Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Oscar Predictions 2020

So it turns out I actually did worse last year than I did in 2018, probably because I didn't really know too many of the award winners (especially the guild awards) when I made my picks. This year is kind of a hybrid, as I do know a fair number of the other award winners, but at least a couple (BAFTAs and WGAs) haven't been held yet.

As with last year, I have seen zero nominated films. The lone film I saw in the theaters was Cats. I expect it will do well in Razzie Award nominations.

The only random observation I have is that Cynthia Erivo, who is nominated for Best Actress in Harriet, is also performing the Best Original Song nominee from the movie, which she co-wrote. I hope she wins here, as I don't see her as having much of a chance for Best Actress based on how awards season has been going.

Oh, one other. Apollo 11 not getting a documentary nod seems ridiculous. I saw this on TV rather than in the theater, but it was still spellbinding.

Your picks!

Best International Feature Film - new name, same award for films from outside of the US that are in a language other than English.  Like last year, there's a nominee that's also a Best Picture nominee, so I'm going to go with it. Kudos to Parasite, South Korea's first nomination in the category. If they win, they'll join Cote D'Ivoire and Bosnia and Herzegovina as the only countries with a perfect record in the category (both are one for one).

Best Animated Feature Film - Toy Story 4 is the only Pixar film nominated so...

Best Adapted Screenplay - once again this is going to be a make-up award for a director who didn't get a Best Director nomination. Only question is, which one? I'm going with Little Women, as it seems like all the reviews I read of it made specific, positive mention of the way she re-ordered the book's chronology.

Best Original Screenplay - there's make-up potential here, too, between Noah Baumbach not getting a Best Director nod for Marriage Story and Rian Johnson not getting anything for Knives Out (this being the film's lone nomination). Baumbach seems like the more likely pick here, given that the film was nominated for Best Picture and has a number of acting nominations as well, but I'm going to buck this and go with Knives Out. 

The acting awards all seem pretty locked up at this point:

Best Supporting Actor - Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
Best Supporting Actress - Laura Dern for Marriage Story
Best Actor - Joaquin Phoenix for Joker
Best Actress - Renee Zellweger for Judy

All four have won Golden Globes and SAG Awards, and all four are nominated for BAFTAs. I think it would be a huge surprise if any of them did not win. In past years I've suggested alternatives, but this all seems so pre-ordained that I'm not even going to bother this year.

Best Director - I'm going with Sam Mendes based on the technical achievement. It also helps that he won the DGA Award, which is highly predictive of winning this award.

Best Picture- But I'm not going with 1917 here, as from what I've read the story leaves something to be desired. It's also pretty rare for a film to win this award when it has no acting nominations (the last film to win Best Picture without any acting nominations was Slumdog Millionaire, before that it was Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and before that The Last Emperor).

So who does win? I don't have a great feel for this, but think it winds up being Joker, as divisive as that's been. Unless the academy voters can't get over the comics connection, in which case maybe Little Women get it.

This is where it would help if I actually saw movies. Anyway, happy Oscars!

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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Most Things are Better than Cats

I had no plans to see Cats. I did read a few reviews, which confirmed my disinterest by being uniformly negative, many apocalyptically so.

But when one of your kids has a birthday, and he says he wants to see Cats, you go see Cats.  

It was not great, but it wasn't the sort of generationally awful catastrophe some made it out to be. That being said, it's going to get nominated for a boatful of Razzies and should win all of them.

I think the problems start with the source material. There's not much of a narrative in Cats, and what does exist it not particularly coherent (for having said the word about a hundred times in the first five minutes, I still have no idea what a Jellical cat is).  There are ways around this on stage, based on the songs, dancing, and staging (such as having the cats go through the audience). This only goes so far for a movie, especially one where the dancing gets chopped up as much as it does here.

There's also the way cats show up, sing a song, and then drop out of the film for most of the movie. It's hard to develop any interest in the cats as characters, though I suppose in many cases it would be worse if the cats continued to be in the movie (for example, Rebel Wilson's Jennyanydots, who is forced to make a number of cat-themed puns during her time on screen).

This is probably the time to address the way the cats are depicted. I was less bothered by the humanistic depiction of the cats than many of the reviewers, and in some cases thought it worked OK (Francesca Hayward made a believable kitten, while Judi Dench looked like Judi Dench in an unfortunate cat costume). I'm also pretty sure we got the updated version of the film, which corrected some of the more egregious failures. It did not correct the problem of scale that ran throughout the film, where the cats could at any point in the film be the size of actual cats, of large dogs, or nearly human.

