HOLLYWOOD—Yeppers, we’re less than 2 weeks away from the Academy Awards and two of the most decisive races are Best Director and Best Picture. Right now, I would make the argument that both races have clear front-runners, but with an awards season full of unpredictability in these races it’s still anyone’s game. Remember 2010 when it was “The Kings Speech” that triumphed over “The Social Network” in both the Best Director and Best Picture races.
Let’s first analyze the Best Director race which was full of surprises to begin with as both Ridley Scott “The Martian” and Steven Spielberg “Bridge of Spies” were left off the list. Scott might be the biggest omission because if he were indeed nominated he’d be taking his first walk to that podium after being nominated multiple times.
But we’ll have to settle for the contenders we have which include Alejandro Inarritu “The Revenant,” Tom McCarthy “Spotlight,” Adam McKay “The Big Short,” George Miller “Mad Max: Fury Road” and Lenny Abrahamson “Room.” Let’s just give respect to Abrahamson who crafted an amazingly tense flick, but I don’t think he will claim the prize.
I would argue the same sentiment for McCarthy for “Spotlight.” He made an amazing film, but if he does take Best Director I would argue that “Spotlight” would win Best Picture. I have a feeling that this year will be a split in the category. So we’re looking at a three-way race between Inarritu, McKay and Miller. In my personal opinion, I don’t think McKay will win for “The Big Short.” Why? The movie is a bit complicated, when you have to have pauses in the movie to explain precisely what is transpiring that is never a good sign in my opinion. It might be artistic, but that doesn’t equate Oscar always.
So last year’s winner Inarritu is looking at a repeat, this time for his epic “The Revenant” and Miller whose “Mad Max: Fury Road” was like an experience unlike any other. I mean my instinct tells me Miller, but my gut is saying Inarritu will win the prize for the second consecutive year.
Now let’s move to the dogfight which is known as Best Picture. This year we have a total of 8 contenders compared to last year where 9 movies were vying for the prize. Those nominees include “Brooklyn,” “Room,” “Carol,” “Bridge of Spies,” “The Martian,” “The Big Short,” “Spotlight” and “The Revenant.”
Several flicks should just be happy to be nominated: “Brooklyn,” “Room,” “Carol” and “Bridge of Spies.” Now I would make the argument that “The Martian” would be a stronger contender if Ridley Scott was nominated in the Best Director race, but he is not. This was a film that brought in big business at the box-office and was critically loved. So this leaves the race up to the three flicks that have been battling all awards season long: “Spotlight,” “The Big Short” and “The Revenant.”
If I personally had to choose, the most intriguing of the three, hands down “Spotlight” gets the prize. It was beyond entertaining, smart, clever and just hooked me from start to finish. “The Big Short” for all of its intelligence might be TOO INTELLIGENT for the viewers to completely appreciate what it aimed to do: explain a pivotal tale about a moment that changed this nation as we know it. Then you have “The Revenant” that is indeed a serious dark horse; its critically loved, has terrific direction, acting and is one of the biggest hits of all the other nominees at the box-office next to “The Martian.”
So in my opinion it’s “The Revenant” vs. “Spotlight.” “The Revenant” has gained some serious steam in the past few weeks and could really win the big prize, but I would not count out “Spotlight,” simply because it’s the type of movie the Academy loves to award. The only thing working against “The Revenant” is that its director just won the big prize last year, and seeing someone who won the previous year win the next year is not common nature in Academy history.
As much as my gut is telling me to go with “The Revenant” my heart says “Spotlight” deserves it more and will take the prize. So you have my picks for Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Picture, so who do you think will come out on top?