Oscar Nomination Predictions From Variety’s Awards Team

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Oscar nominations will be announced Thursday at 5:38am PT. So Variety Oscar pundits Tim Gray, Jenelle Riley, Ramin Setoodeh and Kristopher Tapley huddled to make final predictions in the eight major categories. There was surprising agreement on the majority of contenders, with some slight differences of opinion here and there.

Best Picture
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Inside Out”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
The Revenant
“Straight Outta Compton”

Putting their heads together, our pundits came up with this list of 10, but the Academy may or may not hit that number. “Beasts of No Nation” was the only other film to get a vote.

Best Director
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Ridley Scott, “The Martian”
Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

Miller was duking it out with Todd Haynes (“Carol”) for the last spot. Today’s DGA nomination for “Mad Max: Fury Road” sent the Aussie ahead of the pack for the majority of our pundits.

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

The toss-up here came down to Fassbender and “Concussion” star Will Smith, with “Black Mass'” Johnny Depp also in the mix. We went with the “Steve Jobs” star, second only to DiCaprio on the critics’ awards circuit this year.

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

Consensus lined up here, with all of our pundits expecting a BAFTA match-up save for Rampling, subbing for “The Lady in the Van’s” Maggie Smith.

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Lots of discussion around SAG nominee Jacob Tremblay here, but in the end, our crew opted for Bale instead.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Helen Mirren, “Trumbo”
Alicia Vikander, “Ex Machina”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

General agreement, with Jane Fonda also in the mix.

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Big Short”
“The Martian”
“Steve Jobs”

It was “The Martian” vs. “Room” for the last spot here. The former has seen much more luck with industry groups so far, however.

Best Original Screenplay
“Ex Machina”
“The Hateful Eight”
“Inside Out”
“Straight Outta Compton”

Yet another consensus, with “Sicario” also part of the discussion.



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  1. Carl White says:

    “The Big Short” – swung for the fences, hit a solid double.
    “Bridge of Spies” – interesting subject matter, wake me when it’s over.
    “Brooklyn” – did not see yet
    “Carol” – did not see yet
    “Inside Out” – deserves to be on list
    “Mad Max: Fury Road” – overrated but still very close to great.
    “The Martian” – fine entertainment, not a best picture.
    “The Revenant” – did not see yet
    “Spotlight” – highly overrated, interesting subject matter, great cast, not a great movie.
    “Straight Outta Compton” – huh?, first half of movie was great and then it fell apart, in an embarrassing way.

    How is Room not on this list? Ex Machina is better than several movies on this list.

    Bottom line, not a great year for movies. Not one movie hit a grand slam for me this year.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have absolutely no idea why The Martin is getting so much attention in this Award Season. It was a good movie for sure, but it’s far away from being worthy.

  3. IanRousseault says:

    Just please do not let Straight Out Of Compton be nominated for anything!

    • Dex says:

      @ 6:15 Ian

      “Compton” was one of the most talked about films of the year, crossing various racial and socioeconomic lines at the box office. It will not be ignored come nomination time.

  4. minki0406 says:

    I am actually surprised that you have not included Johnny Depp in your Best Actor’s Nomination list.
    He gave the best acting performance of the year. It was real and authentic. But, I am guessing his unusual nature is what got him snubbed at the Globes and BAFTAs.

    If he is snubbed, then the field will be cleared for Leo. Just so he can win what others think is a “due” Academy Award, which is simply not true.

    Depp has won the Modern Master Award in Santa Barbara this year for his performance in Black Mass. He also won the Desert Palm Achievment Award, the last 8 recipients of which have been nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award and 6 of those ended up winning it.

    So, for the sake of what is right, I hope Depp gets a nomination and hopefully ends up winning it.

    • Him says:

      He deserves a nominati, but DiCaprio put in the best performance of the decade and deserves a unanimous win.

      • minki0406 says:

        i disagree with you. YES, he and the rest of the team did suffer the terrible weather while shooting it. YES, the acting was good. But, NO, it wasn’t great acting. It was a one dimensional character and he was overshown by Tom Hardy and even challenged by the Glesson boy. Plus , the director and the cinematographer were the heroes of the film. They took an average film and raised it to a whole another level.

        Definitely not the acting best performance of the decade. There have so many more by Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn, Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine.

        It is just that most people out there love Leo more than anyone and so, want him to win. Plain and simple.

  5. jazz says:

    spotlight, michael keaton, lily tomlin, charlotte rampling…only good things about this year…

    also…happy for sly just because…

  6. Mdolgin@yahoo.com says:

    I think this is complete bullshit that “the hateful eight” is not included as well as Tarantino. He simply out schooled other directors

    • lee says:

      H8 was wild, arrogant daring, and has no place in decent society. Don’t worry about it, I’ve a feeling it will be be coming up in conversations years from now, which is more than I expect from most of this years nominees.

