Shoo-ins, surprises, and snubs from the Oscar nominations

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Fans critical of Academy’s picks

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer

The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences announced the Oscar nominations for all 24 categories on January 14. Many of the films and actors nominated were expected, although many expected nominees fell short in major categories or were snubbed altogether. Particularly causing some controversy is a repeat of last year’s #OscarsSoWhite topic: not a single member of the 20 nominees for Best Actor/Actress is a member of a visible minority.

The nominees for Best Picture are The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, and Spotlight. Mad Max: Fury Road is a surprising and welcomed inclusion to the nominees, due to its science-fiction and action nature, which is untypical for the Oscars. While a win would be justified, it’s likely to lose to a drama.

Despite critical acclaim and nominations in other categories, Straight Outta Compton, Creed, Carol, and The Hateful Eight weren’t nominated for Best Picture or Best Director. It’s particularly surprising with The Hateful Eight, given Tarantino’s auteur style shining with his latest ensemble cast piece.

The nominees for Best Actor are Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), and Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl).

The biggest snubs in this category are Michael B. Jordan (Creed), Will Smith (Concussion), and Johnny Depp (Black Mass). The first two critically acclaimed roles may reflect #OscarsSoWhite, while the latter is a surprise due to Depp’s almost unrecognizable, incredible, method-acting performance.

The nominees for Best Actress are Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn).

Jennifer Aniston (Cake), Helen Mirren (Woman In Gold), and Rooney Mara (Carol) were all snubbed in this category. While Mara’s Carol role earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, many viewers of the film argue she took much more of a lead role, perhaps even more so than Cate Blanchett.

The nominees for Best Supporting Actor are Christian Bale (The Big Short), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), and Sylvester Stallone (Creed).

Vancouver’s very own Jacob Tremblay (Room) was highly praised for his complex role at only nine years old, but it didn’t snag him a nomination. However, children are rarely nominated for an Oscar and even less often win. Still, it’s a notable omission.

Idris Elba’s snub is noteworthy as his film Beasts of No Nation failed to land nominations in any category. This may reflect on the Academy’s opposition to non-traditional methods of distribution since the film was a Netflix exclusive.

The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Alicia Vikinder (The Danish Girl), and Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs).

Charlize Theron’s Furiosa role in Mad Max: Fury Road was incredibly complex for a sci-fi action film and deserved a nomination. A nomination for Kitani Kiki Rodriguez (Tangerine) would have been noteworthy as it would have been the first transgendered actress nominated. Other notable snubs in this category were Helen Mirren (Trumbo) and Kristen Stewart (Clouds of St. Marila).

The nominees for Best Animated Feature are Inside Out, Anomalisa, The Boy and the World, When Marnie Was There, and Shaun the Sheep Movie.

There were few exciting animated films this year. In terms of visually appealing animation style, The Good Dinosaur and The Peanuts Movie were notable omissions, although their plots and direction was perhaps less appealing.

The 88th Academy Awards will air on February 28.