Academy Awards 2016: Predictions, Snubs, and Controversy

There are only 23 days left until the Academy Awards, the biggest awards show for filmmakers that recognizes the year’s brightest achievements in motion pictures.

There are many talented people in each category this year to make it difficult to determine who truly deserves the golden statue. While not completely certain, these are my personal predictions for most of the categories this year:

Best Picture:

“The Revenant”

Best Director:

Alejandro G. Iñárritu - “The Revenant”

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Leonardo DiCaprio - “The Revenant”

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Chris Rock hosts the 88th Academy Awards

Chris Rock hosts the 88th Academy Awards

Brie Larson - “Room”

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Sylvester Stallone - “Creed”

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

Kate Winslet - “Steve Jobs”

Best Animated Feature:

“Inside Out”

Best Cinematography:

“The Revenant”

Best Film Editing:

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Visual Effects:

“Ex Machina”

Best Original Score:

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Original Song:

“Writing’s on the Wall”

Best Original Screenplay:

“Inside Out”

Best Adapted Screenplay:

“The Martian”

Like every year for the Oscars, there are bound to be snubs, and this year is no exception. For best picture, the Academy lets up to 10 movies be nominated, and this year only has eight leaving out “Creed”, “Inside Out”, “Straight Outta Compton”, and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Highly acclaimed writers Quentin Tarantino (“The Hateful Eight”) and Aaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”) were left out of the writing categories.

Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo weren’t nominated for their performances in “Spotlight” and Tom Hanks (“Bridge of Spies”) is once again absent.

Even with the normal snub discussions that occur during every Academy Awards show, the conversation this year is the lack of diversity within the categories. This isn’t the first year that this topic has been brought up, but this year has stars like Will and Jada Pinkett Smith are actually boycotting the awards show altogether.

It is true that this year's nominees are all white people and many actors of different races/cultures were excluded such as Michael B. Jordan and Jason Mitchell. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith sent out a video stating she will not be attending or watching the award show this year.

In her video, Pinkett Smith states, “Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power. And we are a dignified people, and we are powerful, so let's let the Academy do them, with all grace and love. And let's do us, differently."

While she had good intentions and it makes for a great discussion, what she is saying is hypocritical by stating that begging to be shown acknowledgment takes away respect because she is still asking the academy to acknowledge the different races at their awards. Diversity is necessary, but her way of addressing the issue came off less genuine and more attention seeking.

Matt Damon, who’s nominated for his performance in “The Martian”, also shared his opinion on this topic. He is apologetic to those who are offended by the lack of diversity, but positive on the amount of conversation it’s getting, and the changes they are planning to do.

"It's a strong first step but that is all that it is, it’s a first step," Damon stated, and while this is an issue now, many hope this can be changed later down the road.

On “The Graham Norton Show,” Norton asked Ice Cube for his thoughts on the issue of diversity in the Oscars. “We don’t do movies for the industry. We do movies for the fans. For the people.” Ice Cube replied. Whether the film industry gives someone an award or not, Ice Cube says it’s nothing that someone should “dwell on.”

“It’s like crying about, you know, not having enough icing on your cake. You know what I mean? It’s ridiculous.” Ice Cube capped off his thoughts on the discussion.

Agreeing with Damon, and mostly Ice Cube, the Oscars are something that ultimately comes down to just a trophy. It’s more about the people who enjoy the films that matters, not whether that person or movie was good enough to earn an Oscar, Golden Globe, etc.

Something that also needs to be considered is that it the lack of diversity is not so much because of the Academy not wanting to vote for the others due to skin color, but perhaps they all thought the other contenders were better. That was the case last year when many were upset about David Oweyelo being snubbed for his role in “Selma.” The other nominees were just better in my opinion.

The Academy has already put out some changes they plan on doing for the future so this issue doesn’t get repeated again. The 88th Academy Awards will be hosted by comedian Chris Rock, and will be live Feb. 28. at 7 p.m. EST.