my predictions for Oscars 2016 (88th Academy Awards for 2015’s films)


Winners are now indicated. I correctly guessed 10 out of the 24 categories, which is slightly better than last year, when I guessed 9 out of 24.

PREVIOUS 02.27.16:
I’ve finally seen every film nominated, and here are my educated guesses about tomorrow night’s Academy Awards — projected winners are Xed at the lefthand side. Keep in mind: those Xes don’t represent whom I think should win Oscars but whom I think will win, based on what little I can grasp about how the Academy thinks. (I’ve also noted which nominees I think should win. Kindly note that this is not necessarily my take on who did the best performance/writing/FX/whatever of the year, but whom I think is best among the nominees.)

I suspect I won’t be able to make it through the ceremony Sunday night — it doesn’t start until 1:30am London time into Monday morning — so it’ll probably be sometime on Monday before I update this post with the actual winners and assess my prognostication skills.

(See the Academy’s site at and ABC’s site at for your further Oscar needs.)

(Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.)

And the nominees are:

Best Picture
[   ] The Big Short
[   ] Bridge of Spies
[   ] Brooklyn
[   ] Mad Max: Fury Road
[   ] The Martian
[   ] The Revenant
[   ] Room should win
[ X ] Spotlight WINNER

Best Actor
[   ] Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
[   ] Matt Damon, The Martian
[ X ] Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant WINNER
[   ] Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs should win
[   ] Eddie Redmyane, The Danish Girl

Best Actress
[   ] Cate Blanchett, Carol
[   ] Brie Larson, Room should win WINNER
[   ] Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
[ X ] Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
[   ] Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor
[   ] Christian Bale, The Big Short
[   ] Tom Hardy, The Revenant
[   ] Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
[   ] Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies should win WINNER
[ X ] Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress
[   ] Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
[ X ] Rooney Mara, Carol should win
[   ] Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
[   ] Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl WINNER
[   ] Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Animated Feature
[   ] Anomalisa should win
[   ] Boy & the World
[ X ] Inside Out WINNER
[   ] Shaun the Sheep Movie
[   ] When Marnie Was There

Best Cinematography
[   ] Edward Lachman, Carol should win
[   ] Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight
[   ] John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
[ X ] Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant WINNER
[   ] Roger Deakins, Sicario

Best Costume Design
[ X ] Sandy Powell, Carol
[   ] Sandy Powell, Cinderella
[   ] Paco Delgado, The Danish Girl
[   ] Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road should win WINNER
[   ] Jacqueline West, The Revenant

Best Director
[   ] Adam McKay, The Big Short
[   ] George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road should win
[   ] Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant WINNER
[   ] Lenny Abrahamson, Room
[ X ] Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Best Documentary Feature
[   ] Amy should win WINNER
[   ] Cartel Land
[ X ] The Look of Silence
[   ] What Happened, Miss Simone?
[   ] Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Best Documentary Short
[   ] “Body Team 12”
[   ] “Chau, Beyond the Lines”
[ X ] “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”
[   ] “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” should win WINNER
[   ] “Last Day of Freedom”

Best Film Editing
[   ] Hank Corwin, The Big Short
[   ] Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road should win WINNER
[ X ] Stephen Mirrione, The Revenant
[   ] Tom McArdle, Spotlight
[   ] Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Foreign Language Film
[   ] Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
[   ] Mustang (France) should win
[ X ] Son of Saul (Hungary) WINNER
[   ] Theeb (Jordan)
[   ] A War (Krigen) (Denmark)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
[ X ] Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin, Mad Max: Fury Road should win WINNER
[   ] Love Larson and Eva von Bahr, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
[   ] Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman, and Robert Pandini, The Revenant

Best Original Score
[   ] Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies
[   ] Carter Burwell, Carol
[ X ] Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight WINNER
[   ] Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario should win
[   ] John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Original Song
[   ] “Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey, music and lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
[   ] “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction, music by J. Ralph, lyric by Antony Hegarty
[   ] “Simple Song #3,” Youth, music and lyric by David Lang
[ X ] “Til It Happens To You,” The Hunting Ground, music and lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga should win
[   ] “Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre, music and lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith WINNER

Best Production Design
[   ] Adam Stockhausen (production design), Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich (set decoration), Bridge of Spies
[   ] Eve Stewart (production design), Michael Standish (set decoration), The Danish Girl
[ X ] Colin Gibson (production design), Lisa Thompson (set decoration), Mad Max: Fury Road should win WINNER
[   ] Arthur Max (production design), Celia Bobak (set decoration), The Martian
[   ] Jack Fisk (production design), Hamish Purdy (set decoration), The Revenant

Best Animated Short
[   ] “Bear Story” WINNER
[   ] “Prologue”
[   ] “Sanjay’s Super Team”
[   ] “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”
[ X ] “World of Tomorrow” should win

Best Live-Action Short
[   ] “Ave Maria”
[   ] “Day One” should win
[   ] “Everything Will Be Okay”
[ X ] “Shok”
[   ] “Stutterer” WINNER

