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Double Viking's Guide to the Oscars 2016

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The Oscars are this Sunday night and if you're the type to watch the Oscars every year, it's kind of a big deal. My tradition, as friends have become scattered across the country, has been to post my random thoughts to Facebook all night and my friends and I interact, and it's a fun way to watch the Oscars with your friends. Here are some things to watch for, drinking game options, and other general survival tips for the longest awards show in the galaxy.

 

Things to Watch For

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They try to make the Oscars seem like a place where anything can happen, just because one dude streaked across the stage one time in the Seventies. The guy on stage at the time was David Niven, and you've probably never heard of him unless you were born before 1980, and even then, most people my age don't know who he is. So yeah, don't expect "anything" to happen, but definitely expect these things to happen...

At least one useless montage, more than likely three useless montages

There are always montages at the Oscars to celebrate various filmmaking traditions. Take whatever the fuck Val Kilmer was doing onstage with a horse in 1999 for example. Did anyone need a montage about shitty Gene Autry cowboy movies in 1999? The answer is no, no they didn't. Sure, some of the montages are good, but there's at least one every year that makes you scream, "Oh get on with it already!"

 

Chris Rock will make an Uprize joke 

One of the highlights of Chris Rock's hilarious 2014 film Top Five involves a fake slave uprising film titled Uprize, and with the Oscars So White controversy in the air, guaranteed he pulls out some footage or at least mentions it in passing. 

 

John Travolta's going to make someone uncomfortable 

The best and only running gag at the last two Oscar ceremonies has been the unraveling of John Travolta's carefully cultivated image as a guy who has any fucking clue what's going on. Two years ago, while introducing Frozen's Idina Menzel, he butchered her name in ways we never knew possible prior to that glorious moment. How did Travolta bounce back? Why by creeping Menzel out once again by nuzzling her chin for an inordinate amount of time in front of a billion people. What will he do this year? Accidentally bring one of his cabana boys out onstage with him? Misunderstand what seat filling for Eddie Redmayne means? This is one area where I'm willing to say that anything can happen. 

 

Someone's gonna get left out of the "In Memoriam" montage and the internet will have a shit fit

Granted, it was inexcusable to leave Dennis Farina out of the In Memoriam montage a few years back, but every year people get up in arms about someone being left out of the montage, like Brad Renfro. Really? Leaving out Brad Renfro is where you draw the line internet commenter? Get your priorities in line. Nevertheless, some mid-tier celebrity will be left out and we'll have to read headlines like, "Taylor Negron snubbed by Oscar montage" or "No love for Vincent 'Don Vito' Margera in Oscars montage." Stop. Just stop. I love Taylor Negron as much as the next guy, but you can't simultaneously complain about how long the show is and how many people they left out of the montage.

 

Double Viking Oscars Drinking Games

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There's a lot of crossover here, and there's a number of different ways you could go with a drinking game, including making one out of those predictions above. Here are some other options...

The "In Memoriam" Drinking Game

  • Drink every time someone you've never heard of appears 
  • Drink every time someone gets no applause
  • Drink every time someone gets an inappropriate amount of applause
  • Drink every time your nerdy friend says, "They better not forget about Nimoy." Spoiler alert: They won't.

 

The Acceptance Speech Drinking Game

  • Drink every time someone tells their kids watching at home to go to bed
  • Drink every time they start up that music
  • Drink every time someone forgets to mention their spouse
  • Drink every time someone with a tenuous grasp of the English language stumbles through a speech

 

The Audience Drinking Game

  • Drink every time they cut away to Leo
  • Drink every time they cut away to someone who makes you say, "What is _______ doing there?"
  • Drink every time they catch a seat filler on camera
  • Drink every time they cut to a token non-white actor in the audience after a questionable joke

  

Our Picks

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The Oscars are, after all, ultimately about the awards. Here are our picks, guaranteed* to help you win any Oscar pool!

