My 2016 (2015?) Oscar Picks

I have opinions!

And for once they’re actually sorta, kinda, informed opinions. Somehow I’ve managed to free enough time these last few months to watch 96 out of the 106 feature films nominated for Academy Awards (or “Oscars,” as those in the know call them) this year. 20 of them even in the theater. One of them three times in the theater!

In the past we did these “Will win / Should win / Should’ve been nominated“-style, but I’m gonna forgo “Will win” because who cares. And why confront disappointing awards outcomes any sooner than you have to?

Full list of nominated films and people is here. My picks are here in this blog post that you are reading right now. (Good job, you!)


“The Look of Silence”

Best Documentary

Should win: Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence.” I liked all of the films nominated in this category, but like its companion piece “The Act of Killing,” this one explored and laid bare the depths of human nature in a way that needs to be seen, needs to be studied, and needs to be awarded already.

Should’ve been nominated: I would have loved to see “Going Clear” get a nomination, if only to see who’d end up boycotting the ceremony because of it and to find out who they’d get to fill in for John Travolta’s awkward presenter duties.


“Crimson Peak”

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” mostly because it doesn’t feel like a “visual effects” movie at all, but then you watch some of the making-of stuff and realize how much great work and effort went into every single frame of it. (I’d be pretty happy if “Ex Machina” took this one, too.)

Should’ve been nominated: “Crimson Peak,” for its (literally!) fantastic ghostly creations.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing/Sound Mixing

Should win: As much as I want “Sicario” to win as much as it can, “Mad Max: Fury Road” did sound better than anyone last year.

Should’ve been nominated: I watched “Inside Out” with a friend last night, and the first thing she said after it was over was how much she loved the sound of it. Wouldn’t have been the first thing on my mind, but she’s right. Those Pixar folk are very good at creating compelling worlds, and the sound contributes to that just as much as the visuals.

Best Original Song

Should win: “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey,” because it’s a legitimately great song among a bunch of forgettable (or, in Spectre‘s case, downright terrible) ones.

Should’ve been nominated: Any of the other eligible songs from the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack.

Best Original Score

Should win: “Rey’s Theme” is my favorite individual track from a 2015 score, and Ennio Morricone’s music for “The Hateful Eight” is my favorite part of that film, but the Oscar should go to Carter Burwell for his beautiful “Carol” score.

Should’ve been nominated: Jed Kurzel’s score for “Macbeth.” (Also I’m somewhat surprised that “Fury Road” didn’t get a nomination.)



Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Should’ve been nominated: “Macbeth.”

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” for the meticulous world- and character-building its costumes (and makeup and hairstyling) bring to the screen.

Should’ve been nominated: Well, “Macbeth,” obviously, but also I’d just loved to see “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” get some recognition.


“The Duke of Burgundy”

Best Achievement in Production Design

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road.” (World-building!)

Should’ve been nominated: “The Duke of Burgundy.”

Best Achievement in Editing

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Margaret Sixel’s editing is of a technical refinement that makes me think it’ll quickly become the go-to showcase of the craft in film schools the world over, if it hasn’t already.

Should’ve been nominated: “45 Years.”



Best Achievement in Cinematography

Should win: Edward Lachman, “Carol.”

Should’ve been nominated: Adam Arkapaw, “Macbeth.”

Best Foreign Language Film

Should win: No clue, since this is the one non-Shorts category I haven’t seen a single film from.

Should’ve been nominated: Since “Victoria” isn’t eligible, “Tu dors Nicole.”

Best Animated Feature Film

Should win: “Inside Out,” although since this is the other big category I haven’t seen all nominated films from, and “Shaun the Sheep Movie” was great, too,  I won’t begrudge anyone the win.

Should’ve been nominated: I got nothing. “Age of Ultron”?

Best Adapted Screenplay

Should win: I liked “Carol” the best, but since I haven’t read a book in five years (and certainly haven’t read any of these books) I wouldn’t know how well-adapted they were.

Should’ve been nominated: None of the twelve books I’ve read in my life were adapted into movies last year, so I’ll pass.

Best Original Screenplay

Should win: “Spotlight.”

Should’ve been nominated: “Results.”


“By the Sea”

Best Achievement in Directing

Should win: George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Should’ve been nominated: Angelina Jolie, “By the Sea.”



Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Should not have been nominated in this category, but should win regardless: Rooney Mara, “Carol.”

Should’ve been nominated: Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria.”



Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Should win: Tom Hardy, “The Revenant.”

Should’ve been nominated: James Ransone, “Tangerine.”


“45 Years”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Should win: Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years.”

Should’ve been nominated: Rooney Mara, “Carol.”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Should win: Eh. Pass.

Should’ve been nominated: Tom Courtenay, “45 Years.”


“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road” or “Spotlight.” Both are cinema at its finest.

Should’ve been nominated: “Carol“! (Also “Macbeth” and “45 Years” and “By the Sea” and “Sicario.”


2 thoughts on “My 2016 (2015?) Oscar Picks

  1. Really nice round-up! Impressive that you’ve seen so many of the nominees.

    Love the “Eh. Pass.” for Best Actor, and of course, I appreciate the honorary mention of THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. for Costume Design. My “Should Win” for Best Actor would be Matt Damon, simply to annoy everyone without making them stabby, which an Eddie Redmayne win would do. I really liked Damon’s performance in a well-written role, and I’m not sure why some critics seem to think it wasn’t “acting.” I’d give a GIANT HONKING Best Actor “Should’ve Been Nominated” for Sir Ian McKellen for MR HOLMES (of course).

    I’ve noticed your championing of BY THE SEA before, a film that I didn’t see and am not likely to, but I like Angelina so I am glad you liked the film.

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