Oscars 2016: What’s Next for the Winners & Industry?

Feature Edward Douglas
3/4/2016 at 4:14PM

With the Oscars behind us, we look at the impact the awards will have on winners and nominees' careers, as well as the industry as a whole.

The 88th annual Academy Awards are over, and Sunday night’s awards ceremony for Hollywood’s most celebrated movies began as a potential night of surprises and ended with at least a few.

Hosted by Chris Rock, his second time hosting, this felt like a year where no one agreed what movie might win Best Picture since there seemed to be a revolving door of support for The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, Room, The Revenant, and the ultimate Best Picture winner, Spotlight. Otherwise, George Miller’s futuristic action flick Mad Max: Fury Road was the big winner of the night with six wins out of 10 nominations, making it only the sixth movie to ever win so many Oscars without receiving the top prize for Best Picture.

With some time having passed since the end of the show, it’s now appropriate to look at the future for winners (and a few whose wins came just out of being nominated) to see how Sunday’s show might affect what they have coming up.

Thomas McCarthy

The director and co-writer of the Best Picture winning Spotlight has already made a name for himself with his smaller award-winning indies like The Station Agent and The Visitor. Now after getting two Oscars for the journalism drama, it will obviously be much easier for him to make more movies with immediate greenlights. Will he continue to try to develop his own material and possibly end up with another The Cobbler or get hired to direct an existing script? That’s really up to McCarthy at this point.

McCarthy is a triple threat in that he is also a respected screenwriter (he was previously nominated for an Oscar for his writing on Pixar’s Up), as well as a working actor. The recognition Spotlight has received could continue to help those careers as well. Right now, McCarthy does have a few projects listed as in development on IMDB but these are projects that McCarthy was hired on as a writer or rewriter with no news in years, so it’s doubtful any of these will be affected by his Oscar win.

Alejandro G. Inarritu

Although The Revenant failed to win Best Picture like some had predicted, Iñárritu won his second Oscar in a row for his direction, and like McCarthy, the world is pretty much his oyster for whatever he might want to do next.

He could do another big movie like The Revenant or a smaller Spanish language film like Biutiful, but he could also find a script he likes and direct that, which would be a departure since he’s developed and co-written his last few Oscar winning projects.

Television is also a possibility if he wants to develop some properties there, as has been the case with his long-time pals Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro. Chances are that Iñárritu knows how much attention his next project will get and maybe he’ll start developing something in secret before we learn anything about it.

George Miller

George Miller won’t wholly be seen as a runner-up on Oscar night since his movie did win six Oscars despite not scoring in any of the top tier categories like Best Director and Best Picture. And Miller is already poised to continue his relationship with Warner Bros. as a producer on Zack Snyder’s Justice League (although some think that credit might be left over from his involvement developing an earlier incarnation of the project).

They may try to continue the Mad Max franchise with Miller producing Mad Max: Wasteland rather than directing. However, even at 70-years-old, it’s doubtful that Miller will slow him down or stop from directing another movie, and Warner Bros. will probably be open to anything he brings to the table whether it’s live action or animated.

Leonardo DiCaprio

DiCaprio was already one of the world’s biggest A-list stars before winning an Oscar for The Revenant, and that won’t change now that he’s finally won gold.The real question is what movie might he do next, because he has a lot of options and will probably have even more as filmmakers realize what he can bring to the mix.

In the past few years, he’s been sticking with the auteurs—Tarantino, Scorsese, Luhrmann, and Iñárritu—and he has a crazy list of projects in development as a producer right now. There are 40 movies listed as “In Development” on IMDB and it’s unclear which one of those might roll out soonest and in how many of them DiCaprio might star in.

One of his films for Fox, The Ballad of Richard Jewell, would reteam Leo with his Wolf of Wall Street co-star Jonah Hill to tell the story of the Atlanta security guard accused of being a terrorist after the bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics. DiCaprio would play Jewell’s lawyer, but no director has been named.

The Crowded Room, based on Daniel Keyes’ novel, is another film in the pipeline he has set-up over at Fox, and it may have been seen as one of DiCaprio’s back-up plans in case he didn’t win an Oscar. Indeed, with the subject of playing Billy Milligan, a criminal with multiple personalities and the first to use the insanity defense for a series of crimes, the material is likely to catch the Academy's attention. Roughly this time last year, it was reported that this was moving forward, but again, no director has been selected.

