Behind The Scenes

The work of Virk: Predicting the real Oscars and the ESPN version

Since 2013, college football analyst and Baseball Tonight studio host Adnan Virk is a known movie buff. He has shared his yearly Oscar predictions with Front Row. With the 88th Academy Awards (ABC, Sunday, 7 p.m. ET) just days away, Virk is taking his talents to the next level.

In addition to Virk’s view of the Super 6 Oscar categories below, Virk is handing out some statuettes of his own as Virk ESPNizes some select Oscar categories in the video above. From Mike & Mike’s new set to Jessica Mendoza’s debut in the Sunday Night Baseball booth, Virk recognizes some ESPN accomplishments worthy of red carpet treatment. (Advance apologies to Virk’s buddy, Max Bretos.) Virk also applauds the ESPN Oscars’ “best foreign film.”

Emily Pfeffer and Jon McLeod produced the videos.

Adnan Virk's 2016 Oscar Predictions
Virk accurately predicted five of six last year. Can he get the sweep this year?

Best Picture:

Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight” is what should win but will settle for being a critical darling. “The Revenant” will be the winner here; it’s a classic revenge story told with epic sweep, gorgeously shot and features two dynamic performances.

Best Director:

It’s incredibly rare for a director to win back to back Oscars but after being recognized by the DGA, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will join exclusive company with his second straight win, after last year’s “Birdman.” I’d vote for George Miller who showed incredible resolve in getting “Mad Max: Fury Road” finally made and the work itself is a roaring, adrenalized success.

Best Actor:

He should’ve won for the Martin Scorsese directed masterpieces “The Aviator” or “The Wolf of Wall Street” but this is the year Leonardo DiCaprio receives his first Oscar as he’s a lock to win for “The Revenant.” The Academy is long known for rewarding a celebrated actor’s body of work, even if the film itself isn’t their finest performance (see: Denzel Washington for “Training Day” and Al Pacino for “Scent of a Woman”).

Best Actress:

Brie Larson was mesmerizing in “Room”, a quietly devastating adaptation of the book which surprised with nominations for Best Picture and Director (Lenny Abrahamson). Larson is carrying the torch for the film and will beat out Cate Blanchett for “Carol” among others.

Best Supporting Actor:

Sylvester Stallone gave a surprisingly nuanced, poignant performance in “Creed” and a nomination would’ve been recognition enough in my opinion. But again, the Academy can’t resist rewarding a big time star with an Oscar of his own so Sly will win over more deserving nominees like Mark Ruffalo for “Spotlight.”

Best Supporting Actress:

Alicia Vikander will win for the “Danish Girl,” and along with her work in “Ex Machina,” had a solid year establishing herself as an actress to watch for years to come. I’d go with Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs,” for making such magic out of Aaron Sorkin’s words and holding her own with Michael Fassbender’s titular character.

Read more on Adnan’s thoughts about the Oscars and film in general.

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