Spoiler alert: white people win. Shocker, right? Poignant racial tensions aside, 2016’s Oscar nominees were a rather uninspired bunch; not that any were truly awful choices, but rather there is a distinct lack of diversity, with multiple big films hogging the nominations whilst Beasts of No Nation got criminally snubbed. Regardless of how worthy some nominees are (seriously, why is Jennifer Lawrence in there?), the fight for the major categories is one of the tightest in recent years, well worth heading to the bookies for.
This is certainly prevalent in the Best Actress category. Claustrophobic drama Room could gain Brie Larson her first win, though others argue Saoirse Ronan’s transformation in Brooklyn could do the same. The award for Animated Feature is also an even race, with Pixar’s hit Inside Out leading the pack, but immediately followed by the stunning Anomalisa and Studio Ghibli’s potential final film, When Marnie Was There. Visual Effects is a similarly close call between The Force Awakens and The Martian, the latter likely to nab Adapted Screenplay and a few technical awards. Original Screenplay is a battle of the underdogs as Straight Outta Compton and Ex Machina attempt to take on potential big winner Spotlight, a true story on uncovering Catholic priest controversy that the Academy love to prey upon.
“Poignant racial tensions aside, 2016’s Oscar nominees were a rather uninspired bunch”
This year is not without its deadlocks though; Ennio Morricone’s triumphant return is sure to win Best Score for The Hateful Eight, and Sylvester Stallone similarly seems to be favourite for Supporting Actor after donning the Rocky persona once more in Creed. Lady Gaga’s haunting ‘Til It Happens To You’ from The Hunting Ground is set to crush Sam Smith’s abysmal Bond tune for Best Song, Amy is without question Best Documentary, and the snubbed Sicario could likewise earn twelve-time nominee Roger Deakins his first statue for Cinematography, but it’ll be tough for him to top Emmanuel Lubezki’s current streak. And though ignored for Ex Machina, Alicia Vikander is set to win Supporting Actress in the more prevalent Danish Girl.
We were all a bit shell shocked to see Mad Max: Fury Road get 10 nominations, the grumpy old Oscar panel trying to ‘get down’ with the cool kids. Of course it’s truly deserving of each nod, and is set to be the biggest winner of the night. Costumes, editing, makeup, production design, sound; it’s almost certain to dominate the technical categories. It’s also possible for George Miller to take Best Director, but this will probably go to Alejandro G. Iñárritu for the Best Picture favourite, The Revenant, making it two wins in a row after last year’s Birdman. However it’s important to remember the Academy aren’t always keen on giving awards consecutively, so we can’t rule out financial crash comedy The Big Short, Spotlight, or even the ‘mainstream’ Fury Road just yet.
“Lady Gaga’s haunting ‘Til It Happens To You’ from The Hunting Ground is set to crush Sam Smith’s abysmal Bond tune for Best Song”
Last but not least, Leo looks to finally win Best Actor after years of being our favourite award season meme in The Revenant. He took method acting to the max by wrestling that bear, and the Academy probably feel bad for trolling him for so long. It’s a pity win if there ever was one – let’s hope his Departed co-star Matt Damon can dash his dreams once more for The Martian.