This Sunday at 8:30 p.m. EST is the 88th annual Academy Awards, and just like every year with the Oscars, there has been a great deal of debate over which films and actors should win versus which ones will win. Will Spotlight,Â The Revenant, orÂ The Big ShortÂ win Best Picture? Will Sylvester Stallone take home an Oscar again for playing Rocky? Is this the year that Leo finally wins?Â Everyone on the internet is making their picks and predictions, so my fellow TVOvermind writerÂ Blaise Hopkins, and I thought we’d join in on the fun. He and I have see all eight Best Picture nominees, along with many of the other films nominated at this year’s Oscars, and we came together with our picks for who should win and who will win in 10 major categories. From Best Picture to Best Animated Feature, check out our picks for the 2016 Oscars below:
Nominees:The Big Short,Â Bridge of Spies,Â Brooklyn,Â Mad Max: Fury Road,Â The Martian,Â The Revenant,Â Room,Â SpotlightÂ
Blaise’s Pick:Â AlthoughÂ RoomÂ should win,Â SpotlightÂ will win.
Room was one of the most emotionally exhilarating movies that I have ever seen. The situation and story were heart-breakingly beautiful while the acting and chemistry between Larson and Tremblay was perfect. While I would be happy to see Spotlight win, I just thought Room was more moving, especially for taking place in a single small space for almost the entire duration of the film. I found myself nearly forgetting to breathe when watching Room because that’s just how emotionally tense it was.
Chris’s Pick:Â AlthoughÂ RoomÂ should win,Â The RevenantÂ will win.
Although some have tried to paintÂ RoomÂ as the most depressing film of 2015, it’s anything but that. While the movie is certainly difficult to watch at times, asking its audience to go on incredibly emotional ride with its characters, the story that it’s telling is ultimately beautiful and life-affirming.Â RoomÂ is a film about the power of connection, and how the love of family or friends can help us endure even the most challenging times. Plus, it features two of the very best performances of the year from Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. Unfortunately,Â RoomÂ has no chance of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, as it’s a three-way race betweenÂ Spotlight,Â The Big Short, andÂ The Revenant. Of those three,Â SpotlightÂ gets my vote for most deserving, but when it comes down to which movie will actually take home the top prize on Sunday night, my bet is that it will beÂ The Revenant.Â
Nominees:Â Adam McKayÂ (The Big Short),Â George MillerÂ (Mad Max: Fury Road),Â Alejandro G. IÃ±Ã¡rrituÂ (The Revenant)Â Lenny AbrahamsonÂ (Room),Â Tom McCarthyÂ (Spotlight)
Blaise’s Pick:Â George MillerÂ will win and should win.
George Miller returned to a franchise that he started back in 1979, and it felt like he never stepped away. The amount of crazy action and chaos that happen in Mad Max: Fury Road is phenomenal and to direct it all must have felt like playing with a moving puzzle; if something didn’t fit, it wouldn’t have looked or felt right.Â A lot went on in Mad Max: Fury Road,Â and I think that Miller’s ability to recapture the chaotic essence of this series shows why he deserves the award.
Chris’s Pick:Â AlthoughÂ George MillerÂ should win,Â Alejandro G. IÃ±Ã¡rrituÂ will win.
I wasn’t as huge of a fan ofÂ Mad Max: Fury RoadÂ as everyone else was back when I saw it in theaters in May, but I’ve grown to love it after watching the film a few more times. However, the one thing aboutÂ Fury RoadÂ that I never doubted or questioned was the talent of the man behind the camera, George Miller, who somehow crafted the chaos of the film into one of the most electrifying and emotional action films ever made. Unfortunately,Â with so many stories coming out about how difficult and exhausting the filming process forÂ The RevenantÂ was, not to mention the fact the movie used mostly all natural light, I think that Oscar voters will be convinced thatÂ Alejandro G. IÃ±Ã¡rritu deserves the award for Best Director, which will make him the first director to win the award two years in a row sinceÂ Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1950.
