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Who Will (And Who Should) Win at the Oscars

February 27, 2016

  Following months of controversy and hype, the 88th Oscars finally arrive this Sunday, February 28. An unusually strong (and predictably white) group of nominees are vying for the most influential awards in Hollywood this year, featuring underdogs (Room, Ex Machina), past favorites (Leo DiCaprio), welcome surprises (Mad Max!) and surprising snubs (Carol, Straight Outta Compton). In the spirit of arbitrary showbusiness gossamer, here are our predictions for who is destined to win and who deserves to win this Sunday:

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Will Win: It’s looking more and more every day like a lock for The Revenant. The Academy loves a good prestige drama, and The Revenant has historical tension, great actors, and fun accents in spades. Its director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, won last year’s top prize with Birdman, and no one else seems poised to take his next statuette away from him.


Should Win: This year’s very impressive lineup has some truly great movies, but I’d like to see either Room or The Big Short come out on top. Room was a knockout, its two newcomer leads, Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, garnering love from audiences and critics alike. Adam McKay’s headiest comedy yet was another favorite, using superb casting and blunt force to drive home the absurdity and horror of the 2008 financial collapse.


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Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio is virtually guaranteed a win on Sunday. While Eddie Redmayne delivered a powerful performance as Dutch transgender pioneer Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl, it’s DiCaprio who truly gave all of himself to his film.


Should Win: Just give Leo his Oscar.


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Will Win: Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence would have normally been the odds-on favorites, but both were bested by the wonderful Brie Larson in the equally-wonderful Room. Larson has been in films here and there, most notably as a social worker in Short Term 12 and Jonah Hill’s girlfriend in 21 Jump Street, but she gave her strongest performance ever this year, truly earning her place in Hollywood’s top echelon.


Should Win: I really can’t praise Brie Larson enough. She deserves this award.


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Will Win: The Academy will most likely give Sylvester Stallone the award based solely on his legacy, not on his actual (but still fine) acting.


Should Win: I could watch Tom Hardy’s transfixing performance as Fitzgerald in The Revenant for hours, especially with his pitch-perfect Maryland accent.


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Will Win: After a prolific year, Alicia Vikander is another first-time nominee that’s destined to become a megastar. Her turn The Danish Girl was measured and magnetic, delivered with astounding agility. The real upset here is that she wasn’t nominated for Best Actress.


Should Win: You really should go see Vikander in The Danish Girl and the criminally-overlooked Ex Machina.


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Will Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu is virtually guaranteed to win for his stellar direction in The Revenant. He really is one of the best voices in Hollywood right now, even if he’s sometimes bleak ad nauseum.

Should Win: I’d be happy with a win for Iñárritu, but George Miller’s crackerjack set pieces in Mad Max and Adam McKay’s cutthroat condemnation in The Big Short bested him, in my opinion.

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