Our staffers have spent countless hours watching as many nominated films as they possibly could. Here is their take on some of the categories for the 88th annual Academy Awards.


Our staffers have spent countless hours watching as many nominated films as they possibly could. Here is their take on some of the categories for the 88th annual Academy Awards.

Best Picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies


Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant



Who we want to win:

Marisa: I really want Room to win just because it tore my emotions to pieces. The movie messed me up a little.

Meryl: I agree about Room. Ashamedly, I saw all of those nominees but Bridge of Spies, but I can say that at least of the seven that I saw, Room was THE best picture. When you have to sit in the theater for 20 minutes afterward just to soak in everything you saw, you know you’ve seen an amazing film and that is what Room is. Spotlight was a good story because it’s a shocking true story. The film itself wasn’t monumental. Don’t get me started on Mad Max.

Arielle: I am emotionally invested in Room. Meryl told me not to watch it at night and I did. I did not sleep that night.

Reba: Room. Room. Room. No movie has had me get that emotionally invested and left me with a bigger hole in my heart. Dear Jacob Tremblay, I love you and think you are a shining star.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: I can see The Martian or The Revenant winning. I’d be more OK with The Martian TBH.

Meryl: The Big Short won the Producing Guild Award, and for the last several years, the film that has won that award has won the Oscar. I’m praying history doesn’t repeat itself. I think it might come down to The Big Short, Spotlight and The Revenant.  

Arielle: I have to go with The Big Short because of the Producing Guild Award trend. I would not be that upset about it. I will be upset if The Revenant wins. What a snooze-fest.

Reba: I think The Revenant will get the win. I thoroughly enjoyed The Big Short and Ryan Gosling and Steve Carrell. So if it wins, and I am wrong, it’s OK I guess.


George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Adam McKay, The Big Short

Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

Who we want to win:

Marisa: Definitely Alejandro. Unlike DiCaprio, he deserves it for The Revenant. His crew may hate his work style, but he’ll get some recognition.

Meryl: Literal retweet to what Marisa said. No one can create cinematic gold like Alejandro. Birdman is in my top favorite films of all time because he is a genius with the camera. The Revenant wasn’t the greatest film overall but it was made beautifully.

Arielle: Retweet Meryl’s retweet to Marisa. Did not like the movie but the directing was beautiful. Alejandro did it again.

Reba: Retweet Arielle’s retweet to Meryl’s retweet to Marisa. After reading more about the directing and the work put in behind the scenes, I have mad respect for Alejandro. And, going from Birdman to this, I appreciate being able to tell it was him directing, but he’s not a one-note Nancy.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: Again Alejandro.

Meryl: I don’t think it’s implausible for Alejandro to win back-to-back. I’d also be happy with Lenny Abrahamson because the way he framed “the room” in Room was outstanding.

Arielle: Alejandro with the back-to-back.

Reba: Lady Gaga’s hit song (Alejandro).

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Who we want to win:

Marisa: I have this weird obsession with Bryan Cranston, so in a really irrational and illogical way, I want him to win. It’s an irrational thought, I know.

Meryl: Eddie Redmayne. If he won last year for The Theory of Everything, then he has to win this year for The Danish Girl because his performance in that film beat the pants off his performance in The Theory of Everything. Both are great but The Danish Girl is on another level. I know everyone is rooting for Leo to finally win his Oscar but this is not the film he should win it for. It would be an insult to his previous losses and snubs if this is what finally won him the gold.   

Arielle: Eddie Redmayne is my choice for this without a doubt. For best actor and actress I think about whether someone else could be put in that role and still be good. I can see NO ONE else other than Eddie. Literally anyone could have played that man that just would not die, so that is why Leo should not win.

Reba: Eddie Redmayne. He was fantastic in The Danish Girl. His ability to portray those real people and create this new character and world around them is mesmerizing. Here’s my argument why Leo should not win this and why Alejandro should win directing: Anyone could have played Hugh. Leo did not make that role. Everyone is impressed by it because of the directing. You could have put any other actor in the role and it would have been no different. Also, if Leo was going to win for anything, it should have been The Wolf of Wall Street.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: As long as it’s not Leo, that’d be kosher. I can see Fassbender or Eddie Redmayne swooping in and winning.