Then there’s The Devil in the White City, an adaptation of Erik Larson’s 2003 non-fiction novel set in Chicago around the time of the 1893 World’s Fair, following two men, World’s Fair architect Daniel Burnham and an elusive serial killer named Dr. Holmes, who lured victims to their deaths. DiCaprio bought the rights to the book in 2010 with the intention to play the serial killer, and the idea is to reunite with his Shutter Island director Martin Scorsese, but who knows when he might get to that?

These three movies are currently in development and at least the first two could theoretically move into pre-production soon, but DiCaprio still has a lot on his plate as a producer from the Travis McGee film The Deep Blue Good-By—James Magnold is attached but he’s also directing Wolverine 3 and possibly one of two 20,000 Leagues under the Sea films for Disney first—to the long-in-development Ian Fleming biopic Fleming.

His company Appian Way has previously tried to produce live action versions of popular anime properties like Akira and Ninja Scroll with Warner Bros, although only the former seems to have changing news, the most recent of which being that Leo’s Inception director Christopher Nolan might adapt it. And for whatever reason, DiCaprio is also trying to produce yet another remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Obviously, we have very little insight into which one of these many projects may see the light of day first, and which DiCaprio also intends to star in. Clearly, the Oscar winner is very much in the public conscious right now after finally winning an Oscar and everyone’s going to try to get him back in front of the camera as soon as he decides that he wants to act again.

Brie Larson

Even before she won her Oscar or was in the conversation to win, the 26-year-old actress had already booked a role in Legendary Pictures’ Kong: Skull Island alongside Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L. Jackson. There is no word whom she plays in this, but one can probably expect she has a role on par with Fay Wray, Jessica Lange, and Naomi Watts from previous incarnations despite this intending to be a prequel to the classic King Kong rather than a direct remake. It will be her biggest movie to date after playing supporting roles in comedies like 21 Jump Street, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and last year’s Trainwreck.

On top of that, Larson filmed a bunch of movies that have already wrapped and will likely be rolling out over the next year or so.

She has a small role in Todd Solonz’s Wiener-Dog, which premiered at Sundance in January and was probably filmed well before the buzz from Room. She also plays Daniel Radcliffe’s wife in Douglas McGrath’s already-wrapped Brooklyn Bridge about the architect behind the landmark structure. She also appears in the ensemble cast of Ben Wheatley’s next movie Free Fire with Armie Hammer and Cillian Murphy. (There’s a good chance, either of those last two movies could premiere at the Toronto Film Festival later this year.)

Brie’s also been attached to the romantic comedy Relanxious starring real-life couple Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis, and she may reunite with her Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton for an adaptation of Jeanette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle, a heavier drama that might be the best project for her to do after wrapping Kong. Considering the quality of Short Term 12, maybe she’ll be nominated for another Oscar for that movie too?

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Saoirse Ronan

Although Ronan was a runner-up for Lead Actress, her performance in Brooklyn has turned a lot of heads toward the former child star who began her career in films like City of Embers and Atonement (for which she also received an Oscar nomination). It certainly seems like producers and studios will be eyeing Ms. Ronan for potential roles, possibly even tentpoles that might raise her to the status of a Jennifer Lawrence or Scarlett Johansson, but it will probably take baby steps for her to get there.

She has already filmed a movie about Vincent Van Gogh called Loving Vincent and starred as Nina in a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull opposite Elisabeth Moss and Corey Stoll, either of which might get her more awards attention. She’s also teaming with Greta Gerwig for her directorial debut Lady Bird, which should be filming soon. Either way, the 22-year-old actress has been keeping busy and that should not end anytime soon with the amount of love she received for Brooklyn.

Alicia Vikander

The 27-year-old Swedish actress hasn’t had any problems booking gigs even before winning her first Oscar, as she starred in a number of other movies last year besides The Danish Girl, for which she won the Academy Award. Vikander starred in Ex Machina, Testament of Youth, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and had a tiny role in Bradley Cooper’s cooking film Burnt. Most of these roles she got following her starring role in the Oscar nominated Danish film A Royal Affair, so the Academy was already familiar with her work.

We’re going to see a lot of Ms. Vikander this year as she stars opposite two of the leading actor nominees, Matt Damon and Michael Fassbender, in the upcoming Jason Bourne and Disney’s adaptation of The Light Between Oceans. (Vikander has also been romantically linked to Fassbender, but they kept their distance from each other on Oscar night and did press separately.)

