88th Academy Awards | My Choices & Predictions

Hey, everyone! I thought it would be fun to write down my choices and predictions for the Oscars tonight. I’ve never done this before and have no idea if I’ll do it again, but I wanted to try at least once and see which of my choices win, how close my predictions were, et cetera.

The theater in the student union has very cheap tickets, so I was able to see more movies last year than I normally do. Also – and this part is more important, because I think the number of movies I see per year increases each year – I happened to watch movies that were actually nominated for an Oscar or two. I watch a lot of YA book-to-movie adaptations, for example, and those tend not to be nominated for this kind of award.

(Which is total crap, by the way, because there are some really good YA adaptations out there and I think it’s unfair that they’re essentially not even considered in the first place because they’re aimed at teenagers and not at pretentious middle-aged artists, but I digress. I AM SMALL AND BITTER when it comes to YA adaptations not receiving any Oscar noms for their film scores, because that’s a special interest of mine and there are SO MANY that deserve to be better know. Ugh.)

Anyway, I watched stuff that actually later received a nomination (or two or three) from the Academy. Aaaaand now it’s super hard for me to decide between some of the nominees, because two films I absolutely adored – Mad Max: Fury Road and Carol – received, respectively, ten and six nominations each. IN MANY OF THE SAME CATEGORIES, too, so I have to decide between them. Noooooooo. It’s kind of weird to actually have opinions about more categories than just Best Original Score, because that’s all I’ve cared about these past few years.

Since I talk about diversity so much on this blog, it would be weird not to mention #OscarsSoWhite, so I will: I’m disappointed, but not surprised, because this is how things are every year. That shouldn’t be a reason to maintain the status quo, though; things can and SHOULD change.

It’s hard to bring about that change, though, when the majority of Academy voters are predominantly straight, white, middle-aged or elderly white guys. There is a deeply ingrained idea in our culture that stories about straight white guys – or anyone who belongs to one or more of those categories, really, but let’s face it, this is especially true of those who belong to all three – are universal and that diversity is something “extra,” something that is, somehow, supposed to be harder to relate to… or else something that is niche, that is only considered interesting to the minorities depicted in them.

So, yeah. Here’s to a future where things will hopefully be different. I’m really pleased that this push for diversity, which began with YA fiction, has spread to all sorts of genres and forms of media, because we could all use a breath of fresh air. Here’s to a future where the nominations for Best Actress don’t look like the same woman, just at different times in her life. (That’s the best joke I’ve seen about this whole thing so far…)

Enjoy!

BEST PICTURE

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

My choiceMad Max: Fury Road

My prediction: The Revenant

I would LOVE it if Fury Road wins but if I’m being honest, I’m still really surprised it received any nominations in the first place. I mean, I wanted it to, but it doesn’t seem like the sort of movie that normally gets nominated, so I’ll be happy if it doesn’t win – happy that it made it this far. I feel like there’s been a lot of buzz about The Revenant, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it wins.

(I had hoped that Carol would be nominated, but it wasn’t, and this is a fascinating look at why it probably wasn’t chosen. Essentially, it was too gay – and more importantly, it focuses solely on its lesbian main characters and gives them a happy ending. Outside of the queer community, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in movies where lesbians don’t A) sleep with men and B) die. Sad, but true.)

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

My choice: Literally anyone but Eddie Redmayne

My prediction: Eddie Redmayne

I have a horrible feeling that Redmayne will win in an attempt by the Academy to show how much they care about diversity, and I hope to god that he doesn’t. I think the fact that a man was nominated for an Oscar for playing a woman really says a lot about how people view trans women, so.

The mean part inside of me also kind of hopes that DiCaprio doesn’t win an Oscar, because then we wouldn’t be able to make jokes about all his noms and no wins. 

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

My choice: Cate Blanchett

My prediction: Either Cate Blanchett or Charlotte Rampling

Cate Blanchett was absolutely freaking amazing in Carol, and I’d love to see her win since the movie didn’t receive a nomination for Best Picture. On the other hand, I haven’t seen 45 Years, but I’ve heard a lot about it, so… yeah.

