MARLOW: Well, the Golden Globes happened, and as you so boldly predicted, the Hollywood Foreign Press went temporarily insane and gave a bunch of awards to Mozart in the Jungle, which sounds like a mind-opening ayahuasca ceremony.
KEVIN: But in real life is about a flute player who falls in love with Gael Garcia Bernal. And there are no forests or monkeys anywhere.
MARLOW: I am crestfallen. Anyway, the big film awards went down fairly according to plan—with the notable exception being Kate Winslet winning Best Supporting Actress for her accented turn in Jobs (which thankfully didn’t involve saying “kid” a lot in a German accent). But enough about the boozy Globes! The big show is almost here (on Feb. 28), and on Thursday, the Oscar nominations will be announced. So let’s start in the always-unpredictable Best Supporting Actress category.
KEVIN: In which whether or not you are “supporting” is entirely irrelevant. MARLOW: I am hoping—nay, praying—that my two favorite performances in this category receive nominations: Kristen Stewart for her nervy, emotionally raw turn in Clouds of Sils Maria and Alicia Vikander for her human-like android in Ex Machina. Sadly, I think the Academy may snub both of these performances due to the ridiculous amount of category fraud here, and give Vikander a nod for the statelier Danish Girl (even though she’s a lead) and Rooney Mara for Carol (even though she’s a lead). They’ll be joined by Kate Winslet for Jobs, Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight, and Helen Mirren for Trumbo. I wish they’d be a bit edgier, but alas.
KEVIN: Hi Marlow, the Oscars, world: the best supporting performance of the year/possibly ever was Rose Byrne in Spy and I will be giving a stupid fucking toast in tribute to it once a day, every day from now until Academy Awards Sunday. (Just kidding, I’m never going to shut up about it.) And for my money, the most affecting, exhilarating, and grueling performance of the year was Cynthia Nixon’s in James White, which will also be criminally overlooked.
MARLOW: Nixon did manage to make our Best Performances of the Year list! And Rose Byrne is so deliciously good in Spy. Academy, pleeeeease make this happen.
KEVIN: Otherwise, I could see voters giving a middle finger to category fraud—once in a while they do this—and nominating Vikander for Ex Machina. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kate Winslet deserve the nods they’re about to get; Mirren does not. She was not good in Trumbo! Not at all! Jane Fonda for Youth or Joan Allen for Room would be more fun, in the Stellar Actress Makes Return to the Race kind of way. But damn the Dame, Mirren will likely be there instead, as will eventual winner Rooney “The Brooder” Mara for her Oscar-worthy grouchy stares in Carol.
MARLOW: I love Rooney and her inner turmoil, though. She’s come a long way from filming viral videos of her stomping out fat kids on Law & Order: SVU.
KEVIN: Now let me start stretching before I run up the steps to the rousing beat of a dramatic score so that we can talk about Best Supporting Actor, aka The Sylvester Stallone Comeback Award. Ahhhh I loved him so much in Creed I cried and then went to the gym right after. Which is to say, more crying.
MARLOW: OK, so I like this Stallone performance, but thought it was pretty damn similar to his fine turn in Rocky Balboa (that’s Rocky No. 6, for those keeping track), and would like to see Michael B. Jordan get some Oscar love instead for not only carrying the film but putting his own unique twist on a well-worn (and beloved) franchise. That being said, I think Sly is a lock for a nomination. The other locks here are renowned theatre thesp Mark Rylance for his measured performance in Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and Christian Bale for his wacky turn—glass eye, drum solos, and all—in The Big Short. He deserves a nod, and the film’s intrigue drops during its second half when he all but disappears. The other nods will probably go to one of the Spotlight journos (Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton) who were both nominated last year and Idris Elba for his imposing Commandant in Beasts of No Nation. However, I’m really, really hoping the Academy nominates Paul Dano for his otherworldly turn as tortured Beach Boys’ frontman Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy. It’s my favorite performance in any category this year.
