Movies

the 2016 academy awards

And the Oscar goes to. . .

In some Oscar years, the winner surges forward over the long awards season on a tide of universal acclaim. This is not one of those years. About the only settled matters are the leading actor/actress categories and the specialty features: animation, documentary, foreign language. Everything else seems up in the air. Will Academy voters go for the message movie (“Spotlight”), the grueling epic (“The Revenant”), or the spunky comedy about the 2008 financial meltdown (“The Big Short”)? Will this totally diverse crowd of old white men overlook their distaste for action, no matter how well done, and load up “Mad Max: Fury Road” with technical awards? Impossible to predict — the answer is whichever movie has the momentum at the moment that voters (or their gardeners) fill out the ballot. If that plays hell with your office Oscar pool chances, it may provide this year’s Academy Awards with a genuine novelty: suspense.

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PICTURE

TY BURR

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Will win: “The Revenant”

Should win: “Spotlight”

Shouldn’t be here: “The Revenant”

Was robbed: “Carol”

The Producers Guild went for “The Big Short,” the Directors Guild plonked for “The Revenant,” and the Screen Actors Guild gave its big prize to “Spotlight.” In other words, your guess is as good as ours. There’s a sense, though, that the Hollywood community is so dazzled by the filmmaking chops of “The Revenant” that they’re willing to overlook the fact that it’s a huge movie about a pretty small story. (Todd Haynes’s shut-out “Carol” is just as well made and more consistent.) Still, we’re root-root-rooting for the home team on this one and hoping that the Academy recognizes great subtle filmmaking when they see it. But we’re not holding our breath.

Kerry Hayes / Open Road Films

“Spotlight”

JANICE PAGE

Will win:“Spotlight”

Should win: “Spotlight”

Shouldn’t be here:“Bridge of Spies”

Was robbed: “Creed”

Applying the popular logic that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you, I submit that just because I’m favorably biased toward “Spotlight” doesn’t mean it’s not best picture of the year. “The Revenant” has momentum, “The Big Short” has Producers Guild backing, and yet I still have faith in the only movie that stars ballpoint pens and pleated khakis. P.S.: How is it possible that “Creed,” the smartest rebooting of a tired franchise maybe ever, doesn’t top enough ballots to rate a nomination? #OscarsSo...YoAdrian!

Oscar Predictions 2016: Best Picture

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu

DIRECTOR

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Will win:Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, “The Revenant”

Should win:George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Shouldn’t Be Here:Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”

Was Robbed: Todd Haynes, “Carol”

With that DGA win in his pocket, Iñárritu is poised to be the first back-to-back winner in this category, following up on “Birdman,” since John Ford (1940-41) and Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1949-50). Is it too much to hope for an upset by Miller or Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)? While it’s great to see some deserving young blood in this category, Haynes’s exquisite jewel-box direction of “Carol” should arguably have taken precedence over Lenny Abrahamson’s fine work on “Room.”

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, “The Revenant”

Should win: Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

Shouldn’t be here:Adam McKay, “The Big Short”

Was robbed:Ryan Coogler, “Creed”

Everything about “The Revenant” is more, including its directing sins (too long, too indulgent, too faux-mystical, too “no [expletive] way”). McCarthy made a rousing, edge-of-your-seat procedural out of combing files and knocking on doors. In so doing, he captured the layers of a city and a profession rarely portrayed as anything but one-dimensional.

Oscar Predictions 2016: Best Director

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Revenant."

Twentieth Century Fox via AP

Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Revenant."

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Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

Should Win: DiCaprio

Shouldn’t Be Here: Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Was Robbed:Michael B. Jordan, “Creed”

As with Al Pacino in 1992 (hoo-ah) and Martin Scorsese in 2006, this is one of those years where Academy voters — and, yeah, the unwashed masses themselves — rise up and say, “This man deserves an Oscar.” So what if Leo is actually getting this for “The Great Gatsby” (or “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” or whichever movie you prefer) rather than the grunting exertions of “The Revenant”? All together: It’s time.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

Should win: Matt Damon, “The Martian”

Shouldn’t be here:Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”

Was robbed:Paul Dano, “Love & Mercy”

In the grand Hollywood tradition of excess, it’s a largely guttural, showy turn that will finally earn Leo his long-deserved Oscar. But, really, take away the demanding filming conditions of “The Revenant” and DiCaprio was outperformed by Damon and Dano, not to mention the guy who played the bear.

