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Oscar Predictions 2016

UPDATE: Well, serves me right for picking the Oscars unemotionally. I was THRILLED that Spotlight won best picture, and was PRETTY DARNED HAPPY that Sylvester Stallone didn’t win an Oscar for playing Rocky exactly the same way he’s played it for 40 years in basically every movie he’s ever been in. But because I picked those two categories based on my head and not my heart, and because I was TERRIBLE on the minor categories, I only got 15 or 24 right and lost the family Oscar pool (finished fifth). Ah well.

As an aside, I thought Chris Rock was really good as host (though the girls scout cookie thing dragged a bit), and I thought Louis CK’s presentation for Documentary Short was the highlight of the night. But I will say that the way diversity so overwhelmed the Oscars broadcast was a bit disconcerting. It’s obvious that the Academy utterly embarrassed itself by not nominating even a single person of color, and yes it was something that the Oscars would have to face head on. But we are also in the midst of an incredible (defined as: impossible to believe) election, and to think that there was barely a joke or word all night about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz tells you that maybe we’re not paying attention.

* * *

Well, here we are again, Oscar Night, and here I am again facing the same question that I face time I pick the Oscars:

Do I pick the movies I think WILL win or the movies I think SHOULD win?

Last year, I won our family pool again, picking 18 of 24 correctly, which certainly ain’t bad but not quite as good as two years ago when I picked 22 of 24 correctly. The big problem last year was simple: I loved “Boyhood.” I know lots of people didn’t love it, but I did, and I refused to give up on it for best picture and refused to give up on Richard Linklater for best director. I wrote in my comment that I felt pretty sure Boyhood wouldn’t win, but I was picking it anyway.

This year, I’m not playing that game. My favorite nominated movie of the year was “Spotlight” and my second favorite was “The Big Short” (my favorite overall movie was “Inside Out”). I did not see “The Revenant,” and I don’t want to see “The Revenant.” I’m just not into watching bears maul people.

But, spoiler alert, I’m picking “The Revenant” anyway. No sentiment this year.

Here are my picks for 2016. For the second year, I will include what I call a “Certainty Score,” where I estimate how certain I am about the pick (1 being a pure guess, 10 being absolutely confident):

(Bonus: I’m going to list them in the order they should appear on the show tonight):

Original Screenplay: Spotlight

Certainty Score: 8.

Spotlight has the best representation of a newsroom I’ve ever seen in film or television. Every little detail is perfect, including the way everyone talks. I don’t think it can be beaten, but “Straight Out of Compton” would probably be the best longshot pick.

Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short

Certainty Score: 9

I’m a huge Michael Lewis fan, and I loved this book. I say this because I have no idea how they made tat book into a great movie, and I say this after JUST SEEING the great movie. It’s brilliant and fun.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Certainty Score: 8

You can’t ever be TOO sure with Supporting Actress, but Vikander seems to be a clear choice, in part because of her other celebrated performance in Ex Machina. Kate Winslet could steal.

I want to throw in a quick word for Rachel McAdams who I thought was stunningly good in Spotlight. It was my favorite performance of the year bar none because it was understated and smart, and she reminded me of about 25 different reporters I’ve worked with through the years. There were many terrific performances in Spotlight, but I thought McAdams was the best of the bunch.

Costume Design: Cinderella

Certainty score: 4

It looks like a toss-up between Cinderella and Mad Max. I have Mad Max winning a BUNCH of Oscars and, frankly, I’m nervous about it. I have this feeling Hollywood is a bit too old fashioned and will not give Mad Max every award.  Cinderella is an old-fashioned Hollywood choice.

Production Design: Mad Max

Certainty score: 7

If The Revenant wins here, it could be a very BAD night for Mad Max. Those two movies go at it again and again in the technical categories.

Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max

Certainty score: 5

Here we are again with the story of the night: Mad Max or The Revenant?

Cinematography: The Revenant

Certainty score: 7

In the battle between Revenant and Mad Max, this seems like one of the more predictable outcomes. But, as I will say again and again: Who really knows?

Film Editing: Mad Max

Certainty score: 5

The Big Short could steal this one, and that’s an interesting battle. The Big Short had very showy editing. Lots of quick cuts, cutaways in the middle of sentences, dozens and dozens of images getting thrown at the viewer in a rush. Mad Max, meanwhile, was edited in a much more epic way. It will be interesting to see which the voters preferred.

Sound Editing: Mad Max

Certainty score: 2

No idea — Mad Max or Revenant.

Sound Mixing: The Revenant

Certainty score: 2

No idea — Revenant or Mad Max.

Visual Effects: Mad Max

Certainty score: 5

Well, for a change, this one seems to be between Mad Max and Star Wars, though even here The Revenant could sneak in. I don’t think Star Wars will take it.

Animated Short Film: World of Tomorrow

Certainty score: 1

I never, ever get these right, so please bet against me. The favorite seems to be Sanjay’s Super Team, but I’ve seen it (it showed before “The Good Dinosaur”) and didn’t like it at all. I guess Bear Story has a good shot, but World of Tomorrow is pretty spectacular.