Nominees:Â Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl),Â Matt Damon (The Martian),Â Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
Blaise’s Pick:Â Leonardo DiCaprio will win and should win.
What is there to say about this? 2015 wasn’t the worst year for leading actors, but Leo seems like he’s on another level compared to the competition. While Michael Fassbender is arguably as good and might be a dark horse for his work in Steve Jobs, Leo put all of the heart and emotion he had into this role. The Revenant is a very gorgeous film to watch, and Leo gives the visuals substance. Whether he is really eating raw meat or crawling for his life, the physical and bodily emotion he displays is amazing, and I think it’s finally his time to give us a speech.
Chris’s Pick:Â Leonardo DiCaprioÂ will win and should win.
It’s really a toss-up for me about whoÂ shouldÂ win the Oscar for Best Actor this year. Both Michael Fassbender and Leonardo DiCaprio are deserving for their performances inÂ Steve JobsÂ andÂ The Revenant. Some days, I’ll think Fassbender is the best, while on other days, my vote goes to DiCaprio. However, when it comes down to it, for his work in bothÂ The RevenantÂ and throughout his entire career, Leonardo DiCaprio deserves to win the Oscar, and judging by the fact that he’s won pretty much every other major award for Best Actor, it looks to be his year.
Nominees:Â Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn),Â Cate Blanchett (Carol), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Brie Larson (Room)
Blaise’s Pick:Â Brie LarsonÂ will win and should win.
Larson is winning all of the awards, but I still feel like she’s sort of being a little undersold. While more people are definitely aware of how good Room truly is, I feel like people aren’t as locked on her compared to Leo in the Best ActorÂ category. Larson completely owns this movie and gives one of the best emotional performances I can ever remember watching. People want to talk about all of the things Leo did to make The Revenant feel more real? Larson spent a full month in isolation to prepare for this role mentally, which is scary to think about. I’ve loved watching her grow as an actress, but this performance was on another level.
Chris’s Pick:Â Brie LarsonÂ will win and should win.
This year’s Best Actress race has always been between two women for me: Saoirse Ronan for her magnificent work inÂ BrooklynÂ and Brie Larson for her mesmerizing performance inÂ Room. However, the warmth, fierceness, and vulnerability that Larson brings to every single scene inÂ RoomÂ is what makes her the one that deserves to win at this year’s Oscars. It’s a rich, complex, and honest performance that makes you forget that you’re watching a film; as Ma, Larson is unflinchingly authentic, and that authenticity is why she will and should take home the top prize for Best Actress on Sunday night.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees:Â Christian Bale (The Big Short), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Sylvester Stallone (Creed), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Blaise’s Pick:Â Sylvester StalloneÂ will win and should win.
The Best Supporting Role category is pretty stacked this year, but to me Stallone is easily the standout. The man returned to the role that made his career and gave us the best performance that the character Rocky has ever had. Hardy, Ruffalo, and Rylance are all amazing as well, but for me the combination of emotions Stallone brought to the table are what give him the edge. He brings the classic inspirational element of Rocky back but also shows us a man who is both scared and accepting the possibility of death. Stallone’s chemistry with Michael B. Jordan is fantastic, and I really loved this new, aged version of Rocky.
Chris’s Pick:Â Sylvester StalloneÂ will win and should win.
Similar to Best Actor, this is, for me personally, another category that’s a little thin, with both Benicio Del Toro and Idris Elba deserving nominations for their work inÂ SicarioÂ andÂ Beasts of No Nation, respectively. But without them in the mix, it’s really only a two-man race for me between Sylvester Stallone and Tom Hardy. While Hardy is terrific inÂ The Revenant, arguably delivering a better performance than Leonardo DiCaprio, that movie could still work with someone else playing his role.Â Creed, on the other hand, does not work as a film unless you have Sylvester Stallone in it as Rocky, giving what I believe to be the very best performance of his career. Stallone should win the Oscar not just because it makes for a great story, but because, out of the actors in this category, he truly is the champion.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees:Â Rooney Mara (Carol), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight),Â Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Blaise’s Pick:Â AlthoughÂ Alicia VikanderÂ should win,Â Kate WinsletÂ will win.
