Variety Critics Pick Their Oscar Nominees

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Variety

Film critics, we’re often told, don’t vote for the Oscars — but if they did, here’s what at least three of their nomination ballots might look like. We listed our top five choices for best director, actor/actress, supporting actor/actress, original/adapted screenplay and cinematography. For best picture, we allowed ourselves 10 choices, based on the unlikely but theoretically possible outcome of 10 nominees in that category.

Because we chose from the full spectrum of studio, independent and foreign-language films released in the U.S. in 2015, it’s exceedingly unlikely that our selections will match or even resemble whatever the Academy comes up with on Jan. 15. And a good thing, too. Quality doesn’t limit itself to those movies with the marketing dollars to support a full-fledged Oscar campaign, and there are any number of worthy films and performances that Academy members — who are in the business of making movies, not watching and evaluating them — simply don’t have the time or the inclination to see. Where awards-giving bodies seek consensus, it’s our hope that these choices will instead spark your curiosity.

JUSTIN CHANG

BEST PICTURE
“The Assassin”
“Brooklyn”
Carol
“Girlhood”
“Inside Out”
“The Look of Silence”
Mad Max: Fury Road
“Phoenix”
Spotlight
“The Tribe”

BEST DIRECTOR
Todd Haynes, “Carol”
Hou Hsiao-hsien, “The Assassin”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Celine Sciamma, “Girlhood”
Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, “The Tribe”

BEST ACTOR
Jason Bateman, “The Gift”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Michael B. Jordan, “Creed”
Ben Mendelsohn, “Mississippi Grind”
Geza Rohrig, “Son of Saul”

BEST ACTRESS
Nina Hoss, “Phoenix”
Shu Qi, “The Assassin”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Charlize Theron, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Emory Cohen, “Brooklyn”
Oscar Isaac, “Ex Machina”
Liev Schreiber, “Spotlight”
Jason Segel, “The End of the Tour”
Ben Vereen, “Time Out of Mind”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Rose Byrne, “Spy”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Cynthia Nixon, “James White”
Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria”
Mya Taylor, “Tangerine”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Asghar Farhadi, “About Elly”
Alex Garland, “Ex Machina”
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, “Inside Out”
Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, “Mistress America”
Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nick Hornby, “Brooklyn”
Phyllis Nagy, “Carol”
Spike Lee and Kevin Willmott, “Chi-Raq”
Donald Margulies, “The End of the Tour”
Aaron Sorkin, “Steve Jobs”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Mark Lee Ping-bing, “The Assassin”
Ed Lachman, “Carol”
Dan Laustsen, “Crimson Peak”
John Seale, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Sean Baker and Radium Cheung, “Tangerine”

PETER DEBRUGE

BEST PICTURE
“The Duke of Burgundy”
“Inside Out”
“The Martian”
“Mustang”
“Son of Saul”
“Spotlight”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“Steve Jobs”
“Tangerine”
“While We’re Young”

BEST DIRECTOR
Sean Baker, “Tangerine”
Pete Docter & Ronnie Del Carmen, “Inside Out”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Laszlo Nemes, “Son of Saul”
Ridley Scott, “The Martian”

BEST ACTOR
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Ian McKellen, “Mr. Holmes”
Ben Mendelsohn, “Mississippi Grind”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”
Geza Rohrig, “Son of Saul”

BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis, “Lila & Eve”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Bel Powley, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, “Tangerine”
Lily Tomlin, “Grandma”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jonny Beauchamp, “Stonewall”
Emory Cohen, “Brooklyn”
Bernard Pruvost, “Li’l Quinquin”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Jacob Tremblay, “Room”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, “Cinderella”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “Anomalisa”
Samantha Morton, “The Harvest”
Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria”
Julie Walters, “Brooklyn”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, “Inside Out”
Laszlo Nemes and Clara Royer, “Son of Saul”
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, “Spotlight”
Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch, “Tangerine”
Noah Baumbach, “While We’re Young”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Charlie Kaufman, “Anomalisa”
Marielle Heller, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Drew Goddard, “The Martian”
Jesse Andrews, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”
Emma Donoghue, “Room”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nicholas D. Knowland, “The Duke of Burgundy”
Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Revenant”
Roger Deakins, “Sicario”
Matyas Erdely, “Son of Saul”
Sean Baker and Radium Cheung, “Tangerine”

GUY LODGE

BEST PICTURE
“Carol”
“Eden”
“45 Years”
“Girlhood”
“Joy”
“The Look of Silence”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Magic Mike XXL”
“’71”
“The Tribe”

