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How has the Oscar race evolved this year?

the martian matt damon
This is going to be a potentially embarrassing article for me to write. Essentially, I’m going to look at how wrong my initial Academy Award predictions were this year. As nominations draw near (less than a month away now), I like to take a look at what I initially saw as being the likely Oscar nominees. Back in February, I did year in advance Oscar predictions, which were more or less shots in the dark about what could happen. Now, with nomination morning coming closer and closer, I want to shame myself by reposting them and showing you what changed over the ensuing ten months or so. Honestly, they’re not nearly as bad as you’d think, but still…they’re nothing to brag about either.

sandra bullock our brand is crisis
Here’s what I had as my initial Oscar predictions that I posted right around the time of the prior year’s ceremony:

BEST PICTURE

1. St. James Place
2. Our Brand is Crisis
3. Joy
4. The Hateful Eight
5. The Revenant
6. Steve Jobs
7. Demolition
8. The Martian
9. The Sea of Trees
10. The End of the Tour

Next in line: 11. Carol 12. Irrational Man 13. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 14. Black Mass 15. Snowden 16. Money Monster 17. The Walk 18. Freeheld 19. Southpaw 20. Brooklyn 21. By the Sea 22. MacBeth 23. Bleed for This 24. Aloha 25. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST DIRECTOR

1. Steven Spielberg – St. James Place
2. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Alejandro G. Inarritu – The Revenant
5. Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight

Next in line: 6. Danny Boyle – Steve Jobs 7. Gus Van Sant – The Sea of Trees 8. Ridley Scott – The Martian 9. Woody Allen – Irrational Man 10. Jean Marc Vallee – Demolition

BEST ACTOR

1. Jake Gyllenhaal – Demolition
2. Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
3. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
4. Jason Segel – The End of the Tour
5. Tom Hanks – St. James Place

Next in line: 6. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – The Walk 7. Miles Teller – Bleed for This 8. Matt Damon – The Martian 9. Matthew McConaughey – The Sea of Trees 10. Joaquin Phoenix – Irrational Man

BEST ACTRESS

1. Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
2. Cate Blanchett – Carol
3. Sandra Bullock – Our Brand is Crisis
4. Meryl Streep – Ricki and the Flash
5. Amy Schumer – Trainwreck

Next in line: 6. Marion Cotillard – MacBeth 7. Angelina Jolie – By the Sea 8. Julianne Moore – Freehold 9. Juliette Binoche – Clouds of Sils Maria 10. Emma Stone – Irrational Man

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

1. Bruce Dern – The Hateful Eight
2. Tom Hardy – The Revenant
3. Seth Rogen – Steve Jobs
4. Bradley Cooper – Joy
5. Jesse Eisenberg – The End of the Tour

Next in line: 6. Kurt Russell – The Hateful Eight 7. Ken Watanabe – The Sea of Trees 8. George Clooney – Money Monster 9. Billy Bob Thornton – Our Brand is Crisis 10. Samuel L. Jackson – The Hateful Eight

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1. Sarah Paulson – Carol
2. Ellen Page – Freeheld
3. Katherine Waterston – Steve Jobs
4. Zoe Kazan – Our Brand is Crisis
5. Kristen Stewart – Clouds of Sils Maria

Next in line: 6. Jessica Chastain – The Martian 7. Naomi Watts – Demolition 8. Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight 9. Shailene Woodley – Snowden 10. Carey Mulligen – Suffragette

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1. Our Brand is Crisis
2. Joy
3. The Hateful Eight
4. St. James Place
5. Demolition

Next in line: 6. The Sea of Trees 7. Money Monster 8. Bleed for This 9. By the Sea 10. Irrational Man

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

1. Steve Jobs
2. The Revenant
3. The End of the Tour
4. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
5. The Martian

Next in line: 6. Carol 7. Brooklyn 8. The Walk 9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens 10. Paper Towns

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

1. The Good Dinosaur
2. Monster Trucks
3. Inside Out
4. The Peanuts Movie
5. Home

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. The Martian
3. The Revenant
4. Carol
5. The Hateful Eight

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

1. Spectre
2. The Revenant
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
4. The Hateful Eight
5. St. James Place

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

1. The Hateful Eight
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
3. Carol
4. The Martian
5. St. James Place

BEST FILM EDITING

1. The Hateful Eight
2. St. James Place
3. Our Brand is Crisis
4. Joy
5. The Revenant

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. The Hateful Eight
3. Yoga Hosers

BEST SOUND MIXING

1. Spectre
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
4. The Hateful Eight
5. The Martian

BEST SOUND EDITING

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. Avengers: Age of Ultron
3. The Hateful Eight
4. The Martian
5. St. James Place

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. The Martian
3. Spectre
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron
5. Tomorrowland

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

1. Spectre
2. St. James Place
3. Tomorrowland
4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
5. It Follows

Steve Jobs Michael Fassbender

I might wind up with four right in Best Picture (St. James Place became Bridge of Spies) out of my initial ten, so that’s actually not terrible. Two or three might come true in Best Director, with the same true of Best Actor. Two at best is my Best Actress correlation, while I might wind up going 0 for the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress races. I’ll probably wind up getting at least one right in both Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay, with Best Animated Feature possibly being my best, with potential for four right. Still, when you look at the technical categories, it’s a mess. I might wind up with a few in each category, but it’s mostly because I seemed to luck out with my early hunch that The Martian was going to be a player.

We’ll see what the end result is, but while I actually could have done a lot worse, this just goes to show you how much the awards race evolves, along with how sometimes the contenders we think have a shot wind up sticking around all season long. As always, I’ll have new predictions up on Friday (my first for 2016, incidentally), so be sure to compare those to these that I’ve shared with you once again. Hopefully you found this interesting, since I know that I certainly did. Anyway, sit tight for plenty more in terms of new predictions, as well as a whole bunch of 2015 wrap up pieces before the week/year is out. Until then folks…

Stay tuned for my next set of Academy Award predictions this coming Friday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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