Welcome to Part 2 of the Oscar Outlook! In this edition we’ll get down to business and give you UnScene’s picks for the best of the best of the best of everything…if you don’t count all those people that got snubbed.
Lets get to it!
The Look of Silence
What Happened to Miss Simone
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
Amy is the frontrunner, because the futility of the drug war, Putin flexing his geopolitical muscles, disabilities, they all suck. But when misfortune happens to a performer? That’s just a tragedy beyond compare. It’s a unicorn being hunted down and with one less unicorn, there’s one less unicorn in the world, and we are in much grayer place.
Best Documentary Short
Body Team 12
Chau-Beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl In the River- The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom
Listen, I don’t know anything about this category, and you don’t know anything about this category, but I’m not going to be shitty about somebody life’s work just because they didn’t dedicate it to flashier subject matter like how Hostess cakes went under and then came back. I will say, however, it seems hyphens are the colons of the documentary short world. Anyways, Body Team 12 won at Tribeca, so it’s the frontrunner here.
Best Foreign Language Film
Embrace The Serpent
Son of Saul
My heart says “Embrace the Serpent” because it sounds like an adaptation of a Boris Vallejo painting, but my head says “That’s totally not what it’s about”. Anyways, the clear winner is going to be Son of Saul, which is about the Holocaust, i.e. super important subject matter and the Academy’s absolute favorite time period. But it’s grim, unpleasant “Holy shit, the Holocaust wasn’t just a thing about violins playing sad music” also gives it the cool kid credit that would make people reluctant about what has become consummate Oscar bait. Plus, frontrunners are usually easy to predict because it’s one of those things voters check the boxes off for.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
The Big Short
The clear favorite is The Big Short, which was based on a book, true life events, and a Monopoly Game gone terribly wrong. Adam McKay will be the second person who got his bones on SNL to win an Oscar, after Howard Shore. No, really, the guy who scored the Lord of the Rings films used to be SNL’s bandleader. When they dressed like nurses. This will also mean that Funny or Die is now Oscar calibre material, which I’m pretty cool with, because it means I can rack up my rejection from their Oddball Comedy festival as another Oscar injustice.
Best Original Screenplay:
Bridge Of Spies
Straight Outta Compton
The clear winner is Spotlight, which makes sense, as it’s the award given to the movie critics love, but it just ain’t Hollywood enough. I have to say, isn’t it weird that real life will get you an “original screenplay”, even though you still only have to do less of the legwork coming up with an ending? I guess “Adapted from GOD” doesn’t count. Also of note, Joel and Ethan Coen wrote Bridge of Spies, which was fine, but really workmanlike. A lot of people ripped on Bill Murray for doing Garfield because he thought the Coens had worked on it, but considering what their work-for-hire stuff is looking like, it’s starting to look more and more like an honest mistake.
Best Supporting Actress:
Jennifer Jason, Leigh, Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
This is probably the most open category. Right now, Alicia Vikander is the frontrunner, because she’s touted as being a “star of tomorrow”. But Brie Larson already has that “star of tomorrow” thing going, and as mentioned, she’s much more Jennifer Lawrencey than Alicia Vikander, who as a Swede, is weird in those ways-that-Fred-Armisen-thinks-are-funny weird. However, she still exudes more “girl next door” than Rooney Mara, the world’s most miserable sports heiress.
Rachel McAdams probably got in because the Academy members just discovered Mean Girls and they’re like “Oh, this girl is gonna be big when she grows up.” The role itself is just kind of there, however. I think it comes down to two people: There’s Jennifer Jason Leigh,and Tarantino’s cast has done well in this category, (Okay, basically, Christoph Waltz, twice) but it does have a “comeback” narrative for Leigh, and it’s a unique performance that allows her to be weird in a way only male actors are.
Winslet has already won, but she’s in that class of actor that’s allowed to have more than one, and I think there’s sentiment to reunite the two stars of Titanic, because reminding people of the 90’s would be a great boon for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Best Supporting Actor:
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Well, it seems like Christian Bale and Mark Ruffalo are just going to be nominated into perpetuity at the point. Man, somebody’s lucky Jonah Hill didn’t have a movie this year. If Christian Bale wins for this “He won’t”, I hope I get some kind of award, because I’m better at pretending to be normal than Christian Bale is, never mind him playing someone with a social disorder.
Mark Rylance is a longtime stage actor who people have been wanting to get him into pictures for years, but the nomination is his welcoming party. By the way, am I the only one who’s kind of feeling like Tom “Listen to my new crazy voice” Hardy is turning into Johnny Depp, except less secure with his masculinity? Anyways, the frontrunner is Sylvester Stallone, who’s kind the “Leo has no Oscar meme, retro version”, if you check out those photos of Sly sadly holding his phantom Oscar with the rest of the Rocky production team is showing off.
