by Chris Ledford
Every year I win my office’s Oscar pool thanks to my unfailing intuition for picking winners. I guess you could say I’ve got a real sixth sense for this kind of thing (except for in 2000 when I picked The Sixth Sense for Best Picture). I don’t mean to sound cocky, but this year looks to be another ripe opportunity to sweep up my co-workers’ Christmas bonuses. Ah, the magic of cinema!
The truth is I’ve hardly seen any of the movies up for awards this year because most of them look pretty boring and deal with depressing issues like Catholic priests, bear attacks, or post-apocalyptic sex slavery. But, the best thing about the Oscars is you don’t have to see all of the movies—or really, any of the movies—to predict the winners because, unlike the Super Bowl or a presidential election, the Oscars are extremely predictable. As long as you’ve seen some trailers or glanced at a few magazines covers at the grocery store you have all the information you need.
Best Supporting Actor
This category is for all the Mark Ruffalos and the Christian Bales of the world, actors with good looks, talent, charisma, but with enough skeletons in their closets to keep them from becoming true leading men. This is also where the Academy likes to throw in some oddballs, like child actors and dead people. This award usually goes to an actor in a movie that isn’t going to win any other awards. It also helps if the actor probably isn’t going to win any more awards in his lifetime either. In other words, a good place for a wash-up to make a brief comeback before fading back into obscurity.
My pick: Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
Best Supporting Actress
This one usually goes to a minority, but, as has been pointed out by numerous media outlets, there aren’t any non-white nominees this year. Hopefully, host Chris Rock will ease the tension by making a joke about this, something like, “The nominees this year all have certain things in common: they’re all talented, they’re all beautiful, and they’re all white!” which will make the audience roar with laughter. Then he’ll say, “Seriously, folks, if these nominees were any whiter, they’d be getting acquitted of murder charges!” and some of the audience will gasp and others will applaud and the internet will be flooded with “Chris Rock just flawlessly eviscerated the Academy!” tweets. All this is to say, I don’t have a sure answer for this one, but I heard Rooney Mara plays a lesbian in a period drama which sounds Oscar-y enough.
My pick: Rooney Mara (Carol)
I can’t even tell you what cinematography is– all I know is this award usually goes to whichever movie gave me the worst motion sickness. The last two have gone to the same guy, Emmanuel Lubezki: first for Gravity, a $100 million dizzy spell, and then Birdman, which gave me a horrible migraine with its swooping tracking shots and that goddamn jazz drumming. This year he’s nominated for The Revenant, which made me sick for several reasons, not the least of which was the shaky hand-held sequences. I’m predicting a hat trick for the maestro of nausea.
My pick: The Revenant
Best Original Score
This one is usually pretty easy to pick because there’s only a handful of really good film score composers out there and most years only one is nominated, but this year is different. John Williams and Ennio Morricone are two of the best film score composers of all time, making this a pretty exciting showdown for band nerds. Since I never played in marching band and don’t know the difference between a sousaphone and a tuba—I was too busy in high school doing drugs and letting everyone know I was an atheist—I’m at a bit of a loss on this one, so I flipped a coin.
My pick: John Williams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Best Sound Editing
This award is so boring that not even the Academy cares about it. Some years only one or two movies get nominated. A couple of years ago there was a tie. Did you even know that could happen? Only with an award this insignificant could there be two winners like in a little league soccer game. That’s why I don’t even recognize this award as real. As far as this award is concerned, film might as well have stayed in the silent age.
My pick: NA
Best Original Screenplay
This award goes to a movie where people talk a lot and say really clever things they’d never say in real life. I didn’t see Spotlight, but the poster looks like a scene from The West Wing, so I’m going to go with that.
My pick: Spotlight
Best Adapted Screenplay
The fact that this award and the last one are different awards is really annoying. Plus, “adapted” just means it’s based on a book. Don’t they already have awards for books? Well, I saw a lot of people reading The Martian on the subway, and, from what I hear, the movie is basically a guy talking to himself for two hours, so it probably has a strong “adapted” screenplay.
My pick: The Martian
Without fail, this award always goes to the actress my girlfriend hates the most. Two titans of her contempt are going head-to-head this year: Cate Blanchett (or, as my girlfriend call her, “that stuck-up Aussie bitch”) and Jennifer Lawrence (“that stuck-up American bitch”). I’ve been keeping tabs on which actress has caused her the most scowls while reading People magazine this year and Jennifer Lawrence is leading the pack.
My pick: Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
The Academy always gives this one to whichever actor caused me the most sexual confusion. I know this is supposed to be Leo’s year, but watching him sleep inside a horse carcass didn’t stir any latent desires in me. While Eddie Redmayne playing a trans woman in The Danish Girl did leave me with some questions about my place on the Kinsey scale, it was Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs who caused me the most sleepless nights wondering if I’m living a lie.
My pick: Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
For years, Alejandro Iñárritu has been making depressing movies with bad lighting and subtitles, and it’s finally paying off, as he’s achieved a level of Oscar dominance usually reserved for other directors who make movies just like his. Iñárritu is a very talented director whose movies aren’t very fun to watch, which makes him a favorite for the Academy.
Best Director: Alejandro Iñárritu (The Revenant)
For the longest time, I thought this was jointly awarded with “Best Director” since most years they both go to the same movie. As it turns out, not only are they different awards, they actually go to different people. “Best Picture” is awarded to the producer, which means some rich sleazeball you’ve never heard of gets on stage and cries because he’s so proud of this thing he had little-to-no creative input on. It’s kind of like at the Kentucky Derby when they push the winning horse and jockey aside so some corrupt old tycoon can pretend like he did something really great, all because he’s got a huge, expendable income, and instead of investing it in things that benefit society, like roads, healthcare, education, etc., he chose to spend it on luxury entertainment… Argh, sorry, didn’t mean to go on a rant there. Anyways, there isn’t a clear frontrunner in this year’s category, but I’m going to pick The Revenant. This movie is a bit like Hillary Clinton: nobody is crazy about it, but we all know it has the best chance at winning.
My pick: The Revenant