There are a variety of other things I could pick at, none of which of themselves derail the film but as a whole add to the general sense that the film is a mess. Just not enough of a mess to really be notable in that regard.

On the plus side to this foray into the theater, I did see a number of previews, any of which I'd have preferred to Cats:
  • Peter Rabbit 2, where Peter goes to the big city and learns some sort of life lessons. James Corden is much better off playing an actual animal.
  • My Spy, where David Bautista seeks to become the next pro wrestler to make the jump to movies, playing a CIA operative who learns some sort of life lessons from a nine year old girl who finds him out.
  • Dolittle, Robert Downey, Jr.'s latest foray into playing every leading male character from Victorian-era British literature. 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog, where the speedy blue video game character teams up with a small town sheriff to avoid capture by a shadowy government agency (led by Jim Carrey). 
  • Respect, the Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson. The short bit of the title song she performs in the trailer is much better than the (expectedly) overwrought version of "Memories" she delivers as Grizabella.
  • The Call of the Wild, an adaptation of the Jack London story starring Harrison Ford which looks to have been made a bit more kid-friendly than the book.
  • Trolls World Tour, the sequel to Trolls that no one wanted. Apparently there are hard rock trolls that want to make their genre of music the only genre of music, and the trolls from the first movie fight them with the help of trolls who perform other genres of music.
  • Scoob!, which looks to reboot Scooby Doo while giving us an origin story as well. Scooby talks way too much in the trailer.

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Oscar Predictions 2019

Another year, another Oscars post, and another shot at the elusive 10 for 10. Looking back, I only missed the Best Foreign Language Film award (the Boston Globe critics swayed me to pick Lebanon's The Insult, but A Fantastic Woman from Chile took the prize).

Unlike past years, I am going to make my picks sort of cold, not waiting for any of the SAG, WGA, and DGA awards (the Producers Guild has handed out their awards, not sure how much that will sway me). And as the picks just came out this morning, Five Thirty Eight hasn't put up their model yet. I will update with winners and picks as time marches on.

Before the picks, though...

1. I was surprised to see that Lin-Manuel Miranda did not get a Best Original Song nod while a song from Mary Poppins Returns did. But then I looked at the soundtrack listing and he didn't do any writing for the film, which seems like a missed opportunity? 

2. Also surprised that "Pray for Me" from Black Panther didn't get a nod, but that's based solely on having heard the song on the radio every day for something like six months. I don't think I've ever heard "All the Stars."

3. My first two points probably don't matter, as I think "Shallow" is going to win in that category. Which means Lady Gaga will likely end the ceremony with more competitive Oscars than Spike Lee.

4. That's weird, right? I asked this on Facebook, and the one person who responded thought it would be consistent with Oscars history. 

5. I have literally not seen any nominated movies.  The only first-run movie I recall seeing in the theater in 2018 was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which I took my kids to for another kid's birthday party.

6. The lack of Oscar nods for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not surprising.

Anyway, your picks!

Best Foreign Language Film - I've only found one rule that seems to work for picking a winner here: if the film is also nominated for Best Picture, pick it. So Roma gets my pick here, though there's a possibility that Cold War could win here (its director is nominated for Best Director but the picture wasn't nominated for Best Picture) based on the same theory I use to pick screenwriting awards. Roma is a legitimate Best Picture contender, so voters could go with Cold War thinking Roma could win the big prize.

(BAFTA: Roma won for best film not in the English language)

Best Animated Feature Film - I am actually going to pass on my only rule here - Pixar wins - and go with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. What little I've read about Spider-Man and Incredibles 2 (the Pixar film) suggests the former is much better. That might not be enough to hand Pixar a rare loss in this category.

(BAFTA: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

Best Adapted Screenplay - I'm thinking this won't be A Star is Born, based on being a Best Picture contender and on this being like the fourth or fifth time the film's been redone. BlacKkKlansman seems like the most viable way to get Spike Lee a competitive Oscar, and the film does seem unlikely to win Best Picture. But I'm thinking this award will go to If Beale Street Could Talk as a make-up for not getting a Best Picture nomination.

