The Bock’s Office: Who will win Oscar gold? | CraigDailyPress.com

The Bock’s Office: Who will win Oscar gold?

Comedian Chris Rock hosts the 88th annual Academy Awards, which take place Sunday evening on ABC. "The Revenant" leads nominations with 12.

The 88th annual Academy Awards takes place this Sunday, and even amid the various Hollywood outrages about snubs, boycotts and all the political hubbub that's part of the battle for the statuette, the show must go on.

Here are my selections for the likely winners based on both trends and gut instinct, as well as a few thoughts on whether the heavy favorite is, indeed the best of the bunch.

The Bock's Office 2016 Oscar Picks

Best Sound Mixing — "The Martian"

Best Sound Editing — "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Best Original Song — "Til It Happens to You"

Best Original Score — "The Hateful Eight"

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Best Animated Short Film — "Sanjay's Super Team"

Best Live Action Short Film — "Shok"

Best Documentary, Short Subject — "Chau, Beyond the Lines"

Best Documentary, Feature — "The Look of Silence"

Best Visual Effects — "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Best Film Editing — "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Best Costume Design — "The Danish Girl"

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Best Cinematography — "The Revenant"

Best Production Design — "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Best Foreign Language Film — "Son of Saul"

Best Animated Feature Film — "Inside Out"

Best Adapted Screenplay — "The Big Short"

Best Original Screenplay — "Spotlight"

Best Supporting Actress — Alicia Vikander, "The Danish Girl"

Best Supporting Actor — Mark Rylance, "Bridge of Spies"

Best Actress — Brie Larson, "Room"

Best Actor — Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Revenant"

Best Director — Alejandro G. Iñarritu, "The Revenant"

Best Picture — "Spotlight"

Best Sound Mixing — "The Martian"

Best Sound Editing — "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Achievements in audio production aren't ones that get easily recognized by the average moviegoer, but it's often the people behind the scenes in sound for blockbuster films that walk away with such honor even if nothing else about it is award-worthy. That's hardly the case here in such riveting entries as the realistic space travelogue "The Martian" and the rip-roaring end of days fantasy "Fury Road."

Both are nominated in either category, as are teams for "The Revenant" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," but the way sound is used in these two and the number of awards they've already received make them the likely recipients.

Best Original Score — "The Hateful Eight"

Best Original Song — "Til It Happens to You"

Music can be a tricky prediction when there's no definite frontrunner, though Ennio Morricone's much-lauded score from "The Hateful Eight" will probably take the gold over John Williams' latest take on the "Star Wars" theme, with an upset from "Bridge of Spies," "Carol" or "Sicario" unlikely.

It's in the song category that anything could happen in Academy voting, and the winner be based more on the topic matter than the tune itself. Lady Gaga and Diane Warren have likely captured enough hearts with their song "Til It Happens to You" — from "The Hunting Ground," a documentary about rape on college campuses — to claim the win in a listing in which name recognition never hurts. The fact that Sam Smith's "Writing's on the Wall" from "Spectre" was a ways down the rankings of best James Bond songs also had something to do with it.

Best Animated Short Film — "Sanjay's Super Team"

Best Live Action Short Film — "Shok"

Telling a story in a concise timeframe is an art, and if you can make an audience take notice in fewer than 10 minutes, you've done something special, even if most shorts are rarely viewed by the general public.

Thanks to being attached to "The Good Dinosaur," Pixar's "Sanjay's Super Team" has the advantage in this regard but is no less entertaining as a tale of a young boy whose worlds of comic book fandom and Hindu heritage merge.

In live-action, your guess is as good as mine as to how Hollywood insiders will lean, but I'm placing my bet on "Shok," a drama set amid the Kosovo War.

Best Documentary, Short Subject — "Chau, Beyond the Lines"

Best Documentary, Feature — "The Look of Silence"

Another set of entries that doesn't get the full audience it deserves, documentaries touch on tough topics and their presentation may have varying effects on voters.

A short piece about a teenager afflicted by chemical effects from Agent Orange sprayed in Vietnam yet determined to make it in the fashion world is only one of five worthy stories.

Likewise, "The Look of Silence" has the benefit of being something of a sequel to a previous nominee, 2012's "The Act of Killing," about the 1960s genocide in Indonesia. Still, "Cartel Land" — about the Mexican Drug War — and "Amy" — the life story of singer Amy Winehouse — have plenty of buzz behind them and could walk away with the prize.

Best Visual Effects — "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Best Cinematography — "The Revenant"

There's no way a "Star Wars" movie is going away empty-handed Sunday night, and the best chance for the seventh in the saga is in the special effects that were better received than those of the prequel trilogy.

As far as camerawork goes, while impressive work in "Carol" and "The Hateful Eight" likely wasn't lost entirely on Oscar voters, it's Emmanuel Lubezki who will probably be picking up another trophy for his heralded extended shots and capturing of the wilderness in "The Revenant."

