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FILM: #ParamountOscars Picks and Predictions

February 1, 2016 9:14 pm Published by


The 2016 Oscar nominations were announced in January, commencing the annual pulling-of-hair and gnashing-of-teeth that always accompanies these divisive lists. Some bemoaned the absence of their favorite performances or films, and others felt the nominations reflected an astonishing lack of diversity. Meanwhile, those who see the Oscars as nothing more than an over-hyped popularity contest simply shrugged their shoulders and got on with their lives.

Regardless of what you think of the Oscars, there’s no doubt that they generate a great deal of conversation about filmmaking and the state of the movie business, which is thrilling for us movie fans who like to talk about this stuff all year long. So, in the spirit of the (awards) season, let’s discuss who we think will win and who was left out.

stephen_circle2Paramount Film Programmer, Stephen Jannise starts here, but we want to hear what you have to say. Tag your Facebook or Twitter posts with #ParamountOscars with your picks and predictions (or the films/actors you would’ve chosen instead), and you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing to win two tickets to see Academy Award winner, Randy Newman live in concert at the Paramount Theatre!



Best Picture

What Should Win: SPOTLIGHT. Like many Best Picture winners, this one puts all the best pieces (ensemble cast, director, screenplay) in place to tell a riveting story of journalism at its finest.

What SJ Would’ve Chosen: SICARIO. Just a few minutes into the grisly, gripping opening sequence, I found myself creeping up to the edge of my seat where I stayed until the movie was over. Full of tense action sequences and intriguing characters/relationships, this thrilling film was further confirmation of director Denis Villeneuve’s considerable talents and a reminder that Emily Blunt should be in every movie.

Best Director

Who Should Win: Adam McKay, THE BIG SHORT. As much as I enjoyed STEP BROTHERS and TALLADEGA NIGHTS, I certainly didn’t think McKay had this movie in him. But somehow he has taken a ryan-cooglerbook about how the housing bubble burst and made a film that practically anyone can understand, utilizing some unusual cinematic techniques to make us all properly angry about this economic debacle.

Who SJ Would’ve Chosen: Ryan Coogler, CREED. Outside of festival premieres, you rarely see an audience applaud at the end of a movie, much less during one. And yet there I was, at my local Regal chain during a Saturday matinee, rooting for Adonis Creed along with the rest of the audience as if we were actually in the arena. That level of emotional attachment was thanks to Coogler, who took a cast filled with stars on the rise (plus one old legend) and made a Hollywood classic.

Best ActorOscar-Isaac

Who Should Win: Michael Fassbender, STEVE JOBS. Full disclosure: I didn’t see TRUMBO (Bryan Cranston) or THE DANISH GIRL (Eddie Redmayne), but of the remaining three, I’d choose Fassbender. Sure, he doesn’t suffer for his art the way DiCaprio or Damon did (both of whom have been way better in many other movies), but he does give a much more nuanced performance that has us hating Jobs one minute and awestruck by him the next.

Who SJ Would’ve Chosen: Oscar Isaac, EX MACHINA. Isaac launched an all-out charm offensive with his relatively brief screen time in the new Star Wars movie. But before the mega-hit arrived, he used his charisma for far more sinister means in this captivating sci-fi film, which includes the year’s best dance sequence (sorry MAGIC MIKE XXL fans).

Best Actressemily-blunt

Who Should Win: Brie Larson, ROOM. As if playing the role of a young woman who is abducted and suffers daily sexual abuse wasn’t difficult enough, Larson also finds herself charged with consoling the equally amazing young actor Jacob Tremblay. Those are a lot of emotional minefields to navigate, and Larson does so with remarkable grace.

Who SJ Would’ve Chosen: Emily Blunt, SICARIO. In a movie this terrifying, we really need an audience surrogate who shares our concerns and confusion. Blunt is up to the challenge–this year, I don’t think I cared about the safety and well-being of any movie character more than this one.

Best Supporting Actress

kristen-stewartWho Should Win: Kate Winslet, STEVE JOBS. This Aaron Sorkin-penned film is essentially a series of great actors conveying their disappointment at how cruel the titular character can be. But Winslet’s job is a little harder. As a sort of Jiminy Cricket with a clipboard, she has already come to terms with who Jobs is and has made it her personal mission to finesse some humanity out of him. Only Winslet could do it.

Who SJ Would’ve Chosen: Kristen Stewart, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA. Every time a new Kristen Stewart movie comes out, Twitter declares it proof that she is a “great actress.” Imagine my surprise when this one turned out to be the real deal. As the real-talking assistant to Juliette Binoche’s egotistic actress, Stewart was one half of (in fact, the stronger half of) the most fascinating/bewildering relationship in the movies this year.

Best Supporting Actorliev-schreiber

Who Should Win: Mark Rylance, BRIDGE OF SPIES. I have a soft spot in my heart for Rocky Balboa (I mean, Sylvester Stallone) just like everyone else. But I can’t shake Rylance’s quiet performance from my mind. As a spy simply doing his job, Rylance out-nobles Tom Hanks, and that’s truly an accomplishment.

Who SJ Would’ve Chosen: Liev Schreiber, SPOTLIGHT. As predicted, the Academy went with the showier male role from this film (Mark Ruffalo), but there’s no denying that Schreiber was equally electric every time he was onscreen, albeit with fewer words. You can see the gears turning in his head even though you can’t actually hear them. In this Marvel-dominated era, he’s certainly the quietest hero of the year.

Watch the big ceremony and all the results later this month on February 28th.

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This post was written by Maica Jordan

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