Oscar Predictions 2016: Best Actor and Actress

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay in “Room.”

George Kraychyk/Courtesy of A24

Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay in “Room.”

TY BURR

Will Win: Brie Larson, “Room”

Should Win: Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”

Shouldn’t Be Here:Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”

Was Robbed:Charlize Theron, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Larson has won all the run-up awards and will take home the trophy, a deserving triumph for a confident and centered young industry veteran. (And maybe now you’ll see her in “Short Term 12.”) That said, what Rampling does in “45 Years” almost goes beyond acting itself. Lawrence gives a decent performance in a mess of a film; Theron, by contrast, steals her movie from its own title character.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win:Brie Larson, “Room”

Should win:Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”

Shouldn’t be here:Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”

Was robbed:Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, “Tangerine”

It’s likely that Larson would have run away with this award even if Rampling hadn’t offered up one of the most disappointing sound bites of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. But it’s also likely that a more diverse Academy would have seen and appreciated “Tangerine” in greater numbers, giving Rodriguez her rightful props, regardless.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in "Creed."

Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in "Creed."

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Will Win: Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Should Win: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

Shouldn’t Be Here:Christian Bale, “The Big Short”

Was Robbed:Steve Carell, “The Big Short”

Sentiment always matters at the Oscars. That’s why Stallone will win for his sweet, solid comeback performance (although please remember that director Ryan Coogler is the main reason “Creed” works) and why Rylance’s brilliantly dry minimalism in “Bridge of Spies” will get respect but no bling. No shade on Bale, but the heartbreaking Carell is the one to nominate from the “Short” ensemble.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win:Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Should win:Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

Shouldn’t be here:Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Was robbed:Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation”

While no one begrudges Stallone his moment, it’s insane to rate his rubber-lipped performance above the minimalist mastery of Rylance, or Tom Hardy’s stealth hijacking of “The Revenant.” Even crazier is Elba’s snub, easily the least defensible of this entire diversity-challenged nominations process.

Oscar Predictions 2016: Best Supporting Actor and Actress

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Eddie Redmayne, left, as Lili Elbe, and Alicia Vikander as Gerda Wegener in "The Danish Girl."

gatha A. Nitecka/Focus Features via AP

Eddie Redmayne, left, as Lili Elbe, and Alicia Vikander as Gerda Wegener in "The Danish Girl."

TY BURR

Will Win: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

Should Win: Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”

Shouldn’t Be Here: Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”

Was Robbed:Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria”

Kate Winslet won over the foreign press (the Golden Globes) and the Brits (the BAFTAs), but I’m guessing Academy voters will be knocked out by Vikander because: a) she’s everywhere right now, b) she out-acts Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl,” c) she was freaky good in “Ex Machina,” and d) she’s young, European, and gorgeous.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win:Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

Should win:Rooney Mara, “Carol”

Shouldn’t be here:Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”

Was robbed:Cynthia Nixon, “James White”

How different this category could have been if it included the always excellent Cynthia Nixon, Mya Taylor’s “Tangerine” twirl, and/or Kristen Stewart for “Clouds of Sils Maria.” Kate Winslet, Alicia Vikander, and Rooney Mara are all fine actresses and yet . . . Zzzzzzz. Jennifer Jason Leigh overplays her hand in “The Hateful Eight,” McAdams underplays the formidable Sacha Pfeiffer.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

From left: Michael Keaton as Walter 'Robby' Robinson, Liev Schreiber as Marty Baron, Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes, Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfieffer, John Slattery as Ben Bradlee Jr., and Brian d’Arcy James as Matt Carroll in ”Spotlight.”

Kerry Hayes / Open Road Films

From left: Michael Keaton as Walter 'Robby' Robinson, Liev Schreiber as Marty Baron, Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes, Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfieffer, John Slattery as Ben Bradlee Jr., and Brian d’Arcy James as Matt Carroll in ”Spotlight.”

