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In this penultimate post before the big event, we look at the spoken word, who wrote it down and who best delivered it.

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The nominees are…

Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

The male acting categories are pretty weak this year and it is telling that the winners are both considered virtual locks in terms of odds.

Will Win: Sylvester Stallone. Stallone’s only competition is from Mark Rylance.

Should Win: Mark Rylance. I’ve heard that Stallone is a well-deserved nod from those I trust (I don’t like boxing movies particularly so I’m waiting on video for this one), but I’d be very happy with a Rylance win. He was the only interesting thing about Bridge of Spies.

Should Have Been Nominated: This is where I really part ways with the Academy as I would have put up Liev Schreiber from Spotlight instead of Mark Ruffalo and given Tom Hardy a nod for Mad Max: Fury Road instead of The Revenant. But I think before either of them I’d want to include Jason Mitchell for Straight Outta Compton or maybe Benicio del Toro for Sicario (though both are straddling that fine line between lead and supporting role). And, now that I’ve finally seen it, I’m stunned Idris Elba isn’t here for Beasts of No Nation.

Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

I suppose these nominees make a little more sense, but are they really standout performances? I’m not excited about the possibility of any of these winning.

Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio. If there is any category that is a lock this year, this is it.

Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio. I guess. Can we just give all the acting awards to women this year? There are plenty of interesting contenders within those nominees.

Should Have Been Nominated: Where do I start? Abraham Attah for Beasts of No Nation, Emory Cohen for Brooklyn, Paul Dano and/or John Cusack for Love & Mercy, Ian McKellen for Mr. Holmes, Jacob Tremblay for Room. I would be more excited about any of these actors being included in this category.

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Actress in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

This is where things get crazy because of the Cheaty McCheatersons who managed to sneak lead performances into the supporting category.

Will Win: Alicia Vikander. But don’t count out Kate Winslet or Rooney Mara, both are in there odds-wise.

Should Win: Jennifer Jason Leigh. A true supporting role and an unexpected turn for Leigh.

Should Have Been Nominated: I think you could make more of an argument that Vikander is a supporting actress in Ex Machina, so I would rather see her included for that role. Instead of Mara, who is in the wrong category, I would love to see Elizabeth Banks for Love & Mercy or, for a comic twist, Rose Byrne for Spy. I could easily replace McAdams with Tatiana Maslany for Woman in Gold or Kristen Wiig for The Diary of a Teenage Girl.

Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Will Win: Brie Larson. This is Larson’s to lose. Saoirse Ronan is a distant second.

Should Win: Saoirse Ronan. Larson is excellent, but Ronan’s performance is subtler. Ultimately, I could see other actresses in the Larson role, but no one but Saoirse as Eilis.

Should Have Been Nominated: While this is a strong field, and any of these women winning is deserved, there are so many others I would have loved to see nominated, starting with Bel Powley for The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Karidja Touré for Bande de filles (Girlhood), and Mya Taylor for Tangerine.

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Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Will Win: The Big Short. A distant second is Room.

Should Win: The Martian. This script took a book I had no interest in reading and turned it into a movie I really enjoyed.

Should Have Been Nominated: The Diary of a Teenage Girl. This movie should have gotten so many nominations, not least of which should be Marielle Heller’s astounding transformation of the graphic novel, first into a play, and then a film.

Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

Will Win: Spotlight. Well behind is Inside Out.

Should Win: Straight Outta Compton. I’m fine with a Spotlight win; I thought leaving the theater that it had a great script and was really impressed when I learned it was not adapted from a book. But, man, Straight Outta Compton also condensed a lot of material into a tight story and really got me to understand and care about a wide range of characters from a world I did not know at all.

Should Have Been Nominated: You know I want to replace Inside Out with practically anything, but I’d settle for Mistress America by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig.

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What words leapt off the screen for you? Whose performance made you sit up and take notice? Let me know in the comment box below.

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