Oscars Preview

By: Kyle Casey, Staff Writer

Following a year filled with plenty of hit films and memorable performances, The Oscars 2016 have finally arrived. The 88th Academy Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, will air Sunday, Feb 28.

Key story lines to follow include the competitive three-movie race for Best Picture, and whether or not Leonardo DiCaprio will finally win an Oscar.

Best Picture

Will Win: “The Big Short” – This is the biggest crapshoot of any category. The decision for The Academy comes down to “The Big Short,” “Spotlight” and “The Revenant.” All three have scooped up a fair share of awards leading up to the Oscars, making it nearly impossibly to predict which film will earn the most prestigious Academy Award. Based on the timeliness of The Big Short (a depiction of a fraudulent American economy), its artistic feel and the Grade-A acting, it feels like a good bet to win.

Should Win: “Spotlight” – The most well constructed film of the year, Spotlight is a gripping journalistic thriller that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat thanks to suspenseful storytelling and perfectly-executed acting from an ensemble led by Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams. This was the most complete film to hit theaters in the past year, and is worthy of the Best Picture title.

Should Have Been Here: “Inside Out” – The best animated film since “Toy Story 3,” “Inside Out” excelled at appealing to both young and old viewers. With incredible writing, wit and a high level of seriousness to complement the comedy, this animated feature deserved to be one of the eight films nominated for Best Picture.

Best Actor

Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” – A virtual lock, it would be one of the biggest surprises in recent memory at the Academy Awards if DiCaprio does not hoist his first Oscar. No other lead actor even challenged him in this category prior to the Oscars.

Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” – Was this his best performance of his career? Probably not. Was it Oscar worthy? Of course. The sheer devotion and feeling that DiCaprio engulfed himself in for this role makes him an easy choice.

Should Have Been Here: Johnny Depp, “Black Mass” – Depp’s portrayal of Whitey Bulger was chilling and uncomfortable, and his ability to make each scene unsettling should have netted him an Oscar nomination.

Best Actress

Will Win: Brie Larson, “Room” – Like DiCaprio, Larson was largely unchallenged in this category prior to the Oscars. Her emotional and dedicated performance promises to earn her the award, but keep an eye out for “Brooklyn’s” Saoirse Ronan.

Should Win: Brie Larson, “Room” – Both Larson and Ronan delivered Oscar-worthy performances, but Larson’s felt more genuine and grasped the viewer more than Ronan’s. Her on-screen camaraderie with fellow “Room” star Jacob Tremblay made for a lasting film.

Should Have Been Here: Daisy Ridley, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – The Academy did a fairly good job at choosing the best five actresses for this category, but Ridley’s ability to steal the show in the newest Star Wars film made for one of the most memorable female performances of the year.

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Sylvester Stallone, “Creed” – One of the hardest categories to predict as all five actors can legitimately make a case for the award. But, will The Academy really pass up the opportunity to have the 69 year-old Stallone hoist an Oscar for the first time?

Should Win: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies” – In the supporting category, the award should go to an actor who can find a way to steal the show in a supporting role. No actor did a better job at this than Rylance, whose performance as a Russian spy was superb.

Should Have Been Here: Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation” – Not only should Elba have been nominated, but he arguably should win the award. His representation of an African warlord was one of the year’s best performances, and he would have been the only nominated actor of color.

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl” – This is a classic tossup between Vikander and Kate Winslet for her role in “Steve Jobs.” With no clear frontrunner, the sheer hope that the better performance (Vikander) will win out puts her in the lead.

Should Win: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl” – Her ability to seemingly overshadow the performance of Eddie Redmayne was Oscar worthy.

Should Have Been Here: None – No category accurately depicts the best five performances of the year quite like this one.

Best Director

Will Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu, “The Revenant” – Back-to-back wins for the “Birdman” director? It appears so as Iñárritu directed a cinematic masterpiece with plenty of realistic action scenes.

Should Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu, “The Revenant” – A simple choice as Iñárritu’s ability to capture a breathtaking view of nature and combine it with premier acting portrayals made for the best directing job of the year.

Should Have Been Here: Ridley Scott, “The Martian” – A surprising omission, as Scott’s film was nominated for Best Picture and provides wonderful scenery.

Best Animated Feature

Will Win: “Inside Out” – This one is etched in stone.

Should Win: “Inside Out” – The best animated film of the past five years, which makes for an easy choice.

Should Have Been Here: “The Peanuts Movie” – This was a funny, heartwarming adaption of the Charles M. Schulz childhood favorite.

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: “Spotlight” – The main reason why this journalism film transforms into an edge-of-your seat thriller is the superb writing and flow of a screenplay that figures to win this award.

Should Win: “Ex Machina” – The sheer intricacies of each line in this film make the viewer think on a philosophical level. It is quite an advanced script that takes multiple viewings of the film to comprehend, but is wildly rewarding.

Should Have Been Here: None – The five screenplays for this category were undoubtedly the best choices.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: “The Big Short” – This is an easy choice. The ability of the writing team to make the collapse of the housing market even somewhat understandable for the average viewer is enough for this movie to win the award.

Should Win: “The Big Short” – Crafty, funny, informative and a screenplay that takes a confusing topic and does its best to dumb it down for the average person.

Should Have Been Here: “Steve Jobs” – How did this happen? It was the one of the most extensive and riveting screenplays of the year.

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