2016 Oscar Predictions: Will 'The Big Short' or 'The Revenant' Win Best Picture?
2016 Oscar Predictions: Will 'The Big Short' or 'The Revenant' Win Best Picture?
Jeff Dodge
Jeff Dodge
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Is everyone ready for the 88th Academy Awards? On Sunday, February 28, Chris Rock will take to the stage to host the evening's ceremony -- and he likely won't be holding back on the elephant in the room: #OscarsSoWhite.

When it comes to the nominees, Best Picture might be a toss-up at this point between two or three films. But with other categories, it looks to be the opposite for the acting awards, with clear frontrunners, though there's always room for a surprise or two by the Academy.


Which films will come out big on Oscar Sunday? Here are my predictions for the 2016 Academy Awards:

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

Prediction: The Big Short. The race for Best Picture is usually a two-film race. This year, it might just be a three-film race, between The Big Short, The Revenant and Spotlight. Short won the Producers Guild Award, Revenant won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA, and Spotlight won at the Critics' Choice and the SAG Awards. So each of these movies can claim victory coming into Oscar night. The SAG hasn't been as predictive as the PGA's, so when we look more closely, this might end up being a two-film race after all. If the Academy voters want to go out on a limb and choose something different, they'll go with Revenant, but the safe pick at the moment is The Big Short.

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

Prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio. Eddie Redmayne won the Oscar in this category last time around for his brilliant portrayal of Stephen Hawking. And while his acting in The Danish Girl is also superb, this is Leo's award to lose. He's been nominated many times before, including for The Aviator and The Wolf of Wall Street, but has never won. There's been a lot of talk about the grueling shoot for The Revenant and what DiCaprio had to go through during that process -- it certainly wouldn't be surprising if the Academy decided to award him for that work.

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

Prediction: Brie Larson. A lot of the actresses in this category have received tons of attention and praise for their roles in these films, including Cate Blanchett and Saoirse Ronan, which is much deserved, of course. But there's something special about what Brie Larson was able to accomplish in Room. I've read the book that this movie is based on and love it, and the fact that the screen adaptation is also being lauded makes me very happy -- Larson will be feeling the same way when she goes to accept her award on Sunday.

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

Prediction: Sylvester Stallone. This is his year, for sure. We all saw how shocked he was at winning the Golden Globe; let's see if he has the same reaction when his name is called out during the Oscars.

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

Prediction: Alicia Vikander. While Eddie Redmayne is unlikely to be a winner this year, The Danish Girl will not walk away empty-handed, with Alicia Vikander winning for portraying Gerda Wegener, a role that has rightly received much acclaim. Vikander has already won the Critics' Choice and SAG Awards. However, if there is an "upset," so to speak, in this category, expect the award to go to Kate Winslet, who surprised everyone when she won the Golden Globe recently.

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

Prediction: Alejandro G. Inarritu. This director hit the jackpot at the 2015 Oscars when his film Birdman won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. While this year's film, The Revenant, won't be able to claim all three since it's not up for Screenplay, there are a ton of categories it has a chance of winning, including many of the technical awards. And since Inarritu has already won a BAFTA, Golden Globe and Directors Guild Award, he's well on his way to earning another Oscar.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

Prediction: Spotlight. This film has received a lot of attention for its story about the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. While many of the movies in this category have top-notch scripts (it's great to see an animated film like Inside Out nominated outside of the Animated Feature nod), Spotlight should win this one, even if it loses Best Picture.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Prediction: The Big Short. Like with Spotlight for Best Original Screenplay, the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar will go to The Big Short, based on the awards it's already racked up, including the Writers Guild Award, Critics' Choice and BAFTA. And also like the previous category, many of the other films are worthy as well, including the script for Room, which was written by the book's own author, Emma Donoghue.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Anomalisa
Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie was There

