The Academy Awards are seriously right around the corner. As such, someone had to make a predictions list eventually. This year, like most years, seems pretty predictable. There are a few wildcards this year, but a majority of the categories have a clear frontrunner.
In this list, the most likely winner will be chosen. In addition, the second most likely possibility will also be chosen. These were not chosen based off of the author’s personal taste in the films. Instead, the films were chosen based off of statistics and Academy Awards history.
Best Picture: The Revenant
If not, then: The Big Short or Spotlight
During most years, Best Picture is practically a lock. This year, however, it’s a little less predictable. The Revenant is the logical choice given all the hype and award wins. After a BAFTA sweep and an impressive run at the Globes, The Revenant certainly has word of mouth on its side.
What it doesn’t have on its side, however, is history and statistics. Sure, the film has done exceptionally well recently, but it failed to earn the most important award – the PGA. The PGAs and the Oscars have matched up every year since 2008. The PGA award actually went to The Big Short this past year. However, after that victory, it failed to earn the same kind of hype as The Revenant.
In addition, Spotlight has the advantage of basically sweeping critic awards. This is essentially a three-legged race. The Revenant seems like the go-to choice, but it’s hardly as much of a lock as Oscar viewers are probably used to.
Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez for The Revenant
If not, then: George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller has a small shot at this award, but it’s almost certainly going to Gonzalez for a second year in a row for his work on The Revenant. From a filmmaking perspective, The Revenant was a cinematic triumph, which is something that most voters have been able to recognize.
After earning the Best Director award at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and DGA awards, Gonzalez quickly skyrocketed from just another nominee to undeniable frontrunner. The odds are definitely in his favor at the coming awards ceremony.
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant
If not, then: Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs
This is practically the biggest lock of the night. Leonardo DiCaprio will almost definitely win the Oscar. He won the BAFTA, he won the Golden Globe, he won the SAG award, and he won almost every single other award he was eligible for.
There have been plenty of jokes made about how DiCaprio will never win an Oscar. This year, that will change. This physical, subtle performance has earned him the most acclaim of his career.
Best Actress: Brie Larson for Room
If not, then: Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn
The second biggest lock of the night is Brie Larson for her performance in Room. Some are anticipating a Ronan upset, but that seems unlikely given the amount of praise that came to Larson this year.
Her harrowing, emotional performance as the mother in Room has earned her countless awards this year, and rightfully so. It seems pretty unlikely that the Oscars wouldn’t follow the rest of the crowd.
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone for Creed
If not, then: Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies
This one is actually pretty close as well. Mark Rylance was an early frontrunner when people first saw Bridge of Spies. His performance as Rudolf Abel, the captive soviet spy, was considered by many to be the highlight of the film. Then Creed came along and surprised everyone.
Stallone honestly gave the best performance of his career in this film. Given the Oscars tendency to give actors and actresses pseudo-lifetime achievement awards, that makes Stallone’s chances even brighter. Not only was his performance phenomenal, but the Academy will likely recognize his whole career, which will more than likely lead to an Oscar victory.
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl
If not, then: Rooney Mara for Carol
Whether or not Alicia Vikander would win the award solely for her performance in The Danish Girl is up for debate. Many pundits believe that Vikander’s hot chances at the upcoming Oscars are a result of a fantastic overall year.
Some believe that Vikander will be earning the votes for Ex Machina instead. Regardless, she is absolutely on fire this year. Aside from a couple losses to Winslet and Mara, Vikander has pretty much been on a winning streak all year. Though it’s not an absolute lock, the odds are definitely in her favor.
Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight
If not, then: Inside Out
At one point, Spotlight was considered a Best Picture lock. Now, that is not nearly as certain as it once was. Luckily, it won’t leave empty handed, as its chances at a Screenplay win are extraordinarily high.
It managed to win all of the screenplay awards in the precursors and it remains one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. Spotlight pretty much has this in the bag. Inside Out could possibly pull an upset, and an Ex Machina victory could surprise everyone, but chances are next to none.
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
If not, then: Room
There is no way that any movie besides The Big Short is winning this award. Winning the BAFTA, Critics Choice award, WGA award are reason enough to predict a victory.
Then there’s the fact that the film most people believed to be the biggest challenger, Steve Jobs, wasn’t even nominated. Combine all of that with its status as a possible frontrunner and you have a film that is destined for Oscar glory.
Best Cinematography: The Revenant
If not, then: Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant has this one in the bag, and deservedly so. The film has been criticized for having a weak story, and that’s obviously up for debate. What nobody is arguing about, however, is the fact that the film is breathtakingly gorgeous.
In terms of technical achievements, The Revenant is a huge success. Mad Max: Fury Road also has great cinematography. If it were another year, it’d probably have a stronger chance of winning. Unfortunately, it’s up against The Revenant.
Best Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
If not, then: The Big Short
Fury Road and The Big Short are the only two films nominated that have any remarkable editing techniques to speak of. The other films in this category are honestly pretty straight forward in terms of editing.
Mad Max: Fury Road has the advantage of being the technical award frontrunner. In other words, it’s going to be the film that (mostly) sweeps the technical categories. It will have to fight it out with The Revenant for a few categories, but the editing category is definitely one that Mad Max has a strong chance of winning.