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Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — Blog

The Oscars are here!


It’s time for the Oscars again. Scheduled for the 28th of February 2016 it will be the 88th Academy Awards ceremony! Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), they will honour the best English-language films of 2015. During the ceremony AMPAS will present the Academy Awards (commonly referred to as the Oscars) in 24 categories.

Here’s a look at some of the major Academy Award categories.

Best Picture

  • Spotlight
  • The Big Short
  • The Revenant
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Room

Potential Winner: Spotlight
The movie is about journalists investigating a Father, who is accused of molesting more than 80 boys. As they dig deeper and acknowledge their paper’s own failings, the team uncovers a conspiracy of lawyers and government officials who were part of it.

Best Director

  • Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
  • Adam McKay (The Big Short)
  • George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant)
  • Lenny Abrahamson, (Room)

Potential Winner: Adam McKay (The Big Short)
Four outsiders to Wall Street use their unconventional knowledge of the financial markets to predict the meltdowns of the housing market and big banks. Betting together on the coming catastrophe, the quartet manages to invest astutely and make a fortune, while exposing the corruption of several large financial institutions.

Best Actor

  • Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
  • Matt Damon (The Martian)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
  • Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

Potential Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Leonardo DiCaprio portrays Hugh Glass, a 19th century American frontiersman who is assumed dead by his comrades after being mauled by a bear during a expedition. Barely surviving his wounds, the movie traces the journey of Glass as he is driven by thoughts of his family and a desire for revenge as he endures the frigid winter and pursues the men who left him for dead.

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett (Carol)
  • Brie Larson (Room)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
  • Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

Potential Winner: Brie Larson (Room)
Brie Larson portrays Ma, a woman held captive in a small shed for seven years, who strives to create a normal life for Jack, her young son. When Ma and Jack escape their captor, Old Nick, they must cope with the outside world and forge relationships with Ma’s conflicted family.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Christian Bale (The Big Short)
  • Tom Hardy (The Revenant)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
  • Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
  • Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Potential Winner: Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
In 1957, in the midst of the Cold War, New York insurance lawyer James Donovan is enlisted to provide a pro-bono defense for Rudolf Abel, who is accused of spying for the Russians.
As Rudolf Abel, Mark Rylance plays an undercover KGB agent stationed in the U.S. who is apprehended and tried for espionage.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
  • Rooney Mara (Carol)
  • Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)
  • Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
  • Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

Potential Winner: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Alicia Vikander plays Gerda, a painter in the 1920s who wrestles with her course of action when her husband reveals his desire to live as a woman. A fictitious love story it’s about the lives of Danish artists, and how their marriage and work evolve as they navigate the groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.


Best Original Screenplay

  • Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen (Bridge of Spies)
  • Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (Inside Out)
  • Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight)
  • Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
  • Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton)

Potential Winner: Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (Inside Out)
When 11-year-old Riley and her parents move to a new city, it’s up to Riley’s five main emotions — Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust — to help her adjust. Joy and Sadness are accidentally launched on a journey through Riley’s brain to preserve her core memories, and as the duo races back to Headquarters, Fear, Anger and Disgust must figure out how to guide Riley.


Best Animated Feature

  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World
  • Inside Out
  • When Marnie Was There
  • Shaun the Sheep

Potential Winner: Boy and the World
Despite his family’s poverty, young Cuca lives a satisfying life, full of wonder at his rural surroundings, until his father goes on a train trip and disappears. While searching for his father, Cuca meets a wide variety of people as he journeys from a farming camp to the ocean and a large factory and then back to the big city.

Best Cinematography

  • Carol (Ed Lachman)
  • The Hateful Eight (Robert Richardson)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (John Seale)
  • The Revenant (Emmanuel Lubezki)
  • Sicario (Roger Deakins)

Potential Winner: The Revenant (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Based on the true story of 1800s frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), who was left for dead in a harsh winter, the film had a notoriously long and difficult shoot in snowy Canada and Argentina. But Emmanuel Lubezki may have taken on his biggest challenge yet, which was shot in freezing conditions, and used only natural light.


Best Original Score

  • Carol (Carter Burwell)
  • Sicario (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
  • The Hateful Eight (Ennio Morricone)
  • Bridge of Spies (Thomas Newman)
  • Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens (John Williams)

Potential Winner: Sicario (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
FBI Agent Kate Macer is recruited by a shadowy government official to join an inter-agency task force to apprehend a Mexican cartel leader. Jóhann Jóhannsson on scoring music for Sicario says, “I wanted to create music that had an underlying tension and a sense of coming from below the earth, like a throbbing pulse that resonates from underground or the pounding heartbeat of a wild beast that is charging at you. I also wanted to evoke the sadness and melancholy of the border, the border fences and the tragedy of the drug war.”


Best Original Song

  • Earned It from Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Manta Ray from Racing Extinction
  • Simple Song #3 from Youth
  • Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground
  • Writings on the Wall from Spectre

Potential Winner: Writings on the Wall from Spectre
Sam Smith’s theme song Writings on the Wall for the new James Bond movie Spectre has become the first in the history of the franchise to top the charts. It soared straight to No 1 in its first week of release with 70,000 combined sales and streams. It makes Smith the first artist to achieve a No 1 song with a Bond theme. It reportedly took him just 20 minutes to write and he called it the “quickest song I’ve ever written”. He’s certainly made history having won a Guinness World Record too for the song.

Best Visual Effects

  • Ex Machina
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Potential Winner:  Star Wars: The Force Awakens
With the big three stars, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher, there is an obvious continuity, and the director went to great lengths to connect The Force Awakens to the original trilogy. There are more than 2100 odd visual effects shots in the movie and obviously it’s a massive undertaking.