Oscar Picks – 15 Nov 2015

The cast of Spotlight
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
The Hateful Eight
The Martian
The Revenant

Falling off: In the Heart of the Sea, Steve Jobs
Rising star: Room
The skinny: OK, now I’m ready to believe the Brooklyn hype. It’s gotten great reviews, and reviews don’t win awards, but it’s what those reviews are saying. This is a big, old-fashioned romance featuring great performances and a sharp script. That’s right up most voters’ alleys. But it’s still got a lot of competition. Steve Jobs underperforming after a great limited run reminds me of The Master, which only left nods for its actors. (Though I think it’s still a lock for adapted screenplay.) Like the upcoming 2016 election, there’s no clear-cut winner, so anything’s possible, including a small project like Room. On the opposite end, I think The Martian is now a legitimate threat. It’s been the only sizable hit so far this fall. But Spotlight now seems like the frontrunner.

Todd Haynes and Cate Blanchett on the set of Carol
Todd Haynes, Carol
Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies

Falling off: Ron Howard
Rising star: Ridley Scott, The Martian
The skinny: So will The Martian‘s success go even broader? Maybe, but these former winners (and two first-timers) seem a little more likely.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Falling off: None
Rising star, still: Matt Damon, The Martian
The skinny: No change here, but keep an eye on the vastly underrated Damon.

Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson in Room
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Emily Blunt, Sicario
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Falling off: Julianne Moore
Rising star: Blythe Danner, I’ll See You in My Dreams
The skinny: Freeheld was a big flop, so I’m expecting Carol to be the only lesbian romance to get any awards attention. Yes, I also think it’s a little odd that all the nominees are in singular-named pictures. But they seem the strongest, unless scrappy upstart Bleecker Street can make a big push for Blythe Danner. (The same applies to the studios backing Charlotte Rampling, Lily Tomlin and Maggie Smith. Only one of them will get the nomination, if that.)

Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies
Benicio Del Toro, Sicario
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Michael Keaton, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Jacob Tremblay, Room

Falling off: Jeff Daniels, Joel Edgerton
Rising star: Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
The skinny: There’s no way Paul Dano is a supporting actor in Love & Mercy, but this, shall we say, particular categorizing can help a movie that’s well-liked among the older Academy. But he still faces an uphill battle against a slew of great nominees. Keaton seems the most likely nominee for Spotlight, but there’s a deep bench of supporting actors there, including Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Liev Schreiber, Brian D’arcy James, Stanley Tucci, and many of the actors playing victims in brief but powerful scenes.

Alicia Vikander is The Danish Girl
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Falling off: None
Rising star: Elizabeth Banks, Love & Mercy
The skinny: As with Dano, the supporting categorization is a stretch for Banks, but she’s giving her best performance to date in a movie that’s stuck around in the minds of voters. But there’s going to have to be a major surge for anyone to unseat these women.

Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams in Spotlight
Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out

Falling off: None
Rising star: Anomalisa
The skinny: There’s a dearth of nominees in this category, so right now it falls on the movie with the most overall buzz. Spotlight‘s got a sharp script, even if it’s not particularly innovative, and that may be enough to win.

Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs
The Danish Girl
The Revenant
Steve Jobs

Falling off: In the Heart of the Sea
Rising star: Room
The skinny: So what if Room doesn’t pan out in the bigger categories? Well, it’s certainly got a legitimate shot here, were the field not already crowded by probable Best Picture nominees and Aaron Sorkin’s dynamite Steve Jobs script.

The feelings of Inside Out
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Falling off: The Good Dinosaur
Rising star: The Prophet
The skinny: Anomalisa may be getting the great reviews, but it’s not going to beat Inside Out. Not a chance in hell.

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