Best Costume Design — "The Danish Girl"

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — "Mad Max: Fury Road"

The setting of 1920s Europe and the wardrobes included win it for Paco Delgado and "The Danish Girl," but the fanciful gowns of "Cinderella" and the 1950s pastels of "Carol" could easily come from behind, as could the more rugged clothing seen in "The Revenant" and "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Speaking of the Road Warrior, the extensive, downright abject makeup of "Fury Road" makes it a shoo-in for trio Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin.

Best Film Editing — "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Best Production Design — "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Yes, we've brought up "Mad Max" a few times already, but in a movie with so much chaos, so much weird and wonderful stuff and so much everything, it only makes sense that editor Margaret Sixel and designers Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson would all be rewarded, having already each gotten a slew of awards.

Best Animated Feature Film — "Inside Out"

Best Foreign Language Film — "Son of Saul"

Two of the easiest choices. Pixar has been beaten before, but the name recognition and near universal love for "Inside Out" help it against the adult "Anomalisa" and smaller delight, "Shaun the Sheep Movie," as well as international fare "Boy & the World" and "When Marnie Was There," coming from Brazil and Japan, respectively.

In non-English films, Hungary's "Son of Saul," a look at life in the Auschwitz concentration camps, has been a juggernaut in the past year, the likely winner over entries from France, Denmark and first-time contenders Jordan and Colombia.

Best Adapted Screenplay — "The Big Short"

Best Original Screenplay — "Spotlight"

Breaking down complicated material in a way that's palatable for the typical film viewer is a delicate act, which is why Adam McKay and Charles Randolph's account of the American mortgage crisis and the Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer look at The Boston Globe's hard-hitting exposé have already picked up many accolades.

Nevertheless, Oscar sometimes surprises in the screenplay category, so don't be shocked if "Carol" or "Room" takes Adapted or "Ex Machina" or "Inside Out" gets Original.

Best Supporting Actress — Alicia Vikander

Best Supporting Actor — Mark Rylance

Vikander has the edge, but not by much, for her performance as artist Gerda Wegener "The Danish Girl," and previous nominees Kate Winslet and Rooney Mara could easily brush past her for their roles in "Steve Jobs" and "Carol."

The Supporting Actor race is not an exciting one this year, and that works to the benefit of Rylance — who has the least star power of any of the acting nominees — for his inspired turn as a Soviet agent in "Bridge of Spies." The only one who might give him trouble is Sylvester Stallone for his return to Rocky Balboa in "Creed." He may be getting votes purely because of nostalgia, but admittedly, the Italian Stallion was the best he's been in 40 years.

Best Actress — Brie Larson

Best Actor — Leonardo DiCaprio

Lead acting categories are pretty safe. Larson has received plenty of attention as a captive mother in "Room," while DiCaprio may finally earn the prize that's eluded him four times before as the fur trapper of "The Revenant" who goes through hell and back.

Both also face their greatest competition from a previous Oscar winner. While "Carol" may not have gotten all the nominations people wanted for it, Cate Blanchett's powerhouse showing as the title character could slow down Larson's momentum.

Also, with a portrayal of the transgender namesake of "The Danish Girl," Eddie Redmayne could certainly become the first man since Tom Hanks to claim back-to-back Best Actor honors.

Best Director — Alejandro G. Iñarritu

Best Picture — "Spotlight"

You'd have to go back much further to find the winners of consecutive Best Director titles, and Iñarritu could and should join the ranks of John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz as filmmakers who won twice in a row he follows his victory last year for "Birdman" with the even better, "The Revenant."

Still, he's got stiff competition from Tom McCarthy for "Spotlight," George Miller for "Mad Max: Fury Road" and Lenny Abrahamson for "Room."

Adam McKay seems the least likely to win as the man behind "The Big Short," yet his movie may spell trouble for the otherwise likely triumph fof "Spotlight" as the beneficiary of the Producers Guild of America's top prize, which has been almost inseparable from predictions since its 1989 inception. Eight of the Academy's last 10 Best Picture winners also got the PGA stamp of approval.

Even with all these indicators, you never know what might happen, so tune in Sunday to find out who wins.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @TheBocksOffice.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @TheBocksOffice.

The Bock’s Office 2016 Oscar Picks

Best Sound Mixing — “The Martian”

Best Sound Editing — “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Original Song — “Til It Happens to You”

Best Original Score — “The Hateful Eight”

Best Animated Short Film — “Sanjay’s Super Team”

Best Live Action Short Film — “Shok”

Best Documentary, Short Subject — “Chau, Beyond the Lines”

Best Documentary, Feature — “The Look of Silence”

Best Visual Effects — “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Film Editing — “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Costume Design — “The Danish Girl”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Cinematography — “The Revenant”

Best Production Design — “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Foreign Language Film — “Son of Saul”

Best Animated Feature Film — “Inside Out”

Best Adapted Screenplay — “The Big Short”

Best Original Screenplay — “Spotlight”

Best Supporting Actress — Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

Best Supporting Actor — Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

Best Actress — Brie Larson, “Room”

Best Actor — Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

Best Director — Alejandro G. Iñarritu, “The Revenant”

Best Picture — “Spotlight”