Last Oscar-race was an exciting one, to say the least. When you don’t know who is going to win Best Picture till the time the envelope is opened on-stage, it sure is a sign of a close finish of the race. A race in which two films were in the battle ground right till the end with supporters of each film divided right in the middle. Irrespective of which film ultimately got crowned as winner, the excitement that the race provided was a win in itself for Oscar followers like us. Whether we will see another ‘Birdman’ vs ‘Boyhood’ like fight this year is anybody’s guess. Usually, the way Oscar-race shapes up with plenty of pre-cursor awards before the actual ceremony, the final Oscar winners, in most cases, remain just a formality. With that said, the interesting part of this year Oscar-race (i.e. next year’s Oscars) has been the fact that some of the winners of the last Oscars are emerging very strongly again. Just to recap, the winners of the top 4 categories + Cinematography were —
Best Picture: Alejandro G. Iñárritu and James W. Skotchdopole (Birdman)
Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Best Actress: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman)
Now, if you look at our Oscar predictions — which will be updated soon — you will realize that all these winners are in the race again for this year. And not only in the race, but also, at the forefront of the race. Things can rapidly change once the movies actually get seen, but with the talents involved, one can hardly discount them. So, let’s take a closer look at how is it possible that we can have the same Oscar winners in 5 categories in next year’s Oscars as the last.
First up are ‘The Revenant’ and Alejandro G. Iñárritu. ‘Birdman’ may have been an unlikely Oscar winner, but ‘The Revenant’, if it wins, will be considered anything but unlikely — unexpected may be, but surely not unlikely. ‘The Revenant’ has everything that Academy likes to reward: grand scale, revenge drama, lavish settings, and a major actor at the center of it all. If you watched the recently released trailer, you surely know what I am talking about. So, it is every bit possible that ‘The Revenant’ and Alejandro G. Iñárritu end up winning Best Picture and Best Director respectively. And if somehow this does ends up happening, this will be a feat that has never been achieved before. No producer-director has ever won back-to-back both Best Picture and Best Director awards. John Ford, back in 1940 and 1941 did win back-to-back directing Oscars, but he didn’t win Best Picture twice in a row. Therefore, the biggest obstacle that Iñárritu might have to face could very well be the Oscars history itself. He did beat history and several records when he won for Birdman. But can he do it again ?
Now, let’s turn our attention to Eddie Redmayne, who some thought stole the Oscar away from Michael Keaton. If you thought Redmayne already achieved his acting pinnacle in playing Stephen Hawkins, then think again. He is taking up another equally, if not more so, challenging part in ‘The Danish Girl’, where he plays a real life transgender artist Einar Wegener. And if the buzz is to be believed, Redmayne is brilliant again. With all the conversation surrounding the LGBT movement, ‘The Danish Girl’ might be able to capture the zeitgeist, ultimately benefiting Redmayne.
Julliane Moore, who after years and years of neglect from the Academy, was finally able to win for ‘Still Alice’, which many felt was not the right film or the perfect performance to reward her for. This year, she is back again with ‘Freeheld’ — a LGBT centric drama once again — where she plays a lesbian police offer, Laurel Hester. One look at the trailer, and you realize that she has a very strong part in the film and a chunk of heavy emotional scenes — a perfect recipe for acting winners. If this turns out to be lightweight year for female actors, Moore might have quite a good shot at winning again. And believe me, not many in Hollywood would really mind giving her two Oscars considering her stature, and the respect that she enjoys among her peers.
Finally, Emmanuel Lubezki. What shall we say ? He is a genius. And if The Revenant goes all the way, rest be assured Lubezki won’t be left behind. He’s an integral part of ‘Birdman’. There’s no question he will also be an integral part of ‘The Revenant’.
To sum up, don’t be shocked if the following result happens at the next year Oscars:
Best Picture: Alejandro G. Iñárritu and James W. Skotchdopole (The Revenant)
Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant)
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
Best Actress: Julianne Moore (Freeheld)
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)
I am not saying this is going to happen. I am just saying there is good likelihood of this happening.