PREDICTING THE OSCAR NOMINATIONS

Paul Mendoza

<> on October 19, 2009 in Santa Clarita, California.

Ever since I can remember I loved the Oscars. Maybe because I watched so many movies with my dad growing up. Maybe because I was very much a loner as a child and dreamed of one day being an actor. The thought of winning an Academy Award seemed like the greatest thing in the world. Long before the internet or computers or the E Channel I was reading Rona Barrett’s gossip column and watching Gene Shalit on the Today Show. I would get up at 530am to watch the announcing of the Oscar nominations live. Now that I live on the East Coast I’ll get a little more shut eye the night before. Suffice it to say, that I am very excited that tomorrow morning we will find out who will be exalted and forever called an ‘Academy Award Nominee”. So here are my humble predictions. I have not seen all the movies yet but these are my best guesses and then a mentioned of who I would love to see grab the unexpected nomination because there will be surprises as well as disappointments. Here we go!

Best Supporting Actor

Always seems to be the most difficult to predict and this year there are many deserving actors.

MICHAEL SHANNON            99 HOMES
MARK RUFFALO                     SPOTLIGHT
MARK RYLANCE                     BRIDGE OF SPIES
SYLVESTOR STALLONE       CREED
IDRIS ELBA                              BEASTS OF NO NATION

Michael Shannon was in a little seen film but is highly respected and should grab the nomination. Michael Keaton does good work in Spotlight and it’s great to see his continued success from last year’s comeback in Birdman but Mark Ruffalo has the showier part and nails it. Plus the Academy loves Ruffalo. How can you not? Stallone is a sure thing and may be the sentimental favorite to win it. Mark Rylance is a highly respected stage actor who makes the rare film and this is a chance for the Academy to acknowledge him for a movie that was well received but not in the running for the big awards. Idris Elba has been looked over before and the Academy gets a chance to finally give him some recognition.

My wild card pick is Walton Goggins for The Hateful Eight. He is fantastic in that movie and is the definition of Best Supporting Actor.

Walton Goggins The Hateful Eight

Best Supporting Actress

ROONEY MARA                           CAROL
RACHEL MCADAMS                  SPOTLIGHT
JENNIFER JASON LEIGH       THE HATEFUL EIGHT
KATE WINSLET                          STEVE JOBS
HELEN MIRREN                         TRUMBO

The studio is pushing Rooney Mara as Supporting Actress even though she really is co-lead with Cate Blanchett so they could both be nominated. This is standard operating procedure. Rachel McAdams will grab her first nod for her strong work in Spotlight. Jennifer Jason Leigh making a big comeback in The Hateful Eight, should pick up her first Academy Award nomination. That is really insane because she has been so good in several films over the years. Helen Mirren is menacingly good in Trumbo and the Academy loves her. Kate Winslet is the favorite again for Steve Jobs.

My Wild Card Pick is Alicia Vikander for Ex Machina or The Danish Girl. She really is the lead in The Danish Girl but, again, the studio is pushing her as Supporting Actress. If she gets in look for Jennifer Jason Leigh to get bumped. The Academy has overlooked her so far so it wouldn’t surprise me to see it happen again.

Alicia Vikander Ex Machina

Best Original Screenplay

BRIDGE OF SPIES             MATT CHARMAN, JOEL COHEN, ETHAN COHEN
EX MACHINA                     ALEX GARLAND
INSIDE OUT                       BOB PETERSON, PETE DOCTER
SPOTLIGHT                        TODD MCCARTHY, JOSH SINGER
THE HATEFUL EIGHT     QUENTIN TARANTINO

My Wild Card here is Amy Schumer for Trainwreck. The Academy rarely goes for the bawdy R rated comedies but Bridesmaids was nominated in this category in 2011 so it could happen. And who doesn’t want to see The Amy and Jennifer (Lawrence) show on Oscar night?

Best Screenplay Adaptation

THE BIG SHORT                  ADAM MCKAY, CHARLES RANDOLPH
BROOKLYN                           NICK HORNBY
ROOM                                     EMMA DONAHUE
STEVE JOBS                         AARON SORKIN
THE MARTIAN                    DREW GODDARD
THE REVENANT                ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU, MARK L. SMITH

My Wild Card is Trumbo by John McNamara. It makes sense that a movie about a blacklisted writer would seem to be a sure thing to be nominated but which of the other films should be bumped? If Trumbo makes the cut look for Brooklyn to lose out.

