Oscar Race 2016 Predictions and Hopes

81st Academy Awards® Press Kit Images

Oscar race 2016 predictions: 

Earlier Frontmezzjunkies.com weighed in on the #Oscar2016 nominations that were announced awhile back.  Here are my pre show predictions.

❤️ is my vote and my hope

👈 is who I am predicting will win

🔫 is the upset and the one I don’t want to win.

And after the awards:

✅ is who won and one that I predicted

🔴 is who won and one that I didn’t predict

Join the prediction game. Let’s see who picks the most winners!


Take another look at my past blog and my predictions. And tell me what you think.  Yes, these both are film blogs on what is essentially a #Broadway blog, but the #OscarRace2016 is so much fun, I couldn’t resist.




  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant 👈 🔫
  • Room
  • 🔴Spotlight❤️
I’ve seen all but one of these films, and to be honest I’m not all that interested in seeing The Revenant although it might be the spoiler of the night and grab the Oscar for best film.  It would be stealing it away from Spotlight or The Big Short, the two films that I think are really neck and neck, or at least should be in my Oscar world. The Relevant just never pulled me to the movie theatre. Most likely I’ll see it streamed into my TV eventually and maybe this will cause me to rethink my prediction and my hope but for now, I’m discarding it from the race. I never really like Leo in any of his films, except maybe Blood Diamond.  He always seems to be ACTING. In the immortal words of Sally Bowles, “She makes too many faces.”
I’ve seen all the others and thought they were all wonderful. Bridge of Spies is a beautifully orchestrated exciting piece of story telling, perfectly crafted, and that maybe the problem.  It felt perfectly safe and not risky at all. I do admit though that the opening scene with Rylance is magnificently handled and every frame is perfection.
IMG_3574Brooklyn won my heart, but just felt it was missing an urgency. I will say it was thoroughly emotionally vibrant and engaging. Who couldn’t love that Italian plumber and want that ending. And she was just so magnificent and interesting to watch.  Mad Max and The Martian are also compelling, engaging and masterfully done, but all lack that special power that elevates a film from good to that higher level. Room had a magnificent set-up that caused my body and heart to be so present, and during that tense middle scene, my body was shaking and my heart racing. Unfortunately, the second act seemed flawed and unfocused.
The Big Short was an exciting fun and smart movie about something I couldn’t imagine being as compelling as it was. Great performances, an interesting narrative, and smart writing goes a long way. And it felt dangerous and risky, but I’m going to say that it also felt a bit distant emotionally. So my hope and my vote goes to the beautifully done Spotlight, which had me in the palm of its hands from the beginning. Subtle. Deeply emotional. Smart. And very present in my mind and heart. But will it win? Probably not, The Revenant has momentum and might steal Spotlight’s spotlight. My buddy @gooddoggie said, “I’m rooting for Revenant and Brooklyn… my two favorites 😁” so maybe I’m wrong about Revenant. Maybe I need to see it for myself.
  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • ✅Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant 🔫👈
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs ❤️
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl ❤️
I know that Leonardo basically has this in the bag already. No question in my mind that he won’t win. It comes down to that old idea that it’s his time and moment. I’ve heard mixed things about his performance but it doesn’t really matter. He’ll win cause he hasn’t won an Oscar yet, and the Academy is going to give him what they feel he deserves.
For me it comes down to two powerful, unique, and very different performances that made me forget about anything else that Michael Fassbender or Eddie Redmayne have done before. Both disappeared in their respective films, and only emerged as the unique complex character they had crafted for us to see. Both brilliant. If I had to choose, I’d pick Fassbender because the movie itself has a much stronger drive, and that’s mainly because of the strong performances saying those amazing lines. But I don’t predict either of my choices will win. Sadly.  But even as I write this my allegiance shifts to Redmayne, who lost himself completely playing Lilly.  I couldn’t see Redmayne anymore, all I saw was her.



