I don't think I have earned a following for this blog yet, but if I did have readers, many of them would be familiar with several of the nominees for the Academy Awards. Unlike the actual presentation, I plan on going through these awards from the biggest down and i don't even think I will cover some of the awards but I do hope to get a sense of what might happen on February 28th.
First off, the award for Best Picture is extra exciting this year. Starting around 2008 or so, the Best Picture nominees were expanded from five to up to ten, but it can vary throughout the years. This year eight slots are filled up. I'm extremely pleased that I managed to catch all the nominees this year and several of them are on my favorite movies of the year list. Some of the top contenders are Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant (the Golden Globe drama winner), The Martian (the Golden Glove comedy winner), and Spotlight. The other nominees are great as well: Room, The Big Short, Brooklyn, and Bridge of Spies. This films don't have favorable odds but it's a testament to how great this year was for movies. I have been biased towards Mad Max but after the Golden Globes, I'm leaning towards The Revenant. Spotlight has lost steam, but The Martian may zoom in for a surprise.
For Best Actor, The Revenant's star Leonardo Dicaprio is my pick. I think Eddie Redmayne's performance was one of the best in The Danish Girl, but since he won last year, I don't think he'll take it home simultaneous years. Matt Damon is the surprise as The Martian's success has continued to garner support for a role that pretty much carried the movie. Michael Fassbender and Bryan Cranston both put up impressive efforts in biopics, but I don't think either will triumph despite the masterwork of both.
Best Actress is filled with stellar performance. I still have to catch two of them, Cate Blanchett in Carol and Charlotte Rampling in 45 years. Brie Larson is the favorite for her work in Room, but Saoirse Ronan was amazing but just didn't need gain enough attention. I disagree with Jennifer Lawrence's nomination, Joy was strong but I don't think it was award worthy.
In Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Tom Hardy was the best in Revenant but Sylvester Stallone has the momentum for his reprisal of Rocky in Creed. Jason Mitchell as Easy-E in Straight Outta Compton should've been in this category but Mark Rylance and Christian Bale somehow earned nominations. Bale was barely on screen in The Big Short and Rylance didn't do more than a few scenes in Bridge of Spies. Mark Ruffalo's performance in Spotlight was the shingin part of that film but Stallone will most likely take home the trophy.
I was surprised at Kate Winslet's recognition for Steve Jobs at the Golden Globes and that makes me think that she will win the award for Best Supporting Actress. Jennifer Jason Leigh stood out in The Hateful Eight and Alicia Vikander was moving and deserved to get a best actress nomination since she spent equal time on the screen. Rachel McAdams was great but I think it will be easily overlooked. I will try to catch Carol's Rooney Mara this weekend.
Best Director is a tight competition between Alejandro G. Inarritu and George Miller who both made captivating films. Inarritu would be going for two in a row. Possibly Tom McCarthy could win but Adam Mckay and Lenny Abrahamson won't get much attention.
I would like to see Anomalisa win though I haven't seen it yet. Inside Out is the easy favorite for Best Animated Feature, it's the only nominee I've seen. Boy and the World, Shaun the Sheep, and When Marnie was There all look interesting.
Cinematography gets Sicario's first nomination, a movie that was not appreciated enough this awards season. Mad Max might take home another award for this but I could also see The Revenant competing. Hateful Eight had some great shots, and I've heard good things of Carol.
For Original Screenplay, I'd like to see Straight Outta Compton win but Spotlight seems the likely pick. Ex Machina or Inside Out could surprise. Bridge of Spies continues to coast off of The Cohen Brothers great writing and Spielberg movie magic. The Big Short or The Martian seem the top choices for Adapted Screenplay but Carol or The Big Short could take it. Brooklyn has been recognized but I don't know if it will win any awards, which is sad. Room was stirring but I don't see it taking this award.
Star Wars got some nominations for Visual Effects and Original Score, which is cool. Mad Max should take all the effects awards for the awesome car chases. I could see "Writing on the Wall" by Sam Smith win Best Original Song for Spectre but "Earned It" by The Weeknd is an awesome song.
That's my assessment of the nominees and look forward to the presentation in over a month!