The Academy Awards will soon be upon us once again, so it’s time to start speculating and predicting what will win big at the Oscars on February 28th. With just two months to go, we’ve already seen plenty of films that could be up for awards. Let’s have a go at predicting who will get the gongs in the major categories…

Best Picture

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Carol

This film was adored by critics, even if not all audiences loved it quite as much. Director Todd Haynes is well-liked by the Academy, and with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara both odds-on to be nominated in the female acting categories – but perhaps not to win those awards – this looks like a good bet for the Best Picture win. It’s a beautiful film, it’s a period piece, and it’s not challenging to an off-putting degree (unlike The Revenant, The Hateful Eight or Spotlight) so the Academy could reward it big time.

If not that then…

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Spotlight

The cast for this politically charged movie on child abuse scandals within the Church is just as spectacular as Carol‘s (Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams all feature), but being such an ensemble piece may work against it in the acting categories. Expect the Academy to nominate this for Best Picture at the very least.

Best Actor

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

DiCaprio could break his “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” streak of being nominated but never winning with this brutal epic, as a man hellbent on revenge. The Best Actor field isn’t looking too great this year, with only a couple of other performances that could spoil his chances of a win, and he’s certainly got the public behind him in his quest for that gold statuette.

If not him then…

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs

The Academy loves biopics, so it’s pretty much a given that Fassbender will be up for this award for his energetic, multi-layered performance as the boss of Apple himself. He’s been snubbed in the past for less mainstream performances like the lead in Shame so a nomination for Steve Jobs could make up for that. Eddie Redmayne is also a distinct possibility for The Danish Girl, but has he done enough to merit back-to-back wins?

Best Actress

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Brie Larson – Room

A tricky part in an emotionally devastating film, and a chance to give the award to a much-admired up-and-coming young actress. By all accounts, her performance in Room is of an incredible standard so she’s my pick for this award.

If not her then…

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Cate Blanchett – Carol

Even though if we’re being honest, Cate Blanchett’s part in Carol is probably smaller than Rooney Mara’s, I’d anticipate Blanchett being campaigned as Lead Actress (especially since she also produced the film), while Mara is relegated to Supporting to stop them splitting votes. But we’ll see how the nominations play out. Blanchett is loved by the Academy, but she won fairly recently for a very similar part in Blue Jasmine so her performance in Carol may not be able to edge out the fresher performance of Larson.

Best Supporting Actor

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Everyone who’s seen Bridge of Spies seems to agree that Rylance is the USP – usually known for his stage work, he plays a difficult part extremely well and manages to match the renowned screen actor Tom Hanks every step of the way. The Supporting Male Actor category is crowded this year, but I’d still imagine Rylance easily walking away with this award.

If not him then…

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation

This is looking like the key opportunity for Beasts of No Nation to net a nomination, for Elba’s part in this searing Afghan civil war drama. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga also gave us the first (but not the disappointing) second season of True Detective, so he’s shown he knows how to get great performances from well-known actors.

Best Supporting Actress

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

It’s looking like Vikander will wind up being classed as supporting for her turn in The Danish Girl. She could move up to lead if they play a Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) with her – it would be deserved since she does a lot of great work and shares most of the film’s screen time with main draw Eddie Redmayne. But if they’re not confident in her ability to defeat the big players like Blanchett and Larson then she may well end up here. And if she does, then she’s got a strong chance of winning from her first Oscar nomination.

If not her then…

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Rooney Mara – Carol

Again this part is technically a lead role, and maybe even a tougher part than her co-star Blanchett’s, but Rooney Mara may seem like a more comfortable fit as Supporting, especially if Blanchett gets campaigned as Lead. She will give Vikander some stiff competition and has already won quite a few awards for her role in Carol, so I’d watch out for her if I were you…

Best Director

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Early reviews of Spotlight suggest that McCarthy has crafted a tense, involving thriller, and got strong performances from his entire cast. It seems like he could be in a good position to take the Best Director prize, especially if the film doesn’t win Best Picture.

If not him then…

Oscar 2016 – Pre-Nominations Prediction

Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant

Yet again this acclaimed Mexican director has pushed the limits of film-making, after the dizzying Birdman, with The Revenant, shot in remote parts of the world and only with natural light. But will the Academy love the film enough to get him this award in two consecutive years? That’s why he’s only in second place by my reckoning, but we shall see…

So those are my thoughts ahead of the Oscar nominations for 2016. Let us know in the comments if you would have picked other people for these awards, and watch this space for my predictions after the nominations (and to see if I have to hang my head in shame about any of the above choices!)