2016 Oscar Face-Offs: Here’s Who We Predict Will Win
2016 Oscar Face-Offs: Here’s Who We Predict Will Win

There are multiple contestants in each Oscar category of course, but it usually boils down to two front-runners. Here’s who the Epoch Times film critic picks for 2016.

Best Picture

“Spotlight” versus “The Revenant”

(L–R) Michael Keaton as Walter 'Robby' Robinson, Liev Schreiber as Marty Baron, Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes, Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfieffer, John Slattery as Ben Bradlee Jr., and Brian d'Arcy James as Matt Carroll in "Spotlight." (Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films) Leonardo DiCaprio stars in "The Revenant." (Twentieth Century Fox/ Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Regency Entertainment USA, Inc./Monarcy Enterprises S.a.r.l.)
(L) Michael Keaton as Walter “Robby” Robinson, Liev Schreiber as Marty Baron, Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes, Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfieffer, John Slattery as Ben Bradlee Jr., and Brian d’Arcy James as Matt Carroll in “Spotlight.” (Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films) (R) Leonardo DiCaprio stars in “The Revenant.” (Twentieth Century Fox/ Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Regency Entertainment USA, Inc./Monarcy Enterprises S.a.r.l.)

“Spotlight” is the story of the team of journalists who blew the lid off the Catholic priest/child molestation scandal. It features a brilliant A-list cast, and a brilliant all-around job of acting teamwork—no egos. And the story crackles from start to finish—you don’t want to miss a second of it. Superb filmmaking.

Seven ‘Rocky’ pictures. 1.3 billion U.S. dollars.

“The Revenant” is a masterpiece proto-Western, brutally showcasing the human suffering of the hunter-trapper life in the mid-1800s American north. “The Revenant” is far more epic than “Spotlight,” it made a bigger cultural splash; generated more buzz. But “Revenant” director Alejandro G. Iñárritu already won last year’s Best Picture Oscar for “Birdman.”

However, “The Revenant” is Leonardo DiCaprio’s best shot at an Oscar win. He deserves it. He’s long overdue. If that wasn’t the case, “The Revenant” would win for best picture. But DiCaprio will get Best Actor Oscar, so …

I pick “Spotlight” to win Best Picture.

Also nominated:
“The Big Short”

“Bridge of Spies”

”Brooklyn”

”Mad Max”

”The Martian”

“Room”

Best Director

Alejandro G. Iñárritu vs. Tom McCarthy

(L–R) Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu attends the official After Party Dinner for the EE British Academy Film Awards at The Grosvenor House Hotel on February 14, 2016 in London, England. (John Phillips/Getty Images)  Winner of the best original screenplay Tom McCarthy for 'Spotlight' poses in the winners room at the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on February 14, 2016 in London, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
(L) Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu attends the official After Party Dinner for the EE British Academy Film Awards at The Grosvenor House hotel on Feb. 14, 2016 in London, England. (John Phillips/Getty Images) (R) Winner of the best original screenplay Tom McCarthy for “Spotlight” poses in the winners room at the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on Feb. 14, 2016 in London, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Rampling called the whole #OscarSoWhite controversy “racist to whites.”

Same as last year, where Iñárritu’s on-set, day-to-day challenges were more difficult than Richard Linklater’s directing of “Boyhood,” Iñárritu’s day-to-day challenges on “The Revenant” were simply insane. Huge logistical challenges, horrendous weather, and danger of causing harm to the cast and crew. He aced it. “The Revenant” is a masterpiece, and Iñárritu is a master director. Hollywood will want him making as many masterpieces as he can manage.

I pick Iñárritu to win Best Director two years in a row.

Also nominated:

Adam McKay for “The Big Short”
George Miller for “Mad Max”
Lenny Abrahamson for “Room”

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio vs. Eddie Redmayne

(L) Leonardo Dicaprio, winner of Best Actor for 'The Revenant' poses in the winners room at the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on February 14, 2016 in London, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images) Eddie Redmayne poses in the winners room at the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on February 14, 2016 in London, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
(L) Leonardo Dicaprio, winner of Best Actor for “The Revenant” poses in the winners room at the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on Feb. 14, 2016 in London, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images) (R) Eddie Redmayne poses in the winners room at the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on Feb. 14, 2016 in London, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Here are all the reasons why Leonardo DiCaprio should win:

Eddie Redmayne won the Best Actor Oscar last year, playing world-renowned, ALS-ravaged physicist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” He does a similarly chameleon-like turn in “The Danish Girl,” which, clearly, Oscar loves.

But this year Oscar loves Leo more.

Also nominated: 

Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”

Matt Damon in “The Martian”
Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”

Best Actress

Brie Larson vs. Saoirse Ronan

(L–R) Actress Brie Larson (L) attends the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)       Saoirse Ronan attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on February 14, 2016 in London, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
(L) Actress Brie Larson (L) attends the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) (R) Saoirse Ronan attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on Feb. 14, 2016 in London, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

This was interesting: Charlotte Rampling should have won hands down for “45 Years,” But then in January, in a radio interview, she called the whole #OscarSoWhite controversy “racist to whites,” furthermore maintaining, “One can never know if this is really the case, but sometimes perhaps the black actors didn’t deserve to make the final list.”

Whether that statement holds water or not is of course debatable, but it’d be a safe bet to expect the remark to have cost her the Best Actress slam-dunk she had going.

Cate Blanchett’s already got a Best Actress Oscar. She may start getting into Meryl territory and win another for “Carol,” but for my money, it will come down to Brie Larson in “Room,” versus Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn.”

And the Oscar goes to … Brie Larson.

Also nominated:

Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”


Best Supporting Actor

Sylvester Stallone vs. Mark Ruffalo

Actor Sylvester Stallone (center) and his daughters Sistine Stallone (L) and Sophia Stallone (R) attend the Saint Laurent show at The Hollywood Palladium on February 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)        Actors Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo attend Vanity Fair and Barneys New York Private Dinner Celebrating 'Spotlight' Director Tom McCarthy at Chateau Marmont on February 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
(L) Actor Sylvester Stallone (center) and his daughters Sistine Stallone (L) and Sophia Stallone (R) attend the Saint Laurent show at The Hollywood Palladium on Feb. 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) (R) Actors Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo attend Vanity Fair and Barneys New York Private Dinner Celebrating “Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy at Chateau Marmont on Feb. 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Seven Rocky pictures, which Stallone is pretty much solely responsible for, which made Hollywood exactly $1,285,192,797. Just so we’re clear, that’s 1.3 billion U.S. dollars. In the words of John Malkovich’s Russian character in “Rounders,” “Give dat man his Mah-neee!” No, wait—that’s what Stallone gave Hollywood. So—”Give dat man his Oscar!” Enough said.

Rocky wins.

Also nominated: 

Christian Bale in “The Big Short”

Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”

Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”

Best Supporting Actress

Alicia Vikander vs. Rooney Mara

(L–R) Rooney Mara attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at The Royal Opera House on February 14, 2016 in London, England. (John Phillips/Getty Images) Alicia Vikander attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at The Royal Opera House on February 14, 2016 in London, England. (John Phillips/Getty Images)
(L) Rooney Mara attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at The Royal Opera House on Feb. 14, 2016 in London, England. (John Phillips/Getty Images) (R) Alicia Vikander attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at The Royal Opera House on Feb. 14, 2016 in London, England. (John Phillips/Getty Images)

Alicia Vikander is a Meryl Streep in the making.

I say she wins Best Supporting Actress to stoke the fire under her potential.

Also nominated:
Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”

Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”
Rooney Mara in “Carol”
Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”

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