Random Thoughts on the 2016 Oscar Nominations


Can you believe it’s that time again? This morning the Academy announced the 2016 Oscar nominees and as usual they left us plenty to talk about. Of course some brush these off as frivolous instances of ego petting (and it’s hard to argue with them), but I still love this time of year. So as I do every year, here are a few random thoughts at this new batch of nominees…

  • Really proud to see my three favorite cinematographers of the year got nominated John Seale for “Mad Max”, Emmanuel Lubezki for “The Revenant”, and Roger Deakins for “Sicario”. Obviously Deakins won’t win. For some reason the Academy is content with just nominating him. This will be his 13th nomination without a win.
  • Oh where is Quentin Tarantino? I was pretty happy to see his name missing from the Original Screenplay and Director categories. It’s not that I hate the guy. But maybe this will encourage him to lay aside just a portion of his overbearing style next time. I doubt it.
  • Speaking of Missing in Action, “Carol” misses out on Best Picture and Best Director. All this time I’ve been touting it as Oscar-made material. Shows what I know!
  • What?!?! No Dick Poop?
  • Speaking of that, there was only one egregious mispronunciation and that came from the Academy president. Did you hear her try to pronounce “Iñárritu”. What was she even saying???
  • The Academy sure got the Supporting Actor category right by nominating Tom Hardy for his fantastic performance in “The Revenant”. How the Golden Globes left him off their nomination list is beyond me.
  • The Academy sure screwed up the Supporting Actor category by completely snubbing Idris Elba who I still think gave the Best Supporting performance of the year. At least the Golden Globes had sense enough to nominate him. How the Academy left him off is beyond me.
  • “Mad Max: Fury Road” raked in an impressive 10 Oscar nominations and I loved hearing its name every time. I’m not convinced it has a chance in the ‘bigger’ races but it could easily land four or five wins in the technical categories. It certainly deserves it.
  • We can all now celebrate the fact that “Fifty Shades of Grey” is an Academy Award nominated film. Let that little nugget swirl around in your brain for a bit.
  • The Academy set up “Carol” to possibly snag at least one Oscar win by putting Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in different categories. It makes sense and it gives both a much stronger chance of winning.
  • “The Revenant” had a HUGE morning grabbing 12 nominations and being the frontrunner in many of them.
  • As predicted “Son of Saul” gets nominated for Foreign Language Film and “Inside Out” for Animated Feature. Both are guaranteed wins. If you’re in an Oscar pool these are sure bets.
  • Where was Aaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”)? Again, proof that winning a Golden Globe doesn’t assure you an Oscar nomination.
  • Love, love, love the Best Documentary category. “The Look of Silence” is one of most powerful things you will EVER see. But “Amy” and “Cartel Land” are also very, very good.
  • Who on earth saw “Room” getting FOUR nominations including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay? I felt comfortable with Larson getting a nod but the other two are well-deserved treats.
  • Extending that thought, Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”) gets a Best Director nod over such heavyweights as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and Todd Haynes. Impressive.
  • Eddie Redmayne. Why do I sense a little competition manufacturing by the Academy? I mean I understand that Redmayne is tapping into the hottest current social topic but I really haven’t heard people raving about his performance. I have seen headlines already touting a showdown between him and Leonardo DiCaprio. Hmmm.
  • Hearing Saoirse Ronan’s name announced just made me smile. Sadly I think she will get pushed aside in the spotlighted Blanchett versus Lawrence contest, but Ronan deserved the nomination and she deserves to win.
  • Academy Award winner Sylvester Stallone. I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t mind saying that the day after the Oscar ceremonies. I also think he is in a very strong position to win. Keep an eye on Sly.
  • I talked about him above but let me put my 100% guarantee stamp on Leonardo DiCaprio winning Best Actor. Not slamming his competition, but just look who he is against. This is clearly the easiest competition he has ever faced. Again, not bad performances but none of them measure to the effort and intensity Leo puts into his. The Oscar drought is over.
  • The Academy had lots of unexpected love for “The Big Short”. In many ways it does fit with the Academy’s tastes. Not sure how it will show but it’s represented well after this morning.
  • Bale over Elba? Sigh….
  • Very happy to see “Spotlight” get a good number of nominations. Even though the Hollywood Foreign Press didn’t see it as a deserving winner I’m still holding out faith that Oscar will reward it. There is stiff competition for sure but “Spotlight” is worthy.
  • Wasn’t it cool to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” get four Oscar nominations. Predictably they were in the technical category except for the great John Williams getting nominated for Best Score. Wouldn’t it be great to hear his name called on Oscar night? I do love Morricone and wouldn’t shed a tear if he wins, but John Williams winning for a Star Wars picture? I gotta go with that.
  • Finally the Academy gave us eight films to chew on for Best Picture. The only one I haven’t seen is “The Big Short”. Otherwise I think every nominee is a good movie. Obviously I think some are better than others and I’m hoping the cream rises to the top. Five of the nominees appeared in my Top 10 list and two others were in my Top 20. That’s a good year!

