Sunday, February 26, 2017

La Dee Da: Oscar Predix, 2016



Tonight's Oscars are generally much less exciting or interesting than last year's, where there was an actual horse race for Best Picture. This year, it's all about La La Land and, to a lesser degree, about the Oscars atoning for last year's #OscarsSoWhite debacle; up to three acting categories could go to actors of color, and this is only the fourth time a black director has been nominated, and potentially the third time a black screenwriter will win.

And in the first months of the Trump administration, there is a good deal of speculation about what this Oscars ceremony "means," to what degree politics will enter the fray, and whether awards shows have the capacity or obligation to discuss larger political conflicts.

With La La Land poised to win over half a dozen Oscars, including Picture and Director, it's worth remembering the last time a musical won the top prize: At the 2003 ceremony, Chicago won Picture and five other Oscars. Those Academy Awards took place five days after the U.S. invaded Iraq. Michael Moore won Best Documentary and ranted against the President; people booed. Roman Polanski surprisingly won Best Director; people gave him a standing ovation (he was of course absent, living as a fugitive in Europe).  It's worth remembering, in other words, that the Oscars' politics are complicated and contradictory; at the end of the day, this is a voting body that still prides itself on making safe choices in the middle, rather than venturing out of its comfort zone.

Should La La Land win the most, and win the show, tonight, it won't be anything new. It will be the Academy doing what it does best: playing it safe, and playing it to be well-liked.

Expect all political interjections to be as awkward and forced as the teleconferencing of First Lady Obama announcing Best Picture in 2013.

Win Summaries:
La La Land: 9, including Picture and Director
Moonlight: 2
Fences: 2
Manchester by the Sea: 1
Hacksaw Ridge: 1
Zootopia: 1
O.J. Made in America: 1
The Salesman: 1


Best Picture

"Arrival" 
"Fences" 
"Hacksaw Ridge" 
"Hell or High Water" 
"Hidden Figures" 
"La La Land" 
"Lion" 
"Manchester by the Sea" 
"Moonlight" 
Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: Moonlight
Reasoning: La La Land won the Globes and the DGA; it has the most nominations, and it has all the buzz. Should it lose, it would be the first time a film nominated for 14 Oscars lost Picture. While there have been some passionate arguments made for Hidden Figures and Moonlight, it's all just in the spirit of drumming up the veneer of a conflict. The more interesting story is how much La La Land will win. Since the Oscars have moved to the weighted ballots in 2010, the film that wins the most usually doesn't win Picture: Gravity won 7, Hugo 5, Mad Max Fury Road 6, Life of Pi 5. The voting body has moved towards giving smaller films (Spotlight, Birdman, 12 Years a Slave, Argo) the top prize, while doting on a "favorite" in the technical categories. This year would potentially reverse, or at least complicate, that recent trend.


Performance by an actor in a leading role
Casey Affleck in "Manchester by the Sea"
    Andrew Garfield in "Hacksaw Ridge"
    Ryan Gosling in "La La Land"
    Viggo Mortensen in "Captain Fantastic"
    Denzel Washington in "Fences"
    Will Win: Denzel Washington
    Could Win: Casey Affleck
    Reasoning: Affleck won the Globe, and Washington won the SAG. Both are in Best Picture nominees; Washington's won two Oscars while Affleck's won zero. Affleck feels like a soft favorite here, but you can really just flip a coin. Multiple Oscar pools will be decided by this category.

    Performance by an actor in a supporting role
    Mahershala Ali in "Moonlight"
    Jeff Bridges in "Hell or High Water"
    Lucas Hedges in "Manchester by the Sea"
    Dev Patel in "Lion"
    Michael Shannon in "Nocturnal Animals"
    Will Win: Mahershala Ali
    Could Win: Jeff Bridges
    Reasoning: As much as I want to see Michael Shannon win an Oscar, there's no real denying the buzz and momentum behind Ali, who is the spiritual glue holding much of Moonlight together (even though he only appears in a small amount of the film). He should easily, and deservedly, win this.

    Performance by an actress in a leading role
    Isabelle Huppert in "Elle"
    Ruth Negga in "Loving"
    Natalie Portman in "Jackie"
    Emma Stone in "La La Land"
    Meryl Streep in "Florence Foster Jenkins"
    Will Win: Emma Stone
    Could Win: Isabelle Huppert
    Reasoning: Stone's win feels weird to me here given the roster of talent, but she's been positioned for this win since before the Globes. Stone's going to get the "breakout Oscar" that often goes to younger actresses.

