Will Leonardo DiCaprio finally win the elusive Academy Award? The 2016 Oscar Predictions for Acting

It’s Oscar week! More than watching the award show, which airs this Sunday night, I love analyzing the Academy Awards.  Trying to predict who will win the golden statue has become a sort of hobby of mine that I consider an academic art form.  The categories usually easiest to predict are also the ones that the general public are more excited about – Acting.  So I’m going to kick off my annual predictions with the lead and supporting acting categories.  Is it finally Leo’s year? Will one of the five nominees who have already won an award, win another? Will Sly win for repeating a role he started thirty years ago? This is my 2016 Oscar Predictions for Acting. To get an idea of some of the year’s overlooked performances, check out my list of the Ten Best Performances of 2015 not nominated for an Academy Award. The rest of my predictions will be posted throughout the week.

Alicia Vikander – “The Danish Girl”

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh – “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara – “Carol”
Rachel McAdams – “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander – “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet – “Steve Jobs”

Kate Winslet is great as usual but she’s won already. Rooney Mara is excellent but in a subpar film in a role that should probably be in the leading actress category. SPOTLIGHT is the definition of an ensemble piece, so the individual work from Rachel McAdams only works with everyone else. I would really like to see Jennifer Jason Leigh win for THE HATEFUL EIGHT, but that’s not happening.   Alicia Vikander was in just about every film from 2015 (TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, SON OF A GUN, SEVENTH SON, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., BURNT…).  So even those who were not a fan of THE DANISH GIRL, which she is great in, might vote for her because of her incredible work as Ava in EX MACHINA. I know I will be counting the win for that movie rather than the one she is nominated for.

Winner: Alicia Vikander – THE DANISH GIRL

Sylvester Stallone – “Creed”

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale – “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy – “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo – “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance – “Bridge Of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone – “Creed”

This is the one category that I mostly disagree with.  It’s not that I dislike these performances, in fact, I would say they are all in the top ten.  But I think Idris Elba for BEASTS OF NO NATION, Michael Shannon for 99 HOMES and Benicio del Toro for SICARIO all are more deserving of the win and they were not even nominated.  Depending how much love the Academy ends up bestowing on THE REVENANT, Tom Hardy could pull a spoiler.  But that goes for all four of the other nominees as their films were all nominated for Best Picture.  Stallone is great but not better than these other nominations.  His win is strictly a nostalgia vote giving an old man some more credit for a character he created 30 years ago in a film which received a Best Picture award. While Sly may not be my choice,  I admire the respect he has earned from the industry.

Winner: Sylvester Stallone – CREED

Brie Larson in Room

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett – “Carol”
Brie Larson – “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence – “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling – “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan – “Brooklyn”

In a very strong year for women in film, I would have liked to seen Charlize Theron for her role as Furiosa in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD be nominated. Ultimately, I believe her character will live on side by side next to Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in ALIENS as one of the all-time great female characters. I would be very pleased if Charlotte Rampling for 45 YEARS pulled off an upset win, but her nomination is its own small victory. Lawrence and Ronan both did fine jobs per usual and Cate Blanchett proves again that she has Meryl Streep type presence that will continue to bring her nominations. Bri Larson is very much deserving playing a lot of layers as an abducted teenager who has to raise her child in captivity.  I have no doubt that she will be victorious.

Winner: Brie Larson – ROOM

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston – “Trumbo”
Matt Damon – “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio – “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender – “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne – “The Danish Girl”

Will Leonardo DiCaprio finally get that elusive Academy Award? Before the award circus began its run, I was terrified that once again DiCaprio would be passed over.  Like everything he has done, I was blown away by his performance. Cranston is good in an otherwise forgettable film.  Fassbender is solid and will probably win one someday.  No one else could have played Matt Damon’s role and the THE MARTIAN owes a lot of its success to Damon’s Tom Hanks charisma.  In a different year, Damon may have been the candidate to win much like Russell Crowe did for Ridley Scott’s GLADIATOR. I have been worried that Redmayne would get the win for his “Oscary” role in THE DANISH GIRL, much like last year where he absurdly beat out Michael Keaton in BIRDMAN. Thankfully, it appears DiCaprio is finally getting the respect he deserves as, who I believe to be, one of the greatest actors of all time.

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio – THE REVENANT

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