TY BURR

Will Win:“Spotlight,” Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

Should win: “Spotlight”

McCarthy and Singer’s script for “Spotlight” was honored by the Writers Guild for good reason: It packs a huge amount of hard-to-dramatize information into a seamless, compelling whole. And it’s about writers, for Pete’s sake.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win:“Spotlight”

SHOULD WIN: “Spotlight”

If nothing else, “Spotlight” is almost certain to win this war of words. That said, the “Inside Out” screenplay is pure genius and what it lacks in weight it makes up for in Joy.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

From left: Jeremy Strong as Vinnie Daniel, Steve Carell as Mark Baum, Hamish Linklater as Porter Collins, and Rafe Spall as Danny Moses in “The Big Short.”

Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures

From left: Jeremy Strong as Vinnie Daniel, Steve Carell as Mark Baum, Hamish Linklater as Porter Collins, and Rafe Spall as Danny Moses in “The Big Short.”

TY BURR

Will Win:“The Big Short,” Charles Randolph and Adam McKay

Should win: “ The Big Short”

With a Writers Guild award and a BAFTA, the adaptation of Michael Lewis’s bestseller has the momentum. “Carol,” “Brooklyn,” and “Room” have literary roots, though — and Emma Donoghue (“Room”) is the rare novelist to adapt her own work.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “The Big Short”

Should win:“The Martian,” Drew Goddard

Again in this category, the likely victor is the same as the WGA winner, “The Big Short.” I was more entertained by “The Martian” and more impressed by Emma Donoghue’s “Room,” and it’s hard to figure how Aaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”) doesn’t even make the cut.

ANIMATED FEATURE

“Inside Out”

Disney/Pixar

“Inside Out”

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Will Win:“Inside Out”

Should win: “Anomalisa”

Pixar takes the win for the company’s strongest in a while, but the stop-motion “Anomalisa” is the real deal in terms of outside-the-box creativity. Everything in this category is worth seeing.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Inside Out”

Should win: “Inside Out”

Not only should “Inside Out” have been nominated for best picture, it probably should have won. Directors Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen found an amusing way into the brain of a 11-year-old girl? Give them the Nobel, too.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE

Geza Rohrig in ”Son of Saul.”

Sony Pictures Classics

Geza Rohrig in ”Son of Saul.”

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Will Win: “Son of Saul” (Hungary)

Should win: “Son of Saul”

Cynics say the Holocaust movie always wins. Realists say a Holocaust movie this strong and original deserves to win. An upset by France’s “Mustang” would be an interesting and not unwelcome change-up, though.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win:“Son of Saul” (Hungary)

Should win: “Mustang” (France)

With its creative camerawork and focus on the Holocaust, “Son of Saul” is a very sure bet to bring home an Oscar for Hungary. It’s an important film and I was moved by it. But I will never forget the long-haired life force unleashed by the five Turkish sisters in “Mustang.”

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Amy Winehouse, right, in a scene from the film, "Amy."

A24 Films via AP

Amy Winehouse, right, in a scene from the film, "Amy."

TY BURR

Will Win: “Amy”

Should win: “The Look of Silence”

Poor Joshua Oppenheimer. In 2014, his brilliant documentary about the Indonesian genocide, “The Act of Killing,” lost to a (very good) pop-music doc (“20 Feet From Stardom”). This year his equally brilliant follow-up will almost certainly lose to a (very good) pop-music doc (“Amy”).

JANICE PAGE

Will win: “Amy”

Should win: “The Look of Silence”

Perhaps Josh Oppenheimer’s next movie on Indonesian death squads should take its cue from the 2013 Oscar winner and be titled “Searching for Sugar Cane”?

VISUAL EFFECTS

Daisey Ridley as Rey, left, and John Boyega as Finn, in a scene from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

ilm Frame/Disney/Lucasfilm via AP

Daisey Ridley as Rey, left, and John Boyega as Finn, in a scene from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

TY BURR

Will Win:“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Roger Guyett, Pat Tubach, Neal Scanlan, and Chris Corbould

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver, Andy Williams

Barring a “Revenant” sweep in the technical categories — a sure sign it’ll take best picture — expect voters to honor the reawakening of a legendary franchise and throw a bone to “Star Wars” here. Unless the legendary franchise turns out to be “Mad Max.”

