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'The Revenant' to disappoint by dominating: Predicting the 2016 Academy Awards

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Hugh Glass in THE REVENANT (20th Century Fox)

(KUTV) It feels like the Oscars are arriving uncharacteristically late this year as February, once Hollywood's dumping ground for lesser films, has already given us a blockbuster in "Deadpool" and a critical darling in "The Witch." It feels like the Academy Awards should have happened weeks ago.

Nonetheless Hollywood's big day is here and the possibility for surprises is greater than the past few years as numerous categories still feel undecided. I'm already preparing myself for a landslide of disappointment and frustration.

Best Picture

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Current consensus has "The Revenant" as the winner with "The Big Short" as a possible substitute. I liked both films, but neither would be my top choice. Of the films nominated "Mad Max: Fury Road," "Spotlight," "Brooklyn" and "Room" would be more suitable winners.

Best Director

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

Pundits have Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who has become the most adept at telling the world how hard it is to be a director on one of his films, as the winner with George Miller, the deserving candidate, as a long shot. Iñárritu, a fine director to be sure, would be my last choice of the nominees.

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston - Trumbo
Matt Damon - The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant
Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl

I don't think there is a single person out there who really thinks anyone other than Leonardo DiCaprio is going to walk away with the Oscar. You could make strong pushes for either Matt Damon or Michael Fassbender, but DiCaprio and "The Revenant" will win.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett - Carol
Brie Larson - Room
Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
Charlotte Rampling - 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn

DiCaprio is getting all the attention, but the finest performances of the year all come from the Best Actress category where Brie Larson is the unanimous pick for the Oscar. No complains on this front, but everyone should see Saoirse Ronan in "Brooklyn."

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale - The Big Short
Tom Hardy - The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo - Spotlight
Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone - Creed

Sylvester Stallone is set to win Best Supporting Actor with only Mark Rylance getting any other attention. "Creed" was a fantastic film that was underappreciated by the Academy.

Best Supporting Actress

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

All eyes are on Alicia Vikander to win with little to no consideration being given to anyone else. I do think Vikander should win, even if it probably should have been for "Ex Machina" instead, but the race is a whole lot closer in my mind than anyone seems to be suggesting. Winslet, McAdams and Mara are all worthy contenders.

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies - Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, and Joel 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, and Alan Wenkus

Most have "Spotlight" winning here. I'd argue for "Ex Machina" and particularly "Inside Out," but ultimately I do believe that "Spotlight" deserves the Oscar.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short - Adam McKay and Charles Randolph from "The Big Short" by Michael 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

"The Big Short" is the likely winner here, but any and all of the nominated films deserve recognition. "The Big Short" is a fantastic adaptation that transforms fairly dry material into a wildly entertaining drama, but Goddard did similar work with "The Martian" and Donoghue's reworking of her own novel for the screen might have been the most difficult adaptation of them all.

Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa - Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, and Rosa Tran
Boy & the World - Alê Abreu
Inside Out - Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
Shaun the Sheep Movie - Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
When Marnie Was There - Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

"Inside Out" in a landslide of epic proportions, but "Shaun the Sheep Movie" should have been a close second and not a distant afterthought. This might have been the year for "Anomalisa" if it weren't for the competition.

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

"Son of Saul" was crowned months ago. Having seen the rest of the films over the past few weeks I'm certain that "Son of Saul" will win, but this is another category where the field is stronger than it has been given credit for.

Best Documentary Feature

Amy - 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

"Amy" is the clear frontrunner with "What Happened, Miss Simone?" and "The Look of Silence" getting a handful of nods. "Amy" was a very strong film and while the weight of its subject matter might not be as hefty as some of the other entries, it was crafted in such a way that makes it my choice as well.

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

Ennio Morricone is likely to win with John Williams as the dark horse. Considering Morricone's legacy, it would be very difficult for me to argue against him, but Williams did do a fantastic job with "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

Best Original Song

"Earned It" from Fifty Shades of Grey - Music and Lyric by Ahamad Balshe (Belly), Stephan Moccio,Jason "Daheala" Quenneville, Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd)
"Manta Ray" from Racing Extinction - Music by J. Ralph, Lyric by Antony Hegarty
"Simple Song #3" from Youth - Music and Lyric by David Lang
"Til It Happens to You" from The Hunting Ground - Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga and Diane Warren
"Writing's on the Wall" from Spectre - Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

I'm not overwhelmed by the nominees, although "Manta Ray" is an interesting choice that I could get behind. The likely winner is Lady Gaga and Diane Warren's "Til It Happens to You." Hopefully someone will have the sense to keep Intel from sponsoring Gaga's performance.

