This post is the unedited copy of our Predictions of the 88th Oscars for Dawn/Images on Sunday, published 28th February 2016. Link to Dawn is here and below.
Who May Win the 88th Oscars Tomorrow
By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid and Farheen Jawaid
Before the righteous, controversial and ill-timed #OscarsSoWhite hashtag rears its head at the 88th Academy Awards tomorrow and wrecks the mood of Oscar ceremony, Images takes its annual look at who may win – and more importantly, just why they may win – in which category.
As we keep reminding our readers for the last eleven, twelve years, predicting the Oscars is serious business. The process not only involves binge watching a lot of motion pictures – a total of 37 titles this year – it also involves knowing how the Academy voter’s mindset work.
Here’s a little primer on what that mindset is made of: The Academy Awards are governed by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – AMPAS for short – a distinguished body of 5783 members from various filmmaking disciplines. “The Academy”, as it is commonly referred to as, has a very stringent membership criteria, and their member’s median age is around 62. Members – cinematographers, editors, producers, actors – may be part of individual film guilds and unions, and each have their own set of rules and awards leading to the Oscars. Sometimes these awards may hint a win, or an upset, at a category.
What pundits fail to perceive, is the overall strength of that particular group. Often, a deserving cinematographer will be overlooked for the trophy because members who may be producers, actors, or writers, would vote for someone else. Shakeups also happen out of personal preference, or industry tilt.
For instance, out of the twenty one categories we are picking this year, sixteen are near rock-solid predictions.
Leonardo DiCaprio, up for a Best Actor trophy, is a long-due favorite with a string of wins for his role of a critically wounded father in search of revenge in The Revenant. The Revenant is also slated to nab Best Director for Alejandro González Iñárritu (who won the same trophy last year for Birdman), and Best Cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki.
The win for Lubezki makes Oscar history – so far no one has won three consecutive cinematography Oscars since the awards started in 1928. 13 time nominee Roger Deakins (Skyfall, No Country for Old Men, A Beautiful Mind and The Shawshank Redemption) would, sadly, have to wait for another year.
The same fate, of course, does not apply to composer 87 year old Ennio Morricone – music director of grand western themes in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More as well as classics Cinema Paradisio; he wins – finally and fittingly – for Quentin Tarantino’s western The Hateful Eight (the film’s only win in the race). Other straightforward wins go in the Original and Adapted Screenplays, Actress, Supporting Actress, Animated Feature, Feature Documentary, Make-up and Hair Styling, Production Design and Original Song.
Sylvester Stallone, nominated for the third time for his role as Rocky Balboa, is, again, pushed as an industry favorite; his win in Best Supporting Actor (for Creed), for a good but not great performance, would serve as a thank you note from Hollywood. Cross-reference the category with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the BAFTA – two crucial bodies – and there is a hiccup. The BAFTA was picked up by Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) – our pick, and one of the three top performances in the lot; SAG, meanwhile, applauded Idris Alba for Beasts of No Nation, who is not nominated by The Academy (and in turn, is a part of the diversity debate).
The technical side has its own sets of competition – most of it, between The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens; although Star Wars is a contender, with 5 nominations (one for John Williams’ music), however, we believe it’s only big win would be in Visual Effects. Our personal preference here is The Revenant, whose bear-mauling sequence – emotionally dreadful to behold – is a central to the story; Mad Max: Fury Road – full of fantastic physical action, is pegged as an upset.
The three titles face off again in Editing, Sound Mix and Sound Edit. Wins here do not necessarily reflect the will of the edit and sound guilds. Last year, for example, Boyhood won the ACE Eddie Award for Editing and our pick, Whiplash, won the Oscar. In all three Fury Road looks like a good, but not absolute bet; Sound Mix, in particular, may go to The Revenant. Academy members who may have only seen the film on DVD Screeners, and not in cinemas that offer more details in sound, may bungle up many technical predictions this year.
The biggest upset of the night, of which both of us are sure, would be Best Picture. If someone would have asked us just one week back, we would have said the real fight is between The Big Short and Spotlight – two timely, relevant, real-life dramas addressing American issues. The Academy often commends motion pictures that deal with homebound stories, as long as they are well-made and relevant, while promoting a measure of meek benevolent sensitivity and class. (Argo and The Hurt Locker, for example versus nominated, non-winners like Zero Dark Thirty, American Sniper, The Wolf of Wall Street and Selma – the last two, great in their own right).
The Big Short tells of capitalism-inflicted America, tackling Wall Street – a monster of self-preserving and corrupt nature. Spotlight, meanwhile, pits the Boston Globe newspaper against the priests who have sexually assaulted children, the Church and the sacred Christian mindset of Boston’s higher ups.
Both are excellently written, pertinent, motion pictures, deserving of the Best Picture accolade. Yet, just last week (at the time of writing), The Revenant’s BAFTA win has left the pundits and industry voters in a state of confusion. A significant portion of members wait till the last week to vote, and that is when the trend, and the Oscar forecasting game, patently changes every year.
The Revenant’s sudden change of pace and energy is confounding all categories; it certainly has pushed Spotlight off the “spotlight” (pardon the pun). However, and this is comes from strong gut feeling, we may see The Big Short win here. The film is very well edited (it won the ACE Eddie, the Editors award, for Best Comedy feature), and deals with a far-reaching message; The Revenant is excellent and gruesome, yet fantasized on a historic event of a single man – but not a nation like The Big Short. Also, historically, films where Best Actor winners are also SAG winners (like DiCaprio is going to be this year), never go on to win Best Picture.
There’s always a first time for everything though. We’ll just have to wait and see tomorrow.
Oscar Predictions – 2016 (the 88th Academy Awards)
Will Win: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner – The Big Short
MKJ: The Big Short
FJ: The Big Short / The Revenant
Upset (Likely): Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon – The Revenant
Unanimous: Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant
Unanimous: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Unanimous: Brie Larson – Room
Will Win: Sylvester Stallone – Creed
MKJ: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
FJ: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies / Tom Hardy – The Revenant
Upset: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Unanimous: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Unanimous: Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
Unanimous: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay – The Big Short
ANIMATED – FEATURE
Unanimous: Inside Out
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Unanimous: Son of Saul, Hungary
DOCUMENTARY – FEATURE
Unanimous: Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees – Amy
Upset (Least Possible): Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen– The Look of Silence
Unanimous: Emmanuel Lubezki – The Revenant
Upset (Least Possible): Roger Deakins – Sicario
Will Win: Margaret Sixel – Mad Max: Fury Road
MKJ and FJ: Hank Corwin – The Big Short
Will Win: Mark Mangini and David White – Mad Max: Fury Road
MKJ: Mad Max: Fury Road
FJ: Alan Robert Murray – Sicario
Upset: Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender – The Revenant
Unanimous: Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo – Mad Max: Fury Road
Upset: Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek – The Revenant
Unanimous: Colin Gibson; Lisa Thompson – Mad Max: Fury Road
MAKE-UP and HAIR STYLING
Unanimous: Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin – Mad Max: Fury Road
Will Win / MKJ: Sandy Powell – Cinderella
FJ: Paco Delgado – The Danish Girl
Upset: Jenny Beavan – Mad Max: Fury Road
Will Win: Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
MKJ / FJ: Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer – The Revenant
Upset: Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams – Mad Max: Fury Road
Will Win / MKJ: Ennio Morricone – The Hateful Eight
FJ / MKJ: Jóhann Jóhannsson – Sicario
Unanimous: “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”– Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
The digital copy can be found at: http://www.dawn.com/news/1242050/academy-awards-who-may-win-the-oscars-tomorrow
Here is the low-res image of the published copy: