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2017 Oscar Nomination Predictions

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2017 Oscar Nomination Predictions

Lionsgate

2017 Oscar Nomination Predictions

“While it would be an exaggeration to categorize all this sound and fury about something signifying next-to-nothing 'fun,' at the very least the hubbub this Oscar year offers welcome respite from the grinding monotony of the presidential race.” So ended the introduction to our Oscar nomination predictions last year. And so ends our collective cautious optimism. Not even Alyssa Edwards's clicking tongue could summon an exclamation point sharper than the one we now feel reflecting upon the actual stakes of real life amid frivolous, self-congratulating luxury. Unlike we felt when all anyone cared about was getting an Oscar into Leonardo DiCaprio's hands. Well, we care about a lot more things this year, and so will the Academy. Which means: Expect a lot more films in the Spotlight vein to be nominated, and a lot fewer like Mad Max: Fury Road, with one frivolous exception to the rule that's going to clearly sing and dance its way to all the wins next month. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Here are our best bets to get past the first heat and maybe earn a few nasty tweets from our future POTUS.

Oscar 2016 Composite Winner Predictions

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Oscar 2016 Composite Winner Predictions

Warner Bros.

Oscar 2016 Composite Winner Predictions

This is a complete list of our predicted winners at the 2016 Academy Awards with links to individual articles.

Picture: The Revenant
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Actor: Leondardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Actress: Brie Larson, Room
Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Original Screenplay: Spotlight
Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Foreign Language: Son of Saul
Documentary Feature: Amy
Animated Feature Film: Inside Out
Documentary Short: Last Day of Freedom
Animated Short: Sanjay's Super Team
Live Action Short: Ave Maria
Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Cinematography: The Revenant
Costume Design: Cinderella
Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road
Score: The Hateful Eight
Song: “Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Season
Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Sound Mixing: The Revenant
Visual Effects: Mad Max: Fury Road

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Picture

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Picture

20th Century Fox

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Picture

Ed's fanciful daydream yesterday of simply posting an angry-face emoji in place of a prediction article for best director, while droll, gets right to the heart of the frustrations anyone who follows the Oscar race in real time—in other words, the damned. First and foremost among them, those who actually make a living on, to quote Faye Dunaway's Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, “supplying the grease that makes this shitty movie business work.” In a piece positively dripping with subtweet shade, former Slant contributor Calum Marsh took a look at the role full-time Oscar bloggers play in devaluing the entire enterprise—an enterprise, one hastens to add, built on awarding such enduring classics as Cavalcade, Cimarron, and The Great Ziegfeld.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Director

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Director

20th Century Fox

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Director

For my last prediction article of this arduous awards season, I had hoped to post only a screencap of Facebook's new angry-face emoji before crawling into a horse carcass until the Oscar ceremony was over, but decided that I shouldn't respond to Hollywood's laziness in kind. As such, I'm forced to relate another true story, of how, following the announcement of how much money The Revenant made in its first weekend of wide release, I fired off an email to my fellow Oscar guru, Eric, too laden with expletives to reprint, but whose gist had to do with at least two major races now being “done” deals.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor

Warner Bros.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor

If, as Ed pointed out yesterday, supporting means its own antonym in the world of Oscar, then a wide-open race also means the opposite. Maybe it's just that full-time awards-circuit journos have the same rooting interest in the illusion of competition that bookies do—bookies who, despite acknowledging a frontrunner, still see this as the closest of the four acting categories. Sure, the myth of a nail-biter is likely to make the eventual four losers feel a lot better, but then again, so can a goody bag filled with a vaporizer, trips to Israel and Japan, the world's most expensive toilet paper, and a blood-migrating breast lift.

Much as we'd love to see Mark Ruffalo finalize his transformation into beardom with a freshly plumped vampire rack, he joins Tom McCarthy's Spotlight co-star Rachel McAdams as probably the least likely to win in their respective categories. It's not problematic in and of itself that, as a pavement-pounding reporter, he gets the film's one unabashed moment of Oscar-clip scenery-chewing as he rips his editor's decision to sit on a story (a moment, having worked in newsrooms, I'd have to say Spotlight could have used plenty more of). But his righteous tantrum doesn't mesh with a film that tastefully flaunts its cohesive ensemble.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Supporting Actress