Meryl: Leo is a really heavy contender, but I agree, I can definitely see Fassbender coming out of nowhere on this or Redmayne actually deservedly getting it.

Arielle: On this one I have to use my noodle instead of my heart. I know Leo is going to win because for some reason people think he is the greatest thing to happen to cinema.

Reba: Leo. I’m sorry.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Who we want to win:


Meryl: I’m also obviously rooting for Brie. Her performance is unbelievable and I desperately need that Jacob Tremblay reaction shot when she wins.

Arielle: I am going to lose my cool if Brie Larson does not win. I have nothing else to say. I second Meryl’s Jacob Tremblay reaction comment.

Reba: Brie Larson for being a majestic, strong woman in Hollywood and adopting Jacob Tremblay as her own.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: Larson still seems like the candidate to win. Hopefully this is true on her successes with previous award shows.

Meryl: This is one of the few categories in which I feel like who I want to win will win. Larson has fared quite well at the other award shows so hopefully her streak will continue.

Arielle: Brie Larson is going to win and I am going to party.

Reba: Brie Larson will win and she will eat brie and I will be happy.

Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Who we want to win:

Marisa: Tom Hardy spoke the most in The Revenant, which turned out in his favor. If everyone had the amount of dialogue he did, his performance would have been a wash.

Meryl: Tom Hardy stole the show in The Revenant, and I’m glad he was recognized for it. Mark Ruffalo was very good in Spotlight, but I could seriously punch him every time he put his hands in his pockets. (There’s a drinking game for you).  

Arielle: Tom Hardy was much better than Leo in The Revenant. I would say he is my first choice, but I would also be happy with Christian Bale or Mark Ruffalo. Both played their characters so well that I was disgusted by them. Which in a weird way is a good thing. Also, Jacob Tremblay even though he was not nominated.

Reba: Jacob Tremblay.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: Will Smith. Oh sorry that’s not an option.

Meryl: I am very nervous that we will get a repeat of the Golden Globes and see Sylvester Stallone win. I will be livid. Unfortunately, it seems the academy respects him. I’m still pulling for Hardy (imagine those GIFs if Hardy wins and Leo doesn’t).

Arielle: Sylvester Stallone winning is my nightmare, but I also think it might happen. I will not be happy.

Reba: Tom Hardy for being a scene-stealing minx.

Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Who we want to win:

Marisa: Alicia Vikander’s performance was pretty memorable hands down. I’m still boggled why Rachel McAdams is nominated.

Meryl: Alicia Vikander, hands down. If only one actor from The Danish Girl could win, then it should be Vikander. I was so captivated by her emotional performance as she juggled love, hatred, jealousy, acceptance, confusion and more.

Arielle: Alicia Vikander moved me. Her performance was absolutely beautiful. Also would not be mad about Jennifer Jason Leigh because I love that movie.

Reba: Alicia. Alicia. Alicia. I liked her better in that film than Eddie Redmayne, and I really liked Eddie Redmayne.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: The Internet is gaga over Kate Winslet from Steve Jobs. Everyone stop with your Leo-and-Kate-winning-Oscars-together fantasies.

Meryl: Kate Winslet is an academy darling and just imagine how the Internet will implode if Winslet and DiCaprio both win Oscars on the same night. Winslet won the Golden Globe so she has a leg up, but I’m praying the academy is sensible and goes with Vikander.

Arielle: I think the academy will get over their love of Kate Winslet, and Alicia Vikander will win. I might be tainted by wishful thinking but I am hoping they get it right on this one, especially if they ruin the male category and give it to Stallone.

Reba: Kate Winslet and then Leo will cry.



The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant


Who we want to win:

Marisa: There’s a reason The Revenant was nominated for 12 Oscars. The way the movie was shot is its greatest element. I also wouldn’t be sad for Sicario. It’s an underdog, but I really like Roger Deakins and his work.

