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Oscars: Pete Hammond Predicts The Winners

Pete Hammond badgeEditors Note: This story was originally published February 23.

The campaign for the 88th annual Academy Awards that started in earnest at the three fall film festivals in early September is over, and the answers will soon be in those envelopes to be opened on the Dolby Theatre stage. So now my final predictions of what those names will be can be officially revealed.

BEST PICTURE

In what has been one of the tightest races in many years, the normal Oscars soothsayers we look to for guidance—the critics and guild awards—have been split all over the place. The guilds showed love to (DGA), (SAG, WGA) and (PGA, WGA) with their top awards, and BAFTA added a late-inning win for The Revenant. But you can’t discount a movie like Mad Max: Fury Road, with its 10 nominations and a lot of below-the-line guild love. This might be a four-way race; one that could even stand to be spoiled by another film coming in from left field if all of the front-runners truly split. My final picks indicate Mad Max could run up a bigger final total of wins than any other movie going into the opening of the Best Picture envelope.

And wouldn’t it be fascinating to see something like Room, with only four nominations—though all of them key—sneak in like a little British film called Chariots Of Fire did in 1981, unseating all the favorites and pulling off one of the greatest Best Picture upsets in Oscar history? It could happen.

THE WINNER: The Revenant; Producers: Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon. Bottom line: Spotlight and The Big Short fight to the finish for the social issue vote, cancelling themselves out and winning only screenplay awards right up to presentation of Best Picture. They are kind of the Rubio/Cruz tandem trying to kill each other off in order to ascend to the top. No movie since The Greatest Show On Earth in 1952 managed to win Best Picture with only one other Oscar (it was for the now-defunct Motion Picture Story category). The Revenant (aka Trump) sneaks in between them on the wings of sheer awesomeness taking a more Oscar-friendly total of five overall wins and into the history books with a third consecutive Best Picture win for New Regency and its partners on the Fox lot. Or not. This remains a race too close to call, but I just did.

Leonardo DiCaprio Brie Larson SAG Awards 2016BEST DIRECTOR

This category usually goes hand-in-hand with Best Picture, but in two out of the last of four years voters have split and gone rogue with their directorial choice. Since the DGA has only been wrong in seven out of 68 years in predicting the Oscar winner for direction, it is probably a safe bet to go with their choice of The Revenant’s Inarritu over the rest of a very competitive field. He will become only the third director after John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz to win back-to-back Oscars and the first to do it in 65 years. No director in Oscar history pulled off back-to-back Director AND Best Picture wins. He would be the first.

Oscar Predictions 2016THE WINNER: Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant

BEST ACTOR

Usually one of the most competitive Oscar categories, this year’s selection is a great group of nominees including Michael Fassbender’s bravura turn as Steve Jobs, Matt Damon alone on Mars in The Martian, Bryan Cranston brilliantly channeling Dalton Trumbo in Trumbo, and last year’s winner Eddie Redmayne again challenging the limits of physicality in The Danish Girl. But unfortunately for all them, this is Leo’s year and you can just feel it, despite his role in The Revenant comprising probably no more than 20 lines.

THE WINNER: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

BEST ACTRESS

It is veterans like two-time winner Cate Blanchett—again transformative in Carol—and first-time nominee at age 69 Charlotte Rampling—as a wife discovering long hidden secrets in her marriage in 45 Years—who must compete with the much younger crowd. That list includes Joy star and Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, former nominee Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn and the likely winner, Brie Larson, already a BAFTA, SAG, Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award champ for her harrowing turn in Room.

Alejandro Inarritu 1 Sylvester Stallone takes time to play with a neighborhood kid on set of the new Rocky movie Alicia Vikander SAG Awards 2016 Disney/Pixar's Inside Out
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