January 14, 2016
2016 Oscar Predictions: 'The Revenant' Wins Best Picture, Top Expert Says — Epic's 12 Noms Seal Deal

With the 2016 Oscar nominations now official and announced Thursday morning, January 14, predictions season now gets underway — and the eventual Best Picture winner appears clear, says one top Oscar expert. With its 12 nominations secure, The Revenant — the wilderness pioneer-period epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio — appears to have the coveted statue already in the bag.

The film, a violent tale of survival against all odds — and a 156-minute movie that includes not one single significant speaking part for a female character — was directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The filmmaker's entry in last year's Oscar sweepstakes, Birdman, also took home the top prize while Inarritu himself captured the Best Director Oscar.

"The biggest headline is that Alejandro G. Inarritu's The Revenant is now the most likely Best Picture winner as evidence by 12 nominations," wrote leading Oscar predictions expert Jeffrey Wells on his Hollywood Elsewhere blog Thursday. "It might not win, but we all know what 12 nominations almost always mean. A lot of grumbling, a lot of pushback pieces to come... but the writing is on the wall and it's not going to easily wash off."

View the complete list of 2016 Oscar nominations by clicking on this link.

2016 Oscar Predictions The Revenant
John Krasinski and Cheryl Boone Isaacs at Thursdays Oscar nomination presentation. [Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

According to Wells, as well as other professional Oscar prognosticators, the newsroom drama Spotlight was the consensus favorite to take the Best Picture prize for its powerful portrayal of how a group of investigative reporters uncovered a child abuse scandal inside the Catholic church.

But over the past week, as awards season heats up, The Revenant has gained momentum, and with the Oscar nomination announcements Thursday, it has finally overtaken Spotlight in the race for Best Picture.

"The Revenant may be the greater, more ambitious film, but I love Spotlight with all my heart," wrote Wells. "And yet I have to recognize what's happened over the last six days — a complete turnaround for The Revenant beginning with last weekend's $39 million gross, those three Golden Globe awards (Best Picture Drama, Best Director, Best Actor) and now this morning's 12 nominations. It's probably all over but the shouting. Tell me how Spotlight or another film can win."

The video below features Inarritu, DiCaprio, and other members of the Revenant production team discussing the problems and struggles in shooting the rugged outdoors epic.

Not only does The Revenant appear to have eliminated all suspense in the 2016 Best Picture Oscar predictions, the film also appears to have closed the book on the Best Actor category as well.

The fifth time will almost certainly be a charm for star Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been left at the altar in his four previous trips to the Oscar ceremony as a nominee, three times for Best Actor, once for Best Supporting Actor.

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But the physical hardships that the 41-year-old DiCaprio endured simply to film The Revenant — an experience that the heartthrob actor who leaped to superstardom in the 1997 epic Titanic has called the most difficult of his life — would appear destined to sway Academy voters in his favor this time around.

"The only name on this (Best Actor nominee) list that really matters is Leonardo DiCaprio," wrote Stephanie Merry of the Los Angeles Times on Thursday. "Barring some unthinkable fraud (What if he secretly shot the whole movie on a soundstage? Maybe that bison liver was a strawberry jam-covered mushroom?), he has this category locked down."

DiCaprio's competition for the 2016 award includes some big names and highly respected actors in signature performances. Bryan Cranston in Trumbo, Matt Damon for The Martian, Michael Fassbender in the title role of Steve Jobs, and last year's winner Eddie Redmayne in this year's The Danish Girl round out the field.

But all of the smart Oscar predictions see 2016 as the year of Leonardo DiCaprio, thanks to The Revenant.

[Image via New Regency Pictures Publicity Still]