Tara Coughlin ’19
It’s that time of year again! Grab your ballots, because on Feb. 28, the 88th Academy Awards will recognize the achievements of 2015’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed films. Let’s take a look at some strong contenders and give some predictions.
If there were a theme this year for the majority of films nominated for Best Picture, it would probably have to be “the harshness of reality.” This theme is expressed in a myriad of ways, from the brutal and unforgiving “The Revenant,” to the indifference of space and technology in “The Martian,” to the will to survive in dangerous environments in “Room” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.” All of these films challenge characters that seem to live in a world that has stopped caring. Well, all right, “Brooklyn” wasn’t quite as dismal, but love triangles are never easy. But which of these films will take home the award for Best Picture? Despite “The Revenant” winning the Golden Globe for Best Picture, I believe critically praised newsroom drama “Spotlight” will take home the prize. With the Academy frequently opting for true stories, I believe they will show favoritism this year to this uncompromising and star-studded film whose subject matter is controversial to this day.
This year’s nominees are a collection of very talented directors. Honestly, I would be happy with any of them winning. Despite his incredible work and dedication to the project, I doubt Alejandro Iñárritu will win this year considering his win for “Birdman” last year. Veteran George Miller’s injection of life into the action franchise with “Mad Max: Fury Road” is also award-worthy. But I believe Tom McCarthy will most likely win, if the Oscars are going to sweep with “Spotlight” like I think it will.
As much as I adored Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn,” I think the Academy will grant the Best Actress trophy to Brie Larson for “Room.” Sweeping awards by the armful, it is no wonder that Larson’s emotional and sharply real performance as Ma in “Room” has garnered such praise and attention. Already a Best Actress winner, it is unlikely Jennifer Lawrence will win the award this year considering how young she is. Cate Blanchett’s two Oscars and well-established throne in Hollywood royalty also keeps her out of an awards ceremony that tends to favor the up-and-coming in its Best Actress Category. Charlotte Rampling’s chances also seem slim considering her nomination was a new addition as opposed to the Golden Globes nominations, and her film, “45 Years,” while critically praised, has not been a mainstream success.
Please, Academy, for the sake of Leonardo DiCaprio’s life and all future physical bodily harm he may do unto himself for his roles in future movies, just give him the Oscar already. Yes, it is no secret that “The Revenant” has been baited as DiCaprio’s Oscar-winning role. Already winning the Golden Globe for Best Actor, it seems to be less of a competition in this category and more about paying someone his due. Winning in this category last year, it is unlikely Eddie Redmayne will win again for “The Danish Girl.” While the other nominees have well-established careers, I believe this Oscars season will show the Academy throwing its hands in the air saying, “Here, Leo! Just take it already!”
Best Supporting Actress
This one is a little tricky. Not excluding the fact that two of the nominees, Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander, were both nominated in the Best Actress category at The Golden Globes rather than Best Supporting Actress, the Oscar’s category contains a surprising amount of ambiguity in terms of who will win. Will it be former Oscar winner Kate Winslet for her Golden Globe winning performance in “Steve Jobs”? Or will it be Hollywood newcomer Alicia Vikander? If I had to choose, it would be be Rachel McAdams for “Spotlight,” who is long overdue to be recognized for her talent.
Best Supporting Actor
Sylvester Stallone. Sorry, other nominees, but nothing is more attractive to award shows than giving an award to a seasoned actor who is most likely playing the very role that made him famous for the last time.