Jay Bickford '17

Jay Bickford ’17 gives his Oscar picks.

Happy Oscar weekend! My name is Jay Bickford ’17, and I am the Arts & Culture editor for The Lafayette, the oldest college newspaper in Pennsylvania (excuse the shameless plug). I have seen at least one movie every weekend since I came to Lafayette in 2013, and I have reviewed dozens of them for the student paper. I love everything about watching a movie. Few things are as enjoyable as settling into my seat with popcorn and a soda, watching the previews for upcoming movies, and preparing myself to experience a story.

Having seen every Oscar-nominated movie this year, I believe that I have a good handle on the biggest categories of the night: Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and, of course, Best Picture. My predictions are based primarily on how well the nominees performed throughout of the awards season, as awards shows are the best measurement of how the industry feels about a category.

So, without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2016 Academy Awards.

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)

This is probably the most competitive and unpredictable category. Both Alicia Vikander and Kate Winslet are strong candidates, although Jennifer Jason Leigh has many pundits talking about her as a potential upset winner in this category. At first glance, this category seems to be anyone’s game. However, two facts about how the Academy works make me suspect that Vikander will walk away with this one: first, whoever wins the most other awards is likely to win the Oscar (and Vikander edges out Winslet in that regard), and second, with a few exceptions, the Academy doesn’t like to give multiple awards to one person. Winslet already has a trophy, and Vikander doesn’t. I don’t really believe Leigh stands a chance, as there is very little industry buzz in her favor.

Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Yes, it is 2016 and Stallone is up for an Oscar, and he may well win. The aging actor, famous for Rocky and Rambo, seemed to have the best years of his career behind him (especially after 2013’s awful Grudge Match), but somehow he pulled through for a fantastic performance in Creed. It is somewhat fitting that the same character that launched Stallone into superstardom and got him his first Oscar nomination, is his best chance at winning one today. Though the other nominees put forward excellent performances (especially Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies), Stallone is my guy for this one.

Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant)

The Revenant looks to be the darling film of the night. Though anything is possible with the Oscars, Iñárritu’s masterpiece has been getting a lot of praise from the other awards shows. History is also on Iñárritu’s side, as the winner of the Director’s Guild award almost always goes on to win the Oscar for Best Director. Though the category is loaded with excellent directors, Iñárritu’s only real competition for this award is George Miller, whose critically acclaimed action romp Mad Max has been generating Oscar buzz all year.

Best Actress: Brie Larson (Room)

Though it didn’t make the biggest splash for general audiences, Room is an industry favorite, having been nominated for four Academy Awards and having won several other awards, including a Golden Globe. The reason for this industry buzz is Brie Larson, who turns in the performance of a lifetime. She has won almost all of the awards she has been put up for, and no other actress comes close.

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)

Leo’s long journey to Oscar gold is about to be over. Ever since getting snubbed for 1993’s excellent What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Leo fans have been wondering why one of the most popular and most talented actors in Hollywood has never won an Oscar. However, his performance in The Revenant is without peer this year — almost every other awards show gave Leo the nod, and not even Matt Damon’s impressive performance in The Martian can compare. If Leo loses this one, there is a conspiracy against him in the Academy. It would be the only explanation.

Best Picture: The Revenant

This is not an easy category to predict, as so many of the films have a lot going for them. Mad Max has been an industry favorite for some time, while Spotlight, The Big Short, and Bridge of Spies all are based on true events, a quality that tends to do well with the Academy. However, given how the number of awards Revenant has won and the fact that both its director and lead actor are likely to win in their categories, I believe this film will be the darling of the night. And you can bet DiCaprio will be throwing the biggest and best Oscar party in Hollywood history Sunday night.

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