Editor at large and Oscars clairvoyant Lynn Hirschberg returns to the task of predicting Sunday’s 88th Academy Awards – the night bets are on for Leonardo DiCaprio to finally nab Best Actor for roughing it in Alejandro Iñárritu’s The Revenant. Read on for Hirschberg’s picks and critiques of the night to come, and tune in to the podcast for her chat with digital features director Erik Maza.
Best Actor and Actress: Partly thanks to his behind-the-scenes campaigning, “Leo’s going to win, and I think that’s fine. He’s a great actor, very popular, and he’ll bring his mom to the Oscars.” As for Best Actress, “Brie Larson is going to win that category [for Room]. She has all the momentum, and she feels genuinely thankful to be there, which is a big thing during awards season.”
Best Director: Even though it’d be his second year in a row, Hirschberg’s bets are on Alejandro Iñárritu. “I think it’s a testament to his achievement and a testament to a degree of difficulty. They’ve very wisely made it clear that The Revenant was an incredibly difficult movie to make.” Also: “I think he makes movies that appeal to men, and I think that’s appealing to people. They’re very masculine films.”
Best Picture: “I would say the movie with the most momentum is The Revenant. It pains me to say this because of course I’m partial to The Big Short, and history tells us that the Producers Guild [which picked The Big Short] tends to prevail, but momentum is momentum and I think The Revenant has momentum.” Plus: “Leonardo DiCaprio keeps stressing over and over and over again the Native American aspect of the film, which does have resonance in this year where there’s no people of color.” That – along with Iñárritu being a Mexican director – gives the Academy some coverage, Hirschberg says.
On this year’s whitewashed list of nominees: “I think people are genuinely annoyed by the fact that there’s no diversity, and rightly so. If there’s any reason to tune in to the Oscars, it’s to hear what [host] Chris Rock has to say. But I don’t sense a lot of boycotting – I’m thinking people will speak their mind, speeches will have more political undertones than in other years, which I do think has an impact.”
On the lethargy surrounding the Awards: All that contributes to the lack of excitement about this year: “I think people are thirsting for something they feel is more diverse,” Hirschberg says, pointing to the reception of The Birth of a Nation, a Nat Turner biopic that found huge success at Sundance. At the same time: “I think the problem with the Oscars has to do with something more than the films – it just comes so late. By the time you get to the Oscars, you’ve seen about 25 awards ceremonies, and I do think people get tired of watching that many shows with the same people winning the same awards. The Grammys barely give out awards, it’s just performance, performance, performance, and the show traditionally does very well on the ratings. I just wish the Oscars could figure out some way to have some of their performers do something performance-oriented. It gets to be a long night.”
Best Supporting Actress and Actor: “I think and I hope it will be Alicia Vikander. She’s the real deal. She’s not nominated for Ex Machina, but I feel like she’s nominated for Ex Machina, not The Danish Girl. But it’s very possible that Kate Winslet wins – it’s a very tight category and with the exception of Rachel McAdams, who I think is a great actress but wasn’t that great in Spotlight, I thought Alicia, Rooney [Mara], and Jennifer Jason Leigh were amazing.” Still: “I don’t think Rooney has any momentum at all, for whatever reasons she has not prevailed during awards season. And Alicia has really, really stepped it up during awards season. The Academy loves a newcomer, especially in that category, whether it’s Lupita Nyong’o or even Penelope Cruz.” As for the Actor, Hirschberg’s says Sylvester Stallone, who she once went to a Lakers game with, is the frontrunner for his role in Creed. “I don’t think Tom Hardy stands a chance in hell of winning, but he had an amazing year, and Leo keeps talking about him with great enthusiasm in every speech.”
Best Adapted and Original Screenplays: “Quentin Tarantino has a theory, which has been borne out many times, that whatever the cool movie that should win Best Picture wins Screenplay. The Big Short and Spotlight are nominated in two different categories, so I think there’s a good chance for both of those to win, because I don’t think they’ll win Best Picture. I would love to be wrong about this because you know I want The Big Short to win. And I think Spotlight will win Best Original, because I think they have to give something to Spotlight and I’m not sure what else Spotlight will win.”
The missing player: Producer Harvey Weinstein‘s mark is usually all over the list of nominees, and “this has been a very bad patch for him – he usually has a dog in the race,” Hirschberg says. This time, though, he’ll only be “slinging the mud” for Rooney Mara, who’s up for Best Supporting Actress in Carol.
The underdog: “Mad Max is going to win a lot of technical categories, but if any of the movies had a chance to win Best Picture that’s not Spotlight, The Revenant, or The Big Short, I think it’s Mad Max.”
Eddie Redmayne on the cover of W’s February 2016 issue.
Eddie Redmayne wears Burberry peacoat and T-shirt. Grooming: Burberry.
Grooming for Eddie Redmayne by Petra Sellge for Elemis. Manicures by Michelle Saunders for Essie at Forward Artists, Adam Slee for Rimmel London at Streeters.
Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn
“I was scared every single day on Brooklyn. I mean, you always get jitters, and you always get a little nervous before you do your first take, but there was something about shooting at home, so close to where I grew up. I was terrified.”
Vera Wang Collection dress and bandeau; Chopard earrings.
Michael Caine in Youth
“Youth was a complete surprise to me. My agent rang and said, ‘The director Paolo Sorrentino, who just won the Oscar for best foreign film, is sending you a script.’ I said, ‘Does he know who I am?’ She said, ‘Yes! He wrote this script for you.’ I nearly said, ‘You don’t have to send the script; I’ll do it for nothing,’ but I stayed cool and said, ‘I’ll be happy to read it.’ ”
Boss jacket and shirt.
Cate Blanchett in Carol
“All my life I’ve been playing dress-up, and now I get to do it for a living. In film, particularly, the costumes are a big part of my characters. When I first appear in Carol, in a fur coat, hat, and gloves, the audience immediately ascribes meaning to the person I’m playing. A certain scarf or handbag or a pair of glasses can reveal multitudes about someone’s persona.”
Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci dress.
Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight and Anomalisa
“I based part of my Hateful Eight character on Regan from The Exorcist. After she kills the priest, she doesn’t know what to do with her power. But she’s also completely lost—full of adrenaline and like an animal. Quentin Tarantino picked up on this right away. You can’t get any film reference past him.”
Rochas dress; Agent Provocateur bra; Chanel Fine Jewelry bracelet.
Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight
“I like being a villain. It’s fun to be unapologetically bad. I hate movies where the bad guy starts to say he’s sorry and explains why he’s doing bad stuff. I like to play men who say, ‘Look—this is just what I do.’ ”
Giorgio Armani sweater. Grooming by Autumn Moultrie for Dior at Exclusive Artists Management.
Amy Schumer in Trainwreck
“I have a crush on Christian Bale. Newsies was a really big deal to me. I haven’t watched it in a while, but maybe I’d still feel attracted to 15-year- old Christian. I definitely wanted to have sex with him when he was emaciated in The Machinist. I’ll take Christian any way I can get him.”
Giorgio Armani jacket; Julianne shorts from Journelle, New York; Wolford tights; Hermès shoes. Styled by Sarah M Richardson.
Richard Gere in Time Out of Mind.
“While I was in character as a homeless man, I would panhandle, and I was very bad at it. We shot for 42 minutes straight, and in that time, I made less than a buck and a half. No one recognized me or made eye contact with me. Their brains went ‘homeless guy’ from two blocks away, and they decided, ‘I don’t want to give to him.’ ”
Giorgio Armani coat, suit, shirt, belt, and shoes. Styled by Sarah M Richardson. Grooming by Birgitte for Acqua di Parma at Sally Harlor.
Bryan Cranston in Trumbo
“I’ve been in drag for several TV roles, and I make the ugliest woman in the world. As a man, I am not vain. But when brilliant makeup artists are making me into a woman, I become very concerned with my looks. ‘Can you soften my jaw?…Can you do anything about the wrinkles?’ Sadly, it’s a lost cause.”
Burberry trenchcoat; Balenciaga shirt.
Carey Mulligan in Suffragette and Far From the Madding Crowd
“I don’t know if I believe in chemistry on a film. I know loads of people who’ve had quite sexy onscreen relationships with people they hate. I think chemistry might just be actors doing their jobs well.”
Chanel blouse, dress, and bag; Anita Ko earring.
Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road.
“My character Imperator Furiosa, in Mad Max: Fury Road, is missing an arm, but in the film we never explain how that happened—she just is. I don’t think the character would have the same gravitas if she wasn’t broken like that. Instead, she’s an entire human being who just happens to be an amputee.”
Dior Fine Jewelry ring. Styled by Sarah M Richardson. Hair by Enzo Angileri for Infusium 23 at Cloutier Remix; makeup by Francesca Tolot for Dior at Cloutier Remix.
Elizabeth Banks in Love & Mercy
“At auditions, I was the type of person to dress for the part. Then a casting director told me, ‘Don’t dress like the character; just look as gorgeous as possible all the time.’ So then I realized, if you’re up for the part of a waitress, put on an apron over something you might wear to the Oscars. That’s when I started getting roles.”
Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane dress; Graff earrings; Bulgari bracelet.
Benicio Del Toro in Sicario
“At my 4th birthday party, I wore an astronaut costume and we had a cake shaped like a rocket. I remember being very excited about dressing up like someone else. That may have been the beginning of my acting career.”
Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina, Testament of Youth, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and The Danish Girl
“I was on a long-haul flight at night, and as I went down the aisle to the bathroom, I counted at least 14 screens that had Ex Machina on. I was walking past myself playing Ava, the android. I was tempted to go to the front of the cabin and look over my shoulder to the people watching her. I thought it would shock them to find Ava on their plane. There might have been screams.”
Louis Vuitton vest. Styled by Sarah M Richardson. Hair by Martin Cullen for Bumble and bumble at Streeters; makeup by Mary Greenwell for Chanel at Premier Hair and Make-up.
Joel Edgerton in The Gift and Black Mass
“I’ve never counted how many times I’ve died in movies. I’ve been shot on many, many occasions. I find dying easy. The hard part is trying to hold your breath, because, obviously, dead people don’t breathe. One of these days, I’d love to do a long, melodramatic, triple-death ending. It would be like a drum solo at the end of a rock song. You think the song is over, and then it kicks in again.”
Coach jacket; Simon Miller T-shirt; A.P.C. jeans; The Frye Company boots.
Joel Edgerton wears Coach jacket; Simon Miller T-shirt.
Brie Larson in Room
“I have always wanted to act. When I was around 7 I started auditioning, and I recall going up for a fish-sticks commercial. By then, I was completely committed to the craft of acting and had memorized a full monologue. The director was only looking for cute kids and wasn’t interested in hearing my speech. I started sobbing. ‘They won’t let me act!’ I wailed to my mother.”
Giorgio Armani coat.
Paul Dano in Love & Mercy and Youth
“I gained 30 pounds to play the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy. When I showed up for my costume fitting, the director looked at me and said, ‘Um…I think you could lose a few pounds.’ I was so upset. I’m naturally a skinny guy, and it was not fun gaining that weight.”
Maison Margiela suit; Giorgio Armani shirt; Calvin Klein White Label tie.
Peter Sarsgaard in Experimenter
“In college, I was hot for a girl and took an acting class to be near her. They had me do a role from a play called Bent. The scene was between two gay men during the Holocaust, and I felt enormous empathy from the people in the room who were watching. It was very seductive: In that instant, I fell in love with acting.”
Balenciaga jacket and shirt. Styled by Sarah M Richardson.
Jacob Tremblay in Room
“When people watch my movie, they cry. My mom told me that it was a very dark subject, so I didn’t read the whole script. But after we saw Room the first time, my mom was crying. People were a mess. Their mascara was falling off.”
Sogoodnight pajamas; Worth & Worth by Orlando Palacios hat.
Greta Gerwig in Mistress America
“My character, Brooke, is both a fraud and the genuine article, which is, I think, the truth: People can be both. To get anything done, you need a lot of crazy.”
Gap T-shirt; J Brand jeans. Styled by Sarah M Richardson.
Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw and Everest
“I had no idea how to box before Southpaw. In an early sparring session, I got hit in the face and then in the body, and that first body shot dropped me. In my work, I try to get into the real space of my characters, but at that moment, I thought, What the hell am I doing this for?”
Dior Homme jacket; Alternative T-shirt.
Mya Taylor in Tangerine. “Tangerine happened for me because I was in the right place at the right time. A very attractive person named Sean Baker walked up to me at the LGBT center in Hollywood, and we started talking. Our conversations about hustling and struggling with my gender transition became the basis for the movie.”
Adrienne Landau stole; Rosamosario bra; Tom Ford skirt; Nina Runsdorf earrings and cuff; Chanel belt; Manolo Blahnik clutch and pumps; Wolford stay-ups; Cornelia James gloves (on bed).
Jane Fonda in Youth
“On my 75th birthday—which was my favorite birthday—I had 150 people to my house, including several ex-husbands. It was December 21, 2012, which was, according to the Mayan calendar, the day there would be a major shift to a new paradigm and the world would change. I can’t say that I experienced any sort of turning point, but I had a good time. And the ex-husbands all got along.”
Salvatore Ferragamo coat; Vhernier ring. Hair by Matthew Shields; makeup by Elan Bongiorno at Exclusive Artists Management.