P.S. I wish Charlize Theron had been nominated for Mad Max: Fury Road!

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed

My choice: N/A

My prediction: N/A

No opinions here, because I haven’t seen any of these movies. I do have to say that I’m confused as to why Stallone was nominated for Creed, because the Academy KNOWS they have a diversity problem and yet they still nominated the white supporting character in a movie about a black guy. I don’t know… I’ve seen this in book and TV fandoms as well, where the diverse protagonist is largely ignored in favor of their friends even though it’s literally their story. I DON’T EVEN KNOW.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

My choice: Rooney Mara

My prediction: Rooney Mara

Mara did a FANTASTIC job of portraying a young woman who is… discovering herself, essentially, as cliche as that may sound. I really hope she wins!

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There

My choiceInside Out

My prediction: Anomalisa

Inside Out is one of the best kid’s movies I’ve seen lately, so I really hope it wins! I’m kind of worried that Anomalisa will win, though, because it’s about, like, existential crises and stuff and is more artsy.

…I’m really bitter about Anomalisa because my friend and I watched it a few weekends ago and ended up walking out of the theater halfway through. We thought it was a kid’s movie, and it DEFINITELY wasn’t, but that wasn’t why we waked out, either: It was super awkward and boring and pretentious. PLEASE DON’T LET THIS WIN.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario

My choice: Mad Max: Fury Road

My prediction: Carol or Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant

Ugh, Carol and Fury Road both had outstanding cinematography and it was hard for me to make a decision, but in the end I think I’ll go with Fury Road?

COSTUME DESIGN

  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant

My choice: Mad Max: Fury Road

My prediction: Carol

I’m so conflicted because I loved the fifties fashion worn in Carol, but I adore the costume design in pretty much all dystopian films because it’s so practical: Everything was originally something else, and has since been repurposed to be purely functional, because no one has time for ornamentation after the apocalypse.

DIRECTING

  • The Big Short
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

My choice: Mad Max: Fury Road

My prediction: The Revenant

I really loved George Miller’s directorial choices in this movie, in terms of having a clear vision that it was supposed to be about a group of women and making sure that the film ended, ultimately, on a hopeful note.

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

My choice: N/A

My prediction: Amy

I haven’t seen any of these movies, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Amy.

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

  • 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

My choice: N/A

My prediction: N/A

I’ve literally never heard of any of these films before.

FILM EDITING

  • The Big Short
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Spotlight
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My choice: Mad Max: Fury Road

My prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

So apparently George Miller’s wife is a film editor, and he specifically asked her to edit the movie because he didn’t want it to look like all the other action movies out there? He didn’t want it to be just another macho movie, and he wanted to make sure that the female characters were viewed as actual characters and not just objects to be won and fought over, or as plot devices, or whatever. And it worked. I think she did a really good job!

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Embrace of the Serpent
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul
  • Theeb
  • A War

My choice: N/A

My prediction: Son of Saul

Haven’t seen any of these movies, but I’ve heard a lot of praise for Son of Saul so I’m going to wildly throw a prediction out there.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
  • The Revenant

My choice: Mad Max: Fury Road

My prediction: The Revenant

I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT DESIGN CHOICES IN DYSTOPIAN MOVIES, OK?!

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My choice: Carol

My prediction: Carol or Star Wars: The Force Awakens

OHHHH MY GOD I FEEL SO PROUD OF MYSELF RIGHT NOW. As soon as I heard that Carter Burwell would compose the music for Carol, I knew it would be amazing, because he also worked on some of the Twilight movies. Say what you will about Twilight, but all of those movies had stunning film scores. (Howard Shore and Alexandre Desplat also worked on them, which should tell you something about the caliber of musicians who contributed to those films.)

I had a gut feeling that Carol‘s film score would be super romantic and gorgeous because I was familiar with Burwell’s music from Twilight, and I was 100% right.

