Sunday, February 28, 2016

Academy Awards Predictions, 2016

Tonight is the big night for movie fans, the annual Academy Awards show.  The Awards this year are, of course, shrouded in controversy over the lack of diversity among all of the major nominees in the major categories.  What a year for the Academy to have selected Chris Rock to host the show.  Talk about serendipity!  I, for one, am looking forward to Rock's opening of the show.  It will surely be funny, and it will surely make a lot of people squirm.

But, on with the show, which means The Grandstander's predictions.

Of the eight movies nominated, I will have seen (after catching a matinee showing today of "The Big Short") five of them.  My opinions are just that - opinions - and are not fully informed.  My predictions are based upon those movies that I have seen, what I have read in various media, and how other awards have been handed out during this award season.

Three of the four acting awards are deemed to be pretty much a cinch, so I am not going out on any limb her by predicting that the Oscars for Best Actor, Actress, and Supporting Actress will be handed to Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson, and Alicia Vikander.  It should also be noted that I have seen none of these three performances.

A word here about DiCaprio.  I think that he is terrific.  I have never seen him be anything less that excellent in any role that I have seen him play.  And while I didn't not see "The Revenant", everything that I have read or heard about his performance makes this one seem like a movie where the film makers and DiCaprio himself seem to be fairly screaming "Look and how I am acting  in this  movie."  I did see Matt Damon in "The Martian" and he was terrific.  In an understated way, he carried the movie and made it believable.  In his own way, I am sure that Leo did the same thing in "The Revenant", so I won't begrudge him his preordained Oscar tonight, but I am sorry that there will be no love for Matt Damon for what I thought was the best performance that I had seen all year.

The Supporting Actor Oscar race is an interesting one. Mark Ruffalo has been nominated for "Spotlight" and he was great in it (I saw that one!), as was Mark Rylance in "Bridge of Spies."  A lot of critical support seems to be favoring Rylance, and he would be a deserving winner, but the Academy often uses the Supporting Actor/Actress category as a sort of a make-up or lifetime achievement award.  I think that they will do it again this year and award the Oscar to Sylvester Stallone.

For Adapted Screenplay, I will predict that Nick Hornby will win for "Brooklyn".  This will be the Academy's way to honor this terrific movie.  For Original Screenplay, I'll go with Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy for "Spotlight".  However, don't be surprised if the Oscar goes to the writers of "Straight Outta Compton".  This could be a way for the Academy to answer all those embarrassing lack of diversity protests.

In an effort to pad my stats, I will predict that "inside Out" will win for Best Animated feature film.

Many are predicting that Alejandro Inarritu will win four "The Revenant", but I am going against the grain on this one since I don't believe that the Academy will go with back-to-back Oscars for Inarritu (he won for "Birdman" last year).  My pick on this one goes for Tom McCarthy for "Spotlight".

That leaves the Big One...Best Picture of the Year.  As I mentioned above, I have seen four of the nominees, "Bridge of Spies", "Brooklyn", "The Martian", and "Spotlight".  I will see "The Big Short" this afternoon.  The other three "Mad Max: Fury Road", "The Revenant", and "Room" fall into the category for me of "Didn't See It; Don't Wanna See It".  With all due respect to the filmmakers and the audience that loved them, they are just not my kind of movies.  Doesn't mean they're bad; just means that they are not for me.

So what movie would I choose if they gave me a vote?  Based on the four that I have seen so far, I would go in this order...#4 "Bridge of Spies", #3 "Brooklyn", #2 "The Martian", and the the winner would be...."Spotlight", but that's just me, and who am I predicting will win?

All forecasts and odds makers seem to say that it will be "The Revenant", but I am going to play a hunch and follow the lead shown by the Screen Actors Guild Awards and call for a Best Picture win for "Spotlight".

Terrific ensemble performance by everyone in this cast, a great story, and a true one.  

There you go...nine categories, nine predictions.  As always, watch, but don't bet.

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