    Performance by an actress in a supporting role
    Viola Davis in "Fences"
    Naomie Harris in "Moonlight"
    Nicole Kidman in "Lion"
    Octavia Spencer in "Hidden Figures"
    Michelle Williams in "Manchester by the Sea"
    Will Win: Viola Davis
    Could Win: Michelle Williams
    Reasoning: They owe her.

    Best animated feature film of the year
    "Kubo and the Two Strings" 
    "Moana"
    "My Life as a Zucchini" 
    "The Red Turtle" 
    "Zootopia" 
    Will Win: Zootopia
    Could Win: Kubo and the Two Strings

    Achievement in cinematography
    "Arrival" 
    "La La Land" 
    "Lion" 
    "Moonlight" 
    "Silence" 
    Will Win: La La Land
    Could Win: Moonlight
    Reasoning: This category has increasingly recognized complex camera movements (Lubezki's back-to-back wins), rather than composition or lighting. La La Land seems like it will win on the strength of its opening number alone. Having said that, I would be happier to see the beautifully constructed Moonlight or Silence take this.

    Achievement in costume design
    "Allied" 
    "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" 
    "Florence Foster Jenkins"
    "Jackie" 
    "La La Land" 
    Will Win: Jackie
    Could Win: La La Land
    Reasoning: Given the choice between period piece or contemporary piece, always pick period.

    Achievement in directing
    "Arrival" - Denis Villeneuve
    "Hacksaw Ridge" - Mel Gibson
    "La La Land" - Damien Chazelle
    "Manchester by the Sea" - Kenneth Lonergan
    "Moonlight" - Barry Jenkins
    Will Win: Damien Chazelle
    Could Win: Barry Jenkins
    Reasoning: Interestingly, Picture and Director have split: Traditionally united, they have only matched 50% of the time over the last six years. Because of this, some folks see a window for Barry Jenkins to get recognition. I don't really see that happening; unlike last year's The Revenant, La La Land seems to be generally loved by the Academy, rather than "only" respected.

    Best documentary feature
    "Fire at Sea" 
    "I Am Not Your Negro" 
    "Life, Animated" 
    "O.J.: Made in America" 
    "13th" 
    Will Win: O.J. Made in America
    Could Win: 13th
    Reasoning: Giving this to 13th would be perceived as a way to "make things up" to Ava Duvernay after snubbing her for Selma a few years back, but it seems hard to deny the larger appeal and titanic accomplishment of O.J.

    Achievement in film editing
    "Arrival"
    "Hacksaw Ridge" 
    "Hell or High Water" 
    "La La Land" 
    "Moonlight" 
    Will Win: La La Land
    Could Win: Arrival
    Reasoning: The cutting in La La Land doesn't feel nearly as strong as basically every other entry in this category. I would love to see the time-twisting cross-cutting from Arrival win this; this category, if it's early enough in the evening, will be an interesting test to see how wide the support is for La La Land.

    Best foreign language film of the year
    "Land of Mine" 
    "A Man Called Ove" 
    "The Salesman" 
    "Tanna" 
    "Toni Erdmann"
    Will Win: The Salesman
    Could Win: Toni Erdmann
    Reasoning: The Executive Orders on immigration have drastically changed this category, and made it the "political focus" of the evening. Iran's The Salesman will likely win this as the evening's major "statement."

    Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
    "A Man Called Ove" 
    "Star Trek Beyond" 
    "Suicide Squad" 
    Will Win: Suicide Squad
    Could Win: Star Trek Beyond

    Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
    "Jackie" 
    "La La Land" 
    "Lion" 
    "Moonlight" 
    "Passengers" 
    Will Win: La La Land
    Could Win: Moonlight
    Reasoning: Logic holds that if a musical is going to win Best Picture, its Score will win. Something feels off about the assuredness with which everyone agrees La La wins here. I'm not comfortable enough to predict an upset, but I think someone else could sneak away with this one.

    Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
    "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" from "La La Land"
    "Can't Stop The Feeling" from "Trolls"
    "City Of Stars" from "La La Land"
    "The Empty Chair" from "Jim: The James Foley Story"
    "How Far I'll Go" from "Moana"
    Will Win: "City of Stars"
    Could Win: "How Far I'll Go"
    Reasoning: Another semi-interesting category. A win for Moana would put Lin-Manuel Miranda one step closer to that EGOT. It's also weird that "City of Stars" has become the suspected winner here, given that it seems to me the worst song in the whole movie. But hey, that's how campaigns work, I guess.

