The morning that Oscar nominations come out is almost like a second Christmas to me. It’s the day of the year where we see what are considered some of the best films of the year. Whether or not you give any merit to the Awards themselves is entirely up to you, but for me, it is always interesting to see what films will go down as both “Oscar nominees” and—eventually—“Oscar Winners” because let’s be honest, some films that have won are soon completely forgotten—*cough* “Crash” *cough cough*.
On a side note, those who followed my predictions for the Golden Globes saw that “The Revenant” came out of nowhere and took not only Best Director—but Best Picture as well, denying “Spotlight” (the fan-favorite) the big wins. Having made my predictions prior to seeing “The Revenant,” I would have most certainly switched them in favor of Inarritu’s masterpiece. For my full thoughts on the film, click here.
So now we get down to the nitty-gritty of discussing the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards. For a full list of the nominations, here’s a link to them. In order to save space for more reactions, I have to sacrifice copying the list that you can find on just about any entertainment website.
The first major shock is that there are no actors or actresses of color nominated for any awards. That means no Idris Elba for “Beasts of No Nation,” no Michael B. Jordan for “Creed,” nobody from “Straight Outta Compton,” or Will Smith for “Concussion.” Of all of those, I feel that Matt Damon, who was nominated for “The Martian,” could have been replaced by Smith. As good as Mark Rylance and Christian Bale are, sliding Elba into one of those spots would have been totally fine by me.
Moving onto the Best Picture category, there will always be some snubs and surprises. While there are no weird dark-horses here this year (calling back to films like Amour, District 9, and a few other ones after raising the number of nominees) there are some films (like “Bridge of Spies”) that could have easily been replaced by “Inside Out.” It is great to see “Brooklyn” getting a spot here, though it had a rather quiet, but positive, reception. There are only 8 nominees, with the maximum supposedly being a possible 10, so it begs the question as to why “Straight Outta Compton” wasn’t given a spot after being both a critical and financial success. “Star Wars,” though many can argue for both sides of the debate, was talked up as being a potential nominee, but it instead found nominations in the technical categories. Surprisingly, “Carol” is missing from the list despite being hailed as one of the best of the year. Todd Haynes, who directed, is also not recognized.
The big surprise fro Best Actress is the inclusion of Charlotte Ramping for “45 Years,” a film that has yet to really make its way to American audiences. Carey Mulligan would’ve been nice to see, either for “Far From the Madding Crowd” or “Suffragette”…oh well.
The big inclusion for Supporting Actor is Tom Hardy, who might be overshadowed by Leo in “The Revenant,” but certainly will be getting a lot more recognition for his role here.
Best Supporting Actress is a pretty sound, accurate category with no big surprises or snubs.
Snubs for the Best Director category go to the denial of Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott—both of whom having won the award before. So I am ok with it—we can now honor some new directors, such as Lenny Abrahamson and Tom McCarthy. Adam McKay is a questionable choice in lieu of Spielberg or Scott, but again—he has never been nominated.
In the screenplay categories, the Tarantino’s denial of a nomination for Original is pretty surprising considering he is usually nominated—and wins—despite never getting the Best Picture win. “Straight Outta Compton” is thankfully nominated here, with no other big shocks.
The rest of the categories are pretty accurate. Oddities in “O Menino e o Mundo” and “Omoide no Mani” for Animated Film are becoming a trend, and the other disappointment I found was the lack of a nomination for Cinematography for “Far From the Madding Crowd”—one of the most gorgeous films of the decade.
Oh and what is up with this film called Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann getting a nomination for Makeup and Hairstyling. Talk about weird…
Anyway, that about does it for my reactions. Have any thoughts? Comment below.
Moving forward with my column is a bit undecided. With the amount of movies being released slowing down to a crawl, I now have time to talk about the films that I haven’t gotten the chance to yet, so be expecting that.
As always, thank you for reading. The Oscars will be held on Feb. 28, so we got a ways to go and—knowing the game—a lot could change.
Scott Johnson is a senior Film Studies and Journalism double major. You can follow him on Twitter @scott7893 and find more of his reviews at RagingFilm.com