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road - Mark A. Mangini and David White
The Martian - Oliver Tarney
The Revenant - Martin Hernández and Lon Bender
Sicario - Alan Robert Murray
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Matthew Wood and David Acord

It's a two horse race between "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "The Revenant" with "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" entering the picture at the last minute. Again, I don't want to drone on about how "The Revenant" has become one of the most overrated films in recent memory, but if the film walks away with an armful of trophies don't think history won't look back on 2016 as a year where the Oscars went completely awry.

Best Sound Mixing

Bridge of Spies - Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, and Drew Kunin
Mad Max: Fury Road - Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, and Ben Osmo
The Martian - Paul Massey, Mark Taylor, and Mac Ruth
The Revenant - Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom, and Chris Duesterdiek
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson

Again, this is between "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "The Revenant." Bitterness aside, this should be between "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

Best Production Design

Bridge of Spies - Rena DeAngelo, Bernhard Henrich, and Adam Stockhausen
The Danish Girl - Michael Standish and Eve Stewart
Mad Max: Fury Road - Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson
The Martian - Celia Bobak and Arthur Max
The Revenant - Jack Fisk and Hamish Purdy
"Mad Max: Fury Road" is singled out for this one; deservedly so.

"Mad Max: Fury Road" is expected to win, but "The Revenant" has been building support here as well.

Best Cinematography

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

"The Revenant" is poised to win here and while I do prefer John Seale's work on "Mad Max: Fury Road," I do think Emmanuel Lubezki did a wonderful job.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared - Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
Mad Max: Fury Road - Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin
The Revenant - Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman, and Robert Pandini

"Mad Max: Fury Road" is the likely winner, but "The Revenant" can't be counted out.

Best Costume Design

Carol - Sandy Powell
Cinderella - Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl - Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road - Jenny Beavan
The Revenant - Jacqueline West

A strong category that finds "Cinderella," "Carol" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" fighting it out. "Cinderella" feels like the conventional pick, but I'd still go with "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Best Film Editing

The Big Short - Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road - Margaret Sixel
The Revenant - Stephen Mirrione
Spotlight - Tom McArdle
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Frontrunners seem to be "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "The Big Short." A few weeks ago "Fury Road" felt like a well-deserved lock. I still think "Fury Road" will win, but my confidence is failing.

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina - Mark Williams Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris, and Andrew Whitehurst
Mad Max: Fury Road - Andrew Jackson, Dan Oliver, Andy Williams, and Tom Wood
The Martian - Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence, Richard Stammers, and Steven Warner
The Revenant - Richard McBride, Matt Shumway, Jason Smith, and Cameron Waldbauer
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Chris Corbould, Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, and Neal Scanlan

There's no question that "The Revenant" has a couple great effect scenes, but I'm still in "Mad Max: Fury Road's" corner with "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" as my second. Pundits have "The Revenant" as the clear leader.

Best Documentary Short Subject

Body Team 12 - David Darg and Bryn Mooser
Chau, Beyond the Lines - Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah - Adam Benzine
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness - Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Last Day of Freedom - Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

"Body Team 12" leads with "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" getting some attention.

Best Live Action Short Film

Ave Maria - Eric Dupont and Basil Khalil
Day One - Henry Hughes
Everything Will Be Okay - Patrick Vollrath
Shok - Jamie Donoughue
Stutterer - Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

"Shok" is the frontrunner here, but it is a tight race.

Best Animated Short Film

Bear Story - Pato Escala Pierart and Gabriel Osorio Vargas
Prologue - Imogen Sutton and Richard Williams
Sanjay's Super Team - Nicole Paradis Grindle and Sanjay Patel
We Can't Live Without Cosmos - Konstantin Bronzit
World of Tomorrow - Don Hertzfeldt

"Bear Story" is the most likely, but the short film categories are always difficult to predict.

Follow Ryan on Twitter for entertainment and movie news: @ryanMpainter


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