BEST DIRECTOR
Todd Haynes, “Carol”
Andrew Haigh, “45 Years”
Celine Sciamma, “Girlhood”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Kornel Mundruczo, “White God”

BEST ACTOR
Jason Bateman, “The Gift”
Emory Cohen, “Brooklyn”
Tom Courtenay, “45 Years”
Felix de Givry, “Eden”
Tom Hardy, “Legend”

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Dakota Johnson, “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Alicia Vikander, “Testament of Youth”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Pierre-Yves Cardinal, “Tom at the Farm”
Bradley Cooper, “Joy”
Oscar Isaac, “Ex Machina”
Richard Jenkins, “Bone Tomahawk”
Peter Sarsgaard, “Black Mass”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Rose Byrne, “Spy”
Marion Cotillard, “Macbeth”
Viola Davis, “Blackhat”
Andie MacDowell, “Magic Mike XXL”
Jada Pinkett Smith, “Magic Mike XXL”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
S. Craig Zahler, “Bone Tomahawk”
Mia Hansen-Love and Sven Hansen-Love, “Eden”
Alex Garland, “Ex Machina”
Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, “Mistress America”
Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, “The Tribe”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Charlie Kaufman, “Anomalisa”
Phyllis Nagy, “Carol”
Andrew Haigh, “45 Years”
Juliette Towhidi, “Testament of Youth”
Xavier Dolan and Michel Marc Bouchard, “Tom at the Farm”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Ed Lachman, “Carol”
Ali Olay Gozkaya, “Futuro Beach”
Steven Soderbergh (as Peter Andrews), “Magic Mike XXL”
Tat Radcliffe, “’71”
Sturla Brandth-Grovlen, “Victoria”

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  1. J Hart says:

    Assuming Guy Lodge’s picks are jokes, correct?

  2. Kristen Stewart’s performance in Sils Maria is over hyped.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Sir Ian’s reposting of this article is why I even checked out your suggested nominees. Your selections remind me why I stopped reading Variety. 90% of this is complete garbage. Stonewall, The Gift, Magic Mike XXL, Tangerine and Fifty Shades of Grey were all terrible films with no redeeming qualities. You all are horrible at your jobs and Variety should really look at getting competent people in there. Just, no. Stop. You’re all so awful.

  4. Gene in L.A. says:

    I was glad to see Peter DeBruge mention Jonny Beauchamp in Stonewall. Despite the level of vilification (for extra-cinematic political reasons), it was a well-done, entertaining film, and Jonny’s performance was thorough and heartbreaking.

  5. Hippowithhiccupsredux says:

    These run the gamut from spot on to absolutely idiotic

  6. Aaron Darc says:

    OMG these are awful. Variety, are you sure you want to so boldly display how basement of taste you lot are? No Revenant?

  7. I’m sorry, am I missing something? Guy Lodge can have all the mad love he wants for Magic Mike (best picture……okay) but Fifty Shades of Gray for a major award??? REALLY!! That movie has littered hit the worst of lists by almost every film critic (many named it the WORST of the year) and sure, someone can rise above the crap they are in, but that’s not the case here! Both leads were stiff, awkward and banal. Fifty Shades might get a best song nomination, but honestly. I can name a million other actresses who should be on the list WAY before Dakota Johnson (hell, I’d toss a Oscar to the young girl in The Force Awakens, any of the girls in Pitch Perfect 2, Spy, Trainwreck, Sicario, The Gift, Joy, Woman in Gold, Chi-Ra, Spotlight, Ricki and the Flash, Crimson Peak It Follows,Far From the Madding Crowd, While We’re Young, Me Earl and the Dying Girl, anyone in Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chimp, (the computer animated girl in) Inside out, The female Dinosaurs in Jurassic World, any Minions who dressed in drag in Minions, all the females in The Peanut’s Movie, a rock, THEN Dakota Johnson, then Jennifer Lopez for The Boy Next Door. But, I will say Dakota Johnson has won at least one award…from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, the award for Actress Most in Need of a New Agent…..so kudos!!

  8. S says:

    ah yes…tell me more about Viola Davis’ brilliant performance in Blackhat. *rolls eyes*. Oh and I see you have the ladies from Fifty Shades of Grey and Magic Mike mentioned as well *eyes rolll out of head, onto ground, are lost forever*

  9. Susan says:

    Hollywood and AMPAS voters, PLEASE don’t ignore Jennifer Jason Leigh yet again! She is phenomenal in The Hateful Eight, and another Oscar snub after a career full of them would be a real heartbreaker. She may not win, but at least nominate the woman!

  10. Sophie says:

    Yeah, Marion Cotillard deserves Oscar nod for Macbeth!