ANIMATED SHORT

  • Bear Story
  • Prologue
  • Sanjay's Super Team
  • We Can't Live Without Cosmos
  • World of Tomorrow

Will Win: Sanjay's Super Team
Should Win: Sanjay's Super Team
Expert's Take: Pixar had a mixed bag of offerings in 2015, suffering their first box office disappointment and arguably their worst short film ever with the saccharin sweetness of Lava, which ran before Inside Out. The simplistic, dialogue-free Sanjay's Super Team, which ran before The Good Dinosaur, was charming, thoughtful, and directed by an Indian-American. In other words, it checks off a lot of boxes.

 

LIVE ACTION SHORT

  • Ave Maria
  • Day One
  • Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
  • Shok
  • Stutterer

Will Win: Day One
Should Win: No clue
Expert's Take: Read the film's synopsis and tell me this doesn't win the Oscar: "On the heels of a painful divorce, an Afghan-American woman joins the U.S. military as an interpreter and is sent to Afghanistan. On her first mission, she accompanies troops pursuing a bomb-maker, and must bridge the gender and culture gap to help the man’s pregnant wife when she goes into labor."

 

DOCUMENTARY SHORT

  • Body Team
  • Chau, Beyond the Lines
  • Claude Lanzmann
  • A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
  • Last Day of Freedom

Will Win: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Should Win: No clue
Expert's Take: Holocaust movies have a stranglehold on this category, but with no Holocaust movie in the running this year, I'll go with the most depressing one by far, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness which deals with women who are targeted for religiously motivated “honor” killings in Pakistan. Jesus Christ, the shit that goes on in this world.

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire

Will Win: Amy
Should Win: Amy
Dark Horse: The Look of Silence
Expert's Take: In addition to being one of the most depressing movies of the year, Amy was also one of the best. This sobering look at the price of fame and the stress that can place on already tenuous relationships. The Look of Silence was sobering and nowhere near as freewheeling as its predecessor, The Act of Killing, which lost in this category two years ago. So long as voters don't view this as a chance to right that egregious wrong, look for Asif Kapadia to take this award, especially after overlooking his brilliant 2010 film Senna.

 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

Will WinMad Max: Fury Road
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Expert's Take: Let's get something right from the onset. Most people think of Production Design as Set Design, which is at least partially true for this category, but it's so much more than that. Look at The Revenant, The Martian, and Mad Max: Fury Road, all three films that mostly take place outdoors. It's about the overall look of the film, and while both Bridge of Spies and The Danish Girl were handsomely appointed period pieces, look to Mad Max: Fury Road to take this one unless there's a Revenant sweep and then all bets are off. 

 

COSTUME DESIGN

  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant

Will Win: The Danish Girl
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Expert's Take: This category's a bit of a conundrum this year. Perennial category stalwart Sandy Powell is dual nominated for Carol and Cinderella, so she'll likely cancel herself out. The choice was a little clearer cut the last time Powell was a dual nominee for Velvet Goldmine and Shakespeare in Love and took the award for the latter. I think Powell being a non-factor—she's got three awards and twelve nominations—leaves The Danish Girl to win this category which almost always favors period style over fantasy flash like Mad Max: Fury Road

 

MAKEUP AND HAIR STYLING

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
  • The Revenant

 

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Should WinMad Max: Fury Road
Expert's Take: Now here's a category that favors fantasy and flash over dirt, which means Mad Max: Fury Road is a lock unless, of course, The Revenant is on its way to a sweep.

 

SOUND EDITING

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Should WinMad Max: Fury Road
Expert's Take: See Sound Mixing for my rationale...

 

SOUND MIXING

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

Will Win: The Revenant
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Expert's Take: Back when these categories were only voted on by the people within that field, the winners made a lot more sense. Nowadays, since everyone votes, I'm guessing these will be split between The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road as a way to "spread the love around." They're totally interchangeable now, so they could flip, and once again, I have to say that a Revenant sweep cancels out this logic. If it wins both of these awards, usually given out early in the night, look for it to be unstoppable. 

