Best Picture: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight
- Will Win: Spotlight. I think (and hope) a lot of the hype behind The Revenant is empty in this category.
- Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road is my top pick in this category, though Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies and Spotlight are all worthy contenders.
- Left out: I was tempted to put “Not Carol” eight times for the list of nominees. I’d have also included either Magic Mike XXL, Diary of a Teenage Girl, Results or Unfriended in this category instead of Room, The Martian, The Revenant and The Big Short. (The Big Short is solid, for the record. I just think the others I mentioned are better).
Best Director: Lenny Abrahamson (Room), Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), Adam McKay (The Big Short) and George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road).
- Will Win: Iñárritu. I think “You guys The Revenant was really difficult to make” is going to turn out to be a disgustingly effective strategy to win it trophies.
- Should Win: George Miller. Not only was Mad Max: Fury Road difficult to make (P.S. pretty much all movies are), but it’s a wild, ferociously great film.
- Left out: How did Lenny Abrahamson make it into this category ahead of Todd Haynes? Room is the sloppiest of all the Best Picture nominees, and its wildly inconsistent visual design almost completely ruins it. I’d also remove Iñárritu and add in Leo Gabriadze for Unfriended.
Best Actor: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Remayne (The Danish Girl)
- Will Win: DiCaprio. It’s his year. I’m not really mad about it. He should have been rewarded for one of his Scorsese collaborations, especially The Wolf of Wall Street. I hope Kate Winslet wins in her category too just for the pictures.
- Should Win: Leo or Fassy. This is the weakest category of the night.
- Left out: Michael B. Jordan for Creed is a glaring omission here, especially considering Cranston and Damon took a slot that could have been his. Had Jordan been nominated he would easily be my favorite in the category. I did not see The Danish Girl and have no intention of doing so, so I’d take out Redmayne and include Channing Tatum for Magic Mike XXL.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn).
- Will Win: Brie Larson. She’s good in Room despite the movie fighting against her at almost every turn.
- Should Win: This is the strongest acting category overall. Blanchett, Rampling and Ronan are all incredible in their respective films. I’d pick Blanchett if I had to choose one.
- Left out: Rooney Mara should have joined Blanchett in this category, and the two should share the trophy. There are plenty of worth performances that could have replaced Lawrence and Larson. Greta Gerwig for Mistress America, Teyonah Parris for Chi-raq, Meryl Streep for Ricki and the Flash, Blythe Danner for I’ll See You In My Dreams, Bel Powley for The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and Charlize Theron for Mad Max: Fury Road, starters.
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (The Big Short), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
- Will Win: Stallone. Perhaps the most certain victory of the night.
- Should Win: This is another weak category, but of these nominees I’d go with Stallone, Rylance or Ruffalo. I could complain about Tom Hardy being picked for this instead of Mad Max, but would it help?
- Left out: Kevin Corrigan deserved major attention for his role in Results. I’d also have liked to see Sam Elliot in I’ll See You In My Dreams and Emory Cohen in Brooklyn in this category.
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
- Will Win: Alicia Vikander, I guess.
- Should Win: Rooney Mara, though if I was going with a performance that was truly a supporting role I’d pick Winslet or Jason Leigh.
- Left out: Tessa Thompson should be in this category for Creed, as should Jada Pinkett Smith for Magic Mike XXL, Jessica Chastain for Crimson Peak and Kristen Wiig for The Diary of a Teenage Girl.
Best Original Screenplay: Bridge of Spies (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen and Matt Charman), Ex Machina (Alex Garland), Inside Out (Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen, Josh Cooley and Meg LeFauve), Straight Outta Compton (Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus)
- Will Win: Inside Out.
- Should Win: Bridge of Spies. I could elaborate, but would it help?
- Left out: Mistress America has one of the sharpest, funniest screenplays in recent memory. Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig not only should be nominated here, but they should win ten times over. Andrew Bujalski should also have been in this category for Results.
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short (Adam McKay and Charles Randolph), Carol (Phyllis Nagy), The Martian (Drew Goddard), Steve Jobs (Aaron Sorkin), Trumbo, (John McNamara)
- Will Win: The Big Short.
- Should Win: Phyllis Nagy. I love Carol almost as much as Therese.
- Left out: Marielle Heller for The Diary of a Teenage Girl and Spike Lee and Kevin Willmott for Chi-Raq.
My predictions in the remaining categories (Will win/Should win)
Cinematography: The Revenant/Carol
Animated Feature: Inside Out/When Marnie Was There
Costume Design: Carol/Carol
Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road/Mad Max: Fury Road
Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road/Mad Max: Fury Road
Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul/I haven’t seen any of these
Makeup: The Revenant/Mad Max:Fury Road
Original Score: The Hateful Eight/The Hateful Eight
Original Song: “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground/I’m all for Lady Gaga EGOT’ing so sure give it to her
Visual Effects: Star Wars: The Force Awakens/Ex Machina
Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road/Mad Max: Fury Road
Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road/Mad Max: Furty Road