them). How in the ever-loving hell is Mad Max: Fury Road even in the discussion over this film, let alone over Inside Out, Sicario, The Walk, Steve Jobs, Mr. Holmes, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, Far from the Madding Crowd, Love & Mercy, Ex Machina, The Water Diviner, The End of the Tour, A Walk in the Woods (shall I go on?)?!?!? I will concede, though, that it is hard to truly justify a field of ten this year, at least of the films I've seen. Cut my list off at Star Wars, and this is a solid Best Picture race. Dang it, dang it, dang it--I was so close on seeing both The Big Short and Spotlight; once I see those, Room, Brooklyn and Anomalisa (and probably also Anthem of the Heart, Son of Saul, The Boy and the Beast and Carol), I can say with certainty how my picks stack up.

Best Picture: Who Will Win

Spotlight

The Revenant*

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road*

Bridge of Spies*

The Martian*

Room

Brooklyn

This is a very, very hard category to call this year. The Big Short got top honors at the PGAs, along with numerous other nominations and wins for Film of the Year, the acting and (especially) the screenplay. Spotlight won the top honors at the SAG awards, and has done even better at picking up wins in key categories. The Revenant is riding a surprising wave of popularity and box office success, and this plus Leonardo DiCaprio's likely Best Actor win could give the film a partial (or even full) sweep of the categories in which it is nominated, including this one. Sadly, though, a sweep is also quite possible for George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road--I consider this category its least likely win, but it cannot be ruled out. That leaves Bridge of Spies and The Martian as darkhorse contenders, and Room and Brooklyn as also-rans. For my money, I think it'll be Spotlight, but I won't hold my breath.

My 5 Best

Steven Spielberg--Bridge of Spies

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu--The Revenant

Robert Zemeckis--The Walk

Denis Villenueve--Sicario

Matthew Vaughn--Kingsman: The Secret Service

Quite a different list, isn't it? I am fully on board with the large number of people who feel that Steven Spielberg was ROBBED of a nomination this year. Bridge of Spies is easily one of his best films, and that is certainly saying something. Inarritu also deserves a nod if only for sheer chutzpah. I strongly feel Robert Zemeckis and Denis Villenueve should have gotten a lot more love for their work this year, and Matthew Vaughn's spirited direction is a significant part of why I loved Kingsman so much. That last one was a tough call though, and either Ridley Scott (who I also feel was likely Oscar-snubbed for The Martian) or Olivier Assayas (who should have been in the conversation for Clouds of Sils Maria) could have snagged that spot. While I give George Miller a ton of credit for making Mad Max: Fury Road what it is, there are still plenty of people who deserved consideration first; in addition to the above, I would most emphatically cite Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen for Inside Out, Danny Boyle for Steve Jobs, Bill Condon for Mr. Holmes, J.J. Abrams for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Asif Kapadia for Amy. I really really need to see The Big Short, Spotlight and Room before I can be entirely comfortable with my list; Anomalisa and The Boy and the Beast also seem essential.

Best Director: Who Will Win

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu--The Revenant*

George Miller--Mad Max: Fury Road*

Tom McCarthy--Spotlight

Adam McKay--The Big Short

Lenny Abrahamson--Room

This category is decidedly easier to call than Best Picture, but it's still hardly a given. Inarritu is likely to win; The Revenant is a fairly masterful film that would not have been the same in any other hands, and both the likelihood of a sweep and the fact that Inarritu would give the Oscars a chance to partially redeem themselves by making the winners somewhat diverse give him a slight edge. There is also experience; this year's nominees are a shockingly fresh-faced assortment for this category, and Inarritu has Oscar history going for him. The strongest spoiler is--I hate to say it--George Miller, who can be given just as much credit for the success (or even existence) of Mad Max: Fury Road as Inarritu can be given for The Revenant. Again, there is the possibility of a sweep, and he also has years of experience on his side. Tom McCarthy is the strongest darkhorse here, while McKay and Abrahamson are the also-rans.

My 5 Best

Leonardo DiCaprio--The Revenant

Michael Fassbender--Steve Jobs

Ian McKellan--Mr. Holmes

Johnny Depp--Black Mass

Tom Hanks--Bridge of Spies

Much like last year's picks, here I am once again agreeing with the Academy on the top two picks, but diverging widely after. I fully believe that Leonardo DiCaprio's go-for-broke performance in The Revenant is the type of performance that screams Oscar, and it's hard to say he shouldn't win for his efforts. However, Michael Fassbender does such an incredible job as Steve Jobs that it truly is difficult to leave him with second place. My other three picks, however, are among the handful of actors who arguably were snubbed by Oscar, no matter how good the other nominees may have been. Of the lot, the clearest snub goes to Sir Ian McKellan, whose masterful channeling of an aging Sherlock Holmes in Mr. Holmes may well be the greatest performance yet by this acting legend. As ruthless gangster James "Whitey" Bulger in Black Mass, Johnny Depp also sailed pretty close to a career high, and reminded the world growing weary of his strange antics that, yes, he can still act with the best of them. Finally, I fear that the bloom is off the rose when it comes to the Academy's love affair with Tom Hanks, and for the life of me I cannot understand why. In the nineties, he could do no wrong; since the turn of the century, however, he has scored hardly any nominations, despite phenomenal performances in films like Charlie Wilson's War and Captain Phillips, not to mention a growing list of behind-the-scenes credits. His performance in this year's Bridge of Spies is hardly his most flashy, but with it he gives a master class on inhabiting even the most unshowy role, and he deserved more buzz than he got. It is debatable, however, that he should get the fifth spot; The End of the Tour's Jason Segel, Concussion's Will Smith and Love & Mercy's John Cusack were all at least marginally more impressive in my mind than The Martian's nominated Matt Damon, and any one could have taken Damon's spot on the list. I would also cite The Water Diviner's Russell Crowe, Southpaw's Jake Gyllenhaal, Creed's Michael B. Jordan and The Walk's Joseph Gordon-Levitt as deserving of more serious praise than they got. Granted, though, I still really need to see The Danish Girl, Trumbo, Room, Legend and Youth, and it might do well for me to see Spotlight and The Big Short, before I declare this list set in stone.

