2015 was certainly a huge year for cinema, with opening weekend revenues being smashed by the likes of Fifty Shades Of Grey, Fast & Furious 7, Jurassic World and Minions while studios such as Universal, Disney and Warner Bros. enjoyed record breaking box office returns.
As the year ended, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was neck and neck with Spectre to be the UK’s biggest film of 2015, with potential for Star Wars to break Avatar’s title as the worldwide highest grossing film of all time once it has been released in China this month.
Box office returns are one thing but when it comes to predicting where the Oscars will go you enter less clear waters. The Academy Awards always throw a few curve balls, although last year with the performances from JK Simmons, Patricia Arquette and Julianne Moore, most of the actor gongs were pretty much nailed-on certainties, while it was a close-run race between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne for the Best Actor award.
This year early favourites include Michael Keaton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rooney Mara, Saoirse Ronan and once again Eddie Redmayne for his extraordinary performance in The Danish Girl. If Redmayne were to win he would join a very select group of back-to-back Best Actor winners: Luise Rainer became the first performer to win back-to-back Oscars for her performances in The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937). She was followed by Spencer Tracy for Captain Courageous (1937) and Boys Town (1938); Katherine Hepburn for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) and The Lion in Winter (1968); and Tom Hanks for Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994).
Here at Showcase, our acting nominees are:
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Michael Caine, Youth
Nominations could also go to Michael B. Jordan, Creed; Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes; Matt Damon, The Martian; Johnny Depp, Black Mass; and Tom Hanks, Bridge Of Spies.
We are predicting that the two stellar performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol will be split with Blanchett being nominated in the Best Actress category and Mara getting a place amongst the supporting nominees. Traditionally films with two acting nominees have gone home without either winning, for example Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis were both nominated for Thelma And Louise but Jodie Foster took home the Oscar for The Silence Of The Lambs. As a result, studios do not take the risk and split their nominees between categories.
Brie Larson, Room
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Lily Tomlin, Grandma
Mention must also be made of Maggie Smith, The Lady In The Van; Carey Mulligan, Suffragette; Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road; and Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Mark Rylance, Bridge Of Spies
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Benicio Del Toro, Sicario
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Also look out for Tom Hardy, The Revenant; Jacob Tremblay, The Room; Michael Shannon, 99 Homes; Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight; and Michael Keaton, Spotlight
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Rooney Mara, Carol
Alicia Vikander, Ex-Machina
Joan Allen, Room
Rachel McAdams, Southpaw
The Best Director category has often thrown up surprises; recently Ben Affleck failed to win a nomination for his direction of the film that would go on to win the Best Picture Oscar, Argo.
We predict these directors will be the famous five come February:
Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Ridley Scott, The Martian
Todd Haynes, Carol
Todd McCarthy, Spotlight
George Millar, Mad Max: Fury Road
For the last four years, the Best Picture nominees have been chosen using the preferential voting system, whereby films that receive a percentage of high-ranking votes make up the nominees. This has meant the traditional five Best Pictures has been extended to between eight and ten films, so to hedge our bets we have chosen eleven nominations! So come the 88th Oscar ceremony on February 28th, these are the films Showcase predicts will be vying for the top gong:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Bridge of Spies
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Hateful Eight
Outsider bets could include Sicario, Suffragette, The Danish Girl and Steve Jobs