Best Sound Editing
[   ] Mark Mangini and David White, Mad Max: Fury Road WINNER
[   ] Oliver Tarney, The Martian
[   ] Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender, The Revenant
[   ] Alan Robert Murray, Sicario
[ X ] Matthew Wood and David Acord, Star Wars: The Force Awakens should win

Best Sound Mixing
[   ] Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, and Drew Kunin, Bridge of Spies
[   ] Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, and Ben Osmo, Mad Max: Fury Road WINNER
[   ] Paul Massey, Mark Taylor, and Mac Ruth, The Martian
[   ] Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom, and Chris Duesterdiek, The Revenant
[ X ] Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson, Star Wars: The Force Awakens should win

Best Visual Effects
[ X ] Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington, and Sara Bennett, Ex Machina WINNER
[   ] Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver, and Andy Williams, Mad Max: Fury Road
[   ] Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence, and Steven Warner, The Martian should win
[   ] Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith, and Cameron Waldbauer, The Revenant
[   ] Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, and Chris Corbould, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Adapted Screenplay
[   ] Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short WINNER
[   ] Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
[   ] Phyllis Nagy, Carol
[   ] Drew Goddard, The Martian
[ X ] Emma Donohue, Room should win

Best Original Screenplay
[   ] Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen, Bridge of Spies
[   ] Alex Garland, Ex Machina
[   ] Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley (screenplay); Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen (original story), Inside Out should win
[ X ] Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, Spotlight WINNER
[   ] Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (screenplay); S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus, and Andrea Berloff (story), Straight Outta Compton

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Tue, Jan 19, 2016 4:36pm

And somehow, this year’s list of nominees makes me think of this amazing speech by Idris Elba, in which he looks at the entire Bingo card of excuses for discrimination and tears it apart:

That’s all I’m asking for:

– some proper imagination,

– untold stories

– the road less travelled

Let’s think outside the box. In fact let’s smash the box.

Sun, Feb 28, 2016 7:52pm

Hmm. You have a double whammy in one category: you say Ms. Rampling WILL win but Ms. Larson SHOULD win. On this side of the pond, Larson is said to be the only sure thing in the Oscars, while Rampling severely injured her chances by offering up “racist” remarks.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Beowulf
Mon, Feb 29, 2016 1:56am

I’m aware of all you say. There is no divisive pond, there is only the Internet. :-)

I still think it’s likely that Rampling will win.

Mon, Feb 29, 2016 12:54pm

Sorry to see that Joshua Oppenheimer lost out to a music doc ONCE AGAIN, but at least Amy seems – I haven’t seen it yet – a worthier winner than Twenty Feet from Stardom, which was an interesting look into the world of background singers, that however paled in comparison to the fascinating, well-researched, shocking and profoundly weird The Act of Killing from 2013.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Feb 29, 2016 7:05pm

I dunno, I think you ought to be able to chalk up your “should wins” as hits.

reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Feb 29, 2016 7:36pm

That’s a matter of calibrating one’s cynicism. If I did that, I’d add six to my score of 8 correct out of 23 predictions this year. But then it gives one a 40% chance of hitting each category.

Oldwen1120 [INACTIVE}
Oldwen1120 [INACTIVE}
Mon, Feb 29, 2016 8:51pm

Someone was annoyed after World of Tomorrow’s loss:

Tonio Kruger
Tonio Kruger
Tue, Mar 01, 2016 12:32am

Judging from some of the online comments I’ve been reading about last night’s Oscar ceremony, apparently I was the only one who read the following Chris Rock essay prior to last night. :-)

reply to  Tonio Kruger
Tue, Mar 01, 2016 1:41am

I’m not sure which online comments you mean, or whether they were pro- or anti-Chris Rock. But I kept thinking about that essay during the monologue. I thought: “What happened to the guy who wrote that great essay? Where did he go?”

It’s not just that I disagreed with a lot of the monologue. A number of the jokes made less and less sense the more I thought about them. Some of them were still really funny, because it’s Chris Rock, but as arguments, they made no sense at all.

Tonio Kruger
Tonio Kruger
reply to  Danielm80
Tue, Mar 01, 2016 8:35pm

I guess I was referring to the anti-Rock comments, especially the ones that seemed determined to take him to task for saying anything about race at all. And of course, the ones that obviously had a “why didn’t Chris Rock mention so-and-sos?” theme.

That said…

But I kept thinking about that essay during the monologue. I thought: “What happened to the guy who wrote that great essay? Where did he go?”

I had the same thought during his monologue as well. On one hand, he wasn’t awful — for the reason you mentioned — but he didn’t seem as insightful as he did in the essay.

I understand that like most celebrities who were there that night, he would have had an obvious conflict between what he had to say and what he wanted to say — not to mention facing pressures far different than anything Ricki Gervais had to worry about when he hosted the Golden Globe Awards. I also get that Rock would have ticked off a lot of conservative white people no manner what he said.

But still…

At least the monologue was better than a lot of the really bad jokes that followed.