Best Adapted Screenplay
Charles Randolph and Adam McKay "The Big Short"
Nick Hornby "Brooklyn"
Phyllis Nagy "Carol"
Emma Donoghue "Room"
Aaron Sorkin "Steve Jobs"
Other Contenders - Drew Goddard "The Martian", John McNamara "Trumbo", Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Mark L. Smith "The Revenant"
Commentary - The Martian. What to do about The Martian? When it was up against everyone at BAFTA, it got beat out by Room and Brooklyn, who were not eligible at WGA. It should be nominated, it is a clever screenplay, and it is worthy. But since there are more traditional folks ahead of them, I am moving it out. I am also keeping out Trumbo, although after its WGA nomination, I do have a feeling that writers love the story. Finally, despite its lack of dialogue, don't discount The Revenant. Inarritu won a screenplay Oscar last year, and sometimes when a film is as big of a contender across the board as this one is, it can sweep up unexpected nominations. The other five, Big Short, Steve Jobs, Room, Brooklyn, and Carol are my predictions, but this is one that could get a face lift in final predictions.
Best Original Screenplay
Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen "Bridge of Spies"
Alex Garland "Ex Machina"
Quentin Tarantino "The Hateful Eight"
Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve "Inside Out"
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer "Spotlight"
Other Contenders - Taylor Sheridan "Sicario", Amy Schumer "Trainwreck", Andrea Berloff, Johnathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus "Straight Outta Compton"
Commentary - Since Joy landed soft, these have been my five. These five matched the BAFTA five (three of them were not eligible for WGA). I am so tempted to throw in Straight Outta Compton and Sicario, as they have been doing so well lately on the overall circuit. But at this point you go hard or you go home. I think these will be the five, and nothing so far has convinced me otherwise.
Best Animated Feature
The Good Dinosaur
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Other Contenders - Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, Minions, Boy and the World, When Marnie Was There
Commentary - Where is the curve ball? I cannot figure out where the oddball pick is coming from. My five predictions are based on the overall race as it stands, but there is always a curve ball. Last year I predicted The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, but missed Song of the Sea. This year, if any film is going to upset, I feel like it is either Minions, because it was just so popular, or more likely, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, that GKids films that usually takes a slot. But it doesn't seem to be that strong this year, and usually there are signs, critics groups or pundits, or something, anything. So I am, for now, sticking with my five. Once again, this is one that could get a shakeup come Wednesday's final list.
Best Documentary Feature
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
The Look of Silence
Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom
Other Contenders - Listen to Me Marlon, What Happened Miss Simone?, The Hunting Ground, Where to Invade Next, Heart of The Dog, He Named Me Malala, Meru
Commentary - I feel pretty good about The Look of Silence and Amy, both of whom feel like the front runners, and Cartel Land feels like the perfectly timed film that will grab a lot of attention, plus has also raked up some of the big documentary recognition. Winter on Fire has Netflix on its side, and remember Virunga? So to me that leaves one slot. Listen To Me Marlon, What Happened Miss Simone?, The Hunting Ground, and Where to Invade Next all have the buzz, but I am sticking with Going Clear. There are a lot of folks within Hollywood that I'm sure are trying to kill this movie's chances, and it probably will work. But after the Emmys rewarded it so handsomely, I think there is enough support to crack the Oscar top five.
Best Foreign Language Film
Labyrinth of Lies (Germany)
Son of Saul (Hungary)
A War (Denmark)
Other Contenders - Viva (Ireland), The Brand New Testament (Belgium), The Fencer (Finland), Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
Commentary - Viva is admired, The Brand New Testament and The Fencer are Globe nods, and clearly have a lot of support. But they are currently a close 6-8. Son of Saul, Mustang, and Labyrinth of Lies are the locked trio for me, leaving two slots that any of those three or my two currently predicted could take. Theeb got a BAFTA nod this week, and has slowly been moving up people's charts. Finally, A War, is getting a huge push, a lot of momentum, a lot of campaigning, and we know that sometimes that can make the difference in a close race.