The Academy Awards is getting close, so it is time for me to pick who and what I want to win in the Academy Awards. Here are the rules:
1.) I am only going to pick out the films I have seen.
2.) I am concentrating on nominations that has more than one films that I have seen in that category.
Here is the list of nominations that I have only seen one film in that category:
Best Animated Feature Film: Inside Out – Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
Best Animated Short Film: Sanjay’s Super Team – Nicole Paradis Grindle and Sanjay Patel
Best Original Song: “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre – Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
Here is the list of nominations of the movies I have never seen on that category:
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Documentary – Feature
Best Documentary – Short Subject
Best Live Action Short Film
3.) These are my opinions. Feel free to disagree, and list who and what you want to win in this year’s Academy Awards in the comments.
Best Visual Effects
- Ex Machina – Mark Williams Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris, and Andrew Whitehurst
- Mad Max: Fury Road – Andrew Jackson, Dan Oliver, Andy Williams, and Tom Wood
- The Martian – Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence, Richard Stammers, and Steven Warner
- The Revenant – Richard McBride, Matt Shumway, Jason Smith, and Cameron Waldbauer
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Chris Corbould, Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, and Neal Scanlan
This was really hard, because all the other nominees are great. I eliminated the choices by how much the visual effects are used, and how well done they are (if I noticed that they are actual visual effects). The winner of this category is Mad Max: Fury Road, because there are so many impressive visual effects. In fact, there are some visual effects that are so good, you cannot even tell that they are visual or practical effects. If they can do that, they win in my eyes.
Best Film Editing
- The Big Short – Hank Corwin
- Mad Max: Fury Road – Margaret Sixel
- The Revenant – Stephen Mirrione
- Spotlight – Tom McArdle
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey
This film takes advantage with its film editing thanks to the writing and fourth wall moments. It feels like a tutorial on the basics of banking while watching a story. The rest of the candidates are fine, but they do not stand out. How the editing works for The Big Short is what makes me think that they are going to win in this category.
Best Costume Design
Carol – Sandy Powell
- Cinderella – Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl – Paco Delgado
- Mad Max: Fury Road – Jenny Beavan
- The Revenant – Jacqueline West
When it comes to costume design, unless you have something that REALLY stands out, 1700s wardrobe looks really good (especially for the Academy), so Cinderella wins this category easily. Plus, Cinderella looks really good in that dress.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared –Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
- Mad Max: Fury Road – Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin
- The Revenant – Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman, and Robert Pandini
Another difficult choice, Mad Max: Fury Road wins this category due to how messed up many of these people look. True that Leonardo DiCaprio looked messed up in The Revenant, but there are more people that looked dirty, ugly, and disfigured in the former. Plus, really white-looking people stand out more than a man with battle scars and dirt all over him.
Carol – Ed Lachman
- The Hateful Eight – Robert Richardson
- Mad Max: Fury Road – John Seale
- The Revenant – Emmanuel Lubezki
- Sicario – Roger Deakins
This one was easy. With beautiful long shots and panning/tilting, this might as well be a documentary about the forest and wildlife in the United States. It is also effective in action sequences since they look like they are happening in real time (although it can be done poorly). The Revenant wins this round.
Best Production Design
- Bridge of Spies – Rena DeAngelo, Bernhard Henrich, and Adam Stockhausen
The Danish Girl – Michael Standish and Eve Stewart
- Mad Max: Fury Road – Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson
- The Martian – Celia Bobak and Arthur Max
- The Revenant – Jack Fisk and Hamish Purdy
I honestly have no clue what to pick, because all four of the films did a fantastic job in production design in their own ways. If I have to pick one out of random, I say Bridge of Spies, but it is just out of guessing. Maybe The Danish Girl might actually beat the other nominees, but I have not seen it. Until then, I will let the Academy pick for me.
Best Sound Mixing
- Bridge of Spies – Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, and Drew Kunin
- Mad Max: Fury Road – Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, and Ben Osmo
- The Martian – Paul Massey, Mark Taylor, and Mac Ruth
- The Revenant – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom, and Chris Duesterdiek
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson
With so many things that are happening onscreen during the battle sequences, Mad Max: Fury Road wins this one. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a close second, but there are few great sound mixing, and the rest is done before. The winner of this category is Mad Max: Fury Road.
Best Sound Editing
- Mad Max: Fury Road – Mark A. Mangini and David White
- The Martian – Oliver Tarney
- The Revenant – Martin Hernández and Lon Bender
- Sicario – Alan Robert Murray
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Matthew Wood and David Acord
On the other hand, Star Wars: The Force Awakens wins this one due to great sound editing and moments in the film. Makes sense considering how the original Star Wars did a fantastic job with its sound editing. One particular sound editing moment is Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, which sounds completely different than the other lightsabers.
Best Original Score
- Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman
Carol – Carter Burwell
- The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
- Sicario – Jóhann Jóhannsson
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams
The other music were either not memorable or had very few memorable musical cues. Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘s music sounded average to me at first, but it did grow on me through time. Maybe it is the nostalgia, but I find the music in this film more interesting than the other ones.
