Morning Dawns: Oscar Nomination Reactions 2016

E: Well.  That wasn’t so bad after all.

There are a few big stories to start with here, before we check out the individual categories.  Most importantly, there’s an utterly unnecessary lack of minorities both in the acting categories and in Best Picture.  In a year that brought us Beasts of No Name, Chiraq, Concussion, Creed, Dope, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Straight Outta Compton, there’s no reason that the acting nominees had to be all white. Beasts and Compton both made the SAG slate, and yet no Best Picture love at all?  Similarly, 5 of the top 10 moneymakers of the year starred women, but only 3 of the 8 nominees do, when the Academy had Carol and Sicario and The Force Awakens and Inside Out to choose from? Nominating Carol or The Danish Girl would have added another layer of diversity as well. And no, I don’t want there to be quotas. I wouldn’t care about this particular instance if this didn’t happen virtually every year.  It’s so hard to get movies about women and minorities made, and Hollywood seemed to finally be waking up to the fact that those movies make money.  In fact, if you look at The Force Awakens, they make money hand over fist.   And critics have loved them.  There were choices.  You could have done better.  That’s all I’m saying.  In fact, if you look at The Force Awakens, you had the biggest blockbuster of the century, with female and minority leads.  Big missed opportunity.

With that, we’re off to the snubs, the surprises, the boring choices, and the really unexpected bits.

Best Supporting Actor: 4/5

I Said:

Bale, Elba, Ruffalo, Rylance, Stallone

Oscar Nominated:

Bale, Hardy, Ruffalo, Rylance, Stallone

I did say that Michael Shannon was going to be snubbed when the precursors suggested he’d get a nod, and also that this was the category where someone was going to come out of left field, so I feel good about calling those things.  I just didn’t think that Idris Elba — the most likely minority acting nominee — would get the boot.  Poor Idris.  He’s an amazing actor, and I really hope he gets his due soon; he had buzz for 2013’s Mandela as well.  Each time he gets closer, but still no love for him. In swapping Hardy for Elba we’ve exchanged one heinous villain for another.  Both men created the conflict in their films through treachery, betrayal and murder.  Replacement Tom Hardy has had a pretty terrific few years, with critically admired performances in Legend and Locke.  I don’t begrudge him the nod personally, but — well, it’s definitely left field.

I’m really pleased to see Ruffalo pick up his third nomination.  For Bale it’s three as well; Hardy and three time Tony winner Rylance are first timers, and Stallone picks up his second forty years after his leading nod for his first outing as Rocky Balboa.  Supporting actor has historically been a great category for rewarding veterans;  look at Alan Arkin, Nick Nolte, Christopher Plummer, Jack Palance, Jim Broadbent and Morgan Freeman. Though as I said, it’s not my favorite performance in the bunch, iconic film star Sly seems on track to pick up an Oscar.

Best Supporting Actress: 4.5 out of 5

I Said:

Leigh, Mara, McAdams, Vikander, Winslet

Oscar Nominated:

Leigh, Mara, McAdams, Vikander, Winslet

The mistake I made here, obviously, is thinking that Vikander’s nomination would be for Ex Machina and not The Danish Girl.  The other role was my alternate, but still.  I think this is a significant change, though, because we might be back on track for a Vikander win now that she’s nominated for the higher profile role. I did get the right people, which I feel good about because McAdams, particularly, wasn’t a given; most pundits assumed that Helen Mirren would get that spot.

Fun fact: winner Winslet added a seventh nomination to her impressive total.  No, it’s not Meryl Streep with 19, but it’s still pretty cool.  Mara brings her total to two.  The other three women all received their first today. Hurrah for new blood!  Or particularly in Leigh’s case, terrific veteran blood that’s new to the Oscars if not to Hollywood.

 

Best Actor: 5 out of 5

I Said:

Cranston, Damon, DiCaprio, Fassbender, Redmayne

Oscar Nominated:

Cranston, Damon, DiCaprio, Fassbender, Redmayne

Easy peasy.  I think we can still say that now six time nominee DiCaprio’s the likely winner.  Television star Cranston picks up his first Oscar nod; perhaps he’ll become a staple of the Oscar scene now that Breaking Bad has ended.  No, he’s not the shoo-in that my brother insisted back when the movie premiered, but despite my misgivings he did make it on the slate.  Damon picks up his third nomination for acting, Fassbender and Redmayne their second.

