2016 Oscar Nominations – My Thoughts

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I realise I’m a bit late, but here are my thoughts on this year’s Academy Awards nominations. It’s a decent mix this year – of course there are some snubs which I will mention but I think they have got it mostly right.

Best Picture

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

Predicted Win: The Revenant

Overall, a good mix of nominations and I’m glad that the Academy have been quite tough. Before this category was announced, there were about 15 films that could’ve got here, so I’m glad they’ve stuck to 8 this year. This category can have up to 10 nominees if needed. I think ‘The Revenant’ will win seeing as it cleared up at the Golden Globes but ‘Spotlight’ is a close second – it could be any of the two. I’m a little annoyed to see ‘The Big Short’ and ‘Bridge of Spies’ here as they were by no means one of the best films of last year. A much worthier contender would have been ‘The Hateful Eight’, ‘The Danish Girl’, ‘Steve Jobs’ or ‘Carol’.

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Best Actor

Bryan Cranston for Trumbo
Matt Damon for The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant
Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl

Predicted Win: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant

Surely it’s got to be Leo’s turn this year? A very good set of nominations and all very deserving. The only person I would have liked to have seen here is Johnny Depp for his performance in ‘Black Mass’ but otherwise, it’s a very good set of nominations. Michael Fassbender for either of his roles in ‘Macbeth’ or ‘Slow West’ is another good shout. Leonardo DiCaprio won the Golden Globe for his role in ‘The Revenant’ so I would guess he will emulate his success here too. His performance is very good, although I personally think Michael Fassbender put in the better performance here but DiCaprio had to go through a lot for his role so I’d be happy either way. (My review of ‘The Revenant’ here)

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Best Actress

Cate Blanchett for Carol
Brie Larson for Room
Jennifer Lawrence for Joy
Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn

Predicted Win: Brie Larson for Room

Another strong set of nominations, I wouldn’t say there are any snubs here. I’m happy to see Charlotte Rampling getting a nomination here as she is terrific in ’45 Years’. I think the win here will go to Brie Larson for her exceptional performance in ‘Room’ – a film that I loved very much and gave a perfect score. (Review here)

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Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale for The Big Short
Tom Hardy for The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight
Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone for Creed

Predicted Win: Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies

Another solid set of nominations although I am a little surprised to see Tom Hardy feature here. I thought he was excellent in ‘The Revenant’ but Benicio Del Toro who got a BAFTA nomination for his role in ‘Sicario’ is a much better fit in my opinion and more deserving. Idris Elba for ‘Beasts Of No Nation’ is also another fantastic performance. I think the winner here will be Mark Rylance and if he does, deservedly so. He is one of the highlights of the flawed ‘Bridge of Spies’ (Review here) and really elevates the film. Although Sylvester Stallone won the Golden Globe, he failed to acknowledge ‘Creed’ co-star, Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler in his acceptance speech and this left a bit of a sour note. Also I think Rylance is far more deserving.

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Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara for Carol
Rachel McAdams for Spotlight
Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs

Predicted Win: Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl

Please, please, anyone but Kate Winslet. She was absolutely horrendous in ‘Steve Jobs’ and her accent was sliding all over the place. I don’t understand why she is getting so much awards attention for it. I’m going to predict Alicia Vikander will win for ‘The Danish Girl’ as she has got a lot of buzz for her performance and I think she’s the next best thing if they do give Winslet the Oscar that she thoroughly does not deserve. Instead of Winslet, I think Alicia Vikander should get nominated again but for her role in ‘Ex_Machina’.

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Best Director

Adam McKay for The Big Short
George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson for Room
Tom McCarthy for Spotlight

Predicted Win: George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road

Could the Academy be nice and reward George Miller for his hard work on ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ which took him a very long time to make. It’s all well and good giving Iñárritu a second Oscar but Miller is so much more deserving. I’m very pleased to see Lenny Abrahamson getting a nod here as he did a perfect job of ‘Room’. I do also think Quentin Tarantino did a great job with ‘The Hateful Eight’ which I think could replace Adam McKay as ‘The Big Short’ was a mixed bag, in my opinion but still, not a bad set of nominations at all.

