Andrew's Final 2015 Oscar Predictions

Finally, we have arrived! And what a long, often surprising and strange Oscar season journey it has been. Long gone are the days when it seemed the likes of In the Heart of the Sea, Joy, Truth, Johnny Depp, Will Smith and Sandra Bullock, among others, were headed toward awards glory. Remember Best Supporting Actor front-runner Michael Keaton? How about that long-overdue Oscar for Ridley Scott? And what just weeks ago looked like a Big Short v. Revenant v. Spotlight barn burner for the Best Picture prize has suddenly turned into a possible cakewalk for one contender. Predictable ceremony or not, this has been a boffo year in cinema and we are destined to be in for some fantastic winners on the 28th.

With that said, here are my final Oscar predictions for 2015:

Best Picture

  1. The Revenant
  2. Spotlight
  3. The Big Short
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road
  5. Room
  6. The Martian
  7. Bridge of Spies
  8. Brooklyn

Even if Inarritu and DiCaprio are triumphing on Oscar night, it is not altogether impossible for PGA victor The Big Short or especially SAG winner Spotlight to take the top prize. Watch closely the Film Editing category - if one of those two pictures can stage an upset there early in the evening, they'll probably emerge victorious at the very end of the evening. Not likely, but not inconceivable. Likewise, there remains a chance, albeit an awfully slight one, that Mad Max could take a bunch of technical awards and then stage a double-upset in the last two categories. Alas, The Revenant's the contender with all of the buzz and momentum, peaking at just the right time with critical DGA and BAFTA wins, and heads into Oscar night a modestly healthy favorite for the top trophy. The other four not mentioned, forget it.

Best Director

  1. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
  2. George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
  3. Adam McKay, The Big Short
  4. Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  5. Lenny Abrahamson, Room

With DGA and BAFTA victories under his belt, Inarritu appears exceedingly likely to join the likes of John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz as a back-to-back-victory Oscar-winning filmmaker. Not impossible for Miller, McKay or McCarthy to stage a comeback on Oscar night, but it appears awfully unlikely at this point that Mad Max, Big Short or Spotlight are capable of the kind of sweep that would drag their director across the finish line.

Best Leading Actor

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  2. Matt Damon, The Martian
  3. Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  4. Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
  5. Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

With the possible exception of Inside Out in Animated Feature, this is of course the biggest shoo-in of the evening. To rank DiCaprio's competition is an improbable and ultimately pointless task, but I suppose Musical/Comedy Globe winner Damon would be runner-up. Still, it won't even be close.

Best Leading Actress

  1. Brie Larson, Room
  2. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  3. Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
  4. Cate Blanchett, Carol
  5. Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

The BAFTA win over Ronan and Blanchett all but sealed the deal for Larson. At this point, her biggest threat is probably Rampling, in the improbable scenario the latter's anti-#OscarsSoWhite comments create some sort of rallying effect among certain Academy members. Doesn't seem very likely, though, especially considering how small and potentially unseen a film Rampling's is.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Sylvester Stallone, Creed
  2. Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  3. Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  4. Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  5. Christian Bale, The Big Short

While not quite in the same league as DiCaprio in terms of lockiness, Stallone, despite not garnering nods from SAG or BAFTA, remains a decent favorite here. Rylance is probably the biggest threat - he just won BAFTA and could theoretically serve as a consolation prize for Bridge of Spies - but it doesn't seem terribly likely. The other three gentlemen would need to ride waves, hoping the Academy goes wildly head-over-heels for their pictures.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  2. Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
  3. Rooney Mara, Carol
  4. Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  5. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Not sure this one's as close a call between Vikander and Winslet as some are suggesting. Keep in mind, Winslet has not defeated Vikander anywhere for The Danish Girl - Vikander garnered a Supporting BAFTA nom for Ex-Machina and was placed Lead over at the Globes. To boot, Winslet already has an Oscar and the Academy clearly isn't too keen on Steve Jobs, which couldn't even muster a nomination for Sorkin's screenwriting. A Winslet win certainly is not impossible, but Vikander clearly has the edge here, even if it's not quite as comfy a margin as DiCaprio's, Larson's or even Stallone's. Mara likely needed the BAFTA victory to have a fighting chance here and McAdams would need the Academy to go completely ga-ga head-over-heels for Spotlight to upset.

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
  2. Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus, Straight Outta Compton
  3. Matt Charman, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen, Bridge of Spies
  4. Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, Inside Out
  5. Alex Garland, Ex Machina

An improbable loss by Spotlight here would signify an improbable shutout for the picture. Can't entirely count out Compton here as a sort of consolation prize, but Spotlight remains an awfully sure bet.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, The Big Short
  2. Emma Donoghue, Room
  3. Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
  4. Drew Goddard, The Martian
  5. Phyllis Nagy, Carol

The Big Short is about as much as a heavy favorite here as Spotlight is in Original. That being said, the competition here is certainly stiffer and, with the exception of Carol, I wouldn't be that awe-struck if an upset occurred. I think Room in particular could be poised for a surprise.

As for the rest...

Best Animated Film

Inside Out

Best Animated Short

Bear Story

Best Cinematography

The Revenant

Best Costume Design

The Revenant

Best Documentary

The Look of Silence

Best Documentary Short

Last Day of Freedom

Best Film Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Foreign Language Film

Son of Saul

Best Live Action Short

Day One

Best Makeup and Hair Styling

Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Production Design

Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Original Score

Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight

Best Original Song

"Til It Happens to You," The Hunting Ground

Best Sound Editing

Mad Mad: Fury Road

Best Sound Mixing

The Revenant

Best Visual Effects

Star Wars: The Force Awakens