(Aside: now that there are 10 Best Picture slots, why are we not getting 10 nominees?)

(BAFTA: BlacKkKlansman)
(WGA: Will You Ever Forgive Me?)

Best Original Screenplay - I'm thinking not Green Book, which has seen some controversy as to how the film portrays Don Shirley's familial relationships, and for questions on how accurately it depicts the Jim Crow South (and as it's a Best Picture contender). Also thinking not Roma due to its Best Picture chances.

For me it's down to Vice versus The Favourite. Both have Best Picture nods but seem unlikely to win (which is weird to say of The Favourite, which co-led with 10 overall nominations). I'm going to go with The Favourite pretty much as a hunch.

(BAFTA: The Favourite)
(WGA: Eighth Grade, a film which got royally shafted by the Oscars, from what I've read)

Acting seems more open than years past, but I feel reasonably confident in these picks:

Best Supporting Actress - Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk

(SAG Awards: won by Emily Blunt, who wasn't nominated for an Oscar. Regina King was not nominated in this category.)
(BAFTA: won by Rachel Weisz for The Favourite. Regina King was not nominated.)

Best Supporting Actor - Mahershala Ali for Green Book

(SAG Awards: won)
(BAFTA: won)

Best Actress - Glenn Close for The Wife
(SAG Awards: won)
(BAFTA: Olivia Coleman for The Favourite)

Best Actor - Christian Bale for Vice
(SAG Awards: Rami Malek)
(BAFTA: Malek again, looking like I backed the wrong horse)

Unlike past years I don't feel like any of these are locks - though Ali comes close - so if given a second bite at the apple I'd go with Amy Adams, Richard E. Grant, Lady Gaga, and Willem Dafoe. I don't know if these are all sensible choices, but they reflect the sort of lifetime achievement/TV moment voting that could get one (or more) of these folks a win.

Best Director - Full disclosure, I originally picked Alfonso Cuaron, saying he would pull the unlikely back to back win. Of course, last year's winner was actually Guillermo del Toro. This is why someone who actually sees movies should make these picks.

That being said, I'm still going with Alfonso Cuaron, especially if he's not trying to win it back-to-back.

(DGA Award: won)
(BAFTA: won)

Best Picture - Roma. I have no great analysis for this other than what I've read generally about the films that are nominated. Though I do wonder how many voters will be confused that the movie doesn't take place in Italy. I also wonder if the film could win this and the foreign language prize - could the larger voting block for Best Picture pass on it assuming it will win elsewhere?

(PGA Awards: Green Book. Over the last 20 years the winner of this award has won the Oscar about 2/3 of the time, though in very recent history - the last five years - it's more like 50/50.)
(SAG Awards: they don't have a best picture award, but there are folks who see the Outstanding Performance by a Cast award as an analogue, so I will mention that Black Panther won this. I will also say the movie that wins this award wins Best Picture about half the time.)
(BAFTA: won)

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Oscar Predictions 2018

Time again for the annual Oscars post (or just annual post). I actually went 9 for 10 last year, which is pretty amazing! I do not expect that to happen again.

Before getting to the ten categories I usually predict, a few thoughts on other categories.

1. Kobe Bryant may end the ceremony with more lifetime Oscars than famed cinematographer Rogers Deakins.

2. Can we please get Roger Deakins an Oscar?

3. The only Oscar nominated film I've seen is The Boss Baby. I am at a loss to understand how The Boss Baby is considered one of the five best animated feature films of 2017. 

Unlike last year, I will not look at Five Thirty Eight's predictions prior to making mine, but will add them at the end to see where we agree (or not).

Best Foreign Language Film - while I'm not looking at Five Thirty Eight, I did read an article in The Boston Globe last week where a couple of their critics made picks, and The Insult from Lebanon was their pick here, which I'll go with as well. No Five Thirty Eight prediction here, so I'm hoping the locals aren't steering me wrong.

Best Animated Feature Film - Pixar film nominated, Pixar film wins: Coco. Five Thirty Eight agrees

Best Adapted Screenplay - Call Me By Your Name is the only nominee here who is also up for Best Picture, and as I tend to think of the screenplay categories as the Miss Congeniality awards for Best Picture nominees that won't win that category, I'm going with Call Me By Your Name mostly by default.

