Another year, another Oscars. The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced on Thursday, and as usual there were some surprises, both good and bad, with the best film of 2015, “The Revenant,” rightfully leading the pack with 12 nods. Here I’ll do a quick rundown of the major nominations along with my thoughts.
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
I’ve seen all of these but “Brooklyn,” and while none are a surprise, a few, in my humble opinion do not deserve their nominations. By now I’ve made I clear I am the only human on the face of this earth that hated “Mad Max,” but apparently I’m wrong and everyone else saw a movie that wasn’t dumb, loud and lacked anything resembling narrative. Fine. “The Martian” is a blockbuster film that picked up random momentum and pop culture support, and I sadly didn’t love “Bridge of Spies” or “The Big Short” (to varying degrees). Would have loved to see “Straight Outta Compton,” “Steve Jobs,” or even “Creed” get a nomination here, but “Revenant” and “Spotlight” are two of 2015’s best films, so hopefully one of them pulls it out.
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revanant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
DiCaprio and Fassbender were the only locks here, and they gave the two best performances of 2015 so that makes sense. The other three aren’t surprising, but each one flirted with being odd-man-out and pushed out by likes of Johnny Depp or Will Smith. Much like the film he was in, I think Damon got a nod because it was the cool thing to do, and while I didn’t love “Trumbo” it’s cool and well-deserved that “Oscar nominee Bryan Cranston” is a thing now.
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Only saw Brie Larson and “Room” of this bunch, but she’s essentially a lock to win. Jennifer Lawrence will get nominated for any and everything she does for the rest of time because she is this generation’s Meryl Streep, so not giving her an Oscar nod would be a crime.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Very satisfied with this group. Bale (along with Carell) was the only bright spot of “Big Short,” Hardy was commanding in “Revenant,” Ruffalo is underrated in everything so glad to see him get attention, Rylance gave the best supporting performance of the year in my opinion, and Stallone’s comeback story can’t help but be loved. Idras Elba and Michael Shannon were both on the outside looking in, and I still think Seth Rogen’s work in “Steve Jobs” has been overlooked all awards season, but what on that film hasn’t been ignored?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Winslet for “Steve Jobs,” yay. Alicia Vikander for “Danish Girl,” didn’t see the movie but love her so yay. RACHEL MCADAMS, HELLS YES… (clears throat) sorry. That nomination came out of nowhere but I really thought I was the only person who thought she gave the best performance in “Spotlight” and assumed she wouldn’t get her name called, so this was my favorite nomination of the day.
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Like…ok. I’m happy McKay got an Oscar nomination (or rather, two, more on that in a second) but the fact he got them for “Big Short” baffles and almost angers me. That film has no real scope or reigns on its story, and that is due almost entirely to his direction and screenplay (again, more in a second). Iñárritu deserves love for “Revenant,” what he had to do for that movie is insane, and McCarthy’s direction in “Spotlight” is so subtle it’s almost brilliant. Like, cool, George Miller gets his “Mad Max” nomination, whatever, it’s a well-made film; more surprised at Abrahamson getting nominated for “Room.” Unless he is the sole reason Larson and Jacob Tremblay gave stellar performances, it seemed he didn’t have a great grip on the material.
“Earned It” – Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray” – Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3” – Youth
“Til It Happens to You” – The Hunting Ground
“Writing’s on the Wall” – Spectre
“Oscar nominee ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’” is my suicide note but at least it isn’t for “Love Me Like You Do.” How Wiz Khalifa and “See You Again” didn’t get nominated is a mystery. I guess the Academy either (A) hates rap songs (but Eminem won an Oscar, so) or (B) thought they were being hipster by give three non-mainstream films nominations. Either way…
The Big Short
How, in the actual hell of it, do you not nominate Aaron Sorkin and “Steve Jobs?!” I know the film underperformed at the box office, which in turn turned voters off from the film, but it was not only an apparent lock to get a nod, it was the odds-are favorite to win. I’m actually physically upset at this. It still is the best script of the year, but then again “Gone Girl” was one of the best of 2014 and it didn’t get a nomination… I don’t get the love for “Room’s” screenplay, like it’s fine, but “The Big Short” is a mess that didn’t do a good job describing its confusing stock terms despite thinking it was mastering it. “Two-time Academy Award nominee Adam McKay” is now a thing, so I guess that’s cool. Like he’s a nice guy… [sigh]
Bridge of Spies
Straight Outta Compton
Pumped “Straight Outta Compton” got some love, although a little surprised it was for its screenplay; it’s a fun script but nothing I thought the Academy would recognize. Glad “Spotlight” got nominated but I think “Inside Out” got love for the originality of its concept more than the actual content of the script (the whole idea of the film actually falls apart if you think about it for more than a minute, like so do the emotions have emotions?) I’m getting off track.
Those are my thoughts on the big awards, I’ll have more as Award Season pushes on, including predictions and my own personal awards for the best in 2015 films. The 88th Academy Awards air on February 28, 2016.