Who will win, who will walk away empty-handed, and who could cause an upset at the Academy Awards?

The biggest night in Hollywood is almost upon us and picking who will take home Oscars gold on Monday is a tricky business, especially in a year so jam-packed with contenders. Luckily for you, the Speakeasy team has figured out who we think will take home the big prize in each cateogry, and my crystal ball suggests history is about to be made.

Best Picture


  • The Nominees: The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Room, The Big Short, Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies, Spotlight
  • What Will Win: Spotlight
  • Major Threat: The Revenant
  • Who Deserves To Win: Spotlight

The Revenant picked up the Golden Globe in Best Picture (Drama) and led the nomination tally with 12 but will be pushed by Spotlight and The Big Short. This is a coin flip decision, with my head picking ‘The Revenant’ and my heart ‘Spotlight’.  Spotlight to eek it.

Best Director


  • The Nominees: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Lenny Abrahamson (Room), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) Adam McKay (The Big Short)
  • Who Will Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
  • Major Threat: Tom McCartney
  • Who Deserves To Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won the Golden Globe but both Tom McCartney and Adam McKay are gaining fans.

Best Actor


  • The Nominees: Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl), Matt Damon (The Martian), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
  • Who Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Dark Horse: Bryan Cranston
  • Who Deserves To Win: Ian McKellen (Not Nominated)
With five nominations under his belt and no wins, people are rooting for Leo. However, Bryan Cranston has the SAG and Golden Globe under his belt. In my opinion the best performance of the year  belonged to Ian McKellen though.

Best Actress


  • The Nominees: Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
  • Who Will Win: Brie Larson
  • Dark Horse: Saoirse Ronan
  • Who Deserves To Win: Brie Larson
Brie Larson has been the frontrunner for some time. Its her award to lose. Saoirse Ronan has been the runner up to Larson for quite some time.

Best Supporting Actor


  • The Nominees: Christian Bale (The Big Short), Sylvester Stallone (Creed), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Tom Hardy (The Revenant)
  • Who Will Win: Mark Rylance
  • Major Threat: Sylvester Stallone
  • Who Deserves To Win: Mark Rylance

In a competitive category Stallone has Golden Globe and BFCA wins under his belt but missed out on SAG or BAFTA nods. Rylance is well resepcted and cleaned up critics awards. Will be close.

Best Supporting Actress


  • The nominees: Rooney Mara (Carol), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)
  • Who Will Win: Alicia Vikander
  • Close contender: Kate Winslet
  • Who Deserves To Win: Alicia Vikander

Alicia Vikander has had a stellar year and she embodies all the things that Oscar loves to reward. The Oscars love Winslet but this award is Vikander’s to lose.

Best Animated Feature Film

  • The Nominees: Inside Out, When Marnie Was There, Anomalisa, Shaun The Sheep, Boy & The World
  • Who Will Win: Inside Out
  • Who Deserves To Win: Inside Out

This is a two-picture race between Inside Out and Anomalisa, with Inside Out the frontrunner.

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • The Nominees: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight), Matt Charman, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen (Bridge of Spies), Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus (Straight Outta Compton), Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley (Inside Out),
    Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
  • Who Will Win: Spotlight
  • Dark Horse: Bridge Of Spies
  • Who Deserves To Win: Spotlight

Spotlight has won every precursor you can think of. Will win again here.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • The Nominees: Drew Goddard (The Martian), Nick Hornby (Brooklyn), Adam McKay and Charles Randolph (The Big Short), Phyllis Nagy (Carol), Emma Donoghue (Room)
  • Who Will Win: The Big Short
  • Major Threat: The Martin
  • Who Deserves To Win: The Big Short

This category is crammed with deserving nominees but the award will either go to Drew Goddard or Adam McKay and Charles Randolph.

Best Cinematography

  • The Nominees: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant), Edward Lachman (Carol), Roger Deakins (Sicario), John Seale (Mad Max: Fury Road), Robert Richardson (The Hateful Eight)
  • Who Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)
  • Dark Horse: John Seale (Mad Max: Fury Road) 
  • Who Deserves To Win: Roger Deakins (Sicario)

The Revenant is as strong a candidate as it’s looking, whether the Academy wants to finally give Roger Deakins his long overdue Oscar.