Best Actor: Who Will Win

Leonardo DiCaprio--The Revenant*

Eddie Redmayne--The Danish Girl

Michael Fassbender--Steve Jobs*

Matt Damon--The Martian*

Bryan Cranston--Trumbo

This is easily DiCaprio's category to lose this year. The only thing that could possibly cause the award to go to somebody else come Oscar night is that many people are annoyed at how much DiCaprio's sheer effort in the making of this film has been trumpeted from the mountaintops for months now, and now many are starting to create some measure of backlash against this. The Academy loves actors who push themselves to the limit and beyond--this is why Eddie Redmayne beat Michael Keaton last year in this category, and why he is once again a solid contender. However, the same backlash that could hurt Leo could send those votes right past Redmayne to Michael Fassbender, who would absolutely deserve the Oscar. Though my own top vote goes to Leo, and I have not yet seen The Danish Girl, Fassbender's transformation into Steve Jobs is phenomenal, and his performance truly deserves all accolades it may get. However, the muddled reception to both The Danish Girl and Steve Jobs gives neither actor a solid edge over the other. Redmayne is also fighting Oscar history; no actor has won consecutive Oscars since Tom Hanks did it in 1994 and 1995, and only a few others have pulled it off (Luise Rainer in 1936 and 1937, Spencer Tracy in 1937 and 1938, Katharine Hepburn in 1968 and 1969, and Jason Robards 1977 and 1978). Meanwhile, Matt Damon and Bryan Cranston are the also-rans here; a shame too, since this may well be one of Damon's best performances yet.

My 5 Best

Jennifer Lawrence--Joy

Emily Blunt--Sicario

Rinko Kikuchi--Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

Emma Stone--Irrational Man

Elizabeth Banks--Love & Mercy

Wow, that's quite a difference from the actual nominees, isn't it? Simply put, I haven't seen most of the films nominated in this category, and so the likelihood is that things will change once I do so. That said, all five of my nominees were AWESOME in their respective films, and should have been MUCH more talked-about than they were. Joy was indeed a disappointing film, but any blame doled out for that does not rest with Miss Lawrence; she nailed her role, and absolutely carries each scene she's in (practically the entire film). Her nod was the token one for Joy, and I can find relatively little fault with that. However, the omission of Emily Blunt from the Oscar race is something I find tremendous fault with. She gives a truly Oscar-worthy performance in Sicario, and was easily my top pick in this category until I saw Joy. Next, though I know it was no more than a pipe dream, I really really wanted to see Rinko Kikuchi make history as the first woman of Asian descent ever nominated twice for acting Oscars, and only the second ever nominated for a leading role. She gives an extremely measured performance in Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, but like Miss Lawrence (and even more than Mrs. Blunt) she fully carries her film, and gives a career high performance. Finally, both Emma Stone and Elizabeth Banks surpassed even my expectations in their respective films, with Mrs. Banks in particular giving a rather revelatory performance. I would also have considered Far from the Madding Crowd's Carey Mulligan, Testament of Youth's Alicia Vikander and Clouds of Sils Maria's Juliette Binoche as having been worthy of consideration this year, with Ricki and the Flash's Meryl Streep and The Gift's Rebecca Hall fully worth a mention (indeed, I am beyond shocked that Streep didn't land a nod). Still, though, I really do need to see Room, Brooklyn, Carol, 45 Years, Freeheld, The Lady in the Van, Suffragette and The Danish Girl before I can lay this category to rest.

Best Actress: Who Will Win

Brie Larson--Room

Jennifer Lawrence--Joy*

Saoirse Ronan--Brooklyn

Cate Blanchett--Carol

Charlotte Rampling--45 Years

It is my understanding that Brie Larson's win in this category for Room is one of the few locks in this year's Oscar race. She supposedly does a PHENOMENAL job, and it is apparently a film that truly hinges on just a couple of performances; since her co-star Jacob Tremblay is widely considered one of the year's bigger snubs, it seems all the more likely Larson'll win. She also is facing off against only two other high-profile contenders; Jennifer Lawrence gives a career-high performance in Joy, but the movie was not well-received, and Saoirse Ronan's performance in Brooklyn may simply be overlooked. That said, either one could be a LONGSHOT contender; Cate Blanchett and Charlotte Rampling should be happy to be nominated this year.

My 5 Best

Mark Rylance--Bridge of Spies

Michael Sheen--Far from the Madding Crowd

Benicio Del Toro--Sicario

Tom Hardy--The Revenant

Samuel L. Jackson--The Hateful Eight

As I have already stated, this category should be Mark Rylance's in a walk. That said, Michael Sheen, Benicio Del Toro, Tom Hardy and Samuel L. Jackson were all at the top of their respective games this year, and should definitely have been more fully involved in the Oscar discussion than they ended up being. Del Toro and Jackson, in particular, could have dramatically muted the critics bemoaning the lily-white acting candidates, though this would have only partially addressed those issues. They're not the only ones: before one even gets to Sylvester Stallone on my list, one must pass Kingsman: The Secret Service's Colin Firth (white), The Hateful Eight's Kurt Russell (white), The Water Diviner's Yilmaz Erdogan (not white exactly) and Southpaw's Forest Whitaker (not white); immediately following Stallone is The Martian's Chiwetel Ejiofor (not white). In other words, this category was ripe with opportunities for diversity, and the Academy dropped the ball. Not to mention, the above are all excellent performances, and fully deserving of praise. I do still need to see Spotlight, The Big Short, Brooklyn, Trumbo and Youth to better flesh out this category, however.

Best Supporting Actor: Who Will Win

Mark Rylance--Bridge of Spies*

Sylvester Stallone--Creed*

Mark Ruffalo--Spotlight

Christian Bale--The Big Short

Tom Hardy--The Revenant*

This category is not the easiest to call, though by rights it should be. Mark Rylance's performance in Bridge of Spies is, to put it simply, awesome--it may even be the performance of the year overall. He also has a lot of buzz behind him, and might well pull off the win. However, I have the sneaking suspicion that the Academy plans to piss me (and many other people) off by giving the award to Sylvester Stallone. Rylance is the favorite, but Stalllone is an easy spoiler. The dark horse is Mark Ruffalo, a beloved and gifted actor who has been nominated before but never won; Christian Bale has won and so is less likely to do it again, while Tom Hardy was a surprise in the first place and stands little shot at an upset (he could do it though with a sweep by The Revenant). Still, though, this is pretty much a two-pony race this year.

