Oscar Nominations: Surprising Factoids About 2016’s Contenders

Joy Movie Review
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Several records were set in nominations for the 88th Academy Awards, with plenty of oddities and eyebrow-raisers as well.

The top two vote-getting films, “The Revenant” (with 12 nominations) and “Mad Max: Fury Road” (with 10), both starred Tom Hardy, who scored his first nom for the former.

With today’s best actress nom for “Joy,” 25-year-old Jennifer Lawrence is now the youngest actor ever — male or female — to earn four Oscar nods.

“Mad Max” opened in May, the only best-pic contender that didn’t bow domestically in the fourth quarter. Three launched in October (“The Martian,” “Bridge of Spies” and “Room”), two in November (“Brooklyn,” “Spotlight”) and two others in December (“The Big Short,” “The Revenant”). Of the eight best-pic hopefuls, “Revenant” is the only one that hadn’t debuted at a film festival.

With its five nominations, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” now has 30 nominations for the franchise, tying it with “Lord of the Rings.”

This is the first time that the song category includes two documentaries, with “Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction” and “Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground.” The former was written by J. Ralph and Antony Hegarty; the latter was written by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga. This marks the eighth nom for Warren. Previously, four docus yielded song contenders, and the only winner so far is Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need to Wake Up” from “An Inconvenient Truth.”

George Miller is nominated in his fourth category. He’s up this year for director and as a producer of “Mad Max,” and had previously been nommed in the writing and feature-animation categories, winning for “Happy Feet.”

Besides Miller, the double-nominees included Steve Golin, producer of both “Spotlight” and “The Revenant.” Sandy Powell was nommed for her costume designs on “Cinderella” and “Carol.” Others nabbed two noms, but for one film: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“The Revenant”), Pete Docter (“Inside Out”), Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) and Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”). Arnon Milchan got an official nomination as a producer of “The Revenant” and was one of the four producers of “Big Short,” but wasn’t named in the Academy’s list.

Sylvester Stallone earns his second nom for playing Rocky Balboa. Previously, five other people got two noms with the same character: Bing Crosby (Father O’Malley in “Going My Way” and “Bells of St. Mary’s”), Paul Newman (Fast Eddie Felson in “The Hustler” and “The Color of Money”), Peter O’Toole (Henry II in “Becket” and “The Lion in Winter”), Al Pacino (Michael Corleone in two “Godfather” films) and Cate Blanchett, for two “Elizabeth” works. Crosby and Newman won.

John Williams now has 50 nominations, extending his record as the living individual with the most noms. He has 45 for music score (including this year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), plus another five for song. The only person with more was Walt Disney, with 59.

Nine of the 20 acting contenders are American. The others represent Australia, Canada, Ireland, Sweden and the U.K., with Michael Fassbender repping both Germany and Ireland.

Andy Nelson scored two noms for sound mixing, for “Bridge of Spies” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” He is now tied with Kevin O’Connell for the most noms in the category, with 20.

Roger Deakins scored his 13th bid for cinematography, a record for any living person. The record is held by Charles B. Lang Jr. and Leon Shamroy, with 18 apiece. Sandy Powell holds the record among living people with her 12th nom for costume design. The record holder is Edith Head, with 35.

Three of the foreign language nominees are from Europe, one from South America and one from the Middle East. It’s the first nominations for Colombia and Jordan (“Embrace of the Serpent” and “Theeb,” respectively).

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  1. cadavra says:

    Disney’s 59 nominations deserve an asterisk, since in the vast majority of cases he was largely the studio head, with minimal hands-on involvement once the cameras started rolling.

  2. David says:

    A big boo to you leaving Canada out – Rachel McAdams is NOT American!

  3. Jane says:

    You left one out of the double nominee: Sandy Powell is nominated twice for Costume this year (Cinedrella and Carol), her 11th and 12th nominations.

  4. Francis says:

    11 of the acting nominees are foreigners… Not 10. Rachel McAdams is from Canada.

  5. Leslie the says:

    Tom Hardy is an amazing talent. Finally some award body gets it right. Well done. Hope he wins.

  6. Mike says:

    This is also the first time in Oscar history that all five films nominated for Best Original Song have that citation as their sole Oscar nomination.

  7. AYU_Dyah says:

    With her latest Best Actress in a leading role nomination for Joy, Jennifer Lawrence is now The Youngest Most Overrated Actress.

    I used to adore her, with her winning in Silver Linings Playbook. But after that, I see that She has been practically playing as HERSELF in every movies she’s in it.

    Including in Joy, one of the most painful cinematic experience I’ve had this year. She acted like, well, Jennifer Lawrence. Her laugh, her talks, her body language.

    Her acting skills ain’t no like versatile great actress who deserve every nominations, like Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, or Katherine Hepburn.

    • LindsayF says:

      I personally think her best role was the one she got her first Oscar nom for – “Winter’s Bone.” Now that was a good movie. I also enjoyed her in The Hunger Games series, but yeah, all of these noms for the same kind of movies, idk. She’s not as appealing of an actress as she used to be. Hopefully Brie Larson wins that Oscar.

    • Steven says:

      So like Leonardo Di Caprio plays himself in every movie…In The Revenant I thought I was watching at 3 hours of jordan belfort (from WOWS) high on drugs, grunting and sliding on the ground…
      Jennifer Lawrence is only 25 and has played very few roles and in all of them she has shown great range.

  8. Roger-Pierre says:

    @Variety you are a journalist – please use your words

    Factoid
    1.
    an insignificant or trivial fact.
    2.
    something fictitious or unsubstantiated that is presented as fact, devised especially to gain publicity and accepted because of constant repetition.

    In other words – a factoid is NOT A FACT!

  9. Kay says:

    You left out Canada when listing which countries the actors represent. Rachel McAdams is Canadian.

    • Jonathan says:

      Since when is Canada a real country?! I think the article was talking about actual real countries. Since Canada is just an extension of America in every way including its box office being part of the domestic total, I don’t think it’s worth mentioning it like its some real country :p lol

      • Proud Movie-Lovin' Canuck says:

        Canada is a sovereign nation…confederated since since 1867. We may share box office receipts…but we have our own considerable history and our own considerable cultural differences from you guys. Learn your history and geo-politics and stop being such a tool. Oh, and by the way, have a nice day!

  10. Brudge of Spies? Do you mean Bridge of Spies? Editor, please!

  11. Jason Martin says:

    I’m not sure I’ve seen this ‘Brudge of Spies’ of which you speak – sounds fascinating.

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