    Achievement in production design
    "Arrival" 
    "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" 
    "Hail, Caesar!" 
    "La La Land" 
    "Passengers" 
    Will Win: La La Land
    Could Win: Arrival
    Reasoning: La La Land is the one of two here to win a Production Designer Guild Award (the other being Passengers, which likely doesn't have close to enough momentum to win). It's rare that contemporary movies win this, so part of me thinks Fantastic Beasts or Arrival could push through, but La La Land just seems to have enough to grab this one.

    Achievement in sound editing
    "Arrival" 
    "Deepwater Horizon" 
    "Hacksaw Ridge" 
    "La La Land" 
    "Sully" 
    Will Win: Hacksaw Ridge
    Could Win: La La Land
    Reasoning: Usually, musicals do well in Sound Mixing, and war/action movies do well in Sound Editing. The reasons for this are slightly unclear. I do think Hacksaw Ridge can win both of these, given how popular the film seemed to be at the time of nominations, but I think this will be its sole statue.

    Achievement in sound mixing
    "Arrival" 
    "Hacksaw Ridge" 
    "La La Land" 
    "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" 
    "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" 
    Will Win: La La Land
    Could Win: Hacksaw Ridge
    Reasoning: See Sound Editing, above.

    Achievement in visual effects
    "Deepwater Horizon" 
    "Doctor Strange" 
    "The Jungle Book" 
    "Kubo and the Two Strings" 
    "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" 
    Will Win: The Jungle Book
    Could Win: Doctor Strange
    Reasoning: Photorealism has been dominating in this category, which seems to give Jungle Book an edge over the sci-fi duo of Strange and Star Wars.

    Adapted screenplay
    "Arrival" 
    "Fences
    "Hidden Figures"
    "Lion" 
    "Moonlight" 
    Will Win: Moonlight
    Could Win: Arrival
    Reasoning: This seems like the place to expect Barry Jenkins to get recognition for Moonlight, and for the film to really have its biggest moment. 

    Original screenplay
    "Hell or High Water" 
    "La La Land" 
    "The Lobster" 
    "Manchester by the Sea" 
    "20th Century Women"
    Will Win: Manchester by the Sea
    Could Win: La La Land
    Reasoning: La La Land may be popular, but this is Lonergan's to lose. Especially if Affleck ends up losing Actor to Washington, this is the only other place to recognize Manchester, which is obviously well-respected.

    Monday, January 16, 2017

    The Top 20 Films of 2016

    Movies ended up taking more of a backseat than I would have liked this year.

    I found I was unable to see--or simply missed--more films than I would have hoped. It was a very busy year for me, one where a lot of things began to speed up: I got married, I made it is a resolution to take up more hobbies, I made more of an effort to visit friends and family, dissertation research and writing kicked into high gear, and I was given more responsibilities and opportunities in my classrooms. I wouldn't have traded any of these things, but it means I did miss a lot of weekends at the cinema.

    So there are a lot of holes here. Manchester by the Sea and Jackie are two whose absence is felt the strongest to me: knowing their subjects and reputations, I imagine they would be here if I had seen them. But this is a snapshot of how I feel on one Monday morning in January 2017. As always, it's part of the process of figuring out what I value, what the stake of cinema is moving forward as much as it is about looking just over the shoulder to take stock of what happened.

    To the next year, and all its struggles. May movies continue to fill our lives with possibility.

    20. Knight of Cups (dir. Terrence Malick)



    Widely detested by basically everyone I know, I still think Malick is up to something grand and mysterious in his increasingly abstract, wandering movies. 

    19. Elle (dir. Paul Verhoeven)



    Part comedy of manners, part revenge thriller, its tone vacillates wildly, its message about empowerment is murky at best, and it's nasty to the core.

    18. The Handmaiden (dir. Park Chan Wook)


    This is a bonkers movie of ever-shifting allegiances and scheming, erotic and sensual and also overblown and overstuffed and maybe the best movie Park has made to date. 

    17. Hail, Caesar! (dirs. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)


    In the Coens' latest, the movie studio is a giant process machine where politics and ideology are battlegrounds lurking in the corners behind extended musical numbers and failed attempts at correct pronunciation.

