Oscar Picks – 15 Dec 2015

The cast of Spotlight
The Big Short
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Falling off: Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Joy
Rising star: Trumbo
The skinny: Middling reviews for The Danish Girl and Joy mark the end of their respective Best Picture hopes, with up-and-comer The Big Short filling the gap. But Trumbo‘s strong showing at SAG (remember, actors make up the largest branch of the Academy) might mean nominations for more than just Bryan Cranston. Bridge of Spies coming up short is a bigger surprise, and it could still find a way back in, but a lack of precursor nods means there’s not a whole lot of momentum for it.

Tom Hardy and George Miller on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road
Todd Haynes, Carol
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott, The Martian

Falling off: Tom Hooper, Steven Spielberg
Rising star: Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight
The skinny: If Bridge of Spies is out, Spielberg is too. So that opens up Tarantino to another nomination, even if he couldn’t pull off the feat for Django Unchained. But unless Mad Max comes up short, I think these are our five.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Johnny Depp, Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Falling off: Tom Hanks
Rising star: Will Smith, Concussion
The skinny: Depp is back on deck after Black Mass fizzled somewhat. But really, this is DiCaprio’s Oscar to lose. The only possible twist is if Open Road decides to hedge their bets and switch Michael Keaton to Lead Actor for Spotlight.

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

Falling off: None
Rising star: Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back
The skinny: Emily Blunt and Jennifer Lawrence are vulnerable, and it’s possible any of these senior ladies could knock them off (Blythe Danner, Helen Mirren, Charlotte Rampling, Maggie Smith). But the fact that Sarah Silverman got a SAG nod for her devastating turn in I Smile Back proves she’s not just on voters’ radar, she’s also a formidable threat.

Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Benicio Del Toro, Sicario
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Jacob Tremblay, Room 

Falling off: Tom Hardy, Michael Keaton
Rising star: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
The skinny: Del Toro is the most in danger of falling off, despite giving a tremendous performance. This category is just that crowded. And there’s also the real possibility that Spotlight might not have any acting nominees, since all the great supporting actors will cannibalize themselves. So that opens up previously shunted performers like Idris Elba and Michael Shannon to find their names called in January, even beating out Sly Stallone a return to a star-making role in a well-received crowd-pleaser like Creed.

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

Falling off: None
Rising star: Helen Mirren, Trumbo
The skinny: Category fraud or not, Vikander and Mara have this category locked up. The others are a mystery, and Helen Mirren could certainly find her way back into the fray for the first time since The Last Station.

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

Falling off: Joy
Rising star: Ex Machina
The skinny: Ex Machina is coming on very strong, and only Spotlight seems guaranteed a nod. I’m rooting for it, but I also thought Looper was a sure thing.

Ryan Gosling in The Big Short
The Big Short
Steve Jobs

Falling off: The Danish Girl, The Revenant
Rising star: Beasts of No Nation
The skinny: A brutal category. Even if The Revenant scores major nods elsewhere, I can see it coming up short since its screenplay is not exactly brilliant. But it’s really anyone’s guess beyond Carol.

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

Falling off: None
Rising star, still: The Prophet
The skinny: Inside Out is going to win, and then all the critics will complain it wasn’t Anomalisa. C’est la vie.

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