The Oscar committee or whoever decides these things and I rarely agree. No matter what film they choose it rarely is accepted happily and almost always heavily debate. The debate was fierce last year when Birdman was awarded the Best Picture over several other deserving films. And the year before when a film like Wolf of Wall street was royally snubbed especially in the actor’s categories. Even the year the decision to award Argo was heavily criticized when finer films like Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln were overlooked.
No one knows the rationale behind deciding the awards. Despite that I am picking my favorites contending in the race. I have limited my categories to the big awards and even in those only in the ones where I have seen enough films to make an informed decision. Please bear in mind that I have not seen all the films in the categories I have chosen too.
Nominations: THE BIG SHORT, BRIDGE OF SPIES, THE MARTIAN, SPOTLIGHT, BROOKLYN, MAD MAX: ROAD TO FURY, THE REVENANT, THE ROOM.
NOT SEEN: BROOKLYN, THE ROOM
I will start by saying that I have no idea why Mad Max has been nominated. There is something that I have clearly missed about the film. Bridge of Spies and The Martian are both good films in their own right. But none of them had enough to win an Oscar. They both are definitely one of the finer films of the year but are more like films they put in to fill the lot but no one really believes that they can win. And if they win it would only be because the other more deserving films were not politically correct for the academy to associate itself with like was the case with Wolf of Wall Street.
I believe the two films that really are contending are The Revenant and The Spotlight. The Revenant is a good film but highly overrated according to me. The buzz of it being an Innarrutu (undeserving Oscar winner last year for Birdman) film took it much farther than it should have. The film excels in the technicality of filmmaking and is a true win for the technical team to achieve the kind of environment that it creates. But the film never really touches you on the level of story and screenplay which I believe is the soul of a film. The chances of winning could be high because the other contender is a controversial one and academy is known to snub such politically and socially challenging films.
MY PICK: THE SPOTLIGHT
Tom Mccarthy’s film is truly the best I have seen this year. It shocks you and affects you on a completely different level. The film informs about a story that really scares you to the core. The Spotlight is filmmaking at its most powerful and achieves everything that a film of this nature should have. It informs you of certain facts, hits all the right notes beautifully and is truly entertaining in its own right. The investigation is beautifully meshed with people’s crisis of faith. It’s biggest winning is that it is hard hitting and unflinching and at the same tries its best to not hurt anyone’s religious sentiments. It is honest, gutsy filmmaking at its best.
NOMINATIONS: BRYAN CRANSTON (TRUMBO), LEONARDO DI CAPRIO (THE REVENANT), MATT DAMON (THE MARTIAN), MICHAEL FASSBENDER (STEVE JOBS), EDDIE REDMAYNE (THE DANISH GIRL).
NOT SEEN: TRUMBO
The two real contenders here for me are truly Leo and Eddie Redmayne. Without a doubt what Di Caprio has achieved in this film is superlative. A stunning performance on his part but I just believe that the film does not offer him to be at his best. The chatters are high that Leo would finally clinch it this time but I will be disappointed. I want him to win for a better performance which I know he is capable of and certainly for a better film. If he wins this time it will be more like they had to give him to make up for snubbing him for Wolf of Wall Street.
MY PICK: EDDIE REDMAYNE
As much as I want to see Di Caprio take an Oscar home, my heart goes out for Eddie this year. What he has achieved in Danish Girl is unreal. The way he transforms himself is not something you see every day. He becomes the characters and lets every single ounce of inhibition which many of the actors would be terrified to do. A truly deserving performance.
NOMINATIONS:THE BIG SHORT, THE REVENANT, SPOTLIGHT, ROOM, MADMAX FURY
NOT SEEN: ROOM
I have a gnawing fear that since it is rare that they give best actor and director to the same film they will give one to The Revenant and one to Spotlight. I just hope Best Picture is given to Spotlight and I would not be terribly disappointed if Innarruto wins this. He indeed did a great job technically.
MY PICK: TOM MCCARTHY (SPOTLIGHT)
I know it is unlikely but I would still like him to win. He has truly done an incredible job.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTORS
NOMINATIONS: CHRISTIAN BALE (BIG SHORT), TOM HARDY (THE REVENANT), SYLVESTER STALLONE (THE CREED), MARK RUFFALO (THE SPOTLIGHT), MARK RYLANCE (BRIDGE OF SPIES)
I am not sure why only Christian Bale has been nominated from the cast of Big Short as everyone else did an equally brilliant job. Sylvester Stallone and Tom Hardy both are pretty good but do not quite reach there as the other two nominated actors do.
MY PICK: MARK RYLANCE OR MARK RUFFALO
Both of these characters are integral to the film and sometimes even stand out from rest of the cast. Both the actors have done incredible work. I will not be disappointed if either of them claim it.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
NOMINATIONS: JENNIFER JASON LEIGH (THE HATEFUL EIGHT), ROONEY MARA (CAROL), KATE WINSLET (STEVE JOBS), RACHEL MCADAMS (SPOTLIGHT), ALICIA WIKANDER (THE DANISH GIRL)
NOT SEEN: CAROL
As much as Jennifer Jason Leigh is enjoyable I just don’t see her winning this. My real contenders are Kate Winslate and Alicia Vikander. Kate Winslate is truly outstanding but and I think some other year she may have been the one but not this year.
MY PICK: ALICIA WIKANDER
Just give it to her. It is already unfair that she is not nominated as Best actress. She is every bit important to the film as Eddie Redmayne is and brings as much pathos to her character. Just the brilliance with which she portrays the complexity and dilemma of her character is worth giving her the Oscar.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
NOMINATIONS: INSIDE OUT, ANOMALISA, SHAUN THE SHEEP, BOY AND THE WORLD, WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE
NOT SEEN: WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE
Inside Out and Anomalisa were the two films that I was most impressed with this year. Boy and the World is a good film in its own right.
MY PICK: INSIDE OUT
It is just the sweetest. I am not sure about this one but here I have lost from the kid inside me.