How my Oscar bracket failed in the right ways

Did anyone have a worse Oscar bracket than me? I got a mere 8 out of 24 picks correct! But I actually feel pretty good about the ways in which I was wrong. Here’s a run-down of my shameful failures and the silver linings I’m finding in them:

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out

Spotlight

Straight Outta Compton

David’s prediction — Spotlight

And the Oscar went to. . . Spotlight

Well, I got that one right!

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Carol

The Martian

Room

David’s prediction — The Big Short

And the Oscar went to. . . The Big Short

My night got off to a good start at 2 for 2!

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

David’s predictionRooney Mara

And the Oscar went to. . . Alicia Vikander

I let my bitterness over Ex Machina — I didn’t like it, everybody else did — blind me to Vikander’s chances in her other big 2015 film. Oops! Next time I’ll have to try harder to check my biases.

Best Costume Design

Carol

Cinderella

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

David’s prediction Carol

And the Oscar went to. . . Mad Max: Fury Road

I still think my logic was sound. The costume designer for Carol is a perennial favorite of the Academy. I definitely didn’t see Mad Max‘s early wins coming, but around this time I started to get a good feeling about the possibility of upsets.

Best Production Design

Bridge of Spies

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

David’s prediction The Revenant

And the Oscar went to. . . Mad Max: Fury Road

I now started to worry that any upsets might favor Mad Max instead of the long shots I’d picked.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The Revenant

David’s prediction — Mad Max: Fury Road

And the Oscar went to. . . Mad Max: Fury Road

I stumbled into one! Well, I had a 33.33% chance.

Best Cinematography

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Sicario

David’s prediction The Revenant

And the Oscar went to. . . The Revenant

I considered this one a lock, but it was a relief to be right. My bracket suddenly wasn’t looking so bad anymore. Unfortunately, it was about to hit another rough patch.

Best Film Editing

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

David’s prediction — The Revenant

And the Oscar went to. . . Mad Max: Fury Road

At this point the technical categories were just a write-off for me. I’d missed the boat on Mad Max, thinking it would pull in a couple but then share the wealth. In the future I’ll be more willing to predict big hauls for big films.

Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

David’s prediction — Sicario

And the Oscar went to. . . Mad Max: Fury Road

My eggs, prediction-legitimacy wise, were firmly vested in the prestige category basket at this point.

Sound Mixing

Bridge of Spies

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

David’s prediction The Revenant

And the Oscar went to. . . Mad Max: Fury Road

I had predicted a pretty big haul, really, but for the wrong movie! My Revenant picks kept losing to Mad Max. That’s a kind of consistency, right?

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Martian

The Revenant

David’s prediction Mad Max: Fury Road

And the Oscar went to. . . Ex Machina

Wouldn’t you know it? I pick Mad Max in a technical category and it loses. But I didn’t feel too bad, because I’d actually chosen Ex Machina for Best Visual Effects on my Flickcharters’ Choice ballot. I claim that as a moral victory.

Best Short Film (Animated)

Bear Story

Prologue

Sanjay’s Super Team

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow

David’s prediction World of Tomorrow

And the Oscar went to. . . Bear Story

Any win for a bear was a good omen for my remaining Revenant picks, I figured.

Best Animated Feature Film

Anomalisa

Boy & The World

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

David’s prediction Anomalisa

And the Oscar went to. . . Inside Out

I knew what I was getting into when I picked against a Pixar. And you know what, I’ll do it again in the future. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I was proud of my loss.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

David’s prediction Tom Hardy

And the Oscar went to. . . Mark Rylance

I felt OK with this loss for one reason: unlike most people, I’d picked against Stallone. I actually would have liked to see him win, but I didn’t believe he would.

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

Body Team 12

Chau, Beyond the Lines

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

Last Day of Freedom

David’s prediction Body Team 12

And the Oscar went to. . . A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

This was another case where I knew I was out on a limb, so I couldn’t get too upset about the loss.

Best Documentary (Feature)

Amy

Cartel Land

The Look of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

David’s prediction — What Happened, Miss Simone?

And the Oscar went to. . . Amy

Hey, my picks were more racially diverse than the real winners. That’s not a bad silver lining.

Best Short Film (Live Action)

Ave Maria

Day One

Everything Will Be Okay

Shok

Stutterer

David’s prediction Stutterer

And the Oscar went to. . . Stutterer

I admit, I stumbled into this one by pure chance. But that didn’t stop me from celebrating my first win in a while.

Best Foreign Language Film

Embrace of the Serpent

Mustang

Son of Saul

Theeb

A War

David’s prediction Theeb

And the Oscar went to. . . Son of Saul

I was numb to disappointment by this part of the show.

Best Original Song

“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey

“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction

“Simple Song #3” from Youth

“Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre

“Til it Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground

David’s prediction “Simple Song #3”

And the Oscar went to. . . “Writing’s on the Wall”

I can’t say I was shocked by the result, but not voting for this bad Sam Smith song was its own reward.

Best Original Score

Bridge of Spies

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

David’s prediction The Hateful Eight

And the Oscar went to. . . The Hateful Eight

It wasn’t the fact that I was right that made me happy. It was that Ennio Morricone, a hero of mine, was there to accept the award, and that the orchestra didn’t drown him out with Wagner.

Best Directing

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro Iñarritu, The Revenant

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

David’s prediction Alejandro Iñarritu

And the Oscar went to. . . Alejandro Iñarritu

I’d told my students that this one was a lock, and they probably don’t read this blog, so now they’ll think I’m a genius!

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

David’s prediction Cate Blanchett

And the Oscar went to. . . Brie Larson

I know many considered Larson the favorite, but I was banking on the Academy rewarding people it had rewarded before. It didn’t pan out for me this year, but that’s actually a good thing.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

David’s prediction Leonardo DiCaprio

And the Oscar went to. . . Leonardo DiCaprio

Good thing I didn’t bet against the frontrunner in this category! I resisted my contrarian urges. I’ll try to do that more often next year.

Best Picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

David’s prediction — The Martian

And the Oscar went to. . . Spotlight

My wacky prediction was that The Martian would win Best Picture despite not winning any other awards, something that hasn’t happened since 1936. I was half right, which I felt kinda good about. But I felt extra good that the top award went to Spotlight, which won just one other award, something that hasn’t happened since 1953. The Martian may be my favorite of the nominees, and The Revenant may be the most beautiful, but I think Spotlight is the best (best ≠ favorite), and it’s nice when the Academy agrees.

8 out of 24 is bad, but I’m proud to stand by some of my losses. And there’s always next year.

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