    16. Rogue One (dir. Gareth Edwards)


    Rogue One delivers on a strange promise, moving laterally through the Star Wars universe to expand its world-building and focus on the costs of those titular wars.

    15. Green Room (dir. Jeremy Saulnier)


    Neo Nazis holding a punk rock band hostage in their compound might be the most 2016-iest movie of 2016. 

    14. Zootopia (dirs. Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush)

     

    Its politics are far from subtle, but there's something to be said for a movie aimed at young kids about, y'know, government corruption.

    13. Cemetery of Splendor (dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul)


    I spent a surprisingly large amount of 2016 writing and researching about sleep, so this movie hit home in a weird way.

    12. La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle)


    If loving this melancholy, expressionist ode to missed opportunities and life's forking paths is wrong, I'd rather not be right. 

    11. Love & Friendship (dir. Whit Stillman)


    Kate Beckinsale is superb, and Stillman has not lost his touch at getting the driest, barbiest quips out of his actors. An increasingly rare sort of comedy.

    10. O.J.: Made in America (dir. Ezra Edelman)


    At seven and a half hours long, this is a novel-esque, sprawling documentary that uses the troubled and troubling life of O.J. Simpson to make an argument about nothing less than 20th century America. It's monumental.

    9. Nocturnal Animals (dir. Tom Ford)


    Nocturnal Animals is high formalization built on a contrast between beauty and brutality, high art and pulp fiction, teetering back and forth in a game of taste-making and sin-atoning.

    8. HyperNormalisastion (dir. Adam Curtis)

     

    Middle-Eastern geopolitics, the rise of computational information systems, the economics that drove Trump to power--it's all woven together in Adam Curtis's latest achievement, which tries maddeningly to capture the whole context of how we ended up here.

    7. Sing Street (dir. John Carney) 


    "Buoyant" is almost too gentle a word. John Carney's latest explodes with the passion and possibility of making music and being creative.

    6. Hell or High Water (dir. David Mackenzie)


    The land is the thing in Hell or High Water, which combines all the stakes of contemporary economic debt with all the brash classicism of cop-and-robbers shoot-outs.

    5. American Honey (dir. Andrea Arnold)


    Arnold's rambling look at how poor kids make do in a system of seemingly endless exploitation and zero opportunity for mobility is some kind of tender epic.

    4. Arrival (dir. Dennis Villeneuve)


    A humanities professor saves the world in what might be one of the most Deleuzian movies ever made.

    3. The Lobster (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)


    In the tradition of the best sci-fi and the best satire, The Lobster feels like such a beautifully absurd refraction of the systems we develop to make sure everyone finds love, and the social (not to mention political) pressures to conform to a certain way of being in the world. 

    2. Silence (dir. Martin Scorsese)


    My heart is always weak for long, epic historical dramas, and Scorsese's latest achieves many of its ambitions to be one of the defining films about the moral complexities of faith. Every piece of it feels so deeply considered, designed to patiently inform every other piece.

    1. Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)


    At the end of the day, Moonlight isn't just the best film made in 2016, it is the most important film for 2016. It is a film that begs us to see other people for their complexity, to empathize with the choices they make, to see the good in others and the masks we adopt. It's a movie about a black gay man trying to figure out what it means to be those things; to be each of them individually and all of them at once. Moonlight is also patient; its triptych coming-of-age structure is hardly innovative, but the first two chapters are really just set up for that last third, where it turns out the gorgeous cinematography was just playing a long con before becoming emotionally overwhelming. We need this movie. We need more movies like this movie.

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

    Oscar Predix: The Long and "Short" of It


    Since 2010, the Best Picture winner has not won more than four Oscars (King's Speech, Artist, and Birdman each won 4, while 12 Years and Argo won three), and when a film dominates the technical categories, it doesn't go on to win Picture (Hugo, Gravity). Indeed, Gravity's seven wins seem more like an anomaly in this current version of the Academy, where films sometimes win 5, but mostly cap out at 4 (as in last year's Birdman and Grand Budapest Hotel, or 2012's Life of Pi).

