Oscars CR

Read Part 1 Here

And now on to the main event! We’ve gotten all of the lesser categories out of the way and are ready to dive into the big ones. Without further ado:

Writing – Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

All of these scripts are really great, so picking a winner here was actually pretty difficult for me. I’m glad to see Inside Out, one of the best movies of last year, escape the Animation category and pick up another nomination. Straight Outta Compton was blessed with only one nomination, that just so happened to be for the only white guys involved in the production, the screenwriters. This is especially surprising considering that the screenplay was one of the weakest parts of Compton, but hey, racism! Ex Machina is a brilliant film and all that started with the wonderfully complicated, thoughtful and layered script. Spotlight is equally impressive. Not since All The President’s Men has a investigative procedural been so enthralling to watch. I think this category is going to be real close, but…

What will win: Spotlight
What should win: Ex Machina

Writing – Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

I’m not sure what we’re supposed to be judging against with the Adapted Screenplay category. Are we saying which of these screenplays most skillfully adapts the source material, or just which is the best script? If it’s the former, the only novel I’ve read is The Martian. The adaptation of this film was incredible, cutting all the problem parts out of the book and somehow turning a nerdy science story into something that everyone could love. But it’s also probably the worst screenplay of the five listed here. The standout to me here is The Big Short. A film tasked with adapting a book about the maneuvers of Wall Street assholes attempting to make money by betting against the US. This script turns the book into an comedy, laced with anger. It’s a captivating watch.

What will win: The Big Short
What should win: The Big Short

Documentary – Feature
Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

With the exception of last years Citizenfour, the Documentary Feature category normally goes to a film about a musician, so Amy looks to be a lock here. That’s ok though, because it’s a fascinating peice of work, deciding to eschew the use of talking heads to instead build a film around a lot of real, unseen footage showing a window in the life and tragic death of singer Amy Winehouse. The only other film on this list I’ve seen is The Look of Silence, a follow up to 2013’s The Act of Killing. The documentary follows a man whose brother was killed by the genocide referenced in Killing, as he confronts those men responsible for his brothers death. These two documentaries are some of the most powerful work I’ve ever seen.

What will win: Amy
What should win: The Look of Silence

Animated Feature Film
Anomalisa
Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

The animated feature film category has become increasingly ridiculous every year. It all comes to a head this year, with a movie about a sheep being placed in the same category as Anomalisa, Charlie Kaufman’s powerful stop motion animation film about life and being human. This is Pixar’s category to win, so I suspect Inside Out will bring home the gold here. Although it’d be great to see Anomalisa honored, a film that I more and more each time I think about it.

What will win: Inside Out
What should win: Anomalisa

Film Editing
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This is a contest between Mad Max and The Big Short, two films with absolutely spectacular editing. Mad Max is a loud and fast moving machine with thousands of things happening all at the same time, and yet the edits are done so well that everything is always clear and understandable. The Big Short employs the use of some great editing techniques to explain complex ideas and nail comedic moments in the midst of a depressing spiral as the housing bubble bursts. This is a close one, but I think my favorite movie of the year will win again.

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

Cinematography
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Revenant

Every other movie nominated for this category is better than The Revenant. Every single one. But it won’t matter. Chivo is going to win his third Oscar in a row. The thing is, he kind of deserves it. The Revenant wasn’t a very good movie and doesn’t deserve half the praise it has gotten, but the one thing is absolutely succeeds at is Cinematography. The movie is absolutely beautiful, using natural lighting to capture the beauty of the wilderness. This is the only category the film should win in.

What will win: The Revenant
What should win: The Revenant

Directing
Adam McKay – The Big Short
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro G. Innaritu – The Revenant
Lenny Abramson – Room
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Who did a better job directing this year than George Miller? Mad Max: Fury Road was the highest rated movie of the year. It is one of the best action movies ever made. It is beautiful, powerful, exciting, wonderful. Miller, at 74, has created something truly unique. But Alejandro Innaritu went out in the woods and filmed without lights and stuff. Alejandro Innaritu made Leo eat raw buffalo. Alejandro Innaritu made an overly long, boring film. Alejandro Innaritu will win the Oscar. This award show is stupid.