My 5 Best

Kate Winslet--Steve Jobs

Cate Blanchett--Cinderella

Jennifer Jason Leigh--The Hateful Eight

Olivia Cooke--Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Olga Kurylenko--The Water Diviner

Once again, Kate Winslet was awesome in Steve Jobs. However, I give her only a slight edge over a role that, honestly, I debated putting in the Supporting category--Cate Blanchett's icy turn as the evil stepmother in Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella. Granted, Winslet herself might have stood a shot at a lead Actress nomination--this truly was a gray-zone year for this category. Anyway, I fail to see (Carol or no) how Blanchett got next-to-no love for this role--she is truly masterful in it. She even manages to edge The Hateful Eight's Jennifer Jason Leigh, and I think Leigh kicked real ass with her performance. Olivia Cooke and Olga Kurylenko round out my top five, but I must reluctantly concede that I found this category fairly weak this year. Everest's Naoko Mori and Mr. Holmes' Laura Linney could have also been contenders, while Woman in Gold's Tatiana Maslany, Danny Collins' Annette Bening and Burnt's Sienna Miller were the highest-ranking of the also-rans. Perhaps the category'll seem decidedly more solid once I've seen Spotlight, Carol, Suffragette, Trumbo and The Danish Girl.

Best Supporting Actress: Who Will Win

Kate Winslet--Steve Jobs*

Jennifer Jason Leigh--The Hateful Eight*

Rachel McAdams--Spotlight

Rooney Mara--Carol

Alicia Vikander--The Danish Girl

This is also a very, very hard category to call, despite being pretty much a two-pony race. Kate Winslet, to put it simply, gives a phenomenal performance in Steve Jobs, and the Academy may decide to shower her with love so that the film does not go home empty-handed. Also, though Jennifer Jason Leigh's feral turn in The Hateful Eight has had everybody talking, the conversation has been as much about how messed up the film's treatment of her character is as about her performance itself. Further, unless your name happens to be Christoph Waltz, being in a Quentin Tarantino film is by no means a guarantee of a win. That said, she still has a solid shot, and I consider her the strongest spoiler for Winslet. Rachel McAdams may seem a little new to the game to many voters (though she isn't really) but she is the strongest chance for Spotlight to score an acting win. Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander are even newer to the game, but even though this was very much Vikander's year that newness will count against them with voters, as will the fact that both roles are considered to be very debatably "Supporting."

Best Original Screenplay: My 5 Best

Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley and Ronnie Del Carmen--Inside Out

Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen--Bridge of Spies

Alex Garland--Ex Machina

Michael R. Perry--The Voices

Taylor Sheridan--Sicario

I actually have some significant overlap with the Academy on this one, though as I have seen four out of five of the nominees I suppose that is unsurprising. Much as I would LOVE to see the Coen Brothers win, especially for such an awesome film as Bridge of Spies, I'd love it even more to see the award go to an animated feature, and Inside Out's screenplay also happens to boast the twin threat of being both awesomely original and just freakin' awesome. Alex Garland's Ex Machina, meanwhile, rises in the rankings on my personal list; I don't usually go for sci-fi, but every now and then it clicks with me, and when it does it often really clicks. Ex Machina really clicks, and the screenplay is a big chunk of the reason why. I have to admit, though, that I actually found the screenplay to be one of the WEAKER links in Straight Outta Compton, and it does not come terribly close to my top five. Instead, I'd like to give a shout-out to Michael R. Perry's surreal and disturbingly hilarious screenplay to The Voices, and Taylor Sheridan's taut, gripping screenplay for Sicario. This was, overall, a pretty good year for original screenplays, and I noted at least five others as strong Oscar contenders. These are: Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria; Woody Allen's Irrational Man; Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasio's The Water Diviner; John Maclean's Slow West; and David Zellner and Nathan Zellner's Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. Of course, I cannot rest easy with these choices until I've seen Spotlight, Anthem of the Heart, The Boy and the Beast, Youth, Son of Saul, Boy and the World, and possibly a few other 2015 releases.

Best Original Screenplay: Who Will Win

Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy--Spotlight

Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen--Bridge of Spies*

Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley and Ronnie Del Carmen--Inside Out*

Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus--Straight Outta Compton*

Alex Garland--Ex Machina*

Ah, I came so close to seeing all the nominees in this category! Can I say again how annoying it is to just miss out on Spotlight? Especially since it is the probable winner here. I have called the movie to win Best Picture, but if that win happens it'll be by a nose; the film could just as easy take this award as the consolation prize. Of course, the same could be said of Bridge of Spies, so I consider this another two-pony race. Inside Out should be an easy spoiler for either of these, and I won't count it out altogether, but an Academy that doesn't nominate such an awesome film for Best Picture because it's animated (I mean, really, what the hell else could their reason have been?) is not likely to hand it this award over two that are not. Compton could be the dark horse in this race, because all the white guilt showered down upon the Academy after the nominations were announced could cause a knee-jerk reaction to vote for this film; the fact that the nominees are white, however, could cause the polar opposite effect. There is also the extremely high level of cursing in the film, and the high median age of Academy members. Ex Machina's Alex Garland, meanwhile, will be firmly seated at the "just happy to be here." table.