    Trends matter in the Academy, and so here's what I've got:

    Best Picture

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

    Will Win: The Big Short
    Could Win: The Revenant
    Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Reasoning: This is the most exciting BP race since...maybe 2006? Depending on your point of view, this is either The Big Short's, The Revenant's, or Spotlight's to lose. Revenant won the Golden Globe, the Directors Guild, and the British Academy; Spotlight won the Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild; The Big Short won the Producers Guild and the Writers Guild. Historically, the Directors Guild winner has translated to the eventual Oscar winner in Directing and Picture. So, why pick The Big Short? Ever since the Oscars and the PGA switched to doing "preferential" or "weighted" ballots -- as opposed to a straight vote -- in 2009, the PGA winner has not lost the Oscar. In 2013, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity tied for the PGA and Alfonso Cuaron won the DGA, which led me to pick Gravity to win Picture and Director. Cuaron won Director, but 12 Years won Picture. The outcome was an interesting one for Oscar historians/statisticians -- it spoke, if nothing else, to a potential weakening of the DGA in the preferential ballot system.

    In essence, the preferential ballot necessitates that a film be able to be #1, #2, and #3 on more ballots than any other -- it must be both loved and liked. In the old world of straight voting, I would see The Revenant winning this, as evidenced by its wide general support among branches. However, The Big Short has the capacity to be higher up on more ballots, and it's already beaten The Revenant in the only other weighted-voting contest in the season. Here's another reason to be hesitant about The Revenant: In the last three years, Picture and Director have split twice after being a historically unified ticket. If The Big Short wins, as I think it will, we're in potentially new statistical territory for the Oscars.

    Best Actor

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

    Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio
    Could Wind: Michael Fassbender?
    Should Win: DiCaprio, I guess?

    Reasoning: He's basically groveling for the thing at this point.

    Best Actress

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

    Will Win: Brie Larson
    Could Win: Cate Blanchett
    Should Win: Brie Larson

    Reasoning: When you win all the other awards, you win this one too.

    Best Supporting Actor

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

    Will Win: Sylvester Stallone
    Could Win: Mark Rylance
    Should Win: Mark Rylance

    Reasoning: The Stallone win is just too much of a narrative, too much of a "gesture" for the Academy to pass up. It would be a "moment," a "full circle," a weird sort of career achievement. Mark Rylance--the best part of Bridge of Spies--probably deserves this out of this lineup, and he's won enough in the awards season that I wouldn't be shocked to see him win.

    Best Supporting Actress

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

    Will Win: Alicia Vikander
    Could Win: Kate Winslet
    Should Win: Rooney Mara

    Reasoning: Vikander won the SAG; Winslet won the Globe and the BAFTA, beating Vikander's other performance in Ex Machina. It's hard for me to say how this one will go--neither film has particularly wide support, and neither performance has really rocketed through the awards season. I could go back and forth on this one all night. SAG and Oscar have matched since 2009 -- one better than the Globes.  Flip a coin, your entire pool could easily come down to this one.

    Best Original Screenplay

    Bridge of Spies
    Ex Machina
    Inside Out
    Spotlight
    Straight Outta Compton

    Will Win: Spotlight
    Could Win: Inside Out
    Should Win: Spotlight, I guess?

    Reasoning: Spotlight has formed a straight path to this award. Consider it a lock.

    Best Adapted Screenplay

    The Big Short
    Brooklyn
    Carol
    The Martian
    Room

    Will Win: The Big Short
    Could Win: Room
    Should Win: Carol

    Reasoning: The Big Short should win this handily, especially if it's going to go on to win Best Picture.

    Best Director

    Adam McKay, The Big Short
    George Miller, Mad Max; Fury Road
    Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
    Lenny Abrahamson, Room
    Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

    Will Win: Alejandro G. Inarritu
    Could Win: George Miller
    Should Win: George Miller

    Reasoning: After winning the Globe, DGA, and BAFTA, Inarritu seems like the easy pick here. If, for some reason, he doesn't, I'd be thrilled to see George Miller swoop in for his madcap desert odyssey.

    Best Animated Feature

    Anomalisa
    Boy and the World
    Inside Out
    Shaun the Sheep Movie
    When Marnie Was There

    Will Win: Inside Out
    Could Win: Anomalisa
    Should Win: Inside Out

    Reasoning: A pretty easy call, especially since Inside Out has a Screenplay nod and Anomalisa does not.

    Best Documentary Feature

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

    Will Win: Amy
    Could Win: What Happened, Miss Simone?
    Should Win: The Look of Silence

    Reasoning: Oppenheimer will miss this again, as Amy has been a veritable juggernaut in comparable races.

