2016 Oscars: Nominations Predictions

In recent years, an intriguing-yet-frustrating trend for Oscar prognosticators has emerged during awards season. It is possible that Hollywood no longer lives in the era of a film receiving a substantial number of nominations or raking in upwards of ten gold statuettes. We have not seen the brooms come out on Oscar night the way they did in 2003 when The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won all eleven categories for which it was nominated. Instead, the Academy has opted to spread the love around, perhaps recognizing the diverse variety of Oscar-worthy films and selectively identifying categories to recognize a certain film. This democratization of awards has resulted in the past four Best Picture winners (The Artist, Argo, 12 Years a Slave, Birdman) winning only five, three, three, and four Oscars, respectively. In each of these years, these Best Picture winners either tied or trailed another film for the most Oscar wins.

Hopefully what this means for future award seasons is that, though there will always be the heavyweight contenders in most categories, audiences will discover new talent and seek out more films than they would before. This could be most evident when the nominations for the male acting categories (both Lead and Supporting) are announced. They are the most wide-open categories this year and will likely break the most Oscar pool ballots. Also, with standout performances in The Danish Girl and Ex Machina, it remains a mystery for which film and in which category (Lead or Supporting) Alicia Vikander will be nominated. Along with what is considered the six major categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor), I have included predictions for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay, and perhaps one day I will include predictions for all 24 categories. Full disclosure: once again I have not followed the race as closely this year, nor have I seen every film included in my predictions. Also, by no means do these predictions below represent my personal best films/performances of the year. I will publish my Top Ten Films of 2015 closer to Oscar Sunday. With that, here are my predictions for the nominees—in alphabetical order—in these eight top categories, and be sure to watch the announcement of the nominees live tomorrow morning at 5:30am PST / 7:30am CT at Oscar.com.

Best Picture

The Big Short


Bridge of Spies


Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant




Best Director

Todd Haynes – Carol

Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant

Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

Ridley Scott – The Martian


Best Actress

Cate Blanchett – Carol

Brie Larson – Room

Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years


Best Actor

Bryan Cranston – Trumbo

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Matt Damon – The Martian

Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl


Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara – Carol

Rachel McAdams – Spotlight

Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs


Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale – The Big Short

Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation

Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone – Creed

Jacob Tremblay – Room


Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short




Steve Jobs


Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

The Hateful Eight

Inside Out





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