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The nominations for the most prestigious awards in film have been revealed for this year and generally they’re a very strong shortlist of movies, of course there are a few snubs (though nothing compared to previous years). Unfortunately accusations of whitewashing have been levelled against the Academy again, the fact that every single nominee for an acting award is white has been a huge point of contention. Though I have to side with those retorting it’s an industry problem rather than something the Academy should be held responsible for, Viola Davis said “the only different between us is opportunity” and that’s the issue that needs to be corrected.
So moving away from that thorny issue I think most cinephiles will be generally content with who was nominated for what and who was left out. In my mind there were really only two genuine snubs in the major categories (and no “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” not getting nominated for Best Picture is not a snub). Which would be Aaron Sorkins’ laser sharp screenplay for “Steve Jobs” not getting a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay and critical darling “Carol” being left out of the Best Picture race. Which is disappointing as I’d certainly rank it above “Bridge of Spies” and even “Mad Max: Fury Road” in terms of being worthy of a nomination for films biggest prize.
Speaking of George Miller’s return to the “Mad Max” franchise it sure did better than anyone would have predicted merely four or five months ago. It’ll likely clean up in the technical categories, though Best Visual Effects is probably one of the most competitive awards this year, but the fact Miller is a genuine contender, some would say a frontrunner, for Best Director displays that maybe the Academy isn’t quite so out of touch. Ultimately I’d wager that Alejandro G. Iñárritu will win for a second year in a row for “The Revenant” but I wouldn’t be surprised if Miller is climbing the steps come February, the subsequent meltdown on social media would be a spectacle to behold if so. The film is also nominated for Best Picture though its chances of winning that are much smaller.
It’s a strong shortlist this year for Best Picture even the worst film on there, “The Big Short” in my opinion, is worthy of a viewing, if you wanted to catch up on the best of 2015 those eight films are an excellent starting point. It’s a tough race to call but I’d probably have to say it’s between “Spotlight” and “The Revenant”, both are more than worthy of the honour though maybe Iñárritu’s “Birdman” winning the prize last year will count against him?
The acting categories are equally staked with quality, with strong performances all round. The question on everybody’s lips is whether this is finally Leonardo DiCaprio’s time to win an Oscar, and while this is definitely his best shot I could see Michael Fassbender or Bryan Cranston nabbing it from him. Best Actress will go to Brie Larson, she’s sweeping this category across the board and she won’t miss out on the big one. Kate Winslet will likely win Best Supporting Actress, though Rooney Mara would be more worthy in my eyes, and Best Supporting Actor is a tough race to call (noticing a pattern here?) but Sylvester Stallone is probably the favourite.
The 88th annual Academy Awards take place on Sunday 28th February (though it’ll be early Monday morning for us folks in the UK) it’s shaping up to be an excellent show, with a solid host in the talented Chris Rock, and thankfully a large sense of unpredictability as to who will be bathing in Oscar gold on the night.