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.
“Spotlight” versus “The Revenant”
“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.
“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.
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
Alejandro G. Iñárritu vs. Tom McCarthy
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.
Adam McKay for “The Big Short”
George Miller for “Mad Max”
Lenny Abrahamson for “Room”
Leonardo DiCaprio vs. Eddie Redmayne
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.
Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”
Matt Damon in “The Martian”
Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”
Brie Larson vs. Saoirse Ronan
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.
Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”
Best Supporting Actor
Sylvester Stallone vs. Mark Ruffalo
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.
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
Alicia Vikander is a Meryl Streep in the making.
I say she wins Best Supporting Actress to stoke the fire under her potential.
Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”
Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”
Rooney Mara in “Carol”
Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”