 

VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Should WinStar Wars: The Force Awakens
Expert's Take: I'm not sure why The Revenant is even in this category. Apart from the bear and those terrible looking buffalo, there were no visual effects, and DiCaprio's entire campaign is all about "look how real it all was." Mad Max seems like it should be the front-runner, but this category has always favored visual effects splendor over realistic spectacle, so look to this category to give The Force Awakens its only award, one which the original film won 38 years ago.

 

FILM EDITING

  • The Big Short
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Spotlight
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Expert's Take: Talk about a wide open category. Should Spotlight or The Big Short sneak in and win this award, look at it to potentially indicate a Best Picture win in the cards—though last year's winner, Whiplash, sadly didn't pull off that feat. A Revenant sweep could also take this award with it, but I think Mad Max: Fury Road, with its high octane action and rapid fire pacing will take the trophy. 

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario

Will Win: The Revenant
Should Win: Sicario
Expert's Take: Roger Deakins doesn't have an Oscar, but for some reason, the Academy will give Emmanuel Lubezki his third in a row this year instead. I get that The Revenant looked gorgeous and that was about all it had going for it, but come on. I'm a little baffled as to why they keep falling for his flashy trickery when there's amazing work being done in these other four films, not to mention a dozen other deserving films this year. Lubezki is a genius, but so is Deakins and John Seale, whom George Miller wooed out of retirement to shoot Fury Road. Maybe take some time out of your day to spread the love around, Academy.

 

ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: The Hateful Eight
Should Win: The Hateful Eight
Expert's Take: All of the discussion in this category has been centered around the fact that legendary composer Ennio Morricone doesn't have an Oscar yet. None of that discussion has spilled over into our previous category, as you might have noticed, but it is a sin. Add in the fact that Morricone's score was arguably the best thing about Tarantino's weakest film to date and this one's a done deal.

 

ORIGINAL SONG

  • "Earned It" - Fifty Shades of Grey
  • "Manta Ray" - Racing Extinction
  • "Simple Song #3" - Youth
  • "Til It Happens to You" - The Hunting Ground
  • "Writing's on the Wall" - Spectre

Will Win: "Til It Happens to You" - The Hunting Ground
Should Win: None of 'em
Expert's Take: First things first, this is the worst this category has ever looked. Ever. Even in years when they only nominated three songs. This sucks. Seriously, that awful awful song from Spectre should be nowhere near this category. Don't get me wrong, that Furious 7 song sucks too, and nominating that wouldn't have negated how much garbage there is in this category. Lady Gaga sang and co-wrote "Til It Happens to You" so look for that to be a deciding factor for most voters.

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Embrace of the Serpent
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul
  • Theeb
  • A War

Will Win: Son of Saul
Should Win: Didn't see any of them
Dark Horse: Mustang
Expert's Take: There's been a lot of groundswell lately for Mustang, a French film about Turkish girls fighting back against oppression, but Son of Saul is a Holocaust movies, and you never bet against a Holocaust movie at the Oscars. The only thing that's older and more Jewish than the Academy is the talmud. It really can't lose.

 

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There

Will Win: Inside Out
Should Win: Inside Out
Dark HorseAnomalisa
Expert's Take
: I was left cold by Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa, but his fan base and support within the Academy is legendary. The only way Inside Out doesn't win is if there's some sort of bizarre backlash against Pixar, and with this being the only category in which Anomalisa is nominated, some voters may make a stand here. But I don't see that happening.  

 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian
  • Room

Will Win: The Big Short
Should Win: The Big Short
Dark Horse: The Martian
Expert's Take
: This could be The Martian's only real shot at a major award, so don't be surprised if it slips in here, but the same can more or less be said for The Big Short as well. It's really a two horse race between them and while I wouldn't be upset if Drew Goddard's brilliant script for The Martian got the award, I think people were more impressed with how well Adam McKay and Charles Randolph explained the 2008 financial collapse with humor, wit, and bravado.

