‘The Revenant,’ ‘Mad Max’ Lead Oscar Nominations

Oscar Nominations 2016 The Revenant Mad
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox/Warner Bros.

The Revenant,” a gritty tale of frontier vengeance, led the Oscar nominations on Thursday, picking up a leading 12 nods for Best Picture, Best Director, and for the performances of stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.

It was followed closely behind by another survivalist tale, the action adventure “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which earned ten Academy Awards nominations, including for Best Picture and Best Director for George Miller, the 70-year old Australian filmmaker who revived the post-apocalyptic franchise after a three decade break between installments.

Eight films were nominated for Best Picture.  “Spotlight,” “The Martian,” “Bridge of Spies,” “The Big Short,” “Room,” and “Brooklyn” rounded out the list.

As always, there were snubs and surprises when the fruits of Oscar voters deliberations were unveiled. The biggest shock was the exclusion of “The Martian” director Ridley Scott. The legendary filmmaker behind “Alien” and “Blade Runner” was considered to not only be a lock to get nominated, he was seen as a leading candidate to walk away with the prize.

Once again, Academy voters failed to select a diverse group of honorees, something that is bound to raise objections. Other than Alejandro G. Inarritu, none of the other acting or directing nominations were for people of color despite strong work by the likes of Idris Elba in “Beasts of No Nation” and the “Creed” team of Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan. Last year, the Oscars were slammed for their lack of diversity when “Selma” director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo failed to score nominations.

And commercial success didn’t translate into Oscars love. Despite becoming the highest-grossing domestic film in history, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was shut out from the Best Picture race. It received five nominations in technical categories such as sound, editing, and visual effects.

Also left out of the Best Picture race were “Carol,” a critically adored lesbian romance, and “Straight Outta Compton,” the hit story of the formation of rap group N.W.A Steven Spielberg (“Bridge of Spies”), Quentin Tarantino (“The Hateful Eight”), and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”) hopefully didn’t set their alarms. They were among the Oscar contenders given the cold shoulder as nominations were listed off in the early morning hours.

After scoring an Oscar last year for “Theory of Everything,” Eddie Redmayne was once again nominated for his performance as a transgender artist in “The Danish Girl.” He will head off against Matt Damon’s stranded astronaut in “The Martian,” Bryan Cranston’s blacklisted screenwriter in “Trumbo,” Michael Fassbender’s egomaniacal Apple founder in “Steve Jobs,” and DiCaprio’s work as a mountain man in “The Revenant.”

Leading actress nominations include Cate Blanchett’s housewife struggling against Eisenhower era conformity in “Carol,” Brie Larson as a kidnapped mother in “Room,” Jennifer Lawrence as the creator of the Miracle Mop in “Joy,” Saoirse Ronan as an Irish immigrant in “Brooklyn,” and Charlotte Rampling as one half of a married couple in crisis in “45 Years.”

With Scott left out of the directing race, the nominees included “Spotlight’s” Tom McCarthy, “Room’s” Lenny Abrahamson, and “The Big Short’s” Adam McKay.

Alejandro Inarritu, who won Best Director last year for “Birdman,” was nominated for his work overseeing “The Revenant.” The film’s strong showing is poetic justice for the Mexican filmmaker. For months, the media feasted on reports of production problems on the film as the budget escalated from $90 million to $135 million and Inarritu drove cast and crew to the breaking point by filming in remote locations while shooting with only natural light.

In the supporting categories, Sylvester Stallone will return to the Oscar race for the first time since “Rocky” made him a star in 1976. He is recognized for reprising his Rocky Balboa role in “Creed.” In addition to Stallone and Hardy’s work in “The Revenant,” the supporting actor category is rounded out by Christian Bale’s off-beat investor in “The Big Short,” Mark Ruffalo’s crusading reporter in “Spotlight,” and Mark Rylance’s Russian spy in “Bridge of Spies.”