My 5 Best

Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn--Kingsman: The Secret Service

Donald Margulies--The End of the Tour

Jeffrey Hatcher--Mr. Holmes

Brian Schulz, Craig Schulz and Cornelius Uliano--The Peanuts Movie

Drew Goddard--The Martian

Yes, I DID start my list off with Kingsman: The Secret Service. And yes, I HAVE read the graphic novel on which it is based, and I am aware that the casting seems to have almost nothing at all to do with how the characters appear on the page. But you know what? I don't care. I loved Kingsman, and the screenplay is a big part of the reason why; they captured the spirit of story, and with any adaptation (and especially a comic book adaptation) that is one of the key parts. I also rate the screenplays for Mr. Holmes and The Peanuts Movie so highly in part due to familiarity with the characters and at least some of the source material on which they draw, and consider them extremely faithful in that regard. I do not know the source material for The End of the Tour, but consider the film extremely well-written and worthy of at least one nod. I seriously debated the order my nominations should follow, and was changing them around right up until I began this sentence, but in the end I decided to allow my list to include the one Oscar nominee in this category I've seen, The Martian. It NARROWLY edges Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs screenplay, but in the end I felt that Goddard's screenplay is the better one, The Martian is the better movie, and it just feels right. In addition to Sorkin's, several screenplays were good enough to where the lack of an Oscar nod could be considered a slight snub; the most notable of these are as follows: Robert Zemeckis and Christopher Browne's The Walk; David Nicholls' Far from the Madding Crowd; Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd's Ant-Man; and Mark L. Smith and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's The Revenant. Still, it would be nice to see The Big Short, Brooklyn, Room, Carol, 45 Years, The Danish Girl, Anomalisa, Embrace of the Serpent and Trumbo--not to mention read many of the books (and other materials) on which these are based--before declaring the matter settled.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Who Will Win

Charles Randolph and Adam McKay--The Big Short

Drew Goddard--The Martian*

Emma Donoghue--Room

Nick Hornby--Brooklyn

Phyllis Nagy--Carol

Hmmm... I wanted to be ready for this one this year, and I kinda failed. Not just because I didn't get to see most of the nominees, though that is a big part of it. I actually wanted to be prepped (for once) by having read the source material for most of the nominees in this category. I currently am sitting on a copy of Emma Donoghue's Room, and am getting ever nearer to getting hold of a copy of Andy Weir's The Martian, but the only nominee whose source I've actually read is Michael Lewis' The Big Short. Strangely, the only film of the bunch I've seen is The Martian. As such, I can say this: The Martian is a superbly well-written movie that generally pleased fans of the book (excepting those who called foul at its supposed "whitewashed" casting), while The Big Short is a moderately dry, jargon-filled book that is quite readable and informative but will give a confusion-filled headache to most non-Wall Street readers, and so any film that got the reception this one got has to be a pretty durned good adaptation. I am also intrigued that Donoghue got a nod for adapting her own book, and that famed author Nick Hornby got a nod for adapting somebody else's--both are occurrences that rarely result in acclaimed films, making me even more disappointed to be going into the Oscars rather blind on Room and Brooklyn. Anyway, for the above reasons and more, I consider The Big Short and The Martian to be the front-runners in this category, especially since they are likely to get few if any other awards; I give the edge to the former, but the latter could win. Room is a longshot, but I wouldn't count it out, and a win by Brooklyn would be shocking but not impossible. Sadly for Carol, however, that win may be impossible.

My 5 Best

Inside Out

When Marnie Was There

The Peanuts Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie

The Good Dinosaur

All cattiness aside, Inside Out is the best film of the year, so I have no issues with it winning Best Animated Feature, especially since it's NOT EVEN NOMINATED for Best Picture?!?!? When Marnie Was There is easily my second choice in this category, and I am thrilled to see it nominated, but oh it would be nice to see a second anime win (Spirited Away cannot be the only one forever). I knew and expected Anomalisa would get a nod, but was frankly stunned that The Peanuts Movie didn't score a nod at least for Animated Feature, especially since that spot went to a film I'd never even heard of before. That said, I am not surprised to see that The Good Dinosaur got overlooked--Pixar film or no, it would have left me flat-out shocked if this film had been the one to keep Charlie Brown and company out of the party. Though it is a good movie, and the background art is simply breathtaking, it is weak by Pixar standards, and barely rates inclusion on an Oscar list. In fact, overall my Animated Feature list is much shorter and weaker than I'd like. That said, four additional films warranted at least a bit of discussion this season, even if I would consider them weak nominees: Minions; Ghost in the Shell: New Movie; Hotel Transylvania 2; and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'. However, I still really really need to see Anomalisa, Boy and the World, The Boy and the Beast, Anthem of the Heart and Love Live! School Idol Movie to make my list fully functional.

Best Animated Feature: Who Will Win

Inside Out*

Anomalisa

When Marnie Was There*

Shaun the Sheep Movie*

Boy and the World

On the one hand, this category so clearly belongs to Inside Out, a return to form for Academy darling studio Pixar, that there is hardly anything more to say on the matter. On the other hand, you have a critically-lauded film from the mind who gave us Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a quietly beautiful instant classic from beloved Studio Ghibli, and the first big-screen outing for the characters from a popular TV series by beloved Aardman Studios. And a little-seen and practically unheard-of Brazilian film. I do seriously think that none of these choices has a snowball's chance in hell: the Animation Branch is notoriously made up of fuddy-duddies who turn their noses up at visual innovation, canceling out Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa. The Academy's racism towards Asians only partially extends to Studio Ghibli, but if co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata couldn't score wins for their swan songs, what chance does Hiromasa Yonebayashi have? (In fairness, Miyazaki WAS up against Frozen...) Finally, the Academy may wet themselves each time Aardman comes out with something new, but Shaun the Sheep is so clearly aimed at kids that it'll be overlooked for "weightier" fare. And then there's that Brazilian movie... No, this year'll definitely belong to Inside Out.

My 5 Best

Amy

The Seven Five

Best of Enemies

The Hunting Ground

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Holy crap, I actually have a solid list of five nominees! Believe me, it is weird for me to have seen seven documentaries PRIOR TO the Oscars. They're just so dang hard to find in theatres, or hear anything about, and I've never really utilized my library so effectively before. Of course, it's appropriate that I should do so this year, when we have seven feature-length documentaries up for Oscar--The Hunting Ground and Racing Extinction are duking it out in the Original Song race while the five on the left are up for Documentary Feature. I don't recall if I've ever seen that before (I've seen six in contention before, though). Back to my list, I'm still not entirely sure I have them in the right order, but then this can often be an issue with documentaries. I consider The Hunting Ground and Going Clear to be blatantly polemical, and that usually costs documentaries a few points in my book; even so, they strike me as a bit more prescient and emotionally affecting than Best of Enemies or The Seven Five, and I have to admit Amy also has a moderately polemical nature. That said, all five are excellent documentaries, and I feel smarter for having seen them; seriously, I also feel more aware of the world I live in, and am seeking ways to implement change as a result, and that is the best praise I can give a documentary. The other two documentaries I saw were not quite on this same plane of existence, but The Wolfpack and I Am Chris Farley were both good films that could have at least made weak-but-debatable nominees. I really really need to see Cartel Land, The Look of Silence, What Happened, Miss Simone?, Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom, Racing Extinction, He Named Me Malala and Listen to Me, Marlon before I leave this year's films behind.