KEVIN: The Spotlight dudes are all so good, and that’s their biggest fault. Both Keaton and Ruffalo have arguments in their favor: Keaton might be owed an apology nod after losing Best Actor last year in a tight race, and Ruffalo gets to do his Ruffalo huffy-shouty thing in the movie’s only real histrionic scene. But they could also split the vote and both come up empty-handed! If that’s the case, I’d say safe bets for the five nods are Stallone (yes yes yes), Rylance, Elba, and—my choices for Spotlight alternates—Jacob Tremblay (Room) and Michael Shannon (99 Homes).
MARLOW: Michael Shannon was robbed of a nod for Take Shelter, and also deserved an Oscar for his dramatic reading of the insane Delta Gammy sorority girl letter a few years back, so I’m onboard for any MShan love.
KEVIN: But eat your heart out, Haley Joel Osment, Jacob Tremblay gives the most assured, startling performance by a child actor that I’ve really ever seen. And Shannon is as uber-intense as always in a movie about the housing crisis that is as upsetting as The Big Short, but does that film one better: It’s about the people who were screwed, not the men in suits who were screwing them. The best performance in that movie, though, is Andrew Garfield, who stands not a Slurpee’s chance in hell at a Best Actor nod, but who I think should actually win it.
MARLOW: I’ve still gotta go with Hushpuppy’s—sorry, Quvenzhané Wallis’s—turn in Beasts of the Southern Wild as my favorite child performance ever, but Tremblay is excellent, and his lightsaber battle with Oscar Isaac (who, by the way, deserves a supporting nod for his diabolical, dance-y effort in Ex Machina) at a Golden Globes after-party was way more fun than anything that happened during the actual ceremony.
KEVIN: How quickly we forget that Vine of Leonardo DiCaprio (more on that clown later) recoiling from Lady Gaga like she was Lucifer himself.
MARLOW: Oh, Leo. With that said, for Best Actor there will finally be justice for Leonardo DiCaprio, who should have won for The Wolf of Wall Street (and Gilbert Grape), but will finally get the gold for his performance as a fur trapper who is buried alive, eats innards, battles a terrifying CGI bear, and sleeps in a dead horse carcass in The Revenant. Frankly, if Leo doesn’t win for this performance I’m worried about what he’ll do next, whether it’s starving himself Machinist-style or covering himself in more prosthetics than J. Edgar. Three of the other nominees will have starred in awards-friendly biopics, including Bryan Cranston in Trumbo, Michael Fassbender in Jobs, and Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl. The other slot will go to Matt Damon for The Martian, who provides the only shred of competition for Leo. I’d like to see a wild card thrown in here, perhaps Samuel L. Jackson for The Hateful Eight or Michael B. Jordan for Creed, but we know how the Academy feels about diversity (they think that, to quote Ron Burgundy, it’s “an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era”).
KEVIN: I don’t know. I’m so bored of the narrative that someone should win an Oscar for so-and-so film just because they haven’t gotten one before. Does anyone really think that he was robbed any of the times he was nominated for an Oscar in the past? No, because he didn’t deserve them. In The Revenant, yeah, he does crazy Man vs. Wild things. But so did Zac Efron, who appeared on an episode of Man vs. Wild. So where’s the campaign for We Are Your Friends?
MARLOW: I’m not really getting the Efron comparison, I’m afraid! And I’m actually fine with awarding an actor an Oscar for the body of work/writing historical wrongs, because what are the Oscars anyway other than Hollywood patting themselves on the back? Also, Leo definitely deserved an Oscar for Gilbert Grape—although he was very green at the time and thus had little juice in the Academy—as well as for The Wolf of Wall Street. His anarchic turn as Jordan Belfort has already aged way, way better than McConaughey’s in Dallas Buyers Club.
KEVIN: The truth of the matter is that for all the walking around in the cold and grunting louder than my stomach during that never-ending movie (40 minutes shorter and it might’ve been a perfect film), he, like, never talks in The Revenant. You know who talks a lot in his movie? Michael Fassbender, who is riveting while enduring his own feat of survival—an Aaron Sorkin script—in Steve Jobs. Of the likely nominees, which also includes Cranston, Damon, and Redmayne, I’d rather he win. Though, I’d personally have swapped in Garfield, Jordan, and Christopher Abbott in James White for those three. James White is so good. And so sad. God, it’s so sad.