Best Adapted Screenplay
- The Big Short – Adam McKay and Charles Randolph from The Big Short by Michael Lewis
- Brooklyn – Nick Hornby from Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
Carol – Phyllis Nagy from The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
- The Martian – Drew Goddard from The Martian by Andy Weir
- Room – Emma Donoghue from Room by Emma Donoghue
This was a close match between The Martian and The Big Short, but I decided to pick The Martian, because it is easier to follow and has more charm than The Big Short. I do enjoy The Big Short, but despite their fourth-wall breaking moments to explain how banking works, I do feel like it sometimes hard to follow, especially if you are not paying attention/not an banking expert. The Martian has a simpler plot that could have just used a grim tone, but instead used an optimistic and relaxing tone with moments of grief and doubt; thus it wins this category in my eyes.
Best Original Screenplay
- Bridge of Spies – Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen
- Ex Machina – Alex Garland
- Inside Out – Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, and Ronnie del Carmen
- Spotlight – Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
Straight Outta Compton – Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus
I love this film so much that it immediately wins this category due its fantastic writing, clever message, and adorable characters that clearly have flaws, but you love them anyway. Inside Out better win this, and if not, at least pick Ex Machina.
Best Supporting Actress
- Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight as Daisy Domergue
Rooney Mara – Carol as Therese Belivet
- Rachel McAdams – Spotlight as Sacha Pfeiffer
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl as Gerda Wegener Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs as Joanna Hoffman
Not many choices here, but out of the two films I have seen in this category, I pick Jennifer Jason Leigh. Not everyday you seen an actress play an insane criminal that has spunk despite being a prisoner, and yet still loves her brother. Not much to say here.
Best Supporting Actor
- Christian Bale – The Big Short as Michael Burry
- Tom Hardy – The Revenant as John Fitzgerald
- Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight as Michael Rezendes
- Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies as Rudolf Abel
- Sylvester Stallone – Creed as Rocky Balboa
Another tough call, but I am going to pick Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies. He does a great job playing a character that is accused of being a Soviet spy in the United States, and he does not seem to be that emotionally invested. However, his character may be a bit of mystery for others, that does not mean that there is some heart in him. Mark does a great job showing that, and he certainly deserves an Academy Award.
Cate Blanchett – Carol as Carol Aird
- Brie Larson – Room as Joy “Ma” Newsome
- Jennifer Lawrence – Joy as Joy Mangano
Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years as Kate Mercer
- Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn as Eilis Lacey
It is probably not easy for an actress to play a mother that is stuck in a shed for seven years, and is constantly depressed yet still hoping at the same time. It is also not easy when she has to continue playing the character that finally gets out, but is not fully recovered from the experience. Brie Larson does a fantastic job in this role, especially when it conjuncts with the child actor, Jacob Tremblay. The chemistry between the two reinforces why I think she deserves this award.
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo as Dalton Trumbo
- Matt Damon – The Martian as Mark Watney
- Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant as Hugh Glass
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs as Steve Jobs Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl as Lili Elbe / Einar Wegener
As much as I love Matt Damon’s performance, Leonardo DiCaprio wins this, because of how far he goes as his character. Most of the film, he does not talk. He takes action: plenty of dirty and uncomfortable actions. He looks like he can play a character that has been damaged physically and spiritually. Plus, he REALLY deserves to win after being nominated so many times and not winning. Seriously, look at the picture. It looks like he is praying to God that he wins. I will be fine if Matt Damon wins, but quoting a comment I found in an article, “Please give this guy an Oscar before he kills himself.”
- Adam McKay – The Big Short
- George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
- Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
- Lenny Abrahamson – Room
- Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
Interesting that this guy gets nominated two years in the row (and won in Birdman last year). He certainly has talent on cinematography, but he also does well in directing on where to go, how he leads his actors, and when to cut from the long shot. Also, I heard they only used natural lighting in the film. Do you know how hard that can be in filming? In any case, Alejandro seems to know what he is doing: particularly in filming.
- The Big Short – Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner
- Bridge of Spies – Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, and Kristie Macosko Krieger
- Brooklyn – Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey
- Mad Max: Fury Road – Doug Mitchell and George Miller
- The Martian – Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, and Mark Huffam
- The Revenant – Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent, and Keith Redmon
- Room – Ed Guiney
- Spotlight – Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, and Blye Pagon Faust
Out of all the other choices in the category, The Revenant is truly a film. The story is great, the cinematography is awesome, the atmosphere is beautiful yet grim, the danger is real, the acting is fantastic, and the film is amazing. The Big Short is great, but some of the moments are a bit distracting. Bridge of Spies is awesome, but it can be a bit slow and boring at times. Brooklyn is solid, but it has been done before. Mad Max: Fury Road is cool, but I do not think it deserves a nomination for Best Picture considering some of its confusing story elements. The Martian has charm, but it is a bit passive at times. Room is heart-warming, but what other mother-son films are not? Spotlight is spectacular, but drags a bit. Throughout all the films, I enjoy them all. However, in my opinion, The Revenant may win the Best Picture in Academy Awards.
Those are my choices on who and what may win in the Academy Awards. If you disagree, feel free to comment on who and what you think is going to win. Until then, we will see what the Academy thinks overall. Either way, we will have some fun in the end.