Monday, February 8, 2016

And the Oscar Nominees Should Be....

I still have a few films i have yet to see, Straight Outta Compton, Son of Saul, and The Look of Silence, are three of the big ones, but I can carefully say (until I see those films), these are my own personal picks/preferences for the different categories at the Oscars.

Best Picture
45 Years
Anomalisa
Brooklyn
Carol
Chi-Raq
Creed
It Follows
Mad Max: Fury Road
Phoenix
Spotlight

Best Director
Sean Baker-Tangerine
Ryan Coogler-Creed
Todd Haynes-Carol
Spike Lee-Chi-Raq
Tom McCarthy-Spotlight
George Miller-Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Actor
Abraham Attah-Beasts of No Nation
Tom Courteney-45 Years
Paul Dano- Love & Mercy
Michael B. Jordan-Creed
Jason Segel-The End of the Tour
Jacob Trembley-Room

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett-Carol
Nina Hoss-Phoenix
Rooney Mara-Carol
Teyonah Parris-Chi-Raq
Charlotte Rampling-45 Years
Saoirse Ronan-Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor
Idris Elba-Beasts of No Nation
Michael Keaton-Spotlight
Oscar Isaacs-Ex Machina
Mark Rylance-Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon-99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone-Creed

Best Supporting Actress
Elizabeth Banks- Love & Mercy
Jennifer Jason Leigh-Anamolisa
Kristen Stewart-Clouds of Sils Maria
Mya Taylor-Tangerine
Tess Thompson-Creed
Alicia Vikander-Ex Machina

Best Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies-Matt Charman, Joel and Ethan Coen
Ex Machina-Alex Garland
Inside Out-Pete Doctor, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley
It Follows-David Robert Mitchell
Spotlight-Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
Tangerine-Sean Baker, and Chris Bergoch

Best Adapted Screenplay
45 Years-Andrew Haigh
Anomolisa-Charlie Kaufman
Brooklyn-Nick Hornby
Carol-Phyllis Nagy
Chi-Raq-Spike Lee and Kevin Willmott

Room-Emma Donoghue

Best Cinematography
Beasts of No Nation
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
It Follows
Tangerine

Best Costume Design
Brooklyn
Carol
Cinderella
Crimson Peak
Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Film Editing
Carol
Creed
Heaven Knows What
It Follows
Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Original Score
Carol
It Follows
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario

Best Production Design
Bridge of Spies 
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Editing
Creed
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Visual Effects
Ant-Man
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Oscar Best Actress Predictions (2016)

Best Actress is usually one of the easiest categories to predict the nominees.  The sad reason for this general fact is that there are fewer films with viable lead actress contenders year after year, but that is not the case this year.

I am excited that their appears to be only three locks in this category this year, and there are two spots that could go to anyone.  We could have an actress who is a double nominee if voters change placement.  This is a rare club, and the last two women to attain this were Julianne Moore in 2002 for Far from Heaven, and The Hours, and Cate Blanchett in 2007 for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and I'm Not There. 8 women have done this, so this is a rare club.  4 of those women won trophies those years.  3 of the women won in Supporting, and Holly Hunt for The Piano was the only person to win in Lead.  The last time one of the female double nominees won was in 1993, that was Hunter.

Only three men have been double nominees in one year, and of course all of them won their respective years.

Will Alicia Vikander be a double nominee?  I hope so; she is fantastic.

2013

Three of the five women in this category were nominated the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA, they were: Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock in Gravity, and Judi Dench in Philomena.  Emma Thompson was another person who was nominated at all of the shows, but was snubbed at the Oscars.  Saving Mr. Banks did not get a lot of attention, and Thompson seemed to be one of the only things people paid attention to this year.

The fourth and fifth slots went to Amy Adams for American Hustle who showed up at the Globes and BAFTA, but not SAG.  I blame the late release. Streep was nominated at the Globes and SAG, but snubbed at BAFTA,   I predicted all five because I knew there would be lots of Hustle support, and knew they would not snub Streep in a campy over the top performance.

2014

This year had four women who showed up at the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA, they were: Julianne Moore in Still Alice, Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl, Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything, and Reese Witherspoon in Wild.