Best Original Screenplay - Same theory but with more choices, I think I'm going with Get Out here rather than Lady Bird or whichever of The Shape of Water or Three Billboards is less likely to win Best Picture. 

Five Thirty Eight doesn't model either screenplay award, but both of my choices won the Writers Guild Award, so I feel like I'm on pretty solid ground.

As with most years, I tend to think that the acting awards are all pretty much decided.

Best Supporting Actress - Allison Janney for I, Tonya.
Best Supporting Actor - Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Actress - Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Actor - Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour

If forced to change any one of these, it would likely be subbing out either Willem Dafoe or Woody Harrelson for Rockwell. Five Thirty Eight agrees with me on all of these, and even sees the supporting actor award as the most competitive, tabbing Dafoe as a potential spoiler.

Best Director - You win the DGA, you win Best Director. Come get your award, Guillermo del Toro. Five Thirty Eight also picks del Toro, but gives Christopher Nolan a mention based on a similarity to the year that Ang Lee won for Life of Pi, beating Ben Affleck (who would win for producing Best Picture winner Argo). 

Best Picture - The Academy has been on a bit of a run with splitting the director and picture awards, doing so three times in the last four years. I don't know if this is due to the larger number of Best Picture nominees giving voters more options that leads to a split, or if there's less of a mindset that the best director made the best film. There's certainly room for another split this year, especially if voters aren't sure what to make of a film whose romantic plot involves a merman. But I'm going to go with unity, buck the trend, and go with The Shape of Water anyway.

Five Thirty Eight concurs, but notes that Three Billboards has an outside shot, based on the ranked preference voting system used for the award and the influx of new voters over the past five years. They see this as making their model, which uses guild and critic awards pretty heavily, less useful for now. 

That's it. See you Sunday!


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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Oscar Predictions 2017

Back again to take a completely uneducated stab at 10 Oscar categories, hoping to snap the two year 7 out of 10 streak. As usual, I've seen very few of the nominated films (I think the only ones I've seen are animated), so using this as any sort of basis for your own picks is very much contraindicated.

Some notes before the picks:

1. I'm pretty convinced that the song from Moana will win Best Original Song so Lin-Manuel Miranda can wrap up his EGOT. Or PEGOT if you throw in the Pulitzer. Or MacPEGOT if you throw in the MacArthur Grant.

2. My picks may have a slight bias to them as I actually grew up in Manchester, Massachusetts (prior to its official renaming of Manchester-by-the-Sea, which I prefer not to recognize). You would think that would have gotten me out to see the film - but you'd be wrong!  I do still intend to see it... along with all the other movies I've been intending to see.

3. The folks at Five Thirty Eight have put math behind what I did in trying to sort out the most predictive awards (and have yet to acknowledge me, the bastards). Where they're looking at a category I'm picking I'll comment on who they see as the most likely winner as well. They pick one winner in a category I do not, Best Documentary - Feature, which they have as heavily favoring O.J.: Made in America (though 13th got a big boost from winning the BAFTA, the only one of the Oscar nominated feature documentaries nominated).

Anyway, picks!

Best Foreign Language Film - this is where I usually make a pick based on some sort of linguistic or nationalistic quality, which never really works out (were I to do this for this year, the Australian film Tanna would have been my choice for being filmed in the Vanuatuan language of Nauvhal).

But this year, I'm thinking the Academy will make a political point in awarding the Oscar to The Salesman, an Iranian film whose director, Asghar Farhadi, has already said he will boycott the show over the travel restrictions placed on Iranians trying to enter the US. This will be just one of the many times Donald Trump gets a poke in the eye during the telecast.

Best Animated Film - I've only seen one of the nominated films, but it's the one that I've seen the most chatter about being the winner, and I did like the film, so I'm going with Zootopia here. The Five Thirty Eight model concurs, though they have Kubo and the Two Strings as a reasonably close second thanks to its BAFTA win.

Best Original Screenplay - I'm going to go with Manchester by the Sea over La La Land here based on the idea that the writing awards are used to recognize films that won't win Best Picture (though you could use the same theory to say that Hell or High Water will win). 

Best Adapted Screenplay - A pretty stacked category, with four nominees for Best Picture (Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Fences, Lion) and one for a film that many feel got jobbed out of a Best Picture nod (Arrival). All of the films here fit the bill as potential winners in lieu of a Best Picture win, but I'm going to go with Arrival as it would be the biggest make-up of the group.

