Will 2016 finally be the year Leonardo DiCaprio finally bags an Oscar?
We're only a couple of months away and a bit until the 88th Academy Awards, and little over a month until the Official Nominations are announced but already the probable nominations list has taken form. We've been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of excellent films that have been released over the past year, so here's my verdict on what's hot and what's not so far, combining my own Awards Season analysis which I've been doing every year now for the past three years, my knowledge on the craft, the cast and filmmakers of each production and analysis from reputable sources. I've listed the Links to external sources i've referenced to influence my verdict at the bottom of this blog post. As all film fans know, the Academy never sleeps and buzz has already built around the possible contenders, now we must really look at what's on offer here
Latest News which will come into Nomination play
In the run-up to the big night, I'll be updating my predictions weekly having also considered the latest judgement and verdict online.
Best Picture - Spotlight, The Revenant, Tangerine, The Martian, Carol, Inside Out (a very close game, it could go to one of the films with more limited/niche distribution but have had critical acclaim such as Black Mass, Son of Saul..)
Best Director - Ridley Scott 'The Martian' (the favourite), Tom McCarthy 'Spotlight', Alejandro González Iñárritu 'The Revenant', George Miller 'Max Max: Fury Road' (all of whom are in close contention).
Best Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio 'The Revenant' (the favourite), Matt Damon 'The Martian' (closely fought), Michael Fassbender 'Steve Jobs', Johnny Depp 'Black Mass' (in close contention still), Eddie Redmayne (on paper, but less than likely), and not forgetting Tom Hardy 'Legend' and Jake Gyllenhaal 'Southpaw'.
Best Actress - Brie Larson 'Room' (the near-absolute lock), Saoirse Ronan 'Brooklyn' (dark horse #1), Cate Blanchett 'Carol' and Jennifer Lawrence 'Joy' (could still rally, if only they weren't nominated recently), if Rooney Mara 'Carol' is considered a lead she could rally for the Oscar title (dark horse #2).
Best Supporting Actor - Sylvester Stallone 'Creed' (the favourite), Michael Keaton / Mark Ruffalo 'Spotlight' (Not since 1991 — when Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley were both nominated for "Bugsy" — have two actors from the same film been nominated in this category - could this change that?). Also consider, Mark Rylance 'Bridge of Spies' and Tom Hardy 'The Revenant' (the dark horse of this category).
Best Supporting Actress - Alicia Vikander 'The Danish Girl' (the favourite), Rooney Mara 'Carol', Kate Winslet 'Steve Jobs', Jane Fonda 'Youth', Jennifer Jason Leigh 'The Hateful Eight'. Julie Walters 'Brooklyn' and Marion Cotillard (the dark horses).
Best Original Screenplay - Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley 'Inside Out' (the favourite, absolute lock). Possible contenders in this category include Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer 'Spotlight'. An Alternative pick that could still rally, even though it is a long shot - Amy Schumer's 'Trainwreck' (though it's highly unlikely, it has helped contribute to the redefining of gender & genre stereotyping in film this year, through it's writing).
Best Adapted Screenplay - Aaron Sorkin 'Steve Jobs' (the favourite, though not so much the film), Nick Hornby 'Brooklyn', Emma Donoghue 'Room', Drew Goddard 'The Martian' and Phyllis Nagy 'Carol'.
Best Animated Feature - Inside Out (the favourite), The Good Dinosaur (another Pixar film which could work for or against Pixar's favour this season), The Peanuts Movie, Shaun The Sheep Movie.
Best Foreign Language Film - Son of Saul (Hungary, the favourite), Mustang (France), Labyrinth of Lies (Germany), The Club (Chile), The Second Mother (Brazil).
Best Documentary Feature - Amy (for the past three years, the Oscar in this category has gone to the film everybody thought it was going to, remember Searching for Sugar Man and Citizenfour?). Main competition comes from Joshua Oppenheimer's sequel to The Act of Killing - The Look of Silence. What won't be sneaking in these honourable mentions are a shortlist of snubs (annoyingly); The Wolfpack, Iris, Finders Keepers, (T)error...
Best Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubezki 'The Revenant' (the favourite, he's one two years in a row last year and the year before for Gravity and Birdman respectively) with main competition from Roger Deakins for Sicario. Also for consideration; Robert Richardson 'The Hateful Eight', John Seale 'Mad Max: Fury Road' and Edward Lachmann 'Carol'. Unfortunately we expect Macbeth (Adam Arkapaw) to be snubbed.
Best Film Editing - Margaret Sixel 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (the favourite), Pietro Scalia 'The Martian' and Michael Kahn 'Bridge of Spies' could also rally.
Best Production Design - Carol or Cinderella (both equal favourites, closely fought - though they couldn't be more different; a 1950s-set lesbian romance vs an adaptation of a Disney fairy tale). Mad Max: Fury Road and Crimson Peak and Macbeth as Dark Horses.
Best Costume Design - This year we can judge Best Production Design & Costume Design nominees in parallel since nom predictions are almost exactly the same, both work in harmony in the films mentioned above and there are others to notice to. Once again, Carol or Cinderella once again for the win.
Best Original Score - The usual composers are at it again, making original scores, themes and songs for the best sounding movies of the year. After a grand 12 nominations, can Thomas Newman finally win for Bridge of Spies? Other contenders are Jóhann Jóhannson (Sicario), Carter Burwell (Carol), Alexandre Desplat (The Danish Girl) and John Williams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
Best Original Song - It seems within recent years, the Original Song category noms are becoming populated by well... popular artists. For instance, Adele's platinum-selling James Bond theme for 2012's 'Skyfall'. This year the favourites to win are; One Kind of Love (Love & Mercy), Til It Happens To You (The Hunting Ground), and Simple Song #3 (Youth), although nothing memorable sticks out last year like 2013's Frozen song 'Let It Go'.
Best Visual Effects - 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (What will probably win), 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (the favourite to win, right now). Can Star Wars take down Mad Max and Jurassic World? Other contenders in the VFX arena are; Jurassic World, The Martian and though unlikely - The Walk, Everest and Tomorrowland.
Best Makeup & Hairstyling - Black Mass, The Danish Girl, Carol, Crimson Peak, Macbeth, Mr. Holmes
Best Sound Mixing - Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Best Sound Editing - (same as above for Sound Mixing).