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Best Original Screenplay 

Matt Charman, Ethan Coen & Joel Coen for Bridge of Spies
Alex Garland for Ex_Machina
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley & Ronnie Del Carmen for Inside Out
Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy for Spotlight
Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savage & Alan Wenkus for Straight Outta Compton

Predicted Win: Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy for Spotlight

An interesting set of nominations apart from Quentin Tarantino’s snub who deserves to be here. Out of who’s here, I’m going to stab a guess at ‘Spotlight’ taking the gong due to its consistency in the rest of the nominations. ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and ‘Ex_Machina’ seem a little shoehorned in and I don’t see the other two winning.

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Best Adapted Screenplay

Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for The Big Short
Nick Hornby for Brooklyn
Phyllis Nagy for Carol
Drew Goddard for The Martian
Emma Donoghue for Room

Predicted Win: Emma Donoghue for Room

Easily the best of the group, Donoghue deserves this award through and through for her adaptation of her own novel. The other nominations are all very respectable, but Aaron Sorkin has been unfairly snubbed and he put a lot of work into his script for ‘Steve Jobs’.

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Best Animated Feature

Anomalies
O Menino e o Mundo
Inside Out
Shaun The Sheep Movie
Omoide no Mânî

Predicted Win: Inside Out

A battle between ‘Inside Out’ and ‘Anomalisa’ but ‘Inside Out’, the Disney Pixar smash hit has appeared on so many critic’s Top Ten lists and is generally loved in the film industry. For me, a no brainer. (My review of ‘Inside Out’ here)

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Best Cinematography

Edward Lachman for Carol
Robert Richardson for The Hateful Eight
John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road
Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant
Roger Deakins for Sicario

Predicted Win: Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant

A very interesting category. Whilst it would be unfair for Lubezki to win a third year in a row, his work on ‘The Revenant’ outshines everyone else nominated. His decision to shoot the film with lots of extreme close ups and landscapes is revolutionary and really elevates the film. I do want to see Roger Deakins finally get an Oscar, but as much as I loved ‘Sicario’, Lubezki’s work is much better. Both Robert Richardson and John Seale have done fantastic work on their respective films as well, but it’s just got to go to Lubezki.

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Best Editing

Hank Corwin for The Big Short
Margaret Sixel for Mad Max: Fury Road
Stephen Mirrione for The Revenant
Tom McArdle for Spotlight
Maryann Brandon & Mary Jo Markey for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Predicted Win: Stephen Mirrione for The Revenant

A tough one to call, I think it could be either ‘The Revenant’, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ or ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. Ultimately, I think ‘The Revenant’ will prevail as its editing is a notch better than these two other films.

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Best Production Design

Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo & Bernard Henrich for Bridge of Spies
Eve Stewart & Michael Standish for The Danish Girl
Colin Gibson & Lisa Thompson for Mad Max: Fury Road
Arthur Max & Celia Bobak for The Martian
Jack Fisk & Hamish Purdy for The Revenant

Predicted Win: Colin Gibson & Lisa Thompson for Mad Max: Fury Road

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ has some incredible set pieces and is definitely a cut above the rest, but then again don’t be surprised if ‘The Revenant’ takes another one. Both ‘The Danish Girl’ and ‘Bridge of Spies’ are respectable in this category but ‘The Martian’ seems a bit of a shoe-in for me. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ would be a better pick in my opinion.

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Best Costume Design

Sandy Powell for Carol
Sandy Powell for Cinderella
Paco Delgado for The Danish Girl
Jenny Beavan for Mad Max: Fury Road
Jacqueline West for The Revenant

Predicted Win: Sandy Powell for Cinderella

There’s always a film that hasn’t received any awards buzz that ends up winning an award for this kind of category and this year, I’m going to hedge my bets on ‘Cinderella’ being that film. They’re all very worthy contenders though, so another one to add to the collection for either ‘The Revenant’ or ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ isn’t necessarily out of the picture.

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Best Make-Up and Hairstyling

Love Larson & Eva Von Bahr for The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared
Lesley Vanderwalt, Elke Wardega & Damian Martin for Mad Max: Fury Road
Sian Grigg, Duncan Jarman & Robert A. Pandini for The Revenant

Predicted Win: Lesley Vanderwalt, Elke Wardega & Damian Martin for Mad Max: Fury Road

This should be an easy one for ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, the make-up and hairstyling are one of its highlights. That said, I’m surprised ‘The Danish Girl’ didn’t get a nomination here and ‘Carol’ too would have been deserving.

