Last year, when we asked critics to predict the outcome of the 2015 Academy Awards, they did pretty well. In fact, as a collective group, they correctly picked 12 out of the 14 categories we offered up. (Check out the ones they missed on the second page.)
With this year’s ceremony just days away, we asked members of Indiewire’s Criticwire Network to try their hand at predicting this year’s field. As before, we also gave participants the chance to single out one film or nominee in each category that they would prefer to see rewarded.
Sometimes those picks overlapped and in a few categories, everyone was in agreement. Below, the full breakdown of the over 50 ballots that we received:
Who Will Win: “The Revenant”
Bison liver for everyone! With 54.9% of the votes, “The Revenant” was the clear prediction of the critics we polled. Despite the early strong awards season showing from “Spotlight” (33.3%) and the late “The Big Short” push (11.8%), the Hugh Glass story came out on top. The 54.9% total is down, though, from the 63% vote of confidence that “Birdman” had going into last year’s big night.
Who Should Win: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
No surprise to anyone who saw the results of our 2015 Year-End Critics Poll, “Mad Max: Fury Road” was the clear winner at 42%. “Spotlight” nabbed a respectable second (24%), but the big surprise is that not a single critic voted for “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies” or “The Martian.”
Who Will Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
It sure looks like the odds are in Iñárritu’s favor for the second year in a row. “The Revenant” director claimed 82.4% of the tally. (He edged out Richard Linklater in the 2015 pre-Oscars poll by a mere four votes.) Perhaps a sign of voting with heart over head, five critics did cast optimistic votes for George Miller’s chances.
Who Should Win: George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
A whopping 64% of respondents argued that “Mad Max” progenitor George Miller should walk away with the trophy. That total is the highest “Should Win” percentage for any person in any of the Oscar categories we polled. Despite the overwhelming vote of confidence for Miller, Iñárritu still managed to take an even 20% split of the picks.
Who Will and Should Win: Brie Larson, “Room”
Sometimes destiny and preference overlap, as they did in the Best Actress category. 92.2% predict a memorable Oscars night for “Room” star Brie Larson, with two critics each picking upsets for Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett. Larson also squeaked out the Should Win prize (33%), edging out “45 Years” lead Charlotte Rampling (31.4%) and Blanchett (19.6%). (From the “What a Difference Two Years Makes” file, Jennifer Lawrence was the only performer from the four acting categories to not appear on a ballot.)
Best Supporting Actress
Who Will Win: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Although multiple critics pointed out that it will essentially be for the wrong film (see: “Ex Machina”), 68.6% of critics picked Alicia Vikander to win on Sunday for her role in “The Danish Girl.” This was the only acting category where each of the nominees got at least one prediction vote (including 17.6% for Kate Winslet).
Who Should Win: Rooney Mara, “Carol”
While the critical love for “Carol” is well-documented, this was the biggest wishful vote for any of the film’s nominees. Rooney Mara finished at 54.9%, with Vikander (15.7%) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (13.7%) each received a respectable bloc.
Up Next: Sure, Leo’s winning, but who would critics prefer instead?
Who Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Ladies and gentlemen, our first unanimous pick. Last year, Patricia Arquette was the lone nominee to get every Will Win vote, but Leo has now equaled the feat.
Who Should Win: Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Though he’s gone home empty-handed in his previous Oscar outing (and will almost definitely do so again on Sunday), Fassbender edged out DiCaprio for the 2016 Should Win crown (38.8% to 36.7%). All other three nominees received at least one vote, with Matt Damon taking 18.4%.
Best Supporting Actor
Who Will Win: Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
The circle will finally be completed, according to the 92.2% of critics who picked Sylvester Stallone to win his first Academy statuette.
Who Should Win: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
This was one of the more evenly dispersed categories, with Rylance topping the rest with 37.3%. Many critics had Stallone on both sides, leading to 31.8% of Should Win total. Mark Ruffalo brought up third with a respectable 18.4%.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Who Will Win: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
Following its precursor success, 80.4% went for “The Big Short” to win, with “The Revenant” particularly absent from the mix here. The other four nominated scripts all got at least one upset pick, including four votes for Nick Hornby and “Brooklyn.”
