So the Oscars are due within a week or so. Not that it matters but I would like to try my hands on some predictions this time. I have more or less seen most of the major films that were nominated. So, I think I should make a few guesses. I am refraining from predicting short films and documentaries though as I have not been able to catch any of them. I am also not predicting some of the technical awards such as sound mixing and Makeup as frankly I am not sure how are they even judged.
Well, I am not saying anything new but yes, the Revenant has come out as the firm frontrunner with big wins in BAFTA and Golden Globes. However, it was not so at the beginning. Still, there is a lot of goodwill for Spotlight while my favourite Hateful Eight was not even nominated! Also, I think Spotlights supporters will also be torn between other indie and small budget films such as The Big Short and Room. The same can be said about Brooklyn and Bridge of Spies, both decent films but not really carrying enough buzz at the moment. This leaves us with big, studio based films such as The Martian and Mad Max but frankly those two are two entertaining and too popular to win over conservative sections of the jury. So, it is Revenant all the way, followed closely by Spotlight.
Now here is the thing. Inarritu seems to be the hit favourite and he has had a great build up by winning several awards. But he just won last years and due to the natural law of averages (LoA henceforth… Will have to use it several times) some people may not be too keen on seeing him again. However I still think he is a firm favourite. Nominees from smaller films are lacking that X Factor as most of them seem to be driven mainly by tight screenplays rather than directorial flourishes and will duly win in those categories. So, this leaves us with George Miller, the Aussie veteran who has never come so close before. Of course Mad Max, as mentioned earlier, is not what you expect at the Oscars but the fact is that he has managed to make something like this in a genre like that. So, this makes him the dark horse.
Yes, I do not really have to say it! After years of disappointments, Decaprio fans can breath easy. The thing is, on earlier occasions, there used to be one mind blowing performance that used to overshadow him. For instance he was good, really good in Wolf of the Wall Street. But that was McConnaughey’s year as he was irresistible in Dallas Buyers Club. This year, there is no such overwhelming favourite, in fact if there is one, that is Leo himslef and I do not even have to discuss the rest.
This category is trickier. I do not see any runaway favorite. My personal favorite was Rooney Mara but she was relegated to supporting category for some reasons. As of now Brie Larson seems to be the favorite one. It seemed unlike at the start of the season but the young mother from that indie hit Room has already registered a few big wins. Yes I am having a hard time accepting it as I disliked Room!
Best Foreign Film
This is even trickier! The best known film does not always win. However, we can pick a couple of better known entries. As of now the favorite seems to be Son of Saul from Hungary, followed by French entry Mustang. Other three contenders are comparatively lightweight. It fact I had not even heard of them before the Nominations.
Best Supporting Actor
There are some great performances in this category. I find it very hard to it ore the likes of Mark Ruffalo and Christian Bale. However, the favorite seems to be Mark Rylance who carries a lot of goodwill. He is a good stage actor who has not done too many films and finally is getting a good role this late in his life. He has already won a few big ones and is likely to finish off with an Oscar. However, I still cannot believe that there was no nomination for Steve Carrel and that kid from Room.
Best Supporting Actress
This is even harder to pick. My choice is Rooney Mara but Kate Winslet has suddenly upped her game by winning the BAFTA (and I have not even seen that one!). Other entries are unlikely to win as far as I can see.
If there is something certain, this is it. This category is Pixar’s playground. They just have to release one decent film in a year to take it home and even the LoA cannot prevent them. This time they have two entries. While Good Dinosaur has so so ratings, Inside Out has been highly successful and seems like an outright winner.
Yes, history is going to be made in this category! When you give someone a Lifetime Achievement Award, you assume that his career is practically over. Hollywood did that to Ennio Morricone a decade ago. However, the 87 year old maestro is still active and kicking, thanks mainly to his fanboy Tarantino. He is likely to win this one, more than a decade after winning a Lifetime Achievement. Is there any parallel for that? I do not think so!
I do not really have an ear for these film songs that win in Hollywood. My Bollywood sensibilities failed to register most of the nominated songs. The song from Fifty Shades of Grey has been winning all the accolades, quality of the film notwithstanding. So, I ‘d go for that one too.
Best Original Screenplay
Spotlight seems to be the overwhelming favorite for this slot. Its writers have shown a remarkable trait, that of dignity, while writing about something as exploitative as child molestation. It is hard to keep it clean and subdued while dealing with such topics. Besides, if it does lose out in the other main categories, this should be the ideal compensation.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Similarly, The Big Short seems to be the front runner. It is a complex topic that has been handled sell and made watchable for everyone. Average people have no clue about the financial jargon used in the story but the writers do enough to make them understandable.
This is another instance where the LoA fails. Emanuel Lubezki is on a Hattrick and he will still win it. Yes, the Revenant, among other things, is a visual masterclass. It would not have been as effective although Lubezki’s jaw dropping long takes that make one wonder how did he even manage it!
The Revenant is my favorite in this category too. I kept wondering how they even achieved some of those long shots. I think apart from the cinematographer, the editor should also be credited here. A close second will be Mad Max with its kinetic and surreal chase sequences.
Period Films normally win this one. But my bet is with The Martian for creating Mars on earth.
Best Visual Effects
I know one of the big films, either Mad Max or Star Wars would win. Although my heart was with Ex Machina. It takes some work to make Alicia Vicander like a machine.