MARLOW: I’m with you on James White. A very fine little gem, and vindication for Abbott after abruptly exiting HBO’s Girls—which, as we saw in White, wasn’t maximizing his considerable talent. Fassbender is truly riveting in Jobs; so impressive is he that I didn’t even mind that he looked nothing like the Apple wizard during his younger years. Fassbender’s awards will come, but this year will be Leo’s.
KEVIN: It’s so widely considered a sure thing. What would happen if he didn’t win? Would the Internet explode?
MARLOW: That unfortunate *screams internally* meme would be everywhere. Anyways, for Best Actress, Brie Larson is going to win for her heartfelt Ma in Room. And I’m very much OK with that. She was absolutely robbed of an Oscar nod for Short Term 12 and is nearly as impressive here. The other nominees will be Jennifer Lawrence for the unimpressive Joy, Cate Blanchett for Carol, Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn, and Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years. Now, if it were my choice I’d swap German actress Nina Hoss with Lawrence for her devastating turn as a scarred Holocaust survivor in the underappreciated Phoenix, but that’s a pipe dream. Of the nominees, I’m not-so-secretly hoping that Charlotte Rampling wins for 45 Years because it’s muthafuckin’ Charlotte Rampling (!).
KEVIN: This category was once the most exciting because, in a rare turn of events, it’s been an exceptionally strong year for leading actress performances. But the Top Five have pretty much settled by this point, meaning that the Wild Cards I’d have hoped might spice up the race—Charlize Theron for Mad Max, Lily Tomlin for Grandma, or some indie gems like Kristen Wiig (Welcome to Me) or Bel Powley (Diary of Teenage Girl)—are going to have to settle for my passionate They Were Snubbed!!! tweets on Oscar morning.
MARLOW: Ugh, I’d love to see Charlize nominated. Perhaps my favorite female performance of the year (along with Hoss). Be right back, going to pull a Marky Mark in Fear and carve Furiosa 4Eva on my chest...
KEVIN: As it stands, the only thing that will make the Best Actress race interesting is if voters decide to ignore where Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara are being campaigned for The Danish Girl and Carol and nominate them in lead instead. If that happens, then it would be interesting to see which of the five otherwise shoo-in nominees—Larson, Rampling, Blanchett, Ronan, and Lawrence—are bumped. (It would probably be Lawrence and Rampling.) Mara would also be a threat to Brie Larson’s much deserved win. But if not, I’m very happy for Larson to win. “Happy for her to win.” — Kevin Fallon. You can use that in your FYC ads, Room.
MARLOW: Paging A24! Now let’s move on to Best Director and Best Picture. While I firmly believe George Miller deserves Best Director AND Mad Max: Fury Road deserves Best Picture, since it was the best movie that came out in 2015, my guess is that these awards will go to Ridley Scott—again, the “career Oscar” that you so dread—since The Martian is a nice comeback film of sorts for him, he’s so beloved in the industry, and he fuckin’ directed Alien and Blade Runner. And The Martian is the kind of populist grade B+ entertainment that appeals to the masses. President Obama even named it his favorite movie of the year, and, in an unfortunately timely turn of events, it features David Bowie’s “Starman” during a big sequence in the film. The Martian, FTW.
KEVIN: Forever a glutton for punishment—and loosely defining “punishment” to mean “disappointment during awards season”—I’m still betting on longtime, though faltering, frontrunner Spotlight to take Best Picture. Yeah, Carol, The Big Short, and The Martian have all, at different points, seemed to leap ahead of it in the race, but I think that will only spark a doubling down on aggressive campaigning on Spotlight’s behalf to win. Let’s put the spotlight on Spotlight, people! (Actually, that one should be in some FYC ads, too.)