We take a look at the 2016 Oscar contenders and evaluate who could, should, and might take home the coveted gold statues
Who Should Win: Spotlight
The film deserves all the acclaim its been given, by virtue of its weighty subject matter alone.
Who Will Win: The Revenant
The last time a Golden Globe winner also won the Academy Awards was back in 2013 with 12 Years a Slave, and The Revenant is set to repeat that.
The Darkhorse: The Martian
Science fiction films are often neglected in the category, but with the Academy loosening up with the genre in the past few years, the film might stand a chance.
Who Should Win: Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
A huge reason for Spotlight’s critical acclaim is that McCarthy, together with Josh Singer, spent years researching the story. Now that’s a dedicated director.
Who Will Win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
A timely win, first-time nominee Miller deserves the honor for both creating the Mad Max franchise and reviving it for the next.
The Darkhorse: Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
The last time a director won two straight years was in the 50s, and Iñárritu has a chance of repeating that thanks to his use of natural lighting.
Who Should Win: Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Fassbender’s nomination and possible win should come as no surprise, his portrayal given additional weight by Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant screenplay.
Who Will Win: Leonardo di Caprio, The Revenant
The golden statue has evaded di Caprio for years now, but this win is a given. Well, shit, now he has everything.
The Darkhorse: Matt Damon, The Martian
“Troubled math genius” was good, but “stranded astronaut” might be even better, giving Damon a shot at redemption.
Who Should Win: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
With this fascinating period drama relying heavily on the performance of Ronan, it’s clear that she should be the front-runner for an Oscar.
Who Will Win: Brie Larson, Room
Larson alone is a force to be reckoned with, but her performance draws its power from her on-screen rapport with child actor Jacob Tremblay.
The Darkhorse: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Despite her win at the Golden Globes, Lawrence’s chance at winning an Oscar this year is slim—especially since she’s up against Larson and Ronan.
Best Supporting Actor
Who Should Win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Stallone’s chances are mathematically high coming from his win at the Golden Globes, which would make this his first win for a spin-off
Who Will Win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Botox aside, Sly deserves this one after losing as Rocky Balboa to an extremely tough list of nominees back in 1977.
The Darkhorse: Mark Rylance, Bride of Spies
Don’t just chalk it up to experience—Rylance was lucky to have played an interesting historical figure turned well-made character.
Best Supporting Actress
Who Should Win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Matching Fassbender’s performance, Winslet is very likely to win this one despite it being “too early” for her second Oscar.
Who Will Win: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
With a focused push towards Best Supporting Actress instead of Best Actress, Vikander deserves the win for her exceptional performance.
The Darkhorse: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
While Leigh is clearly outgunned by her peers, her role has garnered several nominations, making her a sleeper in the category.
Best Foreign Language Film
Who Should Win: Son of Saul (Hungary)
This dark and harrowing film about life in Auschwitz has been leading the race with several Foreign category wins, which makes it highly likely to win an Oscar.
Who Will Win: Son of Saul (Hungary)
With more than a dozen nominations along with nine wins (and counting), Son of Saul clearly overshadows the competition.
The Darkhorse: Mustang (France)
This category is often erratic, which gives Mustang, a drama about five young orphaned sisters, a possible shot at winning.