Gateway Gazette

Reel Reflections: My Guesses for Oscar Night

By E. P. Whinters

oscarsBest Picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

I felt these were all excellent films, each exemplary in their own way. My gut says that The Revenant is going to take Best Picture this year, but I can’t say that it was my ‘favourite’ film. As I wrote on Friday, the detail to the story in this film is amazing, the film as a whole is a testament to all the artists and actors involved in bringing this story to the screen. Having said that, if there is an upset, I think it will go to either Spotlight or The Big Short, probably the former before the latter. Spotlight is so well done and is on a topic that I think Hollywood supports and since The Big Short is in part about greed and ignorance, voters likely will side more with the message/themes of Spotlight over those in The Big Short.

Best Director

Alejandro Inarritu, The Revenant

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

I think Inarritu is going to pull off back-to-back wins, last year and this year, first time in history. To be honest, I don’t like that, and really do wish that George Miller would get the Oscar for his amazing work on Mad Max. From a directing standpoint, these two are the top, and only because it is my personal opinion that Inarritu is a bit too ‘big for his britches’ do I say that I prefer Miller over him.

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Matt Damon, The Martian

Yeah, I think this is Leo’s year (finally!), and I really don’t think he has much competition, other than perhaps Fassbender. When I look at an actor’s presentation, I look for an arc, a change from start to finish, and that the viewer is privy to this, demonstrated through all means of visual and auditory possible, and getting the viewer to empathize along with him. I did not see Fassbender’s presentation of Steve Jobs, but heard he was excellent. The only other one I saw was Matt Damon’s portrayal, and though he was good, it was not near as strong nor as powerful as DiCaprio’s. Ego aside, he really is an excellent actor and definitely deserves it.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

I have only seen two of these performances, and though I disagree, I know many will be glad – I think Brie Larson will get this award. I go back to what I said about acting earlier – about the arc and feeling and believing the journey of the actor. I, personally, did not feel this with Larson. I somewhat saw it, but it was through her son’s eyes, not through hers, and his ignorance to reality because of his age, shaded my connection with her. I loved his performance and almost empathized more with him than with her! Personally, I was impressed most with Ronan’s performance in Brooklyn better – her eyes told a million stories and empathy with her journey into the new was easy. (I wonder if my appreciation for one over the other has anything to do with being without a child, myself, yet having journeyed into the new is something I have done? Maybe because I have walked Ronan’s steps and not Larson’s as a parent, I gravitated to one over the other?)

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

This is an interesting guess – I have seen all the performances, except for one, and have been very impressed with what I have seen. And, I’m going to guess the actor I have not seen, Sly Stallone, will get his Golden Boy this year. From what I have heard, his portrayal was as if you were watching Rocky, not Stallone – all his thoughts, regrets, losses, everything that goes through your head when you get to the end of your life. Granted, Sly is Rocky, his creation, his portrayal, his alter-ego. He has come full circle, and I think the Academy will honour Stallone’s gift to film history. (I do want to say, if he does get upset, I hope it’s by Mark Rylance – he was awesome, in so many ways!)

Best Supporting Actress

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

This is the most difficult guess for me, as I have only seen one of the nominees. From what I heard, the Oscar will likely go to Alicia Vikander, with maybe an upset by Kate Winslet. I loved Rachel McAdams in Spotlight, but from the clips I’ve seen, even Rooney Mara seems a stronger contender. I put my guess with Vikander, long shot for me though it is.

So, there it is. My guesses for this year on the top awards. Let’s see how close to the truth I end up being! Again, The Academy Awards air Sunday, February 28th at 6:30pm on CTV. If you’re interested: Canada’s etalk at the Oscars starts at 4:00 and Live from the Red Carpet at 5:00.

I will continue with another review every other week, starting March 11th. I invite you to continue to share with me as I continue to reflect on movies, some current releases, some Netflix viewings, some TV presentations. Film is a beautiful art form, drawing the viewer in to a story, one that (if the director is good) will resonate some truth within the viewer: perhaps teaching us, likely challenging us, but definitely taking us on a ride. And every other week, I invite you to join me on my Reel Reflection ride!

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