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Sairose Ronan, Brooklyn
Cate Blanchett just won, Saiorse Ronan has a name that’s hard to pronounce and is too white to go the trouble to do so. Charlotte Rampling is practically Fench now, so she doesn’t have a lot of old buddies to help her out, plus her response to the “Oscars So White” controversy was every wrong thing you could say about it.
Jennifer Lawrence is in a position where she can win again, but the backlash is probably settling in, so she might need some time before we get nostalgic for the Jennifer Lawrence era again. (Which, being that we burn through nostalgia at an alarming rate these days, will be April 12th)
Brie Larson is totally the new Jennifer Lawrence. She’s fresher, she’s younger, (Well, actually, she’s a year older, but she plays younger–I’m not sure Lawrence has played somebody her age since The Bill Engvall Show) and she’s not complaining about the wage gap like some ungrateful feminist Frankenstein. But she will. Oh she will. What’s the point of being an Oscar-winning ingenue if you can’t get in on that hot cheddar?)
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
This is Leo’s to lose. He’s very fortunate Eddie Redmayne won last year, as this would have been a shoe-in–but he did just win and he’s young enough as it is. Matt Damon is pretty much playing Matt Damon in a blockbuster. Bryan Cranston is only nominated because you can’t given an Oscar for Breaking Bad, and Hollywood is still butthurt over McCarthyism I’m of two minds of the “Give Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar already!” camp.
On the one hand, he has built up a very strong filmography, not taking the shortcuts a lot of other movie stars do, and it is kind of unfair his string of good decisions has only made it harder to blow people out of the water. On the other hand, for all people complain the Oscars are a the height of self-aggrandizement, everyone sure seems invested in the guy who has it all having even more. Plus, the Oscarless Leo memes are funny. But funny or not, this is chance, and our long, national, Oscarless Leo nightmare will be over.
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Alejandro Gonzalez Inaritu, The Revenant
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Thom McCarthy, Spotlight
Adam McKay, The Big Short
If he didn’t just win last year, Inaritu would be the clear frontrunner. But he did last year. In fact, depending on how you look at it, he’s the first director to get back to back Oscar nominations since the 1970’s. (James Cameron did not make a dramatic feature film in the 12 years between Titanic and Avatar, but had a few documentaries. Clint Eastwood’s Letter From Iwo Jima was part of a one-two punch he planned in 2006, but it definitely came after Flags of Our Father, chronologically)
Luckily, in one of the three way races we have, a director’s split makes it easy. I’m going with McCarthy because Spotlight is the more serious work. If they do decided they love Inaritu that much though, expect actors’ unions to have their work cut out for them. Wouldn’t it be really cool though, if they just decided “What the Hell, George Miller should get it. He’s really old but still badass, like Clint Eastwood. Except he’s Australian, so that’s distilled, concentrated badass”? If Mad Max starts sweeping the techs, it’s on the table.
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
First, let’s rule out all the “No way is this gonna happen.” Bridge of Spies is there for the same reason MeTV! is there, and because Spielberg is so powerful. I’m pretty sure many voters have no idea that Room, Brooklyn, and even the snubbed Carol are even three distinct movies. Mad Max, despite deserving the oft-overused “awesome” is really kind of lucky to be there, despite being an insane yarn that involves car worship, and was also a sequel. (Unless the Academy unpersoned Mel Gibson from their records so it’s effectively the first Mad Max movie).
The Martian is both a sci-fi movie, and according the foreign press, a “comedy,” and the Oscars may award one, but not the other. What, you think this is “Men In Black Awards?” Lol. No, it comes down to a pretty interesting three-way race: Spotlight, The Big Short, and The Revenant.
In many ways, this is reminiscent of the 2001 Oscars, with Gladiator vs. Traffic vs Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Not a complete match for match–Revenant has some of that old-fashioned Hollywood epic mixed with Crouching Tiger’s lyrical artsiness, Big Short has Traffic’s political message, but the way it talks about finance makes it almost a foreign language picture. (Actually, watch as in fifteen years, Chinese effectively becomes synonymous with financial talk) That sort of thing.
All three have split the big guild prizes, Short and Revenant split the Globes. Spotlight has the most critics awards, and hey, that it’s about how people who work for a newspaper can really make a difference probably has nothing to do with it. However, outside journalists, it seems to be the cinematic equivalent of friendzoning, with a lot of “Oh, I think you’re great, I’m just not attracted to you.” (Probably because it’s about priests being attracted to altar boys. Darn unsexy.)
The Big Short is definitely an issues movie, and will probably be your friends’ smug generator for the next year as they ask if you’ve seen The Big Short, but it might be too irreverent and fourth-wall breaking for its own good.
So I think it’ll ultimately go to The Revenant.
It’ll be the first Best Picture western in almost a quarter of a century. It’ll be the first victory lap for a director to win. And it’ll be that rare winner people have actually seen.