Oscarathon 2016: Oscar Ballot Final Predictions

In All, Movies by David

So here we are. It’s game time. The Oscars are today, and after a exhaustive look at the categories during Oscarathon 2016 it is time for my actual predictions. I will offer brief reasoning for my selections plus as bonus offer of alternatives if you want to live dangerously in your Oscar pools.


The Big Short

Bridge of Spies


Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant



What Will Win: The Revenant

Reasoning: This is far from a lock, but everything is just trending The Revenant after it ended the season strong with DGA and BAFTA wins. There are a lot of marks against it, though. It would be just the third film to win without a writing nomination. It would be the first film ever to be directed be the same person that won the previous year’s Best Picture (Iñárritu and Birdman). Then there is its loss at the PGAs, which uses the same balloting system as the Oscars. Honestly, if the voting had ended right after the PGAs this film probably would be losing , but that was weeks ago. Since then, the legend of The Revenant has grown and grown and enthralled more and more people with stories of how hard it was to make. Add in that it is likely to win Best Director and that, historically, whatever ever wins Best Director also wins Best Picture, and everything is coming up The Revenant. This film seems to be poised to make history, but that doesn’t mean I am not going to be as bitter as hell about it.

Alternative #1: The Big Short

  • I really want to pick The Big Short. Its PGA win still stands as the best indicator of Best Picture winners, and more importantly, this really feels like a year where second and third place votes matter more than first place votes, because first place support is so split. The Big Short feels like a film with the best consensus of all these movies and has a topic that resonates most clearly with everyone. I just can’t get over that the film is likely to only win two Oscars at best, which would be the lowest total for a Best Picture Winner since The Greatest Show on Earth in 1953. Plus The Revenant just has all of the buzz. The Big Short, though, may sneak up on everyone just like it did at the PGAs, so if you are looking for a place to get an extra point this is as good a place as any.

Alternative #2: Spotlight

  • This was supposed to be the winner this year, and it won quite a bit this awards season, including the SAG Award, Critics Choice Award, and The Satellite Award. Even with these wins, however, it never seemed to get the right amount of momentum. Add in that like The Big Short, it feels like it would only be able to win two Oscars, which would be as stated the lowest total for a Best Picture winner since 1952, and, well, there is a reason it isn’t the favorite. This is a year, however, that as stated may be more about second and third place votes than first place, and if it is Spotlight has a chance.

If You Believe This Is The Year of Chaos and Want to Be Different: Mad Max: Fury Road

  • This has been such a strange awards season, so why not end it in style? Everyone loves Mad Max, it has the second most nominations, and it has a good chance of winning the most Oscars of the night because it is likely to win a majority of the technical and design awards. Plus it has the required Best Picture and Best Editing nominations, and is either the favorite or has an outside shot of winning everything it is nominated for. Sure, it would be the first film ever to win without an Acting or Writing nomination, but this is a year of chaos, and anything could happen.

What Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

For Kicks and Giggles What My Ballot Would have looked like:

  1. Mad Max Fury Road
  2. Spotlight
  3. The Martian
  4. Brooklyn
  5. The Big Short
  6. Bridge of Spies
  7. The Revenant
  8. Room


The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant



What Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant

  • The narrative about the difficulty in making this film just became too strong, and Iñárritu looks poised to be the third man in history to make it two in a row. This race is actually closer than most would think at this point, but Iñárritu has picked up the Golden Globe, DGA, BAFTA, and thus soon a second Oscar.

Alternative: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

  • Before Iñárritu came up strong at the end of the awards season, this looked like it was finally Miller’s year to shine. He picked up numerous critics group awards as well as the Critics Choice Award. Its would be really hard for him to overcome his DGA loss, but the Academy is a more international group and would be a bit more aware of the Australian-based director than the DGAs were.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Adam McKay, The Big Short

  • This is really pushing it, but if you think The Big Short is going to win Best Picture, then at least history would be on your side with this pick.

