The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
Other Contenders - Trumbo, Sicario, Straight Outta Compton, Inside Out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Room, Ex Machina, The Hateful Eight, Steve Jobs, Beasts of No Nation
Commentary - So Sicario and Straight Outta Compton have been building quite a resume of guild support, and yet I see them as this year's Nightcrawler and Gone Girl. Heck, I was predicting a lot more love across the board with those two films, than I am with our two this year. Selma, The Blind Side, The Tree of Life, there are always going to be those nominees that get in despite lack of support across the board. That's why Sicario and Straight Outta Compton don't feel right here. Besides Roger Deakins in Cinematography, I can't name one other category for either film that feels like a safe bet. Beyond those two, I keep waiting for that come from behind nod, that surprise that no one was expecting. Is is Star Wars, which is rocketing to the highest grossing film of all time? Is it Trumbo with its incredible SAG and WGA love? Is is Inside Out, the best film of 2015, who could put Pixar back in this race? Or is Room, Ex Machina, or Beasts of no Nation? Is it a real outside contender like Anomalisa or Son of Saul? I don't know where the surprise will be, but there will be a surprise. All of that being said, I am predicting eight, but actually expecting less, maybe even as low as six. Spotlight, The Revenant, The Martian, The Big Short, and Mad Max feel like safe bets given the across the board recognition they have received. Bridge of Spies is also pretty safe, although the DGA snub means it probably can't win. That is the six. Those six feel like they are ready to go. Carol took a huge step back with the PGA snub, but rebounded with BAFTA. Brooklyn got the PGA, and despite a lot of nods, seemed to fall short at BAFTA not cracking the top categories. But I feel like combined they both have enough support across the board to make a nod happen. That makes seven and eight. As always, we'll have to wait and see...
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "The Revenant"
Tom McCarthy "Spotlight"
Adam McKay "The Big Short"
George Miller "Mad Max: Fury Road"
Ridley Scott "The Martian"
Other Contenders - Steven Spielberg "Bridge of Spies", Todd Haynes "Carol", Denis Villeneuve "Sicario", John Crowley "Brooklyn", Laszlo Nemes "Son of Saul", F. Gary Gray "Straight Outta Compton", Quentin Tarantino "The Hateful Eight", Lenny Abrahamson "Room", Jay Roach "Trumbo"
Commentary - Spielberg is more beloved by DGA voters than by Oscar voters, and despite that BAFTA nod, the DGA snub means he will probably miss the cut. Todd Haynes also got the Globe and BAFTA slots, but Carol is clearly not as well-liked as we had hoped, although I could see this quirky directors branch ignoring that. Finally, I would not be surprised to see a Laszlo Nemes, a John Crowley, or even a Jay Roach. But I think these five have been set for at least a week now, and the DGA confirmed just that. But there is almost always a Michael Haneke, or a Benh Zeitlin, or a Bennett Miller. I just don't know who is going to be a surprise this year.