I was trying to think of the best metaphor with my relationship with the Oscars. The best one I could come up with is: the Oscars are like that super-rich and well-educated cousin you see every other holiday.
The reason I thought this metaphor was best is because the Oscars (and most award ceremonies) are very much like a relative to me: I see them pretty much once or twice a year, find myself confused about why I still see them, but by the end of the night I've had an entertaining time, and look forward to the next visit.
The #OscarsSoWhite campaign/movement/viral hashtag has attempted to sully a ceremony that is a mere cog in the grander scheme of things. The Oscars have become a scapegoat and hot topic item for the bigger issue of studios and their white-washing in casting big budget films (see: John Oliver).
But, let's put that on our back burner. Today, we're gonna take things a little light and give my final predictions for who I think should/will win at the Academy Awards. Let's get crackin'!
Writing (Original Screenplay)
Will Win: Spotlight has become the perennial favorite to run away with this trophy. It looks like it will be the lone win for the film about Boston reporters covering a priest molestation cover up.
Should Win: I've gotten into heavy debates about what should be deemed an "original" screenplay. To me, material using existing people and events should not apply to this term. Nothing was more original this year than Ex Machina. The Academy has never been one to love up the science fiction genre, and this will likely be another one of those cases.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Will Win: The Big Short has become the critical darling everyone has enjoyed gathering around. Its mix of sharp humor and insight look on the housing market collapse has garnered writer-director Adam McKay more accolades than ever.
Should Win: To me Room was the most well-rounded script. It has an untraditional narrative structure while at the same time aptly delivering the emotional goods. The Big Short falls on a bit of a whimper in its final act, while Room stays consistent throughout.
Music (Original Score)
Will Win/Should Win: We've covered the Original Score nominations in a previous post you can read here. This is without a doubt Ennio Morricone's year. His score for The Hateful Eight is both chilling and suspenseful, and it will be his first clean win from a long successful career.
Will Win/Should Win: Mad Max Fury Road is a kinetic masterpiece of action, as well as a master class in editing. Editor Margaret Sixel keeps the pacing and flow of the story tight at a frantic pace while at the same time being able to convey everyone's placing in the landscape of various scenes dealing with numerous characters, explosions, and vehicles.
Will Win/Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki has become a modern cinematography maestro. Every frame he commands is a work of art in itself, and his work in The Revenant holds up to that standard. Although Fury Road does give him a run for his money, look for Lubezki to pick up his record third straight win.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Will Win: Alicia Vikander has been garnering much acclaim for her work in both Ex Machina and The Danish Girl, and this seems to be the culmination of the hard work she put in. This award seems to be less of just for The Danish Girl and more of an acknowledgment for both performances.
Should Win: Jennifer Jason Leigh vanished into the demon on earth that was Daisy Domergue in The Hateful Eight. Her performance is both exhausting and wide-ranging in emotions, evolving from quiet and calculating to a cackling hell-spawn. The oversight on her portrayal is just another example of Tarantino's newest film going mostly ignored.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Will Win: Sylvester Stallone threw on that pork pie hat one more time to portray the Italian Stallion Rocky Balboa in Creed with tremendous success. One can argue it's the same performance he's done seven times over now, but Stallone still brought much humility and honesty to his wonderful performance.
Should Win: Sorry to pick one who wasn't even nominated, but Idris Elba's towering performance in Beasts of No Nation was a criminal oversight. Elba has consistently been doing some fantastic work in the past fifteen years, and his terrifying military overlord deserved so much more recognition.
Actor in a Leading Role
Will Win/Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio has become an interesting topic of discussion this awards season. While I do agree it is arguable that he was looked over for his hilarious physical performance in Wolf of Wall St, it's also arguable that Leo often suffers from a bit of the over-acting bug. I, however, fall into the former camp; I do feel DiCaprio puts in some amazing work while at the same time appealing to a mainstream audience, and this seems to finally be his year to pick up a win. Unless a crazy Cranston upset happens...
Actress in a Leading Role
Will Win/Should Win: Brie Larson has been flying under the radar since the masterpiece that was Short Term 12. Room finally gave her her moment in the spotlight (no pun intended) and she absolutely grabbed and ran away with it. Ma needs to go through a wide range of emotional turmoil, trying to reconnect herself back into the world, and Larson pulls it off in spades.
Will Win: It's hard to argue against a rare back-to-back win for Alejandro Inarritu. His work in The Revenant was a composer at work, conducting his orchestra of both the crew and the harsh elements. While some people feel The Revenant bordered on the "too art house" side of the spectrum, Inarritu's immense workload cannot be overlooked.
Should Win: However, if there was one director who seemed to put more into his project, look no further than George Miller. With Mad Max Fury Road, Miller both constructed an entire lived-in world on its own, reinvigorated a franchise, AND pulled off some of the most daring and mind-blowing stunts in film history. His ability to do this while tucking in some interesting messages on feminism all the more make him the Dark Horse to win.
Will Win: This is pretty much the same debate as the Best Director category. The Revenant is going to run away with the Best Picture trophy, and it is much deserved. The spirituality mixed in with some great fighting, thriller, and action sequences all meshed into a breathtaking, one of a kind film.
Should Win: But, again, Mad Max Fury Road just did it better. Fury Road is more accessible, Fury Road has the more coherent story, and Fury Road was the most "movie" movie of the nominations. Aside from many techinical categories, it will most likely be overlooked, but it seriously deserves the consideration.
And that's all (s)he wrote! Are you excited for Chris Rock pulling hosting duties? Afraid to be bored to tears? Tune in Sunday at 7pm on ABC to find out!