And the Winner is…
This Sunday night’s 88th Academy Awards show on ABC promises to entertain, surprise and shock viewers. With very few solid favorites going into this telecast, expect the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to award a handful of the 8 ½ pound golden statuettes to newcomers–including a few sentimental actors and actresses.Replacing last year’s one-and-done Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris is first-time Academy Award emcee and comedian Chris Rock.
Here are my selections for who’ll win this wide-open Oscar Night that honors the highest achievements in filmmaking:
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
This Oscar should come down to Kate Winslet and Alicia Vikander. No actress had a better 2015 in film than Vikander (Ex Machina, Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Danish Girl). While Winslet kept up with Michael Fassbender’s Apple creator character toe-to-toe in Steve Jobs, Vikander’s performance even outshined Eddie Redmayne’s in The Danish Girl. And that’s no easy feat.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
No mind games here. The easiest call of the night.
Viewers of The Revenant were left shocked by 3 things…the horrific bear attack scene, Leonardo DiCaprio’s unrecognizable performance and the beautiful cinematography projected on the big-screen. This Oscar rewards the latter.
When confused moviegoers found out that The Martian wasn’t based upon a true story, I knew that Ridley Scott had truly captured the feeling of a lone survivor stranded 4 ½ years away from Earth. But this one will go to George Miller’s cult classic which roams the Australian Outback desert.
Cinderella faces tough competition from The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road. We’ll know here if Mad Max: Fury Road is having a night for the ages. A win here for Max Rockatansky and the George Miller sci-fi action film moves into the pole-position for Best Picture.
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
With a win in Visual Effects, Mad Max: Fury Road will continue to dominate.
When there’s very little dialogue in a film’s script, the surrounding sounds become even more important to a plotline. With less than 4,000 words uttered in 120 minutes of the post-apocalypse thriller, chalk up another win for Mad Max: Fury Road.
Oscar history tells us that winning Sound Mixing more often than not results in a “W” for the same film in the Sound Editing category too.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
The Champ answered the bell with his best on-screen performance since he ran the steps of Philadelphia 39 years ago in the original. Rocky Balboa is still standing–with his big heart, halting speech and tender memories. Stallone’s easy demeanor and solid advice carried Creed.
This award will tell us which film is in the driver’s seat for earning Best Picture at the night’s end. Up to this point, Oscar Night has belonged to Mad Max: Fury Road. Now things start to really heat up–and it becomes a 2-film race with one outlier: Favorites are The Big Short and The Revenant. Outside shot…Spotlight.
No film put on a more impressive display than this roving band of marauders sporting a guitar, scantily clad concubines and plenty of sand skirmishes.
Now that’s a chastity belt.
Quentin Tarantino still won’t be happy. So be it.
Produced and performed by Lady Gaga (who also co-wrote the song with Diane Warren) this song deals with campus rape. Following up her sensational national anthem performance at the Super Bowl earlier this month, look for Lady Gaga to shine once again on the world stage.
The true story behind America’s fraudulent home loans introduced us to a handful of investors that witnessed Wall Street’s version of the Titanic plowing full-steam ahead towards impending financial disaster. Grab a lifeboat and watch Mad Max: Fury Road’s chances for Best Picture sink.
Once the frontrunner for Best Picture and many other Oscar categories, Spotlight finds its gold here (finally).
Last year’s winning director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (for Birdman) continues his Academy Award mojo in 2016 with an epic story of survival and retaliation. An intense, adrenaline-rushing frontier adventure…this violent nail-biter even offers up visual eye candy of snowy mountains.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Yes, this is Leo’s year! DiCaprio’s path to his first Oscar included navigating unforgiving territory 200 miles during a brutal winter, eating raw buffalo liver and sleeping inside the carcass of his horse. Yeah, he’s earned this.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
As guaranteed to win as Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson should score an easy victory for her portrayal of a teenage girl abducted and held captive with her son. One of 2015’s best films, Room’s success hinged on two stellar performances…Brie Larson’s and Jacob Tremblay’s.
The top film of 2015 should be a horse-race between The Big Short and The Revenant. Although, personally, I would have it down to a 3-way battle between Spotlight, The Martian and Room. But my bet is on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences giving it to the Wall Street story told in understandable terms. And I’m OK with that.
Look for the REEL BRIEF Readers’ Oscar Picks later this week.
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"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office". - Judy O.