This category, for me, is a toss-up between these two ladies. Personally, I think that both Winslet and Vikander give great performances and are deserving of the award; however, I feel like Vikander was given more room to work with. Steve Jobs is a movie primarily focused on the man himself, and while Winslet delivers a chameleon performance that shows off her range, she doesn’t feel like a huge part of the movie. As for Vikander, I would argue that she is almost, if not, the main character in The Danish Girl, and I was extremely more interested in the emotional trauma her character goes through compared to Redmayne’s Lili. Vikander’s portrayal of Gerda shows her ability to deliver a range that offers complex emotions in a strong woman, and I’d love to see her take home the award.
Chris’s Pick:Â Alicia VikanderÂ will win and should win.
2015 was the Year of Alicia Vikander. She starred in five films, includingÂ Ex Machina,Â The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and, of course,Â The Danish Girl and was absolutely terrific in every single one of them. However, the reason why Vikander’s performance inÂ The Danish GirlÂ is the most impressive of all the ones she gave in 2015 is that she completely steals the movie from Eddie Redmayne, who has the flashier, more “Oscar-friendly” role. But whileÂ The Danish GirlÂ is certainly respectful to Lili Ebe’s story and honors her life, it’s Vikander’s Gerda that is the film’s real heart and soul. She deserves to win the Oscar for this role, and she will.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees:Â Charles Randolph, Adam McKay (The Big Short),Â Nick Hornby (Brooklyn),Â Phyllis Nagy (Carol) Drew Goddard (The Martian), Emma Donoghue (Room)
Blaise’s Pick:Â AlthoughÂ RoomÂ should win,Â The Big ShortÂ will win.
Room was arguably the best film that went unnoticed in 2015, and the screenplay was an amazing adaptation from the book. It definitely helps when the book’s author (Emma Donoghue) is brought in to adapt her own writing, but it’s no simple task to take properly translate a book to film. Room, the book, is written completely from Jacob’s point of view, which is totally different than what we watch on screen; yet, Donoghue did an incredible job of making sure the emotion and feeling that the book had were felt while watching this movie.
Chris’s Pick:Â AlthoughÂ RoomÂ orÂ BrooklynÂ should win,Â The Big ShortÂ will win.
It’s not an easy task for an author to adapt his or her own novel into a film and keepÂ the book’s spirit alive on the big screen, but that’s exactly what Emma Donoghue was able to do withÂ Room, ensuring that the movie was still told from Jack’s point of view. Having us view all of the events of the film through Jack’s eyes is incredibly important to the story thatÂ RoomÂ is telling, and Donoghue was able to transport that narrative device perfectly. Meanwhile, Nick Hornby also did a marvelous job with his screenplay forÂ Brooklyn. The film is just as charming, romantic, and emotional as Colm Toblin’s novel, if not more so, and while director John Crowley certainly deserves credit for that, Hornby’s scriptÂ is also an essential part of the film’s success. However, I’m guessing that the Academy will use this category to honorÂ The Big ShortÂ writers Adam McKay and Charles Randoph for taking the complex and confusing event that was the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s and helping to turn it into a film that audiences were able to not only follow but enjoy.
Best Original Screenplay
Nominees:Â Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen (Bridge of Spies),Â Alex Garland (Ex-Machina); Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (Inside Out), Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton)
Blaise’s Pick:Â AlthoughÂ Ex MachinaÂ should win,Â SpotlightÂ orÂ Inside OutÂ will win.
To me, Ex Machina is the best movie that flew completely under the radar in 2015. While the plot and trailers immediately hooked me in, it definitely wouldn’t come off as everyone’s cup of tea. The movie was completely origin and delivered an original dystopian sci-fi story that has been missing from the cinematic community as of late. Spotlight and Inside Out are equally as good as Ex Machina, but I just felt that Ex Machina was absolutely one of the most original things I have seen in 2015.