Meryl: The Revenant. Emmanuel Lubezki and Alejandro are a dream team. The Revenant was only enjoyable because it was a beautiful film to watch. It will be a crime if Lubezki doesn’t win.

Arielle: Easily The Revenant for the same reason as Meryl. Dream team all of the way. As a photographer the shots in this movie had me feeling all sorts of good ways.

Reba: The Revenant was basically an episode of Planet Earth. So, yeah, I’m going for it.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: Tarantino got snubbed for Hateful Eight noms, so I think the academy is going to toss him this one.

Meryl: The academy loves Alejandro so hopefully the love will continue for Lubezki, but I could see them giving it to Quentin Tarantino because his meticulous style is iconic, though he usually only gets recognized for screenplays.

Arielle: See above.

Reba: I still think The Revenant.

Film Editing

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant


Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who we want to win:

Marisa: Ugh Star Wars why do you make me irrational and make me want to vote for you? However, Meryl has a good point below, that Spotlight showed an accurate, fast-paced depiction of journalism without over embellishing.

Meryl: This is where I feel Spotlight was strongest. True stories can be mundane, but Spotlight kept a very good pace throughout its two-hour runtime. I never felt anxious to get going like I did while watching The Big Short. However, I will always feel guilty for not voting for Star Wars.

Arielle: Spotlight should definitely win this. I usually get bored in longer movies but as Meryl said, it kept a good pace.

Reba: Spotlight because without good editing, a journalism movie would be boring as f--k.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: I’m going to go out on a limb and say The Big Short. Ari has a good argument, though.

Meryl: Mad Max. Though I didn’t like the film overall, it was pieced together very well and the academy obviously loved it enough to give it 10 nominations, so I’m OK with it winning in categories like this.

Arielle: The Revenant. I think they are going to give any award they can to that boring movie.

Reba: I’m sorry ladies, I have hope in humanity and I think it’s going to Spotlight.

Animated Feature Film


Boy and the World

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

Who we want to win:

Marisa: Anything BUT Inside Out. The fandom for that movie is ridiculous.

Meryl: Inside Out all the way. I am constantly flabbergasted by the creativity at Pixar, and I love the film’s message that we should embrace all of our emotions and allow ourselves and others to feel sadness. I’m obsessed with it.

Arielle: Inside Out. Mindy Kaling for life. Also, tears galore.

Reba: I’m an elderly person who hates children and I didn’t see any of these.

Who we think will win:

Marisa:Inside Out,” Marisa says with reluctance.

Meryl: I honestly only saw Inside Out, and I think it garnered enough attention with its box office success to make waves in the academy. Though, Charles Kaufman is a great filmmaker.

Arielle: Inside Out. They have this on lock.

Reba: I’m sorry.

Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out


Straight Outta Compton

Who we want to win:

Marisa: Straight Outta Compton was three hours of intensive greatness.

Meryl: I’d love for Straight Outta Compton to win here just to stick it to the academy for robbing all of the other films with non-white casts of the honor of a nomination. I’d also be very OK with Inside Out taking home the statue.

Arielle: Straight Outta Compton. If I could have it my way, they would win a lot. I mean O’Shea Jackson is straight fire. Beautiful man, he is. In all seriousness that movie was so good.

Reba: Straight Outta Compton is the obvious choice and it is a crime it wasn’t nominated for more.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: They’ll give it to Straight Outta Compton hopefully because they know it’s well deserved and not out of sheer guilt.

Meryl: The academy could give it to Straight Outta Compton out of pity, but I could also see it going to Spotlight.

Arielle: Straight Outta Compton, because they want to save face a little bit.

Reba: Straight Outta Compton or Spotlight. Straight Outta Compton was better, though.

Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short



The Martian


Who we want to win:

Marisa: Room must live on and grab as many awards as possible.

Meryl: ROOM. Always and forever.  

Arielle: Room. The movie was amazing and I will do ANYTHING to see Jacob Tremblay dance to “Uptown Funk” again.

{{tncms-asset app="editorial" id="dbcbef56-da78-11e5-921d-774392ed48c1"}}

Reba: Room. Otherwise I will cry forever and I will be very damp and I will not enjoy it and I don’t know what I will do without that.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: The Martian may take this one. I feel there’s some shady bias on their part of wanting this movie to do well.

