Is it the middle of January already? Is it time to start getting mildly excited by the prospect of another year where the Academy voters behave responsibly and predictably in their choices for Best Film, Actor, Actress etc. etc.? Well, you’re darned right it is! Except this year there’s some early controversy, especially if you’re a fan of Carol, rightly regarded as one of 2015’s best movies – if not the best – but not good enough in the Academy’s eyes to be nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year. And they’ve snubbed Todd Haynes as well, Carol’s director. What is going on?
Elsewhere, director snubs seem to be the order of the day, with Ridley Scott failing to pick up a nomination for that well-known comedy The Martian, and Steven Spielberg being overlooked for Bridge of Spies. The thing it’s always hard to understand about the Academy is that when they do this sort of thing, it never makes sense: how can a movie nominated in the Best Motion Picture category not have its primary mover and shaker nominated for Best Director? Maybe the Spotlight team should investigate.
For the most part it’s another predictable year, with some early front runners – Cate Blanchett for Carol, Spotlight for Best Motion Picture – emerging out of the haze, but with so few movies receiving the most nominations the only interest will be in seeing who wins the most. Here then are my picks for the winners in the main categories. The ones highlighted in bold are the ones I think will win. The ones highlighted in italics are the ones I think should win. If there’s no movie highlighted in italics then the one in bold is my choice for both.
Best Motion Picture of the Year
The Big Short; Brooklyn; Bridge of Spies; Mad Max: Fury Road; The Martian; The Revenant; Room; Spotlight
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo; Matt Damon – The Martian; Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant; Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs; Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett – Carol; Brie Larson – Room; Jennifer Lawrence – Joy; Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years; Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale – The Big Short; Tom Hardy – The Revenant; Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight; Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies; Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight; Rooney Mara – Carol; Rachel McAdams – Spotlight; Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl; Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
Best Achievement in Directing
Lenny Abrahamson – Room; Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant; Tom McCarthy – Spotlight; Adam McKay – The Big Short; George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Bridge of Spies; Ex Machina; Inside Out; Spotlight; Straight Outta Compton
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
The Big Short; Brooklyn; Carol; The Martian; Room