Oscar Predictions 2016 | 88th Academy Awards

88th Academy Awards

Ever since the nominees for the 88th Academy awards surfaced, everyone has been anticipating who is gonna win and who isn’t. Even though the competition seems uneven this year, as many brilliant films missed out on some deserving nominations, we decided to come up with our prediction post. Following the pattern the Oscars usually follow, here is our prediction for the 88th Academy Awards. We have also added a SHOULD WIN category, where we have predicted the winners in a perfect world. Anyway, here you go:

88th Academy Awards: February 28, 2016, 5:30 PM | HostChris Rock

Best Cinematography

Carol | Ed Lachman
The Hateful Eight | Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road  | John Seale
The Revenant  | Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario  | Roger Deakins


In my opinion, this is the most competitive category this year. Ed Lachman shot Carol in 16mm, inspired by the likes of Ruth Orkin, Esther Bubley, Helen Levitt, and Vivian Maier, to give physical grain to every frame, adding another expressive layer. Robert Richardson used Ultra Panavision 70 lenses to bring the suspenseful & violent fate of 8 people on the screen that looks bloody gorgeous. “Western on wheels,” Mad Max; Fury Road had the most innovative and practically done action sequences that will be tough to beat in the coming future, thanks to John Seale, the Panavision boy.

But the real deal is between Roger Deakins (Sicario) & Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant), not that rest three cinematographers are not equally good, but this is the third time  Deakins and Lubezki have faced off. It is interesting to see if Lubezki could repeat his past two times glory to make a hattrick win, or Deakins finally get his maiden Oscar award.

Snub: Adam Arkapaw (Macbeth)
Predicted Winner: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)
Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)
Potential Spoiler: Roger Deakins (Sicario)

Also, Read – One of the most Competitive Categories at the 88th Academy Awards: Best Cinematography

Best Picture

Spotlight | Dir. Tom McCarthy
The Big Short | Dir. Adam McKay
The Revenant | Dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu
Mad Max: Fury Road | Dir. George Miller
The Martian | Dir. Ridley Scott
Bridge of Spies | Dir. Steven Spielberg
Brooklyn | Dir. John Crowley
Room | Dir. Lenny Abrahamson


Let’s just say that Room, Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies, and The Martian are good films but not at all serious contenders, and what I meant was that they are not serious threats to other stronger & better films in the category. It is interesting to see that The Revenant has emerged victorious, beating hot favorite ‘Spotlight’ at most of the Awards Ceremony. And, ‘The Big Short’ winning the Producers Guild Awards-2016 makes this category even more unpredictable. Still, Spotlight looks hot favorite, though I would pick ‘The Big Short’ over it.

Snub: Carol
Predicted Winner: Spotlight
Should Win: The Big Short
Potential Spoiler: The Revenant

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina  | Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington, and Sara Bennett
The Martian |  Chris Lawrence, Anders Langlands, Richard Stammers, and Steven Warner
The Revenant | Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith, and Cameron Waldbauer
Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, Chris Corbould


If we have a look at the winners of Best Visual Effects in the previous five years, it will be clear that Academy awards have been in favor of Sci-Fi films (Interstellar, Gravity, Inception) or visual effects boosting films like (Avatar, Life of Pi, and Hugo). Now, given that The Martian is sci-fi, chances are it should win. But, IMHO, Ex Machina, which is also indie sci-fi, deserves more than any other nominated films on this list. Though Star Wards: The Force Awakens looks like a hot favorite for now, why not? Star Wars fans have been waiting for it.

Snub: The Walk
Predicted Winner: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Should Win: Ex Machina
Potential Spoiler: Ex Machina

Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa | Dir. Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
Boy and the World  | Dir. Alê Abreu
Inside Out  | Dir.  Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
When Marnie Was There  | Dir. Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Shaun the Sheep  | Dir. Mark Burton, Richard Starzak


Boy and The World were not there on the map at all. Not even a single film journalist or critic saw it coming. When it was announced as a nomination in the Animated category, I felt like it was just a filler to have five nominations. But, Oh boy! What a brilliant film it is. It emerged as one of my favorite animated films of recent times, and I personally would love for this film receives the golden statue. Alas, that will be just a dream. Shaun of The Sheep is the weakest nominated film in the category, and it stands no chance even to come close as a “potential competitor”; forget about a threat. Inside out, upon its release, was unanimously & beforehand hailed as the Best Animated Film, and why it should not. It boasts original ideas with a sense of adventure that can be enjoyed by the most passive, emotionless being. It felt like nothing could come close to “Inside out” as a threat.  Charlie Kaufman’s R-rated animated film “Anomalisa” not only made the cut as the first R -rated film to be nominated in the category, but also it boosts the original idea that has colossal substance. 

