The Daly Planet’s 2016 Oscars Coverage: Predicting The Winners (Part 1)

Oscars

This Sunday, ABC will host the 88th Annual Academy Awards, a time for the rich and powerful of Hollywood to get together and celebrate how rich and powerful they are if they’re white. It’s also a time for us to celebrate the very best movies of last year. Most of us know that awards shows are pretty silly, but they’re also really fun. Like last year, over the next two days I will be predicting the winners of every category. Unlike last year, I’ve actually seen just about every single movie nominated, so hopefully I won’t make as many mistakes. This year I’m going to give my predictions for what will win as well as what I wish would win. Hopefully these two will mostly be the same, but I doubt it!

Today we’re gonna talk about all the categories that most of you don’t care about, so I’m sure my traffic is going to be really great today.

Visual Effects:
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

A movie not nominated for best picture almost never wins this category. Which means you can basically knock off Star Wars and Ex Machina right away. Or can you? If this trend was going to be bucked any year, I think it would be this one. Star Wars has taken over the collective conscious and as one of only two categories the film got nominated for, this could be a way for the Academy to throw it a bone. Probably not though. The Revenant’s CG bear attack was impressive, but I’m not sure it was good enough to stick in the minds of the voters. The Martian impressively made Earth look like Mars, but the visuals don’t stick out enough. Mad Max is clearly the best work here, combining CG and practical effects to make a huge, explosive and tangible world. Does that mean it’ll win though?

What will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
What should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Sound Mixing:
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Does anyone know what Sound Mixing is? I’m not talking about the general public, I’m talking about the Academy voters themselves. Both this and Sound Editing usually go to the biggest, loudest, and most popular films. With this list of nominations, it looks like this year will be the same. The Revenant is super loud and had lots of forest noises and stuff. People love forest noises.

What will win: The Revenant
What should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Sound Editing:
Mad Mad: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Sound Editing is the category that handles the creation of the sound effects and Foley work in a movie. Again this category is just a list of popular films, except with Sicario subbed out for Bridge of Spies. To me, the best editing work is creating sounds that just plain don’t exist in our world, so Mad Max and Star Wars automatically get a bump.

What will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
What should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Production Design:
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

You know what’s more impressive than recreating a world from the past? Creating a world that never existed. Mad Max is the clear favorite here. Everything is designed with such incredible detail that tells you so much about the world without having to say anything. The rest of these nominees are fine, period pieces always get some love, but nothing quite touches the apocalypse.

What will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
What should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Costume Design:
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Mad Max will win this category for the same reason that it won the last one. The costumes in the film are so detailed and tell a story on their own. The costuming in Carol was beautiful and anintegral part of a pretty great film. Cinderella gets nominated for having giant dresses. I have no idea why The Revenant is nominated in this category. Does a carved out horse carcass count as a costume?

What will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
What should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Makeup and Hairstyling
Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared
The Revenant

The 100-Year Old Man is a Swedish film that I’ve never heard of, so I can’t say much about it other than it’s probably not gonna win. So if we look at the two remaining characters, Mad Max is the much bigger film, having much more complicated makeup and hairstyling. The Revenant could win if dirt and Leo spit count as makeup though. Strap yourself in for Revenant jokes guys, cause there’s gonna be a lot of them in this post.

What will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
What should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Short Film – Live Action
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Ok
Shok
Stutterer

I’m proud to say that I was able to see all these Short Films this year, and I loved all of them. They range from the hauntingly depressing (Shok, Everything Will Be Ok, Day One) to the hilarious (Ave Maria) right into the heartwarmingly cheesy (Stutterer). Shok, the story of a friendship between two boys in Albania in the middle of the Bosnian/Serbian conflict seems to be the favorite here. My personal favorite is Stutterer, a charming tale of a man with a serious stuttering problem trying to work up the courage to finally meet a woman he’s been chatting to online for the past 6 months. It’s predictable, but somehow still lovely.

What will win: Shok
What should win: Stutterer

Short Film – Animated
Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

I’ve only seen two of these films: Sanjay’s Super Team, the short that opened Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur and World of Tomorrow. Sanjay’s was really great, a wonderful return to form in the Pixar short category from the confusing mess that was Lava. World of Tomorrow on the other hand was hauntingly beautiful, a tale of the future and eventual end of mankind told through interactions with a child. Both of these films are great, and neither is going to win.

What will win: Bear Story
What should win: World of Tomorrow

Documentary – Short Subject
Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Specters of the Shoah
A Girl on the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom

This is the only category for which I haven’t seen any of the films so I’m going completely off of other people’s recommendations here. From what I understand every single one of these documentaries are horribly depressing, but the most depressing one is A Girl on the River. So let’s pick that one!

What will win: A Girl on the River: The Price of Forgiveness
What should win: N/A

Music – Original Score
Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The nominees for best score this year are all really great. The weakest of the lot is John Williams’ work in The Force Awakens. Don’t get me wrong, I love Williams. The original Star Wars score is iconic, but this just isn’t his best work. Carol is an absolutely beautiful film in which the score plays such an important part. Sicario is a film that is loaded with tension, the excellent music only adding fuel to this. The Hateful Eight’s score by famous composer Ennio Morricone is the clear best of the lot, however. The 87 year old has never won an Oscar for original score, but that ends this year.

What will win: The Hateful Eight
What should win: The Hateful Eight

Music – Best Original Song
“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction
“Sample Song #3” from Youth
“Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground
“Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre

Most of you probably only recognize one or two songs on here, and they happen to be the worst ones. I wasn’t a fan of Sam Smith’s Spectre at all (or the movie for that matter). The rest of the movies I haven’t seen, so it was difficult to judge these songs out of context. “Til It Happens To You” is a song performed by Lady Gaga and written by multiple nominee Diane Warren is the favorite. I’ll take their word for it. The most criminal thing here is that “See You Again” from Furious 7 was snubbed. It’s clearly the best film related song of the year, and not only should have been nominated, but it should win. RIP Paul.

What will win: “Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground
What should win: “See You Again” from Furious 7 (Deal with it)

Foreign Language Film
Embrace of the Serpent
Mustang
Son of Saul
Theeb
A War

It always struck me as weird that there was an entire separate category for best Foreign Language Film, as if these movies are somehow not as valuable because they’re in a different language. This especially becomes more ridiculous as the industry continues to become more global. The only one of these films I had the fortune to see was Son of Saul, a harrowing tale of a Hungarian Concentration Camp during World War II. The filmmaking in this movie is incredible, utilizing an over the shoulder camera style that always centers our main character in the middle of the frame. It sounds like a gimmick, and it kinda is, but it is one that works so well. Son of Saul took home the Cannes Grand Prize, so it seems like a lock for the winner here. The closest competition comes from France’s Mustang.

What will win: Son of Saul
What should win: Son of Saul

That’s all we’ve got for you today. It’s a mad world when I’m predicting that Mad Max will do very well in the smaller categories it was nominated for. Will this trend continue? Check back tomorrow as we round out the final 12 categories, including all of the ones you guys actually care about.

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