Here are something to consider this year while making your guesses. One of the things that makes the Oscars so much fun to watch are the surprises. But over the years, I feel like more and more we are anticipating those surprises into our guesses. For that, the broadcast and awards themselves usually reel us back into reality. For some of the wins to take place this year, 88 years of history will have to be broken, and the odds of that really aren’t as good as they are being made out to be. If Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu wins Best Directing, that will not quite be history as he’ll be part of a select group of directors that have won back-to-back years. But if he wins and “The Revenant” takes Best Picture, that has never happened in the history of the Oscars, where a director won and his corresponding film won back-to-back. Not to mention, “The Revenant” did not have a SAG ensemble nomination and has no Best Screenplay nomination, which is unprecedented to not have either and go on to win Best Picture. Also, if Alejandro wins, it will be the 5th year in a row that a non-American has won the award. If Emmanuel Lubezki wins for Best Cinematography, it will be the first time ever that someone wins three years in a row. Also, as AwardsDaily pointed out back in December: “in all of SAG Awards/Oscar history no contender has ever won the Oscar without a SAG Awards nomination  in the Supporting Actor category” so for Sylvester Stallone to win, he’ll have to overcome history as well.

In turn, normally we’d make our safe bets and then hope for the “surprises” of history being made. But this year is turned around. “The Big Short” hit all the prerequisites on the way to getting an Oscar nomination. It got all the big nominations, even if it didn’t pull off all the wins. It won the PGA, the WGA, and the ACE Eddies (which makes a case for it beating “Mad Max: Fury Road” for Best Editing). It is the safe bet. It didn’t win the DGA, but with a split year, that could easily go to Alejandro still. And in that scenario, not as much history has to be made to pull it off. In another scenario, George Miller could easily pull off the Best Directing Oscar. It would go against the DGA for sure, but it is still possible. Then “The Revenant” could go on to take the top prize and still not have to jump as many historic hurdles to pull off the victory. With that scenario, if “Mad Max: Fury Road” wins for Best Visual Effects, remember the year that Ang Lee won Best Directing in split year and his film “Life Of Pi” had aloso won Best Visual Effects, so it’s not unheard of.

In the end, I went with the history making picks, if only for the simple reason that I like voting for what I liked best, not what I think will win based solely on what the critics and pundits are saying. And for the record, since I started my Oscar Challenge seven years ago, I’ve picked Best Picture 5 out of the 6 times, missing the year “Argo” won because I didn’t really care for the film and hoped in a long shot that “Lincoln” could pull off the win. Had I voted with what everyone thought that year, I would had a perfect score. But those other years that I did get right might not have been the case as I would have ended up picking “The Social Network” instead of the film I enjoyed more “The Kings Speech”. Or “Gravity” instead of “12 Years A Slave”. “The Revenant” was my favorite of the films in contention. It’s the film I feel like will still be just as good years from now, justifying its win. “Spotlight” not so much (and as of writing this, I actually have yet to see “The Big Short”). Picture

The Revenant

Runner-Up: “The Big Short” -or- “Spotlight”

Best Directing

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “The Revenant”

Runner-Up: George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Actor In A Leading Role

Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

Runners-Up: Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”

Best Actress In A Leading Role

Brie Larson, “Room”

Runner-Up: Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

Best Actor In A Supporting Role

Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Runner-Up: Mark Rylance, “Bridge Of Spies”

Best Actress In A Supporting Role

Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

Runner-Up: Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

Best Animated Feature

“Inside Out”

Runner-Up: “Anomalisa”

Best Cinematography

The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubeszki

Runner-Up: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” John Seale

Best Costume Design

“Cinderella,” Sandy Powell

Runner-Up: “Carol,” Sandy Powell

Best Documentary Feature


Runner-Up: “What Happened, Miss Simone?”

Best Documentary Short

“Body Team 12”

Runner-Up: “Chau, Beyond The Lines”

Best Film Editing

“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel

Runner-Up: “The Big Short,” Hank Corwin

Best Foreign Language Feature

“Son Of Saul”, Hungary

Runners-Up: “Mustang”, France

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Runner-Up: “The Revenant”

Best Music (Original Score)

“The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone

Runner-Up: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” John Williams

Best Music (Original Song)

“Til It Happens To You” by Lady Gaga (“The Hunting Ground”)

Runner-Up: “Writing’s On The Wall” by Sam Smith (“Spectre”)

Best Production Design

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Runner-Up: “The Revenant”

Best Short Film – Animated

“Sanjay’s Super Team”

Runner-Up: “World Of Tomorrow”

Best Short Film – Live Action


Runner-Up: “Shok” -or “Day One”

Best Sound Editing

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Runner-Up: “The Revenant”

Best Sound Mixing

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Runner-Up: “The Revenant”

Best Visual Effects

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Runner-Up: “The Revenant”

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“The Big Short,” Adam McKay & Charles Rudolph

Runner-Up: “Room,” Emma Donoghue

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

“Spotlight,” Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer

Runner-Up: “Ex Machina,” Alex Garland

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