  11. Tom Smith says:

    You guys are all idiots.

  12. Variety commenters make me sad. It seems most people get swept up in group-think come awards seasons.

  13. raven says:

    No Matt Damon? He did a great job in the martian better than what michael fassbender did in steve jobs

  14. Marie says:

    This was actually interesting. I like the nominations, it’s very different.
    But Magic Mike? No.

  15. Ambuj Singh says:

    these were the most funny critics predictions

  16. JThorne says:

    Is there any way your lists could be more pretentious and way off from real possible candidates?

  17. Loretta Devine says:

    How is Guy Lodge even employed as a film critic?

  18. Bobby says:

    Really…magic mike? Woahhhhhahaha

  19. atljstud says:

    Magic Mike XXL… just wow Variety. And Justin Chang with the ubiquitous “movies that you haven’t seen to make me seem like a well rounded viewer of film even if they weren’t very good…”

  20. TomNewYorker says:

    My Academy Award Nominations will be(not seeing The Revenant til Friday and God Knows When I’ll see Carol this Month)

    Best Picture
    Black Mass
    Chi-Raq
    Ex Machina
    Jurassic World
    Me & Earl & The Dying Girl
    Mistress America
    Room
    Southpaw
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Straight Outta Compton
    Winner Would be Straight Outta Compton

    Best Director
    Alex Garland-Ex Machina
    Alfonso Gomez rejon-Me & Earl & The Dying Girl
    F. Gary Gray-Straight Outta Compton
    Noah Baumbach-Mistress America
    Quentin Tarantino-The Hateful Eight
    Spike Lee-Chi-Raq
    Winner Would be Spike Lee-Chi-Raq

    Best Lead Actor
    Al Pacino-Danny Collins
    David Oyelowo-Captive
    Jake Gyllenhaal-Southpaw
    Johnny Depp-Black Mass
    Michael Fassbender-Steve Jobs
    Richard Dreyfus-Cas & Dylan
    Winner Would be Jake Gyllenhaal-Southpaw

    Best Lead Actress
    Brie Larson-Room
    Daisy Ridley-Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Kate Mara-Captive
    Lily Tomlin-Grandma
    Tatiana Maslany-Cas & Dylan
    Toni Collette-Miss You Already
    Winner Would be Brie Larson-Room

    Best Supporting Actor
    David DeSanctis-Where Hope Grows
    Jacob Tremblay-Room
    Jason Mitchell-Straight Outta Compton
    Jason Segel-End of The Tour
    Nick Cannon-Chi-Raq
    Sylvester Stallone-Creed
    Winner Would be Jason Mitchell-Straight Outta Compton

    Best Supporting Acress
    Alicia Vikander-Ex Machina
    Cate Blanchett-Cinderella
    Jennifer Jason Leigh-The Hateful Eight
    Julia Garner-Grandma
    Lola Kirke-Mistress America
    Olivia Cooke-Me & Earl & The Dying Girl
    Winner Would be Jennifer Jason Leigh-The Hateful Eight

    Best Original Screenplay
    Ex Machina
    The Hateful Eight
    Miss You Already
    Mistress America
    Sicario
    Straight Outta Compton
    Winner Would be Straight Outta Compton

    Best Adapted Screenplay
    10,000 Saints
    The Duff
    Me & Earl & The Dying Girl
    Paper Towns
    Room
    Z For Zachariah
    Winner Would be Me & Earl & The Dying Girl

    Best Animated Feature(haven’t seen Anomalisa yet)
    the Good Dinosaur
    Inside Out
    Hell & Back
    Hotel Transylvania 2
    Minions
    The Peanuts Movie
    Winner Would be the Peanuts Movie

    best Foreign Film(only seen 1 of these films, the rest are just Random, didn’t watch much Foreign films this year)
    Labyrinth Of Lies
    Goodnight Mommy
    Mustang
    Son Of Saul
    Tom at The Farm
    The Tribe(the only one I actulley seen)
    Winner Would be The Tribe

    Best Documentary
    A Brave Heart; Lizzy Velasquez(shocked this film isn’t getting any Oscar Buzz)
    Amy
    I Am Big Bird
    I Am Chris Farley
    Listen To Me Marlon
    tab Hunter Confidential
    Winner Would be I Am Chris Farley

    Best Cinematography
    10,000 Saints
    Everest
    The Hateful Eight
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    Sicario
    Straight Outta Compton
    Winner Would be Sicario

