We are mere hours away from the announcement of the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards. In preparation for this major event, I have spent hours analyzing statistics, pouring over past winners and trends, and creating a special algorithm to show the statistical possibilities of each nomination. Well, maybe I didn’t do quite that much. Anyway, below are my predictions for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Picture.
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
This category is probably the most stable of all five of the categories I am predicting. The first four potential nominees on this list have been nominated for the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, and BAFTA. The fifth position is a bit tricky. Matt Damon won the Golden Globe this past Sunday, however, he did not receive a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild. The voting body of the Golden Globes has no overlap with the Academy voters, yet many of the members of the Screen Actors Guild are members of the Academy. The overwhelming success of The Martian will probably be the thing that propels Damon to his third acting nomination. If he is not included in this list, he will most likely be replaced with Will Smith for Concussion, who received a Golden Globe nomination or Johnny Depp for Black Mass, who was nominated by the Screen Actors Guild.
Brie Larson, Room
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Larson, Blanchett, and Ronan are pretty much guaranteed to hear their names announced tomorrow. As a matter of fact, Vikander is too, however, the category is still up for grabs. The production company responsible for The Danish Girl has been pushing Vikander in the Supporting Actress category. They were successful at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, however, for both the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes, Vikander’s performance in this film was listed in the Lead Actress category. Since she was in more of the film than the titular character, I am going to bet that she is nominated in this category. The fifth spot is not quite as secure. Regardless of her win at the Golden Globes on Sunday, Jennifer Lawrence was completely snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild and the BAFTAs. The Academy does have a love affair with Lawrence, though, so I expect that she will receive her fourth career nomination for Joy. If she is not included in this category, she will most likely be usurped by Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years or Maggie Smith for The Lady in the Van. As much as the Academy loves 25 year-old Lawrence, they do love honoring screen veterans late in life too.
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Jacob Tremblay, Room
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
I went out on a limb here with the last two nominations. This may seem like an odd statement considering Sylvester Stallone just won the Golden Globe. The thing is that Stallone was not nominated for a SAG award or a BAFTA. Due to the overwhelming popularity of film and the critical acclaim it is receiving, I think that there is a good possibility that Stallone could receive a nomination. Jacob Tremblay’s role in Room has been widely acclaimed since the film premiered. The Academy has been very reticent about nominating children in the past. It has been 16 years since a child has received a nomination in this category, so either Tremblay could be the one to break the streak or history will work against him. If either Tremblay or Stallone are not nominated, it would leave a space for any number of other performances to nab a nomination. Mark Ruffalo or Michael Keaton are both primed to sneak in an acting nomination for Spotlight. Christian Bale’s costar in The Big Short Steve Carell could also surprise everyone by getting his second consecutive Oscar nomination for his role as a hedge fund manager with a heart. Yes, I do know that is an oxymoron. The other possibilities are Benicio Del Toro for his role in Sicario or Michael Shannon for 99 Homes.
Best Supporting Actress
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Rooney Mara, Carol
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Jane Fonda, Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
As I previously mentioned, Alicia Vikander could completely mess up my predictions for this category. If she is nominated for Supporting Actress, she will bump either Jane Fonda or Jennifer Jason Leigh. Kate Winslet, Ronney Mara, and Helen Mirren are all safe bets, and I would be very surprised if one of them does not end up with a nomination. The other two spots could go in many directions. Vikander’s role in Ex Machina has gained momentum in recent weeks due to a Golden Globe nomination and a BAFTA nomination. If she is nominated for The Danish Girl in the Lead Actress category, she could earn a second nomination here. Rachel McAdams earned a SAG nomination for Spotlight, however, she is does not have as strong a role as Michael Keaton or Mark Ruffalo. If they are not included in the Supporting Actor race, this could be the film’s conciliation prize. Brooklyn’s Julie Walters received a BAFTA nomination last week, which could allow her to worm her way to a third Oscar nomination. Ultimately, I think that Jennifer Jason Leigh will get her first (!) nomination for her role in Quentin Tarentino’s latest film The Hateful Eight. Also, even though Jane Fonda only showed up in one scene in Youth, she stole the show. The Academy has been known to award a short amount of screen time, so this does not take away from her chances. (See Beatrice Straight winning for a 5 minute and 40 second role in Network, Judi Dench’s 8 minutes in Shakespeare in Love, and Gloria Grahame’s 9 minute part in The Bad and the Beautiful.)
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Straight Outta Compton
The Academy rules state that there can be anywhere between 5 and 10 Best Picture nominees. It is pretty impossible for me to predict the number of films that will be nominated, so I am working under the assumption that there will be 10 nominees. Spotlight, The Revenant, The Big Short, and Carol seem to be sure things. The Martian‘s win at the Golden Globes should be a good indicator that this film will make it onto the list. As one of the best reviewed movies of the year, Mad Max: Fury Road has continually gotten nominations for Best Picture during this awards season, making it a good bet for a nomination tomorrow. Bridge of Spies was released early in the autumn, causing it to lose momentum as the award season came around. Last week it made a come back by getting a nomination for the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Picture. Room and Brooklyn have locked in nominations in the Lead Actress category, however, these are small films with limited release and that could hurt their chances for getting a nomination for Best Picture. They were both nominated for Golden Globes, but only Brooklyn received a nomination from the PGA. Straight Outta Compton surprised many in the Hollywood community by getting a nomination for Best Ensemble Cast from the SAGs. To prove it wasn’t just a fluke, the PGA also nominated it for Best Picture. A nomination for this film would be a welcome addition to this category.
So, what do you guys think? Am I totally off base? We will see tomorrow when the Academy Award nominations will be announced at 8:30 am EST.