‘Tis the Season: “2016 Academy Awards: Nominees”

The very early morning has finally arrived! After a great year in film, and much debate on what will or won’t be nominated, not to mention what is or isn’t the best, the time has come to once again recognize the work in a myriad of films. The only and best question left to ask is, how well did you do on predicting the nominees?

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards and boy was it stressful. It was also, quite exciting! There were many nominees that were expected and many more that were pleasant surprises, but surprises none the less. Some, I guess I would go so far as to say, were even shocking. Checking off my predictions list was a difficult task when trying to keep up with the nominees announced in any given category. I managed and have also, after some time this morning, seriously stressful, added my thoughts on this year’s nominees, which again, were surprising.

The winners for the 88th Awards will be announced on Feb. 28, 2016 at 7e/4p on ABC and will be hosted by Chris Rock (“Empire”, “Top Five”).

Best Picture

“The Big Short”- Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“Bridge of Spies”- Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
“Brooklyn”- Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
“Mad Max: Fury Road”- Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers
“The Martian”- Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers
“The Revenant”- Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers
“Room”- Ed Guiney, Producer
“Spotlight”, Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

I would say that the only thing I’m surprised by here is that there aren’t more nominees. I was seriously expecting 10 Best Picture nominees. Why? There were so many good films that deserved it, of course, like every year, but this year more so than others. This year, 10 nominees would’ve been perfect and most certainly welcome! I guess the counts for the other two slots just didn’t add up to enough.

Best Director

Adam McKay- “The Big Short”
George Miller- “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Alejandro G. Inarritu- “The Revenant”
Lenny Abrahamson- “Room”
Tom McCarthy- “Spotlight”

Surprise!! For me and some, two surprises, but for others, just the inclusion of Abrahamson was enough to shock us all! The film is great, his direction wonderful, so it’s not without merit. Now, since the nominees are in even more chaos, who will win? Tough call it seems. Gotta read up later on.

Best Actor

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

I went the safe route here. Yes, a few days after posting my final predictions, I ended up changes if a few of them. Glad I did. In this category I scored perfectly! Will Smith’s performance was good, especially for a film that isn’t all that special, but Cranston really was better. The rest I just predicted and because, like with Damon, I just liked it more and I took a chance!

Best Actress

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

This one too was a late change. However, I played a bit dangerously in order to get this listing right. Ronan, Blanchett, and likely winner, Larson, were all expected. The only reason Lawrence and Rampling, who is a great addition to this list, are here is because I figured that two actresses would get placed in Supporting. It just seemed like the thing most likely to occur, whether it’s right or not.

Best Supporting Actor

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

I was hoping for little Jacob Tremblay (“Room”), but it was just too much of a battle. Instead, other surprises popped up! In this one, I didn’t even fully recognize that Hardy had been nominated. It wasn’t until I was typing his name that it dawned on me. Rylance and Stallone were the expected, Hardy, Ruffalo and Bale were more up in the air. Bale and Ruffalo were certainly high on some people’s lists, but as we’ve seen already, this year was just about as unpredictable as ever.

Best Supporting Actress

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

McAdams! I always knew she would get nominated one day! I’m not sure which film told me this, but one of them. It’s why I, mostly, enjoy her films. Anyway, when I picked my list, she was absent. It’s another category that was reliant on Best Actress and could’ve gone in any direction. Like with Hardy, I also missed her name being called and was incredibly surprised as I typed it out. I had to check and make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

Best Animated Feature

“Anomalisa”- Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
“Boy and the World”- Ale Abreu
“Inside Out”- Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”- Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
“When Marnie Was There”- Hiromas Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

This was a bit surprising too. Mostly because, as I’m sure is the case with many people, they’ve never heard of two of the nominees. It’s like last year all over again. Oh well, what can you do?

Best Animated Short Film

“Bear Story”- Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
“Prologue”- Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
“Sanjay’s Super Team”- Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos”- Konstantinos Bronzit
“World of Tomorrow”- Don Hertzfeldt

One of the many categories that make loving the Oscars so much, so difficult. You don’t know anything about the films that get nominated. One day I might.

Best Cinematography

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

The only film I haven’t seen is “The Hateful Eight”, so I can’t say one way or the other. The others I recall quite well and am thus not surprised at all. Deakins, was another example of how I’m glad “Sicario” was nominated, but I wasn’t one hundred percent sure. The tough part when so many other films come out after you and take all the attention away. The next best question is, will Lubezki win for a third straight year? His work was very impressive and made the film what it was, in part.

Best Costume Design

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

I think I’m more surprised because I never considered “Mad Max: Fury Road” or “The Revenant”. Not seriously that is. I had the other three pegged, but wanted to test my luck with other choices. Boy was I mistaken. They’re not bad nominees, mind you, which is why I hate that I never considered all of them to begin with.

BestDocumentary Feature

“Amy”- Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
“Cartel Land”- Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
“The Look of Silence”- Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sorensen
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”- Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”- Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

I got surprised on two, but it gives me more things to be interested in later this year. Even more so as two were produced by Netflix.

