The nominations are in!
There are some surprises. Ridley Scott not nominated for Best Director for his work on The Martian.
Sylvester Stallone nominated for Best Supporting Actor in Creed, where he reprises the role of Rocky Balboa. Stallone was nominated for a Best Actor award for Rocky in 1976. He did not win, though the film took home a Best Picture and Best Directing Award. A series of sillier sequels came down the pike, but now the franchise returns to respectability with Stallone’s Rocky mentoring the deceased Apollo Creed’s son. If Stallone takes the statue in 2016 that will be a nice bit of trivia, but personally I think his best performance as Balboa was in Rocky III. When he looked into Mr. T’s eyes and said “Go for it,” that was pure gold.
The buzz is all about The Revenant, which received 12 nominations. I haven’t seen it yet, and the most I know about it is that Leonardo DiCaprio did something with a bear and he offered Lady Gaga a goofy look when she walked by him at the Golden Globe awards. However, it seems to be the clear favorite this year.
More noteworthy is Mad Max: Fury Road getting 10 nominations. This is a sign of the times. No doubt about it, Max is wild and fun, but it’s not well written and has no appreciable themes. This kind of movie used to be relegated to the popcorn bin where it belongs. Now, it can be found in the oh so good candy display where the snacks of higher quality typically rest. It’s true the Best Picture category has been augmented from the historic 5 nominations to as many as 10 (8 this year), so perhaps films that once were more likely to garner technical awards now can get serious consideration. But this trend started long before the Best Picture category was broadened, and I think it says something about the industry, the movie going public, and the culture. When I write a book one day, I’ll explain that more, but for now let’s just say I’m not sure a film like Max should be standing shoulder to shoulder with Spotlight, Room, or Brooklyn on the Best Picture dais.
I hazard predictions, and please don’t anyone bank on these choices to carry you to victory in your office Oscar pool, but in the major categories, my choices will be as follows.
Best Picture: The Revenant
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Best Actress: Brie Larson (Room)
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Best Director: George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Best Original Screenplay: Straight Outta Compton