Best Supporting Actress - Both of the actress awards seem like locks at this point, and the Five Thirty Eight tracker would support that line of thought, which makes me feel extra sure of going with Viola Davis here. Though I do feel badly for Michelle Williams, who is apparently going to be stuck on the verge of winning in perpetuity (maybe she and Amy Adams can carpool).

Best Supporting Actor -I'm also doubling down with Five Thirty Eight to go with Mahershala Ali for his work in Moonlight.

Best Actress - This was looking like a pretty even race between Emma Stone for La La Land and Natalie Portman for Jackie, but things kind of took a turn when Isabelle Huppert won the Golden Globe and Stone won the other major awards. Portman got lost in the shuffle, not helped by the relative low profile of her film. So I'm going with Emma Stone, as is Five Thirty Eight.

Best Actor - In one respect this should be a lock for Casey Affleck, as he's won the bulk of the awards for his performance in Manchester by the Sea. But Denzel Washington won the SAG Award for Fences, and that is a highly predictive award (18 of the last 22 winner went on to win the Oscar), and is heavily weighted in the Five Thirty Eight model (which gives a slight edge to Affleck).

The other thing that may help Washington is the lingering disdain for Affleck given his past legal troubles. I am going to look past them (to the extent one can) and go with Casey Affleck here, mostly to satisfy my blatant homerism.

Best Director - Speaking of troubled pasts, Mel Gibson is apparently back in Hollywood's good graces as evidenced by his nomination for Hacksaw Ridge. Mel will have to settle for the nod, as this is almost certainly going to Damien Chazelle. He's swept all the major awards, so it would be incredibly surprising for him not to win the Oscar.

Best Picture - Everyone seems to love La La Land, and any movie that celebrates classic Hollywood, and the Los Angeles area in general, seems like easy pickings for Oscar voters. The win by Hidden Figures for best ensemble at the SAG Awards is a little surprising (La La Land wasn't nominated), and suggests that it may not be a waltz to the finish line for La La Land (see what I did there?), even if voters may not get behind Hidden Figures for the Oscar.

But they could get behind another movie that's more critically acclaimed and also features an African-American cast. Which is how I got to picking Moonlight as my choice for the top prize. It's also a film that, in a year where people may be looking to make a statement, would make one for both African-Americans and the LGBTQ community. Five Thirty Eight has La La Land as a strong favorite to win this, so it seems like a bad choice to be the only category where we disagree. But I'll do it anyway.


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Monday, July 25, 2016

Viewing for the Kids

We've seen a couple of movies over the last month or so at the behest of our two kids (who, at this point, are the sole drivers of what we see in the theater). It was a decidedly split decision.

On the good end was The Secret Life of Pets, which is not particularly original (mismatched buddy comedy, but with dogs) but was at least reasonably entertaining. It was better when focusing on the two dogs, their conflict, and the other pets who live in their building, which is a problem as the plot was really driven by a gang of "flushed" pets who live in the sewer and have an ultimate goal of getting ride of all humans. It's in those scenes where the film's pedigree shows, as I have to think the action was based on some ideas for the Minions that never quite made any of their films (there's also a Minions short before the movie, which did nothing for me). The voice work was OK, tending towards generic (or teetering at going over the top for Kevin Hart's evil bunny character). All in all, it was fine and will probably get a sequel it doesn't really need or deserve.

On the less than good end was Ice Age: Collision Course, which my older son has wanted to see ever since seeing the short that teased it before the Peanuts movie. I'll admit to not being particularly well-versed in the Ice Age series, so my reaction may be mostly borne from not having any existing relationship with the story or characters. But as a stand-alone exercise, this was an incredibly dull film. The basic plot: a meteor is threatening Earth, and to avoid extinction our band of heroes have to use magnetic fragments from a previous meteor strike (shot out of a volcano) to attract the new meteor off course.

Yeah, I don't get it either.

This is apparently the fault of the squirrel character, who is flying around in an acorn-powered spaceship (no, I don't get that either). That being said, I think my son was bored by the Earthbound parts of the movie - or was as confused as the rest of us by the jumping back and forth - as every time the film cut to the squirrel I could hear him say, "meanwhile, back in space." That was easily the most entertaining part of the movie experience.