  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • ✅Brie Larson, Room 👈❤️
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy🔫
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Don’t get me wrong, I think Jennifer Lawrence is a wonderful actress, but I don’t really think she belongs here this year. But for some reason the Academy loves nominating and awarding her. Her Oscar win for her performance in American Hustle was not really deserving in my eyes, although the nomination for Winter’s Bone was. But this year, she probably should have been left off this list.
Everyone else is spectacular. Ronan was exquisite in Brooklyn, one of my favorite films of the year.  As my buddy, Michael says, “She was textured, touching and totally lovable” and I would have to agree. Two actresses who were shuffled down to supporting should have made it up here somewhere. I understand the politics but Rooney Mara in Carol was more a lead than Cate (who was also magnificent and deserving-as always). Same with Vikander who was the soul of The Danish Girl.
But I will give my hat to Brie, whose performance played havoc with my heart and my body. She created a world so intense and real, that the escape meant so much to me, even knowing that what the outcome had to be. My body was tied up in anxiety and shaking with raw fear, and I blame Brie for that emotional response. So thank you Brie, and congratulations. (You were also amazing in Short Term 12, just so ya know.)



  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight ❤️
  • ✅Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies 👈
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed 🔫
Stallone may win this award, but as with Leo, will he win because he gave the best performance or because of history and sentiment?
Rylance was perfection and managed to steal the movie away from Hanks every chance he could, so I’m hoping we wins over Stallone.  For me, Ruffalo was the heart and soul of Spotlight, and he is so understated yet raw, that I loved him as this troubled and anguished man.  As I also loved Michael Keaton, but he was ignored. I guess last year was his year to be noticed, now he’s just another ignored actor.



  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight 🔫
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • ✅Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl 👈
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs❤️
This was difficult. I hear Leigh was good but I had no interest in the film, as I’m not such a Tarantino fan (I don’t think I like his sense of humor). I’d be happy if any of the other four won. Mara and Vikander are both basically amazing in starring roles but forced down into supporting categories purely for political gain. Taking those two out, McAdams was wonderful but Winslet gave, for me, the most beautifully real and crafted supporting portrayal in Steve Jobs. Many didn’t even realize it was her. But I doubt she’ll win.
It will go to Vikander who was really the heart, soul and center of The Danish Girl, no matter how you try to sell it.



  • Adam McKay – The Big Short ❤️
  • George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road🔫
  • ✅Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant👈
  • Lenny Abrahamson – Room
  • Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
I have a hard time picking between McKay and McCarthy as who I would vote for, but I will say The Big Short is just so damn creative that I’m hoping for McKay will win, but if I had to bet who WILL win, I’d put money on Iñárritu, who will make a bit of history winning two years in a row for two very different films (Birdman being the other). So I guess, good for him, and congratulations. It is an impressive accomplishment.



  • Anomalisa🔫
  • Boy and the World
  • ✅Inside Out 👈❤️
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There
If it’s not the magnificent and super smart adult/children’s film Inside Out, then I won’t know what to say. Should have been one of the nominations for Best Film, but as always, animation is relegated to a lesser category and not highbrow enough. I will say it’s better and smarter then at least two films who were nominated, and yes, I mean you, Martian and Max.




  • Carol ❤️👈
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • 🔴Mad Max: Fury Road🔫
  • The Revenant

Every inch of Carol is perfectly designed and thoroughly contemplated. Every stitch thought out and exuding the quiet desires of the characters. Their inner emotional path represented in their outer wear.





  • ✅Amy ❤️👈
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire
I’ve only seen Amy and thought it was devastating and powerful. And I hear it’s the favorite to win so that’s my vote. It is an incredibly well done dissection of a supremely talented singer and songwriter who had no support or caring guidance around her. It’s just such a sad sad tale, but it also made me appreciate her talents, especially in her songwriting so much more then I had understood prior.




  • Body Team
  • Chau, Beyond the Lines
  • Claude Lanzmann
  • ✅A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness 👈
  • Last Day of Freedom

Full on guess. I like the name.


  • ✅Mad Max: Fury Road 👈❤️
  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
  • The Revenant🔫

I’m intrigued by the name of the movie I never even heard of. It sounds fantastic, and like a movie that probably needed a good makeup and hair team. And it has a compelling movie trailer. But I’ll place my bets on Mad Max, because in a purely visual level, it was perfection.