Jennifer Anniston was nominated at the Globes and SAG, while Amy Adams was nominated at the Globes and BAFTA in that fifth spot.  Last year I predicted they would ride the Aniston train, but I should have gone with my hunch for the well respected Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night.

2015

This year there are three locks for nominations: Brie Larson in Room, Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, and Cate Blanchett in Carol.  All three of them have shown up in the Lead Actress category at the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA.

SAG threw a huge wrench in this year's predictions picking Helen Mirren for The Woman in Gold and Sarah Silverman for I Smile Back.  I do not think either have any chance of being nominated at the Oscars.  BAFTA put Maggie Smith for The Lady in the Van in fifth; she has a stronger chance than Mirren and Silverman, but I think this is a Brits voting for Brits vote.

BAFTA nominated Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl in lead, the same thing happened at the Globes, she was stuck in her pre-determined supporting category at SAG, so she showed at all three places.  I have Vikander in supporting for Ex Machina, and I think she will be the twelfth performer to get double nominations in one year. This hunch comes from support across the board for this performance.

So who gets the fifth spot?  Jennifer Lawrence being snubbed at SAG and BAFTA could a sign that they are not going to name check her like older respected actresses.  Charlize Theron in Mad Max scored a nomination at Critics Choice, but it does not seem like a film they would honor with an acting nomination.  Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years also made a showing at the Critics Choice, and I could see her getting a nomination too.  So I am going to throw a dart in the air like Globe voters and....

My Predictions
1-Brie Larson-Room
2-Saoirse Ronan-Brooklyn
3-Cate Blanchett-Carol
4-Alicia Vikander-The Danish Girl
5-Jennifer Lawrence-Joy





Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Oscar Best Director Predictions (2016)

The Director's Guild Award nominations were released today, and I am proud to say that I predicted all five nominees this year.  I am particularly proud of myself for seeing switching out Todd Haynes for Adam McKay (I would have preferred Haynes).  This is not the final say in who goes on to be nominated at the Oscars this Thursday.

2013

Throughout the 2013 Oscar season there were four men who showed up at the Globes, BAFTA, and DGA: Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity, Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave, David O. Russell for American Hustle, and Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips.  These four men appeared to be locks for nominations, I predicted all four of them, but Greengrass was left at the Oscars.  BAFTA nominated Phillips for nine awards, while the Oscars nominated the film for 6.  Hanks and Greengrass being excluded at the Oscars is still baffling.

The Globes fifth person was Alexander Payne for Nebraska, but did not score a nomination at BAFTA or the DGA.  The fifth person at the DGA, and BAFTA was Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street who I had in fifth for my predictions that year.  I am surprised Payne made it in over Greengrass because Phillips feels more like a directorial achievement than Nebraska.

2014

Throughout the 2014 Oscar season there were 3 contenders who showed up at every award show: Richard Linklater for Boyhood, Alejandro G. Inaritu for Birdman, and Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The Golden Globes picked the two best fourth and fifth spots David Fincher for Gone Girl, and Ava DuVernay for Selma. BAFTA picked Damien Chazelle for Whiplash, and James Marsh for The Theory of Everything.  DGA picked Morten Tyldum for Imitation Game, and Clint Eastwood for American Sniper.  Of these six different director's only Tyldum went on to be nominated at the Oscars.

The fifth spot went to Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher; he had no precursor nominations, much like Bradley Cooper in Best Actor last year.  When predicting last year I went with Chazelle and DuVernay in my fourth and fifth spots.  I assumed the love for Whiplash, especially at BAFTA helped, and was hopeful DuVernay would make history.  I should have put Tyldum in fifth.

2015

Will Todd Haynes be the director to bump someone out with support from the Globes and BAFTA? It's possible, but who?  Does Carol a small intimate film win out over George Miller's direction for Mad Max like in 2013.

Haynes has a strong chance at nomination, and I would put Steven Spielberg in this category too. Both of these men showed up at BAFTA.  Haynes is ranked higher for me, but never underestimate Spielberg.

Could someone pull a Bennett Miller this year? If so who? F. Gary Gray from Straight Outta Compton could be this person, his film has lots of Guild support, and seems well liked, but he is not a previous Oscar nominee like Miller; he was nominated for Capote, and directed Best Picture nominee Moneryball.

