So, here we are again. With the Oscars drawing ever nearer to us, it’s time for the expected tradition of me throwing out my opinions of who should win and who will win. (Please note: I haven’t seen all of the nominees, but I have seen quite a few this year.) So without any further delay, let’s get cracking!
Should: Leonardo DiCaprio. It isn’t just the bear attack, or the bison liver. Leo’s performance in “The Revenant” was one of the most visceral in a long time, and it’s the rawest performance that he’s been able to put across in awhile, if possibly ever. Of the ones I’ve seen, Leo stands out like the gashes on his body in the movie. In fact, Leo’s performance was such a force of nature that the Oscar is practically at his doorstep.
Will: Leo. Which is pretty much a sure thing. The Internet may or may not have had some influence in this, but the momentum is clearly with him this year. At least when he wins, all of those horrible jokes about Leo not getting an Oscar will cease.
Should: Brie Larson. Like Leo, Larson’s performance in “Room” was visceral and raw. She bleeds emotion in this movie, and this is her breakthrough role. Of the one’s I’ve seen, there is no competition. We should expect to see a lot more of this gifted actress for years to come.
Will: Larson. Also like Leo, she has the momentum on her side. If she doesn’t win, it will be a tremendous upset.
Best Supporting Actor
Should: Idris Elba. I’m never going to apologize for this. Although there are some good performances that I have seen (like Tom Hardy and Christian Bale), Elba’s powerful and charismatic turn as a commandant of a rebel army that slaughters innocent people in “Beasts of No Nation” is clearly one of the best performances of last year. But despite the nominations by the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (the latter of which Elba actually), the movie and Elba in particular got completely shut out by the Academy, and they have no plausible excuse. #OscarsSoWhite.
Will: Stallone. He won the Golden Globe. The Academy loves to hand out awards to actors who have failed to be recognized for previous achievements, often in their golden years (see Alan Arkin in “Little Miss Sunshine”). Plus, the Globes provided him with the momentum to stand out in a field that doesn’t particularly stand out this year. Of course, if Elba got a nomination in the first place, we wouldn’t be in this situation.
Best Supporting Actress
Should: This one’s a tossup. Of the two I’ve seen, Kate Winslet gave her best performance in a long while in “Steve Jobs”, but Jennifer Jason Leigh also gave an incredible performance in “The Hateful Eight”. Between those two, I can’t decide who deserves to win.
Will: Again, it’s a tossup. Winslet won the Globe, but Alicia Vikander won the SAG Award for her turn in “The Danish Girl”. It’s anyone’s guess who will win.
Should: … I can’t decide. I’ve seen most of the nominees, but some should win for entirely different reasons. “The Revenant” should win for its technical brilliance and the stunning technique shown on display in that movie. “Room” should win for being perhaps the most emotionally powerful movie from last year. “The Big Short” should win simply because it’d be great to see how everyone reacts when a film about the economic crisis from several years ago wins, and if that would change the election at all. All in all, there are too many good movies for there to be a solid winner.
Will: “The Revenant.” Although the awards have been pretty spread out amongst the contenders, “The Revenant” has the momentum. With Leo’s Oscar all but in the bag, the movie should follow suit. Unless there’s a late surge that shifts the tide towards another movie, it seems fairly reasonable that this epic will win big on Sunday night.
So, there it is. This year’s ceremony will be inevitably tarnished by the Academy’s despicable refusal to recognize actors and actresses of color, except for recognizing one director of color. Somehow, they replicated the feat they accomplished this year, down to Alejandro González Iñárritu being the only person of color getting a nomination in those categories. So, you’ll either now watch it, watch it albeit with reservations, or watch it just to see how much of a burn Chris Rock will give the Academy. No matter what happens, the red carpet awaits.