After much debate about whether or not Alicia Vikander’s work as Redmayne’s sympathetic wife in “The Danish Girl” would be singled out in the lead category or the supporting one, Oscar voters opted for the latter. Vikander’s competition will come from Jennifer Jason Leigh’s criminal mastermind in “The Hateful Eight,” Kate Winslet’s performance as an Apple executive in “Steve Jobs,” Rooney Mara’s work as the object of Blanchett’s affections in “Carol,” and Rachel McAdams’ turn as a journalist in “Spotlight.”

The Oscars will air live on ABC on February 28. Chris Rock will return to host the program. He previously served as emcee for the 2005 show and the show’s producers are hoping he injects an edgier, irreverent energy to a program that has struggled in recent years to attract younger audiences. Last year’s broadcast, which was hosted by a tighty-whitie clad Neil Patrick Harris, saw its ratings plunge from 43 million viewers to 36.6 million.

This awards season has been unpredictable. A clear Best Picture frontrunner wasn’t clear going into Thursday’s Oscar nominations. “Spotlight” secured many of the top critics prizes, but “The Revenant” and “The Martian” were the big winners at last weekend’s Golden Globes broadcast, bagging the best picture drama and best picture comedy statues.

Here is the full list of nominees for the 2016 Oscars:

Best motion picture of the year:
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”

Performance by an actor in a leading role:
Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”
Matt Damon in “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”

Performance by an actress in a leading role:
Cate Blanchett in “Carol”
Brie Larson in “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
Christian Bale in “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role:
Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara in “Carol”
Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”

Achievement in directing:
“The Big Short” Adam McKay
“Mad Max: Fury Road” George Miller
“The Revenant” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Room” Lenny Abrahamson
“Spotlight” Tom McCarthy

Adapted screenplay:
“The Big Short” Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
“Brooklyn” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“Carol” Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian” Screenplay by Drew Goddard
“Room” Screenplay by Emma Donoghue

Original screenplay:
“Bridge of Spies” Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
“Ex Machina” Written by Alex Garland
“Inside Out” Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
“Spotlight” Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
“Straight Outta Compton” Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Best animated feature film of the year:
“Anomalisa” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
“Boy and the World” Alê Abreu
“Inside Out” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
“Shaun the Sheep Movie” Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
“When Marnie Was There” Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Best documentary feature:
“Amy” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
“Cartel Land” Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
“The Look of Silence” Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“What Happened, Miss Simone?” Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Best foreign language film of the year:
“Embrace of the Serpent” Colombia
“Mustang” France
“Son of Saul” Hungary
“Theeb” Jordan
“A War” Denmark

Achievement in cinematography:
“Carol” Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight” Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road” John Seale
“The Revenant” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Sicario” Roger Deakins

Achievement in costume design:
“Carol” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl” Paco Delgado
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Jenny Beavan
“The Revenant” Jacqueline West

Best documentary short subject:
“Body Team 12” David Darg and Bryn Mooser
“Chau, beyond the Lines” Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” Adam Benzine
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
“Last Day of Freedom” Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Achievement in film editing:
“The Big Short” Hank Corwin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Margaret Sixel
“The Revenant” Stephen Mirrione
“Spotlight” Tom McArdle
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling:
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
“The Revenant” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score):
“Bridge of Spies” Thomas Newman
“Carol” Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight” Ennio Morricone
“Sicario” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” John Williams

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song):
“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre”
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Achievement in production design:
“Bridge of Spies” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
“The Danish Girl” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
“The Martian” Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
“The Revenant” Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

Best animated short film:
“Bear Story” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
“Prologue” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
“Sanjay’s Super Team” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos” Konstantin Bronzit
“World of Tomorrow” Don Hertzfeldt

Best live action short film:
“Ave Maria” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
“Day One” Henry Hughes
“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)” Patrick Vollrath
“Shok” Jamie Donoughue
“Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Achievement in sound editing:
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Achievement in sound mixing:
“Bridge of Spies” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
“The Martian” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
“The Revenant” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Achievement in visual effects:
“Ex Machina” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

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  1. Sal U. Lloyd says:

    I am surprised by the MAD MAX and EX MACHINA noms although I was actaully hoping for an original screenplay nom for the latter. First sci-fi script nom in a very long time.

