Countdown to The Oscars: Who Will Win vs. Who We Want to See Win

By February 24, 2016

Less than a week to go until Oscar Sunday, fellow movie lovers, and here at GeekNation, we are buzzing about how to fill out our Oscar pool ballots. Two of our writers in particular, Matt Brown and Rachel Cushing, have painstakingly gone through the nominees and have decided to share, not only who they think WILL win, but also who they passionately feel SHOULD win in most of the categories.

The battle lines are drawn! Let’s see what our resident Oscar enthusiasts have to say!


Will Win: Spotlight. This category could, in all seriousness, go a number of ways, which makes it one of the more intriguing races in the last several years, but I think the Academy is likely to go with Spotlight for it’s subtle, caring, and unsentimental telling of an important and emotional story.

Should Win: Inside Out (oh wait…). Ok fine, Spotlight.


Will Win: Spotlight. Despite being the big prize, this was the toughest to call. It seems to have been narrowed down to a Spotlight vs. The Revenant race (with possible spoilers from The Big Short or even Mad Max: Fury Road) but I see a Picture/Director split here with the big prize going to this socially important film.

Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Even getting past the impeccable skill, style, and practicality that went into this action masterpiece, the film also boasts a seemingly simple plot filled with social relevance and political intelligence. Plus that motorcycle chase is what’s up.


Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant) because even the voters who found the film too long, hard to endure, or pretentious, can’t ignore what an incredible feat of filmmaking he achieved in orchestrating such an ambitious and stunningly visceral movie.

Should Win: Tom McCarthey (Spotlight) because simplicity and subtlety in filmmaking may, perhaps, be even harder to achieve than passion and spectacle. This is a humble, yet incredibly deft, film that would have crumbled in even slightly less sophisticated hands.


Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu. The harsh filming conditions that were once held against the film have now become the director’s crowning story of overcoming the odds. Despite how I feel about the film (or more importantly, don’t feel) that grueling story is what gives Iñárritu the edge.

Should Win: George Miller. I thought this would be a fight between George Miller for Mad Max and Ridley Scott for The Martian, but with Scott inexplicably absent from the list, the true champ remains clear. Another difficult shoot in grueling conditions, Miller loses the edge because of how much fun he seemed to have with the film. But the fact that this mastermind delivered such a pulse pounding game changer at 70 years old should be enough.


Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) because it’s his time (plus it is one hell of a physical performance).

Should Win: Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs). It was nearly impossible for me to choose between him and DiCaprio, but Fassbender’s incredibly nuanced and transformative performance in Steve Jobs was the bigger surprise for me.


Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant). Love the performance, hate the performance, indifferent to the performance, it doesn’t matter. Everyone is saying the same thing: he’s due.

Should Win: Matt Damon (The Martian). While a Fassbender win would be equally deserving, I’m giving the slight edge to Damon for giving a smart, likable performance while never letting the audience forget the stakes.


Will Win: Brie Larson (Room) for the single most emotionally raw performance of the year.

Should Win: Brie Larson. No question.


Will Win: Brie Larson. Move on.

Should Win: Brie Larson. I said move on.


Will Win: Sylvester Stallone (Creed) for the comeback performance of all comeback performances in this Rocky sequel/reboot.

Should Win: Paul Dano for his mesmerizing turn in Love & Mercy (yeah, I did that again. Sigh). Of the nominees, I found Mark Rylance in the mediocre Bridge of Spies to be the most compelling, but I can’t deny that Stallone brought back Rocky in a very believable and humbling way.


Will Win: Sylvester Stallone (Creed). Rocky is and always will be about an underdog overcoming the odds. After a career of some hits and a lot of misses (not to mention about 400 Razzies) Stallone returned to the role that made him a star and brought life and heart back to the iconic character.

Should Win: Sylvester Stallone. Just so he can hold up the Oscar and yell, “Yo, Adrian! I did it!”


Will Win: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) because she would have given Brie Larson a run for her money in the Best Actress category, where she belongs…

Should Win: Alicia Vikander for being both so vulnerable and so strong in a single role (and for outshining reigning Oscar champ, Eddie Redmayne).


Will Win: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl). While Kate Winslet has been collecting trophies at the Globes and the BAFTAs, it should be noted that she was up against Vikander for Ex Machina, not The Danish Girl. With The Danish Girl (and also unofficially for her other 18 movies from last year) it’s Vikander’s to lose.

