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Dunham: Five last-minute Oscar predictions

Tonight, Hollywood stars will flock to the red carpet. Some will go home with a coveted golden statuette, and others won’t. Here are film critic Patrick Dunham’s predictions for the 2016 Oscars in five major categories:

Best Picture: Spotlight

Spotlight will win this category because it utilized the power of cinema to broadcast a vital story and give it attention that it wouldn’t have otherwise garnered. The film is precisely how objective and precise newspaper journalism should be: curt, simple, yet effective. Although The Revenant was a tour de force and a strong contender for Best Picture, Spotlight will resonate tremendously more for its critically important reflection on the exposé of the long-lasting horrors that many Catholic priests have been found guilty for.

Actor in Leading Role: Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs

Michael Fassbender has had an extraordinary year: his work on Steve Jobs as well as Macbeth and Slow West remains as some of his most powerful roles. Having just rewatched Steve Jobs last night I am confident that, despite Leonardo DiCaprio’s virtuosity in his performance in The Revenant — not to mention his suffering for the role — Fassbender will snag DiCaprio’s inaugural accolade from the Academy. Fassbender’s devotion to encapsulating the tyrannical, heartless megalomaniac who planted the seed of ubiquitous technology is breathtaking, and it’s a shame that Aaron Sorkin’s sharp script isn’t a nominee for either the adapted or original writing category.

Actress in Leading Role: Brie Larson for Room

Brie Larson has already won not only a Golden Globe but also a BAFTA for this role. There’s no doubt she will sweep up the Oscar, too. She gave the strongest performance of all of the nominees, superseding even Cate Blanchett for Carol. Despite the category’s strong contenders, Larson will reign for the prestigious figurine.

Animated Feature: Inside Out

Disney’s deeply original, insightful feature Inside Out is a shoe-in for this category, rivaling only Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa. The former will usurp the prize for its incredibly intricate world, which is placed inside a little girl’s head: all of the characters dynamically function as her emotions. It is a profound interpretation of the diverse world within the brain and was far more insightful and deserving of this prize than Anomalisa’s melancholy, hopeless commentary on the technologically-saturated world that we inhabit.

Original Screenplay: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy for Spotlight

Spotlight will shine through again in this category for its uncommonly real screenplay, one based on real peoples’ stories and issues. Ex Machina is also a strong contender for its place amongst the zeitgeist: films such as Her and Chappie have banked on their contemporary takes on what is now possible with technology. The dialogue launches the viewer right into semi-modern-day Boston, evenly and objectively portraying such a controversial story with finesse.

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