2016 Academy Award Nominations: Thoughts and Reactions

Well, I certainly did better with my predictions here than I did at the Golden Globes. I didn’t do perfectly, which is always the goal, but I did decently well. The Revenant was the biggest winner of the day with a dozen nominations, five more than I predicted. Mad Max: Fury Road was next with ten. There’s a film I managed to get entirely correct. With my ten film predicted category, I got all of the nominees for Best Picture correct. It’s nice to have an excuse to cover your bases.

The biggest surprise of the nominations, in terms of what got it, is easily Lenny Abrahamson getting into the Best Director category for Room, beating out many people’s frontrunner to win Ridley Scott. This is thrilling news as a big fan of that film, and any support for Room is welcome. Though, because this did so well (also receiving nominations for Best Picture, Emma Donoghue‘s screenplay, and Brie Larson), it is quite baffling that Jacob Tremblay missed out on a nomination, especially since he got one with the Screen Actors Guild.


Another welcome surprise is Tom Hardy (The Revenant) finally getting an Oscar nomination. With all the phenomenal work he’s been doing for years, it’s hard to believe this is his first nomination. He is easily the best part about The Revenant, and I’m glad the Academy recognized him after everyone had snubbed him. Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio will be the actor winning for that film (unfortunately), but it’s nice to have a little hat tip.

In terms of what was left out, there were quite a lot of things I predicted that didn’t show up. As I mentioned, Ridley Scott was left out, which was really surprising. I could’ve seen Tom McCarthy or Adam McKay on the outside looking in, but not Scott. The two screenplay categories are missing big names: Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight) and Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs), who just won the Golden Globe. I thought those two would be winning their respective categories this year (they would also be my own personal winners), and now I don’t know what to predict.

The big news story of these nominations is no actors of color were nominated for the second year in a row. Of course, this is unfortunate, and most people, including myself, were only predicting one actor of color (Idris Elba) to get a nomination. I do want to stress, though, this is an industry problem and not really an Academy problem. If there are so few movies starring people of color to choose from, the law of probability criminally reduces those chances. The solution: make more movies with black, Latino, Asian, American Indian, and whoever isn’t white leads.


The one snub I just cannot understand is the exclusion of Carol from the Best Picture category. Why has the industry backed away from this movie so much? Sure, the actors are represented, but this missing out here and with the Producers Guild is baffling, as it has done so well everywhere else. The movie gets nominated for its two leading ladies (thanks, category fraud!), screenplay, cinematography, costume design, and score. Why is this not in Best Picture? Why? I hope it is something other than it being a gay love story.

I am not sure what to make my frontrunner to win for Best Picture yet. A compelling case could be made for The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, Spotlight, and The Big Short. I still have The Big Short out front, but Spotlight did very well, getting two acting nominations and editing. Then, of course, The Revenant is a major force with all of those nominations and coming off the Globe win. This is shaping up to be a fun season, and I look forward to second guessing myself constantly.

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