Sunday, February 28, 2016

Editing category may hold key to tonight's Best Picture

Will the "Spotlight" remain on the movie of the same name when the curtain comes down on tonight's 88th Academy Awards? Or will "The Revenant" run rampant, with "The Big Short" also coming up, er, well . . . short?

Less than 10 hours until showtime and any of those three, among eight Best Picture nominees, still could take home the big prize at the end of what looks to be another lengthy telecast on ABC-TV. Going in, "The Revenant," the much-lauded frontier epic, leads the mix with 12 nominations, and its director, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, already has won the Oscar-potent Directors Guild of America Award.
"The Big Short," meanwhile, with its smart and funny take on the 2008 banking crisis, has another bellwether in its moneybag after walking off with last month's Producer's Guild Award.
Of course, in addition to earning the Best Feature statue at yesterday's Film Independent Spirit Awards, "Spotlight" owns the Screen Actors Guild's important Oustanding Ensemble Award, not to mention the "Critics' Choice" Best Picture tag from the usually spot-on BroadcastFilm Critics Association.
You can read what I think about the big category below, but the Oscar show itself might actually give away the winner early on when it reveals the victor for Best Achievement in Film Editing. 
In fact, Academy Award history probably dictates that "Spotlight" and "The Big Short," both nominated in that category along with "The Revenant," "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," actually might need an editing win to then emerge as Best Picture. 

That's because only one "Best Picture" in more than 60 years, "The Greatest Show on Earth" in 1953, has won the top prize with less than two other awards. And, unless there's a big upset in either the directing or acting categories, neither "Spotlight" nor "The Big Short" can count seriously on winning anything other than respective original and adapted screenplay awards. On the other hand, "The Revenant" certainly expects to win even more than the requisite three.
Right now, only those famous accountants at Pricewaterhouse Coopers have any answers but, until all is revealed, here are some thoughts on key races:
   
BEST ACTOR: Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”), Matt Damon (“The Martian”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”),
Michael Fassbender ("Steve Jobs”), Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”).
SHOULD WIN: DiCaprio's body took a beating as the put-upon mountain man, but his eyes spoke volumes, too.
WILL WIN: Finally, Leo gets the gold.

BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett (“Carol”), Brie Larson (“Room”), Jennifer Lawrence, (“Joy”), Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”), Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”).
SHOULD WIN: Too few voters actually saw the marvelous Rampling do wonders opposite Tom Courtenay. 
WILL WIN: Young Larson wins in a walk out of "Room."

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christian Bale (“The Big Short”), Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”), Mark Ruffalo ("Spotlight”), Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”), Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”).
SHOULD WIN: Little-known British theatrical star Rylance enjoyed many terrific moments as a Russian operative.
WILL WIN: Stallone gets a kind of People's Choice Award for one last go-round as "Rocky," his most famous role.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”), Rooney Mara (“Carol”), Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”), Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”), Kate Winslet  (“Steve Jobs”).
SHOULD WIN: Vikander steals the picture from the actor-nominated Eddie Redmayne.
WILL WIN: Only Winslet might stand in the way, but it looks like a well-deserved Vikander victory.

BEST DIRECTOR: Adam McKay ("The Big Short”), George Miller ( “Mad Max: Fury Road”), Alejandro G. Iñárritu (“The Revenant”), Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”), Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”).
SHOULD WIN: Inarritu certainly helmed one beautifully crafted epic.
WILL WIN: Inarritu, unless there's some reluctance to give it to the same winner again. (He won last year for "Birdman.")

BEST PICTURE: “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,”  “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,”  “Room,” "Spotlight."
SHOULD WIN: "Spotlight" tells of shocking crimes with a scintillating take on the kind of investigative journalism you can't read much anymore.
WILL WIN: Regardless, "The Revenant" looks like the bear to beat.

BEST ANIMATED FILM: "Anomalisa,” “Boy and the World,” “Inside Out,” Shaun the Sheep Movie," “When Marnie Was There”
SHOULD WIN: "Inside Out," the best animated film in years.
WILL WIN: "Inside Out" emerges from the finest animated field in years.

The rest of the probable winners:

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy ("Spotlight"); BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay ("The Big Short"); BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:  Emmanuel Lubezki (“The Revenant”); BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "Son of Saul"; BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: "Amy"; FILM EDITING: "Mad Max: Fury Road”; MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: “Mad Max: Fury Road”; BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Ennio Morricone,"The Hateful Eight"; BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “Till It Happens To You” (“The Hunting Ground”)

COSTUME DESIGN: Mad Max: Fury Road”; PRODUCTION DESIGN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”; VISUAL EFFECTS: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens";  SOUND EDITING: “The Revenant”; SOUND MIXING: “The Revenant”

BEST SHORTS: "Sanjay's Super Team" (Animated); "Body Team 12" (Documentary); "Ave Maria" (Live Action)

Happy viewing! 

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