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Best Original Score

Thomas Newman for Bridge of Spies
Carter Burwell for Carol
Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight
Jóhann Jóhannsson for Sicario
John Williams for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Predicted Win: Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight

A very interesting field. For me, Jóhann Jóhannsson is the clear winner but I highly doubt he will win here. I think Ennio Morricone will win as it is one of his first scores in many years and it is still very effective. If not Morricone, then John Williams but he has, of course, had to reuse themes from the other films which lowers the originality a little bit. Thomas Newman’s score for ‘Bridge of Spies’ was completely forgettable – Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto’s score for ‘The Revenant’ despite being banned, is a much better call. As is Jed Kurzel for either ‘Slow West’ or ‘Macbeth’, Tom Holkenborg for ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ or Michael Giacchino for ‘Inside Out’.

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Best Original Song

‘Earned It’ – Fifty Shades of Grey
‘Til It Happens To You’ – The Hunting Ground
‘Manta Ray’ – Racing Extinction
‘Writing’s On The Wall’ – Spectre
‘Simple Song #3’ – Youth

Predicted Win: ‘Simple Song #3’ – Youth

Hmmm. A lot has changed since the Golden Globes where there were nominations for ‘Furious 7’ and ‘Love and Mercy’. I’m going to say ‘Youth’ here seeing as music is a key theme of the film.

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Best Sound Mixing

Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom & Drew Kunin for Bridge of Spies
Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff & Ben Osmo for Mad Max: Fury Road
Paul Massey, Mark Taylor & Mac Ruth for The Martian
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom & Chris Duesterdiek for The Revenant
Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio & Stuart Wilson for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Predicted Win: Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio & Stuart Wilson for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I’m going to say ‘Star Wars’ will win here as its sound mixing is superb but it could also be ‘The Revenant’ again.

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Best Sound Editing

Mark A. Mangini & David White for Mad Max: Fury Road
Oliver Tarney for The Martian
Martín Hernández & Lon Bender for The Revenant
Alan Robert Murray for Sicario
Matthew Wood & David Acord for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Predicted Win: Martín Hernández & Lon Bender for The Revenant

Another tough one to call, I think ‘The Revenant’ should win here again, but again this could go to ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ or ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’.

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Best Visual Effects

Andrew Whitehorse, Paul Norris, Mark Williams Ardington & Sara Bannett for Ex_Machina
Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver & Andy Williams for Mad Max: Fury Road
Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence & Steven Warner for The Martian
Richard McBride, Matt Shumway, Jason Smith & Cameron Waldbauer for The Revenant
Roger Guyett, Pat Tubach, Neal Scanlan & Chris Corbould for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Predicted Win: Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver & Andy Williams for Mad Max: Fury Road

A very tough field to call. I hope ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ wins as the craft that has gone into it is sublime and the film looks extremely original. However, don’t be surprised if ‘The Revenant’ wins here again.

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#OscarsSoWhite?

There’s been a lot of debate over diversity in this year’s Academy Award nominations and I do agree in several respects. Idris Elba has been very unfairly snubbed from a Best Supporting Actor nomination for ‘Beasts Of No Nation’ and although he never had any Awards attention in the first place, I thought Samuel L. Jackson was a fantastic lead in ‘The Hateful Eight’.

However, nominations should be based on merit, not on race and that is very important. What’s the point of having all of the Best Picture nominees and then sticking in ‘Straight Outta Compton’ in there too just to tick off any diversity issues? Unfortunately this film and any other film this year with a predominantly African-American cast was not good enough to get nominated so what’s all the fuss about? Will Smith especially narks me off as he somehow managed to get a nomination for Best Actor in ‘Concussion’ but the film is meant to be ‘good, not great’ so I don’t understand why he expects a nomination when he hasn’t been hotly tipped. Miss the Oscars, Will Smith, I don’t care.

Overall

So based on my predictions, I’m predicting ‘The Revenant’ to be a very dominant presence with potentially ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ following in its footsteps. ‘Spotlight’ may possibly win Best Picture but I think ‘The Revenant’ is more likely to. I’m generally fairly happy with the nominations this year, but there are a few films that have been overlooked. These include:

  • The Hateful Eight – ok, it did get some nominations, but got unfairly snubbed in other categories
  • Sicario – this only received technical nominations and it’s so much better than that
  • Slow West – another outstanding film that failed to get nominations for anything
  • Beasts Of No Nation – a nomination for Idris Elba

But other than these, a generally sound set of nominations and it’ll be interesting to see who goes home with what award.

 

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