Best Documentary Feature: Who Will Win

Amy*

Cartel Land

The Look of Silence

Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Like so many other years before this one, getting to see even a handful of the Best Documentary Feature nominees before the Oscars has been about as simple and painless as pulling teeth. I have, amazingly, seen several documentaries in the run-up to these Oscars, but there are still so many left to see, including four of the nominees. I daresay it makes little difference, however, since all the buzz is that the nominee I have seen, Amy, is the clear front-runner here. This look at the life and music of the late songstress Amy Winehouse is both a highly effective celebration of her talent and a deeply disturbing cautionary tale of the price of fame, and has been one of the more solidly successful documentaries in recent memory. Cartel Land strikes me as a possible spoiler, but I'd honestly be shocked if this award goes to any of the other three.

My () Best

Son of Satyamurthy

Dohchay

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'

Kanche

How sad is that, eh? Only four putative nominees for Best Foreign Language Feature, not one of them a slam-dunk. Granted, I probably could rate Kanche higher once I see it with subtitles--we shall see. I'd LIKE to have seen some of the nominees, and there are several others on my radar. At least my local theatre shows a lot of Bollywood films shortly after their release back home, which makes for some interesting opportunities that I hopefully will capitalize better on this year. If nothing else, you gotta admit the above list would have been an interesting Oscar list, no? Still, just wait until I've seen Son of Saul, Embrace of the Serpent, A War, Mustang, Theeb, Boy and the World, Anthem of the Heart, The Boy and the Beast, The Case of Hana & Alice and Love Live! The School Idol Movie; perhaps then we'll have a list to write home about.

Best Foreign Language Feature: Who Will Win

Son of Saul

Embrace of the Serpent

A War

Mustang

Theeb

Oh, here I go again. Imagine me screaming incoherently with rage over how we can still have an Oscar category that has nothing at all to do with the calendar year the rest of the other nominees follow. There, doesn't that feel better? Embrace of the Serpent played all sorts of festivals here and abroad in 2015, but only hit theatres here (in limited release) about a week ago, while A War didn't play here AT ALL in 2015. WTF?!? They ARE all now official US releases, which is better than usual for this category, but seriously what the hell? And they wonder why viewers have little interest in the telecast? Anyway, enough ranting--this is a category for which I am always woefully unprepared before the Oscars, and this year is no exception, but from all the buzz I've encountered I'd say Son of Saul is the pretty clear leader here. I'm calling Embrace of the Serpent and A War as possible spoliers, but there seriously is little chance of Saul losing this one.

My 5 Best

Cinematography:

Dariusz Wolski--The Walk

Emmanuel Lubezki--The Revenant

John Seale--Mad Max: Fury Road

Alwin H. Kuchler--Steve Jobs

Roger Deakins--Sicario

Production Design:

Inside Out

When Marnie Was There

Bridge of Spies

Crimson Peak

The Walk

Now isn't this something? Two categories where my top pick not only wasn't even nominated by Oscar but apparently wasn't even considered. How in the hell The Walk got NO Oscar love is beyond me, and the pretty awesome camerawork is a big part of the reason why. Now, I will concede that both The Revenant and Mad Max fully deserve their nods, and when one of them inevitably wins my only complaint will be that it is a shame Roger Deakins must go Oscar-less for at least another year, but I wish The Walk had at least gotten a nod. Now, you'll note I myself would not have given Deakins the award this year; that doesn't mean I don't want him to win, and his work in Sicario is more than Oscar-worthy. Alwin Kuchler's presence here for Steve Jobs draws from two basic thoughts--that his shots are framed and executed well, and that I appreciated the use of different film types to reflect the different time periods of the film--a technique that I think adds a fair deal to the movie. There was a lot of brilliant camerawork this year, however, and The Hateful Eight only NARROWLY missed my list, followed closely by Bridge of Spies, In the Heart of the Sea, Woman in Gold and Crimson Peak (those last three all could have done with SOME Oscar notice). As far as the Production Design category goes, let me just take a deep breath, then calmly and quietly ask once again, "WHERE THE HELL ARE THE ANIMATED FILMS?!?!?" My top two picks of the year, easily, are Inside Out and When Marnie Was There. Both films were freakin' gorgeous and showed phenomenal attention to detail, while the former in particular also showed beyond-Oscar-level cleverness and originality. Next up is Bridge of Spies, which is easily the best of the films actually nominated in this category. Next, Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak may have been a soft effort by him, but the film is a phenomenal piece of eye candy, due in no small part to its Production Design, and it got reamed when it wasn't nominated. Rounding out the top five is The Walk, which again was sorely underrated. However, this was a very strong category this year, and of the also-rans The Hateful Eight, The Good Dinosaur, Mr. Holmes, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mad Max: Fury Road, In the Heart of the Sea and The Martian are but the best of the bunch.