If someone is the surprise nominee, I think Grey is a good bet, but I could also see Ryan Coogler getting a nomination for Creed, that film surged at the right time with Oscar voting, and could be a bigger contender than we expect.

The one thing I am hesitant about this year, is that DGA and the Oscars have only matched 3 times since 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2009.  Is this the year it happens again, or do they miss the mark on one or two people?  This may change but I am thinking the smaller body of voting directors pick Haynes for Carol over Miller, both deserve to make the cut.

My Predictions 
1-Ridley Scott-The Martian 
2-Adam McKay-The Big Short 
3-Alejandro G. Inaritu-The Revenant
4-Tom McCarthy-Spotlight
5-Todd Haynes-Carol

Monday, January 11, 2016

Oscar Best Supporting Actor Predictions (2016)

This year's Supporting Actor Oscar category has at least ten strong contenders, the most I have seen since I started following the Oscars back in 1995 (happy twenty year anniversary to me).

I will be honest, these predictions are more of a complete shot in the dark. There may be one, or two people who are safe for a nomination.

I think the best part of this category is that most of the contenders are genuine supporting characters in their film, or part of an ensemble, which puts no one in a true lead position.

2013

This was the year only two men were nominated at the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA, but we knew someone else was going to win the Oscar. Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave and Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips (won BAFTA) were the two men who were nominated for all three awards prior to the Oscars. Jared Leto miss out at BAFTA, which snubbed Dallas Buyers' Club completely but he won the Globe and SAG.

Bradley Cooper appeared to be another obvious choice for his turn in another David O. Russell film, but he was snubbed at SAG.  SAG went with posthumous nomination for James Gandolfini in Enough Said.  American Hustle love was strong, so it was easy to predict Bradley Cooper would be along for the ride.

Gandolfini never appeared to be a serious contender, but Daniel Bruhl in Rush was nominated at the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA  should have been a nominee based on statistics.  I had him in my fifth spot.  The big surprise was that Jonah Hill who had no other nominations for The Wolf of Wall Street earned his second Oscar nomination.

In a year like this there could be another actor who has not been nominated for anything who could sneak into a spot.

2014

Last year was an easier year to predict, the Globes and SAG each nominated the same five men. Carell was nominated in supporting at BAFTA, and replaced Robert DuVall in The Judge.

I predicted a Carell Oscar nomination in Supporting thinking The Judge did not have the support, never underestimate the veteran factor, especially with someone like DuVall.

2015

This year there are two men who have been nominated at the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA, they are Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies, and Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation.  I think these two are safe bets, but would rank Rylance higher because Elba may Beasts lone nomination.

Christian Bale technically has nominations at all three too, but his Globe nomination was in the Lead Actor in a Comedy category, I think he is a safe bet, and would rank him third.

The next two spots are anyone's guess, so here is where it gets tougher.SAG and the Globes went for Michael Shannon in 99 Homes (SAG is all that matters here).  This would logically make him a strong guess for a spot; he did score a nomination back in 2008 for Revolutionary Road.  I am not sold on this one.

Paul Dano in Love and Mercy got a Globe nomination, which means the least. Sylvester Stallone has received only a Globe nomination, and he won, but he was a no show at SAG, and BAFTA.  Stallone showing on Thursday is a possibility, much like Christoph Waltz, in Django Unchained, but Waltz got a BAFTA nomination and won that year.  Since none of the Globe voters, vote in the Oscars that seems telling.

Jacob Trembley in Room got the remaining SAG spot, which has more weight, and is possible, Mark Ruffalo and Benicio Del Torro took up the fourth and fifth spots at BAFTA. Could Michael Keaton or Tom Hardy be this year's Jonah Hill?  Bet you never thought you would hear that sentence.

Rylance, Elba, and Bale are the strong bets, appear to be the safest.  I think Shannon is out, his nomination at SAG is helpful, but not enough.  Jacob Trembley showing up at SAG was a pleasant surprise, and he is amazing in the film; he has a strong chance at a nomination.

