Oscars

With the Oscars now just a week-old memory, the time has come for the final edition of this column (for this season). From the Toronto International Film Festival's unofficial awards season kickoff in September to last weekend's generally underwhelming ceremony, it's been six long months of speculation and anticipation and we're ready to move on (as we're sure many of you are as well).

There is one final column before letting awards talk rest in peace until September. It's been an annual tradition at Indiewire (and elsewhere) to take an ignorant stab at the following year well before there's any substantial evidence in its regard (save recent Sundance and Berlin premieres "45 Years," "Mr. Holmes," Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" and "Brooklyn"  -- which should not be ruled out given how well "Boyhood," "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Whiplash" ended up doing this season).

Surprisingly, it's not always a total crapshoot. Last year, we did manage to properly predict nine of the 20 acting nominees (though, granted, we also predicted "Big Eyes" and "Inherent Vice" would get best picture noms). Which probably says more about how extraordinarily predictable this all is than any sort of skill, but still, before this column lies dormant until the fall... let's give it another shot. No one's taking this too seriously. (Right?)

Carol
The Weinstein Company "Carol"

Best Picture
There's definitely some major heavyweight filmmakers with projects very likely to come out this year, many of them regular fixtures in recent races. Will Sundance breakouts "Brooklyn" and "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" pull a "Boyhood" or "Whiplash"? Will Todd Haynes' "Carol" finally nab the director a Best Picture nomination? Will "The Hateful Eight," "Joy," "The Revenant" and "St. James Place" quickly return Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Steven Spielberg to the Oscar game? Or is something not even on our radar going to come out of nowhere at some point in the next ten months. We have no idea. No one does. But it's still fun to take an ignorant stab...

Prediction:
"Brooklyn"
"Carol"

"Demolition"
"The Hateful Eight"
"Joy"
"The Revenant"

"St. James Place"
"Steve Jobs"
"Suffragette"
"Trumbo"

(Alternates: "The Sea of Trees"; "Southpaw"; "Freeheld"; "The Danish Girl"; "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl"; "Ricki and the Flash"; "45 Years"; "Genius"; "Spotlight"; "Macbeth")

The Revenant
Behind the scenes on "The Revenant"

Best Director

Alejandro González Iñárritu seems like a pretty reasonable bet to be back in the race a year after he won for his 1800s Wild West adventure "The Revenant," but it's pretty extreme to predict a double win. Especially with Todd Haynes, Steven Spielberg, David O. Russell, Quentin Tarantino, Dany Boyle and Gus Van Sant all potentially in the mix as well. It sadly looks -- at least right now -- like another boys club in this category, with Sarah Gavron currently looking the best bet to change that for her women's rights saga "Suffragette" (fingers crossed).

Prediction:
Todd Haynes, "Carol"
Alejandro González Iñárritu, "The Revenant"
David O. Russell, "Joy"

Steven Spielberg, "St. James Place"
Quentin Tarantino, "The Hateful Eight"

(Alternates: Danny Boyle, "Steve Jobs"; Jean-Marc Vallee, "Demolition"; John Crowley, "Brooklyn"; Sarah Gavron, "Suffragette"; Gus Van Sant, "The Sea of Trees")