Oscars 2016: Who should win and who will win

Can anyone stop Leo? The awards themselves are likely to see the apotheosis of one star: the chances of Leonardo DiCaprio not winning the Best Actor gong this year are slimmer than those of surviving a bear attack. As for who will make the best speech, our money's on eccentric Mark Rylance, Best Supporting Actor nominee, although likely to be pipped to the prize by Sylvester Stallone.

Best Picture:

The nominees

• The Big Short
• Bridge of Spies
• Brooklyn
• Mad Max: Fury Road
• The Martian
• The Revenant
• Room
• Spotlight

This might not have been the strongest Best Picture field of recent times, but it is certainly a lively one, with two hit blockbusters, a comedy and couple of Irish co-productions in the mix. Futuristic thriller Mad Max: Fury Road is the best film here by such a wide margin you could drive a flame-belching war rig between it and the competition.

But sadly it doesn't look like a main contender. Spotlight dominated early on, before rivals The Big Short and The Revenant pulled up to the starting grid. Thomas McCarthy's unshowy journalism procedural about the child abuse uncovered by the Boston Globe newspaper ticked lots of important boxes: moving true story, strong ensemble cast, triumphant struggle-against-the-odds structure.

The Big Short is a financial crisis caper which has struck a chord with voters - perhaps for its crusading spirit, throwback loopiness and punchy topicality. And Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's wilderness odyssey, The Revenant, immediately became more than the Leonardo DiCaprio Best Actor Express when the generally awestruck reactions - and box-office receipts - started rolling in. Could an Inarritu film win two years in a row? (His Birdman got the gong in 2015.

Will win: The Revenant
Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Might win: The Big Short

Fassbender's portrayal of sociopathic tech guru Steve Jobs in Danny Boyle's biopic is the best work in this category. Photo / File
Fassbender's portrayal of sociopathic tech guru Steve Jobs in Danny Boyle's biopic is the best work in this category. Photo / File

Best Actor:

The nominees

• Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
• Matt Damon (The Martian)
• Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
• Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
• Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

DiCaprio's grunting fur trapper has become this year's deadest cert, prize wise. If the members won't vote for him after he ate raw bison liver and was washed down a semi-frozen river, what on Earth does he have to do? Fassbender's portrayal of sociopathic tech guru Steve Jobs in Danny Boyle's biopic is, however, the best work in this category, but his lack of lookalikey showmanship may count against him, as well as the film's well-documented box-office woes.

Will win: Leonardo DiCaprio
Should win: Michael Fassbender
Might win: n/a

All season it's really been a question of whether anyone could pull ahead of Brie Larson, who gets the most harrowing dramatic workout here as an imprisoned mother in <i>Room</i>. Photo / Supplied
All season it's really been a question of whether anyone could pull ahead of Brie Larson, who gets the most harrowing dramatic workout here as an imprisoned mother in Room. Photo / Supplied

Best Actress

The nominees

• Cate Blanchett (Carol)
• Brie Larson (Room)
• Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
• Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
• Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

Welcome to the year's strongest acting category by a mile. Blanchett in particular has done some of her most sensational work ever in Carol, the adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's story about Sapphic love, but being a too-recently-anointed Best Actress winner may deny her the win. All season it's really been a question of whether anyone could pull ahead of Brie Larson, who gets the most harrowing dramatic workout here as an imprisoned mother in Room.

Will win: Brie Larson
Should win: Cate Blanchett
Might win: Saoirse Ronan

Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone in Creed. Photo / Supplied
Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone in Creed. Photo / Supplied

Best Supporting Actor

The nominees

• Christian Bale (The Big Short)
• Tom Hardy (The Revenant)
• Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
• Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
• Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

The runes read Stallone for this one. Firstly, he's great in Creed, this seventh Rocky film, in a way that Academy members will respond to: gnarled mentor is an endearing type. Second, the performance that should have been his biggest threat - Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation, the Screen Actors' Guild award-winner and Golden Globe and Bafta nominee - isn't a contender. And third, he's due: he's no Daniel Day-Lewis, but Stallone is well-loved by his peers and back in the running - and for the same role that brought him to the Oscars for the first time in 1977. Brit Mark Rylance has a small fighting chance. As Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies, he's enormously watchable. The Academy will also be keen to induct this titan of the stage and first-time nominee into the Hollywood club.

Will win: Sylvester Stallone
Should win: Mark Rylance
Might win: Rylance

Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl. Photo / Supplied
Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl. Photo / Supplied

Best Supporting Actress

The nominees

• Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
• Rooney Mara (Carol)
• Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)
• Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
• Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

What a funny old mess they've made of Best Supporting Actress this year. Mara and Vikander have lead-strength roles in their films yet, craftily, in this bumper year for lead actresses, they were downgraded to supporting during the promotional campaigns to maximise their chances. Indeed, either could win. As it stands, the only truly supporting performance that looks like a tempting bet is Kate Winslet's excellent marketing guru in Steve Jobs: her most original and charming creation in years. She's already bagged a Globe and a Bafta. Can she score the hat-trick, or will that wily strategy pay off handsomely for Mara or Vikander?

Will win: Alicia Vikander
Should win: Kate Winslet
Might win: Winslet

- Daily Telegraph UK

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 24 May 2017 12:02:45 Processing Time: 718ms