And so the race for the 88th Academy Awards begins.


The nominees for Best Picture are…

The Big Short (5 nominations)
Bridge of Spies (6 nominations)
Brooklyn (3 nominations)
Mad Max: Fury Road (10 nominations)
The Martian (7 nominations)
The Revenant (12 nominations)
Room (4 nominations)
Spotlight (6 nominations)

You can see a full ballot list for printing here. My own round-up of 2015 films is here.

My first thoughts on this list? Oh, Academy, you are so full of old, white men.

Of course, that is often my reaction to the Oscars. But let’s focus on the positive shall we?

The Good
I’m happy to see Mad Max: Fury Road with so many nominations. The more I thought about it when I was writing up my 2015 favorites, the more I appreciated the craft that went into making it. If we are going to be inundated with action pictures every summer, let it be ones like this, and not just endless superhero reboots.

I’m also delighted to see Brooklyn on the Best Picture list. After seeing them close together, I had put Brooklyn and Carol on about the same level—good-looking prestige pictures with solid performances but nothing really exciting (Bridge of Spies is also on that same level)—however, with time, Brooklyn is the one that has stayed with me and the one I most want to see again at some point.

The cinematography category seems dead on with nominations for Ed Lachman for Carol, Robert Richardson for The Hateful Eight, John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road, Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant, and Roger Deakins for Sicario. As always, I’m rooting for Deakins (let’s just hope thirteen is his lucky number as it is for me). In other major craft branches, I was happy to see Spotlight show up in both the script and editing categories—I saw this film last night and it really stood out for me in both those areas.

I’m thrilled that What Happened, Miss Simone? made the documentary cut. In addition to being an interesting and engaging film, it was directed by Liz Garbus, one of only two female directors whose feature films were recognized this year (out of up to twenty-five potential slots). Deniz Gamze Ergüven, the other female director in question, will be in contention for foreign language film with Mustang. I saw Mustang just this week and if you get a chance you should too, it’s fabulous. You can see a list of cities and theaters where it is showing here.

Finally, while there are a number of things I would have liked to see on this list, I’m thankful not to see Aaron Sorkin in the screenplay category or Inside Out up for Best Picture.

The Bad
I’m sorry to see The Revenant get so much love. While I appreciate craft (see above), the only positive things I seem to hear about The Revenant involve how hard it was to make. Until I hear more about why it is good, I have no intention of seeing it.

Four nominations for The Danish Girl. I’ve heard nothing good about this film so I can only think it took deserving nomination spots from other films. Brooklyn could have easily been in the production and costume categories instead. And I would rather have seen Alicia Vikander get the best supporting nod for Ex Machina.

Seven nominations for The Martian. I liked it, but seven? Screenplay, most definitely. Technical awards, sure. But Best Picture? No. And while the men’s acting categories are fairly weak this year, I would not have put Matt Damon there.

The Ugly
Okay, I have no interest in seeing Creed because I loathe boxing, but, really, nothing except a nomination for Sylvester Stallone? I have heard great things about this film and expected it to get more Oscar love.

I don’t care how good the song is, Fifty Shades of Grey should not be nominated for anything.


So, what will I be running out to see? Well, as I predicted in my 2015 round-up, I’ve actually already seen many of these films, including five of the Best Picture nominees. Of those I haven’t yet seen, Sicario (3 nominations) tops the list of films I want to see, but Room is still in theaters here so that is likely to be next up. After that, I’ll probably take on The Big Short. I have no desire to see The Revenant but I may change my mind.

And they invited Chris Rock back, who would have thunk it? With #OscarsSoWhite yet again, this should be interesting.

Film_Chris Rock

What are your thoughts on this morning’s announcement?