Snub: None
Predicted Winner: Inside Out
Should Win: Boy and the World
Potential Spoiler: Anomalisa

Best Original Song

Earned It” | Fifty Shades of Grey
Manta Ray” | Racing Extinction

Simple Song #3” | Youth
Til It Happens To You“| The Hunting Ground
Writings on the Wall” | Spectre

No song in the Simple Song#3 category renders profound emotional depth to the story.  That song has been composed quite beautifully, which can melt even a stone heart. That is all; freeze it here itself.

Snub: It’s My Turn, “Dope”
Predicted Winner: Simple Song #3
Should Win: Simple Song #3
Potential Spoiler: Earned It

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh | The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara | Carol
Rachel McAdams | Spotlight
Alicia Vikander | The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet | Steve Jobs


Before the nominations were announced for Best Supporting Actress, many hailed Jennifer Jason Leigh’s performance in QT’s ‘The Hateful Eight’ as the sure-shot winner. Until Golden Globe gave a blow to all the fans of ‘Daisy,’ and ‘Jennifer Leigh. Kate Winslet was surprised to win the award. After that, nothing seemed in favor of the pre-award season’s hot favorite, it just went downhill.   Kate Winslet seems to have momentum and is likely to win her second Academy award.

Surprisingly, Rooney Mara (Carol) & Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) played lead characters in their film and were nominated in Supporting Category, making their chances of winning a little dubious. Having said that, Rooney Mara should win the award for her restrained & subtle performance. The critical choice was to cast an actress to play Therese who could match Cate’s splendid performance, and Rooney Mara did it. Mara keeps you guessing about her character’s next move until midway. Her alienation is very much notice-worthy. Mara never gives any opportunity to Cate to overshadow her performance and character, she maintains the delicate balance that compliments Cate.

Snub: Jane Fonda, “Youth”
Predicted WinnerKate Winslet
Should Win: Rooney Mara
Potential Spoiler: Jennifer Jason Leigh

Best Film Editing

The Big Short | Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road | Margaret Sixel
Spotlight | Tom McArdle

The Revenant | Stephen Mirrione
Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey


Mad Max: Fury Road clearly seems to be the strongest contender in the technical category, and winning Best Film Editing might not come as a surprise. It was non-stop two hours of action on the acid that was edited so meticulously to give no dull moment in its entire running length. But the exhilarating energy of ‘The Big Short’ might just foil the party for George Miller’s wife, Margaret Sixel,  who has received her first-ever nomination.  The Big Short was equally a fun ride with a dosage of brilliant actors talking about anxiety & anticipation of what led to the 2008 recession. Constant toggling between four main characters have been done quite brilliantly.

Snub: Joe Walker, “Sicario”
Predicted Winner: Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Potential Spoiler: The Big Short

Best Documentary Feature

Amy | Dir. Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
Cartel Land | Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
The Look of Silence | Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
What Happened, Miss Simone? | Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby, and Justin Wilkes
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom |Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor


Amy is quite a powerful documentary based on the tragic story of anarchic and nervy jazz-soul singer Amy Winehouse, with emotional depth but nothing innovative. Amy has picked up Best Documentary at many awards shows, and Amy not winning at the Oscars will be quite a pleasant surprise.  While Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom is definitely a hard-to-watch documentary that documents the atrocity of Mr. Yanukovych during a peaceful protest in Maidan. But it is quite uni-dimensional, which plays against the chances of winning. Cartel Land & What Happened, Miss Simone? are quite docus, but they don’t stand a chance against Amy or the other dark horse ‘The Look of Silence.’ The Look of Silence should win the Best Documentary award, though chances are bleak. Maybe, Academy Jury members will consider locking ‘The Look of Silence’ as a winner on the grounds that it is a companion film to another Oscar-worthy nominated documentary, ‘Act of Killing.’

