We reach our final selections at last!*

What will the Academy deem the Best Picture of the Year? And who Directed their film the best?

Best Director

Lenny Abrahamson for Room
Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant
Tom McCarthy for Spotlight
Adam McKay for The Big Short
George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road

I don’t have much to say on this topic, other than that I want a George Miller upset so bad. He’s a solid #2 based on the various other awards handed out, so it’s not outside of the realm of possibility. The other guys don’t have much of a shot.

Iñárritu has the DGA though, and the BAFTA. The DGA is on an uninterrupted perfect-prediction streak since 2003. Well, aside from the Argo exception in 2012 when Ben Affleck wasn’t even nominated by the Academy. At any rate, The Revenent is probably a lock, which would also make Iñárritu the first director with back to back wins since 1949/1950. I’ll pick it, but I don’t like it.

Will Win : The Revenant
Should Win : Mad Max : Fury Road
Possible Upset : Mad Max : Fury Road
Longest Shot : Room

Best Motion Picture

Since 2009 the Best Picture nomination count has been all over the place. Previously, only five films could be in the running, but these days there can be as many as ten.

It’s incredibly arbitrary.

In the earliest years of the increase we stuffed the list with ten films. Then in 2011 it went to nine, and last year saw only eight. This year we again have eight, though I could’ve easily seen two other films taking up those spots. Ex MachinaSicario?

On a slight tangent, I always love when an animated film or foreign film manages to grab a Best Picture nomination. Isn’t that just admitting outright that they will win their category? How could Amour NOT win Best Foreign Film when it was the only one of that category also nominated for Best Motion Picture? Or Up or Toy Story 3?

Anyway, we have none of those quirks this year, just eight, live-action, fictional, primarily English speaking films :

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max : Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

The awards leading up to the Oscars have been handing out trophies all over the place, and there really is no clear-cut winner for the award. If we look at the Guilds and Critics though, we can probably eliminate half of the list. Farewell Bridge of SpiesBrooklynThe Martian, and Room. While all were enjoyable and had Oscar worth-elements, they didn’t pick up any major pre-Oscar awards (and the Golden Globe for Best Comedy really doesn’t count… sorry Martian).

Spotlight has also done amazingly well on the circuit, including the SAG Award for best cast. The Big Short nabbing a PGA was a big deal for their traction, as was Mad Max : Fury Road‘s prize from the National Board of Review. But despite it being my least favorite film of the four (and probably seventh place overall out of the eight), The Revenant looks to be our frontrunner. Those DGA and BAFTA wins are just so solid.

If it were up to me, I’d go Mad Max :Fury Road (what a shock) or Spotlight. And Spotlight has a fine chance to upset. We’ll see. I’m putting The Revenant on my ballot, but it’s one category I’d like to be wrong on. I actually feel dirty putting it down, my conscious is wracked about it… but picking the Oscars is often less about what you feel is best and more about what the weirdos at the Academy think is best. It hurts to wrap my head around.

Will Win : The Revenant
Should Win : Mad Max : Fury Road or Spotlight
Possible Upset : Spotlight
Longest Shot : Brooklyn

So there you have it, (most of) my picks for the 2016 Academy Awards. Full ballot coming soon…. Let’s hope it’s better than my freaking disastrous Golden Globes…

*…Well… not really. I wasn’t able see most of the shorts, documentaries, and foreign films, so while I will have picks of those on my final ballot, I don’t have much to say personally.