Those are a few random thoughts about this year’s nominations. What stuck out to you? Let me know in the comments section. I’ll end with a full list of all of this morning’s nominees:

Best Picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies


Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant




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 WInslest, Steve Jobs


Best Directing

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

Lenny Abrhamson, Room

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight


Best Film Editing            

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant


Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Best Foreign Language Film

Colombia, Embrace of the Serpent

France, Mustang

Hungary, Son of Saul

Jordan, Theeb

Denmark, A War


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 Production Design

Bridge of Spies

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant


Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short



The Martian



Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out


Straight Outta Compton


Best Animated Feature Film


Boy and the World

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There


Best Cinematography                      


The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant



Best Costume Design



The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant


Best Documentary – Feature


Cartel Land

The Look of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom


Best Documentary – Short Subject

Body Team 12

Chau, Beyond the Lines

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

Last Day of Freedom


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The Revenant


Best Original Song

“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey

“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction

“Simple Song No. 3,” Youth

“‘Til It Happens to You,” The Haunting Ground

“Writings on the Wall,” Spectre


Best Animated Short Film

Bear Story


Sanjay’s Super Team

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow


Best Live Action Short Film

Ave Maria

Day One

Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)




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

43 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on the 2016 Oscar Nominations

  1. I’m not sure Inside Out will win, if you look at the rave reviews Anomalisa has been getting, that could grab the statue as well.

    Happy to see World of Tomorrow nominated in animated shorts, was a very good film.

  2. I think them academies is a crock because they didn’t say anything about that preformance of them movies that really need to win

  3. Certainly agree on Sly’s nomination. It would be a great career capstone to finish what he started in 76 with the original Rocky and taking the gold for the role that made him a star. Mad Max was my fave last year and I hope it gets Best Picture, but at the least Director for George Miller. Another year and no win for Roger Deakins. I also am happy for Jennifer Jason Leigh for Hateful Eight. I didn’t expect Best picture for Hateful Eight but I do wish it got the nod for Original Screenplay. And yes. This should be finally be the year for Leo. I sure hope it is.

    • Great thoughts! Lots of good conversations to have for the next month. What do you think of Mad Max’s chances? I’m crazy about that movie and would love to see it do well on Oscar night. I think Sly has the inside track and I don’t think it’s all sentimental. He was very, very good.

      • Oh for sure Sly is he front runner. I’d like to think of genre fare had a legit chance it would be Mad Max. I’m 50/50 on its chances. One thing I’d change is Bridge of Spies. It was a good movie just not all that.

      • Again, 100% agree. Bridge of Spies was a really strong film but a rather safe one. It didn’t really stand out as anything big to me. I did have a stronger reaction to The Revenant (just posted my review last night). I think it is in a really strong position.

  4. It seems quite varied this time, a few surprises as well. Good to see Charlotte Rampling get a nod. I haven’t seen the movie she is nominated for, but her performances over her 50 + career have been very impressive.

  5. There much to think about but I can’t comment too soon as I’ve yet to catch up with quite a few. Saying that, I’m happy to see Lenny Abrahamson get a nod. I’ve not seen Room yet but Frank was a wonderful film and maybe people will search out his earlier work like Adam & Paul – a great little Irish black comedy.

    • I need to see Adam and Paul too. I’m really proud for Abrahamson too. Room is excellent man and it feels good to see a film like it getting such big recognition. Hope you get to see it soon.

    • Oh man, that would be insane. I mean Lawrence is good, but not Oscar worthy this year. If she does win I think we can legitimately call her Oscar’s darling. I’m with you on The Revenant. Finally got my review up last night. That movie leaves a mark on you.

