88th Academy Awards: The Nominees Are…

Forget Christmas, it’s Oscar season! Time to hit the multiplexes for the best films of the year, just in time to argue over who’s going to take home the little golden man…

Corey Hogan

With the Golden Globe Awards done and dusted, we’re left to anticipate the big one – the Oscars; Hollywood’s single most prestigious awards show, and highest honour filmmakers can aim to achieve. As usual, the nominees are mostly what we’ve expected, with a few surprises and snubs here and there. But who can we bet will take home that shiny golden statue?

IÑÁRRITU (OR THE UNEXPECTED DOWNFALL OF FRONTRUNNING TWICE)

2016 - 01 January - Oscar Nominees Revenant PosterWeighing in at an impressive twelve nominations, The Revenant leads the pack this year with Best Picture and Best Director nominations for Alejandro G. Iñárritu; two awards that would seem guaranteed were it not for the fact that the Academy very rarely honours the same recipient two years in a row – and Iñárritu is still hot off his win for Birdman last
year.

That means it could be anyone’s game, with this list tougher to nail down to one clear victor. At one point buzz surrounded Spotlight and Room, though that seems to have subsided a little, and a few expected show ponies – Carol, Steve Jobs – have been surprisingly omitted. In their place are atypically blockbuster fair The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road, whose popularity may yet see them atop the heap. Plus, it’s great to see Aussie George Miller earn a Best Director nod.

THE WOLF OF AWARDS-SEEKING

2016 - 01 January - Oscar Nominees Leo

It’s the most talked-about thing every time Leonardo DiCaprio appears on screen in recent years – “Just give the man an Oscar already!” It seems this year the cries, the jokes, and the memes may finally be silenced, with his outstanding portrayal of the bear-ravished broken man in The Revenant. There’s no McConaissance, or any other truly serious threat to dethrone him either. The only potential upsets come in the form of Eddie Redmayne’s transgender turn in The Danish Girl (though he did win last year) and Matt Damon’s Golden-Globe grabbing astronaut from The Martian, but you can place likely bets on Leo at long last.

STREEP OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT

There’s no Meryl Streep to steal the limelight this year, and it’s delightful to see a couple of fresh-faced actresses earning recognition. Brie Larson appears to be the strongest bet for her acclaimed performance in Room, though she could yet be trumped by the equally impressive Saoirse Ronan’s Irish spark in Brooklyn.2016 - 01 January - Oscar Nominees BrooklynAlongside them are veterans Cate Blanchett (Carol) and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), making this a truly difficult bet to pin down – then, of course, there’s the obligatory Jennifer Lawrence nod, this time for the critically so-so Joy. She’s a fine performer, but it’s starting to reek of a little Academy favouritism.

THE UNGRATEFUL EIGHT

2016 - 01 January - Oscar Nominees Quentin Tarantino

A surprising snub comes in the form of one of modern cinema’s most influential figures – Quentin Tarantino. While his films are often too radical to earn the biggest awards, he is almost always recognised in the Original Screenplay category, having previously earned two Oscars for his writing. He’s been denied this year for The Hateful Eight, perhaps due to some of the controversy surrounding it – the script was leaked online before production began, and Tarantino verbally blasted Disney in a recent interview – or, perhaps it simply doesn’t have the bite of his previous works. We shall have to wait for its release to see.

THE BIG SNUBS

2016 - 01 January - Oscar Nominees Straight Outta ComptonWith a limited number of spaces available in each category, a number of worthy contenders will naturally end up getting left out. Straight Outta Compton copped one measly nod for its screenplay, but another musical biopic has been entirely ignored – the terrific Love & Mercy, featuring Oscar-calibre performances from supporting actors Paul Dano and Elizabeth Banks. Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria), Michael Shannon (99 Homes) and Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) could all have received Best Supporting nominations, and it’s a surprise to see The Walk and Everest left off the Best Visual Effects list. Finally, a handful of great documentaries have been omitted – Cobain: Montage of Heck could sub in for Amy, and Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief perhaps hit home a little too hard for some loopy celebrities…

Happy betting!

Full list of nominees:

BEST PICTURE
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Anomalisa
Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

COSTUME DESIGN
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

DIRECTING
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)
Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
Body Team 12
Chau, beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom

FILM EDITING
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Embrace of the Serpent
Mustang
Son of Saul
Theeb
A War

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3,” Youth
“Til It Happens To You,” The Hunting Ground
“Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Shok
Stutterer

SOUND EDITING
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

SOUND MIXING
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

VISUAL EFFECTS
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

Images courtesy of 20th Century Fox, Roadshow Films, Transmission Films, Sony Pictures and Universal Pictures. 

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