What Should Win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road


Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Who Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio

  • This is Leo’s year to win, and has been since before The Revenant even came out. Leo has swept every major award show (except the Golden Globes), and this is a done deal. The only real drama is whether Leo can finally give a speech that feels organic and not like a robot.

Alternative: None

  • Don’t get cute. If Leo doesn’t win the whole theatre will burn to the ground.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Don’t

  • Seriously, just pick Leo and move on.

Who Should Win: No one, because this is a weak Best Actor year, but since someone has to, I guess DiCaprio


Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Who Will Win: Brie Larson, Room

  • Larson has the buzz, and won virtually every major award she was nominated for other than the Satellite Awards. The Academy loves Room, and this is the best place to honor the film.

Alternative: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

  • Ronan pulled off the upset at the Satellite Awards, which have proven to be an effective predictor for acting awards, so the door has been left slightly open. This is the only chance Brooklyn has of winning anything, so that keeps this award from being a foregone conclusion.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be DifferentSaoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

  • Larson really is just about a lock. She has a stranglehold on what could have been a very competitive category. Her loss at the Satellite Awards is the only thing keeping her from being close to a Leo-level lock, so if you pick Ronan you do so with quite a lot of history going against you.

Who Should Win: Saoirse Ronan


Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Who Will Win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

  • This award is a mess because of Stallone not making the ballots for major award shows like SAG (likely because the ballots were due too soon after Creed came out, and the membership didn’t have time to see it) and BAFTA, and because Idris Elba didn’t get nominated. So awards history is not all that helpful here, as Stallone hasn’t picked up a win in weeks. Narrative history is on his side, though. No one his gotten bigger cheers for wins or nominations than Stallone, and this is a way to make up for him losing in his original portrayal of Rocky Balboa in 1977. Add in that this may be a way to slightly make good for Creed being ignored by the Oscars in general, and Stallone is the pick. The biggest question for Stallone is if he’ll actually thank the right people in his speech (I say this knowing they have changed the rules for thank you’s this year, but I think Stallone will ignore them).

Alternative: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

  • Before the ascendance of Stallone this looked to be Rylance’s award to lose. He never seemed to be able to get the right win, however, until he finally won the BAFTA award in a Stalloneless field. This is probably the best chance for Bridge of Spies to come away with anything, and there is a chance Rylance has more SAG support than Stallone. He could walk away with the trophy.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Tom Hardy, The Revenant

  • This is one of the categories where really any one of the nominees could actually win, and it would not be a total shocker. A lot of people will say that Christian Bale would make more sense here, especially after his Satellite Awards win, but if you really want to make an out-there pick, go with Hardy. There is a legitimate chance The Revenant could go on a massive win streak, and that Hardy’s underrated performance might ride that to a win. It is really unlikely, but hey, this isn’t the live safely choice.

Who Should Win: Sylvester Stallone


Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Who Will Win: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

  • This is another category that has been a bit chaotic, but Vikander is the right choice here. She has won every time her performance in The Danish Girl has been wrongly classified as a supporting performance, and there is no reason to think that will change. She has been a rising star throughout the awards season, especially on the red carpet, and she is taking home the trophy.

Alternative: Kate Winslet, Jobs

  • The only time Vikander hasn’t won, Winslet has been the beneficiary. The Academy loves Kate Winslet, and that love could lead to a win.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Rooney Mara, Carol

  • Mara is the other actress wrongly classified in this category, so she is the only one here who has the screen time and material to compete against Vikander. If the Academy happens to like Mara more, she could pull off the shocking win.

Who Should Win: Rooney Mara



Boy and the World

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

What Will Win: Inside Out

  • Nothing is stopping the Disney or Pixar dominance, especially not this year when Inside Out actually is as good as the hype would say. Inside Out has won everything it has been nominated for, and that will continue.