  6. I’m really happy Lenny Abrahamson got a nomination. I really really liked his directing. He brought alot of game which I think many people overlooked. Glad the academy didn’t. But man, Idris Elba got snubbed really badly. Hope Room gets all the love on actual day, it’s my fav film of the year and I hope it wins its categories. The Revenant with 12 nominations!!! That’s something. It should be a very interesting Oscars 🙂

    • Very interesting indeed! Room was fabulous. I’m a bit surprised that it got the recognition. And just think, Abrahamson beat big names like Scott and Spielberg for that nomination! The Elba snub is absolutely stunning. I’m completely speechless. The Revenant blew me away (review just went up). I’m not a bit surprised it swept up a host of nominations.

  7. I’m with you on most of your points! Oh yeah, with The Revenant, I never cease to be amazed by what Alejandro Inarritu and Chivo Lubezki can do. Haha ‘the Academy is content with just nominating him. This will be his 13th nomination without a win.’ Very true. It’s like Salieri and Mozart HAHA. Chivo’s just too good and so relentless. And that Inarritu mispronounciation, its the same with Alicia Vikander. People cant seem to pronounce her name 😦

  8. I hadn’t seen the nominations until reading this. My surprise at seeing Carol/Todd Haynes/Elba snubbed is tempered by the fact that they get some stuff wrong (in lots of people’s eyes, not just mine!) every year. To be honest because I haven’t seen several films and performances due to staggered international release dates I can’t really comment further, but there are a few entries where I’m thinking “er…really?”

    • Subjectivity obviously plays into the reactions. For me Elba’s omission is astonishing. And did you notice how we always come back to crappy release dates? Such nonsense.

      • Yeah, sorry for mentioning it. I seem to be talking about it a lot at this time of year every year! It never used to bother me but obviously when you’re blogging you end up reading the thoughts of people in other countries, and around Oscar time it’s slightly annoying not to be able to contribute to a discussion properly when half of the films/performances aren’t available (legally anyway!). But as I said on Tom’s site Digital Shortbread the other day it’s a classic case of First World Problems. Taking a step back I’m thankful that I live near a cinema, I can afford to go regularly and I’ll get to see these supposedly excellent films!
        Anything you haven’t seen yet that you’re keen to check out? I haven’t seen any of the best foreign film nominations!

      • Oh don’t apologize. We are coming from the exact same position on it. The foreign-language category is a huge blind spot for me. I can’t tell you how much I want to see Son of Saul. But (it we go again) it hasn’t opened here. I do think I may have an opportunity to see Mustang. I love French cinema so that one naturally excites me!

      • Yes, Son of Saul for me too, I’m very keen. I’ve been meaning to watch Theeb for months as well, and Mustang sounds pretty good. I’ll try and see all five before the year is out. I’m surprised The Assassin didn’t get nominated given the plaudits it has received.

  9. This year seems so wide open that I couldn’t really be too surprised by what the Academy did. I thought Carol would get the directing and picture nominations that Room ended up getting, just shows that I made a mistake by not seeing that back in November. I’ll have to catch up with The Martian and The Big Short as well, but I already knew that. I was surprised that Ridley Scott didn’t get a directing nomination as well. I was very happy with the cinematography category, even though I also doubt that Deakins will finally win this year unfortunately. He seems to be the Leo DiCaprio of cinematographers, but hopefully Leo will finally win this year, it seems like he’s got it in the bag already. Like you I was far from disappointed that Tarantino didn’t get a screenplay nod. The lack of Sorkin was odd, I’m rooting for Saoirse to win best Actress but I’ll stand by the JLaw nomination, and I agree with you about Idris Elba. Very weird that they left him off.
    All in all, there weren’t too many surprises but we’ll see how it works out in February. Cheers!

    • So many things we agree on! I’ll be rooting for Ronan too! Room’s showing was a big surprise. Love the movie but didn’t expect it to stand so tall against such heavyweights. I love the ‘Deakins is the Leo of cinematographers’ comparison. So true. Think about it. This is his 13th nomination and he has never won!