I think the Oscars and BAFTA may line up exactly, which bodes well for Ruffalo but that has never happened in this category. Of the two other men nominated at BAFTA,  I think Mark Ruffalo has the stronger chance, Spotlight will likely have support, and at least one acting nomination. Del Torro only has BAFTA, but the support for this film has consistently increased.  Could Sicario be this year's Nightcrawler, a film we overestimate because of Guild support?

Yesterday I had del Torro, but I think he will be like Rene Russo snubbed.  I think the fourth spot goes to Ruffalo; he is well liked, and the fifth spot will go to Stallone, but it has nothing to do with his Globe win.

My Predictions
1-Mark Rylance-Bridge of Spies
2-Idris Elba-Beasts of No Nation
3-Christian Bale-The Big Short
4-Mark Ruffalo-Spotlight
5-Sylvester Stallone-Creed 

Oscar Predictions Best Supporting Actress (2016)

This may be the most open category, because of "category fraud."  This happens from time to time, but this year it leaves a lot of question marks on the table.  The Golden Globes categorized Rooney Mara in Carol, and Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl in lead, they did at least one smart thing this year.  Both are being campaigned in supporting.

I think if you put the true supporting actresses in this category, you would have some great nominees, like Elizabeth Banks in Love & Mercy, Joan Allen in Room or even Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina, two of these actually have the potential to happen.

Bear in mind over the last two years this category has remained consistent across the board, but this year is a whole different game here.

2013

In 2013 there were six different contenders throughout the Golden Globes, SAG, and BAFTA: Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle, Lupita N'yongo in 12 Years a Slave, Julia Roberts in August: Osage County, Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine, June Squibb in Nebraska, and Oprah in The Butler.

Oprah was the predicted winner for a long time, by many, but The Butler never found its footing; she was nominated at SAG, and BAFTA, but missed out on the Oscar nomination to one of the other five. This was an easier year to predict, although I believe I had Hawkins getting snubbed.  In the end I should have predicted her because Blue Jasmine has more love, it received three nominations.

2014

Last year was a bit tougher, especially since Laura Dern's nomination came out of no precursor attention, besides maybe a few smaller critics groups. There were three consistent nominees at the Golden Globes, SAG, and BAFTA, they were: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood (eventual Oscar winner), Keira Knightly for The Imitation Game (yawn), and Emma Stone for Birdman.

These three performers were set in stone, they were all part of strong Best Picture contenders, so predicting them made sense. Meryl Streep missed out at BAFTA, but the Oscars rarely miss a chance to nominate her, and her singing was better than Mamma Mia! so she was a good bet.

The fifth nominees was a tough call, Jessica Chastain made scored a nomination the Globes for A Most Violent Year, Naomi Watts got a SAG nomination for St. Vincent (still do not understand why it was not for Birdman), and Rene Russo got a BAFTA nomination for Nightcrawler.

My prediction for the fifth spot was Russo, it seemed like Gylenhaal was getting into lead actor, and maybe Nightcrawler would show up in Best Picture because of the guild support.  Enter Laura Dern's surprise nomination.  Dern has a lot of respect, and it should have been in more predictions.  The Oscars do admire people, and this should be something to pay attention to this Thursday, and when making your predictions.

2015

So what happens this year?  So far the most consistent nominee in this specific category is Kate Winslet, and I actually had her placed number one to get a nomination before her Globe win (I swear); she is one of the few locks in this category.

Alicia Vikander is going to get a nomination in this category; she was nominated at Globes and BAFTA for Ex Machina, and for The Danish Girl at SAG.  I think Vikander will be a double nominee like at the Globes and BAFTA; she will show in supporting for Ex Machina at the Oscars.

I think Rooney Mara is in third, the only group to place her in lead, is the Globes; she was nominated in supporting at SAG, and BAFTA, that is telling.  I think she will show up here.

I have Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight in fourth; she showed up at the Globes and BAFTA, although she did not know show up at SAG.  I do not think voters saw the film in enough time, or she would have shown up.