    One snub was Michael Keaton for SPOTLIGHT instead they give a supporting nom to the sniveling, over-acting Mark Rufalo. And did anyone catch Gonzalez I~narritu bringing the shame on Garcia Bernal and Keaton when he said at the Golden Globe Awards that working with Leo was his “best film experience”???

    The other significant snub was The Danish Guy–I mean–The Danish Girl–in the make-up category! I mean, come on, Academy, it must take beaucoup make-up to make Freddie Redmange into a girl!!!

  2. cadavra says:

    Sorry, but the Academy made the right decision with Ridley. It’s just an episode of “The Outer Limits” blown up to 2 1/2 hours and costing upwards of $150 million, despite the fact that half the picture is one man on a soundstage. Thoroughly irresponsible. At least with STAR WARS the money’s on the screen.

    • Sal U. Lloyd says:

      Cadaver, blame the novelist, not the filmmakers. THE MARTIAN is based on a novel, not an original screenplay, so to say its an OUTER LIMITS episode blown up, is mistaken. By the way, it made its money back.

      • cadavra says:

        I’m fully aware of that. I was speaking metaphorically, not literally. (What it actually is is ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS meets MAROONED.) But in any event, your criticism is irrelevant; the film is still way too long for such a slight tale. To take just one example, it’s longer than THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, whose novel is almost twice as many pages as THE MARTIAN and spans the entire life of its protagonist. 105 minutes (the length of RCOM) would have been plenty here. But Ridley, like Tarantino, apparently prefers to leave everything in.

  3. Helgi says:

    When has it happened that a nominated actor stars in two movies nominated as the best movies of the year? And the directors of both of these are nominated.

  4. Kromsnaveland says:

    Sir Ridley Scott snubbed Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, all nominated-never won. Martian-Golden Globe-won! The Duellists, Aliens, Blade Runner, not nominated. His achievements in TV and other mediums are equally outstanding. And yet, still no nod from Hollywood. Seriously, what gives?

  5. I realize that these awards are supposedly for excellence in the craft of filmmaking, but I hope that one of the movies with more social significance, like “Spotlight” or “The Big Short” wins over movies like “The Revenant or “Mad Max.” I doubt my hopes will be realized, though. I was glad to see Mark Ruffalo nominated for his role in “Spotlight.” He really stood out among some very good performances in that film.

  6. “…hopefully didn’t set THERE alarms.” Really? A writer for Variety makes a fifth-grade “their, there, they’re” mistake?

  7. Jennifer says:

    Michael B. Jordan was robbed. Of course the PC “Danish Girl,” which was terrible, gets best actor nom, which is not deserved. “Mad Max” was excellent.

    • Mitchell B says:

      Well you knew “Danish Girl” was getting a best actor nom the day it was announced to go into production. Michael B. Jordan should be included instead of DiCaprio. Tom Hardy stole “The Revenant.” “Straight Out of Comptom” should have been a “Best film” nom along with “Creed.” “Carol” is boring as hell.

      • Rex says:

        Straight Outta Compton should NOT have been a Best Film nominee, nor should ANY movie about the “struggles” of the friggin’ CELEBRITIES to rise above poverty or overcome drug addictions (all the while white-washing their often loathsome behavior). They’re so cookie-cutter I could write them in my sleep! Even more telling, this “essential” Black story had to be written by four WHITE writers. Go figure . . .

  8. crossie says:

    Well, I guess commenting earlier that “Carol” had “crashed and burned” was spot on the money.

  9. James says:

    So happy that mad max got nominated and this should be the movie to win best director and best picture. Not only might be the last chance to award george Miller, but the technical achievement of this movie is outstanding

  10. frank says:

    can not believe that mad max got 10 nods.seen this movie and could not wait till it was over.not a good choice,hollywood.

    • Tender Puppy! says:

      Disagree. It’s a briIIiant, visionary piece of cinema.

      • Bill B. says:

        I agree. Doubt it will win best picture though Miller could and should win best director. I’ve seen it four times! Really strange Ridley Scott omission.

      • CelluloidFan35mm says:

        I agree that the movie had vision and had effort but IMO, it was plain mediocre.
        Not terrible by any stretch but just overhyped. It is on a two and half star level for me.

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