Friday, 15 January 2016

Oscars 2016: The Nominations

Another year, another batch of Oscar nominations has popped into existence. On the whole, I think this was a pretty solid bunch but, as always, there are one or two glaring omissions and snubs that we need to talk about. 

Which film(s) do you think missed out on some lovin'? Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below!

It's a mad world

We often get treated to remarkable exceptions, but generally we all accept one universal truth - action movies simply don't get a lot of love during awards season. Thankfully, Mad Max: Fury Road is proving to be a brilliant exception to that rule as it scooped up a whopping 10 nominations last night.

Alongside Best Picture and Best Director nominations, a string of talented Australian professionals have been recognised for their hard work in technical categories including Margaret Sixel for Editing, John Seale for Cinematography, Dan Oliver for Visual Effects and Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson for Production Design. All up, including Cate Blanchett's acting nod, that's 13 nominations for Aussie talent. Advance Australia Fair indeed!

The Revenant snags a healthy dozen

Just ahead on nominations is current frontrunner, The Revenant. Just a few days after hoovering up the big categories at the Golden Globes, Inarritu's gritty wilderness revenge tale has wooed the Academy also with a whopping 12 nominations overall. This includes Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio (honestly, if he doesn't win I'm pretty sure Twitter will implode) as well as a surprise Best Supporting Actor nod for Tom Hardy. 

In fact, The Revenant pretty much landed a nomination in every category for which is was eligible, excluding the musical score by Ryuichi Sakamoto. 

Whilst I didn't think the film was perfect (read my review here), it undoubtedly contains some truly astounding filmmaking achievements, particularly in the areas of cinematography, direction and acting. If showering this film with love is the direction that the Academy is heading, it's certainly a deserving winner in numerous categories, even if my personal preference for an even spread will hopefully win out on the night. 

#OscarsSoWhite is awkwardly accurate

Rewind the clock to this time last year and you'll remember how Twitter's favourite hashtag was #OscarsSoWhite, a sentiment essentially exposing the lack of actors of colour in the nominations that year. Well, if you're experiencing a wave of deja vu, it's because the Academy have done it again!

I don't like to get overly political on this blog, but it does strike me as odd that actors like Sylvester Stallone (Creed) get an acting nomination whilst his costar, Michael B. Jordan, is ignored - despite being the lead in a movie that is named after his character. Jordan isn't alone though; Will Smith (Concussion), Tessa Thompson (Creed), Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight) and Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina) were all passed over for acting nods as well.

Is it possible that, maybe, these actors simply didn't do as good a job as someone like Christian Bale (The Big Short) or Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)? Who knows - after all, it's all subjective. But I dare anyone to watch the fight scenes in Creed and then tell Michael B. Jordan that he didn't act his damn heart out in that film. On the flipside, Christian Bale just sloshed around in an office chair for essentially the entirety of The Big Short. I don't want to get into baseline bitching about the nominees here - at the end of the day, who wins and for what doesn't affect my enjoyment of either film or influence the work either actor put in. But when something like #OscarsSoWhite so routinely crops up following the big announcement, you'd think the Academy would try and open their ears to what
the audience are thinking and feeling.

Carol was shortchanged

There's always one. A film that has everything you'd expect of a Best Picture nominee that somehow gets kicked to the sidewalk when all is said and done. Last year it was Foxcatcher, and this year it's Todd Haynes' Carol that, despite six nominations including two acting nods, doesn't translate into a Best Picture nomination,

Like, how? How does that even work? There are 10 spots to fill. You give out six nominations to Carol but ultimately decide that one of those slots should remain vacant. Why Academy, why? Plus, what on Earth is up with Rooney Mara being lumped in Supporting Actress? She's the lead! Blanchett is supporting.

Other thoughts 

As a fan, it was great to see The Force Awakens scoop five nominations - Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects. Not totally sure whether it'll win any because it shares a lot of categories with Mad Max but it'd be nice to see John Williams recognised as well as the amazing visual effects.

Ridley Scott was snubbed for The Martian, which is a shame because it wasn't so long ago that he was being touted as a potential winner in this field. Still, Best Picture and Best Actor nominations sort of make up for it.

It would've been great to see Sicario land a couple more nominations, but three is a pretty solid number across the technical categories. Inside Out and/or Creed could've filled one of the vacant Best Picture slots (why not share the love across all 10 spots?) but the biggest omission there is Carol, as I mentioned earlier.

Finally, it was really great to see Ex Machina pick-up two nominations for Original Screenplay and Visual Effects - the CGI on Ava's perspex stomach area was really something so props to the Academy for slipping it in. Alicia Vikander (I'll find an excuse to talk about her anywhere) missed out on a nomination for Ex Machina because her role in The Danish Girl has been strategically switched from lead to supporting actress in an attempt to boost her shot at winning for the latter. She deserves nominations for both in truth and the politics sting a little but hey, all will be forgiven if she wins in my eyes.

All in all, a pretty solid year. At this point, things look pretty clear cut in a lot of categories but I'm hoping for one or two surprises to shake things up. But what do you think? Who'll take home all the big wins? Let me know in the comments!


  1. It's certainly disappointing that Creed didn't get a best picture nomination (ESPECIALLY considering there was room for two more films).

    Also, even though I never expected that Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton) would get nominated, I think he definitely deserved a spot.

    1. I don't get that either - if they have space for 10, why not nominate 10? Otherwise they might as well go back to 5. Creed, Carol and Straight Outta Compton would've been good choices to fill the extra spots :)



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