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Oscar Predictions: Mad Max Heads Technical Categories, Revenant Favorite for Best Picture

February 28th, 2016

Predicted Oscar Winners

Voting in our annual Predict the Academy Awards contest is now closed, and we can reveal the final vote totals in each category, along with the rough probability for which film will win each award. This is a year where readers are very confident about the outcomes in many of the categories. In fact, there isn’t a single major category where less than 50% of readers picked the same winner, and there are five Oscars where 90% or more of readers agreed on the outcome, including a massive 97% of the vote for Inside Out for Best Animated Feature. That makes The Revenant a rather more uncertain bet, with 70% of readers favoring it for Best Picture. That’s actually theoretically the closest call among all the major prizes…

Also getting a 97% vote share is Leonardo DiCaprio for his star turn in The Revenant. Brie Larson gets a similarly-high 94% vote share for Room. Along with Inside Out, it would truly be a shock if either of those two didn’t receive the award tonight.

The same could be said of Son of Saul, which has 91% of the votes for Foreign Language Feature. However, this is a category where conventional wisdom hasn’t always proven to be the best predictor of the winner. So, personally, I think that percentage is a bit high, but I’ll still be surprised if the film doesn’t win tonight (I’d maybe give it an 80% chance of doing so).

The technical awards are expected to be dominated by Mad Max: Fury Road, with readers giving it the nod for Make-up and hairstyling (90% of votes), Production Design (82%), Film Editing (81%), Sound Editing (66%), Costume Design (55%) and Sound Mixing (53%). That’s six awards in all, making it the favorite in more categories than any other film. If one considers the probabilities, though, it’ll probably end up winning four or five of those categories, with The Revenant or Star Wars: The Force Awakens having a shot in Sound Mixing, and several films vying for Costume Design, which is probably the widest-open category this year. I have a sneaking suspicion that Carol might pull off a consolation victory in that category after being snubbed for a Best Picture nomination.

But tonight looks like it will be The Revenant’s night in the big categories. As well as Best Picture and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Best Actor win, readers also think Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will claim Best Director for the second year running (with 84% of the votes). Emmanuel Lubezki is expected to pull off the even more remarkable feat of winning Best Cinematography for the third year in a row (also with 84% of votes).

If The Revenant wins those four, and Mad Max fails in a couple of technical categories, we could have an exact replay of last year, where Inarritu’s film (Birdman last year, The Revenant this year) wins Best Picture, Director, and two other Oscars, and another film (The Grand Budapest Hotel last year, Mad Max: Fury Road this year) wins the same number of Oscars, but mostly in the technical categories.

As with last year, that leaves a lot of films that will likely have to be happy with a single win: Room might just have a Best Actress, as mentioned earlier; The Danish Girl is expected to enjoy a Best Supporting Actress win for Alicia Vikander (83% of the votes); Sylvester Stallone has a crowd-pleasing 86% of the votes for Supporting Actor in Creed; The Big Short is a big favorite with 88% of the votes for Adapted Screenplay; and Spotlight got 85% of the vote for Original Screenplay.

That leaves two categories, and two more films that are favorite only once. Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets 60% of the vote for Best Visual Effects. That seems like a good bet, given the Academy will probably want to acknowledge the biggest film in domestic box office history. There’s a chance that John Williams will win the sentimental vote and get Best Original Score, but it looks as though Ennio Morricone will win the even-more-sentimental vote in that category to give one win to The Hateful Eight.

Tonight could be an ironic case of “everyone’s a winner,” in a year that’s been most controversial for the uniform whiteness of the nominees.

- Our full list of predicted winners.
- Complete vote tallies in each category

Bruce Nash,

Filed under: Awards Season, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, Inside Out, The Revenant, The Hateful Eight, Spotlight, Room, The Big Short, Creed, Carol, Saul fia, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Brie Larson, Sylvester Stallone, Ennio Morricone, John Williams, Alicia Vikander, Emmanuel Lubezki