The fifth spot is a toss up.  Leading the pack in this toss up spot is Helen Mirren, she was nominated at the Globes, and SAG, but snubbed at BAFTA. I was a bit shocked a Brit like Mirren was snubbed here, especially since Cranston showed up, so she is vulnerable.  I am ranking her highest, on name and prestige factor alone.  After Mirren comes Rachel McAdams, who was nominated at SAG, so she still has a shot.  This fifth spot could also be a Laura Dern, oh wow, nomination, like last year.  If that is the case I could see Joan Allen from Room; she has three previous Oscar nominations, watch out for her!

My Predictions
1-Kate Winslet-Steve Jobs
2-Alicia Vikander-Ex Machina (or The Danish Girl but that is a cheat)
3-Rooney Mara-Carol
4-Jennifer Jason Leigh-The Hateful Eight
5-Helen Mirren-Trumbo



Sunday, January 10, 2016

Transphobia at the Golden Globes (Who Cares What People Wear)

I like jokes, I am sometimes politically incorrect, and irreverent, I try to strike a balance.While many will highlight who wore it best, who won, or who gave the best speech, I am going to dive into something a little bit different, transphobia.

I know comedy is irreverent too, especially Ricky Gervais style of comedy, I love the UK version of The Office, which is the only funny thing he has done, sorry Derek was absolute garbage.  Gervais had some excellent jokes about the pay gap for men and women, they were tongue and cheek, and he pointed out something in a clever way.

Every joke he told about trans folk just went blue, they were cheap shots about Caitlyn Jenner going through a lot of changes, or a joke about the fact that she identified as woman, and her driving skills.  I watched with a group of friends, and we all have a pretty open mind to humor, especially with identity politics.  I think the problem, or the transphobia in his jokes, and the jokes I have seen in other award show play wrong and awkward because the folks telling the joke don't get what Trans means.

Right after the Caitlyn Jenner jokes, Gervais moved into talking about Jeffrey Tambor and his role on Transparent, mostly wondering about his appearance, and the clothes he wears in the show, and talking about whether he tucks his balls back.  Tambor was not impressed, based on his facial expressions, and neither was I.  Gervais was trying to get him to crack a smile, but his face was proving that Gervais was trying too hard to be funny, with something that was not, and just proved himself less talented.

Gervais threw out one of two jokes about Eddie Redmayne who starred in The Danish Girl, which delves into the world transgender pioneer Lili Elbe.  When he announced Redmayne to present the award he called him "the actress taking Hollywood by storm" then interrupted himself and said "it's a dude?"

One of the problems is that Gervais wants to pretend that he is "edgy."  To quote Louis Vertel "Ricky Gervais is as edgy as your friend who laughs at his own Cards Against Humanity plays." Not only did the winners of this show feel like the voters threw things at a dart board. The jokes from Gervais, especially about the transgender community felt the same way.

I do not identify as Trans, and my pronouns are he/his/him so I am speaking from a place of privlege, about a story that is not my own, but it is my goal to be an ally, and I want to challenge folks to think about this show, and the delivery of these jokes. Does making a joke about someone changing their gender or as most comedians put it "chopping off their balls" make you laugh?

Why do people think these jokes are topical? In the book "Whipping Girl Julia Serano states this transphobia stems from "oppositional sexism", the belief that male and female are "rigid, mutually exclusive categories, each possessing a unique and nonoverlapping set of attributes, aptitudes, abilities, and desires." Serano contrasts "oppositional sexism with "traditional sexism", the belief that males and masculinity are superior to females and femininity. Furthermore, she writes that transphobia is fueled by insecurities people have about gender and gender norms."

Do I think Gervais is thinking about any of this when writing his jokes? Hard no.  I do not think he is smart enough. I am sure we will get many male comedians, and maybe some women after this talking about how the PC police were after Gervais.  The problem is these comments lead to fear, hatred, and misunderstanding of a community.  Gervais was tacky not edgy, and I can say that with certainty, time to grow up, and try a new shtick

Oscar Predictions Best Lead Actor (2016)

This year Best Actor seems to have three safe bets, and like within every other category, four or five other contenders jockeying for those fourth and fifth positions.  Many pundits/bloggers/critics are citing this as the weakest Best Actor competition in years.  This diminishes a lot of performances which are not being considered as major contenders like Christopher Abbott in James White, Jason Segel in The End of the Tour, and many more.

In the last two years BAFTA and SAG have never matched perfectly with the Lead Actor Oscar category.

2013

This was probably the most competitive Best Actor race, I have seen in the 10s, in regard to viable nominees, the winner eventually became an easy prediction.

When predicting these awards two years ago there were six very strong candidates, all of them showed up at the Globes, only McConaughey missed out at BAFTA, and DiCaprio missed out at SAG, because of the film's later release.

The locks for this race were Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers' Club, Bruce Dern for Nebraska and Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave. When predicting I had Tom Hanks ranked fourth, and DiCaprio ranked fifth (yes I have an archive on this).  Christian Bale in American Hustle ended up bumping Hanks, the stronger love for American Hustle (which went on to lose all of its Oscar nominations) in the acting branch helped secure his nomination over Hanks.

2014

There were 3 men who showed up consistently the Globes (which really do not matter), BAFTA, and SAG.  They were Eddie Redmayne (who won the Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and the Oscar) Michael Keaton (who won the Globe), and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The person everyone underestimated, namely because of category confusion was Steve Carell; he was nominated at the Globes, and SAG in lead, and at BAFTA in supporting.  His nomination made a ton of sense, the film also did well on nomination day.

Jake Gyllenhaal was nominated the Globes, BAFTA, and SAG; he seemed like a lock, but he was bumped by the late breaking strength of Bradley Cooper in American Sniper.  Cooper was predicted by some, but not many, especially since he received an Oscar nomination with no other precursor.

2015

Are there any late breaking phenomena like American Sniper? That would be Star Wars, but there is no potential acting nomination here.  Michael B. Jordan could be that person, but Creed has done what American Sniper did at the Guilds, and BAFTA, so I think he is out.  The person who could fit this mold is Steve Carell in The Big Short.  While Carell does have a Globe nomination, he has not shown up anywhere else.  The Big Short has a ton of love, and is showing up everywhere, including doing well at SAG, and fantastic at BAFTA. 

Is there anyone like Bale in American Hustle, who can push out a Tom Hanks? Namely is there an actor in a film the actors love and honor it with four acting nominations, or at least more than two?  I think if Michael Keaton had bumped up to lead this would be him, possibly, but there are no films which will recieve more than two Oscar nominations this year.

So who are the locks this year? Leonardo Dicaprio in The Revenant, Bryan Cranston in Trumbo, and Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl.  These three are locked into place.

Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs, seems like an obvious lock for that fourth spot; he is nominated the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA.  The one problem I have with this nomination is that it feels like the film does not have the love or attention you would expect, including missing out on SAG ensemble.  At the moment, and statistically he makes the most sense to get a nomination

Matt Damon would seem be fifth, he is the front runner for the Globes, although, I think they may pick Bale or Carell.  Damon and The Martian were snubbed by SAG, I was not shocked by the ensemble snub, but I was surprised Damon did not make the cut; Depp made it in over him. Damon's misfortune changed at BAFTA, he made their Best Actor list while The Martian was snubbed in Best Picture, this shows his performance has support.  I also think The Martian will be a top tier contender this year, and like Gravity (Bullock) he will be rewarded with a nomination.

On the movie star front Johnny Depp for Black Mass, and Will Smith for Concussion are on many lists to make the cut.  I think the one problem is their films have no other support, besides these two performances.  Black Mass may show up in Best Make-Up, but nowhere else.  Most of the time when a movie star shows up here their films get one or two more nominations including a screenplay nomination, like Denzel in Flight, which reieved a Best Original Screenplay nomination.  There are only a few performances that get a lone nomination like Demian Bichir for A Better Life (2011), but those are rare, which I think rules out Smith.  Depp has an outside shot in sixth or seventh.

I think in the end Damon and Carell are my final picks for spots four and five.  I think The Martian and The Big Short will have enough support to boost up their likely nominations.  I think Fassbender is a strong threat.

My Predictions
1-Leonardo DiCaprio-The Revenant
2-Bryan Cranston-Trumbo
3-Eddie Redmayne-The Danish Girl
4-Matt Damon-The Martian 
5-Michael Fassbender-Steve Jobs

Update: Carell is the 6th man here, the spoiler, but the Oscar voters do not pay attention to box office (never have) and Steve Jobs is just the kind of film they like.