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress

Focus Features

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress

True story: When I saw Titanic on opening night in New York City, Sam Waterston was sitting behind me and, within seconds of the credits rolling, was calling bullshit on the film. Almost 20 years later, his daughter, Katherine Waterston, gave two of the best performances of her young career in Queen of Earth and Steve Jobs, and given the response from critics and awards groups, it's almost as if she never gave them. That Kate Winslet, a great actress who so artfully disappears into her role of Joanna Hoffman in the latter film that you barely notice her spotty accent work, has arguably robbed Waterston of her time in the sun probably has everything to do with name recognition alone. Or, and maybe Sam will agree with me here, the Golden Globe and BAFTA trophies that Winslet has collected for her turn may be explained by some weird reflex by which Titanic enthusiasts see a win for Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as a two-for-one special.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Sound Mixing

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

20th Century Fox

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

It's that time when we've more or less gotten everything we have to say about the Oscars out of our cynical systems and, cruelly, we have to say something, anything, about the two categories that Ed Gonzalez and I want absolutely nothing to do with. Earlier this year, when agreeing again to participate in our Oscar coverage, I made exactly one stipulation: “Absolutely we can split the categories down the middle, provided you don't sock me with both sound categories.” Ed shares my exasperation, as there's only so many times you can regurgitate the same series of stats to rationalize your predicted winner in a category like this one, where the most interesting thing to ever happen outside of Gangs of New York losing to Chicago and The Aviator losing to Ray was Hugo winning over The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Without a musical or Martin Scorsese film in the mix this year to buck any trends, we're left to fall back on the most reliable barometer of them all: And the Oscar for sound mixing in a movie most likely to win Best Picture goes to The Revenant.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Sound Editing

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Sound Editing

Warner Bros.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Sound Editing

It's that time when we've more or less gotten everything we have to say about the Oscars out of our cynical systems and, cruelly, we have to say something, anything, about the two categories that Eric Henderson and I want absolutely nothing to do with. Earlier this year, when agreeing again to participate in our Oscar coverage, Henderson made exactly one stipulation: “Absolutely we can split the categories down the middle, provided you don't sock me with both sound categories.” I share his exasperation, as there's only so many times you can regurgitate the same series of stats to rationalize your predicted winner in a category like this one, where the most interesting thing to ever happen outside of Avatar losing to The Hurt Locker was Zero Dark Thirty tying with Skyfall for the win three years later. Without a Kathryn Bigelow film in the mix this year to buck any trends, we're left to fall back on the most reliable barometer of them all: And the Oscar for most sound editing goes to Mad Max: Fury Road.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Editing

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Editing

Warner Bros.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Editing

Even if Spotlight were still the presumed unstoppable behemoth for best picture it was two months ago, it seems obvious that the film's TV-procedural rhythms wouldn't stand a chance here given what a sensation-driven contest this category—which used to be regarded as the secret bellwether for best picture—has become. Last year, Ed Gonzalez called best editing for Whiplash, arguing: “When in doubt, go with the film that most belligerently tests, for better and for worse, the audience's patience.” This year, we've got at least three belligerent editing tests that tilt strongly toward better or worse, so we're forced to take a leap of faith.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Cinematography

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

20th Century Fox

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

Our contempt for The Revenant knows no limits, and it pains us to have to direct any of it at the preternaturally gifted Emmanuel Lubezki, as close to a lock to win this award as he was the last two years. And not because you're reading this entry on a blog that garnered much of its popularity in its nascent days as an appreciation of The New World. If the Terrence Malick film carefully bolsters its humane embrace of otherness through its richly textured and specific sense of place and past, then The Revenant is content to prop otherness up—and sometimes literally so—as a caricature. And that sort of noxiousness cannot be achieved without the use of color and light, natural and otherwise. (The upcoming Knight of Cups is, among many things, a reminder of how Lubezki's voluminous and fragmented camerawork functions in sublime lockstep with Malick's propensity for speculative associations.) If anything is surprising about Lubezki's work for The Revenant, it's how it exists only as, per Richard Brody, “pictorial ornament[s] to [Alejandro González Iñárritu's] bland theatrical stagings.” Which is to say that it's the sort of ornamental imagery that, not unlike the Native American woman one never believes Leonardo DiCaprio's Hugh Glass ever had a relationship to, simply floats on the surface and at a distance, signifying nothing so much as the look that $135 million can buy a director.