We are just over two months away from Nomination Day.
In the week’s time since my first set of predictions, let’s be honest – not a lot has shifted. And, of course, how one gauges the “shifts” when there is still very little we can say concretely is a bit of an anomaly. We’re still in the Shooting Fish phase of the Oscar race.
However, this week I am adding two new categories to the ol’ prediction list: Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design. Some fresh lame-brained guesses to chew on while we wait for the next big turn of this plot.
Here’s where we stand today, 69 days away from the announcement of the 88th Academy Award nominations…
- Spotlight – In the first weekend of its expansion, we will see if the alleged frontrunner can impact broader audiences the same way it impacted festival goers.
- Room – Limited release box-office is strong, but the full expansion has been pushed back a week. Audiences will respond to this film…if only they get a chance to see it.
- Bridge of Spies – Humming along quite nicely, with solid box-office that keeps it in the public consciousness as we transition into screener season.
- The Martian – As the film continues to dominate at the cineplex the same way it dominated the Tomatometer, it’s becoming an undeniable Best Picture player. But a winner? That’s still a stretch.
- The Revenant – We continue to wait for what we’re all assuming will be a great film. Let it be true…
- Steve Jobs – The box-office disaster stories have calmed, but they’ve left a lot of doubt in their wake.
- Brooklyn – As the film expands to wider audiences, its inherent warmth is being recognized and embraced.
- Inside Out – Pixar’s horse needs to start making the rounds again before we can call it a certain BP nominee.
- The Hateful Eight – Bring on the Roadshow!
Other Contenders: Carol, Joy, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Big Short, Black Mass, Son of Saul, Beasts of No Nation, Sicario, Youth.
- Tom McCarthy, Spotlight – Holding steady until further notice.
- Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant – Betting on it, sight-unseen.
- Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies – The old master will likely be included here.
- Lenny Abrahamson, Room – Hoping love for the film will carry Abrahamson into a nomination.
- Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs – Brilliant work that is now vulnerable…
Other Contenders: Ridley Scott (The Martian), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Quentin Tarantino, (The Hateful Eight), Todd Haynes (Carol), David O. Russell (Joy), John Crowley (Brooklyn), Laszlo Nemes (Son of Saul), Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation)
- Brie Larson, Room – Feels like the winner.
- Cate Blanchett, Carol – Waiting for the next wave of love for the film…
- Saiorse Ronan, Brooklyn – If the film enchants audiences the way I think it will, Ronan could move into second position.
- Jennifer Lawrence, Joy – The potential game-changer.
- Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years – Vulnerable…
Other Contenders: Blythe Danner (I’ll See You in My Dreams), Lily Tomlin (Grandma), Carey Mulligan, (Suffragette), Cate Blanchett (Truth), Maggie Smith (The Lady in the Van), Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl)
- Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant – Sleeping in the carcass. C’mon.
- Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs – If Fassbender was a vulnerable frontrunner, the box-office stories probably punctured that armor even more.
- Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl – The defending champ returns to attempt a rare repeat.
- Johnny Depp, Black Mass – Has the film’s reception cooled too much?
- Matt Damon, The Martian – He’s the face of the crowd favorite. That could likely translate to a nomination. But some big names are lurking…
Other Contenders: Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies), Will Smith (Concussion), Steve Carell (The Big Short), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Michael Caine (Youth), Geza Rohrig (Son of Saul), Michael B. Jordan (Creed)
Best Supporting Actress
- Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl – I feel a throwdown brewing…
- Rooney Mara, Carol – …and this is the other half of it.
- Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight – Likely the designated acting nomination from this year’s QT epic.
- Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs – Feels safe.
- Jane Fonda, Youth – Not a widely seen film just yet, but this is a weak category, so it seems like a given.
Other Contenders: Joan Allen (Room), Marion Cotillard (Macbeth), Julie Walters (Brooklyn), Elizabeth Banks (Love & Mercy), Rachel Weisz (Youth)
Best Supporting Actor
- Michael Keaton, Spotlight – Will this be the “sorry about last year” winner?
- Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies – He’s the best thing in Spielberg’s movie. But is the role too small?
- Jacob Tremblay, Room – Strong.
- Tom Hardy, The Revenant – If the film becomes all about DiCaprio, Hardy could fall.
- Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight – The other likely representative from this great ensemble.
Other Contenders: Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Joel Edgerton (Black Mass), Sylvester Stallone (Creed), Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Christian Bale (The Big Short), Robert De Niro (Joy)
Best Original Screenplay
- Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight – Would be an easy pick…
- Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight – …if not for QT.
- Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Inside Out – Welcome back to the Oscar game, Pixar.
- Matt Charman, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Bridge of Spies – A deserving nomination for the film’s strongest aspect.
- Annie Mumulo & David O. Russell, Joy – Wait and see…Kaufman is waiting…
Other Contenders: Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa), Taylor Sheridan (Sicario), Paolo Sorrentino (Youth), Laszlo Nemes and Clara Royer (Son of Saul), Amy Schumer (Trainwreck), Jonathan Herman & Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton), Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Best Adapted Screenplay
- Emma Donaghue, Room – There’s a crowd of contenders at the top of this category.
- Nick Hornby, Brooklyn – A legit contender for the win.
- Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs – How can I have Sorkin this low? Feels wrong…
- Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu & Mark L. Smith, The Revenant – Inarritu going for another screenplay win, though this time in the Adapted category.
- Phyllis Nagy, Carol – A strong adaptation of the Highsmith novel seems likely to land a nod.
Other Contenders: Adam McKay & Charles Randolph (The Big Short), Drew Goddard (The Martian), Lucina Coxen (The Danish Girl), Andrew Haigh (45 Years), Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation)
- Roger Deakins, Sicario – Possibly the most brilliant work in this category. And Deakins has never won…can you believe it??
- John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road – The year’s grandest technical achievement may yield a winner here.
- Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant – Can Chivo three-peat?
- Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight – Looks to be more greatness from Richardson.
- Janusz Kaminski, Bridge of Spies – Kaminski’s signature is all over every frame of this film.
Other Contenders: Dariusz Wolski (The Martian), Edward Lachmann (Carol), Danny Cohen (Room), Alwin H. Kuchler (Steve Jobs), Matyas Erdely (Son of Saul), Yves Belanger (Brooklyn).
Best Costume Design
- Sandy Powell, Carol – Powell has two contenders in the race. I’ll bet on the more sophisticated entry for now.
- Paco Delgado, The Danish Girl – Delgado trying for his second nomination from a Tom Hooper film.
- Sandy Powell, Cinderella – The lesser of Powell’s two films, though not the lesser of her work.
- Odile Dicks-Mireaux, Brooklyn – A potential first-time nominee.
- Jacqueline West, The Revenant – West likely to earn her third Oscar nomination.
Other Contenders: Jenny Beavan (Mad Max: Fury Road), Kate Hawley (Crimson Peak), Jane Petrie, (Suffragette), Courtney Hoffman (The Hateful Eight).
More categories will be added each week, as we try to gain as much clarity as we can as Nomination Day approaches….