Best Cinematography and Production Design: Who Will Win

Cinematography:

Emmanuel Lubezki--The Revenant*

John Seale--Mad Max: Fury Road*

Roger Deakins--Sicario*

Robert Richardson--The Hateful Eight*

Edward Lachman--Carol

Production Design:

Mad Max: Fury Road*

The Revenant*

Bridge of Spies*

The Martian*

The Danish Girl

I know, I know, I probably should bother naming the production designers too. The problem is, once you get into "below-the-line" awards, who gets named for an Oscar often does not sync up with who is noted on IMDb, and I prefer to minimize these discrepancies. Anyway, the first of these two categories is a bit of a tough call, since I can think of extremely valid reasons why four of the five nominees stand a very good chance at winning this year. Emmanuel Lubezki stands a good shot for three major reasons: his camerawork in The Revenant is freakin' awesome, the film could easily snag this category as part of a full or partial sweep, and Lubezki stands to make history as the first cinematographer ever to win three consecutive Oscars, and one of the few people overall to do so. John Seale stands a good shot since his camerawork in Mad Max: Fury Road is freakin' awesome, the film could easily snag this award as part of a sweep, and no cinematographer has ever won three consecutive Oscars. Roger Deakins could win since his camerawork for Sicario is awesome, the film overall is dangerously close to getting gypped by the Oscars, and not only has no cinematographer ever won three times in a row, Deakins himself has been nominated THIRTEEN TIMES and NEVER WON. Robert Richardson could win since Quentin Tarantino's western opus was heavily hyped for the way in which it was filmed, and it is indeed a visually impressive work. Overall, I'd say the first three are in a tight race with the fourth lagging behind, and while I know little about Carol's camerawork I see no real chance that it could win. Regarding Production Design, this is one category I actually think is almost guaranteed to go to George Miller's postapocalyptic epic. That said, The Revenant could snag the award as part of a sweep, and one cannot discount the TREMENDOUS period detail in Bridge of Spies as a seriously possible spoiler.

My 5 Best

Costume Design:

Crimson Peak

Cinderella

Bridge of Spies

The Hateful Eight

Mr. Holmes

Makeup and Hairstyling: (I'm doing five, dammit!)

The Revenant

In the Heart of the Sea

Everest

Southpaw

The Hateful Eight

Once again, Crimson Peak got shafted when the nominations were announced, nowhere more so than in the Costume Design category. As awesome as the costumes are in Cinderella, they are even better in Peak. I also consider the period garb in Bridge of Spies so spot-on that I am utterly astonished at its exclusion from this category, and am nearly as impressed by The Hateful Eight and Mr. Holmes. Indeed, to include The Revenant on my list I would need two additional slots, with Far from the Madding Crowd sneaking in ahead; In the Heart of the Sea, The Martian, Ant-Man and Star Wars: The Force Awakens would all advance ahead of Mad Max. As far as the Makeup goes, The Revenant actually does claim my top spot, but it is followed by three films Oscar forgot: In the Heart of the Sea, Everest and Southpaw. The Hateful Eight grabs the fifth spot, if only for Kurt Russell's moustache. There were several other strong contenders, however, the strongest being Creed, Mr. Holmes, Sicario, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, The 33, Steve Jobs and Mad Max: Fury Road.

Best Costume Design and Makeup: Who Will Win

Costume Design:

Cinderella*

Mad Max: Fury Road*

The Revenant*

Carol

The Danish Girl

Makeup and Hairstyling:

The Revenant*

Mad Max: Fury Road*

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

Wow, I have an entire category viewed! Yay, Best Makeup! Anyway, I admit that my pick for Best Costume Design hinges largely on a truism that seldom holds true: that the winner in this category seldom wins another Oscar, and often is nominated for nothing else. By this logic, Cinderella IS the clear choice. It also rocks pretty awesome costuming; I honestly think this is one category in which The Revenant and Mad Max are going head-to-head where neither one stands a strong chance of winning. Honestly, though, the category is wide open, with Carol possibly sneaking in to grab one Oscar, and even The Danish Girl having an outside chance. As far as Makeup goes... Is it seemingly out-of-left field nominees like The 100-Year-Old Man... (or Click, or Bad Grandpa, or freakin' Norbit) that are why this branch is only allowed three nominees? If not, why? Who did they piss off and how can they get a full complement of five like everybody else? Anyway, unlike those other ones I named, I loved The 100-Year-Old Man, and laughed out loud when I saw it had been nominated. And the makeup is pretty awesome. I would LOVE to see this one win, but it won't--the award will go to either The Revenant or Mad Max, whichever has the strongest "below-the-line" sweep. Ergo, my money's on Mad Max, with The Revenant a serious spoiler, and The 100-Year-Old Man a longshot.

My 5 Best

Visual Effects:

The Martian

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Revenant

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part 2

Jurassic World

Film Editing:

Inside Out

Sicario

The Revenant

The Walk

Bridge of Spies

I am definitely not following lockstep with my Oscar predictions on my own lists for these two categories, am I? I did think The Martian made excellent use of visual effects, it just has an uphill battle to fight for a win. Star Wars and The Revenant make solid choices for the next two spots, whilst the newest installments in the Hunger Games and Jurassic Park franchises were, I thought, surprisingly overlooked. It was generally a weak year for the visual effects category, with the strongest also-rans being The Walk, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Ex-Machina and Spectre (Everest and In the Heart of the Sea also registered above Mad Max for me). Film Editing could also have had a stronger year, though I nonetheless found some interesting contenders. Here once again were Inside Out and Sicario royally cheated, as were The Walk and Bridge of Spies. I do not in the least dispute The Revenant as a deserving contender, but Mad Max is more debatable: I list Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, Amy, Clouds of Sils Maria, Ant-Man, The Martian, Shaun the Sheep Movie and Ex Machina ahead of it. Far from the Madding Crowd, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part 2, Slow West, Testament of Youth and The Water Diviner all sneak in ahead of Star Wars.

Best Visual Effects and Film Editing: Who Will Win

Visual Effects:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens*

Mad Max: Fury Road*

The Revenant*

The Martian*

Ex Machina*

Film Editing:

The Revenant*

Mad Max: Fury Road*

The Big Short

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens*

Woohoo, another category where I've seen all the contenders! I really think these two categories stand a solid shot at getting completely swallowed up in the battle between The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road, so I'm kind of going out on a limb here to say that I think Star Wars: The Force Awakens actually has a really good shot at winning Best Visual Effects. Not only was it light years better than the so-so effects of the last three Star Wars films, it was pretty durned good, and this could end up being the token win for the movie. Do not discount the other two, though, or even The Martian and Ex Machina as looooongshot spoilers. As far as film editing, I think it'll be a two-pony race between The Revenant and Mad Max, with the winner being the one with the strongest sweep. However, The Big Short or Spotlight could pull a shocking upset.