It may be too early to determine whether Vikander may be back at the Oscars next year for the latter, but it’s more likely she’ll be back in the mix for the Weinstein Company’s Tulip Fever, the adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel. Directed by Justin Chadwick, it co-stars previous Oscar winners Christoph Waltz and Dame Judi Dench, although Holiday Grainger and Jack O’Connell are the leads. It also involves the art world, this time in 17th Century Amsterdam, so Oscar voters should be fairly receptive.

Vikander has also begun filming on Wim Wenders’ next film Submergence, but it’s doubtful that will get the attention of those other films once it’s released.

Mark Rylance

A 35-year veteran of stage and screen, this 56-year-old British thespian was barely known on these shores until his one-two punch of Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and the BBC/PBS miniseries Wolf Hall.  His Oscar night win for playing Rudolf Abel in the former came almost from out of nowhere as Rylance was a runner-up at most awards shows and the only sign that he might win the Oscar was his win at the BAFTA awards (for which Stallone wasn’t nominated).

Even as Rylance’s name was read by Patricia Arquette, few Americans probably knew who that was, but that may change as more people start looking at the actor for roles. He’s already reuniting with Spielberg for this year’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG (playing the BFG or “big friendly giant” no less) and he’s also scored an undisclosed role in Christopher Nolan’s WWII film Dunkirk, so people will know who he is soon enough.

Sylvester Stallone

Turning 70 in a few months, the star of seven Rocky Balboa movies, including Creed, was robbed in the minds of many of his fans of his well-deserved Oscar. Still, with Creed being a decent-sized hit, one expects that Warner Bros. might try to get rolling on a sequel to it, although at this point, neither Ryan Coogler (who will direct Black Panther for Marvel) nor Michael B. Jordan have been attached.

Stallone’s been doing some voice work on various animated films including Ratchet and Clank and something called Animal Crackers, but he’s also attached to play mob enforcer Gregory Scarpa in the Brad Furman-directed Scarpa. One presumes Stallone will somehow be involved with whatever they decide to do next with the Expendables franchise, as well.

Will he play Rocky Balboa again? Maybe, although it will be hard for him to surpass his performance in Creed and this may have been his last chance at winning an Oscar other than a possible Governor’s Award.

Chris Rock

The Oscar host divided audiences of the show with his monologue and his repeated critique of “Hollywood racism,” although maybe a few of the producers or execs watching were impressed enough to cast him or help him get another movie made.

Rock’s last film as a director-star was 2015’s Top Five, which was well-received by critics (including us!) but only grossed $26 million domestically. Other than his voice role in the Madagascar movies and appearances in the Grown-Ups movies, Rock’s never really been able to bring in more than $40 million or so with his movies and that’s not going to change by being an Oscar host, let alone being the host of one of the least watched broadcasts in many years.

Granted, it’s not completely his fault, but he’s still going to be fighting it out with Kevin Hart for roles (if that’s something that actually happens!) and will probably continue to try to write and direct movies for himself.

Oscars Telecast Producer Reginald Hudlin

Although the show was generally well received, viewership was down again. However, it’s unlikely the show’s producer would have returned anyway since he’s in the middle of making Marshall, a film about Thurgood Marshall starring Chadwick Boseman, which one presumes will be in the awards conversation when it’s finished and released.

Some may wonder how this year’s Oscars might affect the awards over the coming years. And other than the proposed changes in the Academy membership, there is likely to be some possible overcompensation next year due to the lack of actors and filmmakers of color.

Fox Searchlight already has a lot of money riding on their decision to shell out $17.5 million for Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation (reviewed here) out of Sundance, hoping that the Academy will be looking for quality dramas written, directed, and starring an African-American talent, despite the Academy recently flinching at giving such support to 2014’s Selma. (It was nominated for Best Picture but its director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo were snubbed for nominations similar to Idris Elba this year.)

It’s just as likely the Academy will continue to vote the way they normally do for what they think are the standout films and performances, and not change their voting patterns as a knee-jerk reaction to public outcry. After The Dark Knight wasn’t nominated for Best Picture in 2008, they expanded the Best Picture category to 10 nominees due to many moviegoers being upset with the omission. Two years later, Nolan’s follow-up Inception did receive a Best Picture nomination, but he didn’t get nominated for his direction despite the film’s eight total nominations.

On the other hand, there’s a good chance the Academy will bring back having 10 Best Pictures (rather than a floating number), since either Creed or Straight Outta Compton (or both) might have gotten nominated if there were 10 nominees this year.