Best Documentary (Feature)

  • The Nominees: The Look Of Silence, Amy, Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom, Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief, Best Of Enemies
  • Who Will Win: Amy
  • Major Threat: Look of Silence
  • Who Deserves To Win: Going Clear

Will be close but Amy has the edge.

Best Documentary (Short)

  • The Nominees: Body Team 12, Chau, Beyond the Lines, Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, A Girl in the River, Last Day of Freedom
  • What Deserves To Win: Body Team 12, about people working as body disposers during Libera’s Ebola outbreak, tells a fascinating story.
  • What Will Win: Body Team 12

Best Foreign Language Film

  • The Nominees: Son of Saul, Mustang, A War, Embrace of the Serpent, Theeb
  • Who Will Win: Son of Saul
  • Major Threat: Mustang
  • Who Deserves To Win: Mustang

Mustang was rapturously received while harrowing holocaust drama, Son of Saul, is the conservative pick. While it’d be fun to pick the beautifully rendered Mustang in an upset, I wont. Son of Saul this time. 

Best Short Film (Animated)

  • The Nominees: Bear Story, Prologue, Sanjay’s Super Team, We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, World of Tomorrow
  • What Will Win: Bear Story
  • Dark Horse: World of Tomorrow
  • What Deserves To Win: Bear Story

Best Short Film (Live Action)

  • The Nominees: Ave Maria, Day One, Everything Will Be Okay, Shok , Stutterer
  • What Will Win: Stutterer
  • What Deserves To Win: Shok

Best Film Editing

  • The Nominees: The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • What Will Win: Mad Max
  • What Deserves To Win: Spotlight

Best Sound Editing

  • The Nominees: Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian, Sicario, The Revenant
  • What Will Win: Mad Max
  • What Deserves To Win: Mad Max

Best Sound Mixing

  • The Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • What Will Win: Mad Max
  • What Deserves To Win: Mad Max

Best Visual Effects

  • The Nominees: Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • What Will Win: Mad Max
  • What Deserves To Win: Mad Max

Best Music (Original Score)

  • The Nominees: Ennio Morricone (The Hateful Eight), Carter Burwell (Carol), John Williams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Thomas Newman (Bridge of Spies), Jóhann Jóhannsson (Sicario)
  • Who Will Win: Ennio Morricone
  • Who Deserves To Win: Carter Burwell

Best Music (Original Song)

  • The Nominees: “Earned It,” (Fifty Shades of Grey), “Manta Ray,” (Racing Extinction), “Til It Happens to You,” (The Hunting Ground), “Simple Song #3,” (Youth), “Writing’s On the Wall,” (Spectre)
  • Who Will Win: “Writing’s On The Wall”
  • Major Threat: “Earned It”
  • Who Deserves To Win: “Earned It”

Best Costume Design

  • The Nominees: Sandy Powell (Carol), Sandy Powell (Cinderella), Jacqueline West (The Revenant),Paco Delgado (The Danish Girl),Jenny Beavan (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • What Will Win: Mad Max
  • What Deserves To Win: Carol

Nominated twice, Sandy Powell will win here.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • The Nominees: The Revenant. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • What Will Win: Mad Max
  • What Deserves To Win: Mad Max

Best Production Design

  • The Nominees: The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, Bridge of Spies, The Martian. The Revenant
  • What Will Win: Mad Max
  • What Deserves To Win: Mad Max

2016 Academy Award Nominees

So what do you think of our picks? Spot on, or have we missed the mark? Let us know in the comments section or on social media.

About The Author

Shawn Moodie
Managing Director & Entertainment Editor

Shawn has pretty diverse interests and enjoys writing on about whatever happens to take his fancy at the time. A seasoned entertainment reviewer and interviewer, Shawn has also seen every band on his 'Musicians to see before I die' list.

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