  7. Ah, the experts, the pundits, the critics. Truly they are the eunuchs at the orgy. Failing to place “The Danish Girl” in contention for Best Picture exposed how little you know about film, and about the very political academy. Leo’s only real competition for Best Actor is Eddie, on a side note.

    If you can’t guess the nominations, how will you ever guess any of the winners?

    • Phillipa says:

      I’ll actually be very pleased if Eddie Redmayne is snubbed tomorrow in favour of a much more deserving performance – Jacob Tremblay.

      • You’re sad. Redmayne should not (and will not ) be snubbed. His performance was brilliant. There will be snubs, Mark Ruffalo for Infinitely Polar Bear (or Spotlight), John Cusack and Paul Dano for Love & Mercy, Michael Keaton for Spotlight, Emily Blunt for Sicario, Cary Mulligan for Suffragette, the films Me & Earl and the Dying Girl, Straight Outta Compton, 99 Homes, The Water Diviner and Sicario. Happens all the time.

  8. AYU_Dyah says:

    I think Leonardo DiCaprio will not get his Oscar again this year. Yes, he gave his best in the Revenant.

    But, he was totally outshined by Tom Hardy. Leo still became, well-again, Leo in Revenant. No matter how hard he tried to grow beard, look dirty, and eat raw liver.

  9. AYU_Dyah says:

    I think Spotlight will grab the best picture trophy at the Oscar. This movie is so perfectly paced!.

    A rare case for a movie that balancing the first, second, and third act. The script was written in detail and the editing is so brilliant. Spotlight feels like a movie which is not directed by anyone. Feels so organic!

    Two movies that match Spotlight in terms of the perfect balance of its first,second, and third act are The Martian and Mad Max : Fury Road. Those three have an incredibly flowing storytelling. Never feel bored a bit watching Spotlight, The Martian, and Mad Max Fury Road. I have watched those three more than three times! and ready to watch some more.

    But, Mad Max : Fury Road will not get Screenplay nomination, either Adapted or original screenplay. This will influence it’s chance for winning best picture.

    So I think it will go for, either Spotlight or The Martian. But, with the issue and urgency, I think Spotlight will get Best Picture trophy.

    And George Miller will get Best Director for his passion, dedication in film industry, and film that has changed how audiences saw an action movie.

    Revenant is good and brilliantly shot, but it was boring and felt too long. The Big Short is boring too.

    • Jaffa says:

      “Boring” is not a valid criticism of any film. The Revenant is the best film of the year aide by the best acting performance of this century.

  10. Getting real sick of The Walk not getting an buzz. JGL deserves a nomination.

  11. Jimmy Green says:

    Str8 Outta Condom? Are you serious?

    • Dex says:

      @8:45 Jimmy Green

      These predictions weren’t randomly pulled from thin air. “Compton” was added to the list because of its strong showing in several guilds. So to answer your question, yes, Variety is very serious.

  12. Jivez says:

    Matt Damon was snubbed by SAG hope they don’t snub him in Oscars. He was so good in the Martian only actor who will come close Leo’s breathtaking performance in The Revenant this year. I wish Leo gets this time but will be happy even Matt Damon wins

  13. crossie says:

    I like the Best Picture line-up; I feel like “Carol” could be the surprise “hey, where did that go” while “Inside Out” could be the surprise “hey, where did that come from.” “Carol” because bad luck with the PGA (the DGA miss actually just kind of felt just like a continuation of that), “Inside Out” because none of the precursors really have an animation branch, or people specifically there because they’re animators, except for, obviously, the Annies (and that, again obviously, isn’t a good Best Picture predictor), and maybe the BAFTAS (I really don’t know and am too lazy to look up, and anyway they only have five nominees).

    • You’re wrong about Carol. I suspect it’ll get more #1 votes for BP than any other film in the nomination phase.

      • shannon says:

        Carol is a stunning piece of TOTAL film craft. FROM opening frame to the closing. BUT Todd Haynes is not one of the “manly MEN” of the guilds who nominate…he’s too soft, or shall I say too damn smart, creative, artistic, inclusive, reflective, LOVES making movies, does his research, prepares his cast and crew , is not a top down director, truly comprehends and practices collaboration. WHICH is why the audiences, the critics, the film historians, the creatives, the film buffs, those who can actually think while watching a film, all put this film in their top 5. I was on a nominating committee and watched more films than usual, and found this one challenging, and truly remarkable. It will be taught in film courses as a example of cinematic excellence.Thank you Todd for taking a chance on a risky story, where two women find one another, in a time and place where it did not occur and find hope in their love. WOW imagine that- a film led by two beautiful women without a bunch of violence, men beating on women, or one another, no big explosions, holding the audiences attention for two hours. It’s about time and should be honored for being the total package.

  14. Max says:

    How is Tom Hardy not getting any consideration for best supporting??? Hardy was the best part of The Revenant

  15. Katie Fairchild says:

    Loved Leo’s movie felt The Big Short was very well acted and well told truth.

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