It’s that time of year again. The birds have flown south, the ground has frozen over, and film buffs on Twitter are a little more aggravated than usual. That’s right, it’s Oscar season! This morning at 8:30 AM EST, directors Guillermo del Toro and Ang Lee, along with John Krasinski and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, will announce the nominations for this year’s 88th Academy Awards. Check back with this page to see the nominees updated live, followed by some analysis of this year’s race by yours truly.

 

The Nominees Are…

 

Best Picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

 

Best Director

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

 

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

 

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

 

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

 

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Lee, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Carol

The Martian

Room

 

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out

Spotlight

Straight Outta Compton

 

Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa

Boy and the World

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

 

Best Documentary Feature

Amy

Cartel Land

The Look of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone

Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

 

Best Foreign Language Film

Embrace of the Serpent

Mustang

Son of Saul

Theeb

A War

 

Best Original Score

Bridge of Spies

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Best Original Song

“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

 

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Best Sound Mixing

Bridge of Spies

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Best Production Design

Bridge of Spies

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

 

Best Cinematography

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Sicario

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out A Window And Disappeared

The Revenant

 

Best Costume Design

Carol

Cinderella

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

 

Best Film Editing

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

 

Best Live Action Short

Ave Maria

Day One

Everything Will Be Okay

Shok

Stutterer

 

Best Animated Short

Bear Story

Prologue

Sanjay’s Super Team

We Can’t Leave Without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow

 

Best Documentary, Short Subject

Body Team 12

Chan, beyond the Lines

Claude Lanzmann, Spectres of the Shoah

A Girl in the River: The Price of the Forgiveness

Last Day of Freedom

 

Reaction

I can’t tell what’s weirder about this year’s Oscar nominees: The fact that Mad Max: Fury Road has the second-most nominations with a total of ten (including Best Picture and Director), or the fact that this was expected to happen. The mere inclusion of Mad Max as such a major contender makes these Oscars much more interesting than years past. Though it wouldn’t take much to outpace last year’s borefest in that area, of course.

The biggest surprises this year came in the form of “Wait, they saw that?” nods like Ex Machina and When Marnie Was There and Sly Stallone for Creed. These films may be critical darlings, but they’re the sort of critical darlings that tend to fly under the Academy’s radar due to their early release dates, tiny size, or failure to fit within the Academy’s narrow definition of prestige. Ex Machina‘s appearance in the Original Screenplay category, shutting out a much more popular film like Trainwreck, is especially surprising. It would seem that A24 is a major force in the film industry all of a sudden. Look no further than their other major release, Room, which landed a Best Director nod for Lenny Abrahamson against the odds, beating out supposed sure-things Ridley Scott and Todd Haynes.

Ah, Todd Haynes. Carol was my favorite film of last year, so to see it so roundly ignored outside of its lead actresses is a shame. Sorry, I mean to say its lead actress and its supporting actress, since Rooney Mara’s nomination came in the latter category. This is one of the biggest examples of category fraud in recent memory. Mara is very clearly the main character of Carol. She’s in every scene, and I’d venture a guess that she has more screen time than Lead Actress nominee Cate Blanchett. This is one of those things that makes you wonder whether Academy voters actually watch these films or whether they just write down whatever they just go with the popular consensus. Not to say that Mara doesn’t deserve a nomination, but to call her role supporting is a bald-faced lie.

The Best Original Song category is disappointingly dull this year, and it almost feels like a childish refutation of the music industry. Two of the biggest hit songs of the year – “Love Me Like You Do” from Fifty Shades of Grey and “See You Again” from Furious 7 – failed to get nominations, in favor of two nomination-grabbing end-credits themes from documentaries which didn’t even get into that feature category, along with that awful Sam Smith theme for Spectre. One hit song from Fifty Shades did make the cut, The Weeknd’s dark and slick “Earned It,” but it’s odd that Ellie Goulding’s poppier track didn’t make it. This inability to recognize pop hits feels like yet another show by the Academy of their “classiness” and good taste, which has long been the reason why they’re such a boring awards group.

But the big news is the domination of The Revenant, which leads with twelve nominations. All the people who were apoplectic over Birdman‘s big wins last year probably aren’t very happy that Inarritu’s follow-up did so well. I myself was frustrated by Birdman, and while I liked The Revenant quite a bit better, I found it an overlong and tortured effort overall. Calling it the Best Picture frontrunner just because of its nominations would be incorrect, but it has a much better shot than I expected. Meanwhile, Spotlight, which has been the presumed leader for a while now, doesn’t seem to have much excitement behind it. It could still take Best Picture, but it would probably be the film’s sole win.

I wouldn’t count out Mad Max: Fury Road, though. I don’t expect it to win Best Picture just yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see George Miller take Best Director. Sometimes the Academy likes to split Picture and Director, where the former goes to a more prestigious drama and the latter goes to a technically impressive genre film. I could see that happening this year, with Spotlight as Best Picture. The Revenant‘s apparent popularity makes Inarritu a more likely candidate for Best Director given a split, but they also just gave him the award last year, so it’s possible they’ll skip over him for that reason.

All in all, it looks to be a much more fun race this year than last. The Academy Awards will be released at the end of February, so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up with this year’s nominees. Let us know what you think of this year’s picks in the comments!

 

 

Featured Image:

Carol, The Weinstein Company/StudioCanal
The Revenant, 20th Century Fox
Room, A24 Films