After being nominated five years in a row, will Leonardo DiCaprio finally win an Oscar for his stellar performance in The Revenant?
Will our Pakistani award-winning filmmmaker Sharmeen Obaid bag another Oscar, this time for her short documentary, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness?
As 2016 Oscars draw closer, we can hardly wait in anticipation at who will take home the most coveted award. While the wait gives us jitters to say the least, here are our predictions based on top critics’ reviews of Oscar nominees in major categories.
1. Best Picture: The Big Short
The Big Short and Spotlight seem to be running neck and neck, judging from critics’ reviews.
Spotlight has received high praise from critics for depicting a realistic image of journalism, and Rolling Stone claims that it is the predictive favourite to win the Best Picture Oscar.
On the other hand, The Big Short is “brilliantly constructed by McKay,” according to Peter Travers from Rolling Stone and “will affirm your deepest cynicism about Wall Street while simultaneously restoring your faith in Hollywood,” claims AO Scott from The New York Times.
Also likely: Spotlight, The Revenant.
2. Actor in a leading role: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
While his role in The Revenant is nothing short of exceptional and should ensure DiCaprio an Oscar, he still has some stiff competition from The Danish Girl‘s Eddie Redmayne.
“It’s a virtuoso performance, thrilling in its brute force and silent eloquence… DiCaprio is favored to win this time,” Time reported.
“He gives the movie a beating heart, offering it up, figuratively speaking, alive and bloody on a platter.” Stephanie Zacharek from Time.
While Redmayne, who won an Oscar last year for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, has been nominated again for his performance in The Danish Girl, AO Scott comments, his performance “does not take us where we need to go, which is inside the character’s mind and spirit.”
3. Actress in a leading role: Brie Larson in Room
Brie Larson is leading the pack for her portrayal of a mother held captive with her son for five years in Lenny Abrahamson’s drama, Room. She has already won a Golden Globe and SAG award for the performance and we’re certain she’ll win an Oscar too.
“As for the performances, Brie Larson and seven-year-old Jacob Tremblay are nothing short of perfect,” The Guardian reported.
4. Actor in a supporting role: Sylvester Stallone in Creed
Sylvester Stallone is sure to win an Oscar for his role as Rocky Balboa once again in Creed, as Stallone trains the bastard son of champ, Apollo Creed.
Coupled with his great acting, Stallone is the sentimental pick and the favourite to win.
“Sometimes you need an old dude to create a context for beautiful young people. Stallone does that, and more, in Creed,” Time reported.
According to Rolling Stone, “So irresistible is Stallone’s blend of tough and tender that Oscar should give him points.”
Also likely: Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight.
5. Actress in a supporting role: Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl
Alicia Vikander had over 60% screen time in The Danish Girl, which technically makes her a co-lead. The studios however, campaigned to place her as a supporting actress, since she has a higher chance of winning in the category. Unfair? Maybe. But Vikander is set to take home an Oscar for her stellar performance in The Danish Girl.
“Vikander does wonders as a wife who stands by her woman,” states Rolling Stone.
Joe Morgenstern from The Wall Street Journal calls Vikander “a young actress of uncommon wit and grace. She makes Gerda the vibrant half of what begins as, and against all odds remains, a loving couple.”
Also likely: Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs.
6. Best Animated Feature Film: Inside Out
Inside Out never made it onto the best picture shortlist as some critics had hoped, but it does have pride of place in the best animated feature film category.
According to AO Scott, Inside out “is a thrilling return to form for Pixar Animation Studios.”
Peter Travers from Rolling Stone claims it “is another landmark, an unmissable film triumph that raises the bar on what animation can do.”
7. Directing: Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant
Although there is slight competition from director of The Big Short, Adam McKay, Mexican film director Iñárritu, is sure to win an Oscar for The Revenant.
“Iñárritu turns a creaky bit of frontier mythology into a grueling, exquisite, mystical odyssey of survival,” reports Empire.
Director Alejandro G Iñárritu “damn near tortures his cast and his audience in telling the story of Glass’ revenge against the varmints,” claims Rolling Stone.
8. Cinematography: The Revenant
Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant are in tough competition for Best Cinematography with Peter Travers calling Mad Max a “brutal and brilliant cinematic fireball.”
The Revenant though, has been applauded for its brilliant cinematography on countless occasions.
“The visionary result is so relentlessly raw you can see the breath of the freezing actors, some of whom referred to the filming as a living hell,” reports Rolling Stone.
The cinematography is “often radiant, and as crisp as ice,” according to The New Yorker.
Also likely: Mad Max: Fury Road
9. Visual Effects: The Revenant
The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road, both have astounding visual effects, so it’s a tough call but judging from critics’ reports, The Revenant is the more likely winner.
“Never has film suffering looked so ravishing as in The Revenant”, writes Stephanie Zacherek from Time.
The film, according to The Wall Street Journal, “seeks transcendence through intensity and achieves it visually, if not dramatically.”
Also Likely: Mad Max: Fury Road
10. Best documentary (Short Subject): Body Team 12
A brilliant documentary about the brave people who worked as body disposers during Libera’s Ebola outbreak, Body Team 12 tells a fascinating story.
Though we hope Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy wins an Oscar for her eye-opening documentary, A Girl in the River: The price of Forgiveness, chances based on critics’ reviews seem bleak.