Dan’s Oscar Picks – 2016

This is a pretty banal year for the Oscars again. Other than the controversy stirred up by Spike Lee (which I will not comment on) there is not much intrigue at all. When Ridley Scott, the deemed front-runner, was not nominated in the Director Category, the prognosticators were left scratching their heads. It always leave me curious as to how a movie can be nominated in 8 or 9 or 10 categories and not director (Argo, The Color Purple, Driving Miss Daisy, Dark Knight and many others).

What will be nice this year is to see a couple of “lifetime achievement” Oscars handed out.

So we are heading for a night of foregone conclusions or complete shocks. Maybe Chris Rock will drop a swear or two and shake things up. I will be disappointed if he does not go off script and bring up the fact that Spike Lee is at a Knicks game. I can only hope.

I see early front runner The Martian going home empty. Usually one major nominee does. Mad Max with a lot of trophies but The Revenant will be the big winner.

Here are my pics for this year



Best Picture

I have not seen a site that is not picking The Revenant. So I will go with that. If you want to pick a dark horse either Spotlight or my #2 movie of the year, The Big Short. Spotlight was the pervasive frontrunner but ended up failing commercially and critically.

Dan’s Prediction: The Revenant


Best Actor

Oh please, Leo, please use your speech to continue your little spat with Prime Minister Selfie and slag the oil sands. Please!!! I can’t stand Leo but he is a great actor and long overdue. This is his year. Mortal lock.

Dan’s Prediction: Leo, the Revenant


Best Actress

Charlotte Rampling kind of took herself out of the running by proclaiming that the Oscars are racist against whites. Not a solid career movie. Cate Blanchett is in a daring performance but has won twice and recently. Jennifer Lawrence who is my girlfriend and doesn’t know it is the new Kate Winslett, nominated for everything. Down to Brie Larson and Sariose Ronan.

Dan’s Prediction: Brie Larson, Room.


Best Supporting Actor

Really, could this happen?? I will jump out of my seat and scream for joy if Sly Stallone wins for this 7th incarnation of Rocky Balboa in Creed. This is a tough category with brilliance all around. Acclaimed stage actor Mark Rylance may upset here in his wonderful, understated performance in Bridge of Spies, but it looks like after Sunday we will have the phrase, Oscar Winner Sylvester Stallone. Rocky is part of our culture. This is one of three or four categories I am truly excited about.

Dan’s Prediction: Sylvester Stallone, Creed


 Best Supporting Actress

I have not seen The Danish Girl but all signs from all media point to Oscar newcomcer Alicia Vikander in Tom Hooper’s transgender drama. Hooper has directed Colin First to his Oscar

Dan’s Prediction: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl


Best Director

Ridley Scott has directed one best picture winner and one nominee. He is also responsible for Bladerunner and Black Hawk Down. He was considered a shoe in for best director months ago and not nominated so I think this is wide open. That said, it looks like we are in for a rare repeat of Best Director. John Ford is the only director to accomplish this with Grapes of Wrath and How Green Was My Valley in 1940/41. That’s some pretty impressive company. Alejandro is yet to make a weak film, let alone a bad one.

Dan’s Prediction: Alejandro G. Innaritu, The Revenant



 The Original Screenplay

Wouldn’t it be great to see Straight Outta Compton pull the upset. Won’t happen but we can dream, can’t we?? I would love to see Inside Out, the year’s best film and a work of writing genius win, but let’s go with a safe pick about Catholic Church corruption.

Dan’s Prediction: Spotlight


Best Adapted Screenplay

This is the only pick where I will use my emotions and hope the Academy honours a brilliant, original film.

Dan’s Prediction: The Big Short
Best Costume Design

Interesting category. Sandy Powell is nominated twice. She has been in this scenario before and won. But I predict a technical sweep for Mad Max, so let’s go there.

Dan’s Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road


Best Production Design

I will do what I usually do and go with the same movie as costumes. Not this year.

Dan’s Prediction: The Revenant


 Best Film Editing

The link between Editing and Best Pic has not been as reliable in the last 7 or 8 years so let’s break that convention. Mad Max – didn’t love it but it’s a wonderful mess and totally coherent.

Dan’s Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road


 Best Cinematography

A three-peat?? Looks that way. The great Roger Deakins will go home a runner up again and a man who is changing the way movies are filmed will win a third in a row. Watch Gravity, Birdman and The Revenant. They could not be any more different. He is a bona fide genius.

Dan’s Prediction: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant


Animated Feature

If Inside Out does not win, I will throw a shoe at the TV

Dan’s Prediction: The best movie of 2015, Inside Out


Foreign Language Film

Son of Saul. I have not seen this Hungarian holocaust drama but two reviews I have read both said it is on par with Schindler’s List for visceral impact. I want to see it but movies like this about the inhumanity of man tend to get under my skin and stick with me.

Dan’s Prediction: Son of Saul




Sound Mixing: Mad Max Fury Road


Sound Editing: Mad Max Fury Road


Make-up: Max Max Fury Road


Best Visual Effects: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Really, can they let this film go with nothing?