We also saw plenty of previews, many of which were shared by both movies:

Monster Trucks, where a teenager's truck becomes home to an alien (which then apparently spawns a family in other trucks, or there were other aliens that now live in trucks?). There are conflicts with the government and other, snobbier, non alien-infested truck driving folks. OK then.

Nine Lives, in which Kevin Spacey is nearing the Robert De Niro line of surrender by playing a busy executive who, in buying a cat as a present for his daughter (Jennifer Garner) - or her son? - it turned into a cat by the mysterious pet shop owner (Christopher Walken). House of Cards doesn't pay enough?

Ghostbusters, a quirky independent film based on a French classic of the same name (OK, not really, but if you don't know about this remake why are you even here?).

Trolls, about a pair of trolls (MISMATCHED BUDDY/FUTURE ROMANTIC PAIRING ALERT!) who have to save the rest of trolldom. Looks cute if a little like Shrek without the big Fiona reveal.

Storks, about a stork who helps a human orphan deliver one last baby before the storks go into the flying package deliver in the hopes of beating Amazon's drone to that market. I am less enthused by this film having seen the preview for a second time.

Sing, where a theater owner puts together a singing competition in order to drum up business for his theater. Note: all of the characters are animals (animated, of course).

Moana, the upcoming Disney film that appropriates whatever Polynesian culture they missed when making Lilo & Stitch. It features a girl named Moana and a demigod named Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) doing... something. Details are a little sketchy, I think because they wanted to rush a trailer out that notes Lin-Manuel Miranda is doing the songs.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, based on the book of the same name, about a home for kids with unusual abilities and those who would like to kill them. By look, kind of a Victorian X-Men.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Oscar Predictions 2016

So we're back for another go at this, having gone seven for ten last year (two of the misses, however, were Best Actor and Best Picture, so if we were going to miss we missed big). And my obligatory comment about a category we don't pick: with The Weeknd, Sam Smith and Lady Gaga all nominated for Best Original Song, this may be a better show musically than the Grammys.

Standard disclaimer applies, I've seen none of the films in the categories we're predicting. No wagering.

Best Foreign Language Film - I'm going with Mustang because it's representing France but is in Turkish. Double the countries, double the voting appeal.

Best Animated Film - My boys love Shaun the Sheep Movie, and I've seen ads or previews for Anomalisa and Boy & The World. I know nothing about When Marnie Was There. And none of this matters, as Inside Out has had this think locked up for months.

Best Original Screenplay - the WGA Awards aren't until this weekend, so I don't get to cheat on the screenplay awards. This would be an excellent place to break up the #OscarsSoWhite monotony with a win for Straight Outta Compton. But I don't think it's going to happen, as this is where Spotlight will get it's major recognition for the night.

(Also - Joel and Ethan Coen have writing credits on Bridge of Spies? I had no idea, which shows you how much of an expert I am.)

Best Adapted Screenplay - I have no read on this award, so I'm going with this as a makeup award as well for The Big Short. Though I suppose the makeup could be for Carol not getting a Best Picture nod...

(UPDATE: Spotlight and The Big Short both won WGA Awards, and while they're not as predictive as the DGA Award it doesn't hurt.)

Best Supporting Actress - I'm going to take a flier on Rooney Mara here. Alicia Vikander is probably a smarter choice based on her SAG Award.

Best Supporting Actor - The SAG Awards usually help sort this category out, but not this year with Idris Elba's win for Beast of No Nation. Sylvester Stallone will be the sentimental choice, and after his Golden Globe win he could take it. I was leaning towards Mark Ruffalo, but where most of the recognition for acting in Spotlight was for the ensemble, I'm going to go with Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies.

Best Actress - Brie Larson, which is an absolute mortal lock.

Best Actor - What I said about Brie Larson? Times a thousand for Leonardo DiCaprio finally getting the Oscar.

Best Director -here I do get to cheat, as the DGA Awards were handed out last week. Alejandro González Iñárritu won for The Revenant, and he'll win here as well.

Best Picture - So here's where things get interesting. The DGA Award is highly predictive of what film wins this award, so you'd think this is a lock for The Revenant. But then there's the Producers Guild Association Awards, which have been spot on since 2007. And then there's Spotlight, which has won most, if not all, of the ensemble acting awards. As these are listed pretty much in order of the likelihood in which the film might win, I'm playing the odds and going with The RevenantA bold choice!

Enjoy the show everyone!


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