joyheaderOscars: Who’s winning in 2016?

We’re just about half a year away from the 2016 Oscar ceremony. We have periodically kept our Oscar predictions up to date, but at this point we’d like to try and make the early call – Who’s winning this thing?

Thing may be looking identical to the 2015 Oscar ceremony, with Alejandro G. Iñárritu coming out with another visual impressive film: “The Revenant” which is looking more and more like our front-runner. Also with Eddie Redmayne with a strong lead role for “The Danish Girl.”

With that, three of our above-the-line categories will be repeats. Not to mention the strong potential of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki prevailing for “The Revenant” as well.

But let’s take this one category at a time:

Animated Feature
Winner: Inside Out
Alternate: The Good Dinosaur

Pixar will dominate this year. “Inside Out” has already proven to be strong, so the only real way this category could get interesting is if “The Good Dinosaur” rivaled it.

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens-11-600x396Sound Mixing
Winner: The Revenant
Alternate: Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

“Star Wars” will sweep plenty of the technical categories, but we’re thinking this will be the one to get away from them.

Sound Editing
Winner: Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens
Alternate: Mad Max: Fury Road

With strong reviews, we think “Mad Max: Fury Road” will have a strong campaign with an additional boost from some critic-group support. This, and make-up, though seem like the only things it could grab onto. Also the sound editing is perfect in “Mad Max.”

Visual Effects
Winner: Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens
Alternate: The Martian

This one is probably a given. “The Martian” would be able to win in any other year, but with the momentum “Star Wars” is going to bring to the table, we think this one will be an easy sweep.

Makeup and Hairstyling
Winner: Mad Max: Fury Road
Alternate: The Danish Girl

There’s also a chance “Star Wars” could break through here with strong fantasy make-up. Again, just like with Sound Editing, “Mad Max” is going to have some strong momentum, and potentially a strong campaign. “The Danish Girl,” if it receives strong reviews, could also show up here.

Costume Design
Winner: Cinderella
Alternate: Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

I know I’m going with a lot of films already released, but wow the costume design in “Cinderella” was spot on. We have a lot of strong period films coming out this Oscar season, but we think this will be a battle of fantasy between “Star Wars” and “Cinderella.”

Original Score
Winner: The Hateful Eight
Alternate: Bridge of Spies

Who can take on Ennio Morricone’s surprise return to film? “The Hateful Eight” is looking very strong here, but if anyone is to spoil we can see Thomas Newman’s score for “Bridge of Spies” complementing the bombastic nature of the Spielbergian direction.

Winner: Steve Jobs
Alternate: The Revenant

“Editing” depends on a lot of different things. It will take some strong pacing for the editor to keep up with Sorkin’s energy. If not, this award may default back to “Star Wars,” but I’m also anticipating some technical love for “The Revenant” or even “Joy” which could happen here.

Winner: The Revenant
Alternate: Bridge of Spies

The blood, sweat, and tears of achieving all-natural light in “The Revenant” will no doubt prevail here. It will be Lubezki’s third consecutive Oscar win.

Production Design
Winner: Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens
Alternate: The Revenant

Production Design blankets more than just the set, but also the art direction. From the recent “Star Wars” featurette, you can see how much attention Abrams and his crew is putting toward the design of the film. Next to visual effects, this is the most likely win for “Star Wars.”

watch-leonardo-dicaprio-get-mauled-by-a-bear-in-the-revenant-trailer-515173Original Screenplay
Winner: Joy
Alternate: The Hateful Eight

“Joy” and “The Hateful Eight” are both kind of wild cards right now. They had decent trailers recently, and they both have award-based release dates. It also seems like they could both also be rushed to meet those release dates. I think its a strong bet, with the talents of Russell and Tarantino, that one (or both) of them will prevail. Script-wise? We’ll give the edge to “Joy.”

Adapted Screenplay
Winner: Steve Jobs
Alternate: The Danish Girl

The strength of Aaron Sorkin here can be easily overturned depending on how strong “Steve Jobs” actually is. Same goes for “The Danish Girl,” which, with strong reviews, could sweep this up with a few other above-the-line categories.

Supporting Actress
Winner: Rooney Mara – Carol
Alternate: Elizabeth Olsen – I Saw the Light

The question is how much The Weinstein Company is going to focus on promoting the critically acclaimed “Carol.” Rooney Mara already took home actress honors at Cannes earlier this year. TWC will likely juggle this and “The Hateful Eight.” As far as alternates, we’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Elizabeth Olsen.

Supporting Actor
Winner: Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
Alternate: Samuel L. Jackson – The Hateful Eight

Another category with a couple big question marks. Supporting Actor is ridiculously packed this year. “The Hateful Eight” can potentially have a lot of strong supporting actors, we’ve heard Jackson’s role is very strong. However, if “Beasts of No Nation” meets its full potential, Elba will be hard to beat.

Lead Actress
Winner: Cate Blanchett – Carol
Alternate: Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

The Weinstein Company has the actress categories in the palm of his hands right now. “Joy” will continue to be a spoiler alert here though. If it’s as strong as any of Russell’s last couple of films, it could be good for its title character.

Lead Actor
Winner: Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
Alternate: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

If “The Revenant” is really, really good, then DiCaprio could finally break through here. “The Danish Girl” puts Redmayne involves serious physical and mental adjustments, and may be more timely for Oscar voters. “The Revenant” feels more like a technical presence, not so much an actors one – but it could be.

Winner: Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Alternate: David O. Russell – Joy

I know a lot of people think “Suffragette” will show up strong, and it may very well do so. But the momentum around “Joy” and “The Revenant” may be too much for the likes of “Suffragette,” “Carol,” and other contenders. Iñárritu is a technical perfectionist, I think the Director’s Guild will respect this and that they Academy will follow suit.

Winner: The Revenant
Alternate: Joy

“The Revenant” will be known as a film made with blood, sweat, and tears. With Iñárritu’s commitment to perfectionism I can see this being a big story come Oscar season. “Joy” could spoil, “Suffragette” could spoil, but I think the storylines will follow “Iñárritu, back to back wins” or “David O. Russell finally breaks through.”