Oscar Sunday 2016 | My Picks

2016 Oscar nominees for Best Picture

It seems like sharing my Oscar favorites has become a yearly tradition at this point (you can see my 2015 post here, and 2014 post here), so here I am talking about my picks for the 88th Academy Awards. Just to clarify, these are NOT predictions - I'm talking about my personal favorites in this post. And like before, I'm going to be skipping some categories either because I'm not as interested in them, or because I haven't seen most of the films (one of these categories is Foreign Film—I loved Son of Saul, and I will be rooting for it, but it's the only film I've seen in that category). I will also be talking about snubs for pretty much every category.

Mad Max: Fury Road poster

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

The Nominees: Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury RoadThe MartianThe RevenantStar Wars: The Force Awakens

All stunning looking films with great visual effects, but for me, it comes down to Star Wars and Fury Road. Because of my love for practical effects and the sheer overload of awesomeness, I have to go with Mad Max: Fury Road—I would love to see amazing practical effects get recognized.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Nominees: Bridge of Spies, The Danish GirlMad Max: Fury RoadThe MartianThe Revenant

This isn't a category I would normally care that much about, but I would like to take a moment to say that the true winner here isn't even nominated. Of course, I'm talking about Crimson Peak—a film in which the production design is pretty much a character in itself.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Nominees: Thomas Newman for Bridge of Spies, Carter Burwell for Carol, Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight, Jóhann Jóhannson for Sicario, John Williams for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I don't even have anything to discuss here, Ennio Morricone's score is undeniably the best of the year.

Steve Jobs poster

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Nominees: Adam McKay, and Charles Randolph for The Big Short, Nick Hornby for Brooklyn, Phyllis Nagy for Carol, Drew Goddard for The Martian, Emma Donahue for Room

Every year there is a Oscar snub that I don't see coming. The one where the person (or film) not getting nominated isn't even a thought in my mind because I'm certain they will actually win. Last year it was Jake Gyllenhaal as Best Actor for Nightcrawler. This year it's Aaron Sorkin for Best Adapted Screenplay for Steve Jobs. I don't even understand what happened. Take out Phyllis Nagy for Carol, put in Aaron Sorkin, give him the Oscar. 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Nominees: Matt Charman, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen for Bridge of Spies, Alex Garland for Ex Machina, Bob Petersen, and Pete Docter for Inside Out, Tom McCarthy, and Josh Singer for Spotlight, Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus for Straight Outta Compton

First of all, I would take out Bridge of Spies and put in Quentin Tarantino for The Hateful Eight instead. I was pretty surprised he wasn't nominated, despite this not being my favorite Tarantino film - I still really enjoyed it, particularly because of the writing. As for my pick, I'm going with Alex Garland for Ex Machina—a wonderful, intelligent, and very re-watchable sci-fi film. Brilliant screenplay!

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

The Nominees: AmyCartel Land, The Look of Silence, What Happened, Miss Simone?, Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom

I've been catching up on the documentaries lately, and I have to say, these are all very strong contenders. The only one I am yet to see is The Look of Silence, but it sounds like a really powerful film as well. Though Amy is a favorite for a lot of people, for me it's between Cartel Land and Winter on Fire—both are incredible, dark, informative, and tough to watch. I'm going to let myself be a little biased for this one and go with Winter on Fire.

Son of Saul poster

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Nominees: Edward Lachmann for Carol, Robert Richardson for The Hateful Eight, John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road, Roger Deakins for Sicario, Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant

This category has me in all kinds of inner turmoil. First of all, all of the nominees are here for a reason - these films are shot beautifully. I also believe that Adam Arkapaw belongs in this category for Macbeth because every frame of that film is art, and Mátyás Erdély should have been here for Son of Saul. If I absolutely had to pick someone to take out, I would probably have to go with Carol and The Hateful Eight. My choice of the winner here is Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant though.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The Nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight, Rooney Mara for Carol, Rachel McAdams for Spotlight, Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl, Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs

Let me address the whole Alicia Vikander thing for a second. Her work in The Danish Girl belongs in the Best Actress category, and she should have had a second nomination here for Ex Machina. I was also surprised to see that Helen Mirren wasn't nominated for Trumbo. The winner for me is Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight—her performance is definitely the standout of this category.

The Hateful Eight poster

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

The Nominees: Christian Bale for The Big Short, Tom Hardy for The Revenant, Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight, Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies, Sylvester Stallone for Creed

Let me just rewrite the nominees here because I don't even know what's happening in this category. Take out Christian Bale, Mark Rylance, and Sylvester Stallone (sorry, but there were stronger performances - give this man a lifetime achievement award instead). Put in Benicio Del Toro for Sicario, Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation, and Walton Goggins for The Hateful Eight. Keeping Mark Ruffalo and Tom Hardy. Ah, now that's much better! I'll be rooting for Tom Hardy because his performance in The Revenant was outstanding.

BEST ACTRESS

The Nominees: Cate Blanchett for Carol, Brie Larson for Room, Jennifer Lawrence for Joy, Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years, Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn

Do we just nominate Jennifer Lawrence every year now whether it's necessary or not? Because I can't fathom why she was nominated this year. There is nothing wrong with her performance in Joy but it's not her best work either. Instead Alicia Vikander should be nominated here for The Danish Girl. Either way, this award belongs to Brie Larson for her fantastic performance in Room. Between you and me though, I wouldn't mind this going to Saoirse Ronan either—loved her in Brooklyn.

BEST ACTOR

The Nominees: Bryan Cranston for Trumbo, Matt Damon for The Martian, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant, Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs, Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl

Let's take this one apart as well, shall we? Take out Eddie Redmayne and Bryan Cranston. Put in Samuel L. Jackson for The Hateful Eight, and Jacob Tremblay for Room. I would have loved to see Johnny Depp in this category as well for Black Mass, but the only person left to take out is Matt Damon, and he was so perfect as Mark Watney. I know there are some people out there who think Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't deserve the Oscar for The Revenant, but I think he absolutely does. Though he didn't have much dialogue to work with, he made up for it with a more physical performance.

BEST DIRECTOR

The Nominees: Adam McKay for The Big Short, George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road, Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant, Lenny Abrahamson for Room, Tom McCarthy for Spotlight

First of all, I would take out Adam McKay for The Big Short (even though I actually really enjoyed that movie) becuase I think László Nemes should definitely have been in this category for Son of Saul. Second, I'm incredibly conflicted here between George Miller and Alejandro González Iñárritu. If you've seen my Top 10 Movies of 2015 video, you know my favorite movie of the year was Mad Max: Fury Road... But The Revenant is a close second, and part of me wants to see Iñárritu win two years in a row. I'll be happy with either of those two winning, but I may be leaning towards George Miller.

Mad Max Fury Road guitar gif

BEST PICTURE

The Nominees: The Big ShortBridge of SpiesBrooklynMad Max: Fury RoadThe MartianThe RevenantRoomSpotlight

Now, I'm definitely one of those people who think Best Director and Best Picture should be about the same film. I actually think this should be one category, and the director should get the Oscar for Best Picture. So with that logic in mind, my opinion about this category echoes what I said about Best Director: either The Revenant or Mad Max: Fury Road would make me happy, though I'm leaning towards Mad Max. I do think that all 10 spots should have been used, since it's an option. Take out The Big Short (I promise I really liked that movie, I just don't think it's movie of the year) and Bridge of Spies, put in Son of Saul, Straight Outta Compton, Ex Machina, and Sicario

Will you be watching the Oscars this year? What are some of your picks?