OSCAR NOMINATIONS

The 88th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 28, 45 days from today.

Some quick takes:

Summary

  • Oscar nominations were announced this morning. Click here for a full list of nominations.
  • The Revenant led the pack with 12 nominations. Its only major miss was adapted screenplay, as its score was ineligible; the surprise supporting actor nomination for Tom Hardy was a significant indication of how much the Academy loved the film. Following The Revenant were Mad Max (10), The Martian (7), Spotlight (6), Bridge of Spies (6), Carol (6), The Big Short (5) and Star Wars (5). All of those, save Carol and Star Wars, were nominated for Best Picture, as were Room and Brooklyn.
  • Many now expect the Best Picture race to come down to The Revenant and Spotlight. Revenant fans can point to the widespread support from the Academy in all categories; Spotlight fans can point to the fact that the film has nominations in all major categories, including screenplay. (The last Best Picture winner to win without a screenplay nomination was Titanic in 1997. The one before that was The Sound of Music in 1965.) But cases can be made for The Big Short (which also has nominations in the major categories), Mad Max (tons of nominations), The Martian (which can pull an Argo if people are angry that Ridley Scott wasn’t nominated) and Room (which has a valuable Best Director nomination and Best Actress favorite). Read this article for an analysis on what nominations mean for all categories.
  • Nominations in the major categories were fairly scattered. There were 19 movies represented in picture, director, acting and screenplay, and 11 of the 20 nominated actors were not in films nominated for Best Picture.

Controversy

  • For the second year in a row, all acting nominees were white; this is the first time that’s happened since 1997-1998. Possible contenders who woke up disappointed this morning were Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) for supporting actor and Will Smith (Concussion), Michael B. Jordan (Creed) and Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation) for lead actor. (Other, more distant, possibilities included cast members from Straight Outta Compton or Tangerine.)
  • Similarly, all films nominated for Best Picture told the story of white protagonists. Straight Outta Compton and Creed, two films gunning for nominations, resigned themselves to nominations for screenplay and supporting actor, respectively (which, adding insult to injury, went to a white writer and actor).
  • Many people are angry about this, and there has been a resurgence of last year’s hashtag (#oscarssowhite) on Twitter. Potentially the best line I read about this comes from Mark Harris: “It’s not inappropriate to discuss racism, sexism, and homophobia. But those labels are blunt; what happens is soft. The older, white, male votership doesn’t hate women, gays, black people. They’re just not as interested in their/our stories.” An interesting debate to have is whether this lack of diversity is an industry problem or an Academy problem.
  • Despite all this, today was a reasonably good day for women. Female-driven films made up three of the eight Best Picture nominations (Brooklyn, Room and Mad Max), and female written (or co-written) screenplays made up four of the 10 screenplay nominations (including one for Room writer Emma Donoghue, the first woman to ever earn a screenplay Oscar nomination for adapting one’s own work to film).

Surprises

  • Ridley Scott, who many predicted would win Best Director this year for The Martian, did not earn a nomination, despite previous noms from DGA, BAFTA and the Golden Globes. The Martian also failed to receive predicted nominations for editing and cinematography, leading some to assume the film is too weak to win Best Picture.
  • Carol and Straight Outta Compton were left off the Best Picture list, despite massive critical acclaim for the former and PGA, SAG and WGA nominations and $160 million at the box office for the latter.
  • Aaron Sorkin and Quentin Tarantino, who both have previous screenplay wins, were not nominated for their work on Steve Jobs and The Hateful Eight, respectively.
  • Idris Elba, who earned SAG, BAFTA and Golden Globes nominations, was not nominated for Best Supporting Actor, edged out, many assume, by Tom Hardy, who was nominated for none of those three. Hardy is the third actor to ride Leonardo DiCaprio’s coattails to a nomination (following Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street and Djimon Hounsou in Blood Diamond) and the second (after Hill) to do it with no precursors.
  • Star Wars earned a surprise nomination for Best Editing. Only one other Best Editing nominee has not earned a Best Picture nomination since the category expanded: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Records (mostly from these two sources)

  • At age 25 Jennifer Lawrence is the youngest actor or actress ever to receive four Oscar nominations. She beat the record previously held by Jennifer Jones, a popular actress in the 1940s.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio joins Marlon Brando, Peter O’Toole, Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino for most acting noms for an actor by age 41, with five.
  • John Williams earned his 50th nomination.
  • Steven Spielberg earned his 16th nomination and two new records: most nominations for producing a Best Picture nominee (9) and most nominations for films he directed (128).
  • Other lifetime nomination totals are 14 for the Coen brothers, 13 for cinematographer Roger Deakins and composer Thomas Newman (neither has ever won, but the Newman family now has 89 nominations between Thomas, Randy and Alfred), seven each for Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett and six each for Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki earned his third consecutive nomination for The Revenant; if he wins, he would establish a new record for most consecutive wins in the category.
  • This is the first year since 2007 that Harvey Weinstein does not have a Best Picture nomination (thanks to the Carol snub).
  • All six of Alejandro Iñárritu’s films have received at least one Oscar nomination.
  • Only two films with SAG ensemble nominations earned Best Picture nominations, the lowest ever.
  • Jurassic World and Avengers: Age of Ultron both surpass The Dark Knight Rises as the highest grossing movies of all time to be snubbed by the Oscars. The Hunger Games is officially the highest-grossing franchise of all time to not receive a single Oscar nomination.

And some humor

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