Snub: Best of Enemies
Predicted WinnerAmy
Should WinThe Look of Silence
Potential SpoilerThe Look of Silence

Best Original Score

Bridge of Spies | Thomas Newman
Carol | Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight | Ennio Morricone
Sicario  | Jóhann Jóhannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens  | John Williams


Carter Burwell has a terrific career starting with the Coen brother’s “Blood Simple,” and continues to work with them up through “Hail,Ceaser!”, and never- yes you heard it right-nominated for Oscar,until now for  “Carol,” Todd Haynes’ period romantic drama. Though, the score enhances melancholic tone of the film, and brilliantly  set up the romantic drama, it will be tough to beat sixth time nominated ‘Ennio Morricone’ & ‘Jóhann Jóhannsson’, who look quite a strong competitor in this category. Heavily-processed and electronically orchestrated,  ‘Jóhann Jóhannsson’ score renders the “haunting & despair” dimension to the film set in a political, economic and legal no-man’s land. Veteran Composer ‘Ennio Morricone’ wildly known for ‘Western Spaghetti’ has scored suspenseful music that spell ‘dread’ & sense of smothering throughout the wilderness of eight strangers locked in haberdashery, and death lurking on them.

Snub : None
Predicted Winner : Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight”
Should Win :  Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight”
Potential Spoiler : Jóhann Jóhannsson,”Sicario”

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies | Matt Charman, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen
Ex Machina | Alex Garland
Inside Out |Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, and Ronnie del Carmen
Spotlight | Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
Straight Outta Compton | Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, andAlan Wenkus


While it is beyond my understanding, what Straight Outta Compton is doing in this category, but question is that will it prove to be a threat. May be. In this year of #OscarsSoWhite, guilt certainly benefits the film.  If Oscar thinks straight (I meant, not taking #OscarSoWhite in the account) Spotlight,Bridge of Spies & Inside Out will be tough competitor here. Spotlight & Bridge of Spies has checks off for familiar boxes. Spotlight seems to be modern version of All the President’s men,this fact might go against it. But, it does bring substance to the writing that makes it compelling watch. Spotlight kinda celebrates the power of writing in expose hidden facts in quite an intriguing manner that makes it strong contender.

Snub :  Paolo Sorrentino , “Youth” and QT, “The Hateful Eight”
Predicted Winner
 : Spotlight
Should WinSpotlight
Potential Spoiler : Bridge of Spies

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale | The Big Short as Michael Burry
Tom Hardy | The Revenant as John Fitzgerald
Mark Ruffalo | Spotlight as Michael Rezendes
Mark Rylance | Bridge of Spies as Rudolf Abel
Sylvester Stallone | Creed as Rocky Balboa


The Academy likes under-dog, and nothing better than return of Rocky on the big screen. Nostalgia! That might entice many voters to ballot in favor of Sylvester Stallone, who stars in a good sequel film that has all the right ingredients to make you root for Stallone. But, is he worthy to win the golden statue ? Naah.  Rylance’s subtle performance in ‘Bridge of Spies’ was better than Stallone. Rylance never let Tom Hanks overshadow him, instead he outshone Hanks and that is an achievement in itself. But, it was Mark Ruffalo’s nuanced performance as a reporter struggling to keep his emotions in check while going after key legal documents, that should actually win Best Supporting Actor.

Snub : Benecio Del Toro,”Sicario”
Predicted Winner : Sylvester Stallone
Should Win : Mark Ruffalo
Potential Spoiler : Mark Rylance

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston | Trumbo as Dalton Trumbo
Matt Damon | The Martian as Mark Watney
Leonardo DiCaprio | The Revenant as Hugh Glass
Michael Fassbender | Steve Jobs as Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne | The Danish Girl as Lili Elbe / Einar Wegener

leonardo caprio the revenant

It is Leo’s Oscar to lose. Leo has won Best Actor Award at all the major Awards Ceremony, and it is certain he will win his first Oscar too. Unless, Jordan Belfort has drugged Academy members, and Dom Cobb has planted an idea that , anyone except Leo should win. The only threat, though not a serious one, is Michael Fassbender who performed quite restrained,letting Aaron Sorkin’s deft script take a charge and making  the character breath Steve Job’s soul. That is an achievement. Bryan Cranston’s performance was the strongest aspect of Trumbo. He hinged all the loose aspect quite well so that film doesn’t fall apart. Eddie Redmayne was fantastic in “The Danish Girl”, his transition felt so natural in the film that you can forgive the film’s badly written third act.

