The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled its nominations for the 88th Annual Academy Awards ceremony (read the full list of nominees HERE) - and already the discussion unfolding amongst film bloggers and general cinephiles alike is focusing as much on which movies, actors, and filmmakers were not recognized with Oscar nominations in 2016 as those that were. So, exactly who and what was nominated - and who/what got snubbed - by the AMPAS in 2016?
Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu won multiple Oscars for his dark comedy/drama Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) in 2015 - and now his latest project, The Revenant has secured a total of twelve Oscar nominations. Not all that far behind was George Miller's latest installment in his own post-apocalyptic "Ozpolitation" action franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road, which snagged a total of ten Academy Award nominations. Other such critical favorites and/or 2016 Golden Globe winning films like Spotlight and Room also racked up multiple Oscar nominations, in areas ranging from Best Picture to acting and other technical categories (production design, visual effects, and so forth).
We wil break out analysis down into two categories: what was nominated and what was snubbed by the AMPAS in 2016.
What Was Nominated
The Revenant, as mentioned before, led the way at the 2016 Academy Awards, amassing multiple Oscar nominations for Alejandro González Iñárritu - who directed and co-wrote the film - as well as stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy; not to mention the film's highly accomplished production team, including cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (who picked up his second Oscar just last year, for his work on Birdman). Between that and the film having won Best Drama, Director, and Actor at the 2016 Golden Globes ceremony, it's easy to single out The Revenant as a major contender to win Best Picture and more at the Academy Awards this year.
Mad Max: Fury Road, by comparison, might have only secured two less Oscar nominations than The Revenant, but George Miller's
possibly final Mad Max film seems less than likely to walk away with the top honors at the Academy Awards in 2016. Indeed, there's been a clear trend in recent years where the Academy will shower one movie in Oscars for technical accomplishments (cinematography, editing, sound design, and so forth), while ultimately awarding another film with the title of Best Picture. Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel was that movie last year, while Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity and Ang Lee's Life of Pi were in the same boat in the years prior - and the latter two even landed Best Director Oscars, without also being crowned Best Picture. Fury Road appears destined to chart a similar course, which will no doubt come as disappointing news to its many adoring fans.
George Miller does have a fighting chance at winning the Best Director Oscar on Fury Road for related reasons, though it's something like Tom McCarthy's Spotlight that looks to pose a genuine challenge to The Revenant for the Best Picture Oscar in 2016. It's certainly possible that Room or The Martian could sneak in and take Best Picture too. However, Brie Larson's performance from Room has received the vast majority of attention from the awards shows to date, while Ridley Scott's lack of a Best Director nomination for The Martian suggests the space adventure is very much a dark horse contender for Best Picture at the Academy Awards (even though it was dubbed Best Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes).
The Martian did secure seven Oscar nominations total, which is more than either Spotlight or Room snagged. However, a good chunk of The Martian's Academy Award nominations are for technical areas (visual effects, sound editing), so perhaps its main competition is Fury Road, in that sense. Spotlight and Room may, in turn, both wind up winning for their screenwriting, seeing as they are not competing against one another, while Larson remains the front-runner to win the Best Actress Oscar. Overall, right now it appears as though the Academy shall split its Oscar selections primarily between Fury Road, The Revenant, The Martian, Room, and Spotlight, as a way to share the love, so to speak. The downside is that the critically-acclaimed titles Brooklyn, The Big Short, and Bridge of Spies - all of which secured a nod or more in the bigger Oscar categories - could get shut out completely at the 2016 awards show.
What Was Snubbed
As attested by the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag on Twitter, it has not gone unnoticed that the Academy largely ignored the critical darlings that boasted not only comparatively diverse casts on the whole, but also behind the camera too. Case in point, the acclaimed Rocky sequel/spinoff Creed landed a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod for Sylvester Stallone, yet co-writer/director Ryan Coogler, star Michael B. Jordan, and other accomplished individuals who worked on the film (such as cinematographer Maryse Alberti) were not nominated for their own work on the movie. Similarly, the well-received N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton was recognized in the area of screenwriting only, whiles actors such as Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Will Smith (Concussion), and even Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight) got shut out of the acting categories.
Meanwhile, early awards season contenders such as director Denis Villeneuve's acclaimed drug crime drama/thriller Sicario missed out on landing any nominations in the biggest Oscar categories like Best Picture and Director, as did (surprisingly) Todd Hayne's period drama Carol - though both films did land Academy Award notations in such fields as Best Cinematography and Best Actress/Supporting Actress. Similarly, true story-based projects Steve Jobs and The Danish Girl were generally regarded as being Oscar prospectives well before they hit theaters, based solely on the pedigrees of their casts, subject matter, and the people involved behind the scenes (Academy favorites like screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Tom Hooper). Ultimately, though, Steve Jobs and The Danish Girl landed nominations for such elements as their lead performances and writing, but not much else.
Director J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens was always a long shot to secure a Best Picture Oscar nomination, despite its combination of both record-breaking commercial success and widespread acclaim among critics, cinephiles, and the general movie-going public. All the same, in yet another year where the Academy nominated less than ten movies in the Best Picture Oscar category, it stands to reason that the inclusion of movies like Creed and The Force Awakens (mainstream films that tapped into the zeitgeist and were celebrated for their accomplishments as works of pop cinema art, in turn) could have easily filled the remaining two slots in 2016. (And yes, the system used by the AMPAS to select Best Picture candidates complicates this issue.)
Other miscellaneous snubs or unexpected non-nominees include:
- No Best Actor nod for Johnny Depp's lead performance in Black Mass - though the crime drama/biopic's somewhat polarizing critical response may have been to blame for that.
- Comedies Trainwreck and Spy landed multiple Golden Globe nods, yet failed to garner a single Oscar nod.
- Guillermo del Toro's Gothic romance/horror film Crimson Peak missed out on Oscar nominations in areas like Best Production Design and Costume Design.
- No Best Song Oscar nomination for Furious 7's tune "See You Again".
- The Peanuts Movie didn't make the cut in the Best Animated Feature Oscar category.
- No Best Actress nod for Charlize Theron as fan-favorite Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road.
There are no doubt other snubs or films, actors, and/or filmmakers who you feel should've landed an Oscar nod (or more), so be sure to let your voices be heard in the comment section of this article!
The 88th Academy Awards Ceremony will be telecast on Sunday, February 28th, 2016, by ABC Television Network starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences