2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Winner: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
In an unpredictable 2015 race, Vikander appears to be the favorite going into Sunday night, having secured the Critics Choice Award and the SAG for her role as Gerda Wegener in Tom Hooper’s glossy drama “The Danish Girl”. Her stiffest competitor is Kate Winslet, who won the BAFTA and the Golden Globe for her work in “Steve Jobs”. On the surface it sounds like there’s a deadlock between the two, however upon closer examination it becomes clear Vikander has the edge.

That’s because out of the four aforementioned awards, they only went head to head for their Oscar nominated roles in 3 of them. Vikander was nominated alongside Winslet for the Best Supporting BAFTA but for her role in “Ex Machina”, not “The Danish Girl”. BAFTA nominated Vikander in the Lead category for “Danish Girl”, leaving Winslet with a less competitive performance to beat. Therefore when it comes to their Oscar nominated match-up; Vikander has won two out of the three battles. 

Why She’ll Win:
Vikander’s startlingly brilliant performance in “The Danish Girl” was one of 2015’s absolute best. While she should have and could have been nominated as a Lead Actress, the decision to put her in Supporting was clearly made to get out of the way of the unstoppable juggernaut that is Brie Larson (“Room”). Vikander’s case for Oscar gold is only accentuated by her mind-blowing 2015, wherein she starred in six very different films that showcased her range.

In one year, Vikander demonstrated a versatility that’s taken most actors years to fill their filmography with. The last time she was at the Oscars was in 2012 to support Best Foreign Film nominee “A Royal Affair” in which she starred opposite Mads Mikkelsen. Her star-making turn put her atop casting lists and four years later she’s proved the commentators right, a star had been born.
The Other Contenders:
As mentioned above, Kate Winslet is Vikander’s fiercest competitor. Her performance as Steve Job’s long-suffering assistant in the eponymous Danny Boyle directed drama has been highly acclaimed. Winslet is “Steve Jobs” best (and realistically only) hope for the film to walk away with an Oscar under its belt. Rooney Mara (“Carol”) comes in with a hypothetical third place finish. In an example of just how sharply this race has changed over the course of its duration, Mara was once considered the front-runner having tied for the Best Actress prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. 

Like Vikander, Mara could have ran in Lead though that would have meant competing against her Oscar winning co-star Cate Blanchett; possibly cancelling out both actresses’ bids. Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”) and Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”) are the category’s greatest long shots. In another evidence of how much of a rollercoaster ride the entertainment industry can be just consider that McAdams spent the summer inundated with the critical blast against “True Detective”, a show meant to put her back on the map and then ended the year with a career revitalizing Oscar nomination. Talk about some major swings…

Category Factoids:
Tom Hooper delayed filming “The Danish Girl” for 5 months so Alicia Vikander could star as Gerda. At one point Leonardo DiCaprio was in talks to star in “Steve Jobs” which would’ve reteamed him with “Titanic” co-star Kate Winslet for their third on-screen collaboration. While Kate Winslet and Rooney Mara have previously been nominated (Winslet is a Best Actress winner); Alicia Vikander, Rachel McAdams and Jennifer Jason Leigh are all first-time Oscar nominees.

The Toughest Loss:
If Vikander loses it will be the toughest blow. Her performance is beyond worthy and this is not a situation of over indulging an ingรฉnue. Vikander’s 2015 resume made a stronger case for her range than any of her peers. Also consider what an Oscar caliber role qualifies as. Isn’t it a role that allows an actor to plow a character’s highs and lows and the places in between? Out of the 5 nominees, which actress’ role best fits that description?

And the Oscar Went to:
Alicia Vikander for "The Danish Girl"