Who Should Win: Phyllis Nagy, “Carol”
The overwhelming “Carol” love struck here again, with 46% wanting to single out Nagy’s work as most deserving. “The Big Short” carried over 24% of the vote, while “Brooklyn” and “Room” split at 13% apiece.
Best Original Screenplay
Who Will and Should Win: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, “Spotlight”
Even if “Spotlight” loses out for the top prize, all but two critics are convinced that McCarthy and Singer will not go home unrecognized. (Those pair of longshot picks were split between “Inside Out” and “Straight Outta Compton.”) “Spotlight” also got 43.1% of the Should Win tally, besting “Inside Out” (25.5%) and “Ex Machina” (19.6%). (Then again, this was one of two categories that critics missed on last year.)
Up next: Critics’ surprising Best Original Song preference
Best Animated Feature
Who Will and Should Win: “Inside Out”
Another lock for our participants, as “Inside Out” swept all the prediction votes for this category, taking nearly half on the Should Win side, too. Although “Anomalisa” and “Shaun the Sheep Movie” are both beyond dark horses at this point, they do have their fair share of supporters, getting 26% and 20% of the Should Win count, respectively.
Who Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Revenant”
The Chivo threepeat looks to be in order, if you believe the critics. 90.2% of them picked “The Revenant” to take this category as well, with “Mad Max: Fury Road” (7.8%) getting all but one of the remaining predictions.
Who Should Win: Ed Lachman, “Carol”
Even though Lachman was only able to rally a single voter to predict that he’d be able to take the trophy, 39.2% of the responses came back singling him out as Sunday’s rightful winner. Lubezki didn’t fall far behind at 32.4%, leaving Roger Deakins’ work on “Sicario” with 10.8%.
Best Documentary Feature
Who Will Win: “Amy”
After getting passed over for “Senna” five years ago, most critics agree that Asif Kapadia will take the stage on Sunday for “Amy,” which got 84.3% of the predicted picks. The remainder of the votes were split between Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence” (9.8%) and Matthew Heineman’s “Cartel Land” (5.9%).
Who Should Win: “The Look of Silence”
Much like two years ago, when two-thirds of our critics argued that Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” should be recognized on Oscar night, 63.3% are doing the same for “The Look of Silence.” Kapadia and “Amy” took 24.5% of the remaining Should Win votes, with “Cartel Land,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” each appearing on two ballots.
Best Foreign Film
Who Will and Should Win: “Son of Saul”
It’s seemed like an inevitability since last year’s Cannes Film Festival and 100% of critics now agree: “Son of Saul” is in line to win this category. It also took a majority of the Should Win votes (59.2%). Among the rest of the nominees, “Mustang” had the strongest show of support with 26.2%, with “Embrace of the Serpent” and “A War” getting three votes each.
Best Original Score
Who Will and Should Win: Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight”
Ennio Morricone will have an extra addition to his shelf after Sunday, according to 82.4% of our participants. The only other titles with shots at upending the honorary Oscar-winner? “Carol” (9.8%) and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (7.8%). After Carter Burwell finally snagged his first nomination for “Carol,” 36% of our surveyed critics argue he should be the one recognized, falling two votes shy of Morricone’s total.
Best Original Song
Who Will Win: “Till It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground”
67.4% think that Lady Gaga will be halfway to the EGOT this time next week with a win for “Till It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground.” Just over a quarter think that it’ll be back-to-back Bond song wins with Adele’s Oscar for “Skyfall” being followed up by “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre” (25.6%). The remaining three nominees each got a single upset vote.
Who Should Win: “Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
Though a handful of critics abstained from this category altogether, the operatic “Simple Song #3” from “Youth” seemed to be the preferred choice of 37.5% of critics who did participate.