Meryl: I actually think Room has a really good chance here to make me happy again.

Arielle: Room. They will use their think piece and get this one right.

Reba: Room. If they know what’s good for them.

Costume Design



The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Who we want to win:

Marisa: Because I love the 1920s and its cultural era, I want The Danish Girl. Costume design can really take you back in time, and that’s what this did.

Meryl: The Danish Girl. I’m actually mad Carol is nominated here because it had the most overt costume design. We get it, Carol is coded in red. Also Mad Max’s costumes consisted of draped rags and that weird chastity belt for the one wife, so how did that get here? Cinderella was good but the film’s oversaturated tone ruined everything for me.

Arielle: I am rooting hard for The Danish Girl on this one. The costumes were accurate and on point. Mad Max should not win because of the scary chastity belt teeth thing, but then again does that mean it is the best due to the strong effect it had one me?

Reba: Meryl, this is for costume design, not oversaturation. Cinderella should get it.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: I agree with Arielle on Mad Max. Maybe those rags will be considered “apocalyptic art” or something.

Meryl: The academy loves a good historical piece so maybe The Danish Girl, but honestly this is always really hard for me to peg.

Arielle: Mad Max because for some reason they loved that movie.

Reba: I really don’t know but I’m thinking Cinderella.

Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The Revenant

Who we want to win:

Marisa: The Revenant — blood everywhere.

Meryl: Did Mad Max get this because Charlize Theron shaved her head?

Arielle: The Revenant. That was one good part of the movie other than the beautiful scenes.

Reba: The Revenant. There was literally no hair in Mad Max. And the makeup was like all this spray paint. No.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: The Revenant. Such blood, much uncomfortable gore.

Meryl: The Revenant really did a fantastic job in this category, but I do love the title of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.  

Arielle: The Revenant. Because of his ripped-to-shreds neck.

Reba: The Revenant. I would not want to eat a steak dinner next to those humans who put all that together. Gross.

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

Who we want to win:

Marisa: See Meryl below.

Meryl: GAGA. This year, Lady Gaga has sung the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, won a Golden Globe and performed at the Grammys, and it’s only February. Why not keep up her kickass streak and give her an Oscar? She will then be halfway toward an EGOT!

Arielle: It is the year of the Gaga.


Who we think will win:

Marisa: Lady Gaga or I quit.

Meryl: James Bond has a powerful presence in the industry, so it is more likely to win, but my fingers will be crossed the entire time.

Arielle: “Til It Happens to You.” Again, year of the Gaga.

Reba: I think they’ll give it one of the kweens — Gaga.

Visual Effects

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Martian

Who we want to win:

Marisa: This is a category that has some great contenders. I can see any of these winning. Stars Wars is a giant and I’d rather vote for the adorable, cunning BB-8 than a ginormous bear that threw Leo around like a rag doll.

Meryl: Now THIS is a hard category to pick a winner. Ex Machina is stunning. Star Wars is freaking Star Wars. The bear in The Revenant is now a pop culture icon, and Mad Max only truly excelled in its visuals — that sandstorm was CRAZY. My heart needs to see BB-8 on stage, but I would be very OK with Mad Max taking this one.

Arielle: Mad Max should win this one. The effects were incredible. There was not one moment where I could tell it was fake, other than the fact that I knew it was fake.

Reba: Remember that part of Mad Max with the pole that they ride from car to car? That’s my vote. That pole.

Who we think will win:

Marisa: Probs Mad Max because we humans are obsessed with the fantasy of dying in a glorified apocalypse with lots of explosions and bad asses around us.

Meryl: The critics loved Mad Max and while I am not in the same club, I can appreciate its outstanding visuals. However, the original Star Wars won an Oscar, and The Force Awakens was basically the same film so maybe it will take home another win for the franchise.

Arielle: Mad Max.

Reba: Mad Max. Sorry, Star Wars.

— Follow @ThePostCulture for live tweets during the Oscars on Sunday

Comments powered by Disqus