JANICE PAGE

Will win: “Star Wars : The Force Awakens”

Should win:“Mad Max: Fury Road”

No movie created a more boldly memorable world than the latest “Mad Max.” But older Oscar voters — which is to say, Oscar voters — will likely lean more toward “Star Wars,” or possibly “The Martian.” Unless “The Revenant” has a big enough night to bag this trophy for its CGI bear.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

A scene from “The Revenant.”

Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

A scene from “The Revenant.”

TY BURR

Will Win:“The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki

Should win: “Carol,” Edward Lachman

Look for Lubezki to become one of the extremely rare winners of back-to-back-to-back Oscars for his rapturous work on “The Revenant,” following wins for “Gravity” and “Birdman.” (The others, trivia fans? Scorer Roger Edens in the late ’40s, the “Lord of the Rings” special effects team — and Walt Disney, who racked up eight consecutive wins in the ’30s and another four in the ’50s.)

JANICE PAGE

Will win: “The Revenant”

Should win:“The Revenant”

DiCaprio notwithstanding, the real star of “The Revenant” is the cinematography. Shot in natural light, with every inch of the frame revealing some cold, harsh reality of its rugged landscape, this is the movie that will earn Lubezki an unprecedented third consecutive Oscar in this category. Roger Deakins (“Sicario”) will spend yet another year convalescing at the Susan Lucci Support Center for the Underawarded.

FILM EDITING

Steve Carell in “The Big Short.”

Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures

Steve Carell in “The Big Short.”

TY BURR

Will Win: “The Big Short,” Hank Corwin

Should win:“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel

Remember, it’s not best film editing but most film editing, which is why the slaphappy financial tutorials of “The Big Short” will win. But the “Mad Max” cutting by Sixel (a.k.a. Mrs. George Miller) is montage as kinetic art.

JANICE PAGE

Will win: “The Big Short”

Should win: “Spotlight,” Tom McArdle

“Mad Max” is too bold and “Spotlight” is too quiet. “The Big Short” has just the right amount of showy editing to take this category. Tip: If “Spotlight” or “The Revenant” happens to win here, prep the champagne for best picture, too.

SOUND EDITING

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Will Win: “The Revenant,” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Mark Mangini and David White

The sound categories are always tough ones to call. Since the Hollywood community seems so gaga over “The Revenant” in all tech fields, look for it to triumph here. But don’t count out “Mad Max” or “Star Wars.”

JANICE PAGE

Will win:“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Grizzled Oscar voters can at least agree that “Mad Max” is loud. Fine, they’ll say, let it have a sound award. Now, close your door and turn that movie down!

SOUND MIXING

TY BURR

Will Win: “The Revenant,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, Randy Thom, and Chris Duesterdiek

Should win:“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, and Ben Osmo

See above.

JANICE PAGE

Will win:“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Should win:“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Fine. Let it have two awards. Just shut up while we finish our martinis.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

A scene from “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP

A scene from “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

TY BURR

Will Win: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Unless the “Revenant” tidal wave turns into a tsunami, the Academy will be hard pressed to overlook the sheer originality of Colin Gibson’s world-building in “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

JANICE PAGE

Will win: “The Revenant,” Jack Fisk and Hamish Purdy

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

As many have noted, this installment of “Mad Max” completely recalibrated our impressions of an apocalyptic world. But people love the look of “The Revenant,” and veteran Jack Fisk gets credit even if Mother Nature assisted considerably. “Bridge of Spies” has an outside chance at an upset.

COSTUME DESIGN

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Will Win:“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Jenny Beavan

Should win:“Carol,” Sandy Powell

Again, the outré specificity of 10-time nominee Beavan’s costumes for “Mad Max” should take the field. A shout-out for Sandy Powell’s subtly powerful ’50s wear in “Carol,” though.