  10. If you haven’t seen THE BIG SHORT, why did you sigh over Christian Bale’s nomination? BTW, here’s my breakdown of the nominations:

    1) Shocking snubs: 50 SHADES OF GREY for Song (LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO); CAROL for Picture and Director; THE FENCER for Foregin Film; FURIOUS PART 7 for Song; GOING CLEAR for Documentary; THE GOOD DINOSAUR for Animated Film; GOODNIGHT, MOMMY for Foreign Film; HE NAMED ME MALALA for Documentary; THE HUNTING GROUND for Documentary; INSIDE OUT for Picture; JURASSIC WORLD for Visual Effects; LAVA for Animated Short; LOVE AND MERCY for Leading Actor and Song; THE MARTIAN for Director and Cinematography; THE PEANUTS MOVIE for Animated Film; STAR WARS EPISODE VII for Picture; STEVE JOBS for Picture and Screenplay.

    2) Non-shocking snubs: 45 YEARS for Picture and Screenplay; ANOMALISA for Picture, Supporting Actress and Score; ANT-MAN for Visual Effects; THE ASSASSIN for Foreign Film and Cinematography; AVENGERS PART 2 for Visual Effects; BEASTS OF NO NATION for Picture, Leading Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, Screenplay and Cinematography; THE BIG SHORT for Supporting Actor (Steve Carell); BLACK MASS for Leading Actor; BONE TOMAHAWK for Screenplay; BRIDGE OF SPIES for Leading Actor and Director; CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA for Supporting Actress; EL CLUB for Foreign Film; CONCUSSION for Leading Actor; CREED for Picture; THE DANISH GIRL for Score and Cinematography; DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL for Screenplay; THE END OF THE TOUR for Leading Actor and Screenplay; EVEREST for Cinematography and Sound; EX MACHINA for Picture, Supporting Actress and Screenplay; GRANDMA for Leading Actress; THE HATEFUL 8 for Picture, Director and Screenplay; INSIDE OUT for Score; IT FOLLOWS for Score and Cinematography; THE LADY IN THE VAN for Leading Actress; LEGEND for Leading Actor; LOVE AND MERCY for Picture, Supporting Actress and Screenplay; MAD MAX PART 4 for Screenplay and Score; ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL for Screenplay; MR. HOLMES for Leading Actor; PHOENIX for Leading Actress; THE REVENANT for Screenplay and Score; SICARIO for Picture, Leading Actress, Supporting Actor, Director and Screenplay; SON OF SAUL for Cinematography; SPOTLIGHT for Leading Actor and Score; STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON for Picture; SUFFRAGETTE for Leading Actress; TRUMBO for Picture, Supporting Actress and Screenplay; THE WALK for Cinematography and Visual Effects; YOUTH for Supporting Actress and Cinematography.

    3) Surprises: 50 SHADES OF GREY for Song (EARNED IT); BRIDGE OF SPIES for Score; EX MACHINA for Screenplay; RACING EXTINCTION for Song; ROOM for Directing; STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON for Screenplay; WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? for Documentary; WINTER ON FIRE for Best Documentary.

    • Why sigh at Bale? Because I’m not convinced anyone saw him being nominated especially at the expense of Elba. And he has no chance to win. But did Elba?

      Looks like you had A LOT more snubs than surprises. 😉

    • 100% agree x2! I’m pretty annoyed that Elba didn’t have a spot on that list. Hardy was superb (check out my Revenant rambling when you get a chance). Doubt he will win but at least the recognized what he brought to the movie.

  11. Boy it’s been quite a day… finally just got a chance to post my thoughts.

    “Hearing Saoirse Ronan’s name announced just made me smile.” YES and so is hearing Mad Max Fury Road’s name mentioned over and over again, including George Miller!! Wish they’d include Charlize Theron also amongst the noms.

    • 10 nominations for Mad Max!!!! That fantastic! I think it could very well win four or five. I’ve said it over and over but I’m really annoyed that Idris Elba got left out. I really do think it is a shot by the industry against Netflix. Lots of controversy and anger surrounding the decision to release there instead of theaters.

  12. Wonderful analysis. So sad that Sicario didn’t receive more love. Del Toro might have turned in my favorite acting role of 2015, and Blunt was great as well. Nice to see Deakins as always (no shot of winning), but Denis Villeneuve might have been a snub, too.

    Interesting snub, no See You Again? I thought that was a lock this year for Best Original Song. Perhaps the fact that it got run into the ground on the airways since April played a part into it, but man, still a beautiful song.

    Got a few to catch up with before Oscar night, mainly Room, The Big Short, and The Danish Girl.

    • Definitely check out Room. Very, very good. Deakins is always fantastic but as you said he has no chance. Lubezki should win but I hope Seale gives him some competition. 13 times nominated and no wins! Amazing.

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