 

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

  • “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

My choice: “Till It Happens To You”

My prediction: “Till It Happens To You”

This is a haunting, darkly beautiful song about a topic we often ignore – rape – and I, for one, will be extremely surprised if it doesn’t win, because I think the Academy desperately wants to show that they understand The Youth and what they care about. But I don’t think it would be a pity win, either – I think it deserves to win.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

My choice: Mad Max: Fury Road

My prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

BLAME MY LOVE OF DESIGN IN DYSTOPIAN MOVIES ON A BOOK I READ A FEW YEARS AGO ABOUT

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

  • Bear Story
  • Prologue
  • Sanjay’s Super Team
  • We Can’t Live without Cosmos
  • World of Tomorrow

My choice: Sanjay’s Super Team

My prediction: Sanjay’s Super Team

I have not seen any of these films in full! I’ve only seen trailers or excerpts, because I was busy on the night the local indie theater screened all five nominations. Blerghhh. Anyway, I want Sanjay’s Super Team to win because my Wonder Woman professor wants it to win!

She told us all about it before class one day – it’s about a young Indian-American boy, who just wants his dad to let him watch his superhero shows, and his dad, who just wants his son to put down the action figures and pray with him. It sounds super cute, and is one of the few diverse nominations, so I REALLY REALLY want it to win!

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

  • Ave Maria
  • Day One
  • Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
  • Shok
  • Stutterer

My choice: N/A

My prediction: N/A

Not only have I not seen any of these movies, but I haven’t even HEARD of them until now. So I’m going to stay out of this round, because I really have no idea what I would even talk about here.

SOUND EDITING

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

My choice: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My prediction: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I had to look up the difference between sound editing and sound mixing before I could make a decision for this category and the one following! Sound editing is, apparently, the creation of all the sound elements other than music – for example, sound effects – while sound mixing involves, well, mixing music, dialogue, sound effects, and so on and so forth to create the proper balance.

And I think The Force Awakens did an outstanding job. I mean, they used audio from the ORIGINAL TRILOGY in some scenes in order to achieve the effects they desired! That’s some serious dedication.

SOUND MIXING

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My choice: Mad Max: Fury Road

My prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road or Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I really, really wanted Fury Road to be nominated for Best Original Score, but it wasn’t, so… yeah. I do think it has a chance at winning in this category, though, because the music played a huge role in some of the film’s most gripping and/or emotional scenes, without overwhelming the dialogue and, of course, ALL THOSE CAR SOUND EFFECTS.

VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My choice: Mad Max: Fury Road

My prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

I actually have a half-finished post lying somewhere in my Drafts folder about Fury Road vs. other popular dystopian movies and how its design choices really make it stand out. It is one of the most visually appealing films I’ve seen in a while – honestly, it’s probably on par with stuff like the Lord of the Rings trilogy in terms of the amount of detail, although the specific detail is, of course, different.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian
  • Room

My choice: Carol

My prediction: Carol or The Martian or Room

I have this problem where I get SUPER EXCITED every time I hear that one of my favorite books will be adapted into a movie (or TV show)… and then I actually watch the movie and end up hating it because I am very picky when it comes to book-to-movie adaptations. Like, even in my Harry Potter phase, I hated the movies because they weren’t very accurate to the books and I didn’t think they were particular good even in their own right, either.

Soooooo what I’m trying to say is that I was surprised by how much I adored Carol after having read The Price of Salt, which is the novel it’s based on! It’s the best adaptation I’ve seen, actually – there are only a few differences between the book and the movie, and for once all the changes actually made sense instead of being utterly ridiculous.

The Martian and Room both received a ton of praise, though, so it wouldn’t surprise me if one of them wins.

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton

My choice: Inside Out

My prediction: Straight Outta Compton

I’m voting for Inside Out because it’s the only one I’ve seen, but predicting that Straight Outta Compton because A) I’ve heard a lot more praise for it and B) let’s be real, it seems a lot more highbrow than Inside Out.

-~-

Whew, that was a long post! Now that it’s over and I’ve spouted off all my choices and predictions to you… I’m going to NOT WATCH THE OSCARS and read my new library books instead. The actual awards are far too long and boring for me, and the books are calling to me, so off I go. Which movies, actors, actresses, et cetera do you think will win (or want to win)? OH OH and tell me about the best movie you saw recently!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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