The skinny: As usual this early, everything’s a contender. I feel pretty comfortable that at least eight of these 10 will be nominees come January, but any of them could flame out (or, in the case of The Revenant, not be ready in time).
The skinny: Since 2009, no director had been nominated for a film that wasn’t either. I think Bennett Miller was a total anomaly, so there shouldn’t be any blips like that here. I’m most excited to see Todd Haynes hopefully get his due, especially since the others are all previous winners.
The skinny: Every actor here is playing a real person. The final Best Actor slate has never been that, though we came close in 2005 (Clint Eastwood played the only fictional character). But who could argue with all these former nominees, supposedly turning in career-best performances?
The skinny: Will there be room for two previous Oscar-winners playing lesbians in tragic romances? We’ll have to see. And despite its presence in nearly every category, this seems like Joy’s only sure thing. TriStar isn’t the type of studio to make a big awards push, so a Meryl Streep nomination isn’t a foregone conclusion. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Vikander moves to supporting come November.
The skinny: How great would it be to see Jeff Daniels (or even Seth Rogen) in this category? Hardy also seems like a shoo-in, but I’d put the early money on Edgerton to actually make it here. He’s put in the work, and he’ll be in a movie that should get plenty of attention.
The skinny: As the only woman in the Hateful Eight‘s ensemble, Jennifer Jason Leigh might find herself a nominee again, even if she failed to make an impression in the latest trailer. Mara and Page’s nominations might depend on how well their counterparts are received, and Kate Winslet might find herself the odd person out in the Steve Jobs biopic. Laugh all you want, but Kristen Stewart could find herself an Oscar nominee as well. She already has a César (France’s Oscar equivalent) to show for this role.
The skinny: I’d expect something more outsider-y to make its way into the fray later, but for now, it’s all Best Picture nominees and also-rans.
The skinny: I’m not going to count on Mad Max making anything other than the craft categories, but wouldn’t it be awesome to see Fury Road up here? Expect some consolation prizes for better reviewed movies (like The End of the Tour) to make it.
The skinny: Unless Minions surges for some reason, I’m comfortable with these five.
Random Sure Things
Cinematography: The Revenant
Sound Mixing: Miles Ahead
Costume Design: Suffragette
Make-up and Hairstyling: Ex Machina
Production Design: Crimson Peak