Before I get to my predictions, let me complain a bit (I am a Baptist, so complaint is my mother tongue).

First, I am baffled as to how Inside Out was not nominated for best picture. It is better, by far, than half of the films nominated. Second, the theme song for Spectre is awful and I can’t believe it is nominated. Third, like others, it bothers me how “white” these Oscars are. This must change. Fourth, I am still mad that Birdman won last year.

One more thing. I always like to point out themes–to psychoanalyze Oscar a bit–in the nominations. There are two major themes. One is nostalgia. Bridge of Spies and Brooklyn are obviously nostalgic, but The Martian is almost Apollo 13-like in its NASA love and the throwback to when we all were passionate about space exploration. Mad Max, The Big Short, and Spotlight intentionally call our attention to the recent past with a hint of nostalgia.

Another theme here is the individual versus the group. The Martian, Room, and The Revenant are all essentially small cast films that let us see a personal journey or struggle. Spotlight, The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, and Mad Max are about the team, each one doing their job so that they collectively can do something spectacular.

Now, the predictions. Keep in mind I failed last year, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have nailed it three out of the last four years for best picture.

Best Picture

  • No chance–Mad Max, Bridge of Spies, The Martian
  • Punchers chance–The Big Short, Room
  • Favorites–The Revenant, Brooklyn, Spotlight

If I were giving the award, I would give it Inside Out. Since that is not nominated, I think I would give the award to Spotlight.MV5BMjIyOTM5OTIzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDkzODE2NjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_ It just barely edges out Brooklyn, which I love. The favorite in most people’s mind is The Revenant, but I don’t think it will win, at least, I wouldn’t vote for it. Yet, after Birdman, nothing would surprise me.

Best Director

  • Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
  • Lenny Abrahamson, Room
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

I predict Tom McCarthy for Spotlight. Abrahamson has an outsiders chance for Room. The tragedy here is that Spielberg is not on the list at all.

Best Actor

  • Bryan Cranston, TrumboThe-Revenant-Leonardo-DiCaprio-Bear-Rape
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

I’ve not seen Tarticle-2698680-1FD070D600000578-434_306x540he Danish Girl, so I’m limited here, but I’m going with the pack and say this is Leo’s year. Cranston was entertaining in Trumbo, but DiCaprio will win it this year because of his body of work. He should have won it for The Aviator. Of course, there is this picture of DiCaprio that looks very much like Greenbean at the beach.

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

I’ve not seen 45 Years, Carol, or Joy. However, I’m taking a chance and predicting Saoirse Ronan. She carried the film Brooklyn. Brie Larson was wonderful in Room, but in my opinion she was the second best in that movie because Jacob Tremblay was fantastic.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed

I’ve not seen Creed–I will fix that when it is available On Demand. Any of these could win–I loved all of them, but I’m going with Mark Rylance as the only major Oscar love for Bridge of Spies.

Best Support Actress

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

I have not seen Carol, The Hateful Eight, or The Danish Girl, so again I am hobbled. I think Winslet wins it for Jobs. The movie Steve Jobs was not very good, but Winslet steals the show from the great Fassbender.

That is as far as I got with predictions, although I’ll predict Inside Out for Original Screenplay, Mad Max for editing, and Bridge of Spies for musical score. I’d love to hear your predictions.


images from imbd.com, thewrap.com, and thedailymail.com


This is the second of three posts I’ve planned on the Oscar nominees for best picture.  It has taken a while to watch all nine.  We finally finished last night with a showing of “The Artist.”  It is such an obscurely released film that we had to drive almost 45 minutes just to find a theater that was showing it.  Right now I am giving initial reactions to the last four films.  You can read my summary of the other five at my post WATCHING BEST PICTURE NOMINEES.  Sometime next week, probably Monday, I am going to post my third collection of observations in which I pick a winner and speak about the group as a whole.

The Artist–This is the film most people think will win.  I can see why.  Not only is it creative, but the plot, acting, and editing are delightful.  By creative I am referring to the radical employment of being both a nearly silent movie and in black and white.  The beautiful part of the movie going experience is that once this film drags you in, you forget both that the rainbow is absent and that there is little sound.  The theater we saw it in showed it in 35 MM.  Now, as I watched the film, I could hear the reel in the background.  It is a sound I haven’t heard in a while and I wondered, and still wonder, was that the actual reel in the theater or was that a sound effect because, it made the watching experience so much richer.
Hugo–This is my wife’s pick to win and my youngest daughter had read the book in the school library.  Hugo is a great film for families and the cast is, from top to bottom, stellar.  The two children, particularly Asa Butterfield as Hugo, carry their weight well opposite such titans as Ben Kingsley and Christopher “Count Dooku” Lee.  Even Sacha Baron Cohen, whom I normally detest, did great.  The movie was disciplined in its storytelling and measured in its movements.  Bravo Martin Scorsese. 
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close–Again, this is another great film, but It is not in the same category as the above two.  I’ll give more details in my next post, but for now, it is just not there.  The boy, Thomas Horn, is really good but he gets lost in the bigness of the story.  A movie that has this many moving parts needs to convince me that I am in a dream world (like Hugo does) or convince me that somehow this whole situation, as absurd as it seems, is plausible (As War Horse does).  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close do neither.  It is a good film, but not good enough.
The Descendants–Let me go positive before I go negative.  On the positive; the people portrayed in the film remind me so much of real people.  The George Clooney character, I’ve met that guy.  His marriage is a disaster and his kids are out of control and if something were to go terribly wrong, he’d have no idea of where to even start–emotionally, physically, or spiritually.  That teenage daughter of his and her pothead boyfriend are people I often see at church.  That is the positive side of The Descendants–it touches reality.  The negatives of the film are that the editing is lose and stringy and the plot is plodding.  This film somehow makes a devastating boat crash, marital infidelity, terminal illness, wayward children, and rich real estate developers boring.