It is that time again—the Academy has picked out what they consider the best films of the past year. This article constitutes my speculations on who and what will win in the most competitive categories. (Disclaimer: I was not able to see all the films nominated for an Oscar.)
The Revenant, without a doubt, has the best cinematography I have seen in a long time. Alejandro G. Iñárritu and his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki nailed every aspect of visual fidelity and beauty. From the very beginning, the film completely envelops you in its world; the feeling of cold and chaotic violence in The Revenant is portrayed with the best that visual effects can offer. If The Revenant is to lose all other categories, this is the one that I believe it will win with full confidence.
As much as I love George Miller, Iñárritu is insanely dedicated. Not only did some of his crew leave due to Iñárritu’s filming conditions, but he also put one of Hollywood’s most prominent actors into some of the harshest physical scenes he had ever experienced. This was all done for the sake of his art. He did not cut corners or use CGI, as the producers had originally intended. He went out of his way to create something that was beautiful and visually awe-inspiring; I suspect Iñárritu may go home with more than one award.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Those of you who read my Bridge of Spies review know that Mark Rylance’s Rudolf Abel was (in my opinion) the best part of the film. Rylance created an intriguing character filled with both mystery and moral ambiguity, and whether you hated Abel or rooted for his release, Rylance brought an incredible character that sorely needed more screen time, but made an impact nonetheless.
Best Actress in a Supporting role
Sadly, the nominees in this category that I have seen in this year’s films were not too strong. However, the one that I was not able to see was Rooney Mara as Carol in the film Carol. Even though I was unable to see this film, I believe that she is the best option—the other candidates were good, but not excellent.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
While this was a close tie between Michael Fassbender and Leonardo DiCaprio, I have to give the actor to DiCaprio.
DiCaprio is fantastic in The Revenant, showing a more visceral and physically ravenous version of himself. While I prefer the eccentric insanity that was DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, this was still one of his most captivating roles. His physicality is what gives this performance such a distinctive edge over the other nominees.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Saoirse Ronan (pronounced “sur-sha”) was an incredible surprise. The last time she was seen in a leading role was Hanna. However, this more dramatic role and a mature storyline that touched many immigrants displayed an amazing transformation. Ronan tells the story of a young and scared Irish girl who becomes a strong-willed woman in this believable and interesting tale of growth and alienation in a foreign country.
The biggest category of the Academy Awards is also an incredibly close race, but I have to give this to Mad Max: Fury Road. This is the best film that I have seen all year, mainly due to the fact that Mad Max: Fury Road is repping my favorite genre: action. This movie stands up to critics who say that action films are all nonsensical violence and gore. The characters, the cinematography, the costume design, and the action sequences tell a story of a world that has died and lives again in whatever insane filth is left.