88th Academy Award Nominations

The nominees for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced. Herein, the full list of nominees.

Best Picture
Not that I've seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but I'm surprised it is not nominated. There are available slots (there are only eight nominees; there could be ten), and the number of possible nominees was expanded in recent years specifically to make room for blockbusters like Star Wars. Given the nominees, I'd say The Revenant has the edge (it's well represented throughout the full nomination list), though I'm actually rooting for Spotlight in this category. I think it's a powerful film, and represents film making 101: compelling story told well with fantastic actors.  
Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
You guys, I don't want to tempt fate; I'm just saying it's possible that a fan favorite who's been making movies for 25 years (and has been my favorite actor since he was Luke on Growing Pains) could break the Susan Lucci curse. Maybe. We'll see. I'm not trying to jinx anything.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
What's interesting to note is that Cate Blanchett is nominated in the Leading Role category while her co-star, Rooney Mara, is in the Supporting Role category. This was a strategic move on Carol's producers' part, making it so they're not competing against each other, strengthening their chances in their respective categories. That said, Larson picked up momentum at the Golden Globes. Look to the SAG Awards later this month for additional clues, as actors make up the largest voting bloc in the Academy. 
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Oof. How am I supposed to root for anyone but Mark Rylance? But, I think I am. While Sly might be the sentimental favorite, don't count out the Academy's apparent zeal of The Big Short. Still, my vote (not that I have one) goes to Mark Ruffalo.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs  
Though I didn't review it, I saw The Hateful Eight, and was thoroughly impressed with Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance. Good as recent Globe winner Kate Winslet was, I think Leigh's performance was stronger and had a bigger impact on the film. I was quite enjoyed Rachel McAdams's turn. I think it's too early to declare a front-runner, but I'm pulling for Leigh. (Also, I haven't seen The Danish Girl, but I'm a little bummed Vikander wasn't nominated for her other 2015 film, Ex Machina.)
Best Director
  • Lenny Abrahamson, Room
  • Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
I'm torn between the directors of the two nominated films I saw. There's an argument to be made for Alejandro G. Inarritu, and his Herculean effort in making The Revenant, an epic film. Yet Tom McCarthy's Spotlight is so well-paced. This is essentially a movie about research, and he made it interesting, intriguing, and urgent.       
Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Emma Donoghue, Room
  • Drew Goddard, The Martian
  • Nick Honrby, Brooklyn
  • Phyllis Nagy, Carol
  • Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short
Are you as shocked as I am to not see Aaron Sorkin's name on this list? I'm flabbergasted. Simply stunned. I didn't like Brooklyn, and without having seen any of the others, I can't pick a favorite. I can, however, guess that this might swing The Big Short's way, given all the other love the film received throughout the full nomination list.
Best Original Screenplay
  • Matt Charman and Ethan Coen + Joel Coen, Bridge of Spies
  • Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley (original story by Docter and Ronnie del Carmen), Inside Out
  • Alex Garland, Ex Machina
  • Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (story by Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus), Straight Outta Compton
  • Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Some great original screenplays here, though I'm surprised Quentin Tarantino wasn't nominated for The Hateful Eight. (He's probably fuming over the snub.) My support goes to Inside Out and Ex Machina for their true originality. (The other three, while not based directly on preexisting source material, are based on actual events and, therefore, feel less fresh.) Also, I love that the screenplay for an animated film is included. Just because it's animated doesn't mean it pathos-free. Thinking that I'd choose Inside Out for Best Animated Feature, I'd spread the love around and go with Alex Garland's Ex Machina here. I found his take on artificial intelligence fascinating.
Best Animated Feature Film
  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Mamie was There
Inside Out is the only nominee I've seen, though industry folks seems to love Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa. Look for it to come down to those two on Oscar night.
Best Documentary Feature
  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom
I'm surprised Going Clear, the Scientology documentary, was not nominated. If memory serves, it was eligible and on the short list. Maybe there are more Scientologists in the Academy than we know?
Best Documentary Short
  • Body Team 12
  • Chau, Beyond the Lines
  • Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
  • A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
  • Last Day of Freedom    
Best Foreign Language Film
  • Embrace of the Serpent, Columbia
  • Mustang, France
  • Son of Saul, Hungary
  • Theeb, Jordan
  • A War, Denmark
Best Cinematography
  • Roger Deakins, Sicario
  • Ed Lachman, Carol
  • Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
  • Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight 
  • John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
You have to go with Chivo. He made nature another character, Leo's companion and foe, in The Revenant. I don't know how you go with anyone else. This seems like a no-brainer. 
Best Costume Design
  • Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Paco Delgado, The Danish Girl
  • Sandy Powell, Carol
  • Sandy Powell, Cinderella
  • Jacqueline West, The Revenant
Best Film Editing
  • Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Hank Corwin, The Big Short
  • Tom McArdle, Spotlight
  • Stephen Mirrione, The Revenant
  • Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Sian Grigg, Duncan Jarman, and Robert Padini, The Revenant
  • Love Laron and Eva van Bahr, The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
  • Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin, Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Original Song
  • "Earned It," Fifty Shades of Grey, written by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville, and Stephan Moccio
  • "Manta Ray," Racing Extinction, music by J. Ralph, lyrics by Antony Hegarty
  • "Simple Song #3," Youth, written by David Lang
  • "Til it Happens to You," The Hunting Ground, written by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
  • "Writing's on the Wall," Spectre, written by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
Best Original Score
  • Carter Burwell, Carol
  • Johann Johannsson, Sicario
  • Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
  • Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies
  • John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Do you think Quentin Tarantino's Golden Globe acceptance speech, on behalf of Ennio Morricone, will hinder Morricone's chances of taking home the Oscar? Do you think Academy voters will go for the sentimental favorite, John Williams? For my taste, I'm disappointed Ryuichi Sakamoto's score for The Revenant isn't nominated; I thought it added a great deal to the story. 
Best Production Design 
  • Jack Fisk (production design) and Hamish Purdy (set decoration), The Revenant
  • Colin Gibson (production design) and Lisa Thompson (set decoration), Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Arthur Max (production design) and Celia Bobak (set decoration), The Martian 
  • Eve Stewart (production design) and Michael Standish (set decoration), The Danish Girl
  • Adam Stockhausen (production design) and Rena DeAngelo  and Bernhard Henrich (set decoration), Bridge of Spies 
Best Sound Editing
  • Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender, The Revenant
  • Mark Mangini and David White, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Alan Robert Murray, Sicario
  • Oliver Tarney, The Martian
  • Matthew Wood and David Acord, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Best Sound Mixing
  • Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, and Ben Osmo, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Paul Massey, Mark Taylor, and Mac Ruth, The Martian
  • Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, and Drew Kunin, Bridge of Spies
  • Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, Randy Thom, and Chris Duesterdiek, The Revenant  
Best Short Film (Animated)
  • Bear Story
  • Prologue
  • Sanjay's Super Team
  • We Can't Live Without Cosmos
  • World of Tomorrow
Best Short Film (Live Action)
  • Ave Maria
  • Day One
  • Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
  • Shok
  • Stutterer     
Best Visual Effects
  • Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, and Chris Corbould, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver, and Andy Williams, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith, and Cameron Waldbauer, The Revenant 
  • Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence, and Steven Warner, The Martian
  • Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington, and Sara Bennett, Ex Machina

Tune in to the Oscars on Sunday, February 28, hosted by Chris Rock, to find out who will go home a winner.