Best Documentary Short Subject

“Body Team 12”- David Darg and Bryn Mooser
“Chai, beyond the Lines”- Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”- Adam Benzine
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”- Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
“Last Day of Freedom”- Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

And again, films I’ve never heard of, that I’ll probably never see. Sad really.

Best Film Editing

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

This one’s a bit harder to comment on. Only a few of the films do I recall in this area. I seldom talk about editing, but I sometimes do take not of it. With “The Revenant” it certainly was impossible not to notice. Another thing that helped make that particular film the amazing experience it was.

Best Foreign Language Film

“Embrace of the Serpent”- Columbia
“Mustang”- France
“Son of Saul”- Hungary
“Theeb”- Jordan
“A War”- Denmark

All I’ve heard is good things about these films and the ones that didn’t get nominated. I’ll get to these films at some point.

Best Live Action Short Film

“Ave Maria”-Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
“Day One”- Henry Hughes
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)”- Patrick Vollrath
“Shok”- Jamie Donoghue
“Stutterer”- Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Yeah, short films. Still don’t understand why people bother making them. Are they seen by a lot of people? Any people?

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

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

I wrote off “The 100-Year Old Man” and so I’m surprised by this. I’m also surprised by it as prior to awards chatter, I’d never heard of it. Mind you, with it in the third spot, it meant “Black Mass” was kept out. I’m okay with that.

Best Original Score

“Bridge of Spies”- Thomas Newman
“Carol”- Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight”- Ennio Marricone
“Sicario”- Johnn Johannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”- John Williams

I took a shot and lost! It was just nice or put Michael Giacchino (“Inside Out”), even if you’d figured he’d probably not make it. I had to be hopeful somewhere. Regardless, seeing this list ins’t surprising and I love it! Just yesterday, I listened to Marricone’s score and pretty much loved it! So, I’m not surprised. Neither am I surprised that Johannsson’s here, even though I was mostly just hopeful as I knew it was a good score, but like the film itself, it kind of slipped away from people. Did I mention surprises?

Best Original Song

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

I don’t think I have the energy to talk about this one. I mainly hate that Smith is nominated for “Writing’s On the Wall” and will be actively hoping he ends up losing.

Best Production Design

“Bridge of Spies”- Adam Stockhausen (production design); Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich (Set Decoration)
“The Danish Girl”- Eve Stewart (production design); Michael Standish (Set Decoration)
Mad Max: Fury Road”- Colin Gibson (production designer); Lisa Thompson (Set Decoration)
“The Martian”- Arthur Max (production design); Celia Bobak (Set Decoration)
“The Revenant”- Jack Fist (production design); Hamish Purdy (Set Decoration)

I’m pleased with the last three listed here, and need to see the other two films. I can imagine what the design looks like for each of those, but need to see it for myself.

Best Sound Editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road”- Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian”- Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant”- Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario”- Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”- Matthew Wood and David Acord

Nope. I have no comments. Not surprised and I love that “Sicario” scored another nomination, even if it’s not for acting.

Best Sound Mixing

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

Same here. Nothing. None of these are surprising. Technical awards are interesting in this respect.

Best Visual Effects

“Ex Machina”- Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road”- Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver, and Andy Williams
“The Martian”- Richard Stammers, Anderson Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant”- Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”- Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

“Ex Machina”!! Can’t believe it! Never saw it as a contender! I do recall absolutely loving the work done in the film, as well as the film itself, but it scored a nomination! I just can’t think what “Mad Max: Fury Road” or “The Revenant” looked like to say that I’m not surprised. I guess they needed it in different ways than usual. I will say, now that I’ve thought of it, I’m surprised “Jurassic World” didn’t make the cut. Oh well, I still know how wonderful that film looked.

Best Adapted Screenplay

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

All the way to the end! There are surprises. I’m thinking mostly of Hornby. He wasn’t nominated last year, but got it this year! Seeing Nagy and Donoghue, whom I wasn’t sure could make it through, is just as exciting as seeing the others! They each crafted something so touching and unique, even for adapted. And, of course, for me, the biggest surprise was in this category. I guess I’d deluded myself into thinking that Aaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”) could actually get nominated. It truly seemed like he would as he had one of the most dynamic and amazingly written scripts. This really shows how competitive this year really was.

Best Original Screenplay

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

WOW! Didn’t see “Compton” coming in, but that’s just because I haven’t seen it and haven’t heard much to make me consider it for this category. The others are wonderful, especially “Ex Machina”, which came out almost a year ago and then kind of disappeared. So glad for these films!

And there you have it! After a very stressful and difficult morning (mostly with waking up), the nominees are all set out before us and a new race begins. Who will win Oscar gold?! I dare say it’s still just as open as it was for the nominations, but it may be a bit easier to take one or two out from each category. Hopefully I do better with selecting my winners than I did with my nominees. I still need to tally that and then try not to cry. Today’s going to be a long day.

See you on Oscar Sunday!


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