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The last few blocks are starting to drop into place. The final unviewed awards contenders are starting to screen, giving Oscar analysts the full picture as 2015 draws to a close. And while The Hateful Eight and Joy remain mysteries, Alejandro Inarritu’s The Revenant finally screened at The Academy on Monday night, and reactions flooded social media almost instantly. So, will this be an Oscar contender?

The almost-universal reaction to the movie is that it’s a technical masterpiece. That much is to be expected. Inarritu is fresh off of Birdman, which attempted to tell its whole story in one unbroken shot (with a few cheats), and stories have been written about how his survival tale The Revenant braved difficult environmental conditions to shoot in natural light in every frame. But was it worth it? THR’s awards pundit Scott Feinberg calls the movie "long," "gorgeous" and "gruesome." He concludes that it will get a Best Picture nomination, but isn’t the frontrunner to win.  

As for Leonardo DiCaprio, many have a vested interest in him finally winning his first Best Actor Oscar, and think The Revenant could be the performance that finally gets him over the hump. Vanity Fair goes on record, having seen the film, to say it’s DiCaprio’s race to lose. However, not everyone hopped on the bandwagon:

We’ll know more as the film continues to screen. I finally see The Revenant, as well as Joy and Hateful Eight, right after Thanksgiving. For now, here’s where I think the Oscar contenders sit on November 24:
oscar winner prediction
The Frontrunners

The Martian
Steve Jobs
The Contenders

Bridge Of Spies
Ex Machina
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
The Revenant
The Dark Horses

45 Years
Beasts of No Nation
The Big Short
Black Mass
The Danish Girl
The End Of The Tour
Love & Mercy
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Longshots

In The Heart of the Sea
Straight Outta Compton
The more I think about Spotlight, the more I realize it doesn’t have an ounce of fat on it. It’s airtight, and its precision – from the script to the performances – can be traced back to Tom McCarthy. I need to see it one more time, but he might be running away with this category. Can Quentin Tarantino or David O. Russell disrupt his flow?

oscar winner prediction
The Frontrunner

Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs
John Crowley, Brooklyn
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
The Contenders

Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
David O. Russell, Joy
Ridley Scott, The Martian
Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies
The Dark Horses

Ryan Coogler, Creed
Scott Cooper, Black Mass
Alex Garland, Ex Machina
Sarah Gavron, Suffragette
Todd Haynes, Carol
Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl
Adam McKay, The Big Short
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight
The Longshots

J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Peter Docter, Inside Out
Ron Howard, In the Heart of the Sea
Peter Landesman, Concussion
Bill Pohlad, Love & Mercy
Robert Zemeckis, The Walk
The word on Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant is split. Some still say that it’s his Oscar to lose, but the argument tends to be "well, it’s his time." Doesn’t that same point apply to Johnny Depp, though, who shed his Pirates quirks to give a masterful performance in Black Mass? It could be Depp’s time, too, especially if Academy members are cool on what is being labeled as brutal sit in The Revenant. Time will tell.

oscar winner prediction
The Frontrunners

Matt Damon, The Martian
Johnny Depp, Black Mass
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
The Contenders

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
The Dark Horses

Steve Carell, The Big Short
John Cusack, Love & Mercy
Michael B. Jordan, Creed
Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes
Edgar Ramirez, Joy
Will Smith, Concussion
The Longshots

Michael Caine, Youth
Richard Gere, Time Out Of Mind
Tom Hardy, Legend
Chris Hemsworth, In The Heart of the Sea
More people need to see Carol. It’s supposedly fantastic, with Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett owning the drama. But right now, a limited number of awards pundits have been allowed to see the film (outside of its festival screenings), which has allowed Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan to gain valuable momentum in the interim for Room and Brooklyn, respectively.  

oscar winner prediction
The Frontrunner

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
The Contenders

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Carey Mulligan, Suffragette
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
The Dark Horses

Emily Blunt, Sicario
Marion Cotillard, Macbeth
Blythe Danner, I’ll See You In My Dreams
Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road
Lily Tomlin, Grandma
The Longshots

Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back
Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van
More audience members will start to see Spotlight in the coming weeks, as Tom McCarthy’s gripping and airtight journalism drama opens in an increased number of theaters. Hopefully, from there, you all can help me figure out which of the male performers gives the better performance. I was blown away by the quiet fortitude Liev Schreiber brings to his role as the Boston Globe’s new publisher. But he’s equaled by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery… really, everyone is awesome. So, who makes the cut? We’ll see, in the next few weeks.
oscar winner prediction
The Frontrunners

Michael Keaton, Spotlight
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Jacob Tremblay, Room
The Contenders

Tom Courtenay, 45 Years
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Seth Rogen, Steve Jobs
Liev Schreiber, Spotlight
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
The Dark Horses

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Jim Broadbent, Brooklyn
Albert Brooks, Concussion
Bradley Cooper, Joy
Robert De Niro, Joy
Benicio Del Toro, Sicario
Bruce Dern, The Hateful Eight
Joel Edgerton, Black Mass
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Ryan Gosling, The Big Short
Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina
Samuel L. Jackson, The Hateful Eight
Kurt Russell, The Hateful Eight
The Longshots

Harvey Keitel, Youth
Jason Mitchell, Straight Outta Compton
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Alicia Vikander long has been the frontrunner in this category, not just for her soul-baring work in The Danish Girl (which should earn her an Oscar win, not just a nomination), but in recognition of the exquisite year she had as a performer. I also finally caught Youth last week, though, and I understand why many believe Jane Fonda’s scant bit of screentime will earn her a nod. It’s a showy, vitriolic turn that drips with the resentment of an older actress – and a Hollywodo legend – leveling bitter (but accurate) criticisms at her industry. Biting the hand that has fed her for years? What better way to get Oscar’s attention? I bet it works in her favor come nomination morning.  

oscar winner prediction
The Frontrunners

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Rooney Mara, Carol
The Contenders

Joan Allen, Room
Elizabeth Banks, Love & Mercy
Jane Fonda, Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Kate Winslet, Jobs
The Dark Horses

Helena Bonham Carter, Suffragette
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Concussion
Julie Walters, Brooklyn
Katharine Waterston, Steve Jobs
The Longshots

Jessica Chastain, The Martian
Diane Ladd, Joy
Ellen Page, Freeheld
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