There is nothing like a race. Most of the years I have been predicting The Oscars and the awards circuit, typically it's narrowed down to two films, or one film is the presumed frontrunner. It’s been fascinating to watch Spotlight lead with critics and the Screen Actors Guild Award, then the momentum shifted to The Big Short with box office and winning the Producers Guild of America (which I might note has matched up with the Oscar best picture 100% of the time since they both adopted the preferential ballot in 2009). Finally, the late-breaking nomineem The Revenant, rushes to the lead winning the Directors Guild of America (Alejando Gonzalez Inarritu making history winning back to back), and then the British equivalent to the Oscars' best picture at BAFTA. So the big question is, which of the three proven frontrunners will cross the finish line first? Or will these frontrunners split the votes and one of the other nominees steal it?
Throughout the evening on Sunday, you are going to see Mad Max: Fury Road (ten total nominations) and The Revenant (12 nominations) go back and forth in the technical nominations. Carol might get lucky and steal a win in costumes (designer Sandy Powell is nominated for her work on Carol and Cinderella), but that could also be a fight between Revenant and Max. In the screenplay categories, you will see the runner-up-best pictures Spotlight and The Big Short win their consolation prize. Once you break it down, The Revenant really seems more like the best picture winner, because what else would Spotlight or The Big Short win? Can you imagine a film winning picture and screenplay and nothing else?
In the top categories, supporting actress will go to first time nominee Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), the “it” girl of 2015. Supporting actor is a tough one, but it looks to be a lifetime achievement honor for Sylvester Stallone (Creed). Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) is the night's biggest slamdunk for best actor, followed by another first time nominee Brie Larson (Room) for best actress.
Early in the evening, when best editing comes up, that’s the one award that can hint to an upset. If you remember back when it was Crash vs. Brokeback Mountain, when Crash stole editing, the tides turned and it predicted the upset for Crash taking best picture. So let’s say Mad Max wins editing, that doesn’t reveal anything. But if The Revenant wins editing, my prediction will be correct. If Spotlight or The Big Short were to shock and get editing, watch out!
With all that being said I think the safe prediction is The Revenant for director and picture. It will also take home cinematography, and I think one of the sound awards. You can find my full predictions over at TexasArtFilm.com or on Twitter or Facebook.