Sunday night is Oscar night once again and while there’s been some appropriate controversy over the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations, I think everyone is still eager to see Hollywood’s ultimate hardware get handed out.
Odds on the favorites to win the 2016 Oscars have already been updated by TopBet sportsbook but if you’re ready to handicap the world’s most glamorous horse race, check out the entrants:
Best Supporting Actress
The Favorite: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
The Challengers: Rooney Mara (Carol); Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
The Dark Horse: None
The Field: Rachel McAdams (Spotlight); Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
As you can tell, this is a three woman race. McAdams and Leigh were both excellent, but they were part of sizeable ensemble casts and simply didn’t stand out enough here. While there’s probably some sentimental support for Carol, the only serious challenger to Vikander is Kate Winslet, who’s collected a BAFTA and Golden Globe this season. But the run ends there. I think Alicia Vikander not only gave the best performance in this category, she did so in possibly the most challenging role of all of them, and, significantly, gave the best support to her lead. She also won the SAG award which has good predictive value.
And the winner is. . .Alicia Vikander.
Best Supporting Actor
The Favorite: Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
The Challenger: Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
The Dark Horse: Christian Bale (The Big Short)
The Field: Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight); Tom Hardy (The Revenant)
This category’s become something of a front runner’s ball in recent years, and this will be another one. Sly Stallone is one of the safer bets on the table this year, and he’s by all accounts not only a sentimental favorite, but the strongest competitor. Rylance’s performance might have been good enough in an off-year, and Bale is only a Dark Horse in the sense that he’s snuck in on this category in the past. The smart money’s on Rocky here.
And the winner is. . .Sylvester Stallone.
The Favorite: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
The Challenger: Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
The Dark Horse: Matt Damon (The Martian)
The Field: Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs); Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)=
Leo DiCaprio is a prohibitive favorite in this category, and while I grant you he’s swept the awards circuit (Damon’s Golden Globe win in the “comedy” category is indeed a comedy), I think he’s terrible value as a pick here. Eddie Redmayne is awe inspiring in The Danish Girl, and keep your eyes on Bryan Cranston. Trumbo is a true story not many people know, and by all accounts Cranston embodies the man to perfection. Yeah, DiCaprio probably wins his first, but for the odds you’re getting, I’d lay off this category.
And the winner is. . .Leonardo DiCaprio
The Favorite: Brie Larson (Room)
The Challenger: Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
The Dark Horse: Cate Blanchett (Carol)
The Field: Jennifer Lawrence (Joy); Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
This has been a persnickety category in recent years, which is why I saved it for last. This year, it will be a shame if the Academy suddenly decides they don’t want all favorites to win because I think Brie Larson deserves it, but everyone knows Cate Blanchett is like crack to Oscar voters and it won’t surprise me at all when they call her name. Here’s your longshot.
And the winner is. . .Cate Blanchett.
The Favorite: Alejandro Inarritu (The Revenant)
The Challenger: Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
The Dark Horse: George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
The Field: Lenny Abrahamson (Room); Adam McKay (The Big Short)
A lot of people like the favorite here, and a lot like George Miller, but I’m picking Tom McCarthy to win here precisely because the excellent Spotlight isn’t going to get recognized anywhere else. McCarthy by a nose.
And the winner is. . .Tom McCarthy
The Favorite: The Revenant
The Challengers: Spotlight; The Big Short
The Dark Horse: The Martian
The Field: Room; Brooklyn; Mad Max: Fury Road; Bridge Of Spies
Looking for an even safer bet than Stallone? The Revenant is a mortal lock in this category, although I personally fail to see the appeal of this film over the more uplifting The Martian, the more thoughtful Spotlight or the more suspenseful Room.
And the winner is. . .The Revenant