Alternative: Anomalisa

  • This is the one film that could conceivably win. It is created by Oscar favorite Charlie Kaufman, and that pedigree could lead to an upset, especially if the voters have grown tired of the Pixar/Disney dominance.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Anomalisa

  • Inside Out might be the biggest lock other than Leo, so picking anything against it is a dangerous pick. Anomalisa is a movie for adults, which could prove to be a lure to voters, but likely is going to be looked at as a flaw, because a movie for adults is not one that a voter’s kids or grandkids can tell them to vote for.

What Should Win: Inside Out



The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant


What Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant

  • The only thing stopping Lubezki at this point is if voters get skittish about making him the first person in history to win three straight Oscars. He is the best cinematographer alive, and his streak is not ending this year.

Alternative: John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road

  • The Satellite Awards proved to be quite an outlier this year, as they were about the only major body to pick someone other than Lubezki when they picked Seale. So the past winner for The English Patient has emerged as a potential spoiler. Because this year has been so crazy, there is the slightest of chances that Mad Max: Fury Road could actually win Best Picture, and rack up quite the haul in other categories. Seale winning could be a sign of such an unexpected outcome.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Roger Deakins, Sicario

  • Deakins finds himself up for his 13th Oscar without any wins. His work in Sicario is brilliant. He consistently finds himself overshadowed by Lubezki, but if the voters decide they simply can’t give any person three straight wins, Deakins could benefit as voters decide it is finally his time.

What Should Win: Sicario




The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

What Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

  • This is a brutal category to pick, but Mad Max has had the most success of any of these films this season. It violates the one rule of Oscar voting for costumes, which is whatever film has the best dresses and corsets generally wins, but this feels like one of the years this will be an exception after wins at BAFTA, and more importantly, after it achieved a win over Cinderella at the Costume Designer Guild Awards.

Alternative: Cinderella

  • So the aforementioned dress and corset rule benefits Cinderella more than any other film, so this could really be the winner and I may well be kicking myself for going against one of my hard and fast rules at the Oscars. The problem here, however, is the Sandy Powell issue. On the one hand, it seems obvious to award Powell after she did not one, but two Oscar nominated Costume Design jobs this year with Cinderella and Carol (and importantly, with making Cate Blanchett look fabulous in both films). One the other hand, it is hard to figure out which film voters would go with, which will likely lead to a split vote that allows Mad Max to win. But the corsets, it’s really hard to go against the corsets…

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: The Danish Girl

  • This is seriously a category in which any of these films could win. The Revenant has the least chance, but if the film pulls off a run of wins, it could benefit from people checking the box because it is the Best Picture. Sandy Powell could get rewarded for Carol just as easily as Cinderella. Still, The Danish Girl could sneak up on everyone. It actually won the Costume Designer Guild Award for a Period Piece, and is full of tons of pretty dresses. This is probably the hardest category to pick in the entire race.

What Should Win: Carol



Cartel Land

The Look of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

What Will Win: Amy

  • Amy has all the momentum after wins at BAFTA and the Golden Globes. This film really resonates with voters, and is moving on to victory.

Alternative: What Happened, Miss Simone?

  • Netflix is putting all its resources into getting this film the win. Along with Winter on Fire is the most easily accessible of the nominees since it is on Netflix. Netflix’s marketing machine could very well convince voters to go with a different doc about a famous singer.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: The Look of Silence

  • Amy may have won all of the more recognizable awards, but this film won just about everything else. Joshua Oppenheimer has already been nominated once for The Act of Killing, and this is a companion piece to it. Voters could decide to award Oppenheimer for both films leading to a shocking victory.

What Should Win: The Look of Silence


Body Team 12

Chau, beyond the Lines

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

Last Day of Freedom

What Will Win: Body Team 12

  • This film seems to have the consensus support that will lead to a victory.