Best Actor

JOHNNY DEPP                         BLACK MASS
MICHAEL FASSBENDER      STEVE JOBS
MATT DAMON                         THE MARTIAN
EDDIE REDMAYNE               THE DANISH GIRL
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO         THE REVENANT

Black Mass wasn’t a great film but Depp’s performance was. The Martian is picking up momentum so I think Damon will get the nod. Fassbender, Redmayne and DiCaprio as certain.

My Wild Card is Bryan Cranston for Trumbo. He’s a TV actor and I don’t know if the Academy would bump Depp to make room for Cranston but it could happen.3

Bryan Cranston Trumbo

Best Actress

CATE BLANCHETT                  CAROL
SAOIRSE RONAN                     BROOKLYN
BRIE LARSON                           ROOM
ALICIA VIKANDER                  THE DANISH GIRL
JENNIDER LAWRENCE         JOY

Blanchett, Ronan and Larson are locks. I’m going with Vikander to get the nod for The Danish Girl. Jennifer Lawrence is still riding high and should get the nod even though Joy, her fourth collaboration with director David O’Russell won’t be the nomination machine that Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle were.

My Wild Card is Charlize Theron for Mad Max; Fury Road. While I don’t think it was Oscar material the film is well liked and recent Golden Globe and Critics Choice Nominations could cause a groundswell for Theron who gives a strong female lead in an action film. There is precedence for this, Sigourney Weaver was nominated for the Alien sequel, Aliens in 1987.

Charlize Theron Mad Max

Best Director

ALEJANDRO GONZALES INARRITU             THE REVENANT
TODD MCCARTHY                                               SPOTLIGHT
ADAM MCKAY                                                       THE BIG SHORT
GEORGE MILLER                                                MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
RIDLEY SCOTT                                                      THE MARTAIN

This is the same list as the recently announced Directors Guild nominations and I don’t see it being any different tomorrow.

The Wild Card would be Todd Haynes for Carol. He could bump Adam McKay. The older Academy may not reward McKay after seeing his resume of silly comedies. Comedy is rarely honored with nominations especially the broad comedies that McKay usually makes but perhaps the buzz for The Big Short will overpower those sentiments.

Best Picture

When The Dark Knight failed to score a nomination for Best Picture in 2009, which it most certainly deserved, the Academy decided to widen the tent and allow up to Ten films to be eligible for the Best Picture nomination. It doesn’t have to be ten, last year only seven were nominated. Seven is a better number. I feel, while there should be inclusion to allow a film like The Dark Knight to be nominated, there still needs to be exclusion so that films that were good but not great don’t get the nomination just because there’s room now.

This year is very much wide open. There is no clear front runner so the speculation is all over the place. So here is what I believe will be invited to the big dance.

THE BIG SHORT
BRIDGE OF SPIES
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
THE MARTIAN
THE REVENANT
ROOM
SPOTLIGHT
STAR WARS VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS

I don’t think Mad Max really should be here but I am a minority voice in that regard besides, my friend, Charlotte, would kill me if I didn’t include it. Bridge Of Spies is a Spielberg film and even though he won’t be nominated, he is highly respected as is the film and it will garner several technical nominations and best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay. The same thing happened with Spielberg’s War Horse in 2012. I’m taking a chance with Star Wars but it is a phenomenon as well as great film! If Mad max gets in so does Star Wars.

The Wild Cards aren’t so wild really. There’s room for two more accordingly to the new rules so you could see Brooklyn, Carol. Trumbo, The Danish Girl or even The Hateful Eight sneak in. My money would be on Carol.

So there you have it. Good luck to everyone! Let’s see how well I do with my prognosticating skills!

Jack Lemmon is one of my all time favorite actors. We share the same birthday! Below is the clip of Jack winning the Best Actor Academy Award of 1973 for Save The Tiger. He gives a lovely, heartfelt speech. Just wait until you see the other nominees! He references that he had a speech prepared in 1959 but forgot it but no one will ever forget the film for which he was nominated for that year, Some Like It Hot directed by the great Billy Wilder.  Enjoy!