If 'the people' voted on Oscar nominations, would they be more diverse?
In an alternate universe where average (but prestige-conscious) moviegoers decided the Oscar nominations, who'd come out on top? We tried to answer this question by looking at the biggest box office earners of 2015 and picking which movies gave us the most beloved performances. We realized two things: 1) this list looks a lot like what we expect from the upcoming MTV Movie Award nominations; 2) it'd be a bit more diverse than the real Oscars.
So here are our guesses for the audience-chosen Oscar nominees in the categories of Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Picture.
Best Supporting ActorPhoto Credit:
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
John Boyega, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Oscar Isaac, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
James Spader, Avengers: Age of Ultron
LeBron James, Trainwreck
Winner: John Boyega. What I sometimes forget about Star Wars is that although fans were swept away by the reappearance of Han Solo and Leia, the fervor around the movie is centered squarely on the newcomers. That might be the movie's most successful move. Boyega's rad determination and occasional comic flourish helped make Finn one of the more relatable characters in The Force Awakens, and that groundedness will help propel the franchise in years to come.
Best Supporting ActressPhoto Credit:
Cate Blanchett, Cinderella
Scarlett Johansson, Avengers: Age of Ultron
Rebel Wilson, Pitch Perfect 2
Phyllis Smith, Inside Out
Miranda Hart, Spy
Winner: Phyllis Smith. It's about time voice actors received their Oscar due, and no one startled audiences with a more vulnerable and interesting voice performance this year like Phyllis Smith. As Sadness, she injected the strange world of Inside Out with its critical element of melancholic longing. Sometimes she was a drag, but her glumness always had intention.
Chris Pratt, Jurassic World
Matt Damon, The Martian
Michael B. Jordan, Creed
Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio. Toughest category to decide, but I think this is a rare case where audiences are sympathetic to an actor's Oscar journey. The Revenant is the movie where Leo DiCaprio successfully convinced us he's a gritty grownup, and we've been waiting for that transition for well over a decade. Matt Damon, Chris Pratt, and Tom Cruise may have fronted big blockbusters, but Leo's only real competition here is Michael B. Jordan, whose believable determination and conscience made Creed more than an average sports movie.
Best ActressPhoto Credit:
Daisy Ridley, Star Wars
Jennifer Lawrence, Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 2
Melissa McCarthy, Spy
Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road
Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Winner: Daisy Ridley. Charlize is a threat here since Mad Max: Fury Road is unquestionably the most feminist action film ever made, but Star Wars is too huge to ignore, not to mention too much of a star-making vehicle for Ridley. Her pluckiness provided the backbone for the new Star Wars, and it'll be interesting to see how her grit and humanity evolve through the series.
Best PicturePhoto Credit:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 2
Straight Outta Compton
Mad Max: Fury Road
Winner: It's got to be Star Wars. Straight Outta Compton was an unprecedented hit that played astoundingly well with audiences, so there's no doubt it would end up in the BP tally. The action franchise installments in this category were beloved, and Inside Out successfully found a new way to explore childlike awe and the emotional, disorienting inevitability of maturity. But Star Wars is Star Wars, and it's the only movie here to inspire folks to head back to the theater three or four times for re-screenings.