Thursday, January 14, 2016


"The Revenant", the frontier thriller takes the lead of the 88th Annual Academy Awards with twelve nominations, including Best Picture and Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor. The film's director, Alejandro G. Iñárritu and cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, who both won last year for "Birdman", are back in the race for a second year in a row. "Mad Max: Fury Road" is not far behind with nine nominations including Best Picture and a nod for director George Miller. Ridley Scott’s sci-fi drama, “The Martian” earned seven nominations (but a surprising no Best Director nod for Scott) while Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies", "Spotlight" and "Carol" all received six. The nominations were hardly predictable with a nice combination of Hollywood fare and independent cinema. Since there is still no real frontrunner in many of the categories, this year's Oscars will be the most difficult to predict in quite some time.

Two actors who had a very good year with multiple films received their first nominations with Tom Hardy earning a Best Supporting Actor nod for "The Revenant" but was also outstanding in "Legend" and "Mad Max: Fury Road". Alicia Vikander, who appeared in at least five films in 2015 including two-time nominee, "Ex Machina", received a nomination for "The Danish Girl". I'm also thrilled with some long overdue first-time acting nominations for some cinema veterans. Jennifer Jason Leigh received her first nod after years of amazing performances in indie films for "The Hateful Eight" and the great British actress, Charlotte Rampling has finally been recognized for her moving turn in "45 Years".

And once again, people of color were shut out of all of the acting categories this year. Despite the Academy's efforts to bring diversity by widening their memebership base, the nominations sadly remain quite narrow. While I certainly don't believe this is a conscious action by the Oscars, this is a subject that continues to be a problem and a serious disscusion needs to be had on this issue. A new catchphrase seems to be emerging like last year’s Twitter trend, "#OscarsSoWhite" with "#We Dream In White" a play on this year's Oscars slogan "We Dream In Gold".

Here is the complete list of the nominations for the 88th Annual Academy Awards. The Oscars will be hosted by Chris Rock and presented on February 28th, 2016:

Best Picture:

"The Big Short"
"Bridge Of Spies"
"Mad Max: Fury Road"
"The Martian"
"The Revenant"

Best Director:

Adam McKay, "The Big Short"
George Miller, "Mad Max: Fury Road"
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, "The Revenant"
Lenny Abrahamson, "Room"
Tom McCarthy, "Spotlight"

Best Actor:

Bryan Cranston, "Trumbo"
Matt Damon, "The Martian"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Revenant"
Micheal Fassbender, "Steve Jobs"
Eddie Redmayne, "The Danish Girl"

Best Actress:

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

Best Supporting Actor:

Christian Bale, "The Big Short"
Tom Hardy, "The Revenant"
Mark Ruffalo, "Spotlight"
Mark Rylance, "Bridge Of Spies"
Sylvester Stallone, "Creed"

Best Supporting Actress

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

Best Original Screenplay:

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, "Spotlight"
Matt Charman and Joel & Ethan Coen, "Bridge of Spies"
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley and Ronnie del Carmen, "Inside Out"
Alex Garland, "Ex Machina"
Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus, "Straight Outta Compton"

Best Adapted Screenplay:

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

Best Cinematography:

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

Best Film Editing:

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

Best Foreign Language Film:

"Embrace of the Serpent" (Colombia)
"Mustang" (France)
"Son of Saul" (Hungary)
"Theeb" (Jordan)
"A War" (Denmark)

Best Animated Feature Film:

"Boy And The World"
"Inside Out"
"Shaun The Sheep Movie"
"When Marnie Was There"

Best Animated Short Film:

"Bear Story"
"Sanjay’s Super Team"
"We Can’t Live without Cosmos"
"World of Tomorrow"

Best Documentary Feature:

"Cartel Land"
"The Look of Silence"
"What Happened, Miss Simone"
"Winter On Fire: Ukraine"

Best Documentary Short Subject:

"Body Team 12"
"Chau, Bbeyond the Lines"
"Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah"
"A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness"
"Last Day of Freedom"

Live Action Short Film:

"Ave Maria"
"Day One"
"Everything Will Be OK"

Best Production Design:

"Bridge Of Spies"
"The Danish Girl"
"Mad Max: Fury Road"
"The Martian"
"The Revenant"

Best Costume Design:

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

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin, "Mad Max: Fury Road"
Love Larson and Eva von Bahr, "The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared"
Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini, "The Revenant"

Best Original Score:

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

Best Original Song:

“Earned It” from "Fifty Shades of Grey" (Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio)
“Manta Ray” from "Racing Extinction" (Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty)
“Simple Song #3” from "Youth" (Music and Lyric by David Lang)
“Til It Happens to You” from "The Hunting Ground" (Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga)
“Writing’s on the Wall” from "Spectre" (Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith)

Best Sound Editing:

"Mad Max:Fury Road"
"The Martian"
"The Revenant"
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Best Sound Mixing:

"Bridge Of Spies"
"Mad Max: Fury Road"
"The Martian"
"The Revenant"
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Best Visual Effects:

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