 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton

Will Win: Spotlight
Should Win: Ex Machina or Inside Out
Dark Horse: Straight Outta Compton 
Expert's Take
: It's hard to deny the allure of Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy's exceptionally well researched and supremely crafted Spotlight. It hits all the right notes and, like The Big Short, it deconstructs complex situations and makes them play out in a suspenseful way. Inside Out and Ex Machina are both equally deserving of the award, but again, if Academy voters are looking to right some of their Oscar So White wrongs, they might go for Straight Outta Compton.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Will Win: Alicia Vikander
Should Win: Jennifer Jason Leigh
Dark Horse: Kate Winslet
Expert's Take
: Kate and Alicia have been trading awards all season long, and while it's hard for me to vote against my girl Kate, this is almost always a category for the very young or very old to win. 27 year old Alicia Vikander hits that sweet spot, and her role is a leading one, so she'll likely take the gold. If they're looking to reward a true supporting performance, however, JJL would be the way to go. Her momentum cooled thanks to the apathy with which critics and audiences greeted the film, but she's always great and this is her first nomination. 

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Will Win: Sylvester Stallone
Should Win: Sylvester Stallone
Dark Horse: Mark Ruffalo 
Expert's Take
: Stallone's the sentimental favorite, which almost always wins the day here—the notable exception being Albert Finney in Erin Brockovich. Look to that sentiment to carry the day, though I have a feeling that either of the Marks could sneak in here and steal it away, but I happen to think that the Academy will view this as a diversity win—since the movie was written, directed by, and starred mostly black actors, so they're gonna run with it. 

 

BEST ACTRESS

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Will Win: Brie Larson
Should Win: Brie Larson
Expert's Take: Having read the book on which it was based, I wasn't eager to see Room. I'm glad I did, though, because Brie Larson was terrific as Mama. There's a ton of weight on her shoulders in the film and she handles it with aplomb. A lot of credit should also be given to her non-nominated co-star Jacob Tremblay, who gave a great performance as well. Larson is outstanding though and deserves this final victory lap through a great awards season.

 

BEST ACTOR

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Will Win: Leo
Should Win: Michael Fassbender
Expert's Take: Sure, Leo drank horse urine and grunted and spit a lot, but it's not a performance so much as it is an assemblage of tics. I like Leo, but he doesn't deserve the Oscar for this film. I hate when the Academy decides to right perceived wrongs by giving an actor an award when he should have won it for something else. Fassbender, on the other hand, had to play a guy he looked nothing like, with an American accent, and in Aaron Sorkin's rhythm. He hits the trifecta, pulling off all three of those feats, and making it look easy. He surprised the hell out of me in the film, and I went into it knowing he was a great actor.

 

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Adam McKay - The Big Short
  • George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu - The Revenant
  • Lenny Abrahamson - Room
  • Tom McCarthy - Spotlight

Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Should Win: George Miller
Dark Horse: George Miller
Expert's Take
: I get why actors want to work with Iñárritu. He doesn't reign them in, ever. The performances in his films are almost always larger than life, but that doesn't make him a great director. I think he knows what he's doing and he's got vision, but this is a complete and total Emperor's New Clothes situation for me. George Miller, on the other hand, basically came out of kids movie retirement to make the most kick ass movie of the year. The coordination efforts alone on the film would be enough to say he earned this Oscar, though the fact that the film is fantastic only makes his work harder to ignore. 

 

BEST PICTURE

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

Will Win: The Revenant
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Dark Horse: Spotlight or The Big Short
Expert's Take: It's rare for the best film of the year to actually win Best Picture—No Country for Old Men, in my opinion, is the last one for which you could mount an argument—so it's no big shock that The Revenant will take the top prize. It's still a bit of a crap shoot though, because Spotlight or The Big Short could benefit tremendously from the preferential balloting system the Academy uses. If they had any chutzpah whatsoever they'd give the award to Mad Max, but I think that's a bit too much wishful thinking for one evening. 

So there you have it folks! Join us on Monday for an Oscar recap and don't forget to check out the winners of our 1st Annual Double Viking Excellence in Film Awards, aka The Vikies, tomorrow afternoon!

*Not guaranteed in any legally binding way


Steve attanasie

Steve Attanasie

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