Prediction: Inside Out. This one's obvious, right? I mean, is there any other film even in the running? Inside Out is not only one of the best Pixar movies, it's one of the best animated movies ever. The main characters are emotions inside a young girl's head -- and moviegoers felt all sorts of emotions while experiencing the journey that is Inside Out. Pixar hasn't had the best track record lately when it comes to the Oscars, but they'll be back on top in 2016.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay's Super Team
We Can't Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Prediction: Bear Story. As great as it would be to see Sanjay's Super Team win, Pixar rarely wins in this category, so it's between Bear Story and World of Tomorrow. Both are worthy of winning, so I'm just going to side with the former.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Amy
Cartel Land
Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire

Prediction: Amy. Going with a music-centered documentary seems like a safe bet regardless. But even putting that aside, Amy does deserve to win. The doc gives an inside look at Amy Winehouse's life and the the downward spiral that led to her tragic death at such a young age, using a lot of home video footage that captures the singer at her best and at her worst; it's raw, insightful, beautiful and heartwrenching.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
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

Prediction: Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah. There are some fascinating stories being covered in this category. Claude is a retrospective/making-of short film about the Holocaust documentary Shoah, which is an interesting focus to take and one that the Academy may very well praise.

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Shok
Stutterer

Prediction: Stutterer. This may be a short film, but Stutterer tells a powerful story about a typographer with a speech impediment.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Embrace of the Serpent, Colombia
Mustang, France
Son of Saul, Hungary
Theeb, Jordan
A War, Denmark

Prediction: Son of Saul. During award season, most of the attention is on major categories like Best Picture and the acting nominations. For Best Foreign Language Film, though, there is one film that a lot of people are talking about. The World War II-centered film Son of Saul, which is set in a concentration camp, has already received about two dozen awards both in the United States and around the world, including Critics' Choice and Golden Globe Awards. Expect Saul to add yet another accolade on the mantle come Oscar night.

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

Prediction: The Hateful Eight. As much as I would love to see the legendary John Williams win for that little film called Star Wars, The Hateful Eight is taking home the prize here. Ennio Morricone is back to composing a Western film after more than 30 years. And while he won an Honorary Academy Award in 2007, Morricone has never won an Oscar for an individual film -- that's all about to change.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"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

Prediction: "Til It Happens to You." The Hunting Ground is a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses, a very relevant issue right now. The original song featured in the doc was written by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga, and performed by Gaga. Even if you haven't seen the film, listening to the lyrics as Gaga sings them, you can't help but feel the heartbreak and emotion that comes through with this topic. If that song doesn't win, then it'll likely go to the James Bond tune by Sam Smith.

The final eight categories are most likely going to be split up between Mad Max and The Revenant, so even if the latter doesn't win Best Picture, there are plenty of awards it can take home instead.

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

Prediction: The Revenant. After winning an ASC Award, a BAFTA and Critics' Choice, why not top it off with another cinematography award, this time at the Oscars?

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

Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road. The case could be made for either Max or Revenant, of course. Since the category is production design, Max has the upper hand here.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road. Period films can benefit from a category like this one, so Carol might take it. Cinderella, even though it's fantasy, fits that criteria as well. But Mad Max has been winning similar awards already.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road. What I said for the previous two categories sort of fits here as well, so Mad Max will earn yet another award.

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

Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road. This could be an open category, with Revenant or some of the others having a shot at the prize, but again, Mad Max has already racked up film editing awards already and has a good chance at winning another one.

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

Prediction: The Revenant. Whereas Mad Max might have the upper hand on a lot of the previous technical awards, now The Revenant is about to come out on top.

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

Prediction: The Revenant. Will this film sweep both sound categories? Possibly -- it didn't happen last year. For now, though, I'm sticking with The Revenant.

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

Prediction: The Revenant. The Best Visual Effects category is usually filled with popcorn flicks, and this year is no different. But that doesn't mean a movie like Star Wars will run away with it because this award usually goes to films that are also nominated for Best Picture, which means it's down to Mad Max, The Martian and The Revenant.


What are your predictions? Is Best Picture a two-way race between The Big Short and The Revenant, or will Spotlight sneak in there to claim the top prize? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The 2016 Academy Awards airs Sunday, February 28 at 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT on ABC.

(Images courtesy of Paramount and 20th Century Fox)