Best Actress: 4 out of 5

I Said:

Blanchett, Larson, Lawrence, Ronan, Vikander

Oscar Nominated:

Blanchett, Larson, Lawrence, Rampling, Ronan

Obviously here again I was undone by the category confusion surrounding Alicia Vikander.  I did have Charlotte Rampling listed as my alternative, so I feel good about that — and about calling Lawrence, when most people had written her off.  That’s her fourth nod, Ronan’s second, and a first for veteran Rampling and Vikander.  Like Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett picks up her seventh nod.  Larson is still the favorite.

Best Director: 4 out of 5

I said:

Inarritu, McCarthy, McKay, Miller, Scott

Oscar Nominated:

Abrahamson, Inarritu, McCarthy, McKay, Miller

Well, I knew I wasn’t going to get them all right.  Oscar never agrees completely with the DGA list, which is always a more obvious one.  Part of me is kicking myself about Abrahamson; I can’t explain why, but I had a strong feeling about the first time nominee, which is why I made him my long shot pick.  But then I wouldn’t have guessed they’d throw over Ridley Scott for him.   McCarthy, McKay and Miller pick up two nominations a piece this year, one of which is their first nods for direction ; McCarthy has two for writing, McKay got another as a producer, Miller has two for writing and two for producing, and won for producing an animated feature.  It’s a big year for the M boys!  Though not perhaps as big as last year’s winner Inarritu’s, who with two nominations ups his lifetime total to 7, with three wins already and another two possible this year.

Best Picture: 7 out of 8

I Said:

The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Carol, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight if 8, with Straight Outta Compton for 9 and Sicario for 10

Oscar Nominated:

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

No, M, Trumbo is not going to win Best Picture.  I told you it wasn’t!  I’ll admit, I totally thought there were going to be 9 nominees, so it kind of feels like I got two wrong instead of one.  And I thought that the critics and guild favorites Straight Outta Compton and Sicario would come in before my alternate, the more old fashioned feeling Brooklyn.  I’m kind of thrilled because I love Brooklyn, but I’m sorry about Carol.  Todd Haynes just can’t get respect.  And I’ve already said how I feel about the Old Boys Club of Hollywood whiting everything out.

The Revenant picked up 12 nominations, including that unexpected one for supporting actor, and really has to be considered the front runner now, even though I can’t quite believe the Academy will reward the same director and team two years in a row.  We won’t really get a good of whether this is true until the BAFTA awards, since SAG did not nominate The Revenant.  In second place, there’s Mad Max with 10, 7 for The Martian, 6 each for Bridge of Spies, Carol and Spotlight, with The Big Short and The Force Awakens coming in at 5 a piece. All in all the year seems heavily weighted toward The Revenant; the movie with the most nominations doesn’t always win, but probably more often than not.

In other news: the expected slate of cinematographers changed up a little, with Robert Richardson’s work in The Hateful Eight trumping Kamiski in Bridge of Spies.  Easily the biggest upset came in Animated Feature, where only Anomalisa, Inside Out and Shaun the Sheep made the list from the group of six nominees that have been appearing on all the critics and guild lists: instead, AMPAS voted in complete unknowns Boy and the Word and When Marnie Was There.  And finally, Golden Globe winner Lady Gaga made the slate for her song “Til It Happens To You,” from the documentary The Hunting Grounds about rape on college campuses.  It’s pretty moving; check it out, but be careful, the video could be – ought to be – upsetting.

Check here for the full list of nominees, and please continue to check this space for updates and movie reviews as the season goes on.  Meanwhile, enjoy the Oscar season!  There’s a lot worth checking out on this list, so enjoy them.

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One comment on “Morning Dawns: Oscar Nomination Reactions 2016

  1. […] Let’s be honest here: this category is a mess. Oh, don’t get me wrong – it’s full of brilliant performances.  Each one is a gem, but they don’t all belong in this category. Even more than Sylvester Stallone, Alicia Vikander is indisputably a lead in The Danish Girl, the story of a marriage as much as it is of her husband’s transition as a transgender pioneer.  Rooney Mara, too, plays the heart-breakingly subtle point of view character who carries the audience through Carol.  If you’ve read this site before (or any Oscar watching blog this season) you know that these two women were nominated as leads by the Hollywood Foreign Press, Vikander by BAFTA and several other bodies, and trying to work out where they would land was the challenge of the year. […]

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