Locked and loaded: Predictions for this year’s Oscars 

The tops look like locks at this year’s Oscars

click to enlarge leonardo-dicaprio.jpg

Ready to earn some bragging rights by winning your Oscars pool against your fellow cinephiles? Take note of our predictions for the top eight categories. Then watch the 88th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.


With eight nominees vying for the prize, three films have risen to the top in the homestretch: Spotlight, The Revenant and The Big Short. If any of the others – Mad Max: Fury Road, Room, The Martian, Bridge of Spies or Brooklyn – sneak in for the win, it would be an upset. But filmmaker Tom McCarthy's drama on the Boston Globe's investigation of the Catholic Church looks poised to take home at least two trophies Oscar night, including the most coveted.

Who will win: Spotlight

Who should win: Spotlight


A director hasn't won back-to-back Oscars in 65 years, but the way Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant) is blowing through the competition in all the precursor awards, it's bound to happen this year. If anyone is going to ruin his night it'll be George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), followed by Adam McKay (The Big Short), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) and Lenny Abrahamson (Room).

Who will win: Iñárritu

Who should win: Iñárritu


Whether or not you think his role as an early-19th-century fur trader in The Revenant is really one of the best performances of his career, the time has come for five-time Best Actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio. Sorry, Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian) and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl). Practice those gracious smiles the losers always have to give when they announce the winner. DiCaprio is a lock.

Who will win: DiCaprio

Who should win: DiCaprio


Speaking of locks, there's a better chance of Jada Pinkett-Smith showing up on the red carpet than Brie Larson (Room) not taking home her first Oscar. Saoirse Ronan's (Brooklyn) time will come soon enough, and the nominations for Cate Blanchett (Carol), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) are achievements enough.

Who will win: Larson

Who should win: Larson


At this point, how could the Academy not give the Oscar to Sylvester Stallone (Creed) for the same role he earned an Oscar nom for nearly 40 years ago? Nostalgia and a solid performance are on his side. On the other side is a hungry Tom Hardy (The Revenant), who has the best chance at pulling the upset win, followed by a trio of great performances by Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) and Christian Bale (The Big Short).

Who will win: Stallone

Who should win: Hardy


With The Danish Girl and Ex Machina, Alicia Vikander has had the biggest year of any of the Oscar-nominated actors. Will that translate into a win? Probably, but not if Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs), Rooney Mara (Carol), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) and Rachel McAdams (Spotlight) decide to throw a wrench in what seems to be turning into a fairly predictable Oscar evening.

Who will win: Vikander

Who should win: Vikander


The question isn't whether Spotlight wins this category over Inside Out, Ex Machina, Bridge of Spies and Straight Outta Compton. It's if the Academy deems this win as sufficient praise for the film and awards The Revenant or The Big Short with a Best Picture win. It's very possible it'll go home with both, but weirder things have happened.

Who will win: Spotlight

Who should win: Spotlight


The Big Short is riding high and so far, it seems to be crash-proof. That's too bad for the other nominees in this category – Room, The Martian, Brooklyn and Carol – which would probably have a better chance at gold if they had Selena Gomez explaining synthetic collateralized debt obligations to the audience.

Who will win: The Big Short

Who should win: Room


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