Chris’s Pick:Â AlthoughÂ Inside OutÂ should win,Â SpotlightÂ will win.
Inside OutÂ is one of the most daring, inventive, and emotionally fulfilling films I have ever seen. While the majority of Pixar’s films are made for both children and adults,Â Inside OutÂ is easily the studio’s most mature film yet, but it never lets its complexity become a burden. Instead, Inside OutÂ finds creative ways to use its unique setting (Riley’s mind) and its characters (Riley’s emotions) to convey a simple but powerful message. It’s Pixar’s most well-written film yet, and it should be recognized for that. However, it’s more than likely that the Academy will give the top prize toÂ Spotlight, which is a terrific film with a great screenplay, but it’s not as big of a triumphant to me asÂ Inside Out‘s script is.
Nominees:Â Ed Lachman (Carol), Robert Richardson (The Hateful Eight), John Seale (Mad Max: Fury Road),Â Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant), Roger Deakins (Sicario)
Blaise’s Pick:Â AlthoughÂ SicarioÂ should win,Â The RevenantÂ will win.
I have no problem if either of these movies win the Best Cinematography award. Nobody can argue that Emmanuel Lubezki is a genius with on screen visuals, but I think that Roger Deakins work with Sicario is equally as good. Sicario was a haunting film that does a great job of using space while showing off the dark crime world. The scenes and sequences in this movie are non-stop while having a relatively quiet suspenseful feel to them at the same time. I loved the shots of the desert and border territory areas and think that Deakins fully captured the tone of Sicario’s setting.
Chris’s Pick:Â AlthoughÂ SicarioÂ should win,Â The RevenantÂ will win.
I knowÂ The RevenantÂ was filmed using pretty much all natural light. I know that the depiction of the 1950s inÂ Carol isÂ lush and vibrant. I know that capturing all of the action and insanity ofÂ Mad Max: Fury RoadÂ is an amazing feat. But no film that I saw in 2015 looked more beautiful thanÂ Sicario, and that’s all due to Roger Deakins, who deserves to win an Oscar more than anyone else in this category and probably more than anyone else who has been nominated this year (the guy has been nominated over a dozen times and still hasn’t won!). Make the right choice, Academy, and give the Oscar to the best-looking film of the year:Â Sicario.
Best Animated Feature
Nominees:Â Anomalisa,Â Boy And The World,Â Inside Out,Â Shaun The Sheep Movie,Â When Marnie Was There
Blaise’s Pick:Â Inside OutÂ will win and should win.
I don’t think anything can really compete with Inside Out this year. Everyone has complained about Disney Pixar’s lack of originality over the past couple of years, but Inside Out changed all of that and felt as special to me as the original Toy Story did. This is a complex movie that both adults and children can get behind and relate to. While the basic messages to teach kids are there on the surface, Inside Out continues to peel back its interesting layers until the very end. All of the voice actors were perfectly cast for this and it’s a series I actually would love to see Disney Pixar continue with as the years go on in the same way they did for Toy Story. Inside Out is a movie that can offer unique and fun stories for children to grow up with, and the possibilities for stories are endless, which would make it a ton of fun to grow with Riley and her internal emotions as she ages.
Chris’s Pick:Â Inside OutÂ will win and should win.
Inside OutÂ is not just the best animated film of 2015 but one of the year’s best films, period. As I mentioned above, when discussing the movie’s screenplay, this is Pixar’s most thoughtful, reflective, and mature film yet, and it deserves recognition for not only its creativity and audacity but also for how authentic and poignant it truly is.Â Inside OutÂ is a masterpiece, and it will win Best Animated Feature at this year’s Oscars.
Which films do you think will win big at the Oscars on Sunday night? Which ones are you hopingÂ will take home the year’s top prizes? Comment below and let us know.