OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2016: The female acting awards

(Image: popbreak.com)


The 88th Academy Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, are rapidly approaching on Sunday, February 28, 2015.  Who or what will walk off that stage with an Oscar?  On this website, I've been tabulating all of the minor and lead-up award winners in all of the Oscar categories since last November on my 2016 Awards Tracker.  Those results have been my data trends to predict what films are going to win.  Through several editorial features, here is my analysis to formulate my official Academy Award predictions.  In this fifth post, we look at the races for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.  Stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool!


The nominees:  Jennifer Jason Leigh for "The Hateful Eight," Rooney Mara for "Carol," Rachel McAdams for "Spotlight," Alicia Vikander for "The Danish Girl," and Kate Winslet for "Steve Jobs"

AWARDS TRACKER (number of prior award wins in this category):  21- Vikander for both "Ex Machina" or "The Danish Girl," 8- Kristen Stewart for "Clouds of Sils Maria," 4- Winslet, 3- Mara, 3- Leigh, 2- Mya Taylor for "Tangerine," 2- Tessa Thompson for "Creed," and four others with one win.

Who was snubbed:  Small independent and foreign-backed films normally don't get much Academy attention unless it's a big name and a big role.  Look no further than respected veteran Charlotte Rampling in the next category.  She made the field in a film most haven't (or will) see.  The same goes for former "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart and her departure from blockbusters in "Clouds of Sils Maria," a film that flew under the festival circuit and limited release radars.  She's won the second most awards in this category and deserved to be among the final five.  If you're looking for worthy diversity against #OscarsSoWhite, I would gladly add Tessa Thompson from "Creed" to this grouping.

Happy to be there:  With no prior minor wins of any kind in this category, Rachel McAdams is the lucky fifth nominee.  She's clearly a bigger name than Tessa Thompson and more respected than Kristen Stewart to make this field.  Her portion of the "Spotlight" ensemble is essential yet not overly noteworthy for an Oscar-level commendation.

Who should win and will win:  Alicia Vikander could have won this award with ease with either two of her five 2015 film performances.  The Academy preferred the more upstanding supporting turn in "The Danish Girl" over her scintillating display in "Ex Machina."  It didn't matter which one voters would have chosen, she was winning and should have.


The nominees:  Cate Blanchett for "Carol," Brie Larson for "Room," Jennifer Lawrence for "Joy," Charlotte Rampling for "45 Years," Saoirse Ronan for "Brooklyn"

AWARDS TRACKER (number of prior award wins in this category):  29- Larson, 7- Rampling for "45 Years," 6- Ronan, 2- Blanchett, 2- Carey Mulligan for "Suffragette," and six other women with one win each. 

Who was snubbed:  I will admit that I am a newly won-over fan of all things Carey Mulligan.  Her balance of fragile beauty and powerful confidence served her well in both "Suffragette" and "Far From the Madding Crowd" last year.  Both of those performances were better than the weakest nominee.  

Happy to be there:  She may be the toast of town, an Oscar winner, and four-time nominee, but Jennifer Lawrence has not won a single lead-up award of any kind for her performance in "Joy."  Her inclusion reeks of a popularity contest for red carpet ratings.  She fills a spot that should have went to one of the snubs.

Who should win and will win:  In any other year, I would love to give this award to Saoirse Ronan as a breakout star.  The thing is there's a breakout star that is even bigger in the same final five nominees.  Brie Larson of "Room" is an absolute lock and the nearly universal praise sent her way will push her to the top-shelf right next to Jennifer Lawrence as the most sought-after young actress in town.   "Room" was my #1 film of the year and she was an overwhelming reason for that.  This stands to be the one place on Oscar night that honors the film and it's the right moment to do so.