An Oscar statue stands Tuesday outside the Dolby Theatre as workers prepare the Los Angeles venue for Sunday's nights presentation ceremony for the for the 88th Academy Awards.

Invision photo

An Oscar statue stands Tuesday outside the Dolby Theatre as workers prepare the Los Angeles venue for Sunday's nights presentation ceremony for the for the 88th Academy Awards.

Truly best films don’t always win

By Jake Coyle and Lindsey Bahr

The Associated Press

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LOS ANGELES – Ahead of Sunday’s 88th Academy Awards, Associated Press film writers Lindsey Bahr and Jake Coyle share their predictions for a ceremony that has everyone guessing:

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BEST PICTURE

The Nominees: “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,” “Room,” “Spotlight.”

Bahr

Will Win: “The Revenant’s” bravado will match its awards tally.

Should Win: “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a visionary filmmaking coup of a different kind, and, unlike “The Revenant,” Miller’s raging road opera is the definite classic of the bunch.

Coyle

Will Win: No one really knows. “The Revenant” has the momentum, but consensus is elusive. Panicked voices everywhere can be heard exclaiming “The guilds are all over the map!” In the end, I go with “The Big Short” because the Producers Guild has been the best forecaster in recent years.

Should Win: It might lack some cinematic punch, but the sturdy “Spotlight” is the closest thing we have to a new Sydney Lumet classic.

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BEST ACTOR

The Nominees: Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”; Matt Damon, “The Martian”; Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”; Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”; Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl.”

Bahr

Will Win: DiCaprio. He had us at “raw bison.”

Should Win: DiCaprio’s inevitable win can be both boring and merited. If only we could guarantee that the Academy was choosing him for his actual performance and not the behind-the-scenes suffering.

Coyle

Will Win: DiCaprio. It’s “his year,” as they say. But I would love to see what lengths his Oscar crusade would go to if he didn’t win. What would he eat in his next film? What animal carcass would he sleep in?

Should Win: It’s a weak year for the men. Can I pass?

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BEST ACTRESS

The Nominees: Cate Blanchett,

“Carol”; Brie Larson, “Room”; Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”; Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”; Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn.”

Bahr

Will Win: Brie Larson. She gives about 10 incredible performances in a single film and has won everything so far.

Should Win: Obvious grit trumps nuance at the Oscars, but Charlotte Rampling tore out many a heartstring as a jealous woman in “45 Years.”

Coyle

Will Win: Brie Larson has this in the bag. She’s a terrifically natural performer and a real talent. But, for me, she was better in “Short Term 12” than in the mawkishly manipulative “Room.”

Should Win: In a strong field, Cate Blanchett slips by because of the regularity of her quality. In “Carol,” she’s both devastating 
and exhilarating.

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BEST DIRECTOR

The Nominees: “The Big Short,” Adam McKay; “Mad Max: Fury Road,” George Miller; “The Revenant,” Alejandro G. Inarritu; “Room,” Lenny Abrahamson; “Spotlight,” Tom McCarthy.

Bahr

Will Win: Alejandro Inarritu, and it’ll be deserved and an incredible achievement.

Should Win: George Miller. It would be deserved.

Coyle

Will Win: The Inarritu repeat seems to be in effect. “The Revenant” isn’t shy about its filmmaking, but Inarritu’s audacious long shots and ravishing frontier wilderness offer a quality hard to come by: the awe of something not seen before.

Should Win: George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a crazy puzzle of a movie trying to stretch the language of film just like “The Revenant,” but in opposite directions: with rapid cutting and feverish surrealism.

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