Best Original Score: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful 8

This may be the most interesting category of the night, along with Song. On one hand we have the legendary, brilliant John Williams. A mind boggling 41 nominations and 5 wins. No wins since 1994. He just turned 84 and the music for The Force Awakens in awesome. Then you have Ennio Morricone. Also legendary and brilliant. 88 years old and scoring Tarantino movies. 6 time nominee and never a winner. Do they perhaps honour Mr. Williams one more time or finally give Ennio his due?? Expect Ennio to win and a five minute ovation.


Best Original Song: Diane Warren and Lady Gaga for The Hunting Ground

This is a controversial documentary and rape and cover up on college campuses. Joe Biden will introduce Gaga at the show tomorrow night. This is Diane Warren’s 8th nomination. A chance for the Academy to give her her due, make Gaga and Oscar winner and honour this film all at once.



The Educated Guesses


Documentary Feature: Amy (not a guess here, pretty much a lock)


Documentary Short: Claude Landmann: Specters of the Shoah


Animated Short: Sanjay’s Super Team


Live Action Short: Shok

Dan’s Oscar Picks for 2015

Dan’s Oscar Picks 2015


This is the first year I am able to blog about the Oscars. Sadly, it is not an exciting year. There is no blockbuster, few real races and the front running movies are almost exclusively smaller pictures with little exposure.

Easily the most anticipated part of this show is Neil Patrick Harris. He has the ability to rival Billy Crystal and Johnny Carson as host.

The Academy consists of 6,000 members broken into 17 branches. The voting system, especially for best picture is so convoluted that it defies description. Over the years, they have gotten it right (The Godfather, Return of the King, Patton,  Platoon) and at times they miss the mark so bad its embarrassing (Braveheart, Gladiator, The Color Purple going 0 for 11). Right or wrong, I love the show and never miss.

Here are my pics for this year.





This is a two-way race between Boyhood and Birdman. Both are unusual films made by artsy directors. Boyhood is critically acclaimed and seems to fit the profile of recent winners.

Dan’s Prediction: Boyhood



Possibly the only real race of the six major categories. Will it be young, relative newcomer, Eddie Redmayne or well loved, never nominated veteran Michael Keaton for Birdman. Redmayne does two things the Oscar voters love, playing a handicapped character and a real life person. Keaton arguably is playing himself. And we cannot count out Bradley Cooper, who has pulled of the rare feat of three straight nominations. Benedict Cumberbatch and Steve Carrell have no real chance but this is an anything goes category.

Dan’s Prediction: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything



This is a forgone conclusion. Bet the farm here. It’s a mortal lock.

Dan’s Prediction: Julianne Moore, Still Alice



If you own two farms, bet the second one here. I have long admired JK Simmons since the days of Oz. I will be estatic to see him win

Dan’s Prediction: JK Simmons, Whiplash



Patricia Arquette has had the momentum in this category for a long long time and seems to be the universal favourite. If there is an upset it will be Emma Stone. That said, never count out Meryl. Nomination #19.

Dan’s Prediction: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood



Very much a two way race between Boyhood and Birdman. Both films employ interesting trickery and both are directed by respected men who have never won before. A true coin toss. I see a split between Picture and Directior.

Dan’s Prediction: Alejandro G Innaratu, Birdman






The toughest category, with the two main front runners for best picture and the well loved Grand Budapest Hotel. This is where I see TGBH getting honour.

Dans’ Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel



A much weaker category. I will go with the winner from the Writer’s Guild.

Dan’s Prediction: The Imitation Game



Now here is a hard one to pick. Three time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood is a safe bet for Into the Wood as is three time Oscar Winner Milena Canonera for Grand Budapest Hotel. One of these gifted women will pick up a fourth.

Dan’s Prediction: Grand Budapest Hotel



So often goes with Costume Design.

Dan’s Prediction: Grand Budapest Hotel



Birdman is an astonishing technical achievement and deserves to win but will his win for Gravity last year hurt Emmanual Lubeski’s chances? If you think so, go with Grand Budapest Hotel, Or could it be the year that Roger Deakins gets his long overdue Oscar after 11 nominations?? Tough call

Dan’s Prediction: Birdman



The single best predictor of Best Picture. Often movies that only win a few awards win Editing and Picture (Argo, Crash to name two). Look for Sandra Adair to be honoured for piecing together a twelve year story.

Dan’s Prediction: Boyhood



Can someone PLEASE explain to me how The Lego Movie was not even nominated???? This is a weird category this year. I am going to take a guess here and what appears to be the most popular of the five films. However, the Academy may try to show how open minded they are by choosing The Tale of Princess Kugaya.

Dan’s Prediction: How to Train Your Dragon 2



Total guess here.

Dan’s Prediction: Ida (Poland)




Sound Mixing : American Sniper


Sound Editing : American Sniper


Visual Effect:  Interstellar


Hair & Make-up : Grand Budapest Hotel


Original Song : Glory from Selma (This movies persistent whining about only receiving two nominations may hurt its chances. I will be elated it “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie pulls an upset)


Original Score : The Grand Budapest Hotel (This could also be Imitation Game – either one of the Alexander Desplat scores)



Documentary Feature: Citizenfour


Documentary Short: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1


Live Action Short: The Phone Call


Animated Short: Feast