The 88th Academy Awards are upon us where the supposed best films of the year go head to head to claim the famous gold statue. However, over the years, how many times has the best film of the year actually walked away with the Best Picture prize? Some of the most notable mistakes made by Oscar voters are; Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan, Ordinary People over Raging Bull, Dances with Wolves instead of Goodfellas, Crash (yeah Crash won an Oscar!) topping Brokeback Mountain and of course most recently, Birdman stealing Boyhood’s spotlight. The Academy tend to stray towards the safe choice, the Academy has never been described as bold in their awards choices. This trend will most likely follow on again this year. We have but together a list of who WILL win the major awards and who SHOULD win.
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
What will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
What should win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Fury Road is a high octane action movie that completely blew away audiences and critics last year. Edited by director George Miller’s wife, Margaret Sixel. The film won the BAFTA last week for this award and that is usually a good indication as to what will take home the Oscar. The editing in Mad Max gives the film its break neck speed that caused it’s two hour running time to fly by. The use of quick cuts and sped up action were masterful and the old cliche that the best editing is the editing you don’t notice is thrown out of the window in this case. Fury Road’s closest competitor is probably The Big Short.
Best Animated Feature
Boy and the World
When Marnie Was There
Shaun the Sheep
What will win: Inside Out
what should win: Inside Out
Pixar’s Inside Out, in time will be considered possibly the studio’s finest work to date. The film is beautifully animated, thought provoking and highly touching. This animation stands head and shoulders above its fellow nominees, there is next to no chance for the rest of the field here. Inside Out should have been nominated for the Best Picture category.
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Who will win: Alicia Vikander
Who should win: Rooney Mara
This years supporting actress category is a three horse race between Alicia Vikander, Kate Winslet and Rooney Mara. The favourite for the award is Alicia Vikander for her role in The Danish Girl. This appears to be the most Oscar friendly performance of the three. While all three are excellent performances, I would argue Rooney Mara’s performance is the stand out. Rooney Mara should really have been nominated in the leading actress category as Carol is really her film, not Cate Blanchett’s. Her stripped back, touching portrayal of a young women pursuing a forbidden love affair is perfectly judged. If Alicia Vikander was nominated for her role in Ex Machina, I would lean towards her.
Best Supporting Actor
Who will win: Sylvester Stallone
Who should win: Mark Rylance
Sylvester Stallone’s return as Rocky Balboa in Creed is an enjoyable experience, returning to arguably the best role he has had throughout his career. However, an award should not be given for a body of work or for nostalgia. Mark Rylance, by far gives the best performance of the nominees. Steven Spielberg has tried for years to get Rylance to commit to one of his films and the role offered in Bridge of Spies was the perfect fit. Rylance outshines Tom Hanks in a performance that is incredibly stripped back and understated, this is what will probably work against him in the race for an Oscar. The Academy don’t recognise understated brilliance.
Who will win: Brie Larson
Who should win: Brie Larson
Brie Larson’s performance in Room is nothing short of spectacular. While Larson will be a relatively new name to mainstream movie goers, she has been building up her reputation in smaller projects, most notably, the brilliant Short Term 12. The Academy loves to prove that they are not outdated and out of touch with young audiences (as many believe they are), so awarding a young up and comer like Larson helps their brand image, a trend that started with Jennifer Lawrence. This by no means takes away from the brilliance of Larson in her performance, an award would be well deserved. Her main rival is Saoirse Ronan who was equally excellent in Brooklyn.
Who will win: Leonardo DiCaprio
Who should win: Michael Fassbender
2016 will mark the year that Leo finally wins his first Oscar. Fans have been demanding for years that Leo should be awarded a long overdue Academy Award, there is almost no doubt this year will be his year. However, Leo’s performance in The Revenant is not the best performance of the year, and nowhere near the best performance of his career. Leo will win this year because it is his turn, and his performance is something Oscar voters love. If an actor has to suffer and go through a radical physical change, the Academy takes note. Michael Fassbender should win this award, but not for the role he is nominated for. His performance in last years Macbeth was something to behold. Although, no one will begrudge Leo this win.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Who will win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Who should win: George Miller
Inarritu will most likely win his second straight Oscar for The Revenant, but just like last year he will be upstaging the rightful winner of the award. George Miller’s Mad Max was a revelation, making action films interesting and fun again. Mad Max is possibly the best action film since Terminator 2. At the age Miller has reached, its astounding the work that he managed to produce in Mad Max. The use of practical effects conveyed the weight of the action, this was both inventive and brilliant. There is no doubt Inarritu is one of the best directors working in film today, however Miller deserves this award more.
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
Brie of Spies
What will win: The Revenant
What should win: Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant is a visceral experience with beautiful imagery but doesn’t really achieve anything else. The film leaves you a little empty afterwards, the story isn’t as gripping and poetic as it thinks it is and ultimately the film relies on its tales of how difficult a shoot it was. The best film from the list of nominees is Mad Max, its the most enjoyable, the film that will last longest in memory and has a host of memorable characters with excellent performances from Tom hardy and in particular Charlize Theron (who should have gained an Oscar Nomination). Unfortunately, The Academy doesn’t favour action films, they aren’t high brow enough. The real threats to The Revenant are Spotlight and The Big Short as their subject matter is much more in line with what The Academy likes to reward.