What will win: Alejandro. G. Innaritu – The Revenant
What should win: George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Jason Leigh The Hateful Eight
Rooney MaraCarol
Rachel McAdams Spotlight
Alicia Vikander The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet Steve Jobs

Out of all the acting categories this year, Supporting Actress is the most up in the air. I’d be fine if almost any of these women take home the gold. Except for Kate Winslet that is. Don’t get me wrong, I love Winslet and Steve Jobs was incredibly underrated, but Winslet’s performance was weird and inconsistent. Her character’s accent disappears and reappears at will. If she does win, it will be more for Sorkin’s incredible dialogue than anything else. As for the other candidates, Jennifer Jason Leigh was amazing in The Hateful Eight, proving once again that Quentin Tarantino has a knack for casting that few can match. I didn’t see The Danish Girl, but I did see Alicia Vikander in the wonderful, Ex Machina, so I know that the actress has talent. This one is really just a shot in the dark…

What will win: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
What should win: Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale – The Big Short
Tom Hardy – The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Slyvester Stallone – Creed

I can’t be unbiased in this category. Rocky is one of the greatest characters ever conceived, and Slyvester Stallone deserves an Oscar for playing him. It’s looking like Creed might be the last film we’ll see Rocky in, and I can’t think of a better sendoff for the character. Let’s honor Sly’s contribution by giving him an award. I have a feeling the Academy will agree with me.

What will win: Slyvester Stallone – Creed
What should win: Slyvester Stallone – Creed

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett – Carol
Brie Larson – Room
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

Another category with a lot of talent. Also, Jennifer Lawrence. I didn’t bother to see Joy. I’m kind of done with David O Russell’s yearly Oscar bait films and casting the 28 year old Lawrence as a middle aged housewife who’s been beaten down by life is insane. Cate Blanchett was wonderful in Carol. A rich, nuanced performance that I’ve come to expect from the actress, which might actually work against her. It is the two new young actresses that are the most interesting here. I’ve been following Brie Larson’s career closely since I first saw her in 21 Jump Street. There was something about the actress that was just enthralling to me. I’m happy to see that the rest of the world is seeing it to. Her performance in Room is absolutely incredible. Saoirse Ronan was great as well, but Brooklyn is a much simpler film that I don’t think requires quite the range that Larson showed us this year.

What will win: Brie Larson – Room
What should win: Brie Larson – Room

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
Matt Damon – The Martian
Leonardo DeCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Hot take: Leonardo Decaprio does not deserve to win this award. Rolling around in the mud and grunting a lot is not acting. The Revenant was not so much a performance for Leo as it was an episode of Fear Factor. Especially considering the fact that Tom Hardy out acted the shit out of him in every scene they shared. Any other actor in this category deserves the award more than Decaprio, but if I had to pick one I’d say Fassbender’s turn as the titular Steve Jobs. This movie was really good and no one saw it. Go see it! Oh well, I guess I’ll pretend Leo won this for Wolf of Wall Street.

What will win: Leonardo DeCaprio – The Revenant
What should win: Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs

Best Picture
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

So here it is at last: the most important and final category. 2015 was a great year for movies, and the nominees for Best Picture this year are indicative of that (with one exception). There are some movies I’d love to see on here (Anomalisa, Creed, The Hateful Eight) and some I was really surprised made the cut (Bridge of Spies). So which should win? To me, the movie that wins Best Picture should be the one that has the most lasting impact. The film that we’re gonna look back 10 years from now and say, man remember when _____ came out? Out of all these films, the only one that makes that cut is Mad Max: Fury Road. But this is the Oscars and Mad Max is not the type of movie that wins the biggest prize. No, lately that award has gone to the film that’s most self-important. The film that gloats about the process of making it rather than comments on the value of the end result. Spotlight, The Big Short, Room, Brooklyn; these films are all wonderful and I’d be perfectly happy with them winning. But sadly, that’s not going to happen. Prove me wrong, Academy. Please.

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

So there you have it! My official selections for the 88th Annual Academy Awards. What do you think? Will I be right? Check back Monday morning for my follow up post recapping the night’s events and discussing the picks I got wrong.

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