Film

Seven Things We Learned From Today’s 2016 Oscar Nominations

#OscarsSoWhite (again).

Late last night, the Academy announced their nominations for this year’s Oscars and I may have been one of the few people actually watching.

Aside from the obvious.

As expected, it was a big day for The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road, with Spotlight and The Big Short making it a bona fide four-horse race for the big prize. The full list of nominees is at the bottom of this article but, before that, here are some potentially more interesting thoughts and observations I had along the way:

John Krasinski Is A Sexy Beast

This has absolutely nothing to do with the actual nominations, but John Krasinski was on hand to announce some of them and, guys, Jim from The Office was looking goooood.

We knew this already, but it’s worth repeating.

Okay.

We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes

If you’d have said at the start of 2015 that the third sequel to a decades-old never-nominated franchise full of explosions, automobile mayhem and a female lead action hero with one arm would be one of the most nominated movies of the year, I would have personally laughed you out of town. Yet, in what can only be described as madness, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road convinced enough people in Hollywood that action spectacles can be high art and wound up with ten nominations. That’s the second-highest tally of the lot.

Alongside Best Picture and Best Director for Miller, a swag of Aussies got nominated for technical awards including Miller’s wife, Margaret Sixel, who is probably the odds-on favourite to take best editing trophy over Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Big Short, and The Revenant.

I mean… it’s pretty impressive.

The Revenant Is Anything But Dead

The title may refer to somebody who has returned as if from the dead, but after The Revenant’s big night at last weekend’s Golden Globes it was expected that Alejandro G. Inarritu’s pioneer-era survival film would sweep in with a big nomination haul. It did. And how.

In fact, it is nominated in all but one category for which it was eligible, only missing out on a nod for Best Screenplay. Alongside the obvious citations for Best Picture, Director, and Actor (Leo set to finally win his Oscar), it also snagged Tom Hardy his first ever nomination in a morning surprise and also a visual effects citation for that grisly bear attack sequence. If its music score by Ryuichi Sakamoto and co. hadn’t been deemed ineligible by the powers that be, it’s likely it would have gotten even more.

Oscars Not So Male This Year! (Okay, Still Pretty Male)

Many who watch the Oscar race for pleasure (check) and work (check) were expecting the worst when it came to female representation this year. Sadly, the Academy yet again ignored the genius of Todd Haynes’ amazing female-fronted love story Carol in the top two categories, but it was a relief to see the period romance melodrama Brooklyn and the harrowing mother-and-son drama Room nominated alongside the female-fronted Mad Max: Fury Road to make sure it wasn’t entirely a boys-only show.

After last year’s depressing statistic of zero nominations for female screenwriters, this year there are four: Inside Out’s Meg LeFauve and Straight Outta Compton‘s Andrea Berloff in the original screenplay category, and Carol’s Phyllis Nagy and Room’s Emma Donoghue in the adapted screenplay category. Things don’t look so great in the all-male race for Best Director though, and the only non-acting category with women featured across the board is Best Make Up and Hairstyling. Here, Mad Max: Fury Road will do battle with The Revenant and Swedish oddity The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. Just wait until they get Jennifer Lopez or Amy Schumer to present that nominee!

Oscars So White… Again

Last year’s hashtag dejour was #OscarsSoWhite was in reference to there being no actors of colour nominated. Lo and behold the Academy have gone and done it again!

Actors whose award campaigns either never got off the ground or were ignored include Michael B. Jordan for Creed, Will Smith in Concussion, Oscar Isaac for Ex Machina, Samuel L. Jackson for The Hateful Eight and most surprisingly Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation. The only actors to get nominations from movies that are heavily about race like Creed and The Hateful Eight are white performers Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Quite comically, the only nomination for NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton went to its white screenwriters. The only one of the eight best picture nominees to have a person of colour in a substantial role is Chiwetel Ejiofor in The Martian.

[screaming internally]

The Cartoon People Are Getting It Very Right

Of interest to very few people other than myself, perhaps the absolute best category of the morning was the animated feature category. This is the category that once gave us nominees like Surf’s Up, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Shark Tale and Treasure Planet, but since 2009 they have drastically turned things around and now march to the beat of their own drum.

This year they blessedly ditched highly-favoured Pixar flop The Good Dinosaur and the nostalgic hijinks of The Peanuts Movie and instead nominated traditionally-animated foreign-language efforts Boy and the World from Brazil and When Marnie Was There from Japan. Alongside those are the adults-only 3D-printed animation of Anomalisa, the high-wire original Inside Out, and delightful British silent stop-motion Shaun the Sheep Movie. Top marks to the animation branch!

Fifty Shades Of Grey Is Better Than Spectre. Fight Me.

What a load of rubbish that that rubbish Sam Smith song from that rubbish James Bond movie got nominated. Rubbish. But at least Fifty Shades of Grey — a much better movie than Spectre for what it’s worth — can call itself an Oscar nominee thanks to The Weeknd’s ‘Earned It’.

Boy, did he earn it.

OSCAR NOMINATIONS 2016

Best Picture

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

Best Director

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

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael 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

Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Best Foreign Film

Embrace of the Serpent – Colombia
Mustang – France
Son of Saul – Hungary
Theeb – Jordan
A War – Denmark

Best Documentary Feature

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

Best Animated Feature

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

Best Film Editing

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

Best Song

Fifty Shades of Grey
Racing Extinction
Spectre
The Hunting Ground
Youth

Best Original Score

Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Digital Effects

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

Best Cinematography

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

Best Costume Design

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

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Best Production Design

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

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
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 Short Film, Live Action

Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay
Shok
Stutterer

Best Short Film, Animated

Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Best Documentary Short Subject

Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond the Lines

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in the River
Last Day of Freedom

Glenn Dunks is a freelance writer from Melbourne. He also works as an editor and a film festival programmer while tweeting too much @glenndunks.