    Best Foreign Language Feature

    Embrace of the Serpent
    Mustang
    Son of Saul
    Theeb
    A War

    Will Win: Son of Saul
    Could Win: Mustang
    Should Win: N/A

    Reasoning: Son of Saul has routinely won this category over the awards season and gained more domestic acclaim than the other films, which often translates to a win here.

    Best Cinematography

    Carol
    The Hateful Eight
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    The Revenant
    Sicario

    Will Win: The Revenant
    Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Should Win: The Revenant

    Reasoning: It's hard to argue with Lubezki's dazzling natural-light long-takes in The Revenant. Even people who don't particularly like the film (hey, like me!) think it's just jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Lubezki will also make history as the first cinematographer to win this category for three years in a row (after Gravity and Birdman).

    Best Costume Design

    Carol
    Cinderella
    The Danish Girl
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    The Revenant

    Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Could Win: Cinderella
    Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Reasoning: Mad Max beat Cinderella head-to-head at the Costume Design Guild award, and while it's not the smartest  to go one-to-one between Guilds and Oscar, it seems like a fine call here. This category routinely goes to flashy costuming, which is one reason to keep an eye on Cinderella, but the vast support of Mad Max could edge it out here.

    Best Film Editing

    The Big Short
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    The Revenant
    Spotlight
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Will Win: The Big Short
    Could Win: Mad Max: Fury road
    Should Win: Mad Max; Fury Road

    Reasoning: The Eddie awards have a 75% match with the Oscars over the last dozen years, and both Mad Max and Big Short won awards there this year. It seems sensible that the boisterousness of Max pushes it over the top, but The Big Short is almost frenetically edited, and its editing very much calls attention to itself in a way similar to some recent Best Editing winners. Big Short also kind of needs to win here--I don't think any movie since the 1930s has won BP with just one other award. Winning here, Screenplay, and Picture would also replicate Argo's three wins from 2012. Just saying.

    Best Makeup and Hairstyling

    Mad Max: Fury Road
    The Revenant
    The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

    Will Win: Mad Max
    Could Win: The 100 Year Old Man
    Should Win: Mad Max

    Reasoning: By all accounts, the aging makeup on 100 Year Old Man is just crazy good, but Mad Max is both very popular with the Academy and is very showy with its makeup.

    Best Original Score

    Bridge of Spies
    Carol
    The Hateful Eight
    Sicario
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Will Win: The Hateful Eight
    Could Win: Sicario
    Should Win: Carol

    Reasoning: Another pretty clear frontrunner should have no trouble collecting this. Hopefully QT doesn't accept on Morricone's behalf.

    Best Production Design

    Bridge of Spies
    The Revenant
    The Danish Girl
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    The Martian

    Will Win: Mad Max
    Could Win: The Revenant
    Should Win: Mad Max

    Reasoning: Max is designed within an inch of its life, but Revenant also won an award from the Art Directors Guild earlier this awards season. If it wins here, it could be setting up a wider push for Best Picture (and if it wins here, I'd expect it to nab one of the Sound awards, as well).

    Best Song

    Til It Happens to You, The Hunting Ground
    Writing's on the Wall, Spectre
    Simple Song 3, Youth
    Earned It, 50 Shades of Grey
    Manta Ray, Racing Extinction

    Will Win: Til it Happens to You
    Could Win: Writing's on the Wall
    Should Win: N/A

    Reasoning: Going for the Globes replay of this category. Remember, Adele was the exception that proves the rule in terms of Bond songs winning. Plus that Sam Smith song is garbage.

    Best Sound Editing

    The Martian
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    The Revenant
    Sicario
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Could Win: Sicario
    Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Reasoning: Am predicting the wide love for Max to be most apparent in the Sound and Visual Effects categories. Plus, out of all its beautiful qualities, that sound is just whoa.

    Best Sound Mixing

    Bridge of Spies
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    The Martian
    The Revenant
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Could Win: The Revenant
    Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Reasoning: Traditionally, musicals do very well in this category, while war/action movies do better in Sound Editing (i.e., last year's split between Whiplash and American Sniper). There's nothing ostensibly musical in these nominees, which makes it seem a bit likelier that the Mixing and Editing winners will match

    Best Visual Effects

    Ex Machina 
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    The Martian
    The Revenant

    Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
    Could Win: Ex Machina
    Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

    Reasoning: Seems like a lock.