Animated Feature Film: Inside Out

Certainty score: 10

My favorite movie of the year.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Certainty score: 7

OK, here I am picking without sentiment: I don’t think Stallone should have even been nominated. I mean, seriously, he played Rocky. He played him as Rocky. He was exactly as good as he was in Rocky I and Rocky II and Rocky III and Rocky IV and Rocky V — and basically every other movie where he played some variation of Rocky.

But Hollywood seems to have made up its mind. They would like to honor an old Hollywood warhorse, sort of the way they did when they gave John Wayne an Oscar for playing John Wayne. I’m OK with it; I like Rocky. But comparing his performance with Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight or Christian Bale in The Big Short is silly.

Of course, it’s ALL silly, right?

Documentary Short: Body Team 12

Certainty score: 2

I aways get these wrong too. This one is about the Ebola virus, so that’s as likely as anything else.

Documentary Feature: Amy

Certainty score: 6

Doc about Amy Winehouse seems to have separated from the pack if you believe the experts.

Live Actor Short Film: Ave Maria

Certainty score: 3

Who knows? Shok and Stutterer both have their supporters too.

Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul

Certainty score: 7

One of the enduring Hollywood Oscar jokes is that, when in doubt, you always vote for the Holocaust movie. If anything, I think this could hurt Son of Saul; Hollywood could become self-conscious just like umpires who have stopped calling strikes on outside pitches that catchers frame. But I suspect Son of Saul still wins.

Original Song: “Til it Happens to You.”

Certainty score: 8

It seems about time that Lady Gaga won an Oscar.

Original score: Hateful Eight

Certainty score: 8

There’s a whole story involving Hateful Eight composer Ennio Morricone — he’s 87, he’s been nominated for six Oscars but has not yet won (he won a lifetime award) and, yeah, that’s a Hollywood story.

Directing: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant

Certainty score: 8

Back-to-back Oscars? Looks that way. There are a lot of George Miller fans out there for Mad Max, but I think this will be The Revenant’s night overall.

Actress in a leading role: Brie Larson, Room

Certainty score: 9

Pretty close to a sure thing.

Actor in a leading role: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Certainty score: 12

Lock of the night.

Best picture: The Revenant

Certainty score: 8

Lots of people are jumping off the bandwagon in the last couple of days, which is interesting. The voting for Best Picture is based on a scoring system, with pictures getting points for second, third, fourth place and so on. The new theory is that while The Revenant will get a lot of first-place votes, it will also get a lot of low ballot picks and, as a result, the movie will get overtaken by Spotlight or The Big Short. While I would personally prefer either of those movies to win, I don’t think it happens. I think The Revenant walks away with the night.

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32 Responses to Oscar Predictions 2016

  1. Original Screenplay: Inside Out
    Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
    Actress in a Supporting Role: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
    Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Production Design: The Martian
    Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Cinematography: The Revenant
    Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Sound Mixing: The Revenant
    Visual Effects: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Animated Short Film: Prologue
    Animated Feature Film: Inside Out
    Actor in a Supporting Role: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
    Documentary Short Subject: Last Day of Freedom
    Documentary Feature: Amy
    Live Action Short Film: Stutterer
    Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
    Original Song: “Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey
    Original Score: Carol
    Directing: The Revenant
    Actress in a Leading Role: Brie Larson, Room
    Actor in a Leading Role: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
    Best Picture: The Revenant

  2. MikeN says:

    Sanjay’s Super Team lets Hollywood pay tribute to diversity.

  3. Kelvin says:

    I also do annual predictions, and this year I incorporated a scoring system to see who wins. Rather than just go with the person who guesses the most correctly we felt that a correct best picture guess should be worth more than a correct best make up guess. I might have this wrong off hand but basically it was something like:

    20 points- Best Picture

    10 points- Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director

    5 points- Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Animated

    3 Points- Adapted Screenplay, Original Screenplay, Foreign Language, Documentary, Film Editing

    2 Points- Costume Design, Visual Effects, Short Film (live), Short Film (animated), Original Score

    1 Point- Documentary (short), Make up, Original Song, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing

    For a total of 100 points more accurately reflects who did a better job guessing the way the academy votes. Does this over complicate it? Of course it does.

  4. invitro says:

    If any of these movies were more than just a tad good I might be interested. My, how far Hollywood has fallen.

  5. MCD says:

    I love the fact that “Mad Max: Fury Road” went with such a high percentage of practical effects, but a couple of the CGI effects were the worst I have seen in ten years. It might have been the by-product of looking out-of-place in a movie that didn’t use much CGI, but a couple were so glaringly bad, I think they shot down any chance the film had for winning that particular accolade (not that the film suffered any dearth of awards)

  6. MikeN says:

    >It’s obvious that the Academy utterly embarrassed itself by not nominating even a single person of color, and yes it was something that the Oscars would have to face head on.

