I am a movie fan — pure and simple. I have even been known to take movie vacations, where I catch up on movies and see one every day. One of my favorite things is predicting who will win at the Academy Awards. It is not just about whether a performance was better than others, but you have to factor in such things as have they won before, are they or the movie too popular, have they been overlooked before, and so on. This is one of the most open fields in years. Here are my picks for the Top Six Awards.
Best Actor (Bryan Cranston “Trumbo,” Matt Damon “The Martian,” Leonardo DiCaprio “The Revenant,” Michael Fassbender “Steve Jobs,” Eddie Redmayne “The Danish Girl”) Eddie won last year for the “The Theory of Everything.” Matt Damon has won an Oscar before, but for screenplay not for acting. Bryan Cranston has his first nomination after his successful run on “Breaking Bad.” Leonardo has never won an Oscar. He is overdue. It’s his race to lose. Final choice: Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Actress (Cate Blanchett “Carol,” Brie Larson “Room,” Jennifer Lawrence “Joy,” Charlotte Rampling “45 Years,” Saoirse Ronan “Brooklyn”) 2 previous Oscar winners here: Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence — and its’ too soon for them to repeat. That leaves an industry veteran (Rampling) and 2 sort-of newcomers. Brie Larson has the heat. Final choice: Brie Larson
Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale “The Big Short,” Tom Hardy “The Revenant,” Mark Ruffalo “Spotlight,” Mark Rylance “Bridge of Spies,” Sylvester Stallone “Creed”) One previous winner (Bale) and one previous nominee Stallone (“Rocky”). Tom Hardy is coming off a great year with Mad Max, Legend and The Revenant. Mark Ruffalo is a consistent performer who can go between smaller movies and The Avengers franchise. But oddsmakers are saying it is Stallone’s to lose. Final choice: Sylvester Stallone
Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight,” Rooney Mara “Carol,” Rachel McAdams “Spotlight,” Alicia Vikander “The Danish Girl,” Kate Winslet “Steve Jobs”) Kate Winslet is the only previous winner here. Rooney was previously nominated for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The race is betweem McAdams amd Vikander for me. Vikander is a newcomer who has had a great year (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl). Final choice: Alicia Vikander
Best Director (Adam McKay, “The Big Short,” George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Alejandro Inarritu, “The Revenant,” Lenny Abrahamson, “Room,” Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”) Inarritu won last year for Birdman, so it is may be too soon to repeat. Even though the film looks beautiful and was a tough shoot, it is still a bit of a downer. Tom McCarthy made a movie about journalism exciting. This seems to be a fight between Inarritu and Miller, but since Inarritu won the DGA award, he will most likely win again this year. Final choice: Alejandro Inarritu
Best Picture (The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight) What an interesting batch of films! You have real-life stories versus book adaptations versus one all-out action film. Comedy doesn’t seem to play well with a best picture winner. For that reason, I think The Martian and The Big Short are out. Ditto for action, sorry Mad Max. So that leaves Bridge of Spies, Room, Brooklyn and The Revenant. Room is too small a movie. Brooklyn is not substantial enough. What I have observed is that movies with a lot of choice acting roles often win. The Revenant has 2 main roles, and is often wordless during it’s run. But with many great speaking roles, and the importance of the subject matter, I am picking Spotlight. Final choice: Spotlight
Those are my picks. If you think differently, then please sound off in the comments. And if you win big in an Oscar pool, please let me know too.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and more.