Veteran actor Leonardo DiCaprio might be the name on everyone’s lips in the lead-up to Oscar night 2016, but the winners’ list is set to be dominated by some welcomed fresh female faces.
With Brie Larson, Alicia Vikander and Saoirse Ronan each up for a gong, the awards night may have a positive story of renewal to tell after the racism controversy surrounding this year’s event..
The all-white contingent of 20 acting nominees triggered an angry backlash from the public, and caused stars such as Will Smith and Spike Lee to boycott the ceremony.
Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio’s turn as a vengeful pioneer in the gritty drama The Revenant has been dominating water cooler conversations around the world, with many arguing it’s finally his time to take home the award for best leading man.
The New Daily has pulled together its predictions for Hollywood’s night of nights before the red carpet is unfurled on Monday.
The aforementioned new faces give this year’s best actress group the best depth of the big five categories.
Being Australian, Cate Blanchett is a sentimental pick but unlikely to win for the aesthetically pleasing but boring Carol.
Jennifer Lawrence was typically powerful in Miracle Mop drama Joy, as was Charlotte Rampling in the moody 45 Years, but our pick is 2015’s breakout star Brie Larson for almost single-handedly carrying Room – the haunting story of a woman held captive seven years by a rapist, and who manages to stay optimistic for the sake of her young son.
Best Supporting Actress
Plenty of depth again here for best supporting female, but we are predicting another new face will take home the statue.
Alicia Vikander was radiant as the stoic wife of a man who transitions to a woman in The Danish Girl, almost outshining its star and last year’s best actor winner, Eddie Redmayne.
We’ve already seen the Swedish actress in Ex Machina, but this is truly her coming of age and would be a deserving win.
Runner up is awarded to Rachel McAdams for playing a Boston Globe reporter investigating sexual assaults covered up by the Catholic Church with the subtlety and respect it so deserved. Rooney Mara is an outside chance for Carol, who will likely be brought down by the slow pace of the lesbian drama.
This year’s best actor category has felt a little like a one-man race, with film fans everywhere suddenly deciding it’s DiCaprio’s time.
Despite having given far more memorable performances, it’s likely he will take out the prize for battling the elements in the gory but spectacular revenge flick, The Revenant.
Bryan Cranston is a dark horse as black-listed Hollywood screenwriter in Trumbo, which had the least commercial success of any films in the category but may appeal to the Academy’s Hollywood voters for its subject matter.
Eddie Redmayne’s turn as a transgender woman is also a chance, particularly considering how the Academy has rewarded actors for leaving their comfort zone in the past.
Best Supporting Actor
What a fascinating comeback Sylvestor Stallone’s has been the watch. It’s eerily similar to the plot of the film he is nominated for: Creed.
Having taken out the Golden Globe just a month ago, Stallone is a real chance to nab his first Oscar for the Rocky sequel, after being nominated for the original way back in 1977.
Mark Ruffalo is in with a chance for his take on an overworked and overzealous journalist in Spotlight, while some critics say Tom Hardy out-shined DiCaprio as a villain in The Revenant but is unlikely to be recognised for it.
This is a tight category, but The Revenant seems to have the momentum to take home Monday night’s big award.
Even without DiCaprio’s star power, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s adventure epic has 11 other nominations and deserves to win for cinematography, score, visual effects, makeup and director.
On the other end of the spectrum, Spotlight has the script, ensemble cast and weighty subject matter to catch voters’ attention, while The Big Short could also prove a wacky dark horse.
Room was critically well-received but lacks the fire power to bring home the bacon, while George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road has travelled well on the awards circuit lead-up, but would be a shock win.