JANICE PAGE

Will win: “Cinderella,” Sandy Powell

Should win:“Cinderella”

Powell’s two nods in this category either double her chances or bleed votes from herself. Jenny Beavan (“Mad Max”) could muscle in.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

TY BURR

Will Win: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin

Should win:“Mad Max: Fury Road”

We will ride eternal, shiny and chrome! Witness me!

JANICE PAGE

Will Win:“The Revenant,” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman, and Robert Pandini

Should win: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

This is another of those possible early predictors — a “Revenant” win here could signal a big night for that movie. Or not.

ORIGINAL SCORE

A scene from "The Hateful Eight.”

ndrew Cooper/Weinstein Company via AP

A scene from "The Hateful Eight.”

TY BURR

Will Win:“The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone

Should win:“Sicario,” Jóhann Jóhannsson

Morricone is 87, has composed more than 500 scores, has been nominated six times, and has “only” a lifetime achievement award to show for it. He’ll win. Jóhannsson’s “Sicario” score is eerie and unlike anything you’ve ever heard. He won’t win.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone

Should win:“The Hateful Eight”

There isn’t much love for Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight,” but what there is goes to Morricone.

ORIGINAL SONG

FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2015 file photo, British singer Sam Smith poses at the photo call for the latest Bond film, "Spectre," at Regis hotel in Mexico City. Smith, who won the Golden Globe for best original song earlier this week with �Writing�s On the Wall,� was nominated for an Oscar for best original song, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, for the "Spectre" track. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)

Esteban Felix/AP

Sam Smith sings the title song to “Spectre.”

TY BURR

Will Win:“Til It Happens to You,” “The Hunting Ground,” Diane Warren and Lady Gaga

Should win: none

The Gaga-Warren song that accompanies the campus-rape documentary “The Hunting Ground” has the urgency, personal back story, and star power to command votes. But there are some truly terrible tunes in this category. God, I miss Henry Mancini.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win:“Writing’s on the Wall” (“Spectre”), Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Should win:“Earned It” (“Fifty Shades of Grey”), Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville, and Stephan Moccio

Sure, Lady Gaga and Diane Warren could score a win. More likely, though, voters will go for the James Bond movie with the theme song sung by Smith. I only wish they’d listen to the Weeknd’s “Earned It” with a truly open mind and say, “Ima vote for you, even if your film dominates the Razzies.”

DOCUMENTARY SHORT

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Will Win: “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”

Should win: “Last Day of Freedom”

Adam Benzine’s short about the arduous making of the classic Holocaust documentary should win in a tough and worthy category. “Freedom,” about Vietnam vets, PTSD, and hard family choices, is a standout, too.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win:“ Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”

Should win:“Last Day of Freedom”

A rare opportunity for a do over. Lanzmann’s seminal 1985 documentary “Shoah” wasn’t even nominated; a “Spectres of Shoah” victory would right that injustice. Unless Lanzmann continues to polarize Hollywood, in which case “Body Team 12” or the timely, creatively animated “Last Day of Freedom” has a shot.

ANIMATED SHORT

TY BURR

Will Win:“World of Tomorrow”

Should win: “World of Tomorrow”

Often the most visually lush nominee takes this award, but the existential stick figures of Don Hertzfeldt’s bleak, soulful universe have built up a big following over the years. “World of Tomorrow” won the short-film Annie award, and it should win here.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win: “Sanjay’s Super Team,”

Should win: “World of Tomorrow”

If voters are looking to deny a Pixar sweep of the animation categories, they might look to Hertzfeldt’s “World of Tomorrow,” the creative darling of the festival circuit. Otherwise, “Sanjay’s Super Team” brings home the gold.

LIVE ACTION SHORT

TY BURR

Will Win:“Shok”

Should win:“Shok”

As with the doc shorts, a category full of excellent and really depressing work. “Everything Will Be OK,” “Day One,” and “Stutterer” all have a shot, but my guess is that “Shok,” about two boys in 1998 Kosovo, will win.

JANICE PAGE

Will Win:“Shok”

Should win: “Shok”

For me, the clear winner here is Jamie Donoughue’s poignant, devastating tale of two boys who bond over a bicycle.

Ty Burr can be reached at tburr@globe.com. Janice Page can be reached at janice.page@globe.com.
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