My 5 Best

Original Score:

Alan Silvestri--The Walk

Michael Giacchino--Inside Out

Ilan Eshkeri--Shaun the Sheep Movie

James Horner--The 33

Carter Burwell--Mr. Holmes

Original Song:

Priscilla Ahn: "Fine on the Outside"--When Marnie Was There

Juanes, Fonseca and Descemer Bueno: "Juntos (Together)"--McFarland, USA

Diane Warren and Lady Gaga: "Til It Happens to You"--The Hunting Ground

Tiago Garvalho, Gary Go and Robyn 'Rihanna' Fenty: "Towards the Sun"--Home

Nicholas Hodgson, Ilan Eshkeri and Tim Wheeler: "Feels Like Summer"--Shaun the Sheep Movie

Funny how musical tastes can vary so widely, yes? You'll note that not a single one of my nominees is identical for original score (Carter Burwell is still nominated, but for a different film), and that there is only one song the same for Original Song. I have not seen Carol, but the score for Mr. Holmes is wonderful, so I have high hopes for the film that actually netted Mr. Burwell his first Oscar nod. All the other nominees are great, but HOW Alan Silvestri's wonderful, lilting melody for The Walk or Michael Giacchino's deeply moving score for Inside Out got overlooked is not only beyond me, it's downright criminal. I suppose I can understand Ilan Eshkeri getting overlooked despite the PHENOMENAL music in Shaun the Sheep Movie, but how in the HELL did the late James Horner not only not get a nod in the year of his passing, but fail to do so for one of the finest scores he's ever written? The 33 is a fine film, solid and just shy of Oscar-level in most respects, but the music is awesome; Mr. Horner deserved better from the Academy. This was actually a really strong year for original music; all four of the nominated films that I have seen had great scores, but only Morricone ALMOST made my top five. He is followed closely by: When Marnie Was There's Takutsugu Muramatsu; Cinderella's Patrick Doyle; Far from the Madding Crowd's Craig Armstrong; Crimson Peak's Fernando Velazquez, and Star Wars' John Williams. And so on... As for the songs, I have already spent a great deal of time trumpeting the praise of Priscilla Ahn's quietly lovely "Fine on the Outside," the original theme from Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There. Let me just say, once more, that the Academy missed a golden opportunity here. Juanes' lively "Juntos" also got royally snubbed; McFarland, USA may not be the kind of film that cries out for Oscar, but damned if this isn't the catchiest Original Song since "Everything Is Awesome." You will be humming the song for days. I give mad props to Lady Gaga's theme from The Hunting Ground, and my selected song from Home, "Towards the Sun," is just about that film's strongest asset. Oh, I take it back--"Juntos" may have met its match in Shaun the Sheep Movie's "Feels Like Summer." HOW did Sam Smith and Fifty Shades of Grey trump ANY of these songs?!?!? This was a pretty solid year overall for original songs, with a number of songs that I'd rate above Smith's--about 31 in all. Of those that missed the top five, Ike Reilly's "Born on Fire" is a debatable inclusion; the song is awesome, and fits nicely into the documentary about Reilly's longtime friend, I Am Chris Farley, but I am not 100% positive it is original to the film. Leaving that one aside, the best of the rest include Lord Huron's "The Birds Are Singing at Night" from A Walk in the Woods, Yazin Nizar and 1080g's "Seethakalam" from Son of Satyamurthy, Maaya Sakamoto and Cornelius' "Mada Ugoku" from Ghost in the Shell: New Movie, Awreeoh's "It's My Turn Now" from Dope, Kris Fogelmark's "Love Was My Alibi" from The Water Diviner and Stephen Curtis Chapman's "Warrior" from War Room. Anyway, we'd have even more fun movies to talk about if the Academy would adopt the Best Use of Music in Film Oscar--let's all keep our fingers crossed, yes?

Best Original Score and Original Song: Who Will Win

Original Score:

Ennio Morricone--The Hateful Eight*

Thomas Newman--Bridge of Spies*

John Williams--Star Wars: The Force Awakens*

Johann Johannsson--Sicario*

Carter Burwell--Carol

Original Song:

Diane Warren and Lady Gaga: "Til It Happens to You"--The Hunting Ground*

Sam Smith and James Napier: "Writing's on the Wall"--Spectre*

The Weeknd, Belly, Jason 'DaHeala' Quenneville and Stephen Moccio: "Earned It"--Fifty Shades of Grey

J. Ralph and Antony Hegarty: "Manta Ray"--Racing Extinction

David Lang: "Simple Song #3--Youth

It is a criminal shame that one of this year's nominees for Best Original Score has won an Oscar for each one of them, and none of the others has ever won. Further, legendary composer Ennio Morricone has gone oh-for-5 prior to this year, while Thomas Newman shares with cinematographer Roger Deakins the dubious honor of having been nominated TWELVE times before without a win. Oh, and Carter Burwell, the composer of some of the greatest scores ever written (Fargo, Miller's Crossing) has NEVER EVEN BEEN NOMINATED BEFORE. I suppose this sort of thing is how John Williams can rack up 40-odd nominations and five wins. Anyway, it's tempting to say that this could be Newman's year, or that Burwell or Johann Johannsson could win their first Oscars, but that would be a lie: this is Ennio Morricone's year, and that Oscar practically has his name on it already. Newman has a shot as a spoiler, and Williams a very small shot (and besides, how "original" is this score, really?). But in the end, it'll be Morricone for the win. As for the original song, this one's arguably even easier to call: Diane Warren, with an assist from Lady Gaga, will finally end her own losing streak with the plaintive "Til It Happens to You" from the documentary The Hunting Ground, an expose on the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. The Academy loves message songs, and Diane Warren, and everybody loves Lady Gaga; it doesn't hurt that this is a damn fine song that has IMPORTANT MESSAGE written all over it. If anybody breaks through, sadly, it'll be Sam Smith's overblown bit of Bond treacle from Spectre; NOBODY wants to utter the phrase "Oscar-winning film Fifty Shades of Grey," and neither of the other nominees even warranted a live performance on the show, so that tells you their chances right there.

