OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2016: The race for Best Picture

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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 seventh and final post, we have reached the top of the mountain: Best Picture.  I've said this through this entire Oscar prediction series and season.  Stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool!


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

AWARDS TRACKER (number of prior award wins in this category):  25- "Spotlight," 15- "Mad Max: Fury Road," 3- "The Martian," 2- "The Revenant," 2- "Carol," and ten other films with one single win.

Who was snubbed:  In a field of eight films filling a category that really only needs (and used to have) five nominees.  It's hard to make a complaint about extra teams.  That's like the 65th team that makes or doesn't make the March Madness NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.  You could trade "Carol" in there if you really wanted or bring over a crossover candidate like the animated "Inside Out" or the foreign language lock "Son of  Saul."  In an #OscarsSoWhite year, a greater roar would be including "Creed" or "Straight Outta Compton."

Happy to be there- AKA "The First Cut":  Let's cut this down to the real five.  "Brooklyn" and "Bridge of Spies" are token nominees and have no shot.  That leaves one more departure. Based on the data, four nominees are and were locks.  The swing spot is the fifth nominee.  "Room" got its director nominated ahead of "The Martian," but hasn't won any major Best Picture awards.  "The Big Short" has, that being the coveted PGA Award from the Producers Guild which has a 73% match rate to the eventual Best Picture winner, including the last eight straight.  There's your fifth.

The true finalists- AKA "The Final Five":  "Spotlight," "Mad Max: Fury Road," "The Martian," "The Revenant," and "The Big Short."

Who should win:  If I had a vote, the winner wouldn't be any of those five.  Heck, "Brooklyn" was my #3 film of the year and it doesn't have a chance.  I've got one higher than "Brooklyn" and it's the eventual winner.  If you know me, you know what's coming.  I have shouted from the mountaintops all season how much I absolutely adore "Room."  It was my #1 film of the year and it is a film I cannot shake from my memory.  None of the other seven films can even come close to that.

Who will win:  I've gone on the record on social media and to anyone that has asked me by saying that this is the hardest award of the night to predict a sure-fire winner.  It's fitting that it's the top one. This can go any of four different directions.  

That aforementioned PGA stat for "The Big Short" is no joke and makes it a compelling dark horse for an upset.  "Mad Max: Fury Road" could be the obstructionist choice, but I think it's lost too much luster and support.  It deserves to rake the artistic and technical awards, but it is far from a Best Picture-level achievement.  "The Revenant" is stealing those votes and surging by winning the Golden Globe and the BAFTA.  The Bovada gambling book in Las Vegas tabs it as the betting favorite.  With Inarritu already honored so heavily last year for the radical "Birdman" and the favorite for Best Director, I have to think they won't keep heaping Oscars on him for a more pretentious film.  I'm going against Vegas.  

Much like the current Presidential races, I think when the dust settles down and people face the reality of what deserves the proper legacy with this award, the voters will make the safe bet and the right one.  I formally predict that the eventual Best Picture winner will be "Spotlight," my #2 film of 2015.  The film is absolute perfection from top to bottom and checks all the classical boxes of what historically rings true for most Best Picture recipients (timely history, great cast, big issues, human condition, etc).