    Best Film Editing
    Black Mass
    Brooklyn
    Creed
    Everest
    Room
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Winner Would be Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Best Production Design
    Brooklyn
    Ex Machina
    The Hateful Eight
    The Martian
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Z For Zachariah
    Winner Would be Brooklyn

    best Costume Design
    Brooklyn
    Cinderella
    The Danish Girl
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    Pan
    Suffragette
    Winner Would be Cinderella

    Best Original Score
    Bridge of Spies
    The Hateful Eight
    Jurassic World
    Sicario
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Z For Zachariah
    winner would be Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Best Original Song
    Better When i’m Dancin by Meghan Trainor-The Peanuts Movie
    Hands of Love by Miley Cyrus-Freeheld
    Phenomenal by Eminem-Southpaw
    See You Again by Wiz Khalfia F/Charlie Puth-Furious 7
    Writing On The Wall by Sam Smith-Spectre
    Youngblood by Aubrey Peebles-Jem & The Holograms(not kidding by the way)
    Winner Would be See You Again by Wiz Khalfia F/Charlie Puth-Furious 7

    Best Visual Effects
    Avengers: Age of Ultron
    Jurassic World
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    Pan
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Tomorrowland
    Winner Would be Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Best Makeup/Hairstyling
    Black Mass
    Cinderella
    The Green Inferno
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    Pan
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Winner Would be Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Best Sound Mixing
    Avengers: Age of Ultron
    Furious 7
    Jurassic World
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    San Andreas
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Winner Would be Jurassic World

    Best Sound Editing
    Avengers: Age of Ultron
    Jurassic World
    Kingsman
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Winner Would be Avengers: Age of Ultron

  21. John says:

    Guy Lodge has a weird obsession with Andie McDowell. He retweets her all the time, these really weird nonsensical tweets and i used to think he was trolling her. I have a theory that she noticed him retweeting her one day and she genuinely thought he was a fan and now he feels obliged to maintain the act??

    • BMG says:

      Well at least her accent was on…he is too young to remember her ENTIRE role was redubbed in Greystoke by Glenn Close. Who knows who did her redubbing in XXL.

  22. Bill B. says:

    Some of this is very funny.

  23. BG says:

    Clearly you weren’t going for reality and more for wishful thinking :P

  24. seandport says:

    Glad to see so much love for Emory Cohen in Brooklyn. One of the few names listed by all three of you. He gave the best performance in film of the year, in my opinion. It’s too bad he’s not getting more critical attention.

    • Jamie says:

      I came here to say exactly that. Emory Cohen was really done so wrong this year. The fact that they didn’t even attempt an awards campaign for him is probably the saddest part of this year’s award season. He’s amazing in Brooklyn and the fact that he hasn’t really gotten his due for that performance is ridiculous.

  25. Kirk says:

    Only one pick for Tom Hardy in Legend?

  26. Chizz says:

    Nice to see Debruge backpedaling on the “cinematic landmark” Danish Girl by not even including it among his Best Picture nominees.

  27. patrik says:

    Black Mass one nomination?! (P.Sarsgaard -best supporting actor)

  28. irwinator1992 says:

    Where’s Daisy Ridley and Alicia Vikander in the Best Actress category? And DiCaprio for Best Actor??

  29. Alexis Naas says:

    OMG NOTHING FOR THE REVENANT, IT S WHY UR NOT IN THE ACADEMY….

  30. Kelly S says:

    Interesting that this season’s PR darling Alicia Vikander wasn’t listed by any of the critics. Clearly someone powerful is backing her up on the awards run, and talent is the least factor in the actual nominations.

  31. Alex says:

    I’d like to thank all the critics for not nominating “Truth” for ANYTHING!!!

  32. Walter Sleeth says:

    It’s as if they are ignoring Leonardo DiCaprio and The Revenant on purpose. What goons.

  33. Myron Colley says:

    No noms for Straight Outta Compton? This can’t be for real

  34. Maybe do this for real before wasting our time with joke ballots?

  35. James says:

    I wish the academy would recognize more comedic films and performances like spy.

  36. stevenkovacs says:

    Re: Best Actress pics of Guy Lodge:
    Dakota Johnson over Saoirse Ronan
    WHY, GUY?!?!

  37. thez says:

    So is Guy Lodge joking with the Fifty Shades of Grey and Magic Mike XXL votes or…?

  38. Wow ! Some odd choices there… Magic Mike XXL really ? you must be kidding… I guess that is why critics do not vote … and Jason Bateman deserving a nod in the best actor category for his performance in The Gift…

  39. Michael A. Levine says:

    Wow – no Adapted Screenplay noms for The Big Short? I am stupefied that you could overlook what was one of the most remarkably clever adaptations of a difficult-to-tell story I have seen in years.

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