ExMachinaVFXTeam(The Ex Machina VFX team accepts their award.)

I was 17/24 in my Oscar predictions. Here are the 7 categories I got wrong, ranked from least to most surprising:

1. Film Editing
I Predicted: The Big Short
What Won: Mad Max: Fury Road
This was always a tight two-way fight; the surprise would have been if anything else had won.

2. Documentary Short
I Predicted: Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
What Won: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
In Doc Short, I look for what can be construed as “important.” Trouble is, that descriptor could fit every nominee.

3. Animated Short
I Predicted: World of Tomorrow
What Won: Bear Story
I need to stop using the logic of “It’s so good – no way the Academy won’t vote for it!” World of Tomorrow just does not fit the charming and/or goofy mold of most Animated Short winners; Bear Story does (though it was obscured a bit by the more high-profile Sanjay’s Super Team).

4. Best Picture
I Predicted: The Big Short
What Won: Spotlight
As I suspected, it came down to the preferential ballot; unfortunately for us prognosticators, that worked in two films’ favor.

5. Supporting Actor
I Predicted: Sylvester Stallone
What Won: Mark Rylance
This race was always wide-open, even though Stallone was really the only one with any precursor indicators.

6. Original Song
I Predicted: “Til It Happens to You”
What Won: “Writing’s on the Wall”
I guess Sam Smith was second-most likely, but it sure looked like GaGa was way out in front.

7. Visual Effects
I Predicted: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
What Won: Ex Machina
A film with a budget as modest as Ex Machina‘s winning Visual Effects is simply unprecedented. And with such tough competition, I would have never predicted it happening this year. (It is totally worthy, though!)