Should Win: Alicia Vikander or Rooney Mara for each giving two terrific lead performances stuck in a supporting category. While I think Mara gave the best performance of the bunch, a win for Vikander would also be deserved because I’m pretending she’s nominated for Ex Machina (although it doesn’t hurt that she’s actually nominated for this particularly powerful performance).


Will Win: The cynic in me says that even though Spotlight has been winning this category all season long, Straight Outta Compton takes this so voters can feel better about themselves after two years of #OscarSoWhite controversy.

Should Win: Ex Machina even though this was another tough one as Inside Out and Ex Machina are two of my favorite films of the year, but I think I’d give the tiniest edge to Alex Garland for Ex Machina.


Will Win: Spotlight. Despite being pretty much two hours of characters discovering information that the audience already knows, the story manages to be taught and keep your attention throughout.

Should Win: Ex Machina. With a lot of heady ideas and fancy science talk, the story manages to be captivating, disturbing, and even entertaining.


Will Win: The Big Short because Hollywood has clearly fallen in love with the film and it is an impressive adaptation of an incredibly dense non-fiction Michael Lewis book.

Should Win: The Martian because even though Room is an astonishingly moving adaptation, my vote goes to Drew Goddard for maintaining the integrity and tone of The Martian in his screenplay. What a perfect balance of humor, action, and emotion.


Will Win: The Big Short. All that terminology and all those numbers, and all entertaining. Plus, like Spotlight, it has that whole socially relevant thing going for it.

Should Win: Room. Two people in a room should be boring. This was not.


Will Win: Inside Out because A) it’s Pixar and B) it’s Pixar back to doing what Pixar does best.

Should Win: Inside Out because A) see above and B) it’s my favorite movie of the year!


Will Win: Inside Out. It’s Pixar.

Should Win: Inside Out. It also happens to be terrific.


Will Win: Amy for it’s honest and haunting look at a tortured young artist as well as its unique approach to storytelling.

Should Win: The Look of Silence for Joshua Oppenheimer’s truly inspired account of a man’s quest to confront those responsible for brutally murdering his brother in Indonesia in 1965. As a companion piece to 2013’s groundbreaking The Act of Killing, the film is a powerful look into the dark side of human nature and our ability to rationalize evil.


Will Win: Amy. I guess.
Should Win: I don’t know, I didn’t see any of the nominees.


Will Win: The Hateful Eight by a hair over Star Wars: The Force Awakens as voters will likely want to honor one of the two legendar composers, Ennio Morricone or John Williams

Should Win: Carol because Carter Burwell’s music is as exquisite as the two leading ladies in this poetic film.


Will Win: The Hateful Eight. Like DiCaprio, the legendary Ennio Morricone due. It doesn’t hurt that the score is appropriately old school and haunting.

Should Win: Carol. I hate snubbing Morricone, but I have to give a slight, slight edge to Carter Burwell. I just want to curl up in this score and sleep in it.


Will Win: ‘Til It Happens To You (The Hunting Ground). Co-written by seven (now eight) time Oscar nominee, Diane Warren, it combines the power house vocal of Lady Gaga with a simple, but powerful, arrangement.

Should Win: ‘Til It Happens To You (The Hunting Ground) because of it’s message and the artistry of Lady Gaga.


Will Win: Til It Happens To You. This award usually goes to the most popular nominee or the most important nominee. Since the popular choice (See You Again from Furious 7) is not nominated, that opens it up for Gaga to take home gold.

Should Win: Til It Happens To You. Holy crap, this song…


Will Win: The Revenant because Emmanuel Lubezki’s work is the definition of poetry in motion…shot in natural light.

Should Win: The Revenant because, despite it being a visually stunning year in film, I just can’t picture anyone else accomplishing what Lubezki did with such grace and passion. Plus, three (deserved) times in a row is Academy history.


Will Win: The Revenant. Pretty, long shots utilizing natural light will give Chivo his third consecutive win, leaving Deakins with 13 nominations and no wins.

Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. While most apocalyptic movies are desaturated and grim, this film is vibrant and aggressive. Every frame of this movie can be printed and framed.


Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road for Margaret Sixel’s incredible work in keeping the action thrilling yet followable

Should Win: The Big Short for managing to make sense of so many nearly indecipherable facts, characters, plotlines, motivations, and schemes.


Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Who are we kidding?

Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. The cinematography and editing go hand in hand here. The focused, center framed shots make the frenetic editing all the easier to follow without having to compromise pacing.


Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road because the world building in this film is phenomenal and that is clearly thanks to the work of the many artists who brought it to life.

Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road because it’s gritty and real without losing a sense of fantasy and fun (flaming guitar…I need not say more).


Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. This category usually seems to favor a period piece or something dramatic and fanciful. Mad Max manages to be the latter while being as convincing as the former.

Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Every detail of this world, no matter how minute or ancillary has a functional reason and stylish flair.


Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road because costumes are often an extension of the production design of a film and that is clearly, and seamlessly, the case in this movie.

Should Win: The Danish Girl because not only are the costumes beautiful and evocative of both Denmark and France in the early part of the 20th century, they also play an integral part in the story of a man discovering himself, or rather, herself.


Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Immortan Joe!

Should Win: Cinderella. Cinderella!


Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road because Mad Max is likely to sweep these visual and design categories.

Should Win: The Revenant for the wounds sustained by DiCaprio’s mauled Hugh Glass alone.


Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. In a category with only three nominees, it really could go to this or The Revenant, but I predict The Revenant to take home some bigger awards while Mad Max basks in technical glory.

Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. While the bloody scar prosthetics and grime on Leo were very impressive, the makeup and style in Mad Max on all of the characters serves their character, the world, and even history.


Will Win: The Revenant because all anyone can talk about is the bear.

Should Win: Ex Machina because Eva the android’s body looks flawlessly real.


Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Come on, it’s Star Wars.

Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. While a win for the subtle, hidden effects of Ex Machina or the large, world building effects of Star Wars and The Martian would be well deserved, I think Mad Max manages to utilize all of that in one seamless product.


Will Win: The Revenant because, even though, at first glance, the movie is all about the cinematography, it is the sound mix that breathes life into it – literally – DiCaprio’s breathing is as symbolic as many of the visuals, and the tapestry woven by the sounds of his breath, the wind, the bear, the water, etc (not to mention the lovely musical score) take the movie to an entirely different level.

Should Win: The Revenant for, quite simply, having the most immersive sound of any movie I saw this year.


Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Both sound categories I feel could go to this or The Revenant, but for reasons stated above, I think Mad Max takes it.

Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. They mixed an animal roar into Immortan Joe’s yell, I mean come on.


Will Win: The Revenant for capturing all of the natural sounds needed to audibly paint a picture of such a wild and unforgiving setting.

Should Win: The Revenant because the sound mix wouldn’t have been so immersive had the editors not created the building blocks for them to make it so.


Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Same.

Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Vroom vroom!

Rachel: There were definitely a lot of tough choices in there, but Matt, you may have won me over with your argument for Stallone to win Best Supporting Actor…if he actually yells “Yo, Adrian, I did it” after the standing ovation we know he’s going to get, it will instantly become an Oscar Moment (sort of along the lines of “You like me, you really like me” and “I’m the king of the world”). Otherwise, our lists are fairly similar on the “who will win” side – it’s going to be interesting to see if Academy voters do give a technical sweep to Mad Max: Fury Road, as you predict. Most eyes will be glued to the Best Picture race though – we haven’t had one this wide open in a long time!

Matt: This is a year where Fifty Shades of Grey, a sequel to Beyond Thunderdome, and the star of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot are all nominated for an Academy Award. To say that the night will be 100% predictable just isn’t true, but I think we’ll come pretty close come Oscar night.

This has been a lot of fun so thanks to GeekNation for letting us share our thoughts on who we think will, and should, win, come Sunday night, and thanks to our readers as well!  Be sure to chime in with your picks and let’s see how we all do in our Oscar pools!

The Oscars will air this Sunday, February 28th.

Keep checking back here at GeekNation for more Oscar coverage!

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Rachel Cushing
Rachel is a television editor by day and either a Jedi knight, vampire slayer, or elvish warrior by night. In between she makes time for movies, movies, and more movies (plus a few books, television shows, and then…more movies). When she’s supposed to be sleeping, she writes about movies as well, both here on and on her own blog. Tweet her @RachelJCushing