Thursday, January 14, 2016

Oscar Nominations: The Good, The Bad, & The Glorious

The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced this morning, ushering in the homestretch to Awards Season and generating debate among lovers of the silver screen. As always, there is plenty to talk about. Here are the Good, Bad, and Glorious points:


-As expected, acting nominations were announced for Leonardo DiCaprio, Sylvester Stallone, Matt Damon, Michael Fassbender, Cate Blanchett, and Jennifer Hudson. No surprises there in a good way.

-George Miller, who directed the high-octane MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, earned a Best Director nomination for his post-apocalyptic action and carnage fest. The nomination is one of ten (!) for the film. Basically a sci-fi flick, it’s refreshing to see the Academy acknowledge the genre.

-Five nominations for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. The five nods brings the total franchise number up to 30, which is the 2nd most in history for a film-series, behind Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth films (38).


-No Best Original Screenplay nomination for Quentin Tarantino, whose intricate writing in his Western THE HATEFUL EIGHT was certainly tighter and more focused than the last two films he won for (INGLORIOUS BASTERDS and DJANGO UNCHAINED).

-Director Ryan Coogler, who rejuvenated the ROCKY franchise with his crowd-pleasing CREED, should have earned a Best Director nomination.

-EX MACHINA; one of the best-reviewed films of the year, and one of this Blogger’s favorites, should have had a Best Picture nomination.

-STAR WARS creator George Lucas was recently quoted as saying that the Academy doesn’t award popular movies. This rings true this year, as the 7th episode in his own series did not earn nominations in major categories…despite being one of the best-reviewed films of the year and a box-office champion.

-More of a curious point than a bad one: Idris Elba was kind-of expected to land a nomination for his powerful performance in the war-film BEASTS OF NO NATION. But the film’s non-traditional release (it was on a limited run in theatres and globally on Netflix), calls into question of how the Academy is keeping up with the times. Did the streaming-service release hurt Elba? Does the Academy shun the format in favor of big-screen releases?

-The lack of diversity (namely black actors) in the nominations has re-awakened the discussion of why the Academy doesn’t nominate more minorities. But even if Coogler, Elba, and Michael B. Jordan (CREED) were nominated, the numbers would still be skewed. It’s due to a lack of options in the industry, and that’s the real issue.


-Pixar’s INSIDE OUT earned a nomination for Best Original Screenplay; a rarity for an animated film. The last movie to do so; Pixar’s UP in 2009.

-Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in THE REVENANT has earned so much praise that his co-star Tom Hardy was overlooked for the Golden Globes and did not make many people’s short-lists prior to today’s announcements. However, the Academy noticed…and gave Hardy a rightful nomination.

-EX MACHINA rightfully earned a nomination for Best Visual Effects, as it arguably displayed one of the most visually stunning creations made in a long-time.

-It’s all about the movies, and the list of eight nominees for Best Picture is a solid one. It’s a nice mix of old (Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, George Miller), and new (Adam McKay, Alejandro Inarritu, Tom McCarthy), while servicing several genres; spy-thrillers, action, sci-fi, comedy, and good old-fashioned drama. The right films are there, and Oscar Night will be a competitive one.


The Oscars will be awarded February 28th.

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