oscars1920It’s that time of the year again when cinephiles all over the globe devote many sleepless nights marathoning on last year’s best films, when hashtag frenzy grips social media, when the who’s who of Hollywood cram the Dolby Theatre, LA and poses for the shutterbugs and when pizzas are distributed ‘Degeneres’-ly. As the countdown for the year’s most anticipated and prestigious award ceremony has officially begun, we give you a sneak-peak of some of the most prominent films and performances of 2015 which are expected to lock horns and win big at the 88th Academy Awards this Sunday.

The Revenant

1401x788-the-revenant-DF-02339R_rgb-1200x675DiCaprio fans throughout the world are almost betting their lives on this year’s Oscar for what is believed to be the year which should rightfully break the jinx and get Leonardo his maiden Academy Award in respect to his remarkable performance in director Alejandro Iñárritu’s survival drama The Revenant. With the highest total of 12 nominations, including Best Film, Best Actor and Best Direction, The Revenant is predicted to emerge as the biggest showrunner followed by Mad Max: Fury Road with 10 nominations.

Spotlight

spotlight-one-sheet-11Set in the early 2000s, Spotlight is a biographical drama film revolving around a team of investigative journalists probing into the allegations brought against the delinquency of the Church. Along with Revenant and The Big Short, Spotlight is another major contender for bagging the Best Film statuette this year. Featuring impressive performances from last year’s Best Actor Oscar nominee Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams in the supporting cast, Spotlight is leading the race with maximum odds in favor of it.

The Big Short

maxresdefaultWith a star cast as alluring as a spread of Christmas appetizers, The Big Short is another film which registered considerable buzz with its release. Starring Hollywood bigwigs like Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell and themed around the financial crisis of mid-2000s, this film can be a potential threat to the winning streak of Revenant and Spotlight. Christian Bale is a prominent choice for the Supporting Actor Oscar apart from Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight and Tom Hardy for The Revenant. However, the stiffest competition in the Supporting Actor category is sure to arrive from Sylvester Stallone (nominated for the film Creed) since the Academy has a thing for fairytale style closure and hence can bestow the honour to the veteran underdog.

The Danish Girl

danish-girlAfter his critically acclaimed and Oscar winning performance in the Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything last year, the 34 year old, freckle-faced actor outdid himself as a transgender man in the 2015 biographical film, The Danish Girl. Despite receiving mixed reviews from the critics, Eddie Redmayne is sure to give the other contenders in the Best Actor category a run for their money. Alicia Vikander who played his better half in the film is also a strong runner for the Best Supporting Actress trophy.

Room

roomroom-xlargeWith this year’s Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics Choice and Screen Actors Guild Award already to her name, Brie Larson is the undisputed frontrunner for the Best Actress Oscar for her breathtaking and inspiring performance as a distraught, single mother in the film Room. Despite big names like Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence also eying for the Lead Actress trophy, it will be surprising to see Brie returning home empty-handed. Room also has a high chance of nailing the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

Bridge of Spies

5825240.jpg-r_x_600-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxxIt’s a given that whenever Tom Hanks collaborates with Stephen Spielberg, something phenomenal happens. From Saving Private Ryan to Bridge of spies, this celebrated director-actor duo has come a really long way. With a total of 6 nominations including Best Film, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mark Rylance, this historical spy thriller is an undeniable dark horse in the Oscar race.

The Martian

The-Martian-DamonFrom director Ridley Scott, whose films are known for their visual extravaganza, comes a space fiction which has wooed both the audience and critics so much so that it has placed itself as one of the 8 nominees for the Best Film Oscar. Even though it is a less popular choice in the acting category but The Martian is a probable winner for most of the technical awards.

Carol

carolbarWith power packed performances from the versatile Cate Blanchett in the lead and Rooney Mara in supporting, Carol is another film to look out for in the acting awards on the night of February 28. Adapted from the acclaimed novel, ‘Price of Salt’ exploring the state of homosexual love in the 1950s, Carol is one of those films where individual performances outshines the strength of the film.

Steve Jobs

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 8.09.16 PMThough this anticipated biographical on the Apple overlord failed to be as exciting as it was supposed to be, the film did comprise some brilliant individual performances, the most noteworthy of which are Michael Fassbender in the lead and Kate Winslet in supporting. Even though the odds are pretty low for Fassbender for the Best Actor Oscar, but after her Golden Globe win this year, Kate is hard on heels to bag her second Academy Award since her win for the 2008 film, The Reader.

Sanjay’s Super Team

635713951832537854-XXX-SANJAYS-SUPER-TEAM-T10-3DCS.SEL16.RGB.227-DCB-74209668It’s very likely for us Indians to always look out for the Indian connect in the Academy Awards every year and this year wasn’t an exception as well. California-born Indian director Sanjay Patel’s debut directorial is 7 minute animated short film which is a strong contender for the said category in the 88th Oscars.

The full list of nominations are here as follows:

Best Picture
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Room”
“Spotlight”

Best Director
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

Best Original Screenplay
“Bridge of Spies”
“Ex Machina”
“Inside Out”
“Spotlight”
“Straight Outta Compton”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Big Short”
“Brooklyn”
“Carol”
“The Martian”
“Room”

Best Foreign Film
“Embrace of the Serpent”
“Mustang”
“Son of Saul”
“Theeb”
“A War”

Best Documentary Feature
“Amy”
“Cartel Land”
“The Look of Silence”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

Best Animated Feature
“Anomalisa”
“Boy and the World”
“Inside Out”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”
“When Marnie Was There”

Best Film Editing
“The Big Short”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”
“Spotlight”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Song
“Fifty Shades of Grey”
“Racing Extinction”
“Spectre”
“The Hunting Ground”
“Youth”

Best Original Score
“Bridge of Spies”
“Carol”
“The Hateful Eight”
“Sicario”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Digital Effects
“Ex Machina”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Cinematography
“Carol”
“The Hateful Eight”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”
“Sicario”

Best Costume Design
“Carol”
“Cinderella”
“The Danish Girl”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”
“The Revenant”

Best Production Design
“Bridge of Spies”
“The Danish Girl”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”

Best Sound Editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Sicario”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Sound Mixing
“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Best Short Film, Live Action
“Ave Maria”
“Day One”
“Everything Will Be Okay”
“Shok”
“Stutterer”

Best Short Film, Animated
“Bear Story”
“Prologue”
“Sanjay’s Super Team”
“We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”
“World of Tomorrow”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“Body Team 12”
“Chau, Beyond the Lines”
“Claude Lanzmann”
“A Girl in the River”
“Last Day of Freedom”

The 88th Academy Awards, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and hosted by Chris Rock, is scheduled to take place on February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST and will be telecasted live in India from 5:30 a.m. IST.