    For someone who deals so much with numbers and randomness, has it occurred to you that there was nothing unusual. Look at the top categories this century, and see how many are black or minorities.

    • invitro says:

      Yes. What’s really embarrassing is seeing Joe make such a stupid and ignorant comment.

      • Brett Alan says:

        Are you seriously stating that it’s stupid and ignorant to accuse the Academy of racism because they’ve been racist before? That’s ridiculous. If this were a one year aberration, then it would be stupid to call them out over it. It’s the second year in a row, and while the year before that saw multiple nominees from 12 Years A Slave, overall the Oscars have a poor record of acknowledging blacks and other people of color, and that’s precisely why people were upset and why the broadcast needed to acknowledge it. (I do agree with Joe that it didn’t need to be the whole show.)

        • invitro says:

          I’m stating that it’s stupid and ignorant to accuse the Academy of racism, or to say that the Academy should be embarrassed of their nominations.
          Or to suggest that anyone who does not have a black in their list of five favorite actors or actresses in a given year is racist or should be embarrassed, which is what Joe and you are doing.
          I wonder if there are any years where Joe’s list of five favorite actors doesn’t include any blacks?

        • MikeN says:

          Yes it is. Because now any black who wins or is nominated, it will be as a token, and not because they are a good actor.

          Indeed, Denzel and Halle Berry’s wins have the same problem, though I think the campaign might have started after the nominations. Is it a two step voting process?

  7. MikeN says:

    Apparently, the places where they whine the most about racism are those that are filled with liberals. Hollywood, and college campuses.

    • kehnn13 says:

      Yes, it is pretty amazing how they whine about racism…They probably whined about slavery as well.

      • MikeN says:

        I have no idea if they whined about slavery at Harvard. That is slaves being on the campus.
        See these liberal places are complaining that it is the colleges themselves that are racist. That is where all these hate crimes are occurring. And the rapes. It’s a wonder any woman even goes to college with the rape epidemic on campuses across the country.

      • MikeN says:

        What I meant is that they claim the colleges themselves are racist. Same with Hollywood.

    • gogiggs says:

      This isn’t Yahoo! comments or Free Republic. Take your bigoted snark somewhere that it’s welcome.
      Here ain’t it.

      • invitro says:

        Actually, gogiggs, ordering other commenters to shut up or leave is the most unwelcome thing you can do.

        • gogiggs says:

          So. factually incorrect and pathetically inept bigotry: worth defending!
          Suggesting that such crap be taken elsewhere: the most unwelcome.
          Got it.
          By the way, your robe is showing.
          In the spirit if not turning this into a Yahoo! comment section, let’s drop this.

          • invitro says:

            What did he (or I) say that was factually incorrect? Or are you referring to Joe’s claim that not “even a single person of color” was nominated, which of course is absurd, unless you think that Academy Awards that are not for acting are not really awards.

  8. Kuz says:

    My worst fear realized. The comments are melding with other name calling sites.

  9. Repleh says:

    I have strong political opinions which many readers of this site don’t share. I bet a lot of my non-political opinions are either shared by most readers (love of Joe’s writing) or at least don’t offend them (Cleveland sports). I don’t voice my political opinions here because I think it wrecks the spirit of the site.

    • invitro says:

      If Joe’s going to make such an absurd comment as “It’s obvious that the Academy utterly embarrassed itself by not nominating even a single person of color,” then he should expect opinions (about either politics, or facts) to follow. And you should, too.

  10. invitro says:

    For the heck of it, here are some of the Persons Of Color who were nominated or won Academy Awards in 2016: Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiaki Nishimura, Sanjay Patel, Jason “Daheala” Queeneville, Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd), and Spike Lee*. And in 2015: Oprah Winfrey, Isao Takahata, Yoshiaki Nishimura, Abderrahmane Sissako, Joanna Natasegara, Hu Wei, John Stephens (John Legend), Lonnie Lynn (Common), Hayao Miyazaki*, Harry Belafonte* [*indicates Honorary Award or Humanitarian Award].
    This list is (probably) not exhaustive. And it does not include the dozens of Arabs and Hispanics who were nominated, such as Alejandro G. Iñárritu, winner of Best Director both years.

  11. Dan B says:

    Joe – Louis CK was an ass. The winner in that category is making life better for women and Louis takes it upon himself to redicule the artists. Funny? Maybe but why not hold off and use it on the late night circuit?

    • MikeN says:

      I didn’t see it as ridiculing the artists.

    • murr2825 says:

      Wow, Dan B, really? Louis was actually paying the highest complement to the people in this category in that they’re not in it for the money or fame. I would bet you a year’s salary that all of the entrants in this category laughed and appreciated his take on things.

      One thing you can usually say about Louie is he doesn’t punch down.

    • Bill Caffrey says:

      If you thought Louis CK was ridiculing the nominees in that category then you really didn’t understand his point at all.

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