This Sunday, February 28 will be the Academy Awards to honor the films that came out in 2015. This year is a very tough race in my opinion. Very good performances and movies. So good in fact that people that deserve to be nominated were completely shut out. There's no good reason as to why but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. No, there are some worthy nominees here that it's hard to decide who should win.
For the last two years, I've made it a point to try and watch all the Best Picture nominees. This year was no different and because of that, I am in a position where I can give you my thoughts on who I think should win.
BRIDGE OF SPIES
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
This is a very good list of well deserved movies with the exception of BROOKLYN and MAD MAX. These two have no business of being on this list. The first was just way to slow and boring while the second was violent with a lack of story. BRIDGE of SPIES is based on a true story that many (myself included) never heard about and while it has the Oscar pedigree of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, it isn't a movie that had a wide release nor was it a favorite when it was out. Also, this is just not Spielberg's year.
With SPOTLIGHT, another true story, you have an excellent cast filled with Oscar winners but again, this is a movie that takes it's time and really unless you have any interest in this story it's quite a bore.
ROOM is the little movie no one saw coming. It's done HUGE numbers and Jacob Trembly (9 years old) is terrific and he has a SAG award to prove it. The first have of this movie is slow going but after that , it's fast paced and emotional. So much so, that I literally cried during some parts. I wouldn't be surprised if this came out of nowhere to win the prize.
That just leaves THE MARTIAN and THE REVENANT. Both are really good movies with two wonderful actors. Again, I think Martian is a great movie but I would have nominated Matt Damon and Ridley Scott. That just leaves Revenant and that movie resonates all across the board. I pick this to win but I wouldn't rule out ROOM .
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Very tough category this year. Except for Bryan Cranston , every single one of these deserves to win. However since there can only be one (rarely has the Oscars have had a tie) let's go down the list shall we?
Bryan Cranston: A fan favorite but Trumbo didn't get a wide release and never hit the top 10. Also, the character was blacklisted and thus faded into glory.
Matt Damon: Already has an Oscar for Good Will Hunting (yes it's for writing but an Oscar is an Oscar). Of course I think he deserves to win this because he and he alone makes the movie what it is and that's rare. I honestly believe he will win. But that's just my opinion and I enjoyed the movie. A LOT.
Leonardo DiCaprio: Everyone says it is his year because he gives the performance of a lifetime. While that may be true, he barely speaks and acts "through emotion". Whether or not this is deserving of an award remains to be seen. Yes he won the Globe but so did Matt Damon and if the Academy had categories similar to what the Globes has maybe he would win the coveted prize.
Michael Fassbender: By default he's in this movie only after several people including DiCaprio said no. He gave an honest performance. Heck, he even looked the part but sadly, this isn't his year.
Eddie Redmayne: Won last year for playing Stephen Hawing. Gave another Oscar worthy performance this year which is why I think it will be him Vs. Matt Damon in this category. Also, the Academy loves roles like this.
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
This category is easier to predict while still being tough and here's why:
Cate Blanchett: Carol was little seen and in a VERY limited release. While her performance was praised, I don't think this is her year because of that.
Brie Larson: Hands Down she gets my vote. This is a role that is hard to play and she nailed it. Sure she might have been upstaged by the Trembley but she gives an excellent performance. She will go a long way.
Jennifer Lawrence: Everyone loves her. She's a delight in interviews but JOY didn't do as well as expected. In fact, friends who saw it told me they were quite bored. Never a good sign. It's okay though because she won in this category last year so all's good.
Charlotte Rampling: The oldest of the bunch, no one outside her country knows who she is. Plus, where did this movie play? When did it come out? Why was there little to no advertising?
Saoirse Ronan: Nope, sorry. Didn't like the movie and her performance was stale.
Christian Bale, The Big Short: A previous winner, this isn't his best performance to date. Granted he's working with previous winners or nominees, he's in a movie that for all intents and purposes shouldn't work and yet it does. It has a terrific cast but maybe for the wrong movie
Tom Hardy, The Revenant: The character he plays is what sets everything into motion but he has very little screen time and frankly I thought didn't warrant a nominee. But what do I know?
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight: Good actor. Good Performance and if Stallone wasn't on this list he would win.
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies: Mostly known for the theatre, Rylance is not well known here. Having said that, he did give a fine performance which I liked however...
Sylvester Stallone, Creed: Sly will WIN and for one reason. He was denied the prize 40 years ago when he first played Rocky and because this may or may not be the last time he plays him, he will win if only it's as a goodbye present (for Rocky not Stallone)
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight: The only female in this "guy flick" she gives a really wonderful performance. She took some slack when people complained that QT doesn't know how to write for women but she said just the opposite. Wasn't such a strong performance but it was a "hard" one and thus she deserves to be on this list.
Rooney Mara, Carol: See my thoughts regarding Cate Blanchett
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight: Always a delight to see however she was miscast here and that might cost her.
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl: She's the new "IT Girl" and rightly so, She had two well received movies. This one and Ex Machina and while critics loved her performance in both, this was the one everyone was talking about (perhaps because it came out later) and really it's very possible for her to win .
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs: A previous winner, she won a few awards this year for this role and while it was a good one, I didn't think it was worth of an Oscar nomination.
I feel bad for the other nominees in this category but when you are up against PIXAR you know the outcome and besides, INSIDE OUT was on everybody's lists, was HUGE at the box office and frankly everyone critics and moviegoers LOVED it.
The Big Short: Adam McKay went a different route this time. Known for directing movies staring Will Farell and Paul Rudd, he tried something different. Which is good. The movie is doing well and has gotten good reviews. Sadly though, it's not worth a directing nod.
Mad Max: Fury Road: A bit to violent and a long dormant franchise, this is in the wrong category. It doesn't belong here. It's over in Visual Effects as well and that's where it will win. Sorry George.
The Revenant: Will win. He won last year for Birdman and rightly so. He'll walk away a winner here as well.
Room: Terrific movie and it could win.. If it was another year.
Spotlight: I don't know if this is worth a directing nod but it's directed well and with a cast like that .. I would put this as the underdog.
Will Win and Should Win: SON OF SAUL. A really, really hard movie to watch but one that SHOULD be seen. Powerful.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Normally I'd say no to this but it is John Williams and he will win because this is most likely his last Star Wars score and because it's not everyday you get to revisit a score that was done 30 years ago.
Speaking of which:
Not a memorable one in the bunch but I'm going to give it to WRITINGS ON THE WALL because it's a Bond theme and people like Sam Smith.
BEST WRITING (ORIGINAL)
Bridge of Spies: This is in the wrong category. This is based on a true story and therefore belongs in the Adapted category.
Ex Machina: Well received and acted. However,
Inside Out: This was the best movie of the year. The best one PIXAR's ever put out and one of the most original. Hi, Oscar.
Spotlight: Again, belongs in the other writing category.
Straight Outta Compton: A movie nobody expected to do as well as it did and if it wasn't for Inside Out, then this would win.
BEST WRITING (ADAPTED)
The Big Short: Well acted but with to much "gobblydgook" spoken
Brooklyn: Based on the book from the author's own experiences however the movie was a modest hit and frankly won little to no awards.
Carol: Underdog. Maybe if it was released in a previous year
The Martian: The book was a huge hit when it came out as an E Book yet it only became popular once the movie came out and yes, this deserves to win.
Room: But so does this one.
These are my picks.. What are yours?
I await your comments.