My 5 Best

Sound Mixing:

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Bridge of Spies

The Martian

Sicario

Sound Editing:

Sicario

The Revenant

Mad Max: Fury Road

Bridge of Spies

The Martian

As you can see, I'm not far off from Oscar on which films I, with my tin ear, think had the best sound of the year. The only one I feel strongly about, however, is that Sound Editing win for Sicario. I'd love to see that film pull an upset because it freakin' deserves to. The others I'd cite for Sound Mixing that couldn't quite make the cut would be Love & Mercy, The Hateful Eight, Straight Outta Compton, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part 2 and In the Heart of the Sea. For Sound Editing the best also-rans are The Hateful Eight, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part 2, In the Heart of the Sea, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Everest.

Best Sound Mixing and Sound Effects Editing: Who Will Win

Sound Mixing:

The Revenant*

Mad Max: Fury Road*

The Martian*

Bridge of Spies*

Star Wars: The Force Awakens*

Sound Editing:

The Revenant*

Mad Max: Fury Road*

Sicario*

Star Wars: The Force Awakens*

The Martian*

Leeetsss call it a day. Just kidding. Seriously, though, these are likely the two feature film categories of least interest to most Oscar viewers, in part because so many people have no idea what the difference even is, let alone what these people do. Naturally, these are two of the categories I've managed to complete already. I've learned a lot over the years, and I've gotten to where I can usually predict these categories with some accuracy (got 'em both last year), but I admit this year I'm baffled. They'll almost certainly go to either The Revenant or Mad Max, with the former taking the slight edge, depending on whether the latter manages a sweep. The Martian has the strongest chance of pulling an upset in the first category, and Sicario and Star Wars both have a similar position in the second. So, you know, I called it.

My Final Tally: Nominations

Bridge of Spies--10

The Revenant--10

Sicario--9

Inside Out--6

The Hateful Eight--5

The Martian--5

The Walk--5

Mr. Holmes--4

When Marnie Was There--4

Mad Max: Fury Road--3

Shaun the Sheep Movie--3

Steve Jobs--3

Cinderella--2

Crimson Peak--2

The Hunting Ground--2

Kingsman: The Secret Service--2

The Peanuts Movie--2

Star Wars: The Force Awakens--2

The 33--1

Amy--1

Ant-Man--1

Best of Enemies--1

Black Mass--1

Clouds of Sils Maria--1

Dohchay--1

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'--1

The End of the Tour--1

Everest--1

Ex Machina--1

Far from the Madding Crowd--1

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief--1

The Good Dinosaur--1

Home--1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part 2--1

In the Heart of the Sea--1

Irrational Man--1

Joy--1

Jurassic World--1

Kanche--1

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter--1

Love & Mercy--1

McFarland, USA--1

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl--1

The Seven Five--1

Son of Satyamurthy--1

Southpaw--1

The Voices--1

The Water Diviner--1


Oscar's Final Tally: Nominations

The Revenant--12

Mad Max: Fury Road--10

The Martian--7

Bridge of Spies--6

Carol--6

Spotlight--6

The Big Short--5

Star Wars: The Force Awakens--5

The Danish Girl--4

Room--4

Brooklyn--3

The Hateful Eight--3

Sicario--3

Ex Machina--2

Inside Out--2

Steve Jobs--2

45 Years--1

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared--1

A War--1

Amy--1

Anomalisa--1

Boy and the World--1

Cartel Land--1

Cinderella--1

Creed--1

Embrace of the Serpent--1

Fifty Shades of Grey--1

The Hunting Ground--1

Joy--1

The Look of Silence--1

Mustang--1

Racing Extinction--1

Shaun the Sheep Movie--1

Son of Saul--1

Spectre--1

Straight Outta Compton--1

Theeb--1

Trumbo--1

What Happened, Miss Simone?--1

When Marnie Was There--1

Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom--1

Youth--1

And... Goodnight?

Aaand that does it for the feature film nominees! Yay! The tallies above were a last-minute addition, and they sure do throw into sharp relief where my picks differ from Oscar, eh? Very odd tallies on both sides. I'll update after the telecast with an actual vs. ideal wins tally, so check back for that. Anyway... Sadly I am, as ever, woefully ill-equipped to comment on the nominated short films. I have seen four contenders for Animated Short, including the nominated Sanjay's Super Team, and exactly none of the others. From that vantage point, let me make the following predicitons: for Animated Short, World of Tomorrow; for Documentary Short, Body Team 12; and for Live-Action Short, Everything Will Be Okay. We shall see. Anyway, as usual I thank you for taking the time to read my musings on the year's films and the Oscars. God willing, we'll all meet again next year for The 2017 Oscars vs. My Own Best of Lists: The Soich for More Sleep. In the meantime, as always, I encourage comments and opinions: am I right, am I wrong, am I full of something brown and smelly? Let me know which films you thought got snubbed, and which ones I liked that were better off left behind. And, as ever, happy viewing!

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    • Maggalynn Grace profile image

      Maggalynn Grace 15 months ago from Michigan

      Wow, what a fulfilling read. Good job! I think this is the year for Leonardo DiCaprio.

    • kotobukijake profile image
      Author

      kotobukijake 15 months ago

      Thanks, Maggalynn, I do appreciate the feedback. And it looks like we were both right about Leo. I hope your other predictions were reasonably on-the-money--looks like I should have had less faith in the Academy to choose The Revenant (and Cinderella) over Mad Max in some of those categories, and to choose Lady Gaga's fine song over Sam Smith's bad one. And boy was I wrong on Alicia Vikander (good for her!) and Ex Machina (holy crap, this was a shocker--and good for them!). Called Spotlight and Mark Rylance, though, so that was cool. Also, Sam Smith's egregious faux pais aside, history WAS made. Alejandro G. Inarritu is only the third director to win back-to-back Directing Oscars, and the first in half a century--he also is the first Mexican to do it. His countryman Emmanuel Lubezki is the first cinematographer to win three Oscars in a row, and one of about seven or so people ever to do so. Oh, and then there's Ennio Morricone, who at 87 tied Gloria Stuart as the oldest person ever to win an Oscar. Finally, there's Chile's first ever Oscar win. Pretty interesting night overall.

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