  • “Earned It” – Fifty Shades of Grey
  • “Manta Ray” – Racing Extinction
  • “Simple Song #3” – Youth
  • “Til It Happens to You” – The Hunting Ground 👈
  • 🔴”Writing’s on the Wall” – Spectre
Not a clue. Pure guess. Title seems appropriate. Either that or Simple Song #3.





  • 🔴Bear Story
  • Prologue
  • Sanjay’s Super Team
  • We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
  • World of Tomorrow 👈❤️

Bear Story and Sanjay’s Super Team were my other two favorites, both were so moving and powerful emotionally.  But World of Tomorrow gets my vote.  It was just bigger, in scope and meaning.  An incredible bit of story telling that is funny and so very deep and complex. Lu the Illustrator, who went to see these Oscar nominated Animated shorts at the wonderful IFC in NYC with me said, “The World of Tomorrow caught my attention with its humble and children-inspired animation style  and then kept me engaged with its deep and amazing complexities of time travel.” (What a fun thing to do, going to the IFC to see either the live action or animated shorts, all together in two programs)





  • ✅Mad Max: Fury Road👈
  • Sicario❤️
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

I have a strong feeling that Mad Max will clean up with the technical awards. It really was magnificent in that regard. This award, film editing, production design, and visual effects will all go to Max but I’m hoping Star Wars and Sicario can muster one or two. Sicario was amazing, and Emily Blunt should have replaced Jennifer in the Best Actress category.




  • The Big Short ❤️
  • ✅Mad Max: Fury Road👈
  • The Revenant🔫
  • Spotlight
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Big Short is such a kinetic well-crafted piece of inventive film making, that I hope it wins. That said Mad Max is also fantastical and a lot of it has to do with the fast and furious editing of the non-stop action sequences. I’m betting on Max.



  • Embrace of the Serpent
  • Mustang
  • ✅Son of Saul👈
  • Theeb
  • A War
Sadly, I have not seen any of these films but Son of Saul is one film that has sat on my must-see list for a while now. (Right beside 45 Years.) It’s a sad yet intriguing story that I hope to stream-watch one day soon.



  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • 🔴The Hateful Eight🔫
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens ❤️👈

All are good choices, although I haven’t seen nor heard The Hateful Eight, but he usually does a fine job score-wise. I’m just hoping that Star Wars, which was such a joyous experience to see, will win something, and this is one of those areas where it was stellar and could realistically win.



  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl❤️
  • ✅Mad Max: Fury Road👈
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant🔫
  • All are gorgeous but one of the strongest aspects of The Danish Girl is its beauty. It may also be the thing that got in the way from the heart and emotional core of the story, distancing us from the central characters. Everything and everybody were exceptional so why, with so many tears being shed on screen, was I not crying in my seat?
That’s why I think Mad Max will triumph here; because that design heightened the audience’s response, not keep you at a distance looking in.





  • Ex Machina
  • ✅Mad Max: Fury Road👈
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant🔫
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens❤️

I’d love Star Wars to triumph here, as it is a wonderful extension of the look and feeling from way back when the first Star Wars came out and when I saw it as a teenager. That movie started a movement in cinema, for good and for bad (or should I say ‘for the dark side’). May the force be with it (Sorry, I just had to).




  • ✅The Big Short❤️👈
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian🔫
  • Room

The screenplays here are all so great on many different levels. Brooklyn and Carol: so beautiful giving us time, place, emotional period, and environment in its words. The Martian in its science and humor. Room in its depth.

But The Big Short pulled apart something so abstract and difficult to wrap our heads around, and they made it understandable and entertaining. Playing with but not speaking down to us from some smarter then thou place; such a delicate dance.




  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out❤️
  • ✅Spotlight👈
  • Straight Outta Compton
For me, it’s a tight choice between Spotlight and Inside Out. Inside Out though was so smart and adult-minded while also remaining a kid’s animated movie. The fact it might play even more strongly to the kid that remains inside our adult body made it a spectacular piece of writing (and film making – once again, why no best film nomination?). Us adults cried for our own kid selves far more then those actual kids who Pixar ‘says’ this film was made for.
That said, I’d bet money on Spotlight. A film and story that I loved.
So let the games begin. I’m sure you disagree on one or all of my thoughts. Let me know what you think.


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