Alternative: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgivenss

  • This is the type of subject that wins Oscars. Voters might decide this is more worthy.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Claude Lanzmann, Spectres of Shoah

  • The Academy loves rewarding art that talks about art, so this film about Lanzmann discussing making Shoah could sneak in for a victory.

What Should Win: Body Team 12


The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant


Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

  • Fury Road has won every major award including the Eddie. This is also likely the biggest award the film will win, so the trophy goes to Fury Road.

Alternative: The Big Short

  • Won the comedy Eddie, and more importantly is probably a necessary win if The Big Short is going to win Best Picture, if history has anything to say about it. So if you are picking The Big Short to win Best Picture, you should probably pick this to win Best Editing.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  • There isn’t a good reason to pick anything other than Mad Max or The Big Short, other than the aforementioned sweep potential of The Revenant, but I don’t think that will have any effect on this award. So instead there is a slight chance that Star Wars lovers could come out in mass to try and get this film every award possible to make up for the Best Picture snub.

What Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road


Embrace of the Serpent


Son of Saul


A War

What Will Win: Son of Saul

  • Won everything it basically could, other than the Palme d’Or, and is about the Holocaust. So it checks all of the right Academy boxes for this category.

Alternative: Mustang

  • A touching film from a new voice and female perspective. This movie has lurked in the shadows, and could garner the kind of support needed to pull off the win, especially considering how well it would play on screeners.

If You Want To Live Quasi-Dangerously and Be Different: Mustang

  • This is a bit unfair, because this film has a real chance of winning, but Son of Saul has been rather dominant, so if you won’t to go a different path, there is no reason to pick anything other than Mustang, because that will already differentiate you from most people.

What Should Win: Mustang


Mad Max: Fury Road

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

The Revenant

What Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

  • Won at the guild awards, and even more importantly, is the only nominee from those awards. This is a win.

Alternative: The Revenant

  • If The Revenant wins Best Picture, it could really disrupt the craft awards and pick up the win here as well–you know, the same argument for most of The Revenant potential wins.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Just Pick the Other Nominee: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climber out the Window and Disappeared

  • There is an argument to be made that Mad Max and The Revenant will cancel each other out. If you believe that, go for broke and pick this virtually unknown film.

What Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road


Bridge of Spies


The Hateful Eight


Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What Will Win: The Hateful Eight

  • It is Morricone’s time. Nothing more to say.

Alternative: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  • John Williams is a musical god, and as such the Academy could give him a trophy based on the Meryl Streep logic of ‘We can’t keep nominating him without giving him a trophy every once in a while’ (but he hasn’t won since 1993 for Schindler’s List).

If You Want To Live Dangerously or Be Different: Bridge of Spies

  • Thomas Newman has 13 nominations, and it could be argued is even more due for a win than Morricone. This is also probably the only other place that can get a win for Bridge of Spies.

What Should Win: Bridge of Spies


“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey

“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction

“Simple Song #3,” Youth

“Til It Happens To You,” The Hunting Ground

“Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre

What Will Win: “Til It Happens To You,” The Hunting Ground

  • Lady GaGa is going to be performing at the Oscars. She is going to win, and be one step closer to an EGOT.

Alternative: “Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey

  • The Weeknd is one of the hottest acts in music. If the voters listen to their kids or grandkids, or just decide to be hip, this could be the winner.

If You Want To Live Dangerously or Be Different: “Writings’s On The Wall,” Spectre

  • Won the Golden Globe, is one of three acts getting to perform at the Oscars, and could get the James Bond bump.

What Should Win: “Simple Song #3,” Youth


Bridge of Spies

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

What Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

  • Has won most of the major awards, including the Guild Award for Fantasy and the BAFTA, and is potentially the strongest part of this film.

Alternative: The Revenant

  • Won the Guild Award for Period Piece, which is generally a strong predictor of what wins at the Oscars.

If You Want To Live Dangerously or Be Different: The Martian

  • Won the Guild Award for Contemporary Piece, and one of the only places The Martian has a chance of winning.

What Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road


Bear Story


Sanjay’s Super Team

We Can’t Live without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow

What Will Win: World of Tomorrow

  • Screw it. I am taking a stand. This film should win. Donald Hertzfeldt deserves an Oscar. This film looked like it was definitely going to win until it strangely lost all of its momentum. I am going with my heart here.

Alternative: Sanjay’s Super Team

  • My head is screaming at me, because this has the look of a winner and would allow for the optics of the winners of the night to be, well, less white, but I can’t shake the feeling that Pixar shorts almost never do well at the Oscars. Still, this is the favorite by a lot of people

If You Want To Live Safely and Be More Likely Correct: Bear Story

  • If I was going with my head, this and World of Tomorrow would be switched. This really is probably the most logical pick, because it feels like the film that no one notices in the Pixar film’s shadow that everyone votes for. It is the second best film in this category in general, so it is not like it is not deserving. Smarter money is on this pick.

What Should Win: World of Tomorrow


Ave Maria

Day One

Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)



What Will Win: Shok

  • This category is about going with a combination of your gut and history. My gut says that the voters will go with the most overly dramatic film, which is Shok.

Alternative: Ave Maria

  • The pick by most pundits. This is the type of subject that the Academy will award lighter films for.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)

  • If I had more faith in the voters, I would pick this film purely because I have a feeling it could pull the upset, because it manages to show restraint for a film that is brimming with emotional drama.

What Should Win: Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)


Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant


Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

  • The sound is a delight in this film, and also has a warlike quality to it that is favored in this category.

Alternative: The Revenant

  • Insert the same The Revenant argument for everything else, plus the idea that the same film will win both sound awards, so if you think The Revenant will win Best Sound Mixing then pick it here as well.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Sicario

  • This category likes war movies, and this is the closest thing in the category.

What Should Win: Sicario


Bridge of Spies

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What Will Win: The Revenant

  • Big film, won the only applicable guild award, and has the frontrunner status combined with being a box office success that leads to victory,

Alternative: Mad Max: Fury Road

  • If  you think that the same film will win both of these, go with Mad Max as the winner.

If You Want To Live Dangerously: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  • Because it’s Star Wars.

What Should Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  • It’s Star Wars, and this is the best chance for the Academy in some way to award the highest grossing domestic film of all time. Also, it has already won the VFX Guild Awards top prize.

Alternative: Mad Max: Fury Road

  • Fury Road is neck and neck with Star Wars, and gets bonus points for doing so much of the film practically. High probability this film sweeps all of the craft and design awards.

If You Want To Live Dangerously: The Revenant

  • People really love the bear attack scene, and this film could get rewarded purely for that. Plus the whole standard ‘The Revenant’ sweeps argument.

What Should Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens


The Big Short



The Martian


What Will Win: The Big Short

  • Won the DGA Award, and this could very well be its only award. Book it.

Alternative: Room

  • The Academy loves Room, and could decide to reward Emma Donahue for adapting her novel so well.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Carol

  • Phyllis Nagy wrote a great script, and the voters could try to get Carol a win after its Best Picture snub.

What Should Win: Carol


Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out


Straight Outta Compton

What Will Win: Spotlight

  • Basically the same argument I just made for The Big Short, except this seems like an even bigger lock.

Alternative: Inside Out

  • Pixar will eventually win this for one of its movies, so it could be this one, as voters make a statement that Inside Out should have been treated as more than just another animated film.

If You Want To Live Dangerously and Be Different: Straight Outta Compton

  • This is the most cynical pick ever, but if you believe that this is simply the year that the Oscars will do everything wrong it can when it comes to race issues, then Compton will win, as voters look to prove they aren’t racists by voting for the white writers of this script.

What Should Win: Inside Out

There you have it. Now let’s just see how right (or more likely wrong) I end up being. Good luck to everyone nominated and everyone rooting at home!