Snub : Ian McKellen
Predicted WinnerLeonardo DiCaprio
Should Win :  Leonardo DiCaprio
Potential SpoilerMichael Fassbender

Oscar Predictions 2016 | Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role 

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short | Adam McKay and Charles Randolph from The Big Short byMichael Lewis
Brooklyn | Nick Hornby from Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
Carol | Phyllis Nagy from The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
The Martian | Drew Goddard from The Martian by Andy Weir
Room |Emma Donoghue from Room by Emma Donoghue


‘Best Picture nominations’ and ‘Screenplay nominations’ generally goes hand in hand, and interestingly it’s been 50 years since a film won the top award without a screenplay nomination. That equation makes Carol a weak nomination. ‘Carol’ comes with lesbian love story wrinkle that goes against it. Room & Brooklyn might prove potential competitor to give tough competition to hot favorite comedy drama , “The Big Short”.

Predicted Winner : The Big Short
Should Win : The Big Short
Potential Spoiler : The Martian

Best Director

Adam McKay | The Big Short
George Miller | Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro G. Iñárritu | The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson | Room
Tom McCarthy | Spotlight


It is a generally seen that the winner of the Best Director also wins the Best Picture award, and it should be like that. Though, there was an exception to it in recent times;  Argo won the Best Picture award, but Ben Affleck was snubbed for Best Director nomination. Probably, we can see the same exception this year too. While Spotlight or The Big Short wins Best Picture trophy, George Miller might walk away with his first Golden statue. George Miller has redefined action genre in the time of CGI dominated action films, with his non stop relentless action sequences. It has been lauded not only for the technical achievements, but also unexpected emotional depth that made characters quite likeable & very relate-able.

Snub : Todd Haynes, “Carol”
Predicted Winner
: George Miller
Should WinGeorge Miller
Potential Spoiler :  Alejandro Inarritu

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett | Carol as Carol Aird
Brie Larson | Room as Joy “Ma” Newsome
Jennifer Lawrence | Joy as Joy Mangano
Charlotte Rampling | 45 Years as Kate Mercer
Saoirse Ronan | Brooklyn as Eilis Lace


Cate Blacnhett is aging like Maryl Streep. She is churning out Oscar worthy performance one after the other. This year too, Cate Blanchett starred in three films (Cinderella, Truth, & Carol) & she “owned” those films. Truth would have been faltered, if not for terrific performance of Cate that kept your engaged till the very end. Though, the momentum is completely in favor of Brie Larson, who locked herself in a room for one month to get into the character. And, after winning awards at SAG, BAFTA, and Golden Globe, it seems like Brie is ‘almost’  locked as a winner. I won’t be surprised if Charlotte Rampling lifts her first Golden statue. She deserves it more than Brie.

Snub : Charlize Theron, “Mad Max : Fury Road”
Predicted Winner
: Brie Larson
Should Win : Cate Blanchett
Potential Spoiler : Cate Blanchett

Best Foreign Language Film

Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia) in Spanish – Ciro Guerra
Mustang (France) in Turkish – Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Son of Saul (Hungary) in Hungarian – László Nemes
Theeb (Jordan) in Arabic – Naji Abu Nowar
A War (Denmark) in Danish – Tobias Lindholm


PS: I have not seen Embrace of the Serpent & Son of Saul. So I am left with three options, and judging based on them doesn’t make sense. Though ill just brief on three films.

Theeb & Mustang are coming of age films, but Theeb doesn’t stand a chance to even qualify as a competitor. Mustang is an anti-fairy tale of five sisters  literally and figuratively imprisoned by Islamic orthodox, that might just tempt for Academy members to vote. Speaking of “A War (Krigen)”, it is an ‘A Separation'(which happens to be my best pick of this decade) of war drama, and that pretty much sums up, why I root for “A War”.

 Snub : Don’t get me started.
Predicted Winner : Son of Saul
Should Win : A War
Potential Spoiler : Mustang

Nafees Ahmed

Either overly obsessed or deeply disinterested. A high functioning procrastinator who passionately writes on films. Juggling with passion, dreams, heartaches, career, survival and pissing on life.